Magical Apparatus

Magic items will usually be encountered during play, and under normal circumstances, be torn from the stiffening fingers of the rapidly cooling corpse of some fool unfortunate enough to get in the way of a party of PCs. However, they can also be built at character creation time, or later during the game, using character points to do so.

All magic items must be built with the Independent limitation. There will be no exceptions to this rule.

Note that this does not necessarily mean that anyone can just pick up and use a particular piece of magical apparatus; many will require a specific skill (usually a Magic skill, but others come to mind), and many more will require the use of particular Incantations and/or Gestures.

You WILL NOT be able to waltz into a "Wizards-R-Us" store and buy magic doo-dads. Don't even bother to ask.

Note: I'm considering allowing the donation (or theft) of XP/BODY/CON from a third party to cover the cost of building stuff, but haven't yet worked out the exact mechanics.

Because the Independent limitation requires that the builder spend their own character points on a magic item, few are going to be altruistic enough to do so willy-nilly. An artisan is literally spending their life-force when they build magical thingies; if they don't have enough spare XP to cover the cost then the difference comes straight out of BODY and CON, never to return.

Required Skills

Building magical gee-gaws will require quite a broad range of skills, and access to some fairly obscure and possibly dangerous magic. The specifics will vary from item to item, depending on the materials involved and the special effects of the powers to be embedded.

Let's take as an example an old stand-by of roleplaying games since the dawn of time: an Invisibility Ring.

Naturally the maker will need advanced skills in jewellery just to create the housing, and will need to be able to identify and source the very best materials. He or she will need a well-appointed workshop to do the work in, and possibly one or more assistants to do the donkey-work of pumping the forge-bellows and what-not. All pretty straightforward so far. But exactly how does it make the wearer invisible?

For the sake of argument, let's say that it will house the essence of some sort of elemental spirit which has the ability to grant the power. So, the creator will need an appropriate Summoning spell, plus a Binding spell, and some means of either forcing or persuading the creature to cough up the goods on demand. That's a little less straightforward. Maybe the thing agrees to make the wearer invisible a certain number of times in return for a specific reward, in which case the ring would have a limited number of non-renewable Charges, and the specifics might be worked out by means of opposed Trading and/or Persuasion skill rolls. And so on.

A classic trope from fantasy literature is to require that to activate the finished magic item, it be bathed in the blood of a unicorn in a silver basin held by a virgin princess during the dark of the moon in the Year of the Warthog. Or some such thing. Maybe not a unicorn, but you know what I mean.

The construction of magic items should never be just another mundane element of the game, glossed over in the character's "down-time" between adventures. It will always require a degree of planning, and the gathering of the raw materials alone could form the basis of several game sessions. Not to mention finding a virgin princess, and checking that she actually is virginal without having your head (or anything else) chopped off for lese majesty.

Magic Items Are Valuable

Naturally, an item that someone has literally poured their heart and soul into is going to be highly valued. In addition to this sentimental value, there's also a significant cost in coin and time to be paid when building magical things. As a rough guide, assume a monetary value of about 100 gold pieces, and a construction time of 1d6 days, per Active Point in the item.