[magic items index]

Intelligent Items

Magic items sometimes have intelligence of their own. Magically imbued with sentience, these items think and feel the same way characters do and should be treated as NPCs. Intelligent items have extra abilities and sometimes extraordinary powers and special purposes. Only permanent magic items (as opposed to single-use items or those with charges) can be intelligent. (This means that potions, scrolls, and wands, among other items, are never intelligent.) In general, less than 1% of magic items have intelligence.

Intelligent items can actually be considered creatures because they have Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. Treat them as constructs. Intelligent items often have the ability to illuminate their surroundings at will (as magic weapons do); many cannot see otherwise.

Unlike most magic items, intelligent items can activate their own powers without waiting for a command word from their owner. Intelligent items act during their owner's turn in the initiative order.

Designing an Intelligent Item

Creating a magic item with intelligence follows these simple guidelines. Intelligent items must have an alignment, mental ability scores, languages, senses, and at least one other special ability. These statistics and abilities can be improved during creation, increasing the item's overall cost.

Many of these abilities add to an item's Ego score. Intelligent items with high Ego scores are difficult to control and can sometimes take control of their owner, making them dangerous to possess.

An intelligent magic item has a base price increase of 500 gp. When determining the total value of an intelligent item, add this value to the sum of the prices of all of its additional abilities gained through being intelligent, before adding them to the magic item's base price.

Table: Intelligent Item Alignment
d%Alignment of Item
01–10 Chaotic good
11–20 Chaotic neutral*
21–35 Chaotic evil
36–45 Neutral evil*
46–55 Lawful evil
56–70 Lawful good
71–80 Lawful neutral*
81–90 Neutral good*
91–100 Neutral
* The item can also be used by any character whose alignment corresponds to the non-neutral portion of the item's alignment.

Intelligent Item Alignment

Any item with intelligence has an alignment (see Intelligent Item Alignment). Note that intelligent weapons already have alignments, either stated or by implication. If you're generating a random intelligent weapon, that weapon's alignment must fit with any alignmentOriented special abilities it has.

Any character whose alignment does not correspond to that of the item (except as noted by the asterisks on the table) gains one negative levelif he or she so much as picks up the item. Although this negative level never results in actual level loss, it remains as long as the item is in hand and cannot be overcome in any way (including by restoration spells). This negative level is cumulative with any other penalties the item might place on inappropriate wielders. Items with Ego scores (see below) of 20 to 29 bestow two negative levels. Items with Ego scores of 30 or higher bestow three negative levels.

Intelligent Item Ability Scores

Table: Intelligent Item Ability Scores
ScoreBase
Price
Modifier
Ego
Modifier
10
11
+200 gp
12
+500 gp
+1
13
+700 gp
+1
14
+1,000 gp
+2
15
+1,400 gp
+2
16
+2,000 gp
+3
17
+2,800 gp
+3
18
+4,000 gp
+4
19
+5,200 gp
+4
20
+8,000 gp
+5

Intelligent magic items possess all three mental ability scores: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Each one of these ability scores begins at a value of 10, but can be increased to as high as 20. Intelligent Item Ability Scores shows the cost to increase one of the item's ability scores. This cost must be paid for each ability score raised above 10. For example, an intelligent magic item with a 15 Intelligence, 12 Wisdom, and 10 Charisma would cost at least 2,400 gp more than the base item (including the 500 gp for being an intelligent item).

Languages Spoken by Item

Like a character, an intelligent item understands Common plus one additional language per point of Intelligence bonus. Choose appropriate languages, taking into account the item's origin and purposes. If the item does not possess speech, it can still read and understand the languages it knows.

Senses and Communication

Table: Intelligent Item Senses and Communication
AbilityBase
Price
Modifier
Ego
Modifier
Empathy
Speech
+500 gp
Telepathy
+1,000 gp
+1
Senses (30 ft.)
Senses (60 ft.)
+500 gp
Senses (120 ft.)
+1,000 gp
Darkvision
+500 gp
Blindsense
+5,000 gp
+1
Read languages
+1,000 gp
+1
Read magic +2,000 gp +1

Every intelligent magic item begins with the ability to see and hear within 30 feet, as well as the ability to communicate empathically with its owner. Empathy only allows the item to encourage or discourage certain actions through urges and emotions. Additional forms of communication and better senses increase the item's cost and Ego score, as noted on Intelligent Item Senses and Communication.

Empathy (Su)

Empathy allows the item to encourage or discourage certain actions by communicating emotions and urges. It does not allow for verbal communication.

Speech (Su)

An intelligent item with the capability for speech can talk using any of the languages it knows.

Telepathy (Su)

Telepathy allows an intelligent item to communicate with its wielder telepathically, regardless of its known languages. The wielder must be touching the item to communicate in this way.

