Please make Magic Item Creation into a big deal!

Something that I have found is that creating magic items is too easy. I hope and pray that this is something that is changed in D&D Next. I've always liked the XP costs because you have to sacrifice but the math was off. If they used the XP, with the math fixed, and some other mechanics on top of that then I think they could pull of a magic item creation rule.

What do you think?
I wouldn't mind magic items being free and require some sort of mini adventure like in 2nd edition. I always liked that system. Having adventures centered around a character are always a good thing in my opinion.
Something that I have found is that creating magic items is too easy. I hope and pray that this is something that is changed in D&D Next. I've always liked the XP costs because you have to sacrifice but the math was off. If they used the XP, with the math fixed, and some other mechanics on top of that then I think they could pull of a magic item creation rule.

What do you think?



Personally, I dislike XP costs because I don't use XP.  If you want to make it have a sacrifice rare items (dragon teeth, fancy minerals) seem to work better.
Only high level PCs can craft magic items. No nonsensical XP costs. Simple.

NPC's need not apply.

Something needs to be done. I want characters to be able to make magic items--I just don't want them to be magic item factories. There are pros and cons to using XP, but quest-based doesn't always fit for many items, either (I feel it fits the more powerful and "unique" items, but not so much the minor things). The more powerful the item, the longer it sould take (in-game time, of course) to create.
what role do you want magic items to have in the game though?

D&D's magic items have never been too interesting, or at least not the most commonly found ones. the other is how magic items tend to be more the focus of the character over his or her skill. in AD&D no matter how skilled a swordsman you are, if you don't have that magic sword, you litterally cannot hit a low level outsiders, some aberrations and undead (if memory serves, at least. i'll be honest that i haven't looked at those old monster manuals in years).

and as bad as people say 4th ed is reliant on gear, at least it was only 3 pieces of gear (weapon, armor, neck), i found 3rd ed to be the worst of all on gear dependance, with requiring at least 1 item of stat boost, often 2 (generally your offensive stat, like str for noncasters, int for wizards, etc..., and your con) 1 item for a save boost, a magic weapon for the fighter types, items that stack miss%, something to allow for flight, scrolls of situational spells (stone to flesh, break enchantment, etc...) if you're a caster, etc...

if you're going to be making magic items optional, don't have their abilites modify the math of the game. the magic items should allow the characters new methods of dealing with problems, not simply allow them to facepunch you harder. honestly, the boring +1 sword should should be burned in the forge that made it... along with it's creator.
Please no return to xp for magic items. I love 1e and 2e, but the xp use was annoying for items. I like the the ritual.
I think items should be categorized by level and you can't create items until you reach that level. Also what XP's intention was to control the flow of magic items and I liked that. At higher levels it began to break down because the XP loss was minimal.

I love Pathfinder but restricting item creation to simply time and gold isn't enough to hold back the brokeness. Making it a ritual is exactly the same as putting a gold limit on it. Instead of finding a Magic Shop to buy it in you just pay the gold and the ritual makes it for you. There really is no difference in 4th edition between buying it from a magic shop or making it on your own, except for the fact that it's easier to use the ritual than buy it in a magic shop because if your DM limits magic shops that still leaves you with the ritual at any time.
you do know the problem with 3rd ed and pathfinder's magic item problem isn't the creation process, but the fact that magic in those games are just big "win" buttons right? t's not the fact that they can create items that's the problem, it's the fact that they can create items that "solve problem X/day".
you do know the problem with 3rd ed and pathfinder's magic item problem isn't the creation process, but the fact that magic in those games are just big "win" buttons right? t's not the fact that they can create items that's the problem, it's the fact that they can create items that "solve problem X/day".



I've never found that to be the problem.  The problem I am finding is the fact that at high levels it's possible to make a staff with 50 wishes and a luckblade at 5th level.
Then tone down the power of magic items that can be crafted, and place an arbibitrary limit on how many can be crafted per level/character outside of XP or gold costs. Not much to it.

EDIT: Or, only allow high level character to craft magic items as I've suggested earlier.

Also what XP's intention was to control the flow of magic items and I liked that. At higher levels it began to break down because the XP loss was minimal.



Eh, I think it was pretty minimal for a lot of things at lower levels too.  3e's XP-loss mechanic was just minimal across the board.

Besides, XP-loss is just a weird way of trying to say "You can make whatever you want - but it costs you character resources."  The thing is, it worked far more poorly than just, y'know, making it cost character resources.

Let (interesting) magic items replace character features (or feats), if that's what you want.  Make them cost real character resources, that leave the game balanced in a way that XP costs just don't (because having the party at all different levels is a less-than-stellar idea).

