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    Default Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Wizard's Chess Set
    This beautifully inlaid chess set is enchanted. All of the pieces are enchanted so that when a certain command word is stated they will enforce tournament rules of chess and stick to the board for ease of transporting games. When a second command word is spoken, they will revert to normal. When the third command word is spoken, any number of the chess pieces may be animated and pieces so animated will grow in size to become fearsome combatants for up to ten minutes.

    {table=head]Piece type|Size|Charge cost|Special

    Pawn|Small|1|-

    Knight|Medium|3|+30 to Jump checks, Death From Above

    Bishop|Medium|3|attack has 60 foot range

    Rook|Medium|5|double normal hit points, +10 to Bull Rush checks

    Queen|Large|9|120 foot movement speed, double normal damage

    King|Large|1|Achilles' Heel[/table]

    Death From Above (Ex)
    When a creature with this ability makes a Jump check to land in another creature's square, they may then make a full attack with +5 to all attacks.

    Achilles' Heel (Su)
    If the king is killed, the entire chess set instantly becomes worthless and non-magical.

    All animated chess pieces appear next to the summoner or next to another such piece summoned in the same round. The king must always be animated while any other piece is animated. If a piece is killed, it must be replaced at a cost of 1000 gp times the charge cost of animating it; if it is wounded, then it will repair itself in one day of non-use. A standard chess set will have 40 charges per week. The chess set itself (before any enchantments) is worth 500 gp.

    Moderate Transmutation; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item, animate object; Price 50,000 gp
    Last edited by Fortuna; 2009-12-04 at 04:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Giving out stats for the chess pieces just might help.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    He stated that they were Animated objects. The sizes are listed in his post.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Does the knight have legs for the purpose of the animated object movement bonus, or are they all physically literal chess pieces when animated?

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    They are all literal chess pieces. If you think it would be a good idea, I could list their exact stats in the post.
    Last edited by Fortuna; 2009-12-04 at 02:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    When I first saw this I thought "an entire chess set of figurines of wondrous power, now that rocks".
    I think having a number of charges per day or even better per week would be preferable to a set number of charges.
    Maybe 40 charges per week (which would allow you to animate one whole side per week), and maybe a boost to the other piece's abilities if the King is animated. Something like, +1 to attack rolls or maybe one marshal aura that affects all other pieces chosen when he is animated. Something that makes it worthwhile to use him. Because as is, he's nothing but a liability to animate, unless that was the intention?
    On another note, remember that modern chess pieces are typically very simplified, but older chess sets (and high end modern ones) are often quiet elaborate.
    Also, how long do they stay animated.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    All that is edited in. The king is meant to be something of a double-edged sword (he is cheap and large), just like in actual chess. He does need to appear in order to summon anything, so you can't just never summon him.
    Last edited by Fortuna; 2009-12-05 at 01:00 AM.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Wouldn't it be awesome to see a big knight come crashing down on your head?
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    No. It would be awesome to see a ig knight come crashing down on someone else's head.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Heh. Indeed. I still think I'd be in awe if that was about to happen though.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Possibly. Is this item overpowered at all? I would dearly love to use it for a character of mine at some point, but I want to know if it is obscenely underpriced first.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    50,000 gp for limited summons of some creatures that don't have a cr over 5 and cost MORE money to replace? Completely overpowered.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    I can but hope that I am bad at detecting web sarcasm.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

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    Default Tactical notes, cost analysis, and suggestions for changes.

    I was answering your cost question I started thinking about some of the abilities...
    Is it RANGE or REACH that the bishop has 60' of? It makes a difference because of strength versus Dex to hit. Also, it seems odd to give them this, but not the queen. I might actually change this to a drawback "May only move in straight lines, and double speed"(to simulate their inability to change colors). I would also change the Knights ability to a +30 racial bonus to tumble checks (so they can move through opponents) especially since pounce doesn't do them any good, they just have +5 to hit for most practical purposes. The reason knights in chess can do that is NOT IMHO that medieval warhorses would leap over enemies with any frequency, it is that they tended to win games of "chicken" against most individual foot-soldiers. If you really want to keep the "jumping" feel then give them a fly speed equal to their base speed, with Clumsy or Poor maneuverability to represent that knights can't attack squares nearest to them and not all of the ones at the range they CAN attack.



    As for your main question:

    Well, how did you calculate the cost? That might be useful to know in helping you fine-tune things.

