Classification of Arcane Devices:
All true Arcane Devices may be classified.  The most precise form of classification of Arcane Devices, is the device's Power Level. This number is sometimes hard for wizards not familiar with the device to determine from inspection of magical auras, thus there is a secondary classification system that groups Power Levels in broader categories.

Power Level:
The Power Level of an Arcane Device is calculated quite simply.  It is the sum of all spell levels Eternaly Permanenced into the device.  Naturally, this excludes the spell levels in the device from the Create Magic Item Spell, the Spell Investiture spell and however many Eternal Permanences were used.  The reason for exclusion is that these spells are common to all Arcane Devices and thus say little about the power of the device.  

Each spell invested in the magic item has its level counted as part of the Power Level.  Thus Eternal Permanencing an Invisibility spell into a ring, gives the ring a Power Level of 2.  If special or added features are given to a spell, additional levels may be assigned as appropriate.  There are only two real exceptions to this rule, The first are the Combat Enhancement spells.  Because of the way these spells work and are paid for, rather than count the level of the combat enhancement spell only once, the level of the enhancement spell is counted once for each level of enhancement.

The second exception is spells that are literally cast from an item (as opposed to always on).  In other words spells that have no duration and couldn't have been Eternal Permanenced into the item.  Fireballs come to mind.  These spells are normally only operable once per day.  Each additional time per day that these spells may be used, causes that spell to be counted additional time in calculating the  Power Level.  (This second rule doesn't apply if the item is 'intelligent' and has its own supply of mana).

One other item that may appear as an exception but really isn't, comes in the case of 'intelligent' devices.  In actuality, there really is no such thing as an intelligent device.  Talking swords and such are actually magical swords that have had a spirit trapped in a gem linked to them.  Thus the real intelligence in an 'intelligent' device is that of a spirit trapped in it.  To calculate the Power Level of an Arcane Device with a spirit inside, first calculate the contribution from to the Power Level from enhancements and spells.  Then add the levels of the spells required to put the spirit in the device (typically Invest Spirit, and Inanimate Senses and the Voice of Thought, if the thing can talk, see and here, as well as possibly some others) and finally add in the level of the spirit itself.  As one can imagine, 'intelligent' Arcane Devices have very high Power Levels.

As has been noted, determining an exact Power Level can be difficult for anyone except the person who made the item.  This is true also, if for no other reason than most wizard's wizard sight isn't sufficiently good to distinguish such fine gradiations.  For this reason a secondary classification system has been established.  The classification generally corresponds to the level of accuracy with which a wizard using wizard sight may judge the Power Level.

Secondary Classification:
The secondar classification scheme goes as follows:

In general, when first examining any magical item, the best most wizards can determine is its secondary classification.

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.

Creation of Arcane Devices

As mentioned earlier, there are specific procedures and age old rituals for making Arcane Devices.  Most all Arcane Devices follow the same pattern of creation.

The first step is the preperation of the item to be invested with magic.  The materials used must always be of the finest craftsmanship and highest quality raw material.  As a very rough guideline the value of the object to be made into a magic item should roughly be at least equal to 100 gc per Power Level of the final device, or more.  In practice, the finest available such item in the world, is usually sufficient.  

After the item to be magicked has been properly constructed, the wizard(s) doing the creation of the device must cast Create Magic Item on the object.  During the duration of this spell, all other work must proceed.  If other spells needed for the device would take longer to cast or prepare than is available in this duration, then these must be done or prepared in advance so that all durations coincide.  Coordination on large projects can be quite difficult.

Following this, the spell Spell Investment must be placed on the newly created magic item.  During the duration of Spell Investment all spells to be channeled into the device must be placed. Full mana cost is payed for each spell (as per Eternal Permanence spell which will shortly be cast). Following this all spells needing to be Eternal Permanenced, should be.  In general every spell going into an Arcane Device that is to be used as a function of the device must be permanenced.  If not permanenced, the spells expire in their normal duration.  Since each spell must be individually Eternal Permanenced, this stage can drain a lot of mana.  At the end of Eternal Permanence on the last spell.  Eternal Permanence must be cast on the Spell Investiture.  At this point the device is complete.  That and a few thousand mana points is all there is to it.

These rules apply to essentially any Arcane Device one would wish to make.  However questions do arise as to how spells in magic items are fueled.  Spells that are always on (such as combat enhancement spells or invisibility etc) have been fueled by the Eternal Permanence.  The question comes about though, as to what does it mean that a Fireball spell has been Eternal Permanenced in an Arcane Device?  In this case, if an instantaneous spell is placed once during a spell investiture, it may be used once per day.  If the spell is placed into the item multiple times during spell investiture, it may be used that many times per day. 
The exception to the above rule is the only other exception to creation of Arcane Devices.  That is in the case of devices with mana pools, or intelligent devices.

Devices with Mana Pools:
A few devices use mana pools to power their instantaneous spells.  (See the spell Mana Pool)  If a mana pool is placed in an object, the Mana Pools spell is put in as any other spell would be, and is counted in the Power Level.  One can also put more than one mana pool in an Arcane Device.  This mana pool provides mana for any spells that aren't effected by Eternal Permance.  Once the spells are cast, the mana pool must be recharged.  Any wizard may feed his or her own mana into the pool directly to recharge the device.  Otherwise the device must regain mana more slowly.  Mana pool powered devices without a wizard to recharge them may recharge themselves from the mana of non-spell casters, but only at the rate at which the non-spell caster collects mana.  

Intelligent Devices:
As stated earlier, there really are no such things as intelligent devices.  Such devices are actually devices with spirits trapped inside.  As such, these devices certainly have mental characteristics (those of the spirit) as such, it would be a good idea to put intelligent spirits in powerful magical devices.  This is because the spirit has ultimate control of the device.
To place a spirit in a device, a spirit must be summoned, bound and invested in a gem of appropriate value.  (As in the creation of a golem).  The gem with the spirit must at some point have been affixed to the device.  During the spell investment, the device must first be made a spirit talisman of the spirit (see Create Spirit Talisman, this gives the owner of the device the power to command the spirit). Then the spirit must be Object Linked to the device. (This is a common varient of Object Link allowing the creation of a link between the device and the spirit in the gem and allows the spirit to use the items powers as its own). Further, if the spirit does not have sufficient mana of its own to use the spells in the device (i.e. its reserves aren't great enough) mana pools should be added to the device (this is in general a good idea even if the spirit has its own mana).  The spell investment proceeds as normal from this point on.

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