Tuesday, January 4, 2022

House Rules - Intelligent Item Creation

Creating Intelligent Magic Items (from the Book of Eldritch Might III)

Intelligent magic items are magic items of any kind (weapons, staves, rings, and so on) with their own sentience. These items think, feel, and possess all the traits you would expect to see in a person. Magic items can be imbued with life using the Life to the Inanimate feat. Note that this feat only allows a magic item to be infused with intelligence, a creator making a new magic item to be infused with intelligence would have to have the appropriate item creation feat to create the base item. An existing magic item can also be infused with intelligence.

Intelligent items differ from constructs. In fact, they are the opposite of constructs. Constructs are inanimate objects given locomotion but not intelligence. Intelligent items are inanimate objects given intelligence but not locomotion.

The intelligent items described here are more like non-player characters than simply as equipment. They have personalities, goals, objectives, wants, and fears. Friendly items will behave as would any other non-player character that accompanies the party - or, in the case of unfriendly items, will behave as any other foes.

An intelligent bow that is interested in furthering the cause of law might willingly loose arrows only upon chaotic opponents, although the archer might convince it to loose arrows upon neutral foes that threaten them. An ancient, intelligent ring with the ability to speak might have some interesting information to offer about the origins of a demonic dragon a group of heroes must face, but only after they complete a quest the ring gives them.

These magic items can grow with a character. A character can start at a relatively low level with an intelligent item and keep the item while advancing in level, valuing it as much at 16th level as they did at 6th. The item remains balanced because a character must continue to devote experience points to it.

Communication and Perception

PerceptionAdditional Creation Cost
Intuition100 shillings + 4 experience points
Hearing200 shillings + 8 experience points
Sight1,000 shillings + 40 experience points
Sight with darkvision2,000 shillings + 80 experience points
Blindsight5,000 shillings + 200 experience points
If an item is intelligent, it is first important to determine what it can perceive and understand. A typical inanimate object perceives and understand nothing. Intelligent items have one or more of the types of perception as listed on the table to the right:

None: The item cannot sense what is going on around it on its own, but if it can communicate, it can still take actions cased on others' descriptions of the events taking place.

Intuition: The item can perceive only very general sorts of input. It knows then someone picks it up or uses it, when it gets hurt, the temperature around it, whether or not it is moving, and so on.

Hearing: The item can hear like a human, with a Listen bonus equal to its Wisdom modifier, plus any skill ranks. Items with hearing become vulnerable to auditory effects like a harpy's song that normally only affect creatures.

Sight: The item can see like a human, with a Spot bonus equal to its Wisdom modifier, plus any skill ranks. Although it has no eyes, it must focus this sense in one direction or another, the same way a person "looks around". Items with sight become vulnerable to gaze attacks and other sight-based effects (such as color spray) that normally only affect creatures.

Blindsight: The item has a special sense of everything around it, up to 60 feet. While not as detail-oriented as actual sight, it does allow the item to sense invisible objects. The item has a Spot bonus equal to its Wisdom modifier plus any skill ranks.

CommunicationAdditional Creation Cost
Pulse25 shillings + 1 experience point
Empathy50 shillings + 4 experience points
Speech200 shillings + 16 experience points
Telepathy5,000 shillings + 200 experience points
Super-Telepathy10,000 shillings + 400 experience points
The object also has one of the types of communications listed to the right:

None: The item cannot communicate in any way and cannot understand communication from others, even if it can head and someone speaks to it.

Pulse: The item can vibrate a little, just enough so that anyone holding it or touching it can tell. It understands no type of communication, regardless of what kind of perception it has.

Empathy: The item only understands one-word sorts of ideas or emotions, and can convey the same. It does so only mentally to whoever is holding it.

Speech: The item can speak audibly. It automatically knows one language (chosen by its creator). It can learn more languages by spending skill points.

Telepathy: The item can mentally communicate with anyone touching it. No shared language is necessary.

Super-Telepathy: The item can mentally communicate with anyone within 25 feet. No shared language is necessary.

Item Ability Scores

AddAdditional Creation Cost
+150 shillings and 1 experience point
+2100 shillings and 4 experience points
+3200 shillings and 8 experience points
+4400 shillings and 16 experience points
+5800 shillings and 32 experience points
+61,600 shillings and 64 experience points
+73,200 shillings and 128 experience points
+86,400 shillings and 256 experience points
+912,800 shillings and 508 experience points
+1025,600 shillings and 1,016 experience point
Items have three ability scores: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. When an item is created, roll 2d6 for each of these ability scores. Further, the creator can add bonuses to the rolled scores at the rate shown on the table to the right:

The item's final ability scores cannot exceed the creator's.

