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    Default Eye of newt, toe of frog: casterless item creation [Playtesting, please use]

    Preface: This module is in playtesting mode, so please, feel free to use it or try it out - and if you encounter anything useful or useless about it, please report it back in this thread so I can gather feedback on it. Thanks!



    Eye of newt, toe of frog, sword of power
    A module for casterless magic item creation under D&D 3.5 edition


    (Special thanks and appreciation to PairOíDice Lost, who provided invaluable feedback, suggestions, and advice on how to construct this module.)


    Introduction
    The Problem
    The Helmet of Rostam. The Armor of Ajax. Apolloís bow. The head of the Medusa. Cadmus and the dragonís teeth. The anatomy of fallen monsters used as the components of magic items has been a staple of fantasy settings for decades, if not right back into myth. D&D 3.5 tends to gloss over this concept (abstracting it as part of magic items' GP costs) or outright does the idea horribly (Dragoncraft items in the Draconomicon.)

    Crafting magic items in 3.5 is exclusively the domain of casters, as only they can qualify for the [Item Creation] feats that allow one to actually build a glowing longsword, and magic items themselves often have prerequisites that include spells. Also, 3.5 provides no real synergy between creating something like a magic sword and the Craft checks that would seem most germane to it: you can make a masterwork weapon with a good roll on Craft (Weaponsmithing), but to make even a +1 longsword, a caster just has to be 5th level and take Craft Magic Arms and Armor -- without any chance of failure.

    Compare this to R.A. Salvatoreís first novel, The Crystal Shard, representing second edition D&D rules and featuring one of the most iconic moments in D&D: as Bruenor Battlehammer, a dwarf with no magical ability at all, creates the masterwork of his life one moonlit night by forging Aegis-Fang Ė a beautifully balanced returning magical warhammer, which he then gives to Wulfgar.

    The Solution
    This homebrew is modular, designed to bolt onto the present creation system rather than overhauling it. The module's intent is to provide D&D 3.5 players with alternatives to casters making a magic item, or providing prerequisite spells, without confining the practice down to a dedicated artificer. This is done by allowing certain substitutes for prerequisites in creating magic items:

    • Components of certain monstersí corpses can be used as substitutes for spell prerequisites in creating magic items. This is achieved by making Craft (Alchemy) and Heal skill checks as set out below.
    • Reaching given ranks in certain skills substitutes for possessing [Item Creation] feats. These skills and Item Creation feats are set out below.
    • Character level substitutes for Caster Level in relation to magic item prerequisites.


    Additionally, I have added a suite of optional feats appended to this module Ė [Monstrous Creation] feats -- though a non-caster crafter need not take a single one of them in order to build a decent variety of magic items. These feats serve double duty in that they directly provide more options to crafting and also make options for crafting available earlier.

    However, letís first talk about how it all works.


    Crafting Magic Items without Caster Levels

    While a caster with the appropriate [Item Creation] feats can acquire and use substitutes for prerequisite spells under these rules, non-casters can also create magic items via application of skills.

    Generally the DMG/SRDís rules on creation of magic items apply where not altered by these rules. Magic items frequently contain prerequisites: absent any exceptions made by this module, a non-caster crafter must otherwise meet the prerequisites of the magic item he intends to create per the default rules for item creation. And in particular, the creation time, gold piece costs, and XP expenditures required to create a given magic item are unchanged. The following three modifications apply:

    • A character crafting a magic item can substitute prerequisite spells with monster components using this module's rules, set out below. The crafter may extract or prepare components himself, or have other members of his party contribute these components. If a magic item has multiple prerequisite spells, all of the spell prerequisites to the magic item must be substituted with monster components. A caster cannot contribute a spell to a magic item where a monster component is being used in the same item, and neither can a magic item contribute a spell.
    • Where a magic item has a prerequisite Caster Level, the character may use his character level as a substitute for that prerequisite. For example, if a magic item has a prerquisite of ďCaster Level 12Ē, a 12th level fighter would satisfy that prerequisite Ė as would a Ranger 3/Paladin 9. Certain [Monstrous Creation] feats allow moderate bonuses to character level for the purposes of this check.
    • Where a magic item has a prerequisite [Item Creation] feat, the character may use his ranks in certain skills as set out in the table below as a substitute for that prerequisite feat:

    Spoiler: Minimum Skill Ranks to Substitute Item Creation feats
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    Item Creation Feat Skill and prerequisite ranks
    Scribe Scroll 4 skill ranks in Forgery or Decipher Script
    Brew Potion 6 skill ranks in Craft (Alchemy) or Survival
    Create Wondrous Item 6 skill ranks in Craft (Jeweller) or Craft (Alchemy)
    Craft Magic Arms and Armor 8 skill ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing) or Craft (Armorsmithing)
    Craft Wand 8 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Jeweller)
    Craft Rod 12 skill ranks in Craft (Metalwork) or Craft (Weaponsmithing)
    Craft Staff 15 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Bowmaking)
    Forge Ring 15 skill ranks in Craft (Metalworking) or Craft (Jeweller)



    Substituting Monster Components for Spells


    There's a world of difference between casting a spell and producing a spellís effect from a dead creatureís anatomy. As a result, there is some groundwork required Ė in picking what anatomy from that monster is to be used in replacing the spell prerequisite, and then in preparing that biological matter for use in the item creation process.

    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from almost any monster, but some types and subtypes of monsters are almost impossible to extract components from without dedicated study.

    Spoiler: What creatures can you extract spell prerequisites from?
    Show
    It is not possible to extract a component from a living monster, or an undead monster that has not been destroyed and/or reduced to 0 hitpoints.

    You can extract spell prerequisites from the following types of creatures: Animal, Dragon, Fey, Giant, Humanoid, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin.

    You can extract spell prerequisites from the following types of creatures if the extractor has the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat described below: Aberration, Construct, Elemental, Ooze, Outsider, and Undead.

    You can't extract spell prerequisites from any creature with the Incorporeal or Shapechanger subtype unless the extractor possesses the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat.

    Note that Animal and Humanoid components present particular challenges for crafting from them, described below.

    You can't extract spell prerequisites from the spell slots of a spellcaster who prepares their spells, whether arcane or divine. These spells are not truly part of the monsterís biological makeup, but rather are boons granted by their gods or arcane rituals which focus and direct magical energy.

    You can't extract spell prerequisites from the spell slots of a spontaneous caster, whether arcane or divine -- unless the extractor possesses the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat. While sorcerers in particular are frequently said to have dragon blood in their heritage which in part powers their innate spellcasting abilities, in practice these biological features cannot be narrowed down sufficiently unless there is some other feature in the caster's makeup that magnifies that heritage. And even then, the feat imposes stringent conditions on this capability; see the feats section below for details.


    Spoiler: What components can be used as spell prerequisites?
    Show


    Assuming that you can extract components from the monster in question, things that can be used as substitutes for spells include:

    • Components of a creature with an Extraordinary (Ex), Supernatural (Su), or Spell-like (Sp) ability that matches the spell prerequisite, e.g. a pixieís spell-like ability to cast entangle where a magic item requires that the creator be able to cast the spell entangle in order to make the item.
    • Components of a creature with a very similar Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level to that of the spell prerequisite, e.g. chain lightning or call lightning instead of lightning bolt (but not ball lightning, because it's a persistent ball of electricity instead of an instant stroke.)
    • Components of a creature with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell prerequisite, e.g. Wall of Fire for Fire Shield.
    • Components of a creature with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level, with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell prerequisite. What is thematically inappropriate is solely within the DMís judgment, but as an example, if a creature has a Spell-like ability to cast Fireball, generally this will not serve as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Tiny Hut, even if theyíre both level 3 spells of the Evocation school.
    • Components from a creature where its movement speed, special attack, or special quality entirely or generally match a prerequisite spell, e.g. a creature with a flight speed for fly, a creature with a poisonous bite for poison.
    • Components from a creature where its size, composition, type, or subtype are similar to benefits afforded by a prerequisite spell, e.g. a Large creature for enlarge person, a stone golem for stoneskin, a dragon for scintillating scales.
    • Components from a creature strongly associated with a prerequisite spell, e.g. owl components for owl's wisdom, a ghoul for ghoul touch.


    Due to extensive experimentation among item crafters, some ďrecipesĒ for substitution are well-known. As such, the anatomy of monsters with certain natural immunities can be reliably called on as substitutes for particular spells. ďNatural immunityĒ for these purposes is an immunity listed as one of a monster's special qualities, or specifically noted in its explanatory text. It does not include an immunity conferred by a monsterís type, but does include an immunity conferred by its subtype.

    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to an energy type Ė fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity -- always suffice as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to critical hits always suffice as a spell substitute for the spells limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification to its wearer.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to magic always suffice as a spell substitute for spell immunity or spell resistance.

    In the same way, it has been discovered that the anatomy of certain monsters can be reliably used as substitutes for certain spells. The known and reliable substitutions are:

    • Components from a monster which regenerates can be used as a substitute for regenerate.
    • Components from a monster with the [Air] subtype can be used as a substitute for fly.
    • Components from a monster with the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype can be used as a substitute for water breathing or swim.
    • Components from a monster with the [Giant] type can be used as a substitute for enlarge person.
    • Components from a vampire can be used as a substitute for all vampiric touch spells.
    • Components from a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or a monster with the Shadow Creature template, can be used as a substitute for any spell prerequisite required to create a magic item that confers the Shadow quality on its user.


    This isn't an exhaustive list of spells or monsters, or indeed the substitutions that can be made; as said, these are just reliable ďrecipesĒ that crafters have known about for generations.




    How do I use a component as a substitute for a spell prerequisite?
    There are two steps in using parts of a monsterís corpse as a substitute for a spell prerequisite:

    Step One: Extracting the desired component/s from the creatureís corpse.
    Step Two: Preparing the extracted component/s for use in the creation of the desired magic item.


    Step One: Extraction

    1. You need enough material to work with.
    Spoiler
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    To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, you must collect enough of the monsterís anatomy for consumption in the creation process. Some magic items may need the massive heart of an adult dragon; others, the tiniest shavings of pixie bones. The amount of material is calculated as follows:

    Mass required = (level of spell to be substituted x Caster Level of Magic Item)/4 pounds.

    (Note that D&D doesnít consistently provide body weights for monsters. Where there isnít a weight given by the monsterís explanatory text, it will be up to the DM to estimate, with a guide being that the average human being weighs about 180 pounds.)

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the spell to be substituted (e.g. using a silver dragonís wings as a substitute for feather fall, because a silver dragon can cast that spell as a (Sp) ability and wings are thematically appropriate to a spell about slowing something falling out of the sky), that component counts as three times its normal weight for the purposes of accumulating enough mass to substitute for the spell.


    2. You have to put a magical quarantine in place.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Limited spell effects can be operative during the process of extracting the component, either on the component itself, the tools used to extract it, or the extractor. The extraction process involves considerable risk of contaminating the delicate magical balance within the component.

    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to skill checks cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks. A construct (for example, a Warforged creator) of itself does not break the quarantine -- but any spells or magic items operating on the construct do count against these totals.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on skill checks, and therefore he can proceed to extract the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot extract the component until the spell expires.

    No magical tool may be used to extract a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used.

    After the component is extracted, spells and magic items may be used as normal; in particular, Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ may be cast to preserve components extracted in this manner.


    3. You have to successfully extract the component.
    Spoiler
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    Extracting components from a monsterís corpse requires a Heal skill check. The magic itemís creator need not make this check. Again, this is as distinct from preparing the components for consumption in the item creation process. Also, remember that unless you have the correct prerequisite feat, certain creature types and subtypes cannot be extracted from, regardless of their DC.

    The base Heal DC to extract a component is 10. This base DC is increased by each of the following qualities or features the creature has, cumulative:
    Spoiler
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    Feature DC Increase Reason
    Damage Resistance +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Creature suffered Massive Damage during encounter that killed it +2 Extensive physical damage
    Creature suffered 40 or more hitpoints of [fire], [cold], [sonic], [electricity] or [acid] damage in a single strike +2 Corpse is cooked/frozen/shattered/calcified/corroded
    Natural Armor bonus +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Regeneration +2 Harder to keep incisions open
    Immunity to critical hits +3 Anatomy is difficult to discern
    Shapechanger Subtype and/or alternate form +3 Anatomy is variable
    Poison, disease, and/or paralysis attack (especially if the creatureís special attacks are being used as spell substitutes) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Gaze attack (if visual apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Energy drain, ability damage and/or ability drain +3 Respiratory system is very complex
    Blindsight and/or Blindsense (if visual or auditory apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Unconventional sensory organs
    Telepathy and/or Psionic (if the creatureís brain is being extracted) +4 Brain is highly complex
    Incorporeal Subtype and/or Gaseous Form +5 Anatomy has more than one physical state

    For example: a night hag, with its disease attack (+3), ability to change shape (+3) and DR 10/cold iron and magic (+2), would require a DC 18 Heal check in order to extract a component to substitute for a sleep spell prerequisite.

    If a creature has more than one feature in the same category, it is not counted twice. A creature that has a poison and a paralysis attack only increases the Heal DC by +3, not +6. A creature that took 40 hitpoints of damage from a Fireball and another 40 hitpoints of damage from a Cone of Cold would only have its Heal DC increased by +2, not +4.



    The person making the Heal check can access bonuses by way of skill synergies and thematic choices as below:
    Spoiler
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    5 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +2 to Heal check
    10 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +4 to Heal check
    15 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +6 to Heal check

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the magic item sought to be created, it confers a +4 bonus to the Heal check. However, to confer this bonus, the component intended to function as a spell substitute must match the item sought to be created as follows:

    Item Category Matching item from creature Examples
    Potions Something sanguineous Blood, ichor, sap, sweat, tears, saliva
    Rods, Wands and Staves Something skeletal or rigid Spine, bone
    Scrolls Something sanguineous or which can function as a quill, or something epidermal which can function as a writing surface Blood, ink, a feather, claw, beak, talon, hide, skin, scales, fur
    Magic Armor Something epidermal Skin, scales, fur, hide
    Magic Sword Something in the nature of a slashing or piercing natural weapon Claw, fang, tooth, spine, stinger
    Magic Bow Something in the nature of a monsterís sinews for the bowstring Back or leg tendon, rawhide, gut, spidersilk
    Magic Arrows Something that can operate as fletchings Feathers, fins, bristly fur, leaves
    All other magic items Something thematic to the magic item to be made A copper dragonís scales for a Necklace of Copper Dragon Scales

    For example, a playerís character is about to extract biological components from an Ettercap for the purposes of substituting its (Ex) poison ability for a spell of Poison in a magic item. The player specifies that the character is extracting the ettercapís fangs in order to make a venomous dagger (see MoF for details of the venomous weapon quality). Since fangs are matched to a dagger, the DM rules that the characterís Heal check to extract them has a +4 bonus. The character could have simply extracted the ettercapís internal organs which produce the poison, but in this particular case as no intended magic item was specified, there would be no +4 to the check.

    However, there is one drawback to this bonus: if granted, the extracted component cannot be used in the creation of any magic item other than the one specified by the player when extracting the component. For example, if our player decided later that he didnít want to make a Venomous dagger and instead just wanted to scribe a scroll of Poison, the ettercapís fangs could not be used for that magic item. Different body parts serve or are suited to different purposes, and this is as true of monster anatomy as human.


    4. You have to prepare the component for use or preserve it.
    Spoiler
    Show
    A biological component must be prepared for use in magic item creation within 24 hours of extracting it from the monster's corpse. After that the component loses such fragile magical energies as it had and becomes useless, nothing more than corrupted meat at best. This time limit can be extended by preserving the component by some manner, be it either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose, Preserve Organ, or similar spells suffice for this purpose.


    Step Two: Preparation
    Having successfully extracted the component, it is time to prepare it for use. This preparation must be carried out before the process of magic item creation begins, but does not have to be carried out by the creator of the magic item.

    The process of preparation takes 1 hour for each pound of the component extracted. Unlike extraction, the process of preparation may be spread out over time in the same way a magic itemís creation can be spread out over time.

    1. Itís all the spell prerequisites or none.
    Spoiler
    Show
    If a magic item has more than one prerequisite spell for its creation, each of the prerequisite spells must be substituted with a separate component from a monster. A caster cannot supply one spell in the same process as a component is substituted for a spell: the flickerings of magic are too delicate to withstand the resonance of another spell interfering in the itemís creation.


    2. You have to set up another magical quarantine.
    Spoiler
    Show
    As with extraction, limited spell effects can be operative during the process of preparing the component, either on the component, the tools, or the preparer of the component. The preparation process involves even greater risk of contamination of the delicate magical balance of the component.

    Any spells used to preserve the component, such as Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ must expire before the component can be prepared for use.
    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to the Craft (Alchemy) check cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on the skill check, and therefore he can proceed to process the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot process the component until the spell wears off.

    No magical tool may be used to prepare a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used. After the component is prepared, however, spells and magic items may be used as normal.