That would also go a long way toward making "no magic items" or "magic items lite" games incredibly easy to run.  No magic items?  Oh well, that's fine, I guess I'll just take these character resources in their place.  Your mighty warrior doesn't have to have a magical sword - he could just have awesome abilities in its place.


Anyways, I really think crafting items - and easy/straightforward crafting items - should be on the table somewhere.  It just doesn't need to be a core part of the game.  And hell, with the way they're doing modules, they could offer a few completely different "crafting magic items" methods in the same book, and just say "Hey, here, pick the one you like (or even better, pick whichever is most appropriate from case-to-case, even within the same game and world)."
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you do know the problem with 3rd ed and pathfinder's magic item problem isn't the creation process, but the fact that magic in those games are just big "win" buttons right? t's not the fact that they can create items that's the problem, it's the fact that they can create items that "solve problem X/day".



I disagree.

The "problem solving" aspect  hasn't been the actual problem in any game I've been in that allowed for PC created magic items.
No, what's been the problem is that it dilutes the reward.  (especially in 4e where anyone could possess the ritual)  It's alot less exciting to find an ______ when the players could have just made it.
but would that "______" be something they actually care about though?

i've played in "low magic" (or at least, low access to resources) games and i can assure you, we've stumbled up on a lot of stinkers that were forgotten: the magical rapier in a game with no dex-y types. the kazillion of bracers of armor +1 on the mooks in a published module. the "hey a neat little flavorful effect" item that never comes into play and simply ends up being another line on the treasure sheet.

on the flipside i've been in games where the GM littered the loot not with items we wanted/needed but stuff that was actually useful to the group as a whole. he let the party craft their "needed" gear and simply gave us extra toys to play with, like portable holes to carry out loot/create traps or a magic carpet to carry us around.

if you work with the "wish list" of items then you can reasonably expect to not be surprised at the type of loot, just at the sequence that i'll be distribued in (IE: bob wants axes, john wants rituals, kim likes bows, etc...). 

but before one should decide if players can or cannot make magic items, decide on how you want magic items to exist in the game.

but my view is as followed : let the players be able to craft and create anything they need to realize the vision of their character. anything past that should be gravy, given at the GMs discretion.
I personally want magic item creation as, simply put, magical.

Instead of 300+ magic items each with its own story and a magical ritual that allows you to ignore the magic items' stories and get right down to it, I want a list of


  • what effects are available at each "tier"

  • what material components are used for each existing magic item

  • what material components can be used for any number of items


In short, I want a do-it-yourself approach to creating magic items, not a super-heavy book with 70% fluff 30% mechanics that has to be errata'd each and every time to ensure that you're not overdoing it.  And I don't want EXP for cost, because of my belief that it's a metagaming resource being thrown into the game world.

Let's see... I'll assume a 30-level, 3-tier system:
Magical Item System

Each magical item is composed of 3 things: a base component, a key component, and a catalyst.  The base component is usually a major component of the item whose rarity relative to the "real" world determines the item's cost and effects if it were a mundane item.  The key component is a relatively harder-to-acquire item that prevents the item from being so common that it becomes baseline mundane.  The catalyst can either automatically create the item on behalf of the PCs, or allow the PCs to craft it in the first place.  Common items get 1-2 passive properties, uncommon items get 2 passive properties + 1 power.


  • Lower Heroic


    • Base Components


      • Wood

      • Stone

      • Copper

      • Iron

      • Steel


    • Key Components


      • Goblin Eye

      • Kobold Hand

      • Orc Jaw

      • Giant Spider's Poison Gland


    • Catalysts


      • Full Moon

      • Drake's Spit

      • Human Blood


    • Possible Effects


      • +1 to hit

      • +3 to damage

      • +1d6 to +1d12 to crit dice

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can take damage equal to your level to deal extra damage equal to twice your level (three times your level if you are wielding this weapon two-handed)

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can make another basic attack



  • Upper Heroic

  • Lower Paragon

  • Upper Paragon

  • Lower Epic

  • Upper Epic




Or something to that degree.  That way, you edit only one table, and you can mix-and-match items as desired.  You could even make it into a random table so that you can never really know what you'd get.  As an optional tool, it could help make things more interesting

I intentionally left out rare and artficact items because if it's so hard to create and so powerful that it has a legendary name attached to it, the process would have to be a lot more elaborate (if at all possible).
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I personally want magic item creation as, simply put, magical.

Instead of 300+ magic items each with its own story and a magical ritual that allows you to ignore the magic items' stories and get right down to it, I want a list of


  • what effects are available at each "tier"

  • what material components are used for each existing magic item

  • what material components can be used for any number of items


In short, I want a do-it-yourself approach to creating magic items, not a super-heavy book with 70% fluff 30% mechanics that has to be errata'd each and every time to ensure that you're not overdoing it.  And I don't want EXP for cost, because of my belief that it's a metagaming resource being thrown into the game world.