Items that can animate themselves also have Strength and Dexterity scores. Determine and increase those scores in the same way as their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

Like characters, for every four levels and item gains, it can add +1 to one ability score.

Item Personalities

What does an item want out of "life"? What does it fear? Des it revere a celestial or infernal power? What is the item's alignment? These are questions to answer when the item is created. The creator has a great deal of influence over the item, but in the end , the item is free-willed. At the time of creation, the creator should make a caster level check, adding his Charisma modifier and consulting the following list:
  • 1 - 10: The DM determines all aspects of the item's personality.

  • 11 - 14: The item has the same alignment as the creator. The DM chooses all other aspects of the item's personality.

  • 15 - 19: The creator determines the item's alignment. The DM chooses all other aspects of its personality.

  • 20 - 29: The creator dictates the item's alignment and general "purpose" (what it looks upon as its goal).

  • 30 or higher: The creator dictates the alignment, goals, and personality of the item.
When the DM is creating aspects of the item's personality, she can do so randomly or as she sees fit. She can base the item on the creator if she wishes. For example, if the creator were a wizard, the item might love wizards. or it might hate them.

Item Levels

Like creatures, intelligent items have levels and can gain more. Unlike creatures, they do not gain levels based on experience or overcoming challenges. Instead, a living creature must infuse personal energy in the form of experience points into the item. The number of experience points required for an item to gain a level is equal to one-quarter the number of experience points needed for a character to gain a level. Anyone touching an intelligent item can infuse it with power, although a character cannot infuse an item that is higher level than he or she is; so a 6th-level fighter cannot infuse an 8th-level item. Also, a character cannot infuse an intelligent item with so many experience points that the character would lose a level.

Unlike a character, an item does not have to start at 1st level. The creator can infuse sufficient experience points into an item upon creation to raise its level immediately.

When leveling, Intelligent items are treated just like non-player characters. Choices made during level advancement are subject to the DM's discretion.

Hit Points

An item gains an additional hit point each level.

Item Attacks

Items able to animate or activate themselves have a base attack bonus. To this bonus they add a Strength or Dexterity modifier (depending on whether they make melee or ranged attacks), their own enhancement bonus (if any), and so on.

Saving Throws

All saving throws made by an intelligent item use the base saving throw bonus presented on the table below. To this bonus, they add the appropriate ability score modifier (if any), their own enhancement bonus (if any), and so on. For an item's every 10 points of hardness (depending on its material), it adds +1 to Fortitude saving throws. Like constructs, items only make Fortitude saving throws against an effect that also affects objects, such as disintegrate. Items in the possession of a character with better saving throw bonuses than their use the possessor's saving throw bonus instead.

Spell-Like Abilities

Items gains new spell-like abilities as they gain levels, much in the same way that a spellcasting character gains new spells. Each new spell-like abilities they gain (according to the table below) can be used once per day. The item chooses abilities from among the spells on any spell list. It may select an ability more than once, for multiple uses each day; a spell chosen three times can be used as a spell-like ability three times per day. Items receive bonus spell-like abilities based on their Wisdom scores, even if the spells in question are arcane spells.

The saving throw Difficult Class for an item's spell-like ability is based upon the item's Charisma modifier: DC = 10 + the level of the spell the ability comes from + the item's Charisma modifier.

Since they are spell-like abilities, they require no verbal, somatic, or material components. Spells with an experience point cost of up to 1,000 shillings can be used as abilities only once per week as oppose to once per day. Spells with an experience point cost of more than 1,000 experience points can be used as abilities only once per month.

Personal spells can be used as spell-like abilities on the item or on the item's user. All other spells are handled as described regarding targets, range, and so on.

Items cannot activate a spell-like ability or animate themselves the same round as they are used by a character. Thus, a character cannot use a magical sword as a weapon the same round as the sword uses a spell-like ability or animates to make an attack.

Item Traits

Intelligent items are immune to poison, disease, and similar effects. They are not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage. Items cannot heal damage. items can be repaired.