    3. You have to successfully prepare the component.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Preparing a component for use requires a Craft (Alchemy) check (one check per component, if there are multiple spells to be substituted). The DC for each check is as follows:
    Spoiler: DC checks for Craft (Alchemy)
    Show

    Situation Craft (Alchemy) DC
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell exactly matching the required spell 5+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell very similar to the required spell, and the ability is equal spell level to the required spell 10+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell very similar to the spell required, and the ability is higher spell level to the required spell 10+Magic Itemís CL +2 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching subschool or descriptor to the required spell, and the ability is equal spell level to the required spell 15+Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell required, and the ability is higher spell level to the required spell 15 +Magic Itemís CL +4 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required, and the ability is equal spell level to the spell required 20+Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required, and the abilityís spell is higher level to the spell required 20+Magic Itemís CL+6 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Sp/Ex ability with a lower CL than the Magic Itemís CL +1 to DC per point of difference in CL, in addition to any other DC set out in this table.
    Monster is of the [animal] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    Monster is of the [humanoid] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    The spell to be substituted has effects that entirely or generally match a monster's
    • movement speed (such as a flight speed for fly or overland flight)
    • special attack (such as a poisonous bite for poison or poisoned needles or a [cold] breath weapon for freezing fog or cone of cold)
    • special quality (such as energy resistance for resist energy or protection from energy or Amphibious for water breathing or fins to feet)
    10 + Magic Item's CL
    The spell to be substituted has effects similar to a monster's
    • size (such as being Large, as with enlarge person or Huge, as with giant size)
    • composition (such as a stone golem, in the case of stoneskin or an ooze in the case of amorphous form)
    • type (such as Plant, for neutralise poison or Dragon for scintillating scales)
    • subtype (such as magic circle against evil for Archon, or alter self for Shapechanger)
    15 + Magic Item's CL
    The spell to be substituted has a title strongly associated with a particular monster, e.g.
    • owlís wisdom
    • foxís cunning
    • spider climb
    • ghoul touch
    • sirineís grace
    • wail of the banshee
    10 + Magic Item's CL
    Monster regenerates, and the spell to be substituted is regenerate 25
    Monster has the [Air] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is fly 25
    Monster has the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is water breathing or swim 25
    Monster is a vampire, and the spell to be substituted is normal, Greater, or Lesser vampiric touch 25
    Monster is a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or has the Shadow Creature template, and the spell to be substituted is required for a magic item that confers the Shadow quality 25
    Monster has a natural immunity (other than an immunity conferred by its type) to fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity, and the spell to be substituted is Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type 25
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification 32
    Monster has a natural immunity to magic and the spell to be substituted is spell immunity or spell resistance 25

    Once preparation is complete, the monster component is then available for use in crafting of a magic item as a substitute for that spell. Again, if the DM awarded a +4 bonus at extraction for a thematic component, the prepared monster component cannot be used to create any magic item other than the one specified at extraction.

    The component is fully consumed as a spell would be in the creation of the magic item. The Heal and Craft (Alchemy) checks do not have to be carried out by the magic itemís creator.




    Monstrous Creation Feats
    This module creates a new category of feats called [Monstrous Creation] feats. These feats may be taken by casters or non-casters as according to their prerequisites below.

    [Monstrous Creation] feats have an effect upon the minimum skill ranks at which prerequisite [Item Creation] feats can be substituted by a non-caster. For each [Monstrous Creation] feat a character has, the minimum skill rank for substituting an [Item Creation] feat is reduced by 1.

    For example, Bartok the fighter has 6 skill ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing). He also has 2 [Monstrous Creation] feats, Idiosyncratic Crafter and Craft from Transient Anatomy. Each of these feats reduces the minimum skill ranks for qualification by 1. Hence, he qualifies to substitute Craft Magic Arms and Armor for his skill in Craft (Weaponsmithing), which would ordinarily require 8 skill ranks to access.

    The list of feats:

    Craft from Alien Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your interests in the biology of creatures have extended to bizarre and entirely foreign forms of life, from both this plane and others.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Aberration], [Ooze], and [Outsider] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Exotic Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    You are not satisfied with mastering the biology of the naturally magical monsters of the world. You have invested time and study into learning how to coax magical forces from artificial and primal forms of life.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Construct], [Elemental], and [Undead] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Monsterblooded Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    You have taken a horrifying interest in the capacity of humanoids with the blood of monsters in them to provide components for magic items.
    Prerequisites: Dark Surgeon, character must be evil
    Benefit: You may extract components for the purpose of substituting spells from spontaneous casters who have one or more of the following features:
    • A [Heritage] feat
    • A [Bloodline] feat
    • At least one level in Fiend-Blooded
    • A Dragonpact
    However, you may only extract components for the purpose of substituting a prerequisite spell with a Su/Sp/Ex ability which one of these features grants, or an additional spell the feature adds to the spontaneous casterís spell list. You may not access the spontaneous casterís spell list otherwise. For example, a humanoid monster sorcerer has Fey Legacy, a [Heritage] feat that grants Confusion, Dimension Door, and Summon Natureís Ally V as Spell-like abilities. Components can be extracted from this monster for the purposes of substitutions consistent with these three spells under the rules. The sorcererís own spells of Glitterdust and Magic Missile could not serve as components to substitute for those spells Ė however, if the effect of the feat was to add those spells to the sorcererís spell list, they could so serve as such components. The DM may allow other monster-themed feats or class features to qualify for extraction from spontaneous casters. The general guideline is that a spontaneous spellcaster without more by way of a feat or similar cannot be extracted from Ė even allowing for their monstrous heritages, spontaneous spellcastersí anatomies do not manifest anything extractable without something that concentrates their heritage, i.e. a feat, appropriate levels, or pacts with dragons, etc.
    Normal: You cannot extract components from a spellcaster for the purposes of substituting prerequisite spells drawn from their spell lists.


    Craft from Transient Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your mastery of anatomy has reached the point of being able to find the tiniest, infinitesimal components of creatures whose biology is wholly ephemeral.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters with the [Incorporeal] and/or [Shapechanger] subtypes.
    Normal: Components cannot be extracted from monsters with the [Incorporeal] or [Shapechanger] subtype.



    Dark Surgeon [Monstrous Creation]
    Like Frankenstein, you have laboured in secret and in the shadows over years to perfect your dark craft. Shunned by polite society and even your fellow alchemists, you have reached what you believe is the apogee of your art: the igniting of magical forces from the bodies of humanoids.
    Prerequisites: Idiosyncratic Crafter, character must be evil
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [humanoid] type, but you also incur a +5 increase to DC on all Heal checks when preparing components extracted from all monsters apart from the [Humanoid] type.


    Extract Life Essence [Monstrous Creation]
    In the most ephemeral biology, at the most fundamental building blocks of monsters, you have discovered the key to distilling the very energy of life itself.
    Prerequisites: Craft from Transient Anatomy
    Benefit: When preparing a component for use in a magic item, the component provides 20% of the XP required for the creation of the magic item.
    Normal: Magic items often contain a prerequisite of XP that must be provided by the creator of the magic item.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís XP costs, directly or indirectly, whether the holder of this feat or not is the item crafter.


    Gestalt Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Where others seek to create magic items from a minimum of monster components, you have found great benefit in diversifying the harmony of magical energies singing through the items you create.
    Prerequisite: One other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, twice the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 50%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, four times the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 75%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction with or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís costs, directly or indirectly.


    Gifted Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    When it comes to blending monster components and magical items, you just seem to have the touch.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be two levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Idiosyncratic Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    There are certain situations where you are best able to attune to the magical forces involved in extracting and processing monster components.
    Benefit: Choose one of the below set of circumstances. Your Heal and/or Craft (Alchemy) checks have bonuses of +3 for the purposes of extracting and preparing monster components for magic item creation in those situations.
    Dawncrafter: You commence extraction of a monster component, or commence preparation of an extracted monster component, at sunrise.
    Moonknife: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, between sunset and sunrise.
    Lab Rat: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, in a well-prepared laboratory set up for surgery or alchemy.
    Naturalist: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, in pristine natural surroundings, e.g. a clear waterfall in the wilderness, a mountain crag, a cave uninhabited by animals. The precise definition of pristine natural surroundings is a matter solely for DM adjudication.
    The DM may allow other situations to qualify for these bonuses in line with the above circumstances.


    Master Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Talent, skill, hard labour, and insight all blend together in you to allow you to create prodigious works well beyond the reach of other crafters of your calibre.
    Prerequisite: Gifted Crafter [Monstrous Creation], any one other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be four levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above. This benefit stacks with the benefit of Gifted Crafter.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Totem Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    You are a wild man of the woods, one with beast and leaf and sky. You harvest the bodies of your fellow creatures and invest your possessions with their lifeforces.
    Prerequisite: 10 skill ranks in Knowledge (Nature) and Survival, or at least 1 level in Barbarian, Ranger, or Totemist.
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [Animal] type.


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    Keep in mind that creation of magic items in this manner might provide all manner of NPC reactions to characters depending on what you build and what you use to make it. Someone who wanders into town sporting an illithid skull for a Helm of Telepathy might well draw some welcome (or unwelcome) attention. If this happens, itís part of the design: much of the idea of these rules is to make magic items a little more personalised and a bit more of a memorable experience, in a similar manner to Pathfinderís Dynamic Magic Item Crafting system. (And indeed these rules should bolt fairly seamlessly onto that system as well if youíre inclined to go down that path.)

    Donít be surprised to find people leafing furiously through monster manuals and asking you to adjudicate all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas about how to build magic items. That is also part of the intent of the system, because this form of crafting all but requires people to do some metagaming and go looking at what sort of Ex/Su/Sp abilities they can pillage off the next monster they find.

    Also donít be surprised to find a certain murderhobo focus to characters who go under this system. But at the end of the day, the monsters you throw at the party are a matter for you. The characters canít go summoning their way into getting everything they want, but you might consider the benefits if a character asks you where they can find a Roc to get some of its feathers: congratulations, you have a sidequest from your main campaign, one that the characters initiated and more or less thought up for themselves.

    This module unashamedly offers easier paths to item creation feats: again, thatís by design, since thereís only so much complexity or character advancement people will stomach before they simply say ďTo the Nine Hells with this, find me the next town with a caster who has lightning bolt.Ē This module was meant to compete with the caster-focused, caster-biased system of magic item creation, and I hope it serves you well.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Part One: Using monster anatomy to substitute for spell prerequisites

    It might be that this proposition is actually simpler to nail down than any of the others. Would appreciate any PEACH anyone's willing to offer on this idea.

    3.5 Default: Creation of magic items not infrequently contains prerequisites including that the caster (or someone he is cooperating with) have access a particular magic spell in order to create the item. For example: the Cloak of Elvenkind, whose prerequisites for creation include the spell invisibility.

    Homebrew's aim: To allow monster anatomy harvested from particular monster corpses to substitute for spell prerequisites in creating magic items. Main purposes being to allow more interest in hunting particular monsters and in helping parties low on or lacking particular magic users to craft magic items. It's more interesting to go and find a particular monster to hunt down and vivisect for a magic item than it is to just memorise a spell or pay a caster to provide a spell.

    Proposed rules and procedures:

    (1) Preparing a piece of a monster's anatomy to substitute for spell requirements requires a Craft (Alchemy) check of DC 15 + Caster Level of the item to be created. This preparation must be carried out before the process of item creation begins, but does not have to be carried out by the creator of the magic item.

    (2) If the creature can cast the prerequisite spell as a spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or extraordinary ability, recovered components from that creature suffice to substitute for that prerequisite spell without alteration to the DC of the Craft (Alchemy) check (DC 15 + Caster Level of the item).

    (3) If the creature can cast a spell of the same school as a spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or extraordinary ability, recovered components from that create can suffice to substitute for that prerequisite, but at a minimum increase of +10 to the DC of the Craft (Alchemy) check (Thus, a minimum of DC 25 + Caster Level of the Item).

    (4) The DC of the Craft check rises by +1 for every spell level in difference between the Sp/Su/Ex extraordinary ability involved and the spell sought to be substituted. For example, a crafter with a component of a monster that uses Expeditious Retreat at a (Sp) ability, who wishes to use that component as a substitute for a spell of Haste in a magic item, must pass (or have a companion pass) a Craft (Alchemy) check of DC 15 + Caster Level of the item +10 [Spell of the same school] +2 [Difference in level between Haste (Level 3, Transmutation) and Expeditious Retreat (Level 1, Transmutation)] = DC 27 + Caster Level of the item.

    (5) To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, there must be enough of the monsterís anatomy available to work with. 1 spell prerequisite may be substituted per 3 pounds of monster anatomy harvested. This may require some estimation in the case of light monsters, i.e. may require more than one corpse, at the DM's discretion.

    (6) For a biological component to be used as a spell substitute, it must be prepared and used within 24 hours of harvesting it from the monster's corpse -- or preserved by some manner, either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose spells suffice for this purpose.

    (7) Harvesting a corpse for potentially useful biological components requires a Craft (Alchemy) or Knowledge check (according to the creatureís type) at DC 10, which other party members can provide. This is as distinct from actually preparing the components for inclusion in the item creation process.

    Bonus proposals:

    - A monster with a natural immunity (that is, listed under its special qualities, its type traits, or otherwise set out in its explanatory text) to a particular damage type or spell effect provides components that always substitute for a spell of Resist Energy of that type. For example, a Pyrohydra, with fire immunity, can be harvested for sufficient body parts such as to substitute for a Resist Energy (Fire) spell, regardless of the fact the pyrohydra does not have a Sp/Su/Ex ability that duplicates the Resist Energy (Fire) spell.

    - This form of substitution, mainly for fluff reasons, could never apply to scribing scrolls.

    - This substitution could be used to make potions, but consuming these items would force the drinker to make a Fort save or be nauseated for 1d6 hours, since adding this sort of direct monster "juice" into the body isn't a pleasant experience at best.


    So, PEACH. Any thoughts on whether this sounds workable, over the top, underpowered, overly restrictive? Am I gauging the DCs of the checks right, and are they of the right skills? Should I allow alternate skills to be used, should it be something other than Craft (Alchemy) entirely?

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    The general thrust of the idea looks good; I like the idea of making item crafting both more interesting and accessible to non-casters. Some thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    (2) If the creature can cast the prerequisite spell as a spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or extraordinary ability, recovered components from that creature suffice to substitute for that prerequisite spell without alteration to the DC of the Craft (Alchemy) check (DC 15 + Caster Level of the item).

    (3) If the creature can cast a spell of the same school as a spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or extraordinary ability, recovered components from that create can suffice to substitute for that prerequisite, but at a minimum increase of +10 to the DC of the Craft (Alchemy) check (Thus, a minimum of DC 25 + Caster Level of the Item).

    (4) The DC of the Craft check rises by +1 for every spell level in difference between the Sp/Su/Ex extraordinary ability involved and the spell sought to be substituted. For example, a crafter with a component of a monster that uses Expeditious Retreat at a (Sp) ability, who wishes to use that component as a substitute for a spell of Haste in a magic item, must pass (or have a companion pass) a Craft (Alchemy) check of DC 15 + Caster Level of the item +10 [Spell of the same school] +2 [Difference in level between Haste (Level 3, Transmutation) and Expeditious Retreat (Level 1, Transmutation)] = DC 27 + Caster Level of the item.
    If you want this subsystem to be used instead of just using spell prereqs, the DCs should probably be lower. For instance, let's say an item requires a dimension door prereq, so the character would be 7th-level minimum. A 7th-level character can probably expect to have a +17 modifier (10 ranks in Craft [Alchemy], +3ish Int since they're probably a skillmonkey rather than a wizard, +2 from an alchemy lab, +2 from some other miscellaneous source), and the DC would be 22 for a creature with a dimension door SLA, 32 for a creature with another 4th-level Conjuration spell, or 35 for a creature with a 1st-level Conjuration spell.

    If the character finds a blink dog, everything is fine (he needs to roll a 5, 80% chance of success), but the odds drop to 30% and 15% for the other two options. So the character could go out, find a creature with the right abilities, go through the process of harvesting and preparing everything, and still have a very high chance to fail...or they could just pay some money and hire a caster to cast the spell. Craft (Alchemy) is already a rarely-used skill that requires training, so there's no need to make the DCs so high.

    Also, as a separate concern, "same school" isn't the best criterion for similar-enough-monster usage; cone of cold and fireball are both Evocations, but using the former to craft a flaming burst sword doesn't make thematic sense at all. So having multiple degrees of similarity is probably good.


    Here's my suggestion on how to do it instead: the base DC for the Craft (Alchemy) check to use a monster part is...
    • DC 5+CL if the monster has the exact magical ability in question.
    • DC 10+CL if the monster has a very similar ability of equal or higher level, e.g. major creation or pavilion of grandeur instead of minor creation (but not fabricate, since it assembles material more than creating them), chain lightning or call lightning instead of lightning bolt (but not ball lightning, because it's a persistent ball of electricity instead of an instant stroke), +2 per spell level difference if it's lower-level.
    • DC 15+CL if the monster has an ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor, +4 per spell level difference if it's lower-level.
    • DC 20+CL if the monster has an ability of equal or higher level with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors, +6 per spell level difference if it's lower-level.
    • ...+1 higher per CL difference if the creature has a lower CL for the effect than the desired CL.

    And while you have a higher DC for weaker spells with insufficient power, you don't get a "discount" on the DC for a higher-level or higher-CL spell, since it's still harder to work with all that extra power, like putting jet fuel in a minivan.

    So to make a CL 5 wand of fireball (assume +13 Craft [Alchemy] for a 5th-level crafter), the DC would be...
    • 10 if you get a creature with a fireball (same spell), trivial.
    • 15 if you get a creature with a meteor swarm (similar spell, equal/higher level), also trivial unless you're really unlucky.
    • 20 if you get a creature with an incendiary cloud (same descriptor, equal/higher level), nontrivial but still likely to succeed.
    • 25 if you get a creature with a lightning bolt (same school), roughly even odds of success.
    • 28 if you get a creature with a CL 5 burning hands (same descriptor, lower level), pretty unlikely to work.
    • 32 if you get a creature with a CL 1 burning hands (same descriptor, lower level, lower CL), barely worth trying at all.

