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Many kinds of magic items work differently in the Worlds of Adventure campaign than in 3rd edition D&D or in Pathfinder (but more similarly to older and newer editions of the game). Some of the changes are subtle, while others are drastic and sweeping. This page describes some general rules for magic items in the Worlds of Adventure campaign, as well as the rules for specific kinds of items.

Item listings

Items available for purchase, crafting, or looting in the Worlds of Adventure campaign are organized into several categories, mostly according to how they are made or acquired. See the pages for each category of item (linked from the Item Listings sidebar) for item listings, with descriptions of each item's function, and information about buying or making the item.

Creating magic items

For information on creating magic items, see the Creating Items page.

Item level

An item's level represents, roughly, the character level at which the item's powers are comparable, in strength and utility, to the abilities of a player character of that level. An item's level has several game effects.

First, magical effects generated by the item operate at the item's level, unless specified otherwise. This affects things like checks against spell resistance to the item's powers, difficulty of dispelling the item's effects, the item's saving throw bonuses, etc. Use the item's level whenever the caster level of its effects is needed. (Note that the powers of magic items usually have specified durations, ranges, etc., and these may differ from those values for a spell with the same effect as the item's powers, cast at a caster level equal to the item's level.)

Second, some items (such as wands and staffs) require their user to have at least as many class levels in a certain class group as the item's level. (Characters without enough levels in the requisite class group may usually activate the item with a successful Spellcraft check against a specified activation DC.) See the sections for each kind of item, below, for information about how to activate and use items of that sort.

Note: Some items, such as the staff of winter and other very powerful magic items or artifacts, have an item level higher than 20. As it is impossible to have more than 20 levels in any class group, no character can ever activate such an item normally; activation of these mighty devices always requires a successful Spellcraft check.

Third, the item's level affects how hard it is to craft an item of that kind. See the Creating Items page for information about crafting magic items.

Priests and magic items

Some magic items, such as many wands and staffs, are usable only by mages in the Worlds of Adventure campaign (unless a character has a high enough Spellcraft skill). However, priests are able to use magic items related to their sphere of divine power as if they were mages of their priest level. For example, a cleric of the Travel domain may use a staff of passage as if she were a mage of the same level; or a druid with the Fire domain could use a wand of fire as if they were a mage of the same level. Additionally, clerics of the Magic domain can use all mage-exclusive magic items as if they were mages of one-half their cleric level.

Identifying magic items

The identify spell allows the identification of magic items.

Some of the properties of some kinds of magic items may be identified without using identify. Many use-activated magic items, such as a ring of jumping, provide a continuous effect that can be perceived almost immediately; some items, such as shadow armor, provide a situational effect that becomes evident in the right circumstances. The DM may call for a Wisdom check (usually with a DC of 5 or 10) to notice the item's effects. Similarly, the effects of enhancement bonuses on weapons or armor becomes noticeable once the wielder or wearer uses the item in combat. The effects of items like a robe of eyes are seen as well as felt as soon as the item is put on.

Other sorts of items, such as an apparatus of Kwalish or a rod of splendor have buttons, levers, or other obvious ways to interact with the item, and so some or all of their properties may be discovered by experimentation.

Some magic items are enchanted to telepathically inform a character of their nature and function when he wields or dons the item. Some items have inscriptions, runes, or other markings that bear clues about the item's function.

Alchemical items cannot be identified with the identify spell. See the Alchemy skill description for information about identifying alchemical items.

The identify spell also does not reveal the command words for wands and similar items, nor other special or unique means of activation. Command words may occasionally be inscribed on the item itself; more often, they will have to be discovered separately. If no records are found that reveal the item’s means of activation, divination spells may be required to discover how to use the item.

Alchemical Items

Potions, oils, simple alchemical items like smokesticks and flasks of acid, and wondrous alchemical items like sovereign glue and Nolzur’s marvelous pigments. These items can be crafted using the Alchemy skill.

The effects of alchemical items generally cannot be dispelled, even if they closely resemble or mimic the effects of spells. Some alchemical effects can be suppressed or removed by magic, however, in the same way as similar effects that come from other sources (for example, the effects of a potion of rage succumb to a calm emotions spell, just as a barbarian’s rage or a rage spell would).

Potion Durations

Many potions and other alchemical items have variable durations. A character generally does not know how long a potion will last when he drinks it. Fortunately, the effects of alchemical items generally do not end instantly; instead, the user can feel the effects begin to fade, as the power of the magical substances in the potion or other item runs its course. The impending end of a potion's duration may be felt about half a minute in advance, which usually suffices to finish a combat encounter, land on solid ground before the duration of a flying potion runs out, get to a hiding place before the effects of an invisibility potion fade, etc.