Let's see... I'll assume a 30-level, 3-tier system:
Magical Item System

Each magical item is composed of 3 things: a base component, a key component, and a catalyst.  The base component is usually a major component of the item whose rarity relative to the "real" world determines the item's cost and effects if it were a mundane item.  The key component is a relatively harder-to-acquire item that prevents the item from being so common that it becomes baseline mundane.  The catalyst can either automatically create the item on behalf of the PCs, or allow the PCs to craft it in the first place.  Common items get 1-2 passive properties, uncommon items get 2 passive properties + 1 power.


  • Lower Heroic


    • Base Components


      • Wood

      • Stone

      • Copper

      • Iron

      • Steel


    • Key Components


      • Goblin Eye

      • Kobold Hand

      • Orc Jaw

      • Giant Spider's Poison Gland


    • Catalysts


      • Full Moon

      • Drake's Spit

      • Human Blood


    • Possible Effects


      • +1 to hit

      • +3 to damage

      • +1d6 to +1d12 to crit dice

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can take damage equal to your level to deal extra damage equal to twice your level (three times your level if you are wielding this weapon two-handed)

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can make another basic attack



  • Upper Heroic

  • Lower Paragon

  • Upper Paragon

  • Lower Epic

  • Upper Epic




Or something to that degree.  That way, you edit only one table, and you can mix-and-match items as desired.  You could even make it into a random table so that you can never really know what you'd get.  As an optional tool, it could help make things more interesting

I intentionally left out rare and artficact items because if it's so hard to create and so powerful that it has a legendary name attached to it, the process would have to be a lot more elaborate (if at all possible).



Actually it's not a meta-gaming resource. Experience has a lot to do with ones "life force". Ever notice how energy drain talks about draining ones life force and therefore emerges as the "lose a level" game mechanic? Well if you remember Drizzt and other references to fantasy that a creator poured his very essence or life force into an item. Now I know back in second edition it drained your constitution by 1 but the XP equals life force has been there for years as well so it's not just a meta game resource.

I personally want magic item creation as, simply put, magical.

Instead of 300+ magic items each with its own story and a magical ritual that allows you to ignore the magic items' stories and get right down to it, I want a list of


  • what effects are available at each "tier"

  • what material components are used for each existing magic item

  • what material components can be used for any number of items


In short, I want a do-it-yourself approach to creating magic items, not a super-heavy book with 70% fluff 30% mechanics that has to be errata'd each and every time to ensure that you're not overdoing it.  And I don't want EXP for cost, because of my belief that it's a metagaming resource being thrown into the game world.

Let's see... I'll assume a 30-level, 3-tier system:
Magical Item System

Each magical item is composed of 3 things: a base component, a key component, and a catalyst.  The base component is usually a major component of the item whose rarity relative to the "real" world determines the item's cost and effects if it were a mundane item.  The key component is a relatively harder-to-acquire item that prevents the item from being so common that it becomes baseline mundane.  The catalyst can either automatically create the item on behalf of the PCs, or allow the PCs to craft it in the first place.  Common items get 1-2 passive properties, uncommon items get 2 passive properties + 1 power.


  • Lower Heroic


    • Base Components


      • Wood

      • Stone

      • Copper

      • Iron

      • Steel


    • Key Components


      • Goblin Eye

      • Kobold Hand

      • Orc Jaw

      • Giant Spider's Poison Gland


    • Catalysts


      • Full Moon

      • Drake's Spit

      • Human Blood


    • Possible Effects


      • +1 to hit

      • +3 to damage

      • +1d6 to +1d12 to crit dice

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can take damage equal to your level to deal extra damage equal to twice your level (three times your level if you are wielding this weapon two-handed)

      • encounter power, free action, when you hit an enemy with this weapon, you can make another basic attack



  • Upper Heroic

  • Lower Paragon

  • Upper Paragon

  • Lower Epic

  • Upper Epic




Or something to that degree.  That way, you edit only one table, and you can mix-and-match items as desired.  You could even make it into a random table so that you can never really know what you'd get.  As an optional tool, it could help make things more interesting

I intentionally left out rare and artficact items because if it's so hard to create and so powerful that it has a legendary name attached to it, the process would have to be a lot more elaborate (if at all possible).



Actually it's not a meta-gaming resource. Experience has a lot to do with ones "life force". Ever notice how energy drain talks about draining ones life force and therefore emerges as the "lose a level" game mechanic? Well if you remember Drizzt and other references to fantasy that a creator poured his very essence or life force into an item. Now I know back in second edition it drained your constitution by 1 but the XP equals life force has been there for years as well so it's not just a meta game resource.




My problem with spending XP is that then you have characters at odd amounts of XP.  It is an inelegant solution to such an issue, and could cause imbalance.