    While the more granular DCs are a bit more complex in this case, it does let characters make cost-benefit tradeoffs--how powerful of a monster do you go for, what margins of failure are you comfortable with?--as opposed to being "same SLA or don't bother" like in the original setup.

    (5) To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, there must be enough of the monsterís anatomy available to work with. 1 spell prerequisite may be substituted per 3 pounds of monster anatomy harvested. This may require some estimation in the case of light monsters, i.e. may require more than one corpse, at the DM's discretion.
    I would make two tweaks here. The first is to require more material for higher-level and higher-CL spells; a low-level spell might get away with a single beholder eyeball or a chunk of purple worm skin, but more powerful stuff would need to be harvested in large quantities and refined to squeeze out every last bit of power. (This also incentivizes going for one large monster like a dragon or demon rather than killing off tons of weaker monsters, which is both less time-consuming and more heroic.) Pick a formula scaling by spell level and CL works, like [level]*[CL]/2 pounds or something, so the above fireball wand would require 7.5 pounds of stuff and a staff of meteor swarm would need a whopping 76.5 pounds; the exact details aren't super important.

    The second would be to give a moderate bonus if a specific organ is harvested that is thematic for the spell prerequisite and let it count as more material, say a +4 bonus and counts as three times its actual weight--after all, it's eye of newt and wing of bat, not chunk of newt tail and bit of bat fur. This once again gives characters choices on how to proceed; sure, they could go for a salamander's skin for a wand of fireballs, but maybe it's worth it to kill a dragon and harvest its breath-weapon-producing draconis fundamentum organ to make it more likely to succeed.

    (6) For a biological component to be used as a spell substitute, it must be prepared and used within 24 hours of harvesting it from the monster's corpse -- or preserved by some manner, either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose spells suffice for this purpose.

    (7) Harvesting a corpse for potentially useful biological components requires a Craft (Alchemy) or Knowledge check (according to the creatureís type) at DC 10, which other party members can provide. This is as distinct from actually preparing the components for inclusion in the item creation process.
    I would actually make the act of harvesting require a Heal check, with the DC increasing for unusual anatomy that would make finding useful bits harder, natural armor or DR that would make the physical act of cutting it open harder, and the like. This does a few things: it restricts the thematic scope of Craft (Alchemy) to processing the body parts, it incentivizes dedicated monster-part item-crafters to invest in Heal to represent the anatomy knowledge and make them as good at surgery and sutures as they are at cutting open monster corpses, and in your average party where you might have one character with Craft (Alchemy) as a class skill and a different one with Heal it lets multiple characters contribute to the crafting process.

    - This form of substitution, mainly for fluff reasons, could never apply to scribing scrolls.
    I don't think there's a flavor issue with applying it to scrolls; the fluff of scribing spells into spellbooks and creating scrolls mentions special quills and inks, so it should be possible to use a harpy-feather quill to create a scroll of fly and giant-blood ink to create a scroll of enlarge person. It would restrict what body parts you could use for the specific-organ bonus I suggested, though.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    That's very in-depth and much appreciated, Dice -- I'll go away and do some more thinking on this and come back with a more tidied version on that one. Will credit you specifically on creation of this thing when it's built.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Right, have reworked the ideas in keeping with Pair'o'Dice's thoughts. However, I also made a couple of addiitons to the concept, notably:

    (1) If the component to be extracted thematically matches the spell prerequisite, it counts as three times the weight.
    (2) If the component to be extracted thematically matches the magic item, it confers a +4 on the Heal check.
    (3) Added some random immunities and monsters that give direct and constant-DC substitutes for certain spells or magic items, mainly because they seemed iconic and didn't seem to be terribly harmful to allow them through.
    (4) Added synergy bonuses to the Heal checks: if you have a decent enough Knowledge check to cover the monster involved, it seems reasonable that should make your Heal check a bit stronger, especially if you drop a lot of points into the skill, e.g. you're exceptionally good at picking components out of undead creatures but don't know much about intelligent plants.
    (5) I was musing whether this concept could be expanded to wholly replace the requirement for a caster as crafter, i.e. building a sort of Artificer 0.5 by way of a feat chain which basically says "You can build magic items out of monster parts rather than needing to cast spells or use them as prerequisites. Your "creator level" counts as your caster level, and under the first feat is just your character level, when evaluating the prerequisites for building a magic item." Then your other two or three feats allow you to advance your Heal and/or Craft (Alchemy) skills along the lines of Skill Focus while also raising your "creator level" by 2 or 3 so you can build stronger stuff a bit earlier.

    Would be happy to hear PEACH on this revised version or any of these thoughts for expansion...


    Introduction
    From the eye of newt to wing of bat to head of the medusa, the anatomy of fallen monsters used as elements in magical items has been a staple of fantasy settings for decades if not right back into myth. The intent of this homebrew module is to provide D&D 3.5 players with alternatives to searching out the spells which are prerequisites to creation of some magic items.

    In summary, certain parts of certain monstersí corpses can be used as substitutes for spell prerequisites in creating magic items. However, since there is a world of difference between casting a spell and producing the effect of a spell out of a dead creatureís anatomy, there is some preparation required Ė in picking which monster and what anatomy from that monster is to be used in replacing the spell prerequisite.

    What can be used as a substitute for a spell prerequiste in a magic item?
    At increasing levels of difficulty, things that can be used as substitutes for spells include:

    • Components of a monster with an Extraordinary (Ex), Supernatural (Su), or Spell-like (Sp) ability that matches the spell prerequisite, e.g. a pixieís spell-like ability to cast entangle when a magic item requires that the creator be able to cast the spell entangle in order to make the item.
    • Components of a monster with a very similar Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level to that of the spell prerequisite, e.g. chain lightning or call lightning instead of lightning bolt (but not ball lightning, because it's a persistent ball of electricity instead of an instant stroke.)
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell prerequisite.
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell prerequisite.

    In addition, the very anatomy of certain monsters can be used as substitutes for certain spells:

    • Components from a monster which regenerates can be used as a substitute for regenerate.
    • Components from a monster with the [Air] subtype can be used as a substitute for fly.
    • Components from a monster with the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype can be used as a substitute for water breathing or swim.
    • Components from a monster with the [Giant] type can be used as a substitute for enlarge person.
    • Components from a vampire can be used as a substitute for all vampiric touch spells.
    • Components from a Shadow, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or a monster with the Shadow Creature template, can be used as a substitute for any spell prerequisite required to create a magic item that confers the Shadow quality on its user.

    Finally, some monsters with certain natural immunities can be used as substitutes for particular spells. ďNatural immunityĒ for these purposes is an immunity listed as one of a monster's special qualities, or specifically noted in its explanatory text. It does not include an immunity conferred by a monsterís type, but does include an immunity conferred by its subtype.

    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to an energy type Ė fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity -- always suffice as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to critical hits always suffice as a spell substitute for the spells limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification to its wearer.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to magic always suffice as a spell substitute for spell immunity or spell resistance.

    How do I use these components as substitutes for spell prerequisites?
    There are two steps in using parts of a monsterís corpse as a substitute for a spell prerequisite:

    Step One: Extracting the desired component from the creatureís corpse.
    Step Two: Preparing the extracted component for use in the creation of the magic item.

    Step One: Extraction
    1. You need enough material to work with.
    To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, there must be enough of the monsterís anatomy available to be consumed in the process. Some magic items might need the heart of an adult dragon; others, only shavings of pixie bones. The amount depends on the spell to be substituted and the magic item to be created:

    Mass required = (level of spell to be substituted x Caster Level of Magic Item)/4 pounds.

    (Unfortunately D&D doesnít give us consistent body weights for monsters. Where there isnít a weight given, it will be up to the DM to estimate, with a guide being that the average human being weighs about 180 pounds.)

    The higher the level of the spell to be substituted, and the higher the caster level, the more mass has to be extracted.

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the the spell to be substituted (e.g. using a silver dragonís wings for a ring of feather fall), that component counts as three times its normal weight for the purposes of accumulating enough mass to substitute for the spell.

    2. You have to successfully extract the component.
    Extracting components from a monsterís corpse requires a Heal skill check. The magic itemís creator need not make this check. Again, this is as distinct from preparing the components for consumption in the item creation process.

    The base Heal DC to extract a component is 10. This base DC is increased by each of the following qualities or features the creature has, cumulative:

    Feature DC Increase Reason
    Damage Resistance +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Natural Armor bonus +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Regeneration +2 Harder to keep incisions open
    Immune to critical hits +3 Anatomy is difficult to discern
    Shapechanger and/or alternate form +3 Anatomy is variable
    Gaseous Form +3 Anatomy is alien
    Poison, disease, and/or paralysis attack +3 Dangerous to extract
    Gaze attack +3 Dangerous to extract
    Energy drain, ability damage and/or ability drain +3 Respiratory system is very complex
    Blindsight and/or Blindsense +3 Unconventional sensory organs
    Telepathy and/or Psionic +4 Brain is highly complex

    If a creature has more than one feature in the same category, it is not counted twice. A creature that has a poison and a paralysis attack only increases the Heal DC by +3, not +6.

    For example: a night hag, with its disease attack (+3), ability to change shape (+3) and DR 10/cold iron and magic (+2), would require a DC 18 Heal check in order to extract a component to substitute for a sleep spell prerequisite.

    The person making the Heal check can access bonuses by way of skill synergies and thematic choices as below:

    5 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +2 to Heal check
    10 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +4 to Heal check
    15 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +6 to Heal check

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the magic item sought to be created, it confers a +4 bonus to the Heal check. To confer this bonus, the component intended to function as a spell substitute must match the item sought to be created as follows:

    Potions and Oils: the spellís substitute must be something sanguineous from the creature (e.g. blood, ichor, sap, sweat, tears, saliva).
    Rods, Wands and Staves: the spellís substitute must be something skeletal and rigid from the creature (e.g. a spine, bone, or similar.)
    Scrolls: the spellís substitute must be sanguineous (eg blood, ink, etc) or a body part that can function as a quill (e.g. a feather, claw, beak, talon.)
    Magic Armor: the spellís substitute must be something epidermal from the creature (e.g. skin, scales, fur, hide.)
    Magic Sword: the spellís substitute must be something in the nature of a slashing or piercing natural weapon (e.g. claw, fang, tooth, spine, stinger).
    Magic Bow: the spellís substitute must be something in the nature of a monsterís sinews for the string (e.g. back or leg tendon, rawhide, gut, spidersilk.)
    Magic Arrows: the spellís substitute must be in the nature of something that can operate as fletchings (e.g. feathers, fins, bristly fur, leaves)
    All other magic items: the spellís substitute must be in the nature of something thematic to the magic item to be made. (e.g. a copper dragonís scales for a Necklace of Copper Dragon Scales ).

    3. You have to use the component or preserve it.
    A biological component must be used within 24 hours of extracting it from the monster's corpse -- or preserved by some manner, be it either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ spells, or similar magic, suffice for this purpose.

    Step Two: Preparation
    Having successfully extracted the component to be used, it is time to prepare it for use. This preparation must be carried out before the process of item creation begins, but does not have to be carried out by the creator of the magic item.

    Preparing a component for use requires a Craft (Alchemy) check. The DC for these checks is as follows:

    Situation Craft (Alchemy) DC
    Monster has the exact Su/Ex/Sp ability matching the spell required 5+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a very similar Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level to the spell required 10+ Magic Itemís CL, +2 per spell level of difference if the spell required is of a lower level
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell required 15+Magic Itemís CL, +4 per spell level difference if the spell required is of a lower level.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level with matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required 20+ Magic Itemís CL, +6 per spell level difference if the spell required is of a lower level.
    Monster has a Su/Sp/Ex ability with a lower CL than the Magic Itemís CL +1 per difference in CL, in addition to any other DC set out in this table.
    Monster regenerates, and the spell to be substituted is regenerate 25
    Monster has the [Air] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is fly 25
    Monster has the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is water breathing or swim 25
    Monster is a vampire, and the spell to be substituted is normal, Greater, or Lesser vampiric touch 25
    Monster is a Shadow, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or has the Shadow Creature template, and the magic item confers the Shadow quality 25
    Monster has a natural immunity (other than conferred by its type) to fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity, and the spell to be substituted is Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type 25
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light fortification 25
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers medium fortification 28
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers heavy fortification 32
    Monster has a natural immunity to magic and the spell to be substituted is spell immunity or spell resistance 25

    Once these steps are passed, the monster component then is consumed as a spell would be in the creation of the magic item. The Heal and Craft (Alchemy) checks do not have to be carried out by the magic itemís creator.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    The changes look good overall. Some thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    In addition, the very anatomy of certain monsters can be used as substitutes for certain spells:

    • Components from a monster which regenerates can be used as a substitute for regenerate.
    • Components from a monster with the [Air] subtype can be used as a substitute for fly.
    • Components from a monster with the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype can be used as a substitute for water breathing or swim.
    • Components from a monster with the [Giant] type can be used as a substitute for enlarge person.
    • Components from a vampire can be used as a substitute for all vampiric touch spells.
    • Components from a Shadow, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or a monster with the Shadow Creature template, can be used as a substitute for any spell prerequisite required to create a magic item that confers the Shadow quality on its user.

    Finally, some monsters with certain natural immunities can be used as substitutes for particular spells. ďNatural immunityĒ for these purposes is an immunity listed as one of a monster's special qualities, or specifically noted in its explanatory text. It does not include an immunity conferred by a monsterís type, but does include an immunity conferred by its subtype.

    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to an energy type Ė fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity -- always suffice as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to critical hits always suffice as a spell substitute for the spells limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification to its wearer.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to magic always suffice as a spell substitute for spell immunity or spell resistance.
    I like adding intrinsic capabilities in addition to magical abilities; it feels less like "throw a monster into a blender and squeeze out the magic" and more like "using specific monster parts" that way. However, this is a fairly grab-bag list--why [Air] creatures for fly and not any winged creature, and not other flight spells or [Air] spells in general? Why enlarge person for Giant and not, say, righteous might (still getting bigger and stronger) or launch item (for rock throwing)?

    I'm not saying to enumerate every possible spell, since that's far too time-consuming and you'd probably miss things, but perhaps make some general rules to generate these kinds of things, since you're already relying on DM judgment a lot in later sections. The general theme I'm seeing is "if a spell duplicates something the monster naturally is or can do, it counts"--aquatic creatures breathe water, air creatures fly, giants are big, constructs are crit-resistant, and so on--so if you can decide on a good benchmark for that and leave edge cases to the DM, it could work.

    Something like this:
    If the general effects of a spell prerequisite match that of a creature's movement speed (such as a flight speed for fly or overland flight), special attack (such as a poisonous bite for poison or poisoned needles or a cold breath weapon for freezing fog or cone of cold), special quality (such as energy resistance for resist energy or protection from energy or Amphibious for water breathing or fins to feet), these properties may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC of [base spell DC plus blah].

    If the general effects of a spell prerequisite grant benefits similar to those of a creature's size (such as being Large for enlarge person or Huge for giant size), composition (such as a stone golem for stoneskin or an ooze for amorphous form), type (such as Undead for death ward or Dragon for scintillating scales), or subtype (such as magic circle against evil for Archon or alter self for Shapechanger), these properties may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC of [base spell DC plus larger blah].
    That gives players a lot of options for making thematic associations ("Hey, this rod dissolves people, let's get a gibbering mouther's teeth!") but makes the DC higher so searching for a creature that specifically has the spell is worthwhile for common monster qualities like energy resistance or flight.

    Gaze attack +3 Dangerous to extract
    Blindsight and/or Blindsense +3 Unconventional sensory organs
    Telepathy and/or Psionic +4 Brain is highly complex
    These seem like the sorts of modifiers that should only be assessed if the players are going for a specific body part; if they want an illithid brain for modify memory, definitely bump the DC up, but for an illithid's tentacles for Evard's black tentacles, not so much. Same with a medusa's eyes for a wand of flesh to stone (big DC bump to avoid getting petrified) versus a medusa's snakes for poison (they can just cover the corpse's eyes with something).

    Plus, that stipulation means that if they're going for a bigger benefit they take a higher DC, which makes it a tradeoff, whereas if they're going to be dinged for one or more factors anyway they might as well go for a certain body part every time.

    (5) I was musing whether this concept could be expanded to wholly replace the requirement for a caster as crafter, i.e. building a sort of Artificer 0.5 by way of a feat chain which basically says "You can build magic items out of monster parts rather than needing to cast spells or use them as prerequisites. Your "creator level" counts as your caster level, and under the first feat is just your character level, when evaluating the prerequisites for building a magic item." Then your other two or three feats allow you to advance your Heal and/or Craft (Alchemy) skills along the lines of Skill Focus while also raising your "creator level" by 2 or 3 so you can build stronger stuff a bit earlier.
    I like this idea quite a bit, and a feat chain would be a good way to gate some options for crafting. For instance, the gaseous creature option above seems out of line with the others in terms of difficulty--okay, regenerating troll, fine; diseased mummy, fine; immaterial air elemental...?--but a feat or feats that let you do things like dissect gaseous and incorporeal creatures, use undead organs that are nothing but dust, figure out what parts of constructs are magically important and extract those, and so forth (given a properly prepped lab, of course) would be quite thematic and let you give those heftier effects somehow (like making fortification armor a Construct-only option usable with the feat).

