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D&D 3E
Because Your Help Is Needed 
27th-Jan-2010 04:42 pm
Calling all math people!

(Especially those with a penchant for D&D)

Dungeon Master's Guide II
Wondrous Item
"Vest of Legends"
+5 Diplomacy (continuous)
+5 Perform (continuous)
+5 effective levels for determining Bardic Music effects (use-activated)

Spells used: Eagle's Splendor (2nd level), Greater Heroism (6th level)
Cost: 16,000 GP

What I need to do is figure out how they reached this estimate.

Guidelines for pricing magic items are here:

According to this, the continuous-use skill bonuses are their enhancement squared, times 100 GP, or 2500 GP each. Let's assume that covers the Eagle's Splendor portion of the cost, since there is no actual enhancement to Charisma from this item. Since these are complimentary effects, they are either added to the cost at 75% and 50% each, or both at 50% cost.

The Greater Heroism is more confusing. As a 6th-level spell, an 11th-level Wizard is needed to cast it. This is a command-activated power, since it only works in conjunction with Bardic Music. It also does not actually cast Greater Heroism, but instead provides a portion of the related bonuses in conjunction with the Bardic Music effect (Inspire Courage/Inspire Greatness/Inspire Heroism/Fascinate/Suggestion). So some fraction of the cost must be applied. (For comparison, a ring that allowed the wearer to cast Greater Heroism as an 11th-level caster would cost 6 x 11 x 1800 GP, or 118,800 GP, likely then divided by uses per day)

The DMG II apparently just wanted to be confusing. A much better build would use the 4th-level spell "Protégé" from the Spell Compendium: for the purposes of Bardic Music only, the caster imbues a sentient creature with a Bard level 1/2 his own. Since Bards can cast 4th level spells as 10th-level casters, this would imbue a +5 effective Bardic Music level into the Vest's wearer. Now, I'm still wonky on how you would get the total price down to only 16,000 GP, but at least this method makes more overall sense than using a partial-cast of Greater Heroism.

So, mathematically, how the heck did the DMG II authors estimate the cost for this Vest??

Person who calculates it out using reasonable interpretation of the rules gets an Epic item named after them (or their character)!
28th-Jan-2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Having looked at it, I'd suspect that the item used to be more powerful, but they changed it before printing and didn't update the spells or the cost correctly.
28th-Jan-2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Possible, but I need a reproducible formula to make an upgraded version.

Using Protégé by a 20th-level caster and adding a +10 competence bonus to Diplomacy and Perform, the vest would double its effectiveness but at a price exponentially greater:

spell level 4 x caster level 20 x command-activated (Bardic Music) 1800 = 144,000 x .7 for being useful only to Bards = 100,800 GP. Adding the bonus to Diplomacy and Perform (+10^2 x 100 GP each) as complimentary (continual) effects, with costs at .75 and .5 respectively, brings it up to 113,300 GP. A little pricey for what it does (effectively grants allies an extra +2 to attacks and damage), no?
28th-Jan-2010 01:02 am (UTC) - There is no formula.
They likely ignored the formula from the book. Do I win? ;p

The formula is just a rough guideline--a very very rough one at that. It can produce items that are way over-priced or way under-priced. As you may notice, in Magic Item Compendium they outright state that the DMG pricing guidelines are almost complete bunk.

So how do you get 16k? Well, this item grants +5 to a set of skills used by a single class, and gives that class a boost to a single class feature. +5 to a single skill would probably be the equivalent of a +2 Stat item (since that would give +1 to a whole lot of skills, among other things)... maybe a +4 Stat item, though that might be pushing it. So you add in the class boost feature, and that might make it roughly the same as a +4 Stat boost item, or around 16k. Checking it over, that is an appropriate item for a 14th level character (see MIC 226), which is right around when the +5 bardic music becomes less significant (if you're straight bard, you aren't gaining very much, and if you've multi-classed or PrC'd then you would have lost about 5 levels of music probably, so that makes it up). So a 14th level item at 16k sounds about right.

No formula, just rough guessing.
28th-Jan-2010 01:21 am (UTC) - Re: There is no formula.
That's along the lines of what I was thinking, estimate-wise, actually ... +4^2 = 16K, +8^2 = 64K, which seems reasonable for such a restricted (yet awesome) item. Of course, a +8 ability boost in 3.5e is actually valued at 640K, but that would be far too much for an item like this.

In which case, the 113,300 GP build would be the obvious better choice, especially since its component spell actually makes a great deal more sense. I'll have to confer with my DM. :/
28th-Jan-2010 01:44 am (UTC) - Re: There is no formula.
Actually, the +8 to an Ability score is *deliberately* priced at 640k, because it's EPIC (remember that amulet of +6 natural armor in Austin's game?). So take that into consideration. (It could certainly be the non-doubled factor of the item.)

Basically, I would say, build it as it makes sense *without* the...wait, now I'm confused. No. I don't think it needs to be priced on the epic price scale if it's not giving +8 to Charisma itself. (I misread part of the comments.)

And remember - the reason it seems so expensive is because you're combining all this stuff into one body slot. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and all that.
28th-Jan-2010 03:47 pm (UTC) - Re: There is no formula.
Well, there's a couple ways to price it, then:

The 07:44 formula based on DMG build estimates, at 113,300 GP

The general estimation of (16/2)^2 = 64,000 GP

Or third --
Take the +5 powers at 2x cost (since each is applied to the same body-slot item) = 5^2 x 100 x 2 = 5K each
That makes the +5 Bardic Music-boosting power worth 6K. Since that power is doubled, let's arbitrarily say that will cause the price to increase by a factor of two, rather than a multiple: 6^2 = 36K. Using the same method as above to calculate for a +10 to Diplomacy and Perform: 10^2 x 100 x 2 = 20,000 GP each. Altogether, that would make the Vest of Epic Legends worth 36K + 20K + 20K = 76,000 GP (which falls between the first and second estimate methods)

28th-Jan-2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
The later books use a "cost-benefit comparison" model to pricing an item.

In essence, you look at your item, then you compare that to other items that would tempt a character.

So an item might give a +5 bonus for 5,000gp. However, if it gives three bonuses, it should cost $15,000gp + % = @ 22,000 gp. However, if you had 22,000gp, this item would not be worth your money. A sane person would pick the +10 or +15 item that covers their critical skills.

So, what is it really worth?

That is why you don't have a formula.
28th-Jan-2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
That seems to be the consensus. :/
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