What boggles my mind is the concept that one should restrain a player from crafting items if they truely want to.  I mean, the only way I know to "gain" Enchant Item as a ritual is to be a wizard, an Arcanist Wizard at that within 4th edition, and choose it specifically as one of the learned rituals at level 5+.  If they go to that specific trouble just to make stuff, I think it's something specific the player is interested in.
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I will summarize what I have created to my personal 4e campaign (based on AD&D):


There is no common trade of magic items. Magic items are rare and those who have hardly sell them. However, when the adventurers want to get rid of an item it is not that difficult due to the above.


Creating magic items - Creating a magic item is something amazing and involves the search for exotic materials and specific rituals, and a suitable place to perform such feats. Those are the steps:



  1. Find out what can be created - research on the existence of such items.

  2. After finding the item, the necessary process should be unfolded for the creation of such an item, i.e., materials, formulas and rituals.

  3. Obtain items and rituals (which are extremely unique and rare). This procedure entails adventures and / or hiring specialists to get them.


In mechanics, that’s translated as:

1% of the item value will be spent on researches to discover the existence of the desired item and one day search per item level. Accelerating the process is possible by hiring Scholars and paying visits to places of special knowledge. Each time the cost is multiplied by 2, the research time is halved.


10% of the item value will be spent on the search of how to construct it, and the time required will be 3 days per item level. The same acceleration presented on the previous step is possible.


1 month per tier (adventurer / paragon / epic) to learn the rituals and magical formulas to build the item. Acceleration is NOT possible.


The materials are divided into two categories - purchasable and acquirable.


Purchasable - These materials will cost 25% of the item value.


Acquirable - These materials can be found on adventures or acquired in specific regions. If they are purchased, they cost 50% of the item value and will be available in one week’s time per item level (acceleration is possible).


Construction of the item - After all the previous steps have been accomplished, the construction of the item will begin. You will need a magic laboratory:


The construction cost of a laboratory if the character does not have one yet:


Tier 1 = 3.000gp


Tier 2 = 50.000gp


Tier 3 = 1.000.000gp


Item assembling: It will take 5 days per magic item level to assemble the product of the previous steps into a powerful magic item. And the cost will be 50% of the item. Acceleration is possible.


After each step a check is performed by the character making the item. The DC check will be 15 + (Item level) / 2 + 5 per tier. For example:


Item level 3 = 15 + 1 + 5 = 21 DC


Item level 16 = 15 + 8 + 10 = 33 DC


Up to 2 characters can help the maker. Each successful help will provide the maker with a +2 bonus on the check.


The skill used varies according to the type of item that is being constructed. Holy symbols are made by religion, Wands by arcane and an armor with a healing effect by religion and so forth.


Failure means the character will have to repeat the whole step (time and cost).

No Reroll is possible for these checks.


Residuum ceases to exist the way it is described in the books of 4e.


 

I don't like XP costs for creating magic items because I like to keep all the player characters at the same XP level. It makes bookeeping much easier and keeps everyone feeling on an even footing. Having characters individually spend XP on items throws a monkey wrench in that goal. 

Beyond not using XP it doesn't matter much to me what resources are used to craft items. Gold, residuum, mini-quests, whatever. So long as XP isn't used as a currency I'll probably be happy.

My only other want would be that the system provide a straightforward, fair way for DMs to let players craft items. A simple pricing structure is probably the best way to go with optional rules for more complicated systems.
If you work with the "wish list" of items then you can reasonably expect to not be surprised at the type of loot, just at the sequence that i'll be distribued in (IE: bob wants axes, john wants rituals, kim likes bows, etc...). 

but before one should decide if players can or cannot make magic items, decide on how you want magic items to exist in the game.

but my view is as followed : let the players be able to craft and create anything they need to realize the vision of their character. anything past that should be gravy, given at the GMs discretion.


I agree with this, especially with the importance deciding how magic items exist in a game. That really is up to the DM and the players at the start of a Campaign. If the DM wants to run a low/rare magic game and the players are good with that the there you go problem solved. This isn't something that needs to be a set in stone rule, though crafting guidelines will be appreciated.
I am not a big fan of xp cost and I use a house rule that players can contribute there own xp to the crafting of the item (3.x is what I normally run/play). I like the ritual for making magic items and I also like most of how 4e handled magic items.
I would say find a middle ground/baseline magic item creation method between super-hard to get/make and 13 different magic item stores down main street. This baseline can then be adjusted to the tastes of various gaming groups, or "Seasoned to taste." Additionally, suggestions for adjusting high or low magic should b included.
Something I never understood in the 3.x and 4e is that thing of structuring magic item tables with gold prices. The AD&D 2nd says that there are very few magic itens in the world and no magic items market exists. It's a very good explanation. Then the concept of a price table for magic items is just ridiculous if there is no active market for them!