Potion Miscibility

The magical mixtures and compounds which comprise potions are not always compatible. The miscibility of potions must be tested whenever two potions are actually intermingled, or a potion is consumed by a creature while another such item already consumed is still in effect.

The following table lists the usual array of outcomes when mixing potions. The DM may determine that certain sorts of potions or potion combinations act in specific ways other than those listed here. For example, perhaps healing potions have no chance of causing an explosion or creating poison when imbibed by someone under the effect of most other potions, a potion of delusion mixed with any other potion produces a delusion potion which causes the drinker to believe that the other potion took effect, oil of slipperiness mixed with oil of etherealness greatly increases the chance for the imbiber to be lost in the Ethereal Plane, etc. If more than two potions are combined, the DM rolls again for each subsequent potion, combining the results. Rolls for miscibility are made in secret, and unless the effects are immediately obvious, the results are revealed only when they become evident.

d% Result
01 EXPLOSION! Internal damage is 6d10 points, those within a 5-foot radius take 1d10 points (the damage is fire, acid, force, or some other type). If mixed externally, all in a 10-foot radius take 4d10 damage (Reflex save for half, DC is the higher of the potions' crafting DCs – 10).
02–08 The mixture becomes an ingested poison of the DM's choice.
09-15 Immiscible. Both potions totally destroyed, as one cancelled the other.
16–25 Immiscible. One potion cancelled, but the other remains normal (random selection).
26–35 Immiscible result which causes both potions to be at half normal efficacy (strength and duration) when consumed. A potion has no effect if it can't be halved in this way.
36-90 Miscible. Potions work normally unless their effects are contradictory, e.g. diminution and growth, which will simply cancel each other.
91-99 Compatible result which causes one potion (randomly determined) to have double normal efficacy (strength and duration). If neither potion has anything to double in this way, they work normally.
00 DISCOVERY! The admixture of the two potions has caused a special formula which will cause one of the two potions only to function, but its effects will be permanent upon the imbiber. (Note that some harmful side effects could well result from this; a healing potion might increase the drinker's hit point maximum by 4, but oil of etherealness might permanently trap the user in the Ethereal Plane, and so forth.) A suitable spell, such as break enchantment, might end this lasting effect, at the DM's discretion.

Scrolls

Using scrolls works differently in the Worlds of Adventure campaign than it does in Pathfinder. Most of the requirements for using a scroll (ability score, having the spell on your spell list, having the scroll be of the right type) have been removed. Scrolls in the Worlds of Adventure campaign have no "type" (arcane vs. divine). A character of any class can cast a spell from a scroll (although having the spell on your spell list makes it easier to do so), if they have the right skills.

Using scrolls

Casting a spell from a scroll requires first deciphering the scroll (using the Arcane Script skill). Once that is done, the Spellcraft skill lets a character use the scroll to cast the spell. (See the skill descriptions for details).

Creating scrolls

A single scroll may contain multiple spells, although all the spells on a scroll must come from the spell list of a single class. Up to seven spells may be found on a single scroll. See the Arcane Script skill description for information on scribing (i.e. creating) spell scrolls.

Staffs

Staffs in the Worlds of Adventure campaign work more closely to the way that they did in 3.5, than to how the work in Pathfinder. Many staffs can be recharged, however (unlike in 3.5); this is done similarly to how a staff is created in the first place. See the Staffs section of the Creating Items page for more information on crafting and recharging staffs.

Using staffs

Staffs are very similar to wands (see below), in how they are used. Many staffs have additional powers, which do not resemble spells or spell effects; these may have any sort of activation method, depending on the power in question. See the individual descriptions for each kind of staff for details.

Unlike most magic items that create the effects of spells, staffs allow the wielder to use his own caster level, ability score modifier, and feats to determine the caster level and saving throw DCs of spell-like powers of a staff, if higher than the staff's item level and the default save DCs of its powers. This means that staffs are more potent in the hands of a powerful spellcaster. (This only applies if a character activates a staff normally, not with a Spellcraft check.)

Buying staffs

Like wands, staffs found for sale on the open market are usually not fully charged unless they are purchased from their original crafter (or a character who has the ability to recharge the staff), and typically have anywhere from 25% to 75% of their maximum number of charges.

Wands

Wands in the Worlds of Adventure campaign are not merely containers of arbitrary spells. Wands are specific items, just like rods or staffs, and may have powers that do not exactly replicate the effects of spells. See the Wands section of the Creating Items page for information on crafting and recharging wands.

Using wands

To use a wand, a character must be of one of the appropriate class groups (mages, rogues, priests, or warriors), and must have at least as many levels in one of the requisite class groups as the wand's level. (See individual wand descriptions for a list of which class groups may use the wand.) If a character does not have enough levels in one of the requisite class groups, he must make a successful Spellcraft check against the activation DC of the wand power he is trying to use, in order to activate that power. (See the Spellcraft skill description for details.)

