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    gr8artist's Avatar

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    Default Price adjustment for cursed items?

    So the question is simple. I understand the formula for determining a magic item's cost, but some of them get really expensive. In an effort to cheapen them, I would like some idea about the price reduction caused by curses.
    I realize that there's a lot of different curses. The easiest way would be to figure out a reversed effect and cheapen the item by some percentage of that benefit (say, 50%).

    Example: Cloak of resistance +3 that gives a -2 penalty to Con.
    Item benefit cost: +9000 (resistance bonus squared x 1000)
    Cost of +2 Con item: 4000 (enhancement bonus squared x 1000)
    Cost reduction for -2 Con (50% of +2 Con benefit): -2000
    Result price: 7000 gp

    I would not let players purposefully craft cursed items (unless they had an excellent reason). But I would like to know how to determine the value of cursed beneficial items that I consider giving my players.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Also, is it possible to un-curse magical items to make them usable again? If a hypothetical wizard attempts to create a bag of holding, but accidentally makes a bag of devouring instead, can that mistake be corrected later on?
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    A problem with adding specific curses to negate price of an item is that it is easy to abuse.

    example.

    Big Tough Barbarian: Give him a rockin' Str, Con, or whatever item. Slap on a -30 to..... knowledge (Religion), or Forgery.

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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8artist View Post
    Also, is it possible to un-curse magical items to make them usable again? If a hypothetical wizard attempts to create a bag of holding, but accidentally makes a bag of devouring instead, can that mistake be corrected later on?
    Bag of Devouring is a bad example there, since it's actually a creature that lives outside our dimension and reaches in with mouths that are disguised as bags. Probably no cure for that. But for other cursed items, it might be possible.

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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    But my illiterate Barbarian is forging documents al the time! </sarcasm>
    Yeah, the price reductions for making it yourself and class, race, and alignment restrictions are already enough to make things super cheap.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    I think there may have been some vague suggestions about this in the cursed item section of the DMG's preface, but I don't think there are any hard-and-fast rules on the matter.

    Given that they're cursed items though, their value can fluctuate wildly, based on whether the purchaser or seller knows about the curse, and whether they consider the curse a detriment or merely a quirk.

    I really don't think a formula is a good idea. You should probably just eyeball it based on something like what you've suggested.

    As for their crafting I see two options:

    A) you cannot deliberately create a cursed item. All crafted items come with a d% roll that generates a random curse on a roll of 100.

    B) The deliberate crafting of any cursed item requires an expenditure equal to the cost of adding a continually active bestow curse on the item; that's a flat 7500gp and 600xp, minimum; that doesn't apply to the item's market price, but still counts against its creation time.

    I'd suggest going with option A or combining the two.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-20 at 12:15 AM.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    As for their crafting I see two options:

    A) you cannot deliberately create a cursed item. All crafted items come with a d% roll that generates a random curse on a roll of 100.

    B) The deliberate crafting of any cursed item requires an expenditure equal to the cost of adding a continually active bestow curse on the item; that's a flat 7500gp and 600xp, minimum; that doesn't apply to the item's market price, but still counts against its creation time.

    I'd suggest going with option A or combining the two.
    I agree with these as possibilities. But for my world, it hasn't exactly come up. I've toyed with several ideas, even one so "meta" as "The PCs can't make cursed magic items. Period." Is it Metagame-y? Yes. But it keeps the balance.

    I might go with A or B, or some variation thereof, if a player chooses to want to create magic items.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    To clarify: I'm the DM, and my players have gotten pretty far behind the WBL for their current level. I want to give them interesting gear, but not more of the standard +X to Y stuff that they try and buy every time they're in town. I want to give them great stuff that they hate to use.
    Wands with a chance to backfire, belts of +4/-2, etc.
    But if I do, I have a hard time calculating their WBL, since I don't know how much these "semi-cursed" items are actually worth.
    Yeah, I can eyeball it, but I'm new to D&D/PF and I want to stick to the rules as best I can so I can create challenging encounters.

    If I overestimate the value of the cursed items, I overestimate their wealth, and they are under-funded for later encounters.
    If I underestimate the value of the cursed items, they become equally over-funded in later encounters and become lazy.

    I was just wondering if anyone else had tried similar concepts or had any good reference points, stuff from DM manuals, etc.
    Thanks everyone.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Relax. If you later decide that you overestimated the items' value, give more treasure in the subsequent encounters, If you underestimated it give less. Not every single encounter needs to be perfectly balanced, just on average it probably should even out to more or less WBL.
    The core books even have that implemented. Some monsters own two or three time the standard treasure, some don't own anything. Heck, even core items are not properly priced all the time.

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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8artist View Post
    To clarify: I'm the DM, and my players have gotten pretty far behind the WBL for their current level. I want to give them interesting gear, but not more of the standard +X to Y stuff that they try and buy every time they're in town. I want to give them great stuff that they hate to use.
    Wands with a chance to backfire, belts of +4/-2, etc.
    But if I do, I have a hard time calculating their WBL, since I don't know how much these "semi-cursed" items are actually worth.
    Yeah, I can eyeball it, but I'm new to D&D/PF and I want to stick to the rules as best I can so I can create challenging encounters.

    If I overestimate the value of the cursed items, I overestimate their wealth, and they are under-funded for later encounters.
    If I underestimate the value of the cursed items, they become equally over-funded in later encounters and become lazy.

    I was just wondering if anyone else had tried similar concepts or had any good reference points, stuff from DM manuals, etc.
    Thanks everyone.
    I see.

    Generally you won't be too far off as long as you don't estimate the drawback as being worth much more or less than 20% off normal market price. If the drawback of the item is worth more than that, don't expect it to see use.

    For that matter, don't expect to see cursed items getting used much unless there's no viable alternative.

    For when, not if but when, they sell them, give them the value you estimated if they're being honest, and full value if they successful hide the curse. In the latter case though, it should get progressively harder to find people to trade with, since a group pawning off cursed items as normal will garner a reputation for such.

    Getting back to proper WBL is just a matter of putting more treasure in their way. A few encounters with double or triple treasure enemies, or even just a big cash dump should have you cleared up fairly quick.
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Making an item have extra properties would just make it more expensive to create since you have to go out and buy all sorts of other magical components for it.

    Creating an item that has both benefits and penalties is viable, but it shouldn't make it cheaper to create unless there's a good circumstantial reason for it.

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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterOfJello View Post
    Making an item have extra properties would just make it more expensive to create since you have to go out and buy all sorts of other magical components for it.

    Creating an item that has both benefits and penalties is viable, but it shouldn't make it cheaper to create unless there's a good circumstantial reason for it.
    Seems like the OP is saying that crafting costs aren't an issue for the time being. He's more concerened about how to count such items for WBL purposes.

    To elaborate on my previous comment, the formula you came up with should be okay, but even discounting the full value of the inverse of the negative affect probably wouldn't be out of line.

    EG; if the item imposes a -1 penalty to attack, discount the cost of the item by up to 2000gp, since this is almost exactly the opposite of a +1 enhancement bonus on a weapon. If it instead imposed a -3 on a skill check, you could discount up to 900gp, since it's roughly equivalent to the cost of a +3 competence bonus skill boost. Specific effects can be a bit trickier, but simply discounting the cost you would assign if the effect targetted an enemy should be about right.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-20 at 06:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    Thanks for the feedback! I'm off to go make semi-cursed loot!
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

    For this sort of thing I prefer intelligent items with *interesting* personalities. They don't have to be over powered, or even nasty, just quixotic.
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    Default Re: Price adjustment for cursed items?

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