Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda

Ages past, in the forgotten dawn of the world, the Tuatha de Danaan, the children of the goddess Danu of the Waters, came from the darkness and the mists of the sea to the shores of the Emerald Isle in shining splendor. With them they carried the laws of hospitality, the traditions of kingship, the arts of civilization, and four great treasures.

But the Emerald Isle was the realm of the Fir Bolg, the powers of the untamed wilds and nature unrestrained. It was not in them to yield their lands to the Tuatha de Danaan uncontested – and so there was war.

The Tuatha de Danaan forged weapons of might, and dazzling shields, and – led by Nuada – were unsurpassed in the arts and strategies of war.

Yet the Fir Bolg, led by Balor of the Destroying Eye, the master of Pestilence, Drought, and Fire, seized upon the forces of nature for their weapons. They wielded the winter’s bitter cold and the summer’s burning heat, the floods of spring, the grasping clay and hungry beasts of autumn, fire and flood and earthquake, coming against the Children of Danu like the tides of the Sea marching against a coastal isle.

And Nuada fell. The arts of war failed the Tuatha de Danaan as the Emerald Isle fell into chaos and slipped back towards it’s beginning, towards a darkness that would never see another dawn.

But a new leader came forth among the Tuatha de Danaan, the Dagda – a master of the cycle of life and a Bard of Might. From the strings of Uaithne – the Oak of Two Meadows, Foursquare and True, the Four-Angled Music – he called forth harmonies that could ready men for battle, bring strength to their walls, soothe their wounds and heartache, set the seasons and forces of nature once more in order, and bring joy, mirth, sorrow, and slumber. With harmony he brought peace between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fir Bolg – and a part of that power lingers within his harp even today.

Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda

As a basic magic item:

  • Masterwork Harp (CAdv, 100 GP +250 GP for the Adamantine Inlay): Uaithne is a wonderful work of art – chased with adamantine and gold over seasoned oak, inlaid with gems and inscribed with many magics in Ogham.
    • +2 Circumstance Bonus to Perform checks made using the Harp.
    • If used with Mystic Artist (Perform/Music), the user may target one more creature than normal with Fascinate and Inspire Greatness.
    • The user may cast spells or manifest powers while performing provided that they have no somatic, material, or focus components.

Adamantine Inlay does one thing besides look stylish; it gives your magic item a base hardness of 20. The expense is hard to make out; ammunition costs a mere 60 GP, there’s no size adjustment, and it’s hard to say if a Ring calls for much more Adamantine than (say) a broadhead arrow – or, for that matter, a ballista bolt). Ergo, for our purposes, adding Adamantine Inlay costs 250 GP. It should probably be assumed on any permanent item that costs 10,000 GP or more. Such things are traditionally hard to destroy anyway and the expense is small enough to make it downright stupid to leave it out. It’s like getting an impact-resistant case for your smartphone.

  • Two Wand Chambers (Dungeonscape, 200 GP). Uaithne can have two wands slipped inside it’s column, giving it or it’s user immediate access to some handy magic – and, according to those who have played it, subtle and fascinating changes in it’s tone and resonance.
  • Musical Bludgeon: If you smack someone with the Harp (not advised, but you have to buy the +1 enhancement to get Harmonizing), it is a +1 Harmonizing Weapon (8000 GP). The Harmonizing property extends the unattended duration of Bardic Music by ten rounds.
  • Legend Given Form: Uthaine is Self-Repairing: Repair Light Damage (CL1 x SL1 x 1200 GP for 3 Uses/Day x .7 Personal Only = 840 GP). Uaithne may repair 1d8+1 points of damage to itself as a standard action three times per day.

Adding the powers of another item to another item – sapient or not – is covered in the Magic Item Compendium. Generally it’s add the baseline cost for common utility functions, 100% of the cost to add the powers of a slot-free item to another slot-free item, 150% of the base cost to add a function to a slot-based item, and 200% of the base cost to add a slot-based items powers to a slot free item. The overall Caster Level of the intelligent item is always the highest caster level involved. Adding powers is likely to increase an items ego however.

  • Dove’s Harp (MIC, CL9, 12,000 GP):
    • Whenever Uthaine is used to produce bardic music all allies within sixty feet gain fast healing 3 for 1 minute.
  • Lyre of Building (SRD, CL6, 13,000 GP):
    • Reinforcement: 1/Day negates any attacks made against inanimate construction (walls, roof, floor, and so on) within 300 feet, including the effects of a horn of blasting, a disintegrate spell, or an attack from a ram or similar siege weapon. The protection lasts for 30 minutes.
    • Construction: 1/Week can magically construct buildings, mines, tunnels, ditches, or whatever. Each full action of playing does 10 man-hours of work (as if with any necessary tools, but using materials drawn from the area). Each hour after the first, the user must make a DC 18 Perform (string instruments) check. If it fails, he or she must stop and wait to start again until a week has passed.
    • +1000 GP Ad Hoc modifier: The “Construction” music may provide simple services as well as construction work – serving food, cleaning, setting up a nice camp, or even helping creatures don armor and weapons to ready themselves for battle (30 man-sized creatures readied per full round of playing).