For most wands, activating any of the wand's powers requires the wielder to speak a command word (different powers have different command words); this is a standard action unless stated otherwise. Magical silence, as from a silence spell or similar, prevents a character from speaking aloud, and thus makes it impossible to use wands that require command words.

It is possible to know the functions of a wand without knowing any of its command words (if, for example, the wand has been analyzed with the identify spell but the character has no other information about it); in this case, the wand cannot be used. Conversely, it's possible to know a wand's command word(s) without knowing exactly what functions they invoke, or indeed anything about what the wand does (for example, if an unidentified wand is found with documentation that specifies its command words but provides no other details); in this case, the wand can indeed be activated "blindly" — a dangerous endeavor, to be sure!

Buying wands

Unless a wand is purchased directly from its crafter, wands found for sale on the open market are usually not fully charged. Such wands typically have anywhere from 25% to 75% of their maximum number of charges. The wand's purchase price should be reduced proportionally.

Behind the Scenes: A little more magic

The Worlds of Adventure campaign is centered on the acquisition of treasure. Of course, magic items are an important part of most D&D or Pathfinder campaigns; but in Worlds of Adventure, they're placed front and center. For this reason, magic items are not quite so standardized, not quite so regimented and formularized, not quite so mass-produced. Magic items in the Worlds of Adventure are a little bit more... magic.

Does this mean magic items are hard to find, not commonly available, more expensive, etc.? No! Worlds of Adventure is not a "low-magic" campaign. There's magical treasure everywhere; there are magic shops, bazaars full of magical gear, black markets, and private sellers to be found on almost any world; and the realms beyond the Prime are even more magic-rich. The player characters can expect to find many interesting and powerful magic items, over the course of their adventures.

What does it mean, then? Many things, but two stand out:

1. Identifying items is less trivial. Identification is not universally more difficult, exactly; but it's not boiled down to a detect magic spell and a Spellcraft check, either. The most important change is that (with the rare exception of items enchanted to whisper their command words into a wielder's mind), the characters won't necessarily know an item's command word, even after identifying its functions! (The identify spell only reveals the functions of an item, not how to use or activate them.) What's more, wands and staffs are command word items in the Worlds of Adventure campaign; so using a newly found wand or staff, or similar item, may require some investigation, some research, and perhaps the casting of divination spells (or paying someone else to cast them on your behalf).

2. Items are unique. In 3rd edition D&D and its derivatives, several kinds of items (wands, potions, scrolls, to a slightly lesser extent staffs) are standardized; they are merely containers of spells, and they produce the effects of those spells, in absolutely standard ways; and they can be created with any spell that fits the requirements; and they are priced standardly, and work standardly in every other way, each wand or scroll or potion like any other.

That is boring.

In the Worlds of Adventure campaign, every kind of potion, wand, or staff is a unique item. Each has its own, specific powers, which may indeed closely replicate some spells' effects, but may not. Each has its own recipe, its own means of creation, and its own specific other properties. There is no such thing as a generic "wand of a spell". Instead of a wand of fireball, there's a wand of fire, which can indeed create an effect almost identical to a fireball spell; but there is also the wand of striking, which works like no spell does or can.

One may protest that this gives spellcasters less freedom; if you can't just make a wand of an arbitrary spell, or a staff with arbitrary spells in it, that narrows your options and reduces your power. Yes, it does. That's ok; spellcasters are powerful and flexible enough as it is. On the flip side, non-spellcasters can much more easily use many formerly spellcaster-exclusive magic items, through new and modified skills (see the Arcane Script and Spellcraft skill descriptions); and indeed even spellcasters must make skill checks to use a scroll, wand, or staff of higher level than the caster. And characters of all classes have a world of more interesting possibilities waiting for them, with a wide range of unique, flavorful, and interesting magic items, which are not squeezed into the vise of "spell containers".

Removed items

The following magic items from the Core Rulebook are not available in the Worlds of Adventure campaign, and cannot be purchased or crafted (nor can any item with the same effect):

The following magic items from the Advanced Player's Guide are not available in the Worlds of Adventure campaign, and cannot be purchased or crafted:

Modified items

The following magic items from the Core Rulebook are modified from their listed descriptions (the items as listed are not available, nor is any item with the same effect). This list is not exhaustive; many other items are modified in various ways. The items listed below are merely those that are modified to be in accord with the campaign rules in the Worlds of Adventure campaign, or for balance reasons. Consult your DM if you are interested in any particular magic item.

The following magic items from the Advanced Player's Guide are modified from their listed descriptions (the items as listed are not available, nor is any item with the same effect):

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