    In any case here is my best stab at it... not sure if encounter CRs are the best way to go, but it seems likely.

    The item most like this would PROBABLY be the Tan bag of Tricks. (Rather than one of the other bags). The other major options are the figurines of Wonderous Power.
    So, let us look at "Going nova" with each (although after looking at the Tan Bag more closely you CAN'T actually go nova, but I am already half-way through this so I will continue and just list that as a drawback)...
    On average with the Tan Bag, that gets you:
    3 Brown bears at CR 4 each
    3 Lions at CR 3 each
    2 Heavy Warhorses at CR 2 each
    1 Tiger at CR 4
    1 Rhinoceros at CR 4

    2 CR 2s is a CR 4 equivalent
    3 CR 3s is a CR 5 equivalent

    6 CR 4s would be a CR 9
    A CR 5 is 1/2 of a CR 7
    a CR 9 and a CR 7 would be CR 10 so a CR 9 and a CR 7 would be ABOUT a CR 9.5

    So I think it comes to a EL 9.5 encounter.




    Making the simplifying assumption that the special abilities you can get with Animate Objects use on the right objects, are, on average, as good as the ones you can get from this one, then with this thing you get(if you animate one side... and I don't know if you should be ALLOWED to animate more of any one type than there are on one side of the board... 2 queens and a king would be really nasty):
    8 pawns at CR 1 each
    2 each of knights, bishop, and castles at CR 2 each
    1 each of a King and a Queen at CR 3 each.

    8 CR 1s is equivalent to a CR 6 or 7, but pawns will rarely be maxed unless necessary, so we will call it a CR 7 equivalent.
    6 CR 2s is equivalent to a CR is also a 6 or 7, and it makes the math easier to go with a CR 6, and besides which that may be the right move anyway. and then tack on a extra 0.5 at the end.
    2 CR 3s is equivalent to a CR 5

    A CR 5 and a CR 7 would be equivalent to a CR 8.
    A CR 6 and an CR 8 would be EL 9.
    Bump it up a bit to account for rounding and we get approximately EL 9.5.

    So, surprisingly enough, we get that they are the same power levels before you take into account disadvantages.


    So now that that has been shown to probably cancel out (at least approximately, and people can discuss my assumptions as they like to alter the final price accordingly), we can compare them directly.

    Tan Bag of Tricks
    Misc. Drawbacks:
    1.) Would take 10 rounds to go nova, even if you could
    2.) Random element (usually works against the PCs since they only have to get unlucky once).
    3.) 20 foot static range is both better and worse.
    Cost: 6,300gp


    Wizard's Chess Set
    Advantages:
    1.) It can enforce tournament rules on play and the pieces stick to the board. This seems trivial at first cost wise, but is actually somewhat useful for getting it past weapons searches, since if someone casts Detect Magic on it, then this not only explains the basic fact that it is magic, but also the school (since Transmutation is a reasonable school for making the pieces stick to the board)... the only thing it doesn't explain is why it is Moderate instead of Faint, and if the inspectors are in a hurry, they might not check that far, and, if not, that is why the party rogue has ranks in Bluff...
    2.) Achilles Heel is a major drawback. Especially if someone drops an AoE on you if the King can't be ordered to run (which by the RAW for Animate Objects you can't) or you just get caught by surprise. Here is where comparing the Figurines to it could help some.
    3.) Mix and match to pick idea set of tools for the job. Even if you just summon a pawn and a king and have the king flee when enemies appear, while taking full defense (can you do that? I don't think by RAW you can, but it seems a reasonable benefit) then you can use this 20 times per week when you just need to call in a disposable flanker or trap springer.
    4.) Range is both better and worse. Technically I think you can place them around corners from you... Using all 8 pawns to get 2 rooks and the queen in melee range (with the queen flanking with one of the rooks of a major target 40 feet away is nice when it comes up. Not as cheap of a flanker for YOU in most cases though, but there is also the fact that you can instantly surround someone with the following formation(or something very similar to it), then swap places with the pawn next turn to full-attack them(err... except by RAW you can't order the pawn to move aside):
    If you feel like conserving charges, you can eliminate some or all of the pawns, perhaps bringing the queen adjacent, or, the king to the position the PC is shown in.
    Alternate formations in the spoiler below:
    Against a 10 ft space opponent try something like this:
    Spoiler
    Show


    To do this at great range use the following formation or a variant of it :
    Spoiler
    Show


