Researching Magical Items

One of the abilities shared by the wizard and priest groups is their ability to construct magical items. This is a potent ability, but it is not one easily used. As DM you do not want your player characters constructing every magical item available. Each one should be an accomplishment and the springboard for a new adventure.

The wizard's ability to research items is divided into different phases. Although a wizard can cast a magic missile at 1st level, he cannot transcribe that spell onto a scroll until he reaches 9th level. The same is true of brewing potions. Only when he reaches 11th level can a wizard attempt to create other magical items. Even then he may not be able to create many items if he lacks the ability to cast the necessary spells.

The priest can begin creating scrolls at 7th level and can brew a few potions (mainly those involving healing) at 9th level. Clerics can fabricate only a few other magical items and cannot attempt these until they reach at least 11th level. As with the wizard, their ability even then may be limited by the spells they have access to at the time.

Creating a magical item is much like researching a new spell. The DM and the player must cooperate and work together to bring about the desired goal. However, there are differences.

In magical item research, the desired goal is usually well-known to both the player and the DM. The player says, "Rupert wants to create a potion of clairaudience." The effect is known; what must be done to create it isn't. Therefore, once the player has stated his desire, the DM decides what materials, formulae, spells, and rites must be acquired and/or performed to create the item.

Once the DM knows this, the player can proceed.
He does not tell the player what he needs to do! It is up to the player to discover the processes and steps required to create a magical item, however small. He may consult a sage, seek the guidance of a higher level spellcaster, or even use spells to call upon greater powers.

Even after learning what he must do, the spellcaster may have to do further research to learn the techniques required for each step. All of this will cost the character time and money, so his dedication and resources must be substantial if he hopes to succeed. The process of gathering the needed information and materials is a grand excuse for one adventure after another. This is part of the fun of the AD&D game. Making a magical item is more than just a mechanical process. It should also be an opportunity for excitement and role-playing.

(See also
Table 88: Magical Items, and Magic Item Tables)

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