Modified: A sapient item with the right skills can play itself twenty-four hours a day. This gets absurd – so Uaithne’s version is limited to three hours a week, uses the user’s skills, and requires a perform check at the start. On the plus side, those 180 minutes may be broken up as desired – although the time used is always rounded up to the nearest minute. Essentially this reduces the effects by a factor of fifty to provide more convenience. Secondarily, the range limit for construction is presumed to be the same as it is for reinforcement – a three hundred foot radius.

  • Drums of Thunder (OA, CL20, 36,750 GP), as a charged item, may be purchased cheaply if you don’t take very many charges. In this case we’re taking four charges for 7350 GP – but Uaithne will not allow the use of those charges; it powers those functions with Mana if they are needed. Save DC 14 + Spell Level (Corrected to use the minimum attribute modifier necessary to cast Cloud Chariot).
  • Flight (1 Charge)
  • Cloud Chariot (two charges)
  • Fear (2 charges)
  • Control Weather (1 charge)
  • Lightning Bolt (2 charges).

Uaithne thus has a base cost of 42,740 GP and a Caster Level of twenty.

As an Intelligent Magic Item:

  • Sapient: Int 18 (Speaks common and four languages of choice), Wis 10, Chr 18. Speech and Telepathy. 120′ Darkvision, Blindsense, and Hearing (12,000 GP). It is Neutral Good.

Intelligent Items have many, slightly different, implementations. The SRD has one (which seems to include some Ad Hoc modifiers to account for the “usefulness” of particular powers. Given that this is never explained, it greatly complicates life). The Practical Enchanter includes a generic system, and Pathfinder has tweaked things to make it semi-freeform but to eliminate a lot of the “unlimited use” stuff. For Uaithne I’m sticking fairly closely to the 3.5 SRD version, but am ignoring the ad-hoc modifiers since there’s not nearly enough information to turn into a general rule.

Still, creating new SRD-Style powers for intelligent items is easy enough;

  • Lesser Powers cost less than 7000 GP.
    • Ten ranks in a skill costs 5000 GP.
    • Having, or being able to grant the user, a single Feat with no more than one unfilled prerequisite, costs 6000 GP*.

*Granting the user (or presumably the item) a single feat appears on the list of Primary Powers in the Epic Item Listing without a specified price – although it is just below “Detect (opposing alignment) at will” (a 7200 GP ability in the non-epic lists) and above “ten ranks in a skill” (a 5000 GP ability in the non-epic lists). Given that the basic abilities were arranged by price, and that Primary Powers add 2000 to 10,000 GP – noted as “averaging 6000 GP” – to the market price, this seems to work out to 6000 GP per Feat. Items can apparently skip at least one Feat in a Feat Chain since they can grant Mobility without granting Dodge.

  • Greater Powers cost 7000 to 50,000 GP.
    • By extension, a 25,000 GP Greater Power (“Advanced Intelligence”) provides an item with 18 CP, (Int Mod x 2) Skill Points, and an extra (1d6 + Cha Mod) Hit Points. This can be taken twice, but no more. If a sapient item gains character levels (through leadership or by being given XP) the first instance of this power does not count, but a second counts as a +1 ECL modifier on the item. In either case, whatever was purchased is treated as a racial ability.

Special Purpose Powers cost 50,001 to 200,000 GP.

So Uthaine’s three Lesser and two Greater powers are:

  • Lesser Power: +10 Ranks in Perform/Stringed Instruments (5000 GP).
  • Lesser Power / Bonus Feat (6 CP / 6000 GP): 1d6 (5) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (1 Point counts as an extra Charge or Use for any of Uaithne’s powers or functions, recovers at twice the usual daily rate (2 Points per day, 4 with rest and meditation).
  • Lesser Power: Extended Duration Skill Mastery/+7 Competence Bonus to all Int-Based Skills (L2 +1 Level to reach 1 Hour/Level* x CL 5 x 400 GP for 1 Use/Day x .7 Personal-Only = 4200 GP). In the interests of easy calculations, and not having to worry about a four-hour gap in the middle of the night, I am reducing the bonus to +6, restricting the bonus to Craft, Knowledge, and Spellcraft skills, and giving it a +20% bonus on duration – thus winding up with a total bonus of +10 in those skills.

Given that this is derived from a competence bonus, whether or not to treat this as being skilled is up to the game master. I would, since the easy way otherwise is to take Improvisation and – given Ulthaine’s Caster Level of 20 – wind up with an effective +10 bonus to all skills and quite a few other things for 2000 GP. Improvisation is a VERY powerful spell, but I suppose that the writers felt that Bards needed a boost – and probably didn’t consider it’s possible use by an intelligent item. They are, after all, something of an afterthought.

