Relic Magic Items

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Relic Magic Items

Postby Talinor » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:12 pm

Ok, I really don't know where this question should be asked, so I'm throwing it here for the general discussion.

As several of you know, I've been gathering "bits" and "pieces" for a special magic item for my Cleric of Lathander. And lo and behold, I'm looking around and I find this strange bit of rules called Relics. So I attempt to read it....and try again. And find myself going..."Joe.. wtf..."

So, relics are generally things for clerics or those that take that funky feat to enable them to use relics without giving up a spell slot. They can mimic...uh.. ok this is where it gets wierd...uhh anything?? Cost, value... I can't figure it out.

But generally something that only those of the religion can use.. this is perfect for my idea. But wow.. um, help? So you take create relic to make a relic. does it require help from someone else to first say craft a magic weapon. or some other magic item creation feat?

Start the discussion, or is this something that the folks at wizards were passing around the happy weed again, and I should just try to forget about all this.

-Joe
aka Talinor
and a couple other crazy characters
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Re: Relic Magic Items

Postby Ian » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:00 pm

Lots of text ahead, so bear with me. (Especially 'cause it's late, so there will be no tl;dr summary.)

To make a proper Relic, as in the sort actually differentiated by WotC mechanics (as opposed to your everyday "religious relic," otherwise known as any old cleric-made item) requires the following:

- You need the Item Creation feat typically required for the item in question. So if you're making Relic armor, you need Craft Magic Arms/Armor. If you're making a Relic ring, you need Forge Ring.
- You also need the Sanctify Relic feat. D'oh.
- You also need to pick spells appropriate to the powers chosen; powers may or may not be directly based on spells, but even if they aren't, you should pick a similar spell or spells to use as the base magic. This is a really flexible requirement, mind.

As for what they can do, a relic typically follows a basic formula:
- For anyone with an alignment within one step of the deity's, it functions as a basic sort of item. For instance, Gruumsh's spear of retribution functions as a +1 returning spear if you're CE, CN, or NE. The helm of the purple plume acts as a cloak of Charisma +2 if you're LG, NG, or LN.
- If you've sacrificed the proper spell slot, or have True Believer and sufficient HD, it gives you an additional power. This power is usually both somewhat unique and thematically appropriate to the deity, but otherwise can be just about anything. The idea seems to be that these are Artifacts Lite, so you're actively encouraged to come up with stuff that you can't get everyday rather than number-boosting crap. (The helm of the purple plume, for instance, gives you a huge boost vs. fear effects and grants you heroism whenever you successfully save vs. fear.)
- You do still need to be able to actually afford this power, which I'll discuss later, but suffice to say you'll have to pay some sort of heed to what the powers you're investing in the item are worth, just like you would on a normal item.
- The item's caster level is automatically 20th, regardless of your own. This will affect any CL-based powers you give the item, which will affect the price. Plan accordingly; most relic powers seem to be built so as to not rely on CL for their potency (and, likewise, to be equally useful at all levels).

When making the item, you also decide on a divine spell slot that will be required to power the item by anyone without the True Believer feat. This also directly determines how powerful a character with the True Believer feat must be to use it without giving up a spell. (For instance, an item might require a 5th level spell slot to be sacrificed...or a wielder with True Believer and at least 9 HD. If it requires spell level X, a character with True Believer can get by with (X*2)-1 Hit Dice.)

This comes into play most directly when setting market price. The guidelines I've found on this (some formal, some inferred) seem to be as such:
- According to CDiv, the market price of a relic is discounted by an amount equal to SL x HD x 400 gp (where SL = level of spell needed for activation, HD = those needed with True Believer to avoid the spell cost). This is deducted from whatever the market price of the item would be if it were not a relic, and creation cost is affected accordingly. (MICmp gives no further guidance on this, and this formula may or may not still apply. Woo.)
- The price resulting from the above calculations should be at least slightly higher than what the item would be if its only powers were those available to non-casters/True Believers. To use the above example of the spear of retribution, because it acts as a +2-equivalent weapon for the correctly-aligned wielders even without activation, it should be >8300g after the math. (Book pricing confirms this, as the spear's market price is 9300g.)
- This basically means that the extra "relic" powers should be worth more than the discount applied for spell slot sacrifice. If you need a 4th-level spell to power the item, its extra powers should be worth something over 11,200 gp (4 x 7 x 400).

With all of the above said, note that you don't actually have to use these rules--you can instead use the basic item creation rules, and simply call your item a relic. Mechanically, it's just a standard magic item at that point, but who cares about that IC?
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Re: Relic Magic Items

Postby Xairren » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:03 am

Thanks for the information Ian.

Not sure I agree with this part though:
With all of the above said, note that you don't actually have to use these rules--you can instead use the basic item creation rules, and simply call your item a relic. Mechanically, it's just a standard magic item at that point, but who cares about that IC?
The “standard items” and the “other considerations items” (DMG p282) can be fooled by the use of the “Use Magic Device” skill. While WOTC does not say so directly, it seems that “Relic items” would be much harder to fool (being attuned to specific to a deity), or maybe "off limits" even. Seems a shame that we do not use such here more often considering the wealth of the FR setting with all its gods and factions. So I hope we do not dismiss it so quickly.
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Re: Relic Magic Items

Postby ilanian » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:46 am

Use Magic Device would be difficult to use to fool Relic items. For just the basic ability, assuming the person with UMD doesn't have the right alignment, it would require a DC 30 check to emulate the proper alignment. For the special abilities, I would think that emulating the feat is out, and sacrificing a spell slot (to 'power' the Relic) wouldn't be possible to emulate, or would be a more difficult task than just emulating a class ability (normally a DC 20). There's also the requirement that a specific deity is followed. If that counts as a class ability (I'm tempted to say it isn't), that would be another DC 20 check.

Three decently difficult checks, that you can't take 10 on (unless a high enough level warlock), would make using UMD to activate the powers of a relic risky, especially when failure has the potential for a back-fire. Not to mention the fact that the deity the Relic is attuned to wouldn't be very happy if the item is misused. :)
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Re: Relic Magic Items

Postby Stam » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:22 am

*looks at Tahiri, who may be instrumental in the creation of said Relic, and her ability to hit said UMD DC 30*

Mind making a call on that, Ian? No rush or anything. *g*
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Re: Relic Magic Items

Postby Ian » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:06 pm

Er...none of this entire side conversation has anything to do with my statement. All the quoted section means is, "There's a difference between capital-R Relics, as known in the WotC ruleset, and what might be known as 'relics' in play. Don't necessarily feel chained to the ruleset to make a religious-themed item if you don't have the prerequisite feat."

I am aware of the thoughts on interactions between relics and UMD. In all honesty, the difficulty in fooling relics with UMD as opposed to a normal magic item is something to keep in mind (and maybe someday rule on), but is also so incidental that it's not even worth talking about unless/until it comes up.

If we *need* a ruling on UMD and relics, I can do that, but I was trying not to derail this thread with excess information. Gosh, I see that went smashingly, didn't it?
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