    Or, if you have 30' base move and want to be able to charge next turn, then you can use this or a variant and order the King and pawns to attack targets that will get them out of your way (setting them all on a party member with Improved Uncanny Dodge and an AC of at least 25 (21 if they don't mind the King getting in a hit or two) is actually a valid option) use the following:

    With the piece's hardness, most CR 9 creatures are going to have a hard time escaping from that in a hurry. Power Attack, Cleave, Tumble, Whirlwind Attack (and martial maneuvers that emulate it), Dimension Door (and Shadow Hand maneuvers plus Leaping Flame) all seriously reduce the effectiveness of it, while flight and breath-weapons (since by RAW they don't have the resistances to energy that objects do) may reduce the effectiveness some.


    (Sidenote: Forum trick I just discovered: To make place fillers in the first line of a table without a header really invisible use "Wheat" instead of "White" for the text color.)




    So, all told I am going to say that the more flexible nature of the board compared to the bag, the ability to nova, and the ability to instantly surround an enemy up to 65' away (along a straight diagonal) and factoring in the Achilles Heel, makes this worth about twice as much. Adding a relatively modest 500 gp for the ability to play chess, and you get my final price estimate of 17,100 gp.
    The two biggest unknowns I see as confounding this the most are what rules for controlling the pieces you intended, and what the hardness of the animated pieces is. I recommend they be stone, for a hardness of 8, since not many chess sets are made of metal and wood seems a little cheap for something like this.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2010-06-03 at 08:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    EDIT: Created a thread for Xiangqi and (perhaps eventually) other versions of chess HERE.

    And just for grins here is a variant version that incorporates the changes and clarifications I recommended (NOT using the standard rules for controlling Animated Objects), plus a few things I thought up on the fly.

    Wizard's Chess Set, Master's
    This beautifully inlaid chess set is enchanted. The pieces are made of Adamintine with silver accents and lead cores. All of the pieces are enchanted so that when a certain command word is stated they will enforce tournament rules of chess and stick to the board for ease of transporting games. When a second command word is spoken, they will revert to normal. When the third command word is spoken, any number of the chess pieces (up to the numbers and types of one color in a standard chess set) may be animated (as per the spell Animate Objects) and pieces so animated will grow in size to become fearsome combatants for up to ten minutes. The user may command them to attack specific targets, attack once then fall back to create a spot for you then press the attack, take full defense, move away from enemies while taking full defense, follow her, or perform any other movement or combat action. Orders to any number of pieces may be changed with a move action via verbal commands. Their attacks count as magic weapons and as both Alchemical Silver and Adamintine for the purposes of penetrating damage reduction, and they have a hardness of 20. (As per RAW they do not gain any additional hitpoints for their composition.)

    {table=head]Piece type|Size|Charge cost|Speed|Special

    Pawn|Medium|1|15 feet| En Passant

    Knight|Large|3|Fly 30(Clumsy)|No land speed. May use the Tumble skill with a +30 total modifier.

    Bishop|Large|3|120 feet|Limited Movement

    Rook|Large|5|60 feet|104 hit-points, +10 to Bull Rush checks

    Queen|Huge|9|120 feet|Slam deals 4d6+14 damage

    King|Huge|1|15 feet|Achilles' Heel[/table]

    En Passant (Ex)
    May make 3 attacks of opportunity per turn, as per a character with a dexterity of 16 and the Combat Reflexes Feat.

    Limited Movement (Ex)
    A bishop may only move in a single straight-line direction each turn. This means it may not jump, and must end its movement immediately if it falls 5 feet or more. It may move over rough terrain normally as long as these restrictions are observed.

    Achilles' Heel (Su)
    If the king is killed, the pieces revert to their original states and the entire chess set instantly becomes worthless and non-magical.

    All animated chess pieces appear next to the summoner or next to another such piece summoned in the same round. The king must always be animated while any other piece is animated. If a piece is killed, it must be replaced at a cost of 2000 gp times the charge cost of animating it; if it is wounded, then it will repair itself in one day of non-use. A standard chess set will have 40 charges per week. The chess set itself (before any enchantments) is worth 750 gp.

    Moderate Transmutation; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item, animate object; Price 40,000 gp


    And just to take it ANOTHER step further...
    Wizard's Chess Set, Grandmaster's
    As per Wizard's Chess Set, Greater, except as follows.
    Their attacks also count as Epic Weapons and up to two alignments that the creator had at the time of creation for the purposes of penetrating damage reduction.

