Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Enchant An Item [Blood & Treasure]

Here's a draft for the whole "creating magic items" bit for Blood & Treasure. Still thinking about this, so feel free to make suggestions and such (unless you think it sucks, in which case keep it to yourself as I have a fragile ego and artistic temperament).

The overall idea is that games are always talking about all the cool ingredients that can be used in making magic items, but this one is going to codify it (in a very vague way, of course). It's also going to attempt to use the system for making these items as a impetus for adventure - i.e. you need a medusa's tooth for an item, you have to slay it yourself. The other idea is to make sure that magic items are not being created willy nilly and all the time without using several tons of required gold pieces or XP costs to achieve it.

The game has two systems for "what level do I have to be?" to make magic items, one based on 3rd edition, where as full spellcasters advance in levels they learn to make different types of magic items, and the other drawn from older versions of the game, that require one to be 9th level to make anything. Treasure Keepers can do as they like.

The overall cost to make an item is equal to have the gp value of the item - which can be divided up by the creator between hiring master craftsmen and alchemists, making the item to be enchanted, etc.

The item to be enchanted must be made by a master craftsman under the watchful eye of the magic item’s creator using the best possible materials

Magic weapons, armor, rings and rods must be forged from meteoric iron, mithral or adamantine or, for rings and rods, precious metals

Leather goods must be made from expensive animal hides

Cloth goods must be made from expensive fabrics (silk, velvet, cloth-of-gold, cloth-of-silver, wool from the exceptionally fine sheep, the hair of virgins, etc.)

Wooden goods (wands, staves, etc.) must be carved from rare and expensive woods

Scrolls must be scribed on vellum prepared by a master or chiseled in an expensive stone (malachite, porphyry) using an adamantine chisel

Potions must be brewed in vats made of precious metals with the assistance of an alchemist

All magic items are tied to an "equivalent spell" determined by the Treasure Keeper - i.e. what spell is sorta kinda (or exactly) like the magic item being made here. For each level of that spell, the item requires a "magical element".

Roll d8 for potions and scrolls, d10 for all other magic items.

1-2 Herb (must be harvested from a special place or at a special time)
3-4 Mineral (discovered in a dungeon)
5-8 Monster (slain by the magic-user and his comrades)
9 Place
10 Time

HERBS (may be ground, used to make essential oils, smoked, burned as incense or ingested as a tea)
Angelica: Good and lawful spells, abjurations, summoning
Anise: Abjurations and divinations (esp. clairvoyance)
Basil: Strength, fire, evocations, necromancy, command/domination
Bamboo: Dispel magic
Caraway: Air spells, charm spells, movement
Cinnamon: Holy spells, mind-effects, communication spells, healing spells
Cloves: Negative energy protection, silence, dispel magic, charm person, astral projection, ethereal jaunt and other travel spells (teleport, dimension door)
Coriander: Abjurations
Foxglove: Poison, cause wound spells
Frankincense: ???
Galangal: Luck spells, blessings, remove curse
Garlic: Exorcism, protection from undead, healing, weather spells
Ginger: Fire spells, curses, evocations, spells of travel or movement
Ginseng: Restoration
Hellebore: Exorcism
Henbane: Poison, death spells
Holly: Resistance to electricity, magic circles, protection from evil
Horehound: Plant spells, tree spells, hallow
Lavender: Bless, healing, memory spells, sleep, bull’s strength, bear’s endurance, illusions
Lovage: Eagle’s splendor, charm spells
Mace: Transmutations
Mandrake: Evocations, summoning, visions
Marigold: Illusions
Marjoram: Animal spells, necromancy
Mistletoe: Love, druidic spells
Mugwort: Astral and ethereal travel
Mustard: Enchantments, dispel magic
Myrrh: ???
Myrtle: ???
Nutmeg: Dream, nightmare, divination
Onion: Contact other plane, commune
Oregano: Calm emotions, good hope, abjurations
Parsley: Haste
Peppermint: Animals, energy spells (including protection and resistance), healing, necromancy
Pomegranate: Communication with the dead, necromancy
Poppyseed: Sleep, dream, nightmare, confusion, insanity, binding spells, curses
Rosemary: Fear (including resistance to), exorcism, legend lore, alarm, glyphs and other spells that protect items, fox’s cunning, owl’s wisdom, water spells
Saffron: Sun and light spells, divinations, true seeing, detect invisibility, wind spells
Sage: Healing, longevity, protection from scrying
Savory: Animal spells, fey spells
Star Anise: Lawful spells, mark of justice, detect lie, hallow, aid, bless, prayer
Tarragon: Dragon spells, rage, remove fear
Thyme: Fey spells, divinations, necromancy
Turmeric: War and weapon spells, exorcisms, hold spells, mage armor, shield
Wormwood: Illusion

