View Full Version : Help requested in pricing a magical cannon. [3.5]

2009-06-08, 02:07 PM
I have a campaign set in a world that lacks access to gunpowder and the weapons associated with it, but as the plot begins to move out to sea, I'm finding that I want to come up with a certain 'something' to serve as a replacement for a powder-powered cannon. The default balliste and such are all well and good, but feel like they're lacking a certain 'oomph' that I'd like to have present.

DnD being the magic-strewn game it is, what better to help out than a magic-driven cannon? Along that line I have an idea planned out for general function, but I don't know what sort of pricetag to place upon it.

I got an initial jump-off point by looking at the guidelines set for magic item pricing in the DMG, which I always like to use as a starter. Deciding that my base idea works as a command-activated item, I looked at spell options and felt that Sonic Lance (I believe that's the proper name), a single-target 3rd level sonic spell I found in the Spell Compendium, would work well. So, I figured 3rd level spell, requires level 5 caster minimum, gives us a price of 27,000 GP. Since this item won't be taking up a body slot, obviously, that technically doubles the price to 54,000 GP.

Now, here's where I stop trusting myself to balance things properly: Mitigating Factors. The above pricing would be the technical result of a convenient, hand-held item that throws out the spell at will. However, my idea is for a large, bulky item, truely a cannon, that requires being properly mounted on a ship's weapon mount to really be any good, which I should think should help cut down the price somewhat to go along with the reduced usability - but how much?

I was also considering instigating a delay between shots, a charge-up time or something of the sort, which would prevent chain-firing each round - a pause of 2-3 rounds, perhaps. But again, I don't know how to expect this to affect the final cost.

Any thoughts and suggestions on what others feel would be a sensible, balanced price for the above idea would be very helpful and greatly appreciated!


2009-06-08, 02:37 PM
I'd build a magical item that can cast fireball a number of times per day without requiring spell trigger activation.
But as you can use wands of fireball even with just one level of wizard, you might maybe want to have special Cannon Masters, who have special training in firing these magical cannons. That should make them a lot cheaper.

2009-06-08, 03:05 PM
Is the party going to be buying one of these? If no, then don't worry about how much it costs; if the players try to buy one you can just make up a law that says these 'classified' weapons can only be sold to a select few people.

Otherwise I'd just make them really huge fricking wands. You don't need to know magic to use them but you need a special feat. Then it just costs as much as say a wand of fireball (18000 gold)