Senses

Senses allow an intelligent magic item to see and hear out to the listed distance. Adding darkvision or blindsense allows the item to use those senses out to the same range as the item's base senses.

Read Languages (Ex)

The item can read script in any language, regardless of its known languages.

Read Magic (Sp)

An intelligent magic item with this ability can read magical writings and scrolls as if through read magic. This ability does not allow the magic item to activate scrolls or other items. An intelligent magic item can suppress and resume this ability as a free action.

Intelligent Item Powers

Table: Intelligent Item Powers
d%Item PowerBase
Price
Modifier
Ego
Modifier
01–10 Item can cast a 0-level spell at will
+1,000 gp
+1
11–20 Item can cast a 1st-level spell 3/day
+1,200 gp
+1
21–25 Item can use magic aura on itself at will
+2,000 gp
+1
26–35 Item can cast a 2nd-level spell 1/day
+2,400 gp
+1
36–45 Item has 5 ranks in one skill*
+2,500 gp
+1
46–50 Item can sprout limbs and move with a
speed of 10 feet
+5,000 gp
+1
51–55 Item can cast a 3rd-level spell 1/day
+6,000 gp
+1
56–60 Item can cast a 2nd-level spell 3/day
+7,200 gp
+1
61–70 Item has 10 ranks in one skill*
+10,000 gp
+2
71–75 Item can change shape into one
other form of the same size
+10,000 gp
+2
76–80 Item can fly, as per the spell, at a speed
of 30 feet
+10,000 gp
+2
81–85 Item can cast a 4th-level spell 1/day
+11,200 gp
+2
86–90 Item can teleport itself 1/day
+15,000 gp
+2
91–95 Item can cast a 3rd-level spell 3/day
+18,000 gp
+2
96–100 Item can cast a 4th-level spell 3/day
+33,600 gp
+2
* Intelligent items can only possess Intelligence-, Wisdom-, or Charisma-based skills, unless they also possess some form of ability to move.

Each intelligent item should possess at least one power, although more powerful items might possess a host of powers. To find the item's specific powers, choose or roll on Intelligent Item Powers. All powers function at the direction of the item, although intelligent items generally follow the wishes of their owner. Activating a power or concentrating on an active one is a standard action the item takes. The caster level for these effects is equal to the item's caster level. Save DCs are based off the item's highest mental ability score.

Special Purpose Items

Table: Intelligent Item Purpose
d%PurposeEgo
Modifier
01–20 Defeat/slay diametrically
opposed alignment*
+2
21–30 Defeat/slay arcane spellcasters
(including spellcasting
monsters and those that use
spell-like abilities)
+2
31–40 Defeat/slay divine spellcasters
(including divine
entities and servitors)
+2
41–50 Defeat/slay non-spellcasters
+2
51–55 Defeat/slay a particular
creature type (see the bane
special ability for choices)
+2
56–60 Defeat/slay a particular race
or kind of creature
+2
61–70 Defend a particular race or
kind of creature
+2
71–80 Defeat/slay the servants of a
specific deity
+2
81–90 Defend the servants and
interests of a specific deity
+2
91–95 Defeat/slay all (other than the
item and the wielder)
+2
96–100 Choose one
+2
* The purpose of the neutral (N) version of this item is to preserve the balance by defeating/slaying powerful beings of the extreme alignments (LG, LE, CG, CE).

Some intelligent items have special purposes that guide their actions. Intelligent magic items with a special purpose gain a +2 Ego bonus. An item's purpose must suit the type and alignment of the item and should always be treated reasonably. A purpose of "defeat/slay arcane spellcasters" doesn't mean that the sword forces the wielder to kill every wizard she sees. Nor does it mean that the sword believes it is possible to kill every wizard, sorcerer, and bard in the world. It does mean that the item hates arcane spellcasters and wants to bring the local wizards' cabal to ruin, as well as end the rule of a sorcerer-queen in a nearby land. Likewise, a purpose of "defend elves" doesn't mean that if the wielder is an elf, he only wants to help the wielder. It means that the item wants to be used in furthering the cause of elves, stamping out their enemies and aiding their leaders. A purpose of "defeat/slay all" isn't just a matter of self-preservation. It means that the item won't rest (or let its wielder rest) until it places itself above all others.

Intelligent Item Purpose has a number of sample purposes that a magic item might possess. If the wielder specifically ignores or goes against an intelligent item's special purpose, the item gains a +4 bonus to its Ego until the wielder cooperates. This is in addition to the +2 Ego bonus gained by items with a special purpose.