Agate: Plant spells, physical ability boosts, cure spells, abjurations
Amber: Sun and light spells, detect spells
Amethyst: Mind and emotion spells, clairaudience and other hearing spells, AC-enhancing spells, remove curse, break enchantment
Aventurine: Earth spells, open doors, knock, passwall, remove curse
Bloodstone: Remove fear, enhance physical abilities, heroism, mage’s transformation
Carnelian: Abjurations, fire spells, spells of movement (fly, jump, haste)
Chrysoberyl: Spell turning, reflective spells, locate object, spells of awareness
Copper: Remove fear, neutralize or delay poisons, communication spells
Emerald: Charms and enchantments, exorcism, enhance mental abilities and vision
Fluorite: Chaos spells, cure disease
Garnet: Abjurations, heal
Gold: Spells of purification, positive energy spells
Hematite: Mental and psychic spells, time spells
Jade: Water spells, wisdom spells, healing
Jasper: Abjurations, cure disease
Lapis Lazuli: Psychic spells, remove fear, divinations
Malachite: Plant spells, bear’s endurance, transmutations
Moonstone: Confusion, insanity, wish, neutralize poison, sleep, illusions
Obsidian: Protection from energy, detect evil, true seeing
Onyx: Lawful spells, spells of command and control, abjurations, wall spells
Opal: Emotion spells, memory spells, astral projection, ethereal jaunt, dream, nightmare
Platinum: Anti-transmutation
Quartz: Aid, bless, prayer and other such spells, evocations, cold spells
Rhodochrosite: Fire spells, legend lore, calm emotions
Rose Quartz: Atonement, heal, cure disease, resistance to fire and other energies
Ruby: Command spells, growth spells, haste, resistance to fire and other energies
Sapphire: Wind spells, water spells, planar travel, abjurations, creation spells
Silver: Energy spells, sleep, insanity, magic circles and other protections
Sunstone: Sun, light and fire spells, blessings,strength
Tiger Eye: Animal spells, true seeing, divinations, travel spells
Topaz: Blessings, evocations, mineral detection
Tourmaline: Heal spells, mental spells, plant spells
Turquoise: Earth spells

Requires eye, hair, feather, skin, gland, organ, claw, tooth, etc. of a monster (aberration, dragon, fey, giant, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, outsider, undead) or legendary personage (at least 12th level) associated with the spell or power being woven into the item. Monster must have twice the Hit Dice of the equivalent spell to be used.

Ruined temple
Ancient palace
Place associated with birth or death of particular god or demigod
Place associated with magical or historic event
Stone circle sanctified by a 15th or higher level druid
Elemental plane or other plane of existence
Atop highest mountain
Fabled or mythic island
Active volcano
Cloud giant’s castle
Storm giant’s undersea palace
Waters of a magic pool or fountain
Bottom of deepest chasm
Within the pounding surf
Waters of a holy river

Specific phase of the Moon
Specific solstice or equinox
Specific position of stars
Anniversary of magical or historic event
During a storm, earthquake or other cataclysm (natural)
During a meteor shower

Example: Flaming Longword
The Treasure Keeper rules that fireball is the important spell for a flaming longsword. Fireball is a 3rd level spell, so there will be three rolls on the table above. The TK rolls and gets mineral, monster and time. He decides the “mineral” will be carnelian (3,000 gp worth, powdered), the “monster” a salamander’s blood and the “time” during a meteor shower. The magic user must also provide a sword made of meteoric iron, mithral or adamantine. The magic-user will have to use divinations to discover when and where a meteor shower is to occur, and of course he’ll have to liberate a carnelian from a dungeon and slay a salamander. The services of an alchemist are needed to prepare the carnelian powder. While the flaming sword is forged by a master smith (during the meteor shower and under the open sky, of course), the magic-user mingles in the carnelian powder and salamander blood and casts the fireball spell.