    Other feats you might want to consider are a feat to let you use multiple monster parts for a given prerequisite to reduce time and gold cost (use eye of newt and eye of beholder and eye of dragon to drop the cost of goggles of night by a bunch) and a feat following on the dissect-incorporeal-things feat allowing you to extract a monster's soul to provide some of the XP. They'd be similar to the various cost reducers out there, but more thematic, and you can specify that they don't stack with other cost reducers because something something incompatible methods something something if you're worried about abuse.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I like adding intrinsic capabilities in addition to magical abilities; it feels less like "throw a monster into a blender and squeeze out the magic" and more like "using specific monster parts" that way. However, this is a fairly grab-bag list--why [Air] creatures for fly and not any winged creature, and not other flight spells or [Air] spells in general? Why enlarge person for Giant and not, say, righteous might (still getting bigger and stronger) or launch item (for rock throwing)?

    I'm not saying to enumerate every possible spell, since that's far too time-consuming and you'd probably miss things, but perhaps make some general rules to generate these kinds of things, since you're already relying on DM judgment a lot in later sections. The general theme I'm seeing is "if a spell duplicates something the monster naturally is or can do, it counts"--aquatic creatures breathe water, air creatures fly, giants are big, constructs are crit-resistant, and so on--so if you can decide on a good benchmark for that and leave edge cases to the DM, it could work.
    My main issue of concern - and I guess why I stabbed at "[Air] creatures only for fly" - is because I was having a hard time trying to draw a line between the thematic hunting and extracting of iconic monster parts and watching parties ride around the countryside shooting down seagulls to get that fly spell substitute (or worse still, getting a bunch of hirelings to do it for them). That's why I excluded natural immunities that were conferred by the monster's type, but not the subtype - there's a surprisingly large tranche of monsters that are immune to critical hits, everything from plant life to the undead. I'm not sure whether to make some ironclad rule around that (something along the lines of "you can't extract any components from something with the [Animal] type, or "nothing less fantastic than a [Magical Creature] is going to do" ... or whether to leave most of it up to the DM's discretion.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    These seem like the sorts of modifiers that should only be assessed if the players are going for a specific body part; if they want an illithid brain for modify memory, definitely bump the DC up, but for an illithid's tentacles for Evard's black tentacles, not so much. Same with a medusa's eyes for a wand of flesh to stone (big DC bump to avoid getting petrified) versus a medusa's snakes for poison (they can just cover the corpse's eyes with something).

    Plus, that stipulation means that if they're going for a bigger benefit they take a higher DC, which makes it a tradeoff, whereas if they're going to be dinged for one or more factors anyway they might as well go for a certain body part every time.
    Fair points, I'll go and revise a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I like this idea quite a bit, and a feat chain would be a good way to gate some options for crafting. For instance, the gaseous creature option above seems out of line with the others in terms of difficulty--okay, regenerating troll, fine; diseased mummy, fine; immaterial air elemental...?--but a feat or feats that let you do things like dissect gaseous and incorporeal creatures, use undead organs that are nothing but dust, figure out what parts of constructs are magically important and extract those, and so forth (given a properly prepped lab, of course) would be quite thematic and let you give those heftier effects somehow (like making fortification armor a Construct-only option usable with the feat).

    Other feats you might want to consider are a feat to let you use multiple monster parts for a given prerequisite to reduce time and gold cost (use eye of newt and eye of beholder and eye of dragon to drop the cost of goggles of night by a bunch) and a feat following on the dissect-incorporeal-things feat allowing you to extract a monster's soul to provide some of the XP. They'd be similar to the various cost reducers out there, but more thematic, and you can specify that they don't stack with other cost reducers because something something incompatible methods something something if you're worried about abuse.
    I think if I was going with that many feats I'd probably scrunch the default panoply of item creation feats down to three, as I tend to do in my games: Create Consumable Magic Item (which is Brew Potion and Scribe Scroll), Create Charged Magic Item (Create Staves, Rods, Wands), Create Enduring Magic Item (Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Forge Ring, Wondrous Items). That then gives a bit more room in the feat chain to do other stuff, such as Craft from Constructs, Craft from Undead, Craft from Incorporeals, etc. etc.

    I doubt I'd build a class out of this, simply because I doubt I could make it attractive enough to take as its own class. It would probably just be reasonably large suite of feats.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    My main issue of concern - and I guess why I stabbed at "[Air] creatures only for fly" - is because I was having a hard time trying to draw a line between the thematic hunting and extracting of iconic monster parts and watching parties ride around the countryside shooting down seagulls to get that fly spell substitute (or worse still, getting a bunch of hirelings to do it for them). That's why I excluded natural immunities that were conferred by the monster's type, but not the subtype - there's a surprisingly large tranche of monsters that are immune to critical hits, everything from plant life to the undead. I'm not sure whether to make some ironclad rule around that (something along the lines of "you can't extract any components from something with the [Animal] type, or "nothing less fantastic than a [Magical Creature] is going to do" ... or whether to leave most of it up to the DM's discretion.
    Hmm. I can definitely see adding some restrictions to prevent sending those poor seagulls the way of the dodo. How about the following:

    1) The base crafting rules allow extraction from Dragons, Fey, Giants, Magical Beasts, Monstrous Humanoids, Plants, and Vermin, which are all easy types that still vaguely respect the laws of biology. One feat allows extraction from Aberrations, Oozes, and Outsiders (the "alive, but with very weird anatomy" types) and another allows extraction from Constructs, Elementals, and Undead (the "not alive in the traditional sense" types) to expand player options. And then either:
    1a) There is no way to extract parts from Animals or Humanoids, because they just aren't magical enough.
    OR
    1b) There's a feat for animals that allows a different set of default qualities to be extracted (like natural attacks, stat boosts, senses, and the like) for a barbarian- or totemist-style "wear the skin of an animal to channel its essence" crafter, and a feat for humanoids that allows applying more necromantic and/or evil qualities via human(oid) sacrifice for a cultist-style "bathe this dagger in the blood of innocents" crafter. Both are easier to access in terms of valid monster targets, but both are much more restricted in flavor and mechanics such that not everyone is killing off all the wild animals for parts.

    2) Monsters to be harvested for default qualities (that is, speeds and senses and such that are very common among different monsters, not special attacks and special qualities) must have HD at least equal to twice the spell level of the spell prerequisite. If a 1-HD creature had fly as a SLA it would be easy enough for the crafter to just grab an appropriate magical organ, for instance, but nonmagical flight would require a part from a creature with at least 6 HD to have the appropriate magical resonance.

    Point 1, by explicitly enumerating allowed types, combines the "experienced crafters can do crazy things with Craft (Alchemy)" idea with the "no harvesting seagulls" idea, so it's not just "no animals because they're too easy," while point 2 means you have a wider variety of creature options for certain properties but doesn't make it too easy to get them, since those HD ranges are when monsters tend to have those levels of SLAs come online anyway.

    How's that sound?

    I think if I was going with that many feats I'd probably scrunch the default panoply of item creation feats down to three, as I tend to do in my games: Create Consumable Magic Item (which is Brew Potion and Scribe Scroll), Create Charged Magic Item (Create Staves, Rods, Wands), Create Enduring Magic Item (Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Forge Ring, Wondrous Items). That then gives a bit more room in the feat chain to do other stuff, such as Craft from Constructs, Craft from Undead, Craft from Incorporeals, etc. etc.
    Yep, I usually consolidate crafting feats like that as well, only leaving very specialized feats like Create Graft on their own.

    But you know, you could dispense with requiring [Item Creation] feats for this system entirely and make it solely a function of skills, either just requiring a minimum number of Craft (Alchemy) and appropriate Knowledge ranks for each kind of item (so someone who maxes both skills can basically make any kind of item using the relevant monster types) or something wackier like requiring Forgery ranks for scrolls (to represent skill at scribing complex things), Survival ranks for potions (to represent gathering herbs for the potion base), Craft (Weaponsmithing/Armorsmithing) for arms and armor, and so forth so different characters can (or have to) focus on different kinds of items. You could potentially gate the entire subsystem behind a "Monstrous Alchemy" feat or the like, but if you go with the second option and require a bunch of skills then that's probably enough of a cost on its own.

    And to make the system more appealing for noncasters and less of a boost for casters, you could stipulate that you have to meet all of the item's prerequisites this way, you couldn't cast two spells normally and use monster parts for a third. So a caster could either take Craft Wondrous Item (or Create Enduring Magic Item) and get the ability to only create certain items but meet all the prerequisites himself, or be able to make any item but have to harvest monster parts for all the prerequisites.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    .
    I took part in 2 groups (as a player and DM) that tried to use monster body parts in the creation of magic items. I've never found it to add anything to the gaming experience. All it did was make us waste time in grocery store lists that never made much sense.

    My overall impression is that the best approach regarding item ingredients is to leave them as an abstraction, just like HP are an abstraction.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    I took part in 2 groups (as a player and DM) that tried to use monster body parts in the creation of magic items. I've never found it to add anything to the gaming experience. All it did was make use waste time in grocery store lists that never made much sense.

    My overall impression is that the best approach regarding item ingredients is to leave them as an abstraction, just like HP are an abstraction.
    That can definitely happen if use of monster parts is just added on to the normal crafting rules, just like a DM insisting on tracking spell components with no other changes is just busywork considering that there are no balance ramifications to doing so over using a spell component pouch.

    But in this case this subsystem is actually changing the crafting rules in significant ways, primarily making it accessible to noncasters and reducing the barrier to entry in terms of character-building resources. That's not just a bunch of busywork in the same way that changing spellcasting from Vancian to points-based or drain-based isn't just busywork, and if it's more immersive than the baseline rules and leads to making players excited about item crafting, so much the better.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Thanks for the support and advice on this one again.

    On averting seagull slaughters:
    Oddly, I did some backtracking and rethinking between my last post and your suggestions. In particular, one of the categories that occurred to me was making space for this form of crafting especially in cases where the spell itself is heavily connected thematically to a particular creature: owl's wisdom, bear's endurance, fox's cunning, bull's strength, and in less mundane creatures, wail of the banshee or sirine's grace. It would certainly be cool to be able to craft an item granting owl's wisdom from owl components.

    But you also make good arguments around the controls that can be placed on this thing. So I wondered how stopping mundane animal extinctions at the hands of ambitious PC parties could be plausibly represented around the Heal check. If you can dissect dragons or fey to extract useful components from them, you shouldn't be terribly awful at dissecting humans or animals, since their anatomy is about as familiar as it can get.

    And that's when it occurred to me: we have more than one skill in play here. And it also occurred to me that it's one thing to be able to dissect a human body, and another thing entirely to prepare it so it can provide magical properties. Virtually every monster which is not exclusively humanoid or animal has at least a hint of magic or a hint of magical abnormality that can be drawn on, so it doesn't take too much effort to coax magical energy or magical properties from them. But making a bunch of mundane, boring pigeon feathers fire with the life of magic? Oh, that's something else entirely. It takes a real artisan to sweat magic from unmagical, mundane creatures ... or someone who is heavily focused on it.

    Therefore: I'm looking at adding a DC-raiser for the Craft (Alchemy) check for the [animal] or [humanoid] (with no other subtype applying) types: mainly, a +30 for each on the DC of the check, on top of the static "DC + CL" formula. This has the same effect as gating creation of items from animals or humans, since a reasonable numbercruncher would have a look at the DCs and immediately conclude it's easier to go hunt down a sprite or something if they want butterfly wings.

    But this still allows a person to customise and go down the path of firing up magic from mundane animal parts and (in evil cases) humanoids ... by committing to feats such as:

    Totem Creator
    You are a wild man of the woods, one with beast and leaf and sky. You harvest the bodies of your fellow woodland beasts and invest your possessions with their lifeforces.
    Prerequisite: Monstrous Item Creator (see below)
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [animal] type.

    Dark Surgeon
    Like Frankenstein, you have laboured in secret and in the shadows over years to perfect your dark craft. Shunned by normal society and even your fellow alchemists, you have reached what you believe is the apogee of your art: the igniting of magical forces from the bodies of humanoids.
    Prerequisites: Monstrous Item Creator, Totem Creator, character must be evil
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [humanoid] type.

    (I am tempted to also include a drawback along some lines, i.e. that if you don't incur the +30 on humans/animals as a result of taking one or more of these feats, you pick up a +30 increase on some other category of monster, similar to the whole prohibited schools concept.)

    This way a character at high levels or who a high skill check via Guidance of the Avatar or something like that is still going to be able to do something like this fairly reliably, but for most of the character's run, if you want to pull magic out of animals or humans, you're going to have to commit at least a feat to pay for it.

    On gating this method of item creation:
    I was also wondering about how heavily to restrict this method of item creation. The thing about item creation by casters is that the prerequisite spells to some extent serve double duty: under normal circumstances the caster will have that spell, which will have its own utility, i.e. they'll be able to cast it and do something immediate with it or make a magic item from it, and since it's a spell, the resource is renewable every morning. The main control on this is that casters don't have a lot of feats to spare, so they have to pick and choose what sort of stuff they want to make (you've probably got enough room to Craft Magic Arms and Armor and Forge Rings, but those staves and wands are going to have to go by the by) but they still get utility out of the spells they pick up.

    Non-casters don't get that option, since gathering monster bits like this only serves for the purpose of making magic items, whose utility at best is indirect (via making a potion or a scroll, for example). The monster part doesn't have its own utility apart from this. And given the sheer utility of spells in themselves, paradoxically a non-caster is taxed even harder by having to give up a large number of feats, since a caster's versatility isn't choked by losing out on feats, but a non-caster's certainly can be. The most obvious example of this is Fighter v. Mage: the mage will gain all sorts of versatile abilities -- or greater capacity to use them -- every level as his spellbook and spell slots increase, even if he has no feats, but the fighter won't get squat but a +1 to BAB, some extra HP, and some basic save increases unless he also gets his feats.

    Therefore, it seems to me that if a non-caster (and I think it would have to be a non-caster) were able to use this method of item creation, it should be held down to a minimum of feats opening access to all aspects of the module. Rather than giving separate feats for cutting up Constructs, Undead, etc., maybe it works to give three basic feats opening up different types of item and different types of monster at the same time - or treat different types or subtypes of monster similarly to the way humans and animals are dealt with, i.e. set a flat increase to DC on the Heal or Craft (Alchemy) check and allow the feat to remove that DC increase. Then the remainder of your feats are an assortment of increasing your "creator level" (the substitute for caster level), lowering magic item creation costs, and whatnot - stuff that would be useful if you really want to go into this line of work, but not essential to taking apart a creature as such.

    Any red flags amongst that?

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    The Bluff-style "bump the DC by +30 for ridiculous skill usages" is a pretty good compromise, I think. Yes, it can be negated at level 5 with guidance of the avatar + divine insight, but that just means that clerics are specifically the best at channeling animal souls and making ritual sacrifices, which is pretty in-theme, and if the DM is letting people get +30 circumstance+insight bonuses to checks then any sort of skill-based downtime system is gonna break.

    ...ooh, suggestion. Perhaps, to rein in bonus stacking rendering the DCs for this irrelevant and effectively letting anyone craft anything by buying wands of guidance of the avatar, mandate that no magic may be in effect on the monster (including gentle repose, which would have to be dispelled or allowed to expire), the tools, or the crafter during the harvesting and extraction process lest it interfere with the delicate natural magic in the corpse? It makes skill modifiers by level much more predictable for this system, and there's a pretty good flavor justification in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    In particular, one of the categories that occurred to me was making space for this form of crafting especially in cases where the spell itself is heavily connected thematically to a particular creature: owl's wisdom, bear's endurance, fox's cunning, bull's strength, and in less mundane creatures, wail of the banshee or sirine's grace. It would certainly be cool to be able to craft an item granting owl's wisdom from owl components.
    This is the sort of thing I was thinking of with the different-set-of-qualities option, yeah. I think wail of the banshee and sirine's grace feel more fey-ish than animal-ish, but something like bite of the were[blah], girallon arms, and other things that directly mimic the form of an animal would probably fit in nicely.

    Dark Surgeon
    Like Frankenstein, you have laboured in secret and in the shadows over years to perfect your dark craft. Shunned by normal society and even your fellow alchemists, you have reached what you believe is the apogee of your art: the igniting of magical forces from the bodies of humanoids.
    Prerequisites: Monstrous Item Creator, Totem Creator, character must be evil
    This probably shouldn't require Totem Creator, as the flavor clashes pretty hard between the primitive totem-crafter and evil surgeon, and as you note below these crafters might be a bit feat-strapped.

    (I am tempted to also include a drawback along some lines, i.e. that if you don't incur the +30 on humans/animals as a result of taking one or more of these feats, you pick up a +30 increase on some other category of monster, similar to the whole prohibited schools concept.)
    Maybe not a +30 on certain other categories, because being specifically bad with one other kind of creature doesn't feel like it works as well as it does for wizard specialization, where each school is basically a whole different branch of "science." Maybe instead raise all other DCs by +5 or so to represent getting a bit rusty with other types due to the extreme focus?

