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All Rules in Scaling Items

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Adjusting Treasure

Source Pathfinder Unchained pg. 160
Since scaling items improve as characters level up, they effectively add wealth to their owners over time. To balance this out, the Game Master should reduce treasure awards in proportion to how many scaling items the party has. This can be done per character or for the whole group, as described below. Note that the original level and price of a scaling item don’t matter once the character’s level exceeds the minimum caster level of the item, since the item accrues value based on its category (bauble, prize, or wonder), not on its original price. The adjustments to treasure awards are the same for all items in a category.

Table 4-13: Value of Scaling Items

LevelBauble (5%)Prize (15%)Wonder (30%)
1st15 gp45 gp90 gp
2nd50 gp150 gp300 gp
3rd150 gp450 gp900 gp
4th300 gp900 gp1,800 gp
5th525 gp1,575 gp3,150 gp
6th80 gp2,400 gp4,800 gp
7th1,750 gp3,525 gp7,050 gp
8th1,650 gp4,950 gp9,900 gp
9th2,300 gp6,900 gp13,800 gp
10th3,100 gp9,300 gp18,600 gp
11th4,100 gp12,300 gp24,600 gp
12th5,400 gp16,200 gp32,400 gp
13th7,000 gp21,000 gp42,000 gp
14th9,250 gp27,750 gp55,500 gp
15th12,000 gp36,000 gp72,000 gp
16th15,750 gp47,250 gp94,500 gp
17th20,500 gp61,500 gp129,000 gp
18th26,500 gp79,500 gp159,000 gp
19th34,250 gp102,750 gp205,500 gp
20th44,000 gp132,000 gp264,000 gp

Per Character: If you apply the scaling item treasure reduction for each character, do so after dividing up shares of treasure for the characters. Reduce the treasure received by a character with a scaling item by the percentage listed for the item’s category (5% for baubles, 15% for prizes, and 30% for wonders). If the character has multiple scaling items, combine the percentages before adjusting the amount of treasure.

For example, a PC with a wonder and a prize would receive 45% less treasure, because the PC has effectively already received that amount of treasure in the form of the items’ increased values. Since the value of a scaling item is based on wealth for an entire level, apply this adjustment to every treasure allotment the character receives. If you’d prefer to keep the adjustments more tied to the game world, you can instead replace the character’s lost treasure share with a magical substance that must be used to increase the power of scaling items. This might be magical residue, vibrant crystals, or spellbook-style pages of magical phrases that increase the item’s power. In any case, this substance should be treated as almost worthless to sell, and therefore useful only for upgrading scaling items.

Group Basis: You can use the scaling items of the whole party to adjust treasure. This implementation works best if all or most of the characters possess scaling items, and no character possesses a far higher number than the others. This method has the advantage of hiding behind the scenes, requiring no in-game justification. Add up the percentages of all scaling items owned by all PCs. Divide this percentage by the number of PCs, and reduce the total value of treasure the party finds by that percentage before dividing it among the characters. For example, if a group of four PCs have between them one bauble, three prizes, and a wonder, their treasure is reduced by 20% (80% divided by 4).

Maximum Level

Source Pathfinder Unchained pg. 161
Many scaling items unlock new powers all the way up to 20th level. Others reach the caps on their abilities at lower levels. Once an item reaches the level of its most powerful ability, stop adjusting treasure for that item. At that point, the scaling item is considered fully “paid for.”

Mismatched evels

Source Pathfinder Unchained pg. 161
If a PC receives a scaling item of a caster level lower than her character level, she effectively receives an item that’s worth more than the price listed in the stat block. Reference Table 4–13: Value of Scaling Items and use the PC’s level to estimate how much the item is really worth to that PC, and use that purchase price as its treasure value. Giving an item with a caster level higher than the character’s level doesn’t present the same problems; it just means the PC won’t be unlocking the item’s higher-level powers for some time. Don’t reduce treasure for such an item until the PC’s level exceeds the item’s caster level.