Dedicated Powers

Table: Special Purpose Item Dedicated Powers
d%Dedicated PowerBase
Price
Modifier
Ego
Modifier
01–20 Item can detect any special
purpose foes within 60 feet
+10,000 gp
+1
21–35 Item can use a 4th-level spell at will
+56,000 gp
+2
36–50 Wielder gets +2 luck bonus
on attacks, saves, and checks
+80,000 gp
+2
51–65 Item can use a 5th-level spell at will
+90,000 gp
+2
66–80 Item can use a 6th-level spell at will
+132,000 gp
+2
81–95 Item can use a 7th-level spell at will
+182,000 gp
+2
96–100 Item can use true resurrection
on wielder, once per month
+200,000 gp
+2

A dedicated power operates only when an intelligent item is in pursuit of its special purpose. This determination is always made by the item. It should always be easy and straightforward to see how the ends justify the means. Unlike its other powers, an intelligent item can refuse to use its dedicated powers even if the owner is dominant (see Items Against Characters). The caster level for these effects is equal to the item's caster level. Save DCs are based on the item's highest mental ability score. See Special Purpose Item Dedicated Powers for a list of dedicated powers.

Item Ego

Base Magic
Item Value
Ego
Modifier
Up to 1,000 gp
1,001 gp
to 5,000 gp
+1
5,001 gp
to 10,000 gp
+2
10,001 gp
to 20,000 gp
+3
20,001 gp
to 50,000 gp
+4
50,001 gp
to 100,000 gp
+6
100,001 gp
to 200,000 gp
+8
200,001 gp
and higher
+12

Ego is a measure of the total power and force of personality that an item possesses. An item's Ego score is the sum of all of its Ego modifiers plus an additional bonus for the cost of the base magic item (excluding the cost of all of the intelligent item enhancements). An item's Ego score helps determine whether the item or the character is dominant in their relationship, as detailed below.

Items against Characters

When an item has an Ego of its own, it has a will of its own. The item is absolutely true to its alignment. If the character who possesses the item is not true to that alignment's goals or the item's special purpose, personality conflict—item against character—results. Similarly, any item with an Ego score of 20 or higher always considers itself superior to any character, and a personality conflict results if the possessor does not always agree with the item.

When a personality conflict occurs, the possessor must make a Will saving throw (DC = item's Ego). If the possessor succeeds, she is dominant. If she fails, the item is dominant. Dominance lasts for 1 day or until a critical situation occurs (such as a major battle, a serious threat to either the item or the character, and so on). Should an item gain dominance, it resists the character's desires and demands concessions such as any of the following:

In extreme circumstances, the item can resort to even harsher measures, such as the following:

Naturally, such actions are unlikely when harmony reigns between the character's and item's alignments or when their purposes and personalities are well matched. Even so, an item might wish to have a lesser character possess it in order to easily establish and maintain dominance over him, or a higher-level possessor so as to better accomplish its goals.

All magic items with personalities desire to play an important role in whatever activity is under way, particularly combat. Such items are natural rivals, even with others of the same alignment. No intelligent item wants to share its wielder with others. An intelligent item is aware of the presence of any other intelligent item within 60 feet, and most intelligent items try their best to mislead or distract their host so that she ignores or destroys the rival. Of course, alignment might change this sort of behavior.

Items with personalities are never totally controlled or silenced by the characters that possess them, even though they may never successfully control their possessors. They may be powerless to force their demands, but most remain undaunted and continue to air their wishes and demands.