    Therefore, it seems to me that if a non-caster (and I think it would have to be a non-caster) were able to use this method of item creation, it should be held down to a minimum of feats opening access to all aspects of the module. Rather than giving separate feats for cutting up Constructs, Undead, etc., maybe it works to give three basic feats opening up different types of item and different types of monster at the same time - or treat different types or subtypes of monster similarly to the way humans and animals are dealt with, i.e. set a flat increase to DC on the Heal or Craft (Alchemy) check and allow the feat to remove that DC increase. Then the remainder of your feats are an assortment of increasing your "creator level" (the substitute for caster level), lowering magic item creation costs, and whatnot - stuff that would be useful if you really want to go into this line of work, but not essential to taking apart a creature as such.

    Any red flags amongst that?
    I still think that one feat for Aberration/Ooze/Outsider extraction and one for Construct/Elemental/Undead extraction is the best balance of opening up new flavor and mechanical options while making sure the feats aren't too broad or too narrow, but I could see converting those to +30 instead of hard requirement like the other feats.

    As for feats enabling different kinds of items, how about this: go with the skill-based setup I mentioned before where you need N ranks in skill X to craft items of a certain type, but have each [Monstrous Crafting] feat you possess reduce the required ranks for all items by 1. So someone can either max the skill corresponding to the item type(s) they want to create if they just want to dabble in this, or if they're getting a bunch of [Monstrous Crafting] feats they can level up, put 1 or 2 ranks into a bunch of skills, and be able to craft a bunch of different types of items. That means you can invest feats into crafting a wider variety of items, but the feats don't just do that, they improve your crafting generally and open up more item types as a side effect.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    ...ooh, suggestion. Perhaps, to rein in bonus stacking rendering the DCs for this irrelevant and effectively letting anyone craft anything by buying wands of guidance of the avatar, mandate that no magic may be in effect on the monster (including gentle repose, which would have to be dispelled or allowed to expire), the tools, or the crafter during the harvesting and extraction process lest it interfere with the delicate natural magic in the corpse? It makes skill modifiers by level much more predictable for this system, and there's a pretty good flavor justification in this case.
    Niiiice!

    Could even extend this to magic items the person wears as well, on the basis their resonance also messes with the spell. Will work something up on it.


    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Maybe not a +30 on certain other categories, because being specifically bad with one other kind of creature doesn't feel like it works as well as it does for wizard specialization, where each school is basically a whole different branch of "science." Maybe instead raise all other DCs by +5 or so to represent getting a bit rusty with other types due to the extreme focus?

    I still think that one feat for Aberration/Ooze/Outsider extraction and one for Construct/Elemental/Undead extraction is the best balance of opening up new flavor and mechanical options while making sure the feats aren't too broad or too narrow, but I could see converting those to +30 instead of hard requirement like the other feats.

    As for feats enabling different kinds of items, how about this: go with the skill-based setup I mentioned before where you need N ranks in skill X to craft items of a certain type, but have each [Monstrous Crafting] feat you possess reduce the required ranks for all items by 1. So someone can either max the skill corresponding to the item type(s) they want to create if they just want to dabble in this, or if they're getting a bunch of [Monstrous Crafting] feats they can level up, put 1 or 2 ranks into a bunch of skills, and be able to craft a bunch of different types of items. That means you can invest feats into crafting a wider variety of items, but the feats don't just do that, they improve your crafting generally and open up more item types as a side effect.
    All of these thoughts work for me - again, will look into the same. The basic plan will be to match the required skill ranks to the same point or slightly lower as you could pull the equivalent crafting feat (or maybe a level or two earlier.)

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    The basic plan will be to match the required skill ranks to the same point or slightly lower as you could pull the equivalent crafting feat (or maybe a level or two earlier.)
    Having them match the same level is probably fine, since a sigle [Monstrous Crafting] feat will reduce the required rank by 1, thereby allowing them to access those items a level earlier.

    This setup also means, by the way, that someone who invests a lot of feats into this at low levels would be able to craft items a few levels earlier (e.g. a human with two flaws who takes Monstrous Item Creator, Dark Surgeon, the "weird anatomy access" feat, and the "nonliving anatomy access" feat would be able to craft all items 3 levels earlier than normal because the required ranks would be reduced by 3). If you're fine with letting a dedicated crafter do that, great (and I don't see much of a problem with it; the minimum levels are somewhat arbitrary anyway, and they'd still need to invest in some real ranks), but if not you'll want to either add prereqs to the feats to spread them out a bit level-wise or tweak the rank reductions somehow.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    A change I suggest to the penalty for non-magical creatures is to have such a modifier for each type, then a flat rule reducing that particular penalty by the HD of the creature used, to a minimum of zero. That way, harvesting a Roc to get flight isn't utterly worthless, and low-HD Magical Beasts aren't going to be suffering the same harvesting pressure as the mundane creatures. It's still going to be a +12 to the DC for that Roc, but it'll be an easier fight than a number of other options for getting permanent Flight. And people won't get an effective +30 for going after a Harpy instead of one of the flying proper Humanoids. You also get the nice advantage of people-harvesters having a reason to hunt down high-level adventurers for body parts to make their creations, so the Cadaver Golem has a better reason to hunt strong Humanoids instead of numerous ones.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    My biggest problem with this is the murderhoboism it implies. Hey, Unicorns heal with their horns, lets kill them to make wands of healing.

    My second problem is this: I want a sword that turns things to stone when it attacks people. Lets craft one. What materials do I need, ooh, why not use a medusaís head? Wait a second, how do you put a medusaís head into a sword? Whatever, it makes flavor sense, so itís logical.

    Not that Iím trying to tell you you have a bad idea, in fact I think itís a great one. But perhaps make it a little more realistic.

    For example, if I wanted a cap of the mountebank, I would need to use specifically the hide of a creature that can teleport, say a displacer beast. For a sword that turns stuff to stone, perhaps some basilisk claws.

    Itís a good idea to keep in mind that using this system, your players will be walking into towns and asking for a place to rest and shopping for ten foot poles etc. while wearing monster hides. Just an interesting thing to keep in mind.
    Last edited by elanfanboy; 2018-06-13 at 03:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    A change I suggest to the penalty for non-magical creatures is to have such a modifier for each type, then a flat rule reducing that particular penalty by the HD of the creature used, to a minimum of zero. That way, harvesting a Roc to get flight isn't utterly worthless, and low-HD Magical Beasts aren't going to be suffering the same harvesting pressure as the mundane creatures. It's still going to be a +12 to the DC for that Roc, but it'll be an easier fight than a number of other options for getting permanent Flight. And people won't get an effective +30 for going after a Harpy instead of one of the flying proper Humanoids. You also get the nice advantage of people-harvesters having a reason to hunt down high-level adventurers for body parts to make their creations, so the Cadaver Golem has a better reason to hunt strong Humanoids instead of numerous ones.
    I like it. Especially the bit about making adventurers more of an endangered species than they already are.

    Quote Originally Posted by elanfanboy View Post
    My biggest problem with this is the murderhoboism it implies. Hey, Unicorns heal with their horns, lets kill them to make wands of healing.
    That's pretty distasteful for a good party, but "kill unicorns and take their horn/hide/blood/etc. to steal their magic" is a pretty common trope for bad guys, showing up everywhere from myths to Harry Potter. If this system encourages villains to specifically hunt down and slaughter pure and innocent creatures to power their vile magics, I'd call that a plus.

    My second problem is this: I want a sword that turns things to stone when it attacks people. Lets craft one. What materials do I need, ooh, why not use a medusaís head? Wait a second, how do you put a medusaís head into a sword? Whatever, it makes flavor sense, so itís logical.
    Note that post #5 already stipulates that you have to use claws/stingers/fangs/etc. for swords, scales/fur/hide/etc. for armor, and so forth if you're trying to use a specific component to make extraction easier, so making a medusa-head sword isn't a thing you can do. But if mechanically you're just using bits and pieces from a medusa rather than a single specific part, you could flavor it as e.g. extracting the eyes, rendering them down into a liquid, and quenching the finished blade of the sword in that to grant it petrifying properties.

    For example, if I wanted a cap of the mountebank, I would need to use specifically the hide of a creature that can teleport, say a displacer beast. For a sword that turns stuff to stone, perhaps some basilisk claws.

    Itís a good idea to keep in mind that using this system, your players will be walking into towns and asking for a place to rest and shopping for ten foot poles etc. while wearing monster hides. Just an interesting thing to keep in mind.
    As with the medusa sword example, you don't necessarily have to make a cape of the mountebank out of one large displacer beast hide--you could make it out of a normal cloak with displacer beast's tentacles fashioned into clasps, for instance, or a cloak lined with blink dog fur. There are plenty of ways to make magic item creature with monster parts work flavor-wise without having it just involve hacking off a body part and sticking it on your clothes.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Quote Originally Posted by elanfanboy View Post
    My biggest problem with this is the murderhoboism it implies. Hey, Unicorns heal with their horns, lets kill them to make wands of healing.
    You could easily argue that the other way: having slaughtered a demon that was terrorising the Prime Material plane, I will now cut its body up so I can teleport from place to place, taking evildoers everywhere by surprise!

    Quote Originally Posted by elanfanboy View Post
    My second problem is this: I want a sword that turns things to stone when it attacks people. Lets craft one. What materials do I need, ooh, why not use a medusaís head? Wait a second, how do you put a medusaís head into a sword? Whatever, it makes flavor sense, so itís logical.
    You'd put a medusa's head ... or its eye, by which it thematically produces the flesh-to-stone gaze attack ... on a sword like this:
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    More generally, it's pretty much impossible to pin every spell prerequisite in the system down to a specific monster and a specific body part. Indeed if you did you'd likely generate arguments about why it can only be a displacer beast's hide and not the fur of a blink dog that gives you the cape of the mountebank.

    I think the trick is to balance it between allowing DMs and players enough creativity around this to fire their imaginations and it just turning into a freeform hunt for spell components, which as said earlier in the thread, doesn't really mean much because there's no controls around it, it's just busywork. Hence why "pick something thematically compatible" has effects on either the mass of material to be collected or on the Craft (Alchemy) check to process the component - you can just pick up 15 pounds of chopped-up demon meat to substitute for a spell of magic circle against good, but if you say you're getting hold of the demon's heart, well, it's only 5 pounds and less encumbrance. If you're making a sword with keen edge on it, you get a bonus on the Craft check if you specify you're collecting the demon's fangs to make the sword. And so on. You can still make the item without having to resort to thematic considerations, but it confers bonuses on aspects of the creation process if you do.

    The idea of this thing is to introduce both limits (i.e. skill checks) and optionality (i.e. it doesn't have to be the precise monster, you can come up with alternatives): you could be good at Heal but not at Craft (Alchemy). You could extract it from a few of these creatures which will take you more time, or try extracting it from this creature which has paralysis attacks and immunity to crits, which is going to make extracting it carry a chance of failure.

    And the other thing being: it has to compete with crafting magic items normally. There's only so much complexity or specificity you can put on a party before they throw their hands up and say "To hell with this, let's hit up a spellcaster at the next town for a spell of lightning bolt."

    Quote Originally Posted by elanfanboy View Post
    Itís a good idea to keep in mind that using this system, your players will be walking into towns and asking for a place to rest and shopping for ten foot poles etc. while wearing monster hides. Just an interesting thing to keep in mind.
    Noted, and a really good suggestion. That would probably form part of the notes for DMs at the end to remember rather than carrying a specific Diplomacy penalty or something - again, it's just unwieldy to generate penalties for all magic items and whatnot.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Moving on, below is the revised 'engine' of this module for comment. I haven't done the feats up yet, and the introduction and concluding notes will need some extra work in due course.

    A couple of other bits for the changelog:

    (1) I haven't made the "no magic during processing or extraction" rule absolute, but I have put what I hope are hard-ish limits on stacking bonuses. I've allowed up to a maximum +5 bonus on the check conferred by magic items or spells, whether directly or indirectly. This allows a little latitude since some of the skill DCs in effect are pretty full-on, and we are dealing with non-casters here who may not have as much latitude to boost their scores or what have you. It does allow a little Divine Insight, but it gates out Guidance of the Avatar.

    (2) I've left some "fixed" DCs for certain monsters and immunities essentially as a balm to parties who don't want to think that much about common immunities or simple spells, but also as an inspiration. I've called these "reliable" extractions on the suggestion that people have been taking these sorts of monsters down for years or decades, so for these spells there are fairly established processes in place which come with established DCs. If people want to find a better or lower-DC path to achieve the same effect, then good luck to them, since that's one of the joys of the system -- it leaves room for players to go hunting through monster manuals to see if they can achieve the same effect at a lower DC, but for those who don't, they have those checks in place anyway.

    (3) As suggested, humanoids and monsters have a +30 to the DC, minus the HD of the monster from which the component is extracted, down to a minimum of 0.

    (4) As might be seen, I've gated access to different types of monsters between two feats, but I also gated access to Incorporeals and Shapechangers behind another feat as well, since they strike me as the most potent subtypes of the lot.

    (5) The whole thing might need a good proofread, as adding bits and pieces tends to make you lose sight of the whole. Not to mention whether the whole thing is unwieldy or not. The "have these skill ranks to duplicated [Item Creation] feats" section in particular is first draft and if something doesn't seem to gel or seems unworkable, would be really happy to hear it. The design intent there was to leave it so the skill you could call on was at least somewhat thematically connected to the category of magic item for crafting, and I also tried to design it so you wouldn't have to have a different skill for every creation feat - hence the alternative skills, and bar one or two cases I think one skill suffices for at least two item creation feats.

    For your consideration, all.

    ----

    Introduction
    From the eye of newt to wing of bat to head of the medusa, the anatomy of fallen monsters used as elements in magical items has been a staple of fantasy settings for decades if not right back into myth. The intent of this homebrew module is to provide D&D 3.5 players with alternatives to searching out the spells which are prerequisites to creation of some magic items.

    In summary, certain parts of certain monstersí corpses can be used as substitutes for spell prerequisites in creating magic items. However, since there is a world of difference between casting a spell and producing the effect of a spell out of a dead creatureís anatomy, there is some preparation required Ė in picking which monster and what anatomy from that monster is to be used in replacing the spell prerequisite.

    There are also differences in how the creation of an item takes place, since again there is a world of difference between harnessing magic that is already in existence (a spell) and causing the life of magic to flare from biological components that at best are only partially magical.

    What can be used as a substitute for a spell prerequisite in a magic item?
    Spell prerequisites in theory can be extracted from almost any monster, but some types and subtypes of monsters are almost impossible to extract components from without dedicated study.

    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from the following types of creatures: Dragons, Fey, Giants, Magical Beasts, Monstrous Humanoids, Plants, and Vermin.

    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from the following types of creatures providing the extractor possesses the appropriate feat described below: Aberration, Construct, Elemental, Ooze, Outsider, and Undead.

    If a creature has the Incorporeal or Shapechanger subtype, spell prerequisites cannot be extracted from the creature unless the extractor possesses the appropriate feat.

    While components can also be extracted from creatures with the [animal] or [humanoid] type, using the components presents its own challenges, described below.

    Assuming that you can extract components from the monster in question, things that can be used as substitutes for spells include:

    • Components of a monster with an Extraordinary (Ex), Supernatural (Su), or Spell-like (Sp) ability that matches the spell prerequisite, e.g. a pixieís spell-like ability to cast entangle when a magic item requires that the creator be able to cast the spell entangle in order to make the item.
    • Components of a monster with a very similar Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level to that of the spell prerequisite, e.g. chain lightning or call lightning instead of lightning bolt (but not ball lightning, because it's a persistent ball of electricity instead of an instant stroke.)
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell prerequisite.
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell prerequisite.

    In addition, the anatomy of monsters with certain natural immunities can be reliably called on as substitutes for particular spells. ďNatural immunityĒ for these purposes is an immunity listed as one of a monster's special qualities, or specifically noted in its explanatory text. It does not include an immunity conferred by a monsterís type, but does include an immunity conferred by its subtype.

    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to an energy type Ė fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity -- always suffice as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to critical hits always suffice as a spell substitute for the spells limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification to its wearer.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to magic always suffice as a spell substitute for spell immunity or spell resistance.

    Finally, the very anatomy of certain monsters can be reliably used as substitutes for certain spells. Some examples include:

    • Components from a monster which regenerates can be used as a substitute for regenerate.
    • Components from a monster with the [Air] subtype can be used as a substitute for fly.
    • Components from a monster with the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype can be used as a substitute for water breathing or swim.
    • Components from a monster with the [Giant] type can be used as a substitute for enlarge person.
    • Components from a vampire can be used as a substitute for all vampiric touch spells.
    • Components from a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or a monster with the Shadow Creature template, can be used as a substitute for any spell prerequisite required to create a magic item that confers the Shadow quality on its user.


    It will be apparent this is not an exhaustive list of spells or creatures. While these specific substitutions are available at the rules, they should also be taken as examples of what is possible under these rules. It is possible to use components of other creatures as substitutes for other spell prerequisites. Guidance on how to make such substitutions is described below.

    How do I use a component as a substitute for a spell prerequisite?
    There are two steps in using parts of a monsterís corpse as a substitute for a spell prerequisite:

    Step One: Extracting the desired component/s from the creatureís corpse.
    Step Two: Preparing the extracted component/s for use in the creation of the magic item.

    Step One: Extraction
    1. You need enough material to work with.
    To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, you must collect enough of the monsterís anatomy for consumption during in the creation process. Some magic items may need the massive heart of an adult dragon; others, the tiniest shavings of pixie bones. The amount of material is calculated as follows:

    Mass required = (level of spell to be substituted x Caster Level of Magic Item)/4 pounds.

