New Uses for Unchained Item Qualities

A-Z 2016 "N"As part of my research for graded items, I reviewed the Dynamic Magic Items material from Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game: Pathfinder Unchained™. The system there is rather more complicated than I am interested in — I generally favor simpler solutions — but I do have use for the Perks and Flaws presented.


The perks look like they’ll generally be decent grade 1 item qualities. They don’t scale all that much, but since every graded item has at least one grade 1 quality it helps to have more than less. I’ll also be using qualities based on Green Ronin’s Black Company Masterworks rules, but the unchained qualities are generally more to my taste.

Some examples:

Draconic: Determine a random type of chromatic or metallic dragon. The item has a sheen in the color of that dragon’s scales, and grants its bearer 3 points of energy resistance against the damage type that dragon’s breath weapon deals.

Probably replaced with energy resistance, which scales. Current draft says 5 points of specific energy resistance per grade.

Durable: The item has twice as many hit points as it normally would.

Eager: The item always wants to be worn or held by its owner. The owner can draw an eager weapon or handheld item as a swift action, don eager armor in half the time, and don any other eager item as a swift action, though it takes twice as long as normal to remove eager armor and 1 full round to remove or stow any other eager item. The DC to disarm or steal an eager item increases by 5.

I so like this one.

Egoistic: All of the bearer’s feats and class features that affect a specific weapon or weapon group change to affect the egoistic weapon’s type or group as long as she possesses the weapon. If the bearer can specify more than one type or group, she can choose which weapon or group she retains and which switch to the egoistic weapon’s type or group.

Enemy Glow: The item glows when a specific type of creature is nearby. Either choose an appropriate type or roll one randomly on the ranger’s favored enemy list.

Yes, please.


As I understand magic item creation from the core rules, part of the process involves a skill check (usually Spellcraft) against a DC that is pretty easy for someone who has maximized the necessary skill — as will normally be the case — and doesn’t skip any item requirements. If the check fails by 1..4 points the item is not enchanted, and if it fails by 5 or more the item is cursed.

In the graded item crafting rules I changed this a little. If the enchantment fails by 5 or more the item is still cursed, but if it fails by only 1..4 the enchantment works… but is flawed. It item is still enchanted, but something’s not right and the item is somehow limited, harder to use, or has some misfeature or another. For each point the skill check fails by, add an item flaw, such as one of the samples below.

Addictive: The owner does not want to give up the item under any circumstances, and suffers the effects of severe addiction when denied access to the item.

Allergic: The item is especially sensitive to the presence of a particular type of creature, and ceases all magical functions whenever it is within 30 feet of such a creature. To determine the creature type, roll randomly or choose an appropriate type on the ranger’s favored enemy list.

Anomalous: The item is instead another random magic item of the same type or slot and the same or similar cost as the intended item.

Backlashing: When attacking with or activating the item, the user takes 1d6 points of damage from magical energy backlash.

Cursed: The item gains a curse. Roll on Table: Common Item Curses to determine the curse, or choose an appropriate curse.

Disregard this one because ‘cursed’ is already the result if the check fails by 5 or more. –kjd

Energy Weakened: The item is particularly vulnerable to one random energy type. That energy type ignores the item’s hardness and deals double damage to the item (but not to the item’s bearer). Determine the energy type randomly, or choose one thematically tied to the challenge that caused the item to have the weakness.

Enticing: Others covet the item and seek to possess it. Upon touching or examining the item, any creature that does not possess the item must succeed at a DC 20 Will save or covet the item, seeking to gain it by whatever means is most expedient and advantageous, though it need not do so immediately. After one attempt to gain the item (or a successful save), a creature is immune to the item’s enticing effect for 24 hours.

Closing Comments

I’ll want to review the perks and flaws, and perhaps expand the lists a bit. In some cases I have other qualities drafted that do much the same thing; I’m likely to combine or discard some of them. In the meantime, these lists come along as a convenient time for me.


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