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Magic Items vs Arcane Devices

In the world there are many devices and items of a magical nature.  In general the term ‘magic item’ refers to all of them.  Within this broad term, however, there are distinctions.  Those devices or items most often thought by the general populous as ‘magic items,’ permanently magicked items useable by a variety of people are technically called Arcane Devices.  This is to distinguish them from less permanent magical items.

The first question might be, what is a magic item that is not an Arcane Device.  Firstly those magical items that are only magical temporarily are not Arcane Devices.  These include the various objects used in the various Protection spells. Another example would be weapons and items modified temporarily by combat enhancement spells. While for the duration of the spell, these are magical items, they are not permanent and thus not Arcane devices.  Secondly those items created on the cuff with nothing more than Engrave Magic, a spell and some form of permanency are not usually considered Arcane Devices unless of an exceptional nature. 

Thirdly Object Linked items and talismans are not technically arcane devices.  This includes spirit talismans, (and golem talismans) and demonic talismans.  While used for magical spells and very valuable, these are still not true Arcane Devices.  One common magical item often mistaken for an Arcane Device by the public, is a Wizard’s Staff.  While there are staves that are Arcane Devices, the traditional Wizard Staffs carried by wizards are not considered Arcane Devices, since only the person for whom the staff was created may use it.  

Finally, common spell components that are reused are not Arcane Devices, allthough the public may believe otherwise.  Examples of such are normal crystal balls, scrying mirrors and bowls, Evil Eye’s, and similar items.  There may very well be special Arcane Devices that are in the form of one of these items, but unless spells have been added to these components to give them independent powers outside the spells they are used in, they are not Arcane Devices.

Thus what is an Arcane Device?  An Arcane Device is any item that is permanently magical in nature or function, independent of spells that it may be used with.  An Arcane Device is created by a known set of spells and rituals and can be classified and rated (albeit somewhat sketchily in some cases).

Use of Arcane Devices:
Arcane Devices with constant effects can generally be used by anyone, unless specifically stated in the device’s description. Devices which ‘cast’ or launch spells (like Fireballs, etc.) have key words for each spell.  These key words must be said softly (or loudly if the owner is stupid)  by the holder of the item, in order for the spell to function.  The exception being ‘intelligent’ devices which can either just be told to work or may chose to do so on their own.

Wizard’s Staff

One magical item often mistaken by the general public as being an Arcane Device is a wizard’s staff.  While it is true that some wizards do carry staves that are Arcane Devices, and it is even more often true that wizards are carrying completely normal staves, often wizards will be carrying a very special form of magical staff.  

The official wizard staff, that many wizards use for casting spells, is not technically an Arcane Device.  It is a specially created device, made for a specific wizard.  Only the wizard for whom the staff is made may use the staff.

A wizard’s staff is created by the spell Create Staff.  This spell requires the use of the true name of the wizard for whom the staff is made.  Thus often times the staff is made by the wizard himself or herself.  It takes one full day for a wizard to enchant such a staff, and as for all magical items, the staff must be of the finest material.

In the hands of the owner wizard, a wizard staff is more accurate in combat and does more damage than a normal staff or when used by someone other than the owner.  By construction the staff is automatically Object Linked to the owner.

The handiest attribute, however of the wizard staff, is its ability to store spells.  The wizard staff may store any number of magical spells for the caster, so long as the total amount of mana in the spells does not exceed the limits of the wizard’s own mana reserves.

In advance of need, the wizard may cast any spells he or she knows into the staff at the desired level of power, paying the full mana cost for the spell at this time.  The staff will hold the spell until a later time period when the caster has need of it.  If the caster successfully gets the spell into the staff, it will be recast correctly when needed.   Once a spell is released it is gone and must be replaced in the staff before it can be used again.   The great advantage is that the wizard may rest up after investing the spell in the staff and replenish his or her mana reserves in the mean time.

Destruction of Arcane Devices

It is almost guarenteed that at some point, someone will attempt to destroy a magic item.  This is a very difficult proposition.

Intelligent Devices:
In order to destroy an intelligent device, one has to somehow manage to kill the spirit inside first (hard), then destroy the item as any Arcane Device.  If the spirit lives, final destruction of the device is essentially impossible.

Normal Arcane Devices:
All Arcane Devices have Destruct RRs that they roll to avoid damage or destruction.  Occaisionally they also must make such rolls to avoid being unmagicked (rather than destroyed).  The base destruct RR for Arcane Devices is given in the Base Destruct RR for Arcane Devices table.  This table gives a base RR based upon the items composition.  Further it provides modifiers based upon the type of attack experienced by the item.  Further to this base RR, all magic items add their Power Level.  The resultant is the unmodified RR needed to survive an attack.  This will of course be modified by other bonuses and penalties base on the level of the spell caster, or whatever form of attack is used, as a normal RR is.

If an Arcane Device is destroyed, there is a percentage chance equal to the Power Level of the device that it will explode or do some other nasty thing.  If this is indicated, a roll on the magical fumble table is called for.  The Power Level of the device should be added to the die roll on the magical fumble chart.  Any effects directed at caster happen to the individual launching the attack on the Arcane Device.

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