    (Unfortunately D&D doesnít consistently provide body weights for monsters. Where there isnít a weight given by the monsterís statblock or explanatory text, it will be up to the DM to estimate, with a guide being that the average human being weighs about 180 pounds.)

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the the spell to be substituted (e.g. using a silver dragonís wings for feather fall), that component counts as three times its normal weight for the purposes of accumulating enough mass to substitute for the spell.

    2. You have to put a magical quarantine in place.
    Limited spell effects can be operative during the process of extracting the component, either on the component itself, the tools used to extract it, or the extractor. The extraction process involves considerable risk of contaminating of the delicate magical balance of the component.

    No magical tool may be used to extract a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used.

    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to skill checks cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on skill checks, and therefore he can proceed to extract the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot extract the component until the spell wears off.
    After the component is extracted, spells and magic items may be used as normal; in particular, Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ may be cast to preserve components extracted in this manner.

    3. You have to successfully extract the component.
    Extracting components from a monsterís corpse requires a Heal skill check. The magic itemís creator need not make this check. Again, this is as distinct from preparing the components for consumption in the item creation process. Also, remember that unless you have the correct prerequisite feat, certain creature types and subtypes cannot be extracted from, regardless of their DC.

    The base Heal DC to extract a component is 10. This base DC is increased by each of the following qualities or features the creature has, cumulative:

    Feature DC Increase Reason
    Damage Resistance +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Natural Armor bonus +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Regeneration +2 Harder to keep incisions open
    Immunity to critical hits +3 Anatomy is difficult to discern
    Shapechanger Subtype and/or alternate form +3 Anatomy is variable
    Poison, disease, and/or paralysis attack (especially if the creatureís poisoning, disease-making, or paralysis special attacks are being used as spell substitutes) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Gaze attack (if visual apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Energy drain, ability damage and/or ability drain +3 Respiratory system is very complex
    Blindsight and/or Blindsense (if visual or auditory apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Unconventional sensory organs
    Telepathy and/or Psionic (if the creatureís brain is being extracted) +4 Brain is highly complex
    Incorporeal Subtype and/or Gaseous Form +5 Anatomy has more than one physical state

    If a creature has more than one feature in the same category, it is not counted twice. A creature that has a poison and a paralysis attack only increases the Heal DC by +3, not +6.

    For example: a night hag, with its disease attack (+3), ability to change shape (+3) and DR 10/cold iron and magic (+2), would require a DC 18 Heal check in order to extract a component to substitute for a sleep spell prerequisite.

    The person making the Heal check can access bonuses by way of skill synergies and thematic choices as below:

    5 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +2 to Heal check
    10 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +4 to Heal check
    15 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the creature involved: +6 to Heal check

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the magic item sought to be created, it confers a +4 bonus to the Heal check. However, to confer this bonus, the component intended to function as a spell substitute must match the item sought to be created as follows:

    Potions and Oils: the spellís substitute must be something sanguineous from the creature (e.g. blood, ichor, sap, sweat, tears, saliva).
    Rods, Wands and Staves: the spellís substitute must be something skeletal and rigid from the creature (e.g. a spine, bone, or similar.)
    Scrolls: the spellís substitute must be sanguineous (eg blood, ink, etc) or a body part that can function as a quill (e.g. a feather, claw, beak, talon.)
    Magic Armor: the spellís substitute must be something epidermal from the creature (e.g. skin, scales, fur, hide.)
    Magic Sword: the spellís substitute must be something in the nature of a slashing or piercing natural weapon (e.g. claw, fang, tooth, spine, stinger).
    Magic Bow: the spellís substitute must be something in the nature of a monsterís sinews for the string (e.g. back or leg tendon, rawhide, gut, spidersilk.)
    Magic Arrows: the spellís substitute must be in the nature of something that can operate as fletchings (e.g. feathers, fins, bristly fur, leaves)
    All other magic items: the spellís substitute must be in the nature of something thematic to the magic item to be made. (e.g. a copper dragonís scales for a Necklace of Copper Dragon Scales ).

    4. You have to prepare the component for use or preserve it.
    A biological component must be prepared for use in magic item creation within 24 hours of extracting it from the monster's corpse. This time limit can be extended by preserving the component by some manner, be it either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose, Preserve Organ, or similar spells suffice for this purpose.

    Step Two: Preparation
    Having successfully extracted the component to be used, it is time to prepare it for use. This preparation must be carried out before the process of item creation begins, but does not have to be carried out by the creator of the magic item.

    1. Itís all the spell prerequisites or none.
    If a magic item has more than one prerequisite spell for its creation, each of the prerequisite spells must be substituted with a separate component from a monster. A caster cannot supply one spell in the same process as a component is substituted for a spell: the flickerings of magic are too delicate to withstand the resonance of another spell interfering in the itemís creation.

    2. You have to set up another magical quarantine.
    As with extraction, limited spell effects can be operative during the process of preparing the component, either on the component, the tools, or the preparer of the component. The preparation process involves even greater risk of contamination of the delicate magical balance of the component.

    Any spells used to preserve the component, such as Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ must expire before the component can be prepared for use. No magical tool may be used to prepare a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used.

    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to the Craft (Alchemy) check cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on the skill check, and therefore he can proceed to process the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot process the component until the spell wears off.

    After the component is prepared, however, spells and magic items may be used as normal.

    3. You have to successfully prepare the component.
    Preparing a component for use requires a Craft (Alchemy) check (one per component, if there are multiple spells to be substituted). The DC for the checks is as follows:

    Situation Craft (Alchemy) DC
    Monster has the exact Su/Ex/Sp ability matching the spell required 5+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a very similar Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level to the spell required 10+ Magic Itemís CL, +2 per spell level of difference if the spell required is of a lower level
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell required 15+Magic Itemís CL, +4 per spell level difference if the spell required is of a lower level.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability of equal or higher level with matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required 20+ Magic Itemís CL, +6 per spell level difference if the spell required is of a lower level.
    Monster has a Su/Sp/Ex ability with a lower CL than the Magic Itemís CL +1 per difference in CL, in addition to any other DC set out in this table.
    Monster is of the [animal] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    Monster is of the [humanoid] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    Monster regenerates, and the spell to be substituted is regenerate 25
    Monster has the [Air] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is fly 25
    Monster has the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is water breathing or swim 25
    Monster is a vampire, and the spell to be substituted is normal, Greater, or Lesser vampiric touch 25
    Monster is a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or has the Shadow Creature template, and the spell to be substituted is required for a magic item that confers the Shadow quality 25
    Monster has a natural immunity (other than conferred by its type) to fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity, and the spell to be substituted is Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type 25
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification 32
    Monster has a natural immunity to magic and the spell to be substituted is spell immunity or spell resistance 25

    Once these steps are complete, the monster component then is consumed as a spell would be in the creation of the magic item. The Heal and Craft (Alchemy) checks do not have to be carried out by the magic itemís creator.

    Creating other spell substitutions
    Given the huge variety of spells which serve as prerequisites for magic items (and indeed the huge variety of magic items themselves) it is not feasible to delineate every possible substitution that might be made for a particular spell. In general, the guiding principle is: if a spell duplicates something special a monster naturally is, or can naturally do, that monsterís anatomy should be able to substitute for that spell.

    However, there are limits to creating other substitutions than those above, as set out below.

    (1) If the effects of a prerequisite spell entirely or generally match that of a creature's:
    • movement speed (such as a flight speed for fly or overland flight)
    • special attack (such as a poisonous bite for poison or poisoned needles or a [cold] breath weapon for freezing fog or cone of cold)
    • special quality (such as energy resistance for resist energy or protection from energy or Amphibious for water breathing or fins to feet)

    --then components from the creature may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 10 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    (2) If the effects of a prerequisite spell grant benefits similar to those afforded by a creatureís
    • size (such as being Large, as with enlarge person or Huge, as with giant size)
    • composition (such as a stone golem, in the case of stoneskin or an ooze in the case of amorphous form)
    • type (such as Plant, for neutralise poison or Dragon for scintillating scales)
    • subtype (such as magic circle against evil for Archon, or alter self for Shapechanger)

    --then components from the creature may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 15 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    (3) If a prerequisite spell is strongly associated with a particular creature by the spellís title (e.g. owlís wisdom, foxís cunning, bullís strength, spider climb, ghoul touch, sirineís grace, wail of the banshee)
    --then components from the creature named in the title of the spell may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 10 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    Crafting Magic Items with no caster or caster levels
    While the above rules do allow a caster with [Item Creation] feats to acquire and use substitutes for prerequisite spells, it is possible Ė via application of skills and this moduleís rules Ė for non-casters to independently create magic items substituting for spell prerequisites.

    A character crafting a magic item under this option as discussed can substitute prerequisite spells with monster components according to the rules above.

    Where a magic item has a prerequisite Caster Level, the character may use his character level to qualify for that prerequisite. Thus a 12th level fighter crafting a magic item using this system may satisfy a magic itemís prerequisite of ďCL 12Ē. Certain feats described below allow moderate bonuses to the character level for the purposes of this check.

    Where a magic item has a prerequisite [Item Creation] feat, the character may use his ranks in particular skills as set out in the table below to qualify for that prerequisite feat:

    Item Creation Feat Skill and prerequisite ranks
    Scribe Scroll 4 skill ranks in Forgery or Decipher Script
    Brew Potion 6 skill ranks in Craft (Alchemy) or Survival
    Create Wondrous Item 6 skill ranks in Craft (Jeweller) or Craft (Alchemy)
    Craft Magic Arms and Armor 8 skill ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing) or Craft (Bowmaking)
    Craft Wand 8 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Jeweller)
    Craft Rod 12 skill ranks in Craft (Metalwork) or Craft (Weaponsmithing)
    Craft Staff 15 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Bowmaking)
    Forge Ring 15 skill ranks in Craft (Metalworking) or Craft (Jeweller)

    Feats described below have an effect upon the minimum ranks at which these prerequisite feats are available. For each [Monstrous Creation] feat taken, the minimum ranks at which a prerequisite skill may qualify for an [Item Creation] feat is reduced by 1. For example, Bartok the fighter has 6 ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing). He also has 2 [Monstrous Creation] feats. Each of these feats reduces the minimum skill ranks for qualification by 1. Hence, he qualifies to substitute Craft Magic Arms and Armor for his skill in Craft (Weaponsmithing), which would ordinarily require 8 skill ranks to access.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    I really like how the system has shaped up, and it's probably close to being in a playtestable state, contingent on finishing up the mentioned feats.

    The only changed I'd make at this point would be to swap Craft (Bowmaking) out for Craft (Armorsmithing) for the Craft Magic Arms and Armor skill prerequisites, since it makes a lot more sense even if it isn't quite as symmetric with the other skills and item types.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    First cut at feats. Am I missing any? Any OP? Any underpowered? Remember that each feat you take reduces the minimum qualification skill rank to substitute Item Creation feats by 1. PEACH as always...

    Craft from Alien Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your interests in the biology of creatures have extended to bizarre and entirely foreign forms of life, from both this plane and others.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Aberration], [Ooze], and [Outsider] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Exotic Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    You are not satisfied with mastering the biology of the naturally magical monsters of the world. You have invested time and study into learning how to coax magical forces from artificial and primal forms of life.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Construct], [Elemental], and [Undead] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Transient Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your mastery of anatomy has reached the point of being able to find the tiniest, infinitesimal components of creatures whose biology is wholly ephemeral.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters with the [Incorporeal] and/or [Shapechanger] subtypes.
    Normal: Components cannot be extracted from monsters with the [Incorporeal] or [Shapechanger] subtype.


    Dark Surgeon [Monstrous Creation]
    Like Frankenstein, you have laboured in secret and in the shadows over years to perfect your dark craft. Shunned by polite society and even your fellow alchemists, you have reached what you believe is the apogee of your art: the igniting of magical forces from the bodies of humanoids.
    Prerequisites: Dissecting Prodigy, character must be evil
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [humanoid] type, but you also incur a +5 increase to DC on all Heal checks when extracting components from monsters other than the [Humanoid] type.


    Dawncrafter [Monstrous Creation]
    You have learned to harness the newborn sunís light in concentrating odylic forces during item creation.
    Benefit: When you commence preparation of a monster component at dawn, your Craft (Alchemy) check receives a +2 untyped bonus, but should you attempt to extract a monster component at any time between nightfall and dawn, your Heal check receives a -2 untyped penalty.


    Dissecting Prodigy [Monstrous Creation]
    You have made more incisions than an overworked assassin, in all manner of bodies, and the art of surgery is more like a parlour game to you.
    Benefit: When extracting monster components, you gain a +2 untyped bonus to your Heal check.


    Extract Life Essence [Monstrous Creation]
    In the most ephemeral biology, at the most fundamental building blocks of monsters, you have discovered the key to distilling the very energy of life itself.
    Prerequisites: Craft from Transient Anatomy
    Benefit: When preparing a component for use in a magic item, the component provides 20% of the XP required for the creation of the magic item.
    Normal: Magic items often contain a prerequisite of XP that must be provided by the creator of the magic item.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís XP costs, directly or indirectly, whether the holder of this feat or not is the item crafter.


    Gifted Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    When it comes to blending monster components and magical items, you just seem to have the touch.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be two levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above.
    Special: You cannot take this feat more than once.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Master Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Talent, skill, hard labour, and insight all blend together in you to allow you to create prodigious works well beyond the reach of other crafters of your calibre.
    Prerequisite: Gifter Crafter [Monstrous Creation], any one other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be four levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above. This benefit stacks with the benefit of Gifted Crafter.
    Special: You cannot take this feat more than once.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Moonknife [Monstrous Creation]
    The moonís light somehow seems to make your vision clearer, but you find your magical preparations tend to overheat.
    Benefit: If you commence extraction of a monster component at any time between sunset and sunrise, your Heal check receives a +2 untyped bonus, but all Craft (Alchemy) checks conducted between dawn and dusk receive a -2 untyped penalty.


    Symphonic Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Where others seek to create magic items from a minimum of monster components, you have found great benefit in diversifying the harmony of magical energies singing through the items you create.
    Prerequisite: One other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, twice the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 50%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, four times the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 75%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction with or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís costs, directly or indirectly.


    Totem Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    You are a wild man of the woods, one with beast and leaf and sky. You harvest the bodies of your fellow creatures and invest your possessions with their lifeforces.
    Prerequisite: Character must have at least 1 level in Barbarian
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [Animal] type.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Thoughts:

    1) Dawncrafter, Dissecting Prodigy, and Moonknife are flavorful, but not at all in line with the other feats in terms of usefulness; their ability to reduce skill rank prereqs by 1 if a character really doesn't like any of the other feats or has already taken all of them is much more useful than the feats' actual benefits. I'd combine them into a single feat called something like "Idiosyncratic Crafting" that gives +3 to both Craft (Alchemy) and Heal checks under certain circumstances, and then provide a short list of choices for said circumstances: during the day, at night, in a well-prepared lab, in pristine natural environs, etc., maybe with a "DMs can allow additional conditions if they are in line with the examples" clause. That makes the individual feat worth taking on its own and means you only have to write one feat for different crafter themes.

    2) Gifted Crafter and Master Crafter don't need their Special line, since the rule for feats is already that you can't take them more than one unless a given feat specifically says you can.

    3) Symphonic Caster should probably be renamed "Resonant Caster" or similar, and the flavor blurb changed accordingly; the current name implies it's a musical crafting feat in the same way Dark Surgeon is a villain crafting feat and Totem Crafter is a primitive crafting feat.

    4) I'd change the Totem Crafter prerequisites to "At least 1 level in barbarian, ranger, or totemist OR 10 ranks in Knowledge (Nature) and Survival." For the first part, rangers and totemists also fit the hermit-in-the-woods theme, and the totemist fits the totem crafter theme even more so than the barbarian. For the second part, someone who wants to be a dedicated crafter or someone who already has a nature-y theme without being one of those three classes shouldn't be forced to multiclass for this benefit when other type-related crafting feats don't require it either, and 10 ranks ensures that those three classes do have a monopoly on the practice for a few levels and you can't easily pick it up with cross-class ranks.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Those changes will all be made. Here's one thought I also had, along the lines of expanding the whole Dark Surgeon concept by way of feats...

    I'll be putting in a general prohibition on dissecting casters for their spells, since prepared casting (arcane or divine) isn't really flavoured as drawing on innate properties of a creature, it's more a ritual or a gift from the gods.

    But sorcerors in particular are themed as having some innate talents that they draw on to cast spells. Is it worth maybe considering adding the ability to harvest a spontaneous spellcaster's components to give access to the spells he had in life for the purposes of magic item creation?

    I'd gate it back behind the Dark Surgeon feat, since that's another level of nastiness entirely, but if you want to go down that path, you can now chase down sorcerors or pesky bards to access their spell lists? This could have a nice synergy with some evil Spellthief builds. What do you think?

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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Hmm. On the one hand, very thematic. On the other, a very very strong incentive for PCs to never take levels in any spontaneous casting classes, lest they find caster-harvesting death squads sent after them.

