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Crafting Magic Items

For those who have reached the height of mundane crafting there is the intricate practice of creating magical items. This can be done during downtime, like crafting mundane items, but is often a more finicky process. Magic items can be as unique as their crafters, ranging from potions to armor sets, and a particular magic item can look different every time someone new crafts it. Unlike crafting mundane items, crafting magic items is rather hit or miss. Crafting a magic item is either successful or it is not.

Player Level. Common magic items are called such for a reason—just about anyone can create them. As the rarity of an item increases however, so does the level of skill required. The Minimum Player Level table shows what level a character must reach before being able to craft magic items of a certain rarity. Unless their statistics state otherwise, an NPC is only able to craft magic items if they have spellcasting levels.

Base Materials. To craft a magic item a character must first acquire base materials equal to half the magic item’s cost; this includes special metals, wood, leather, and other substances which make the basic item, plus a mixture of common alchemical reagents, arcane components, or divine ingredients. These materials can be purchased easily as long as the character has the requisite funds and usually do not need to be accounted for individually.

Special Components. For most magic items, specific additional components are also needed that may not be available for purchase. PCs may need to undertake adventures in order to acquire these components. See the description of the desired magic item to learn what, if any, special items are needed. Special components include exotic items (such as a mirror that a basilisk has seen its reflection in), or creature parts (such as dragon scales). Creature parts can be easily collected from a defeated monster with no special ability checks required; this takes one hour and gives one dose plus one dose per size category of the creature above Medium. Collecting creature parts from any unwilling sentient humanoid is considered an evil act.

Special components generally can’t be bought or sold (the market for them is just too niche), but Narrators may decide that instead of questing for the special components to create a magic item that they can be purchased for 25% of the magic item’s cost.

Item Quality. Common magic items can be made from items of any quality, but uncommon magic items require an item of fine quality, and rare or greater magic items require an item of masterwork quality (see the Craft downtime activity on page 426 in Chapter 7: Adventuring in the Adventurer's Guide). Costs for an item’s quality are included in a magic item’s base cost.

Time Required. The time required to craft a magic item depends on its rarity, as shown on the Magic Item Crafting Time table. To craft a magic item, a character must make multiple ability checks due to the difficult nature of magic item crafting: an initial check and a final check.

Initial Check. At the beginning of the required time, the character makes an ability check against the DC for an item of that rarity. On a success, they can continue crafting the item as normal. On a failure, they have to start over. On a failure by 5 or more, crafting can continue but the final check’s DC increases by 2. Failing this check by 10 or more consumes half the required materials and is considered a failed attempt; however you gain one expertise die that you can use the next time you attempt to craft the same item, as long as it has been no longer than a month.

Final Check. At the end of the required crafting time, the character makes another ability check to complete their magic item against the DC for an item of that rarity. On a success, all the materials are consumed and they make the desired magic time. On a failure, the process consumes half of the required materials and the crafting fails. On a failure by 10 or more, all the materials are consumed and the crafting fails.

Ability Checks. Different types of items, and different rarities, require different ability checks to successfully craft. The Magic Item Crafting Abilities table shows what ability checks are required to craft items of that type. Some magic items may fit in multiple categories, such as an amulet crafted from wood or suits of armor that also allow a character to cast spells. In these cases, which type the item falls under is determined by the Narrator.

Tool Requirements. Crafting anything requires the right tools for the job—this is especially important when crafting magical items. Each type of magic item and the tools associated with those types are detailed on the General Magic Item Crafting table. A character does not require proficiency with the tools needed to make a magic item, only access to those tools.

At the Narrator’s discretion, enough time spent crafting a specific type of magic item may grant a character proficiency with the required tools. This should only be done after a character has successfully crafted multiple magic items, or after they have created an item of very rare rarity or higher.

Table: Crafting and Minimum Player Level
Rarity Minimum Player Level
Common -
Uncommon 3rd level
Rare 5th level
Very Rare 10th level
Legendary 15th level
Artifact 20th level

Campaigns and Crafting

The crafting times listed here are suitable for most groups, but when playing a game that spans years within the campaign setting the Narrator may choose to double, triple, or even quadruple them to match the pacing of the adventures.Alternatively in a campaign that only spans a few seasons within the setting, they may instead be halved. The time needed to craft an item is always at the discretion of the Narrator.

Table: Magic Item Crafting Time and DCs
Rarity Time to Craft DC
Common 1 week 13
Uncommon 3 weeks 15
Rare 8 weeks 17
Very Rare 24 weeks 20
Legendary 25 + 4d8 weeks 25
Artifact Uncraftable, except at the Narrator's discretion. -
Table: General Magic Item Crafting
Type Required Tools Types of Magic Items Item Examples Ability Checks
Alchemical Alchemist's supplies Potions, powders, preserved items

Explorer's chalk, gallow hand

1: Intelligence

2: Wisdom

Woodcraft Woodcarver's tools or carpenter's tools Wooden weapons and trinkets

Message whistle , wood woad amulet

1: Dexterity

2: Dexterity

Smithing Smith's tools Metal armor, weapons, and trinkets

cage of folly , flask of inebriation

1: Intelligence

2: Strength

Apparel Leatherworker's tools or weaver's tools Clothing, leather armor, and some accessories

midnight pearls , tailored suit of armor

1: Wisdom

2: Dexterity

Stone and Gemcraft Jeweler's tools or mason's tools Statues, jewelry, and other trinkets made of stone, crystals, or precious gems jade tiger , maternal cameo

1: Strength

2: Dexterity

Spellcraft Narrator's Discretion Any magic item that replicates the effects of a spell

Skull liqueur , Zlick's message cushion

1: Wisdom

2: Spellcasting ability or Charisma

Cookery Cook's utensils Any edible or drinkable item, that isn't a potion

Bag of cheese , luminescent gum

1: Constitution

2: Wisdom

Pottery Potter's tools Items made of clay such as dishes, jugs, or figures

Dreamscrying bowl , mug of warming

1: Wisdom

2: Charisma

Hobbycraft Calligrapher's supplies, painter's supplies, tinker's tools, or weaver's tools Letters, needlepoint crafts, and other trinkets not covered by the other types

Family scrapbook , library scarf

1: Dexterity

2: Charisma