I hope that it will be corrected in the Next iteration. If they are indeed mysterious as the developers have already said, they shouldn't be for sale! And if in any special occasion a player sold or bought an item, it would be preferable that the price fluctuated wildly and no one would be able to tell for sure if it was expensive or cheap.
Something I never understood in the 3.x and 4e is that thing of structuring magic item tables with gold prices. The AD&D 2nd says that there are very few magic itens in the world and no magic items market exists. It's a very good explanation. Then the concept of a price table for magic items is just ridiculous if there is no active market for them!

I hope that it will be corrected in the Next iteration. If they are indeed mysterious as the developers have already said, they shouldn't be for sale! And if in any special occasion a player sold or bought an item, it would be preferable that the price fluctuated wildly and no one would be able to tell for sure if it was expensive or cheap.



It's just that 3e and 4e both assume magic items are more common than AD&D assumes they are. Since 3e and 4e assume that magic items are uncommon but not unheard of then there's nothing wrong with assuming there is a market available to buy and sell them.

Magic item prices aren't a "problem" that needs to be corrected. It's just assuming that magic is slightly more commonplace. And it's better to provide magic item prices in the rules for campaigns that want to use them then it is to not provide any prices and force campaigns that want magic item buying and selling to come up with prices from scratch.
I've never really like xp relating to crafting magic items. Sure the process should be tiring, but draining the actual energy that keeps you a living creature, all the time? That just always seemed to me like way too much requirement for a +1 dagger. That being said, that's why I liked the idea of gaining a fraction of points that represent the excess energy your soul has to offer that you can spend without penalty and after that you start using your actual xp, and in essence rending your soul, which usually presented as some strange effect on the magic item. (Usually evil effects. You ARE rending a living soul, even if its your own.)

I thought it was flavorful, if not always balanced.
As a creative type in real life, I have found that making stuff is really the kind of thing that should give you XP. It makes you more skilled, not less. Boggled my mind. However, I do agree with the basic idea of the thread title... it should be a big deal. I just don't think it should cost XP.

I was reading through an OGL-based RPG, Legends. There they detail two essential paths to take for characters regarding magic items. The more standard D&D path is to follow a set progression for acquiring magic items. Formulaic, but effective in limiting/controlling things. I liked it. They also have the idea of one big item, one that defines the character in a big way.

Making a standard boring +1 dagger is something that any competent wizard or amazing craftsman can do without making a big deal of it. It's just a snazzy dagger, right? But something big? Have people run around and collect components, make them journey to a specific place to craft it, cool stuff like that. Include some suggestions on what kinds of components should be used for what kind of magic item. If you craft an epic sword, the crafting should be epic. The crafting of this item could be one of the deeds that lives through the centuries in song.

And if you don't want to make it a quest, just tell the story collectively, no need for roles. As long as they pay the costs and it's REALLY COOL. 
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I have the same problem with magic items in 4e.  The heroes are epic levels, and having them churn out magic items gets a little out of hand.  So I've instituted the following rules.

Common items:  Can be manufactured as per the rules.  Drop some residuum, make it happen.

Uncommon items:  Can be made with some research, if you know how to make them.  You require a fitting bit of material from a source, usually a high level monster or two.  Players are encouraged to actively push for ideas.  One tiefling bard wanted an uncommon fire ring, and ended up pulling teeth and scales of a red dragon they took down as "will this be enough?"  I'd love if every magical item had random creation requirements.  Everyone ignored arcane material components as far as I could tell, but I'd absolultely love sending players on a beholder hunt so they could make a high level magic orb.

Rare items:  You get these when I say you get them, the knowledge of how to make them is lost to this world.

It's managed to make the experience pretty magical again.  I'd love to see story requirements go into magical items.  If nothing else it would make slaying monsters really interesting.  Some kind of interface which says that say "dragon's teeth" have the property of "fire, sharp" and "dragon scale" has the property of "fire, durable" would be interesting.  That way when the adamantium lightning construct (or whatever) gets introduced, you already have the concept of "lightning, durable" required to make your fancy armor.

Even more important, though, is to make sure that magical items are strictly not needed, and that a DM can say "ok, everyone make epic level characters, no magic items" without the party going "are you **** me?"  Because sure, there's the innate bonus, but an array of wonderous items makes all the difference in the game.  That way the few magic items the players get are meaningful, there's no need to have a magic shop, and that sword they earned back at level 6 remains a faithful friend at level 16.
My suggestion would be to remechanic Residuum as some kind of magic dust.  This magic dust would be the singular way to make magical items.  Without the destroy magic items to make it nonsense - that's why you shouldn't call it Residuum (a really cool name, imo, when it worked like that).  What this effectively does is takes magic item creation out of the hands of the Players and puts it in the hands of the DM - who controls how much magic dust the party gets in treasure or on adventures and what not.  How the group uses the magic dust is up to them.  They could trade it like a golden harp or other non coin treasure.  They could save it up for something really cool at high levels.  Or they could do something in between.