Items always fail Constitution checks. they can make concentration checks - items base Concentration on Charisma rather than Constitution. Nothing that requires a physiology or understandable anatomy works on items. They are immune to effects that require a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, such as disintegrate). In such cases, items apply their Charisma modifier to their Fortitude saving throw, as well as +1 for every 10 points of hardness.

An item with no Dexterity score cannot move. Items normally act on their wielder's initiative score, but take their own actions if they have actions they can take. If an unattended item can act (such as by casting spells), it applies its Intelligence modifier to initiative checks instead of a Dexterity modifier. The item fails all Reflex saves and Dexterity checks.

Items have distinct personalities and can be influenced by Diplomacy, Bluff, and even Intimidate checks. Items treated well often respond well. Items treated poorly, either physically or psychologically - and often, only the item can judge whether it is well cared for - react poorly to their users and others.

An item with no Dexterity score takes only partial actions. items with a Dexterity score can take actions normally. Items cannot be affected by haste or slow.

Item Skills

Intelligent items can have ranks in any skill with Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as a key ability. Items can also take Concentration, using Charisma as the key ability rather than Constitution. Still, some skills, like Craft: Alchemy or Disable Device, require a mobility that the item does not have. All the item can do in such a case is aid another who can actually carry out the task. The DM can use common sense to determine which skills require abilities the item does not possess.

Items that can become animate can have Strength- and Dexterity-based skills at the DM's discretion.

Items have skill points equal to (2 + Intelligence bonus) x4 at 1st level, and skill points equal to 2 + Intelligence bonus for each additional level.

Item Feats

Items gain feats as creatures do. Rather than gaining a new feat at every three levels, they follow the progression shown on the "Intelligent Items" table. Items get a feat at 1st level, and 2nd level, and ten one for every other level thereafter. The feats listed on the table below are all the feats that an item gets.

Items can have the following feats from the Player's Handbook: Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Augmentation, and Skill Focus. Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes all apply to saves made by the item or on the item's behalf by its possessor. They can also choose feats from the Item Feats list.

Item Healing, Maladies, and Death

Items do not heal hit points as living creatures do. A mending spell often repairs damage an item suffers (usually 1d8 hit points worth) and make whole restores all lost hit points. An item restores mental ability score damage through rest like a creature, or through spells like lesser restoration. Item physical ability score damage must be repaired through spells like restoration.

As with creatures, items can gain disease-like afflictions. Called maladies, they are sometimes brought upon by magic (such as via the spell bestow malady) and sometimes by other conditions, such as stress, neglect, or anything else the DM deems appropriate. A few maladies are presented below, as a sample:
  • Devil's Mind: The item begins acting erratically. It loses 1d3 points of Intelligence or Wisdom each day (50 percent chance of either on a given day). if the item can speak, its speech becomes slurred or jittery and quick. It appears obvious that something is wrong. Normally, an item may make a DC 18 Will save each day to resist the effects. Three successful saving throws in a row usually shakes off the malady altogether.

  • Dire Corrosion: The item suffers 1 point of damage per day and loses 1 point of hardness each week. When hardness reaches 0, the item loses 5 hit points per day. Once out of hit points, the item crumbles to dust. It appears obvious that the item is decaying at a rate far faster than usual. Normally, an item may make a DC 16 Will saving throw each day to resist the effects. Two successful saving throws in a row usually shakes off the malady altogether.

  • Object Paralysis: This malady only affects animate items or those that can float. They lose the ability to move entirely. Normally, and item may make a DC 15 Will save each day to resist the effects. Three successful saving throws in a row usually shakes off the malady altogether.
Intelligent items can be destroyed, just like regular items In such a case, the item "dies". They cannot be raised or resurrected, although a wish or miracle can restore them.

Intelligent Magic Item Market Price

To determine the market price of intelligent items, use the following formula: Base price + 1,000 + (level2 x 1,000) shillings.

The base price refers to the initial creation cost spent on ability scores, communication modes, and perception. Intelligent magic weapons, armor, and shields must have at least a +1 enhancement bonus, so you must also figure in that cost.

Of course, someone with the proper feats can add abilities to an existing intelligent magic item.

The experience point cost for creating an intelligent magic item is 100 experience points plus any experience points involved in granting its ability scores, communication modes, and perception, and any devoted to raising its level.

Intelligent Items
- Once per Day Spell-Like Abilities -
LevelBase Attack BonusBase SavesSpecial0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th

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