Item Creation Rules

Chuck’s email about Item Creation rules:

Okay, I’ve been chatting back and forth with some of the folks at Paizo, and some of the random hordes on the message boards. I think we’ve got it all figured it for magic item creation.

First of all there are a couple of different things that need to be defined:

CL of the item = The caster level of the item, used to determine item saving throws and item creation DCs.

CL required to craft = A requirement (that can be ignored) in order to create an item. Sometimes this is set based on a specific item (explicitly in the requirements section), sometimes this is set based on the spell used to create the item’s ability and sometimes this is set based on the type of item and its enhancement bonuses (e.g. with armor and weapons).

Other crafting requirements = A spell, alignment, etc listed in the requirements section of the item not related to the CL in any way.

DC to create = 5 + CL of the item (+5 for every unmet requirement)

There are different rules for different types of items (duh). For each type of item, you are required to have the appropriate feat, this is the only requirement that can’t be ignored by the item’s creator excepted as noted below.

Wondrous Items = Requirements based on the item alone. Sometimes this has a spell requirement, sometimes it does not. If this has a spell requirement it has an implicit CL required to craft which is (at least) the minimum CL required to cast said spell.

Armor / Weapons = Requirements based on either special ability or enhancement bonus, whichever has the higher CL to craft. For example the CL to craft a “normal” weapon is 3 * enhancement bonus. If the special ability (if any) on a weapon is higher than that, then the special ability’s CL to craft requirement is used.

Spell Trigger (Wands, Scrolls, etc): These items require the ability to cast the specific spell in the first place and this requirement cannot be ignored.


+1 Armor of Invulnerability: Implicit CL of the item 3 (3 * enhancement bonus), special ability CL of the item 7 (Stoneskin is a 4th level spell). The CL to craft is therefore 7 since the special ability is a higher CL (this happens to match the CL of the item, but this is not always true). The total requirements to make this item are: Craft Arms and Armor (feat), Stoneskin (or Wish or Miracle) and a CL of 7 by the creator.

If a 5th level character wanted to make the item, then the DC to create the item would be 5 + 7 (CL to craft) + 5 (for not having the spell) + 5 (for not being the appropriate caster level) = 22.

If a 7th level character (without Stoneskin) wanted to make the item, then the DC would be 17.

Similarly if we wanted the item to be +3, then the CL of the item would be 9.


+4 Headband of Vast Intelligence: Implicit CL of the item is 0* (Wondrous), the spell required to make the item is Fox’s Cunning (2nd level spell) so the CL to create is 3 and the CL of the item is also therefore 3 (at minimum, though you can, of course, make the CL higher).

If a 3rd level character wanted to make the item, then the minimum DC to create the item would be 5 (base) + 3 (CL) = 8. If that character didn’t have Fox’s Cunning, then the DC would be 5 (base) + 3 (CL of the item) + 5 (no spell) = 13 (no sweat). In general, in fact, the item, created by a 3rd level wizard with access to the spell would usually result in the CL of the item being 8 simply because that way, the DC would be 18 which happens to be exactly what taking a 10 on a Spellcraft check (with a 14 int) at that level, would give you. Note that even if the CL of the item goes up beyond the minimum requirement for the special ability, the CL to craft does not (e.g. creating a CL 8 item does not result in a crafter’s CL 8 requirement).


Clear Ioun Stone – There is no spell requirement to create this, simply the text “Creator must be 12th level.” For this therefore the CL of the item is 12, and the CL required to create is also 12.

The DC to create this item for, say, a 4th level character with Craft Wondrous Item is 5 + 12 (the CL of the item) + 5 (creator is not CL 12) = 22.


One last example: Bracers of Archery, Lesser. The un-ignoreable requirements to create this item are Craft Arms and Armor AND Craft Wondrous Item. In addition, there is a requirement that the creator must be proficient in the shortbow and longbow. The CL of the item is 4th level, there is no specific CL required to create the item.

If a 5th level character (let’s say a cleric) who had both feats wanted to create the item the DC would be 5 + 4 (CL of the item) + 5 (if not proficient) = 14.

The same item but Greater has exactly the same requirements except the CL of the item is 8. The DC would therefore be 5 + 8 + 5 (if not proficient).

Item Creation Rules

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