    {table=head]Piece type|Size|Charge cost|Speed|Special

    Pawn|Large|1|20 feet| En Passant, Promotion

    Knight|Huge|3|Fly 40(Clumsy)|No land speed. May use the Tumble skill with a +30 total modifier.

    Bishop|Huge|3|180 feet|Limited Movement

    Rook|Huge|5|90 feet|168 hit-points, +10 to Bull Rush checks, Castling

    Queen|Gargantuan|9|180 feet|Slam deals 4d8+20 damage

    King|Gargantuan|1|20 feet|Achilles' Heel, Castling[/table]

    En Passant (Ex)
    May make 3 attacks of opportunity per turn, as per a character with a dexterity of 16 and the Combat Reflexes Feat.

    Promotion (Ex)
    If a pawn deals the death blow to a non-helpless opponent of at least CR 10, then as an immediate action on the part of the pawn that provokes attacks of opportunity (which gain +5 to hit), the pawn may be instantly transformed into any other type of chess piece the activator desires (this requires no action by the activator). The pawns damage taken remains the same, but since its new maximum hitpoints will be higher, its current hitpoints will increase as a result of this. The new piece returns to being a non-animated pawn at the end of combat.

    Limited Movement (Ex)
    A bishop may only move in a single straight-line direction each turn. This means it may not jump, and must end its movement immediately if it falls 5 feet or more. It may move over rough terrain normally as long as these restrictions are observed.

    Achilles' Heel (Su)
    If the king is killed, the pieces revert to their original states and the entire chess set instantly becomes worthless and non-magical.

    Castling (Su)
    As long as all of the following conditions are met an Animated Castle and an animated King may exchange places:
    • neither of them have moved from the squares they occupied at the start of a given combat or attacked (except for AoOs) since combat began
    • they are within 60 feet of eachother
    • None of the intervening squares contain enemies or are threatened by enemies

    This is a [Teleportation] effect and requires a full round action from both of them as well as a clear line of effect. The squares the King contains afterwards must contain all the squares that the Rook occupied before, and the rook must be entirely contained afterward in the squares the king occupied before. As part of giving the set initial or new orders, simple conditions (such as the King being in the threatened area of an enemy while the rook in question is not, or the King having taken damage the previous turn) may be set for them to activate this.



    All animated chess pieces appear next to the summoner or next to another such piece summoned in the same round. The king must always be animated while any other piece is animated. If a piece is killed, it must be replaced at a cost of 4000 gp times the charge cost of animating it; if it is wounded, then it will repair itself in one day of non-use. A standard chess set will have 40 charges per week. The chess set itself (before any enchantments) is worth 1,000 gp.

    Moderate Transmutation; CL 21th; Craft Epic Wondrous Item, animate object; Price 100,000 gp


    Partial edit log:
    -Dropped CR minimum for Promotion to 10, since that means it will actually happen occasionally.
    -Changed names to "Master's" and "Grandmaster's" as per Random_Person's suggestion.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2010-11-03 at 12:55 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Eeep! A Gargantuan King and Queen? I'm SCARED now.

    Those look neat, I like them.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Do you agree with my logic on the price?

    Would saying that at least part of each piece must be within 20' of the activator be good, or do you LIKE the fact that you can surround people at long range with it?

    Any thoughts on the new special abilities I came up with? (Especially Promotion and Castling)

    Also: I goofed... it appears that CR 10 Large creatures might not have that tough a time with penetrating Hardness 8.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    If you will look at my sig, you will see that I am probably the wrong person to ask about price. I do like the surrounding at long range, since it likely takes up the majority of the charges for the week to do so. The special abilities look awesome, but I would put a range limit on Castling (say 60 feet? Not likely to come up, but I can just about see making a pawn chain speicfically to put a rook way back so that your enemies will attack the king and then you can castle). You might also want to consider saying that it can't be done if either the king or the rook has taken damage. In fact, you could consider saying that the intervening squares are not allowed to be threatened by an enemy, and that the king must also not be threatened by an enemy. Promotion looks fine.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

    I'm always extremely careful to hedge myself against absolute statements.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Just for grins, here is a long range total surround of a 15 foot space creature with the original set.
    Note that this may put the king within the Reach of the target.