As a player, I loved making magic items.  Especially the little cool ones, or stuff I made up myself. 

Have never played a campaign with an open magic item market.  Not saying it's the "wrong way to play" just saying I have never longed for it.

As a DM, I don't like players making their own magic items.  It's traditionally a control the DM has to balance the party.  I think gaming in situations like Wednesday Encounters where many players show up with one trick rule loophole exploiting characters lead to the Rarity system.  

How do you balance that?  The XP penalty sucked, but once everyone in the party was doing it, did it matter?  The gold... I think this is my biggest issue with buying and selling magic items, high level players could and probably should invest all their coin in their items.  So you lose the castles and armies and all the other random stuff having too much coin to spend comes with.  Sure you can DM around it, but why does the PC who wants to spend his coin on roleplaying have to be worse mechanically than the PC who wants to spend his coin on the magic item race.
Magic items should cost significant resources if they're significantly powerful. And not resources, like XP, that many people don't want to have to pay attention to.

An example idea:

If you want to craft a scroll, you're spending a spell slot to maintain it. The scroll holds a portion of your magical essence, and you don't regain it until the scroll is expended or destroyed.

In exchange, ANYONE can use a scroll. The Wizard can hand them around the party. Additionally: scrollcrafting is easy, you can do it whenever you can prepare spells, instead of preparing them in yourself, you prepare them on paper.

Wizards may even have bonus slots than can only be used for scrolls.

If you find a room full of scrolls that's really meaningful, because you've got the magical essence of a (probably) dead wizard sitting there, right in front of you.

This makes a whole lot more sense to me than XP, because XP for scrolls essentially comes down to: "I spend a lot of time writing about magic, and now I know less about it than I did before"
Magic items should cost significant resources if they're significantly powerful.

An example idea:

If you want to craft a scroll, you're spending a spell slot to maintain it. The scroll holds a portion of your magical essence, and you don't regain it until the scroll is expended or destroyed.

In exchange, ANYONE can use a scroll. The Wizard can hand them around the party. Additionally: scrollcrafting is easy, you can do it whenever you can prepare spells, instead of preparing them in yourself, you prepare them on paper.

Wizards may even have bonus slots than can only be used for scrolls.

If you find a room full of scrolls that's really meaningful, because you've got the magical essence of a (probably) dead wizard sitting there, right in front of you.

This makes a whole lot more sense to me than XP, because XP for scrolls essentially comes down to: "I spend a lot of time writing about magic, and now I know less about it than I did before"



How are you knowing less? You could never use more XP to drop you a level so your stats would never change, it just took you longer to get to that next level.



How are you knowing less? You could never use more XP to drop you a level so your stats would never change, it just took you longer to get to that next level.




So, you have to gain more experience (ie. learn more) before you level up.

Seems to me that that means you've lost knowledge. 


How are you knowing less? You could never use more XP to drop you a level so your stats would never change, it just took you longer to get to that next level.




So, you have to gain more experience (ie. learn more) before you level up.

Seems to me that that means you've lost knowledge. 



All depends on how you look at it.

What would be the difference if you fought a lot of monsters in a short amount of time and gained a level or fought a lot of monsters in a longer amount of time. I could throw monsters at you back to back to back and have you gain a level a lot faster or I could throw you the same amount of monsters but take longer to do so. The second scenario takes longer for you to gain XP and level up, the same goes with the XP cost. It;s just taking you longer to gain XP in order to gain a level, you still haven't lost any knowledge. You can't say you lost what you didn't have to start with. Now if you lost an actual level then yes that would make sense.

You can't say you lost what you didn't have to start with. 


You fought some monsters. You learned things from this experience, granting you Experience Points.

You then write a scroll. You lose those Experience Points*. Meaning, you've lost what you learnt.
*which you did have, so you could lose them.

If two wizards go through the same sequence of fights, but one produces scrolls continually, then the non-scroll-maker will learn enough to level up, while the scroll-maker will learn the same amount, but not level up. So, somehow, the scroll-maker has lost knowledge.
You can't say you lost what you didn't have to start with. 


You fought some monsters. You learned things from this experience, granting you Experience Points.

You then write a scroll. You lose those Experience Points. Meaning, you've lost what you learnt.


If two wizards go through the same sequence of fights, but one produces scrolls continually, then the non-scroll-maker will learn enough to level up, while the scroll-maker won't. So, somehow, the scroll-maker has lost knowledge. 



Nope. Technically until you cross that XP number threshold to the next level you haven't learned anything. Now if you have learned knowledge outside of the game mechanics then that doesn't change no matter what.


