Legendary Items

When Valia Perenor rode into battle against the demonic legions of the Valhedar Dominion at the Battle of Dor Erlon, she blew upon a silver trumpet named Yilaniloi to rally the Knights Adamant. Legend says that the same trumpet sounded to repel the goblinoid invasion from the Seven Cities, and to hold the evil spirits at bay when the highlanders made their long pilgrimage into the holy places of the mountains. The same legends say that each time Yilaniloi is blown, it disappears shortly thereafter, only to reappear when the human race is in danger.

Legendary artifacts appear throughout the history of the world of Eadar. But in recent years, adventurers have discovered that they can focus the essence of their own experiences and abilities. With the help of specialized casters known as binders, they can draw upon this essence and evoke new powers and abilities in their weapons and equipment. This is the source of the greatsword carried into battle against the demons of the Bloody Circle that glows with holy light; the bow crafted from the bones of a dire bear that fire unerringly at any creature; the ring belonging to an infamous thief that gives his grandson the ability to escape from any prison. These are the weapons of heroes, and they are the world’s newest power.

The Making of a Legendary Item

Once during each five levels of character advancement (levels 1-5, 6-10, etc.), a player may select one of his character’s items — a piece of armor, a weapon, a ring, or any other belong of significant personal value — to become a legendary item that is bound to the character. As the character defeats enemies and overcomes obstacles, these legendary items accrue experience at the same rate as the character.

Rods, staves, wands, potions, and scrolls, and other charged or one-use items, cannot be created with the legendary item system.

Legendary items gain powers using experience from their own experience pools, rather than the experience of the spellcaster who enchants them. When a player wants to evoke the powers in a legendary item, he must find a spellcaster with the feat appropriate to the item: Craft Magic Arms and Armor for weapons and protective items, Forge Ring for rings, and Craft Wondrous Item for other items. In the creation of normal magic items, the spellcaster crafting the item must pay 1/25th of the total cost of the item in XP. When binders imbue abilities in legendary items, the XP cost is paid from the item’s own experience pool. However, rather than paying 1/25th of the total cost of the item in XP, the item pays the full cost. Giving a legendary sword a +2 enhancement bonus, for instance, has a base cost of 8,000 gold pieces; therefore, it requires 8,000 XP to be spent from the legendary item’s experience pool.

Another divergence from the normal item creation rules is that, normally, a magic item uses its creator’s caster level to determine total cost as well as the effects of its powers. Legendary items use their owners’ character level as the caster level to determine total cost and the effects of their powers. Once the item is crafted, the caster level changes with the character level. The caster level of the item is always the same as its owner’s character level. Because legendary items rely so much on their owner’s power and experiences, the owner of the item must be present throughout the binding process.

The binder must still fulfill all caster level, feat, and spell prerequisites to bring out the appropriate powers in the item.

Legendary Items can qualify for discounts to their XP cost as follows:

Discount Characteristic
-40% Item was created by the character.
-30% Item belonged to a blood ancestor.
-20% Item has been named for at least 100 years.
-20% Item features prominently in a legend or ballad.
-10% Item was taken from a defeated enemy.
-5% Item has been used by the character for some time (per level used, maximum 25%)

These discounts are cumulative, to a maximum of 90%. For instance, if a player selects a named dagger captured from a fallen enemy to be one of his legendary items, it receives a discount of 30%; if the character evoked 9,000 gold pieces worth of magic enhancements and abilities in the dagger, it would cost only 3,000 XP from the dagger’s experience pool.

I’m pretty sure this is an error in the text. A 30% discount would mean it costs 70% of the normal cost, or 6,300 XP. –KJD

Selecting and Imbuing a Legendary Item’s Powers

The spellcasters who call themselves binders are those who have discovered the dangerous process of evoking the powerful bond of magical energy between hero and item. If the hero is attempting to randomly direct those energies — to arbitrarily choose what powers the item will possess — the process poses great risk to the binder (see The Dangers of Binding, below) and requires expensive alchemical components, resulting in a higher cost being charged to the hero for the binding. If the powers being evoked are representative of the experiences shared by the hero and the item, they are easier to call upon.

Evoking an arbitrary power from a legendary item requires raw materials with a value equal to half the base price of the item; the binder usually requires a fee equal to half the base price of the item, as well, bringing the total gp cost of the legendary item to full normal cost. One of the benefits to the binding process, rather than simply buying the desired item outright, is that binders can usually create items on demand: the process only requires one hour for each 1,000 gp of the total cost of the item, rather than the normal one day for each 1,000 gp.

