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.

Intelligent Item Alignment

Any item with intelligence has an 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 alignment-oriented 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) is drained one Hit Die if he or she so much as picks up the item. This drain remains as long as the item is in hand and cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells); it is cumulative with any other penalties the item might already place on inappropriate wielders. Items with Ego scores (see below) of 20 to 29 drain two Hit Dice, and items with Ego scores of 30 or higher drain three Hit Dice.

Table 1: Intelligent Item Alignment

d% Item's Alignment
01–05 Chaotic good
06–15 Chaotic neutral*
16–20 Chaotic evil
21–25 Neutral evil*
26–30 Lawful evil
31–55 Lawful good
56–60 Lawful neutral*
61–80 Neutral good*
81–100 Neutral

*The item can also be used by any character whose alignment corresponds to the nonneutral portion of the item's alignment.

Languages Spoken By Item

An intelligent item speaks Common and has one additional rank per point of its Intelligence bonus to put into other languages. Choose appropriate languages, taking into account the item's origin and purposes.

Table 2: Item Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and Capabilities

d% Mental
Ability Scores
Communication Powers Senses Base Price
01–34 Two at 12, one at 10 Empathy1 One lesser power 30 ft. vision, hearing +1,000 gp
35–59 Two at 13, one at 10 Empathy1 Two lesser powers 60 ft. vision, hearing +2,000 gp
60–79 Two at 14, one at 10 Speech Two lesser powers 120 ft. vision, hearing +4,000 gp
80–91 Two at 15, one at 10 Speech Three lesser powers Darkvision, hearing +5,000 gp
92–97 Two at 16, one at 10 Speech2 Three lesser powers Darkvision, hearing +6,000 gp
98 Two at 17, one at 10 Speech, telepathy2, 3 Three lesser, one greater power1 Darkvision, hearing +9,000 gp
99 Two at 18, one at 10 Speech, telepathy3, 4 Three lesser, two greater powers5 Darkvision, blindsense, hearing +12,000 gp
100 Two at 19, one at 10 Speech, telepathy3, 4 Four lesser, three greater powers5 Darkvision, blindsense, hearing +15,000 gp

1 The possessor feels urges and sometimes emotions from the item that encourage or discourage certain courses of action.

2 The item can also read any languages it can speak.

3 The item can use either communication mode at will, with language use as any speaking item. It can communicate telepathically with the wielder.

4 The item can use read magic.

5 The intelligent item can have a special purpose (and corresponding dedicated power) rather than a greater power, if appropriate.

Intelligent Item Powers

The table above determines how many lesser and greater powers an intelligent item has. To find the item's specific powers, choose or roll on the appropriate tables below.

Table 3: Intelligent Item Lesser Powers

d% Lesser Power Base Price
01–05 Item can bless its allies 3/day +1,000 gp
06–10 Item can use faerie fire 3/day +1,100 gp
11–13 Item can cast minor image 1/day +2,200 gp
14–20 Item has deathwatch continually active +2,700 gp
21–25 Item can use detect magic at will +3,600 gp
26–31 Item has 10 ranks in Intimidate +5,000 gp
32–33 Item has 10 ranks in Decipher Script +5,000 gp
34–36 Item has 10 ranks in Knowledge (choose category) +5,000 gp
37–40 Item has 10 ranks in Search +5,000 gp
41–45 Item has 10 ranks in Perception +5,000 gp
46–50 Item has 10 ranks in Appraise +5,000 gp
51–54 Item has 10 ranks in Spellcraft +5,000 gp
55–60 Item has 10 ranks in Sense Motive +5,000 gp
61–66 Item has 10 ranks in Bluff +5,000 gp
67–72 Item has 10 ranks in Diplomacy +5,000 gp
73–77 Item can cast major image 1/day +5,400 gp
78–80 Item can cast darkness 3/day +6,500 gp
81–83 Item can use hold person on an enemy 3/day +6,500 gp
84–86 Item can activate zone of truth 3/day +6,500 gp
87–89 Item can use daze monster 3/day +6,500 gp
90–95 Item can use locate object 3/day +6,500 gp
96–100 Item can use cure moderate wounds (2d8+3) on wielder 3/day +6,500 gp

All powers function at the item's direction, though intelligent items generally follow their owner's wishes. Activating a power or concentrating on an active one is a standard action the item takes.