Nope. Technically until you cross that XP number threshold to the next level you haven't learned anything. Now if you have learned knowledge outside of the game mechanics then that doesn't change no matter what.



Then Experience Points are a purely gamist construct, which don't represent anything, and the characters are completely unaware of?

That's rather bad for characterisation: "Why won't you write me a scroll, you've got plenty of time, and I'm paying you more than enough!"
"Because, umm, because..."[player is going: because it costs XP, but the character can't know that]

Experience points as a gamist thing are fine; but that makes them even more inappropriate as a cost for item crafting.

 


I agree with not costing XP as that causese various problems (e.g. party memebrs at different levels, making it more of a pain to create balanced encounters etc), but should be cost something in order to prevent the pcs from becoming magic item workshops.


I guess it does depend on if we want magic items to be comen or rare (either way I think it will be comen for the adventuring party to have magic items, its just a question of do they get them from most adventuring, or do they go to the local corner market and pick up belts of giant strength for every one). I like that magic items are rare, and mostly come in the form of rewards for adventuriing. After all, if you could just make magic items and sell them for profit, why would adventures devl into dangerious dungeons trying to find them?


So I think a limited market for magic items is a good thing, and making magic items difficult to make is a good thing. Now, it seems like in every edition it was not to tough to make items. Magic users could just do it as part of their class, then they needed a feat and costed xp, than it was just a ritual and costed the same amount of gold as it would to buy the item. None of these seem to be very satisfying to most of us.

Maybe items need to be split into two categories, consumables, and permanant, with permanant being much harder to make. Since it seems there is going to be a difference between spells that can be cast per round vs spells taht can only be casted once per day, maybe only at will spells can be put on 1 per use scrolls. The idea is that a wizard can prepare one at will spell for the day from a list of spells, but, with a bit of gold and time he could make some one time use scrolls of other at will spells, to incrase his varity and utility. Once per day spells could also be put onto scrolls, but only by more powerful casters, and at a much greater cost and time. Also, more powerful spells and permanant items could have a chance to fail, wasting the spent gold and time, with a critical failure creating a cursed item that affects the person creating the item.

But, basically, the idea is to make it possible to make weaker once per use items without to much trouble, because it is fun but still won't be over powered, and make it very costly and difficult to make more powerful items, so that players can't just make what ever item they need. And maybe making magic items requires more than just a ritual or a feat. Maybe create magic item should be a spell in and of itself, taking spell slots and room in spell books, with low level spells creating very weak one time use spells, and 9th level create wonderous item spell being able to craft items of amazing power.

in fact, now that I think about it, (and this is a bit off topic), but if wizards only got to cast simple at will type spells, and for their encoutner/daily type spells, actually had to creat scrolls for them ahead of time? So a level one mage could throw flame javlin or magic missle all day long, but if they wanted to cast burning hands, they will have had to have spent a bit of gold and time creating a scroll as it is to complicated to cast from memory. This way, a wizard would have scrolls of game changer type spells on them, but would be very conservative in using them, as it will cost gold and time to replace them. I.e., a simple rest in the cave won't give you your spell back, but you need time and good conditions to create more scrolls. Of course, the catch would be that there would be no limit to how many of these scrolls a character has except for gold. So, if a level one wizard came across 500 gold pieces, maybe he could make 10 scrolls of level one daily powers during their next rest at the inn, and have a tone of magic reserves. But once these reserves are spent, they don't come back without spending more gold. Just a sudden thought that I had.

I don't agree with XP loss as standard either. I could see that being a special case scenario, such as a Negative Energy item that sapped XP a little bit at a time during the creation process (good reason for building special gloves of anti-negative energy radiation suits, etc.), or uses a portion of your own life force or memories to either power it or otherwise mimic something you can do.

In essence, spending XP on something should be the realm of making artifacts directly tied to you.


Rather, magic items should have high cost materials, rare items from all over the place, and take a library and research, or similarly elaborate ritualized practice to produce. There might be an artifact book that explains rapid magic item creation for certain items, such as a book of symbols you could engrave to make +1 swords, or special days and places you might expose armor or wands to, in order to create special effects, but these should not be the main stream, and perhaps discovering these instructions should be as hard, if not as elaborate or expensive, as the generic alchemical schtick.
Options are Liberating
I always liked using XP as a cost to creating magic items.  Reasoning - I don't "flavor" XP as knowledge in my campaigns, but as life force.  Whenever a creature slays another creature, it absorbs a bit of its life energy, becoming stronger in the process.  It also served to explain things like level loss when being raised from the dead, because some of the dead individual's life force had been taken by those who slew it (or just bled off if they died to a trap). 

So, creating magic items represents an investment of life energy.  Obviously, that explanation isn't going to work for every group, but it worked for mine and created some interesting stories in the process. 

