Drinking & Dragons


From Drinking and Dragons

When magic items are created, their creator puts a little of his own life essence into it, intrinsically linking them together. When the it dies, a spirit collects its fragmented pieces together back into one whole after it has departed into the planes. This means that enchanted items lose their potency over time.

When the creator dies, nothing happens to the items bound to him for one 1d4 weeks, while his soul searches the planes and petitions its gods. After this month has passed, the items start to decay at a rate that depends on the type of item. Highest value modifiers decay first. Special materials ("mithral") and mundane enhancements ("masterwork", "quick release") do not decay. Well, mundane objects like that do decay, but not at a rate within the scope of a standard campaign and, even then, regular maintenance prolongs their life further. Decay rates occur at the following time scales and as follow:


What Time How
Arms & Armor months Pluses first, then 5,000 GP increments
Rod years caster level
Staff weeks charge
Wand days charge
Wonderous (consumable) weeks charge (or caster level)
Wonderous (permanent) months caster level
Ring years caster level
Scroll days caster level
Potion days caster level
Construct† decades hit die
Undead† years hit die
Animated Objects† months hit die
Permanent spells† spell level caster level

†Sometimes, creatures do manage to break free of their owner's bond and continue to exist independently. Occasionally they'll awaken similar to the druid spell. It is also possible for a spell to take a life of its own once the bond is broken. This is one way in which a living spell comes into being.

  • Any given plus or GP equivalent property will function until a number of intervals pass to consume it entirely.
  • Charged items lose one charges directly; it is not actually released as if cast.
  • Items that lose caster level do not cease functioning until they no longer have a caster level, though any variables that depend on caster level are altered. Scrolls and potions also do not quit working until they reach caster level zero. This allows for a 9th level spell with caster level 1 to be found on a scroll. They must still be made at the minimum caster level, however.
  • Creatures lose hit dice, which lowers their hit points, base attack and saves, caster level, and any abilities that depend on hit dice. They do not lose skills, feats, or change in size. They "die" once they reach 0 hit dice.
  • Spells made permanent decay by caster level (with variable effects that depend on caster level updating appropriately) Spells made permanent on the caster himself end immediately. Their rate is as follows:
Spell Level Time
0th-2nd day
3rd-5th week
6-7th month
8th year
9th decade


For example, some spellcaster made fire resistant +1 light fortification ghost touch mithral breast plate, and later meets an unfortunate end. The enchantments on it are +1, light fortification (+1 equivalent), ghost touch (+3 equivalent), fire resistance (18,000 GP). Mithral, a special material, is not an enchantment. Armor's decay rate is in months, and it loses pluses first, then GP values. After 1d4 weeks have passed, it will start to decay and lose properties month by month. The first property the item will lose is ghost touch. It takes three months for this property to decay. It then loses light fortification next month, and the +1 the following. After 5 months, it is now simply a fire resistant mithral breast plate. The fire resistance takes 4 months to decay -- 18,000 ÷ 5,000 = 3.6.


Any crafter who dies and returns to life is immediately rebound to any items that were previously bound to him and are not yet rebound to another. Any partially-decayed properties immediately return to full power, but those that had decayed completely are lost permanently (though nothing prevents them from being re-enchanted).

You can tell the state of an enchanted item by casting detect magic'. It is immediately possible to notice if the item's crafter is alive or not. (An item whose crafter has perished appears to detect magic to have blurred, imprecise edges and shapes.) A spellcraft check (DC 25) reveals to you more precisely (such as via a "percent decayed") the state of the decay, and may help to indicate the relative power of the item. An identify spell is still required to know the full properties and exact number of charges in an item.

If something interferes with the free movement of the crafter's spirit, such as his being killed by a thinuan dagger, the results of magic item decay can become unpredictable.


An unbound magic item that has not completely decayed may be rebound to a new soul. This process involves expending some of the new owner's life essence to replace that originally in the item. This is a ritual that requires costly materials, and the expenditure of XP. To perform the ritual, you must have any item crafting feat (not necessarily the one required originally to create the item; excludes scribe scroll), and to have a caster level high enough to create the item in question. You may substitute a casting of the spell permanency in place of an item crafting feat, and doing so does not alter the process in any other way. You do not need to know any of the spells related to the crafting process. The item needs to be identified before you can attempt to rebind it.

You lose XP equal to the amount originally needed to create the item (or to permanency it). For a charged item, this value is prorated to the current number of charges; for a potion or scroll, this value is prorated to the current caster level. The ritual consumes components in GP equal to the number of XP lost in this way. The ritual itself takes one hour to perform, during which time you touch that to which you are rebinding. If you are rebinding a creature, you must stay adjacent to that creature for the entire ritual, though you need only touch it twice -- once at the beginning, and another at the end. Interrupting the ritual has does nothing other than forcing it to be started over again. The XP and GP are not consumed until the end.

For creatures that do not have an established cost, assume it is 50 XP per HD plus 50 XP per CR.

Unless the person the item is currently bound to actually dies, there are no known ways to rebind an item.

Effects of Rebinding
  • Except as otherwise noted, all rebound items are immediately restored to full power, and decay stops.
  • Any properties on an item that decayed fully before it is rebound are gone permanently.
  • A creature is rebound exactly as you claimed it -- it does not regain lost hit dice.
  • Charged items retain the number of charges they were rebound with; they do not refill.
  • Potions and scrolls retain their reduced caster level; they do not recharge.
  • A permanent spell claimed functions exactly as it did when it was first created.