Many intelligent items have personalities as quirky and robust as any other NPC. Roll on the following table to determine one or more personality quirks for intelligent items.
d% PERSONALITY TRAIT
01 Always agrees with people, but changes its mind quickly
02 Is very noisy about treasure
03 Act mysteriously and answers questions poetically
04 Doesn't like new people
05 Makes token bets about minor things
06 Refers to itself in the third person
07 Bargains for the use of some of its powers
08 Constantly asks how things taste and smell
09 Yells when it is excited
10 Know-it-all
11 Is polite but obviously insincere
12 Constantly apologizes as a verbal tic
13 Makes a lot of threats it cannot back up
14 Very mellow; advises people to take a philosophical approach to both success and failure
15 Says as little as possible
16 Snickers or laughs at the misfortunes of others
17 Calls people by the wrong name, though often consistently
18 Prays a lot
19 Is quick to praise people even for little things
20 Often appears surprised and slightly offended when spoken to
21 Does not like to make decisions
22 Has a list of numbered rules or maxims covering different situations and quotes them when appropriate
23 Tells people the "real" reason they are doing things
24 Asks for advice or opinions about very unlikely situations
25 Speaks with great formality; never uses contractions and employs bigger words than necessary
26 Easily distracted by minor events in the area
27 Usually needs someone to explain a joke or metaphor
28 Has a particular core belief, potentially a rather odd one, and steadfastly looks at everything through the lens of that opinion
29 Likes to count things and has fun with numbers
30 Always tries to find compromise
31 Is always talking to itself
32 Very bad liar
33 Asks rude questions without realizing they cause offense
34 Grumbles and complains about its form and plight
35 Very sensitive about criticism or conflict
36 Absent-minded
37 Blames a particular type of creature for its troubles
38 Intellectual bully
39 Makes allusions to events from history or mythology without bothering to explain them
40 Hates a particular terrain type and complains loudly while within that terrain
41 Constantly ask questions about things that are outside its vision
42 Makes a list of things for its wearer or wielder to accomplish each day
43 Cannot keep a secret
44 Seems slightly surprised when anyone else has a good idea or does something productive
45 Often whines
46 Easily angered
47 Constantly warns about the danger of disease
48 Has a stock phrase
49 Habitually mumbles a word that rhymes with the final word other people speak before they pause
50 Delighted by puns and other sorts of word games
51 Makes animal noises when feeling threatened or excited
52 A lover or literature and poetry, it takes any opportunity to spout of a line or two of prose or verse
53 Very superstitious
54 Spurs on its wielder or wearer to brave or foolhardy acts
55 Never uses one word when 10 will do
56 Constantly asks to be destroyed, but panics if taken seriously
57 Always has a reason why something will not work
58 Claims to be in love with the bearer
59 Tells boring stories about something mundane
60 Constantly suggests ways to make activities more "fun" and "exciting"
61 Collects words from languages it doesn't know, and uses them in place of words in the language it most commonly uses
62 Dotes on its wearer or wielder
63 Often ignores its wearer or wielder
64 Loathes itself
65 Occasionally chants annoying little rhymes
66 Acts as if it is friends with, but obviously hates, its wearer or wielder
67 Openly scornful of organized religion and believes all gods are selfish liars
68 Gets angrier and more determined with each setback
69 Thinks most objects are intelligent items
70 Lacks a moral compass when making plans and often proposes horrific solutions to minor problems
71 Falls quiet for stretches where it will not talk to anyone for days
72 Believes it is losing its mind
73 Constantly name-drops a famous past bearer
74 Has terrible syntax and diction
75 Never tires of learning new and interesting bits of information
76 Complains about smells that no one else notices
77 Wants to be dipped in ale, wine, or other forms of alcohol, and when it is, acts drunk
78 Loves to sing but is tone deaf
79 Blames everyone else for its plight
80 Is a seemingly endless font of gossip—though most details are fabricated
81 Treats all others as lesser forms of intelligence
82 Very cheerful; tries to raise downcast spirits with song, jokes, and uplifting stories
83 Grows more and more relaxed the worse things get; conversely, on edge and nervous when things seem to go well
84 Constantly remembers details wrong
85 Makes up stories
86 Avoids speaking with creatures other than its wielder or wearer
87 Has a need for constant attention
88 Is a little unhinged when away from its wielder or wearer
89 Questions others about their background in order to determine if they are "suitable"
90 Is often confused by the deeds of others and regularly asks about the reason for certain actions
91 Very jealous and possessive about its wielder or wearer
92 Continually mentions a heroic battle it participated in and how nothing else compares
93 Diagnoses everyone with a mania, fixation, or curse, but is often wrong
94 Explains simple things that don't need explanations
95 Wishes it was free from its item and seeks someone who can perform such a task
96 Believes it is a trapped god
97 Has an imaginary ethereal friend
98 Is afraid of the dark
99 Admonishes people for using profanity
100 Rarely talks but frequently emits a drone of insane giggles

SPECIFIC INTELLIGENT ITEMS

The following are examples of specific intelligent items that can be crafted or found in treasure hoards.
NameCost
Crusader's Scabbard 8,500 gp
Anvengen's Edge 11,508 gp
Balgorrah 11,708 gp
Rod That Should Not Be (Lesser) 12,000 gp
Shield of the Mage 14,500 gp
Wary Ring 14,600 gp
Ring of the Weary Sky 14,800 gp
Gossamer Shrouds of the Clairvoyant 20,150 gp
Clarity 21,015 gp
Lady Ninahu's Doll 28,500 gp
Fiendsplitter 28,715 gp
Hollis's Lucky Rock 35,000 gp
Phylactery of Jadis-Vel 135,000 gp
Lute of Discord 37,900 gp
Rod That Should Not Be (Greater) 40,000 gp
Harbinger Rod 44,200 gp
Soulshear 45,508 gp
Abat-Ne, the Blackstone Mace 51,005 gp
Hammer of Enemies 54,212 gp
Lightning Bow 54,300 gp
Draddeth Edge 58,312 gp
Helmet of the Golden General 62,000 gp
Headband of the Sage 71,300 gp
Norgir's Ruin 91,712 gp
Metamagician's Apprentice 93,605 gp
Skullduster 104,508 gp
Obsession Ring 116,500 gp
Armor of the Shadow Lord 117,160 gp
The Bloodwind 126,900 gp
Lash of Abraxus 130,000 gp
Singing Sword 165,315 gp
Karzoug's Burning Glaive 180,308 gp
Eroeme 180,350 gp