Customized Magic Items (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Customized Magic Items
A long time ago, approximately 6 months, I was DMing a game that had a wizard PC who had taken all of the item creation feats, and he asked me if it was possible to create items not listed in the DMG. I showed him supplement books with magic items in them while I thought about it, and after doing so, I decided that yes, yes it was. However to do this I needed a system that both made sense to the DM and players, and was also balanced. What was settled upon between my group and I was this simple set of rules:
1. Justify the desired effect of the magic item to the DM. 2. The DM determines what level of magical effect it is, unless it is specifically a spell effect(such as Lightning Bolt, or Fireball) 3. The player sets the caster level they would like the effect to have, if applicable. If not applicable, uses player level instead. 4. If not explicitly an effect of an existing magic item or similar, player justifies how the effect could feasibly achieved using the spells that they know.(someone with Necromancy as a banned school can't create a cloak of Veil of Undeath) 5. DM determines price, typically by cross-referencing with an item of similar spell level and caster level, and the type of item(such as Staff, Wand, Magic Weapon) 6. If the item has charges, they must expend spells per day to fill those charges as part of the item creation process each day they work on the item. 7. Player follows craft and item creation rules as normal after this.
Some examples of things my players have crafted with this include: Cloak of Flies(cost 16,000 gp): A cloak that lets the wearer cast Blur as a supernatural ability once per day(the Blur spell instead manifests as a swarm of flies) Shieldrobe(cost 6,000gp): This robe could be transformed into an ordinary tower shield for up to 3 minutes a day, otherwise behaved as a normal gray cloak or robe. I enjoy this magic item rule and use it in my games, as the things my players come up with to use and customize their characters is both interesting, and splits the work of creating custom items between myself and the player who wants one. It has also led to some amusing moments such as the PCs canonically waiting weeks in game for the party wizard to finish crafting what amounted to a cosmetic item for the party fighter in terms of actual usefulness. I now require all magic items be made using these rules, the ones in the DMG and other books must be found or bought, and my players(at least, the group I created it for) love it.