All around helpful simian

Yeah, have to admit, that doesn't work for me at all ... at least in part because I don't use experience points anymore anyway, except as encounter budget math.

I do it this way: consumables, you can just make via Brew Potion/Enchant Magic Item.  Permanent stuff you have to go on some kind of quest for, to find special materials or unique forging requirements or encounter some magical creature appropriate for whatever it is you're trying to make.  After you get that, THEN you can make whatever it is you want to make.  Effectively under this system, all consumables are common and all other magic items are rare.  Close enough to 'a big deal' for me.

I also use inherent bonuses, give free ritual uses instead of having to purchase ritual components, and don't really mess around with giving out a lot of money.  Not fussing around so much with 'stuff' makes it easier to focus on the story and gameplay, and removes something I've always hated: the fact that all PCs seem to have to have this mercenary bent and get paid for doing heroic deeds.  Now the PCs aren't 'heroes for hire', they're just heroes.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
How are magic items created?
Who makes magic items?
What resources are needed to make magic items?
How common are magic items?
Can you buy magic items?
How valuable are magic items?

I think answers are campaign-dependent. As a DM, I answer these six questions for each campaign I run and provide a summary to the players before they create their characters. This provides background information they need (they need to know other things too--things about the setting) to create their characters.

Perhaps the next DMG should provide a baseline for three levels of magic items in the world that the DM may select from:
Low magic: Magic items are very rare. No living people know how to make them. Most people will never see a magic item. There are stories of ancient items that have been lost, or are rumored to be the property of certain powerful individuals. Magic items are likely very durable and long-lasting, which explains how they have lasted this long.

Medium magic: (default perhaps) Magic items are uncommon. Powerful or wealthy people may have one or two prized items. Those who create items may guard their secrets to keep the power out of enemy hands. Under the right conditions, player characters may be able to learn how to create magic items. Only under rare circumstances would someone willingly part with a magic item.

High magic: Magic items are everywhere. They are easy to create and many people know how to make magic items. Large towns have magic items for sale in various shops. Buyer beware--not all magic items work as advertised. It's often better to make your own. Some Wizards specialize in making or using magic items. Finally, magic items are often as easy to break as non-magical items. 
 
Footnote regarding XP cost: I'm not a fan of XP cost. It seems that XP cost is too much of a disincentive for a character to create a magic item. However, if this is the only way to attain the desired balance then I might employ it. 
You could make magic item creation an extension of the creator, and set type of limit or cost based on a primary stat, class level, feat, etc. that limits how many can be made. This keeps it central to the character, and they will have to make some decisions on what they make, as that will restrict how many future items they can make. Where low level mundane items may be repeated without penalty, higher level items will be rare, as only so many can be made. This removes xp and monetary cost from the equation an grants more freedom to fit any campaign or world.
I think the main problem with "using XP as a means to prevent players from becoming magic item factories" is that the very concept of magic items being reliably craftable and easily done -- be it by allocating skill points in "craft magical item" or by a Create Magic Item ritual -- renders the whole thing ineffective in the long run.  As history has shown, wands and scrolls have been well abused in spite of XP costs, especially since the rewards readily offset and negate the XP penalties.  Wands of Cure Light Wounds render days' worth of recovery pointless, Wands of Knock that have so many charges you'd have very little need for your lockpicker, and several other low-level spells-turned-into-wands effectively
* bypassed Vancian restrictions
* negated the XP cost due to how little it actually cost relative to the amount of XP you get when you get to make those wands in a regular and reliable manner

So no, XP as an item-making resource does not solve the issue in the metagaming or even in-gaming sense.

What I consider as the best way to limit magic item creation is to make the whole process special.  Magical items, even in a magic-heavy setting, either contain weak, cantrip-like effects, or are adventure-worthy but difficult to make, with uncommon items requiring massive expeditions and raids to gather magical components for a particular magical enchantment -- for example, a hundred gallons of blood from any creature for a blood gem that weighs 1 gram -- while rare items are so ancient and mystical, the adventurers must learn from aged sages the bits and pieces they need to eventually figure out how to make such a powerful item, then at the end of the day it would require components that at least seem impossible to acquire (let's say for a black siccoro gem -- which, when attached to the hilt of a sword grants it reach 2 and a Vorpal-like god-slaying ability -- it needs the heart of a thousand newborn humans, and a scale from Bahamut and Tiamat, along with a drop of Asmodeus' tears), but if the PCs get to make such items, bravo to them
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I would actually go in and list out the specific spells that are allowed to be made into a wand and I would lower the charges to something like 10 or 15.

With XP costs all you have to do is raise the cost of the XP for the higher level ones. I wouldn't start with 1/25 but with a higher number and increase that number the higher you go.