    Here is the simplest sort of surround with the Greater Master's version, with the King held as far back as possible, instead of extending the range by 3 squares.



    And here is "MAXIMUM FIREPOWER!" done with the Greater Master's version:


    EDIT: I will change it so none of the intervening squares can be threatened by an enemy or contain an enemy, I guess the range limit is good too... I also need to specify the criteria for changing places since the they are different sizes. I don't think that taking damage should be is a sufficient criterion to stop it.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2010-03-05 at 11:36 AM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Fair enough. I suppose that check (the closest equivalent) is not enough so nor should taking damage be.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    must have, must craft magic item... congratulations for the brilliance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Now you have me picturing someone using a Pretentious Fantasy Sword of Destiny for mundane tasks.

    "It is called Chirodin, Blade of Eternity! It was forged in the heart of the sun by the god Dathir, using the moon as a hammer and the corpse of Turtaris, Mother of All Dragons, as an anvil. No physical barrier can divert its blow, for it always goes exactly where its wielder wills it. So, as you can imagine, it cuts simply amazing flank steaks!"

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Thank you.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

    I'm always extremely careful to hedge myself against absolute statements.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    You going to use the original, or my modified version(not the higher level versions, just with the modifications I suggested)?
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Changed Achilles Heel to "If the king is killed, the pieces revert to their original states and the entire chess set instantly becomes worthless and non-magical." so that one doesn't end up with a huge amount of adamintine (more than the sets are worth in fact) if the king dies.

    Also added companion thread HERE.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-12-05 at 08:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Wow. I never imagined that anything that I thought of would produce anything like this. I have but one word for this phenomenon.


    AWESOME!

    EDIT: A random thought occurs. Perhaps you could name the greater and epic versions Master's and Grandmaster's?
    Last edited by Fortuna; 2009-12-05 at 09:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Thanks for this idea which I will use eventually. Two remarks:

    • You cannot take total defense while fleeing. The former is a standard action while the latter is a full-round action (run or withdraw).
    • I think the price of 17,000 is okay, it shouldn't be less though. It's more powerful than the tan bag of tricks and arguably more powerful than the figurines of wondrous power (which have a longer duration).

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Fleeing can be as little as a move action, and that is reasonable if you aren't starting in the Reach of any opponent, and there is a less-than-full-round version of total defense (I am pretty sure... I think they list it separately, which is a bit confusing).


    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    EDIT: A random thought occurs. Perhaps you could name the greater and epic versions Master's and Grandmaster's?
    That could be thematic....
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-12-06 at 09:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    To calculate the cost, I'd treat it like a summon monster item. Compare the animated object CR to that of other summoned monsters to get the appropriate spell level. Cost of a summon 1/day is spell level x caster level (usually the minimum) x 360 gp. Convert that to charges to estimate the cost per charge, then multiply that by how many charges you give. Maybe bump up the price a hair to account for the versatility of charges you can spend on anything.

    On the basis of that spell and simplicity just make a piece respawn a day later if killed. Charges per day might be simpler too, though I kinda like charges per week for a summoning item if you can balance the cost.
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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Okay, if that's what you meant. (Yes, total defense is a standard action.) But you shouldn't call it fleeing then, that's deceiving.

    You could just say "as a move action via verbal commands you can issue simple commands to perform combat actions to any number of pieces which will follow them to the best of their abilities." Or something. Which is what I would expect animated objects to do anyway.

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    Default Re: Wizard Chess [3.5 Wondrous Item, PEACH]

    Eric Grau: I am pretty sure he was using the Bags of Tricks as his starting point, with a little of the Figurines of Wondrous Power mixed in. That seems a reasonable enough way to do it. Your way would probably also work of course, but I think I find his more flavorful somehow. The problem with using Summon Monster as the basis is that the 10 minute duration is hard to value really, unless you just say "at caster level 11, it will last a whole combat, so anything after that doesn't matter"... but many times in a dungeon, hitting two or three combats in 10 minutes is easy, especially if you are trying to run through. Presuming the Bags to be balanced (which could be wrong for all I know), then they have already taken this question into account complete with play-testing.

    Don Esteban: My catch all phrase for anything I had forgotten was "or perform any other movement or combat action.", but since the word "fleeing" appears to be confusing I will change it to "move away from".

    EDIT: Also tweaked it so the tactic of having the pawn fall back to make an opening for you actually works...
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-12-06 at 11:53 AM.
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