To lower the cost, players can plan for what powers they would like the item to eventually manifest. Working with the DM, a legendary challenge can be decided upon that can be accomplished through the character using the item in order that the item might more easily manifest a chosen power. Several examples are listed in the table at Suggested Legendary Challenges, below. If the character has successfully accomplished the legendary challenge for the item’s chosen power the cost in raw materials drops to only one-quarter the base price of the item, as does the binder’s fee. Thus, the total cost in gp becomes only one-half the base price of the item.

Other than these factors, the cost for evoking powers from legendary items follows all of the normal rules for magic item creation. Making an item with multiple abilities, for instance, or that does not take up a body slot, or that provides a power not normally associated with its body slot, all increase the total cost of the item.

The Dangers of Binding

The energies being evoked in the binding process are ancient and powerful. The binding is attempting to harness no less than the soul of the hero, and shape it according to every moment, every life, every place the legendary item has interacted with. The more disparate these two factors, the more the chance for mishap.

When binding a legendary item, a binder is assumed to be using the Craft skill (to ensure proper handling of the items to be bound), the Spellcraft skill (to perform the binding rituals correctly), and the Knowledge (Arcana) skill (to confirm he is operating under the correct magic theories to being with). While it is assumed that the binder has an overall firm grasp on the process, he will have to make at least one of the above skill checks at some point while binding the item. If the powers being evoked from the item are not tied to a legendary quest, he must make two checks. In either case, the DM rolls randomly to determine which check or checks the binder has to make.

The DC of the check is 10 the caster level required for the highest magical effect in the item. If the binder fails the check, he, the owner of the item, and any other living creatures with a 60 ft. radius suffer 1d6 points of damage per point by which he failed the check. The damage is caused by a burst of spiritual energy that does not damage non-living objects, and cannot be prevented in any way.

Altering Legendary Items

Finally, new legendary powers can be evoked from items that have already been enchanted or that have had other legendary powers evoked. The cost of such evoking or enchanting is the difference between the total cost of the item and the total cost of the old item (or half the difference, if the legendary challenge was accomplished). Old legendary powers of magic enchantments cannot normally be overwritten or replaced with new powers or enchantments, unless the new power is directly related to (and a more advanced version of) the old power. For armor and weapon enhancements, improving a lower-quality enhancement is always considered a direct advancement. For instance, adding the ghost touch ability to a suit of chainmail +1 would bring its total bonus to +4, giving it a total cost of 16,000 gp. Since it was already a +1 suit of armor, the cost of the improvement is 15,000 gp, the difference between the two bonuses. The same holds true for abilities that directly supersede lower-level abilities; upgrading the same suit from the acid resistance ability (18,000 gp) to the improved acid resistance ability (42,000 gp) would cost 24,000 gp, as the newer ability supersedes the previous one. Wondrous items use the same rules, such that a minor cloak of displacement that is chosen as a legendary item could be improved to become a major cloak of displacement for a cost of 26,000 gp, the difference between the two items, rather than paying the normal 50,000 gp. On the other hand, adding the protection +2 power to the minor cloak of displacement would cost a total of 28,000 gp (twice the cost of the 24,000 gp for the minor cloak of displacement effect, because the item has multiple abilities, plus 4,000 gp for the protection +2 effect, comes to 52,000 gp; subtract the total cost of the old item from the total cost of the new item).

Suggested Legendary Challenges

Legendary Item Power Challenge
chainmail +3
Dodge six attacks made by one or more creatures in a single round, each with a CR equal to the character’s level.
shield +5
Survive eight combats that reduce the character to below zero hit points.
leather armor of shadow
Sneak up on and deal a killing blow to a creature with a CR higher than the character’s level.
scale mail of fire resistance
Kill a dozen creatures of the fire subtype.
shield of arrow catching
Dodge six ranged attacks made by one or more creatures in a single round, each with a CR equal to the character’s level.
animated shield
Avoid eight attacks in a row in a single combat from creatures of CR equal to the character’s level.
longsword +1
Confirm three critical hits against creatures of a CR equal to the character’s level.
greataxe of throwing
Kill three creatures one size class larger than the character.
merciful crossbow
Knock unconscious three creatures of CR equal to the character’s level by inflicting nonlethal damage.
greatclub of disruption
Destroy eight undead creatures with a CR equal to the character’s level.
dagger of speed
Kill three creatures in a single round.
shortbow of seeking
Score twelve critical hits on ranged attacks.
holy shortspear
Kill twelve infernal creatures in a single day.
ring of animal friendship
Successfully train eight types of creatures.
ring of invisibility
Make surprise attacks on three creature with the blindsense ability.
bracers of archery
Make a dozen successful attacks without missing against creatures of CR equal to the character’s level +5
backpack of holding
Travel one hundred miles carrying a Heavy load.
boots of elvenkind
Use Move Silently to successfully sneak past six creatures with Listen modifiers equal to the character’s level.
eyes of charming
Successfully charm a dozen hostile creatures in a single day.
glove of storing
Use Slight of Hand to hide a weapon against a Spot check of 30.
rope of climbing
Scale a thousand-foot cliff.