Table 4: Intelligent Item Greater Powers
d% Greater Power Base Price
01–06 Item can detect opposing alignment at will +7,200 gp
07–10 Item can detect undead at will +7,200 gp
11–13 Item can cause fear in an enemy at will +7,200 gp
14–18 Item can use dimensional anchor on a foe 1/day +10,000 gp
19–23 Item can use dismissal on a foe 1/day +10,000 gp
24–28 Item can use lesser globe of invulnerability 1/day +10,000 gp
29–33 Item can use arcane eye 1/day +10,000 gp
34–37 Item has continuous detect scrying effect +10,000 gp
38–41 Item creates wall of fire in a ring with the wielder at the center 1/day +10,000 gp
42–45 Item can use quench on fires 3/day +16,000 gp
46–50 Item has status effect, usable at will +11,000 gp
51–54 Item can use gust of wind 3/day +11,000 gp
55–59 Item can use clairvoyance 3/day +16,000 gp
60–64 Item can create magic circle against opposing alignment at will +16,000 gp
65–68 Item can use haste on its owner 3/day +16,000 gp
69–73 Item can create daylight 3/day +16,000 gp
74–76 Item can create deeper darkness 3/day +16,000 gp
77–80 Item can use invisibility purge (30 ft. range) 3/day +16,000 gp
81–85 Item can use slow on its enemies 3/day +16,000 gp
86–91 Item can locate creature 3/day +30,000 gp
91–97 Item can use fear against foes 3/day +30,000 gp
98–100 Item can use detect thoughts at will +44,000 gp

If the same power is rolled twice, roll again.

Special Purpose Items

Table 5: Intelligent Item Purpose
d% Purpose
01–20 Defeat/slay diametrically opposed alignment*
21–30 Defeat/slay arcane spellcasters (including spellcasting monsters and those that use spell-like abilities)
31–40 Defeat/slay divine spellcasters (including divine entities and servitors)
41–50 Defeat/slay nonspellcasters
51–55 Defeat/slay a particular creature type (see the bane special ability for choices)
56–60 Defeat/slay a particular race or kind of creature
61–70 Defend a particular race or kind of creature
71–80 Defeat/slay the servants of a specific deity
81–90 Defend the servants and interests of a specific deity
91–95 Defeat/slay all (other than the item and the wielder)
96–100 Choose one

*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).


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 wizard's cabal to ruin, as well as end the rule of a sorceress-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 himself. 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.

Dedicated Power

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 power even if the owner is dominant (see Items against Characters, below).

Table 6: Special Purpose Item Dedicated Powers

d% Dedicated Power Base Price
01–06 Item can use ice storm +50,000 gp
07–12 Item can use confusion +50,000 gp
13–17 Item can use phantasmal killer +50,000 gp
18–24 Item can use crushing despair +50,000 gp
25–31 Item can use dimension door on itself and wielder +50,000 gp
32–36 Item can use contagion (heightened to 4th level) as touch attack +56,000 gp
37–43 Item can use poison (heightened to 4th level) as touch attack +56,000 gp
44–50 Item can use rusting grasp as touch attack +56,000 gp
51–56 Item can cast 10d6 lightning bolt +60,000 gp
57–62 Item can cast 10d6 fireball +60,000 gp
63–68 Wielder gets +2 luck bonus on attacks, saves, and checks +80,000 gp
69–74 Item can use mass inflict light wounds +81,000 gp
75–81 Item can use song of discord +81,000 gp
82–87 Item can use prying eyes +81,000 gp
88–92 Item can cast 15d6 greater shout 3/day +130,000 gp
93–98 Item can use waves of exhaustion +164,000 gp
99–100 Item can use iron body on wielder +200,000 gp

Item Ego

Ego is a measure of the total power and force of personality that an item possesses. Only after all aspects of an item have been generated can its Ego score be calculated. An item's Ego score helps determine whether the item or the character is dominant in their relationship, as detailed below.

Table 7: Item Ego

Attribute of Item Ego Points
Each +1 of item's enhancement bonus 1
Each +1 of bonus for special abilities 1
Each lesser power 1
Each greater power 2
Special purpose (and dedicated power) 4
Telepathic ability 1
Read languages ability 1
Read magic ability 1
Each +1 of Intelligence bonus 1
Each +1 of Wisdom bonus 1
Each +1 of Charisma bonus 1

Items Against Characters

When an item has an Ego of its own, it has a will of its own. The item is, of course, 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 save (DC = item's Ego). If the possessor succeeds, she is dominant. If she fails, the item is dominant. Dominance lasts for one 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.

  • Removal of associates or items whose alignment or personality is distasteful to the item.
  • The character divesting herself of all other magic items or items of a certain type.
  • Obedience from the character so the item can direct where they go for its own purposes.
  • Immediate seeking out and slaying of creatures hateful to the item.
  • Magical protections and devices to protect the item from molestation when it is not in use.
  • That the character carry the item with her on all occasions.
  • That the character relinquish the item in favor of a more suitable possessor due to alignment differences or conduct.

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

  • Force its possessor into combat.
  • Refuse to strike opponents.
  • Strike at its wielder or her associates.
  • Force its possessor to surrender to an opponent.
  • Cause itself to drop from the character's grasp.

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 rivals of each other, even if they are 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 who possess them, even though they may never successfully control their possessors. They may be powerless to force their demands but remain undaunted and continue to air their wishes and demands.

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