    If you're going to go with that, I'd suggest you only allow it to benefit from harvesting sorcerers with some sort of indication of specific monstrous power (a feat like Draconic Heritage or Fey Heritage, a [Bloodline] feat, levels in Fiend-Blooded, a dragonpact, etc.), and then only when substituting prereqs deriving from those feats/PrCs/etc. That ensures a strong thematic link to a source of monstrous power, where other spontaneous casters have a much weaker link, and it means that being a sorcerer isn't a death sentence for powerful crafters if they don't take such options since no one would bother with them unless they have obvious monstrous ancestry. And while that change makes the feat infrequently useful, it's still useful enough that you can have the "cultists are kidnapping people with sorcerous bloodlines to power their ritual of doom" plot work with these rules.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Okay, tidied version of the engine plus the feats. I still have to break up the text with images and probably a bit of flavour quotes, but this is about it ready to go.

    Again for the changelog:

    (1) Added the Craft from Monsterblooded feat, which might need some work.

    (2) Retained the "extract within 24 hours" but left no time limit on by when you have to commence the magic item creation after you've prepared the component for use - figured asking people to extract, prepare, and then create a magic item all within 48 hours was a bit much.

    (3) Some more tables put in, general formatting. If anyone's got a Style Guide around for homebrew material, I'd love to know more about it... :)

    Let me know how this looks, guys, or any other comments! :)





    Eye of newt, toe of frog, sword of power
    A module for casterless magic item creation under D&D 3.5 edition


    (Special thanks and appreciation to PairOíDice Lost, who provided invaluable feedback, suggestions, and advice on how to construct this module.)


    Introduction
    The Problem
    The Helmet of Rostam. The Armor of Ajax. Apolloís bow. The head of the Medusa. Cadmus and the dragonís teeth. The anatomy of fallen monsters used as the components of magic items has been a staple of fantasy settings for decades, if not right back into myth.

    But D&D 3.5 tends to gloss over this element of the creation of magic items (abstracted as gold piece costs in magic items) or outright does the idea horribly (Dragoncraft items in the Draconomicon.) Crafting magic items in 3.5 is exclusively the domain of casters, as only they can qualify for the [Item Creation] feats that allow one to actually build a glowing longsword, and magic items themselves often have prerequisites that include spells, which makes this even more a caster-biased option. Finally, 3.5 rules provide no real synergy between creating something like a magic sword and the Craft checks that would seem most germane to it: you can make a masterwork weapon with a good roll on Craft (Weaponsmithing), but to make even a +1 longsword, a caster just has to be 5th level and take Craft Magic Arms and Armor -- without any chance of failure.

    Compare this to R.A. Salvatoreís first novel, The Crystal Shard, built under second edition D&D rules and featuring one of the most iconic moments in D&D: as Bruenor Battlehammer, a dwarf with no magical ability at all, creates the masterwork of his life one moonlit night by forging Aegis-Fang Ė a beautifully balanced returning magical warhammer, which he then gives to Wulfgar.

    The Solution
    The intent of this homebrew module is to provide D&D 3.5 players with an alternative method of obtaining the spells which are prerequisites to creation of magic items, and an outright alternative to casters making a magic item at all, without confining the trick down to an artificer.

    This homebrew is modular, designed to bolt onto the present creation system rather than overhauling it. This is done by allowing substitutes for prerequisites in creating magic items, as follows:

    • Components of certain monstersí corpses can be used as substitutes for spell prerequisites in creating magic items. This is achieved by making Craft (Alchemy) and Heal skill checks as set out below.
    • Reaching given ranks in certain skills substitute for having a particular [Item Creation] feat. These skills and Item Creation feats are set out below.
    • Character level substitutes for Caster Level in relation to magic item prerequisites.


    Finally, I have added a suite of optional feats appended to this module Ė [Monstrous Creation] feats -- though a non-caster crafter need not take a single one of them in order to build a decent variety of magic items. These feats serve double duty in that they directly provide more options to crafting and also make options for crafting available earlier.

    However, letís first talk about how it all works.


    Substituting Monster Components for Spells
    There is a world of difference between casting a spell and producing a spellís effect from a dead creatureís anatomy. As a result, there is some groundwork required Ė in picking which monster and what anatomy from that monster is to be used in replacing the spell prerequisite, and then in preparing that biological matter for use in the item creation process.


    What can be used as a substitute for a spell prerequisite in a magic item?
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    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from almost any monster, but some types and subtypes of monsters are almost impossible to extract components from without dedicated study. It is not possible to extract a component from a living monster, or an undead monster that has not been destroyed and/or reduced to 0 hitpoints.

    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from the following types of creatures: Dragons, Fey, Giants, Magical Beasts, Monstrous Humanoids, Plants, and Vermin.

    Spell prerequisites can be extracted from the following types of creatures providing the extractor possesses the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat described below: Aberration, Construct, Elemental, Ooze, Outsider, and Undead.

    If a creature has the Incorporeal or Shapechanger subtype, spell prerequisites cannot be extracted from the creature unless the extractor possesses the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat.

    Spell prerequisites cannot be extracted from the spell slots of a spellcaster who prepares their spells, be they arcane or divine. These spells are not truly part of the monsterís biological makeup, but rather are boons granted by their gods or arcane rituals which focus and direct magical energy.

    Spell prerequisites cannot be extracted from the spell slots of a spontaneous caster, be they arcane or divine, unless the extractor possesses the appropriate [Monstrous Creation] feat Ė and then, prerequisites may only be extracted on the conditions that feat imposes. While sorcerers in particular are frequently said to have dragon blood in their heritage which in part powers their innate spellcasting abilities, in practice these biological aspects cannot be narrowed down sufficiently unless there is some other feature to their makeup that magnifies that heritage; see the feats section below for details.

    While components can also be extracted from creatures with the [animal] or [humanoid] type, using the components presents its own challenges, described below.

    Assuming that you can extract components from the monster in question, things that can be used as substitutes for spells include:

    • Components of a monster with an Extraordinary (Ex), Supernatural (Su), or Spell-like (Sp) ability that matches the spell prerequisite, e.g. a pixieís spell-like ability to cast entangle where a magic item requires that the creator be able to cast the spell entangle in order to make the item.
    • Components of a monster with a very similar Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level to that of the spell prerequisite, e.g. chain lightning or call lightning instead of lightning bolt (but not ball lightning, because it's a persistent ball of electricity instead of an instant stroke.)
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell prerequisite, e.g. Wall of Fire for Fire Shield.
    • Components of a monster with an Ex/Su/Sp ability of equal or higher level, with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell prerequisite. What is thematically inappropriate is solely within the DMís judgment, but as an example, if a creature has a Spell-like ability to cast Fireball, generally this will not serve as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Tiny Hut, even if theyíre both level 3 spells of the Evocation school.

    Due to extensive experimentation among item crafters, some ďrecipesĒ for substitution are well-known. As such, the anatomy of monsters with certain natural immunities can be reliably called on as substitutes for particular spells. ďNatural immunityĒ for these purposes is an immunity listed as one of a monster's special qualities, or specifically noted in its explanatory text. It does not include an immunity conferred by a monsterís type, but does include an immunity conferred by its subtype.

    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to an energy type Ė fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity -- always suffice as a substitute for a spell prerequisite of Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to critical hits always suffice as a spell substitute for the spells limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification to its wearer.
    • Components from a monster with a natural immunity to magic always suffice as a spell substitute for spell immunity or spell resistance.

    In the same way, it has been discovered that the anatomy of certain monsters can be reliably used as substitutes for certain spells. The known and reliable substitutions are:

    • Components from a monster which regenerates can be used as a substitute for regenerate.
    • Components from a monster with the [Air] subtype can be used as a substitute for fly.
    • Components from a monster with the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype can be used as a substitute for water breathing or swim.
    • Components from a monster with the [Giant] type can be used as a substitute for enlarge person.
    • Components from a vampire can be used as a substitute for all vampiric touch spells.
    • Components from a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or a monster with the Shadow Creature template, can be used as a substitute for any spell prerequisite required to create a magic item that confers the Shadow quality on its user.


    It will be apparent this is not an exhaustive list of spells or monsters; as said, these are reliable ďrecipesĒ that crafters have known about for generations. It may be possible to find the same spell can be substituted from another monster. Guidance on how to make such substitutions is described further below.



    How do I use a component as a substitute for a spell prerequisite?
    There are two steps in using parts of a monsterís corpse as a substitute for a spell prerequisite:

    Step One: Extracting the desired component/s from the creatureís corpse.
    Step Two: Preparing the extracted component/s for use in the creation of the magic item.


    Step One: Extraction

    1. You need enough material to work with.
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    To function as a substitute for a spell prerequisite, you must collect enough of the monsterís anatomy for consumption during in the creation process. Some magic items may need the massive heart of an adult dragon; others, the tiniest shavings of pixie bones. The amount of material is calculated as follows:

    Mass required = (level of spell to be substituted x Caster Level of Magic Item)/4 pounds.

    (Note that D&D doesnít consistently provide body weights for monsters. Where there isnít a weight given by the monsterís explanatory text, it will be up to the DM to estimate, with a guide being that the average human being weighs about 180 pounds.)

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the spell to be substituted (e.g. using a silver dragonís wings as a substitute for feather fall, because a silver dragon can cast that spell as a (Sp) ability and wings are thematically appropriate to a spell about slowing something falling out of the sky), that component counts as three times its normal weight for the purposes of accumulating enough mass to substitute for the spell.


    2. You have to put a magical quarantine in place.
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    Limited spell effects can be operative during the process of extracting the component, either on the component itself, the tools used to extract it, or the extractor. The extraction process involves considerable risk of contaminating the delicate magical balance within the component.

    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to skill checks cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on skill checks, and therefore he can proceed to extract the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot extract the component until the spell expires.

    No magical tool may be used to extract a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used.

    After the component is extracted, spells and magic items may be used as normal; in particular, Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ may be cast to preserve components extracted in this manner.


    3. You have to successfully extract the component.
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    Extracting components from a monsterís corpse requires a Heal skill check. The magic itemís creator need not make this check. Again, this is as distinct from preparing the components for consumption in the item creation process. Also, remember that unless you have the correct prerequisite feat, certain creature types and subtypes cannot be extracted from, regardless of their DC.

    The base Heal DC to extract a component is 10. This base DC is increased by each of the following qualities or features the creature has, cumulative:
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    Feature DC Increase Reason
    Damage Resistance +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Natural Armor bonus +2 Harder to penetrate skin
    Regeneration +2 Harder to keep incisions open
    Immunity to critical hits +3 Anatomy is difficult to discern
    Shapechanger Subtype and/or alternate form +3 Anatomy is variable
    Poison, disease, and/or paralysis attack (especially if the creatureís special attacks are being used as spell substitutes) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Gaze attack (if visual apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Dangerous to extract
    Energy drain, ability damage and/or ability drain +3 Respiratory system is very complex
    Blindsight and/or Blindsense (if visual or auditory apparatus of the creature is being extracted) +3 Unconventional sensory organs
    Telepathy and/or Psionic (if the creatureís brain is being extracted) +4 Brain is highly complex
    Incorporeal Subtype and/or Gaseous Form +5 Anatomy has more than one physical state

    For example: a night hag, with its disease attack (+3), ability to change shape (+3) and DR 10/cold iron and magic (+2), would require a DC 18 Heal check in order to extract a component to substitute for a sleep spell prerequisite.

    If a creature has more than one feature in the same category, it is not counted twice. A creature that has a poison and a paralysis attack only increases the Heal DC by +3, not +6.



    The person making the Heal check can access bonuses by way of skill synergies and thematic choices as below:
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    5 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +2 to Heal check
    10 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +4 to Heal check
    15 skill ranks in the Knowledge skill applicable to the monster: +6 to Heal check

    If the player specifies s/he is extracting a component that is, in the DMís judgment, thematically appropriate to the magic item sought to be created, it confers a +4 bonus to the Heal check. However, to confer this bonus, the component intended to function as a spell substitute must match the item sought to be created as follows:

    Item Category Matching item from creature Examples
    Potions Something sanguineous Blood, ichor, sap, sweat, tears, saliva
    Rods, Wands and Staves Something skeletal or rigid Spine, bone
    Scrolls Something sanguineous or which can function as a qull Blood, ink, a feather, claw, beak, talon
    Magic Armor Something epidermal Skin, scales, fur, hide
    Magic Sword Something in the nature of a slashing or piercing natural weapon Claw, fang, tooth, spine, stinger
    Magic Bow Something in the nature of a monsterís sinews for the bowstring Back or leg tendon, rawhide, gut, spidersilk
    Magic Arrows Something that can operate as fletchings Feathers, fins, bristly fur, leaves
    All other magic items Something thematic to the magic item to be made A copper dragonís scales for a Necklace of Copper Dragon Scales

    For example, a playerís character is about to extract biological components from an Ettercap for the purposes of substituting its (Ex) poison ability for a spell of Poison in a magic item. The player specifies that the character is extracting the ettercapís fangs in order to make a venomous dagger (see MoF for details of the venomous weapon quality). Since fangs are matched to a dagger, the DM rules that the characterís Heal check to extract them has a +4 bonus. The character could have simply extracted the ettercapís internal organs which produce the poison, but in this particular case as no intended magic item was specified, there would be no +4 to the check.

    However, there is one drawback to this bonus: if granted, the extracted component cannot be used in the creation of any magic item other than the one specified by the player when extracting the component. For example, if our player decided later that he didnít want to make a Venomous dagger and instead just wanted to scribe a scroll of Poison, the ettercapís fangs could not be used for that magic item. Different body parts serve or are suited to different purposes, and this is as true of monster anatomy as human.


    4. You have to prepare the component for use or preserve it.
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    A biological component must be prepared for use in magic item creation within 24 hours of extracting it from the monster's corpse. After that the component loses such fragile magical energies as it had and becomes useless, nothing more than corrupted meat at best. This time limit can be extended by preserving the component by some manner, be it either magical or otherwise. Gentle Repose, Preserve Organ, or similar spells suffice for this purpose.


    Step Two: Preparation
    Having successfully extracted the component, it is time to prepare it for use. This preparation must be carried out before the process of magic item creation begins, but does not have to be carried out by the creator of the magic item.

    The process of preparation takes 1 hour for each pound of the component extracted. Unlike extraction, the process of preparation may be spread out over time in the same way a magic itemís creation can be spread out over time.

    1. Itís all the spell prerequisites or none.
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    If a magic item has more than one prerequisite spell for its creation, each of the prerequisite spells must be substituted with a separate component from a monster. A caster cannot supply one spell in the same process as a component is substituted for a spell: the flickerings of magic are too delicate to withstand the resonance of another spell interfering in the itemís creation.


    2. You have to set up another magical quarantine.
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    As with extraction, limited spell effects can be operative during the process of preparing the component, either on the component, the tools, or the preparer of the component. The preparation process involves even greater risk of contamination of the delicate magical balance of the component.

    Any spells used to preserve the component, such as Gentle Repose or Preserve Organ must expire before the component can be prepared for use.
    The cumulative bonuses of all magic in effect and granting a bonus to the Craft (Alchemy) check cannot exceed a total of +5. ďAll magicĒ includes magic items, Spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities, Extraordinary abilities, and magic spells that directly or indirectly boost stats, level, or skill checks.

    For example, Tordek has a Headband of Intellect +4, and has cast the spell Divine Insight to afford him a +1 bonus to his next skill check. This amounts to a total bonus of +3 on the skill check, and therefore he can proceed to process the component. However, were he to have cast the spell Guidance of the Avatar instead, the total bonus would be +22, which is too vast a set of magical energies in effect. He cannot process the component until the spell wears off.

    No magical tool may be used to prepare a component, though masterwork tools, being nonmagical, may be used. After the component is prepared, however, spells and magic items may be used as normal.


    3. You have to successfully prepare the component.
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    Preparing a component for use requires a Craft (Alchemy) check (one check per component, if there are multiple spells to be substituted). The DC for each check is as follows:
    Spoiler: DC checks for Craft (Alchemy)
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    Situation Craft (Alchemy) DC
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell exactly matching the required spell 5+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell very similar to the required spell, and the ability is equal spell level to the required spell 10+ Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a spell very similar to the spell required, and the ability is higher spell level to the required spell 10+Magic Itemís CL +2 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching subschool or descriptor to the required spell, and the ability is equal spell level to the required spell 15+Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching subschool or descriptor to the spell required, and the ability is higher spell level to the required spell 15 +Magic Itemís CL +4 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required, and the ability is equal spell level to the spell required 20+Magic Itemís CL
    Monster has a Su/Ex/Sp ability with a matching school and no thematically-inappropriate descriptors to the spell required, and the abilityís spell is higher level to the spell required 20+Magic Itemís CL+6 per level of difference between the monsterís ability and the spell required.
    Monster has a Su/Sp/Ex ability with a lower CL than the Magic Itemís CL +1 to DC per point of difference in CL, in addition to any other DC set out in this table.
    Monster is of the [animal] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    Monster is of the [humanoid] type, and has no other type or subtype +30 to DC, minus the HD of the creature which provided the component, to a minimum of 0.
    Monster regenerates, and the spell to be substituted is regenerate 25
    Monster has the [Air] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is fly 25
    Monster has the [Water] or [Aquatic] subtype, and the spell to be substituted is water breathing or swim 25
    Monster is a vampire, and the spell to be substituted is normal, Greater, or Lesser vampiric touch 25
    Monster is a Shadow, Shadow Dragon, Shadow Demon, an outsider native to the Plane of Shadow, or has the Shadow Creature template, and the spell to be substituted is required for a magic item that confers the Shadow quality 25
    Monster has a natural immunity (other than an immunity conferred by its type) to fire, cold, acid, sonic, or electricity, and the spell to be substituted is Resist Energy or Protection From Energy to that corresponding energy type 25
    Monster has a natural immunity to critical hits and the spell to be substituted is limited wish or miracle in a magic item that confers light, medium, or heavy fortification 32
    Monster has a natural immunity to magic and the spell to be substituted is spell immunity or spell resistance 25

    Once preparation is complete, the monster component is then available for use in crafting of a magic item as a substitute for that spell. Again, if the DM awarded a +4 bonus at extraction for a thematic component, the prepared monster component cannot be used to create any magic item other than the one specified at extraction.