Example: Cape of the Mountebank
The magic-user must provide around 5,000 gp worth of materials for this cape, which must be woven of silk or another expensive material, probably with gold or silver thread embroidered in it. It is associated with the dimension door spell, a 4th level spell of movement and travel. Rolling the dice, the TK decides he needs an herb, two minerals and a place. He decides the place will be the tomb of an infamous illusionist – the enchantment, though not the manufacture of the cloak, must occur there. The “herb” is ginger, which must be brewed into an ale and consumed by the magic-user while creating the item. The “minerals” are sapphire and tiger’s eye, which must be powdered and mixed into a dye for the cloak. The cloak will have silver threads embroidered into it to form symbols of power.


  1. I like this idea much better than the rules I have in the edit. If the method above flies, people will value their +3 Flaming Broadsword much more than if they just paid some money and some XP to get it. They will say "I had to fight 3 Salamanders and climb this mountain to make this thing!"

    However, some minor stuff I would maybe consider not having to do this quest. Like, I don't think making a potion of cure light wounds should require a whole quest. I do notice that, say, an herb like mustard would be easy to find, but I doubt players would want to go and slay, for example, a few skeletons just so they can brew a potion that only heals d6 HP. The risk far outweighs the reward in this case.

    However, if they want the Super Mega Deathsword 5000 Limited Edition w/ Positioning Action Figure, I would want them to go over hill and dale to gather all the various do-dads to forge that sucker. Simply throwing down a few grand in gold and XP is both boring and 'unrealistic', at least as realistic as a game involving dragons can be.

  2. Hard to find anything wrong. I like it. Do you have to use XP or a use of a permanency spell to finish the item?

  3. No XP - permanency would probably be a good idea.

  4. Perhaps have both as options. For the new school and old school feel.

  5. In terms of magic items there is a disconnect between old and new school. In 3rd edition, potions and scrolls are ubiquitous and it's expected that spell casters will brew/scribe them themselves fairly often once they have some XP and gold pieces under their belt. In old school, making anything required you to have the "enchant an item" spell, "permanency spell" (and thus be pretty high in level) and whatever other spells/doodads the DM decided, so making magic items was a rare event. Most of the magic items a character had, even scrolls and potions, were found in dungeons, and depending on the rules used could be pretty few and far between. I guess I'm looking for something in between.

    Say a cleric wants to brew a potion of cure light wounds. That's a first level spell (so one roll on the table) and the potion has a 50 gp value. That means you'll need a copper vat and 25 gp worth of materials/alchemical assistance to brew the potion. The necessary ingredient is likely to be cinammon, garlic, lavender, peppermint, sage (not too hard for the cleric to go out and find garlic or lavender), a few gp worth of jade, garnet, rose quartz or tourmaline (again - findable in a dungeon) or maybe a piece of some monster associated with healing or regeneration - trolls come immediately to mind, but there are others.

    So, you get a pretty broad range of items that could work, some easier to get than others, and though none of them require a major quest, they do require that cleric invests some time in the project.

    Is it worth it to brew a potion of cure light wounds? Well, probably not if you have to go out and kill a troll(though if the party has already killed a troll, the cleric or druid has a good reason to harvest a few bits and pieces) but maybe if you just need 10-20 gp worth of lavender or garnet brewing such a potion makes sense.

    1. Would it be consistent, so that the first time you brewed a cure light wounds potion and got cinnamon, the ingredient would be cinnamon every subsequent brewing?

      Or would it be random, like cinnamon one time, troll blood the next, etc. etc.?

  6. I would say consistent ... but that might present problems. Worth thinking about. Ultimately, this should be a tool for GM's to make the game more interesting, not a loophole for players to exploit the heck out of.


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