Rules Index


Chapter 11: Crafting & Treasure

Activating Items

Source Core Rulebook pg. 532
Some items produce their effects only when used properly in the moment. Others always offer the same benefits as their mundane counterparts when worn, but have magical abilities you can gain by further spending actions. Either case requires you to use the Activate an Item activity. Activating an Item works much like Casting a Spell, in that the activity takes a variable number of actions and can have different components depending on how you Activate the Item. This information appears in the item’s Activate entry.

If an item is used up when activated, as is the case for consumable items, its Activate entry appears toward the top of the stat block. For permanent items with activated abilities, the Activate entry is a paragraph in the description. Activations are not necessarily magical—for instance, drinking an alchemical elixir isn’t usually a magical effect.

Activate an Item

Source Core Rulebook pg. 532
Requirements You can Activate an Item with the invested trait only if it’s invested by you. If the item requires you to Interact with it, you must be wielding it (if it’s a held item) or touching it with a free hand (if it’s another type of item).
You call forth the effect of an item by properly activating it. This is a special activity that takes a variable number of actions, as listed in the item’s stat block.

Some items can be activated as a reaction or free action. In this case, you Activate the Item as a reaction or free action (as appropriate) instead of as an activity. Such cases are noted in the item’s Activate entry in its stat block—for example, “Activate ReactionReaction command.”

Long Activation Times Some items take minutes or hours to activate. The Activate an Item activity for these items includes a mix of the listed activation components, but it’s not necessary to break down which one you’re providing at a given time. You can’t use other actions or reactions while activating such an item, though at the GM’s discretion, you might be able to speak a few sentences. As with other activities that take a long time, these activations have the exploration trait, and you can’t activate them in an encounter. If combat breaks out while you’re activating one, your activation is disrupted (see the Disrupting Activations sidebar).

Activation Components Each activation entry lists any components involved in the activation after the action icons or text, such as “Single ActionSingle Action command.” The activation components, described below, add traits (listed in parentheses) and requirements to the activation. If you can’t provide the components, you fail to Activate the Item.
  • Command (auditory, concentrate)
  • Envision (concentrate)
  • Interact (manipulate)
  • Cast a Spell

Activation Components

An item’s activate entry lists the components required to activate its abilities. Each component adds certain traits to the Activate an Item activity, and some components have special requirements. The components that appear in this book are listed below.

Command

This component is a specific utterance you must make in a loud and strong voice. Activate an Item gains the auditory and concentrate traits. You must be able to speak to provide this component.

Envision

This component is a specific image or phenomenon you need to imagine. Activate an Item gains the concentrate trait.

Interact

This component works like the Interact basic action. Activate an Item gains the manipulate trait and requires you to use your hands, just like with any Interact action.

Cast a Spell

If an item lists “Cast a Spell” after “Activate,” the activation requires you to use the Cast a Spell activity to Activate the Item. This happens when the item replicates a spell. You must have a spellcasting class feature to Activate an Item with this activation component. If the item can be used for a specific spell, the action icon for that spell is provided. If it’s an item like a staff, which can be used for many spells, the icon is omitted, and you must refer to each spell to determine which actions you must spend to Activate the Item to cast it.

In this case, Activate an Item gains all the traits from the relevant components of the Cast a Spell activity.

Limited Activations

Source Core Rulebook pg. 533
Some items can be activated only a limited number of times per day, as described in the items. This limit is independent of any costs for activating the item. The limit resets during your daily preparations. The limit is inherent to the item, so if an ability that can be used only once per day is used, it doesn’t refresh if another creature later invests or tries to activate the item.

Sustaining Activations

Source Core Rulebook pg. 533
Some items, once activated, have effects that can be sustained if you concentrate on them. This works much like the Sustain a Spell action (found on page 304). If an item’s description states that you can sustain the effect, that effect lasts until the end of your turn in the round after you Activated the Item. You can use a Sustain an Activation action on that turn to extend the duration.

Sustain an Activation Single Action

Source Core Rulebook pg. 534
Requirements You have at least one magic item activation that you can sustain and you are not fatigued
Choose one magic item activation with a sustained duration you have in effect. The duration of that activation continues until the end of your next turn. Some activations may have slightly different or expanded effects if you sustain them. Sustaining an Activation for more than 10 minutes (100 rounds) ends the activation and makes you fatigued unless the item’s description states a different maximum duration (such as “up to 1 minute” or “up to 1 hour”).

If your Sustain an Activation action is disrupted, the item’s effect immediately ends.

Dismissing Activations

Source Core Rulebook pg. 534
Some item effects can be dismissed, ending the duration early due to you or the target taking action. Dismissing an activation requires using the Dismiss action.

Dismiss Single Action

Concentrate
Source Core Rulebook pg. 305
You end one spell effect or magic item effect. This must be an effect you are allowed to dismiss, as defined by the spell or item. Dismissal might end the effect entirely or might end it just for a certain target or targets, depending on the spell or item.