    The component is fully consumed as a spell would be in the creation of the magic item. The Heal and Craft (Alchemy) checks do not have to be carried out by the magic itemís creator.


    Creating other spell substitutions
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    Given how many spells which serve as prerequisites for magic items (and how many magic items there are) it isnít feasible to set out every possible substitution that might be made for a given spell (or vice versa). However, there are limits to creating other substitutions than those provided above:

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    (1) If the effects of a prerequisite spell entirely or generally match that of a creature's:
    • movement speed (such as a flight speed for fly or overland flight)
    • special attack (such as a poisonous bite for poison or poisoned needles or a [cold] breath weapon for freezing fog or cone of cold)
    • special quality (such as energy resistance for resist energy or protection from energy or Amphibious for water breathing or fins to feet)

    --then components successfully extracted from the creature may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 10 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    (2) If the effects of a prerequisite spell grant benefits similar to those afforded by a creatureís
    • size (such as being Large, as with enlarge person or Huge, as with giant size)
    • composition (such as a stone golem, in the case of stoneskin or an ooze in the case of amorphous form)
    • type (such as Plant, for neutralise poison or Dragon for scintillating scales)
    • subtype (such as magic circle against evil for Archon, or alter self for Shapechanger)

    --then components successfully extracted from the creature may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 15 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    (3) If a prerequisite spellís title is strongly associated with a particular creature, for example:
    • owlís wisdom
    • foxís cunning
    • spider climb
    • ghoul touch
    • sirineís grace
    • wail of the banshee

    --then components successfully extracted from the creature named in the title of the spell may be used to substitute for the spell with a DC 10 + Caster Level of the Magic Item Craft (Alchemy) check.

    In general, the guiding principle is: if a spell duplicates something special a monster naturally is, or can naturally do, that monsterís anatomy should be able to substitute for that spell.


    Crafting Magic Items without caster levels
    While a caster with the appropriate [Item Creation] feats can acquire and use substitutes for prerequisite spells under these rules, non-casters can also create magic items via application of skills.

    Generally the DMG/SRDís rules on creation of magic items apply where not altered by these rules. In particular, the requirements of creation time, gold piece costs, and XP expenditures common to the creation of most magic items remain. Magic items frequently contain prerequisites: absent any exceptions made by this module, a non-caster crafter must otherwise meet the prerequisites of the magic item he intends to create per the default rules for item creation.

    The following modifications to item creation rules apply:
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    • A character crafting a magic item can substitute prerequisite spells with monster components using this module's rules. The crafter may extract or prepare components himself, or have other members of his party contribute these components. Once again, if a magic item has multiple prerequisite spells, all of the spell prerequisites to the magic item must be substituted with monster components. A caster cannot contribute a spell to a magic item where a monster component is being used in the same item, and neither can a magic item contribute a spell.
    • Where a magic item has a prerequisite Caster Level, the character may use his character level as a substitute for that prerequisite. For example, if a magic item has a prerquisite of ďCaster Level 12Ē, a 12th level fighter would satisfy that prerequisite Ė as would a Ranger 3/Paladin 9. Certain [Monstrous Creation] feats allow moderate bonuses to character level for the purposes of this check.
    • Where a magic item has a prerequisite [Item Creation] feat, the character may use his ranks in certain skills as set out in the table below as a substitute for that prerequisite feat:

      Item Creation Feat Skill and prerequisite ranks
      Scribe Scroll 4 skill ranks in Forgery or Decipher Script
      Brew Potion 6 skill ranks in Craft (Alchemy) or Survival
      Create Wondrous Item 6 skill ranks in Craft (Jeweller) or Craft (Alchemy)
      Craft Magic Arms and Armor 8 skill ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing) or Craft (Armorsmithing)
      Craft Wand 8 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Jeweller)
      Craft Rod 12 skill ranks in Craft (Metalwork) or Craft (Weaponsmithing)
      Craft Staff 15 skill ranks in Craft (Woodworking) or Craft (Bowmaking)
      Forge Ring 15 skill ranks in Craft (Metalworking) or Craft (Jeweller)


    Monstrous Creation Feats
    This module creates a new category of feats called [Monstrous Creation] feats. These feats may be taken by casters or non-casters as according to their prerequisites below.

    [Monstrous Creation] feats have an effect upon the minimum skill ranks at which prerequisite [Item Creation] feats can be substituted by a non-caster. For each [Monstrous Creation] feat a character has, the minimum skill rank for substituting an [Item Creation] feat is reduced by 1.

    For example, Bartok the fighter has 6 skill ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing). He also has 2 [Monstrous Creation] feats, Idiosyncratic Crafter and Craft from Transient Anatomy. Each of these feats reduces the minimum skill ranks for qualification by 1. Hence, he qualifies to substitute Craft Magic Arms and Armor for his skill in Craft (Weaponsmithing), which would ordinarily require 8 skill ranks to access.

    The list of feats:

    Craft from Alien Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your interests in the biology of creatures have extended to bizarre and entirely foreign forms of life, from both this plane and others.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Aberration], [Ooze], and [Outsider] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Exotic Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    You are not satisfied with mastering the biology of the naturally magical monsters of the world. You have invested time and study into learning how to coax magical forces from artificial and primal forms of life.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters of the [Construct], [Elemental], and [Undead] types.
    Normal: Components can only be extracted from monsters of the Dragon, Fey, Giant, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant, and Vermin types.


    Craft from Monsterblooded Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    You have taken a horrifying interest in the capacity of humanoids with the blood of monsters in them to provide components for magic items.
    Prerequisites: Dark Surgeon, character must be evil
    Benefit: You may extract components for the purpose of substituting spells from spontaneous casters who have one or more of the following features:
    • A [Heritage] feat
    • A [Bloodline] feat
    • At least one level in Fiend-Blooded
    • A Dragonpact
    However, you may only extract components for the purpose of substituting a prerequisite spell with a Su/Sp/Ex ability which one of these features grants, or an additional spell the feature adds to the spontaneous casterís spell list. You may not access the spontaneous casterís spell list otherwise. For example, a humanoid monster sorcerer has Fey Legacy, a [Heritage] feat that grants Confusion, Dimension Door, and Summon Natureís Ally V as Spell-like abilities. Components can be extracted from this monster for the purposes of substitutions consistent with these three spells under the rules. The sorcererís own spells of Glitterdust and Magic Missile could not serve as components to substitute for those spells Ė however, if the effect of the feat was to add those spells to the sorcererís spell list, they could so serve as such components. The DM may allow other monster-themed feats or class features to qualify for extraction from spontaneous casters. The general guideline is that a spontaneous spellcaster without more by way of a feat or similar cannot be extracted from Ė even allowing for their monstrous heritages, spontaneous spellcastersí anatomies do not manifest anything extractable without something that concentrates their heritage, i.e. a feat, appropriate levels, or pacts with dragons, etc.
    Normal: You cannot extract components from a spellcaster for the purposes of substituting prerequisite spells drawn from their spell lists.


    Craft from Transient Anatomy [Monstrous Creation]
    Your mastery of anatomy has reached the point of being able to find the tiniest, infinitesimal components of creatures whose biology is wholly ephemeral.
    Benefit: You are able to extract components from monsters with the [Incorporeal] and/or [Shapechanger] subtypes.
    Normal: Components cannot be extracted from monsters with the [Incorporeal] or [Shapechanger] subtype.



    Dark Surgeon [Monstrous Creation]
    Like Frankenstein, you have laboured in secret and in the shadows over years to perfect your dark craft. Shunned by polite society and even your fellow alchemists, you have reached what you believe is the apogee of your art: the igniting of magical forces from the bodies of humanoids.
    Prerequisites: Idiosyncratic Crafter, character must be evil
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [humanoid] type, but you also incur a +5 increase to DC on all Heal checks when preparing components extracted from all monsters apart from the [Humanoid] type.


    Extract Life Essence [Monstrous Creation]
    In the most ephemeral biology, at the most fundamental building blocks of monsters, you have discovered the key to distilling the very energy of life itself.
    Prerequisites: Craft from Transient Anatomy
    Benefit: When preparing a component for use in a magic item, the component provides 20% of the XP required for the creation of the magic item.
    Normal: Magic items often contain a prerequisite of XP that must be provided by the creator of the magic item.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís XP costs, directly or indirectly, whether the holder of this feat or not is the item crafter.


    Gestalt Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Where others seek to create magic items from a minimum of monster components, you have found great benefit in diversifying the harmony of magical energies singing through the items you create.
    Prerequisite: One other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, twice the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 50%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    If you successfully extract, successfully prepare, and then create a magic item with, four times the number of monster components normally required to substitute all prerequisite spells for that item, the GP cost for creating that item is reduced by 75%, and the time taken to create the magic item is halved.
    Special: This feat cannot be used in conjunction with or combination with any [Item Creation] feat which reduces a magic itemís costs, directly or indirectly.


    Gifted Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    When it comes to blending monster components and magical items, you just seem to have the touch.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be two levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Idiosyncratic Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    There are certain situations where you are best able to attune to the magical forces involved in extracting and processing monster components.
    Benefit: Choose one of the below set of circumstances. Your Heal and/or Craft (Alchemy) checks +3 for the purposes of extracting and preparing monster components for magic item creation in those situations.
    Dawncrafter: You commence extraction of a monster component, or commence preparation of an extracted monster component, at sunrise.
    Moonknife: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, between sunset and sunrise.
    Lab Rat: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, in a well-prepared laboratory set up for surgery or alchemy.
    Naturalist: You commence and complete extraction of a monster component, or commence and complete preparation of an extracted monster component, in pristine natural surroundings, e.g. a clear waterfall in the wilderness, a mountain crag, a cave uninhabited by animals. The precise definition of pristine natural surroundings is a matter solely for DM adjudication.
    The DM may allow other situations to qualify for these bonuses in line with the above circumstances.


    Master Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    Talent, skill, hard labour, and insight all blend together in you to allow you to create prodigious works well beyond the reach of other crafters of your calibre.
    Prerequisite: Gifted Crafter [Monstrous Creation], any one other [Monstrous Creation] feat.
    Benefit: Your character level is taken to be four levels higher for the purpose of assessing whether your character level equals a magic itemís prerequisite Caster Level in accordance with the rules above. This benefit stacks with the benefit of Gifted Crafter.
    Normal: When substituting a prerequisite Caster Level under these rules, normally the item crafterís unaltered character level must meet the prerequisite.


    Totem Crafter [Monstrous Creation]
    You are a wild man of the woods, one with beast and leaf and sky. You harvest the bodies of your fellow creatures and invest your possessions with their lifeforces.
    Prerequisite: 10 skill ranks in Knowledge (Nature) and Survival, or at least 1 level in Barbarian, Ranger, or Totemist.
    Benefit: You do not incur the +30 increase to DC on Craft (Alchemy) checks when preparing components extracted from monsters of the [Animal] type.


    Spoiler: Behind the Curtain/Some final notes for DMs
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    Keep in mind that creation of magic items in this manner might provide all manner of NPC reactions to characters depending on what you build and what you use to make it. Someone who wanders into town sporting an illithid skull for a Helm of Telepathy might well draw some welcome (or unwelcome) attention. If this happens, itís part of the design: much of the idea of these rules is to make magic items a little more personalised and a bit more of a memorable experience, in a similar manner to Pathfinderís Dynamic Magic Item Crafting system. (And indeed these rules should bolt fairly seamlessly onto that system as well if youíre inclined to go down that path.)

    Donít be surprised to find people leafing furiously through monster manuals and asking you to adjudicate all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas about how to build magic items. That is also part of the intent of the system, because this form of crafting all but requires people to do some metagaming and go looking at what sort of Ex/Su/Sp abilities they can pillage off the next monster they find.

    Also donít be surprised to find a certain murderhobo focus to characters who go under this system. But at the end of the day, the monsters you throw at the party are a matter for you. The characters canít go summoning their way into getting everything they want, but you might consider the benefits if a character asks you where they can find a Roc to get some of its feathers: congratulations, you have a sidequest from your main campaign, one that the characters initiated and more or less thought up for themselves.

    This module unashamedly offers easier paths to item creation feats: again, thatís by design, since thereís only so much complexity or character advancement people will stomach before they simply say ďTo the Nine Hells with this, find me the next town with a caster who has lightning bolt.Ē This module was meant to compete with the caster-focused, caster-biased system of magic item creation, and I hope it serves you well.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    No suggested changes from me. Looks like it's ready for some playtesting.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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    Default Re: Eye of newt and wing of bat: using monster parts in item creation [Working thread

    Right - I will alter the OP of this thread to contain this text and indicate it's open for playtesting to one and all, and ask people to report their results back here if they're inclined to use it. Will also unleash it on my poor suffering players in my current campaign

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    Default Re: Eye of newt, toe of frog: casteless item creation [Playtesting, please use]

    EDITING: So, changes I am also contemplating making, if anyone has any comments:

    (1) Adding some additional Heal DC modifiers on extraction depending on how the unsuspecting monster met its end. In particular, it seems to me that if the creature suffers Massive Damage (i.e. 50 hitpoints in one blow) then whether or not that kills the beast, it would be thematic to add a +2 to the DC since you've basically chopped a massive hole in the thing while trying to kill it.

    (2) Similar-ish comment for things that cause direct damage, e.g. large-scale fire, cold, sonic, acid, or electricity attacks. I'm thinking if the thing suffers more than about 40 hitpoints of damage from one or more of these sources in a single strike, it raises the Heal DC by +2 also because you're barbecuing, freezing, shattering, corroding, or calcifying the monster, which makes it harder to extract anything useful from it.

    (3) On the other hand, coup de grace attacks that achieve these totals don't increase the DC. The coup de grace is a carefully aimed strike designed to end the creature quickly, which doesn't do a lot of collateral damage to the corpse.

    (4) Thematic items for scrolls will include something which can function as a writing surface, e.g. dragons' wing membranes.

    (5) Constructs (eg Warforged crafters) don't interfere with the extraction or preparation processes of themselves.

    (6) Probably will also condense the Craft (Alchemy) DCs table to include "other spell prerequisites", and try to condense the text for what can and can't be used for substitution.

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    Default Re: Eye of newt, toe of frog: casterless item creation [Playtesting, please use]

    One problem with this system, that I see at least, is the issue of weight/mass. The mass need to be harvested from a creature for making a magical item is 1/4 of the replaced spell's level time the item's casting level. That would mean you'd need 1 1/2 pounds with of suitable material, or half a pound of it if its especially suited to the task, to make a ring of invisibility. It just seems a bit excessive, that's all. I'd really appreciate it if you clarified that for me.
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    Default Re: Eye of newt, toe of frog: casterless item creation [Playtesting, please use]

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    One problem with this system, that I see at least, is the issue of weight/mass. The mass need to be harvested from a creature for making a magical item is 1/4 of the replaced spell's level time the item's casting level. That would mean you'd need 1 1/2 pounds with of suitable material, or half a pound of it if its especially suited to the task, to make a ring of invisibility. It just seems a bit excessive, that's all. I'd really appreciate it if you clarified that for me.
    The rationale I had for introducing that control on the harvesting of items was to try and encourage players to think of alternative creatures to harvest from ... or at least try and make things a bit more interesting. It was also to try and keep controls on adventuring parties that decided they'd get all the prerequisites for Boots of Flying from shooting down seagulls. Boots of Flying would require about 3.75 pounds of biomass from birds to produce (albeit the DCs for Alchemy and Heal would be pretty high). This means you at least have to find several birds before you can do something that's kind of gamey with the system.

    Let's say to build a ring of invisibility we decide that we'll harvest a Will o' the Wisp for its natural invisibility (assuming we have the right feat to extract components from aberrations). Per the SRD, a Will o' the Wisp is a spongy ball which weighs about 3 pounds, so therefore one such creature would supply enough biological material to make such a ring. (EDIT: The main reasons for looking for thematic items come down to two reasons:
    (1) The biomass being sought to be extracted is particularly thematic to the spell to be replaced, and therefore counts for more mass; or
    (2) The item sought to be extracted is particularly thematic to the item to be created, which affords a +4 on the Heal check to extract.
    This was deliberately chosen in order to give parties benefits for being creative in their choices for extraction, but not to function as absolute bars to creating items.)

    Obviously a ring of invisibility doesn't weigh 1.5 pounds, but the idea is that this material is consumed during the process of creating the magic item - it's rendered down, distilled, burned up , whatever you like, so we wind up with a magic item that doesn't require a caster to make it but which did necessitate that the party went and hunted down a somewhat uncommon monster to collect the ingredients to construct it.

    Is the concern more around that it's too much mass to collect for various things? I could be wrong, but I'd have thought by the time parties start building solid magic items that carrying capacity isn't going to be too much of a problem - bags of holding and whatnot. Or is it that the mass seems arbitrary, something else? Would a higher denominator for the formula (e.g. CL x spell level / 5) work better?

    Any and all thoughts welcome of course.

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