Prestige Class: Binder

Any spellcaster can create and enchant magic items and weapons. But only a few dedicate their lives completely to these arts, and only they can evoke the latent power of hte bonds between heroes and their legendary items. They call themselves binders. As a side benefit to their lucrative business of evoking the powers of legendary items, binders find their normal item creation skills reeive benefits as well.

Hit Die: d6

Requirements

To become a binder, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:

Feats: Skill Focus (any two crafts), and one item creation feat.

Skills: Spellcraft 8 ranks

Spellcasting: Ability to cast 3rd-level spells.

Class Skills

The binders’ class skills (and the key ability for each) are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int Modifier.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Spells per Day
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Bind Item, Heightened Crafting +1 level of existing class
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Any School +1 level of existing class
3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Bonus Feat +1 level of existing class
4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Any School, Metamagic Crafting I +1 level of existing class
5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Bind Item +1 level of existing class
6 +3 +2 +2 +5 Any School +1 level of existing class
7 +3 +2 +2 +5 Bonus Feat, Metamagic Crafting II +1 level of existing class
8 +4 +2 +2 +6 Any School +1 level of existing class
9 +4 +3 +3 +6 Bind Item +1 level of existing class
10 +5 +3 +3 +7 Any School, Quick Crafting +1 level of existing class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the binder prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Binders become familiar and attuned to many of the items they enchant, and therefore are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: When a new binder level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that she adds the level of binder to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

Bind Item (Ex): At 1st, 5th, and 9th levels, the binder chooses an item creation feat that she knows. She may now create legendary items of those types using the rules described above. This feat must be one that applies to items that can be made into legendary items.

Heightened Crafting (Ex): A binder is considered to be 4 levels higher than her actual caster level for purposes of the caster level requirement to craft a magic item.

Any School (Ex): At each even-numbered level, the binder can choose one spell school. Thereafter, she is considered to know every spell of that school, regardless of what spell list it is on, for the purposes of fulfilling magic item prerequisites only.

Bonus Feat: At 3rd and 7th levels, a binder can choose any item creation feat as a bonus feat.

Metamagic Crafting I (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, once per magic item she creates, a binder can apply any one metamagic feat she knows at no additional cost. The level increase of applying that metamagic feat is lowered by one, both for purposes of memorizing the spell to cast into the item and for calculating the item’s total cost. This ability usually only applies when crafting spell trigger items, though some permanent items (such as the duration of blink effect for a ring of blinking that has been extended, or the damage from a circlet of blasting that has been empowered) may benefit as well.

Metamagic Crafting II (Ex): Beginning at 7th level, the binder may apply any metamagic feats, even those she doesn’t know, to a magic item she creates. This ability may be used in conjunction with the Metamagic Crafting I ability.

Quick Crafting (Ex): At 10th level, the binder masters the process of spontaneously drawing forth the power from the essence of a hero into an item. First of all, the binder must be physical contact with both the item to be evoked and its owner. As a full-round action, the binder can temporarily evoke any power in the item he could normally evoke. Doing so requires no gp expenditure, and does not require a skill check to prevent a mishap; however, rather than the XP coming from the item’s experience pool, the XP is drawn directly from the item’s owner. None of the normal rules for total cost discounts apply, including those granted by legendary quests; the item always requires a flat 1/25th XP of the total cost of the item. All normal rules for adding to an already enchanted or evoked item do apply, and the binder may use her Heightened Crafting and Metamagic Crafting abilities.

The item remains evoked for 1 round per character level of the item’s owner. The item does not function for anyone but its owner (the character that sacrificed the XP).