*It is important to note that SRD and Pathfinder Intelligent Items always use their caster level when using Lesser, Greater, and Awesome powers regardless of the caster level those abilities were purchased at. That’s why they have fixed prices – generally bought at the minimum caster level needed – but have no caster level noted.

  • Greater Power: Can employ The Eightfold Harmonies Upon The Winds* 3/Day (16,000 GP).
  • Greater Power: Advanced Intelligence (25,000 GP). Provides +18 CP, (Int Mod x 2) Skill Points, and an extra (1d6 + Cha Mod) Hit Points. (Mystic Artist / Stringed Instruments (6 CP) with +4 Bonus Uses (6 CP), Inherent Spell (Broken down to Dancing Lights 2/Day, Ghost Sound 2/day, and Minor Image 2/Day) 6 CP). Perform +4 (For +18 total, 4 SP), Use Magic Device +1 (for +5 Total, 1 SP), +3 Specialities in Perform/Strings/Harps (1 SP), Knowledge/History/The Emerald Isle (1 SP), and Use Magic Device / Wands (1 SP).

*The Eightfold Harmonies Upon The Winds

  • Level: Bard 3, Cleric 3, Druid 3, Sorcerer 3, Wizard 3.
  • Components: V, Perform +12 or more.
  • Casting time: Not an action (Cast as part of a Mystic Artist performance)
  • Range: Personal
  • Targets: You
  • Duration: Standard Mystic Artist (Performance +5 Rounds)
  • Saving Throw: Will negates. See Mystic Artist (usually DC 16 + Artists Att Mod).
  • Spell Resistance: No

This spell expands the range of effects the user can produce with the Mystic Artist ability. It may now induce powerful emotions on (Cha Mod + Level) living creatures within range (usually at least 40′ for music). Possible emotional effects include:

  • Boredom, Disinterest, and Similar: Targets of up to four hit dice go to sleep as per a Sleep spell.
  • Despair, Incapacitating Laughter, and Similar: Affected targets suffer a –2 morale penalty to saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.
  • Fear, Revulsion, and Similar: Affected targets flee from you whenever they are in sight of you.
  • Friendship, Affection, and Similar: Targets react more positively toward others. Their attitude shifts to the next more favorable reaction (hostile to unfriendly, unfriendly to indifferent, indifferent to friendly, or friendly to helpful). Creatures involved in combat, however, continue to fight back normally.
  • Hatred, Disgust, and Similar: Targets react more negatively toward others. Their attitude shifts to the next less favorable reaction (helpful to friendly, friendly to indifferent, indifferent to unfriendly, or unfriendly to hostile)
  • Hope, Elation, Enthusiasm, and Similar: Targets gain a +2 morale bonus to saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.
  • Malaise, Ennui, Grief, and Similar: Targets become Exhausted.
  • Rage, Jealousy, Resentment, and Similar: Targets gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution scores, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a –1 penalty to AC. They will fight heedless of danger. This does not stack with barbarian rage or with itself.

With Intelligence Costs: of 68,200 GP, this gives Uthaine a total cost of 110,940 GP. It is, however, subject to a limitation; it’s user must have the Mystic Artist ability – a x.8 multiplier. That reduces the cost to 88,750 GP. Still a VERY pricey gadget, but also a device of considerable power.

As A Sixth Level Eclipse Follower:

Available Character Points: 168 CP (Base) + 18 (Bonus Feats) = 186 CP. 36 SP for Int, +1 level bonus to Charisma Siddhisyoga Equipment Allowance of 2800 GP (+2 to Chr, personal-only, 1400 GP, Minor Image x .7 (Provides Special Effects Only), 1400 GP).

Sapient Item Survival Package (24 CP):

  • Reflex Training/3 Extra Action per Day variant (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only for Saving Throws (6 CP)
  • Finesse: Bases HP on (Cha Mod) (6 CP).
  • Returning: Uthaine is a thing of both myth and history; if destroyed it can be retrieved by simply finding a way to travel into the realms of myth to retrieve it (6 CP).

Pretty much any item follower is going to have these powers somewhere. Item followers are very expensive, are independent threats to an enemy, and (being loyal and aligned) are rarely of much potential use to those enemies. Thus, while most magic items are loot, intelligent items are often on the target list. Since they’re generally a lot lower level, and hence more fragile, than the player character they’re following, some defenses are definitely in order.


  • Adept (Perform/Strings, Use Magic Device, Listen, and Spot, 6 CP).
    • Finesse: Uses Cha Mod instead of Dex Mod for Dex-based Skills, Specialized in Perform (3 CP).
    • In the SRD all Perform skills are based on Charisma. If you go to full-out Eclipse, instrumental performance skills are based on Dex. Ergo this isn’t needed for the basic item or for its SRD-derived Intelligence – but as a Follower it’s needed.
  • Perform/Strings (Itself) +31 (+10 (built in ranks) +4 (“Racial” bonus) +9 (4 SP, Adept) +5 (Cha) +3 Racial (Speciality)).
    • Eleven Mystic Artist Abilities:
      • Inspiration: Emotion, Greatness, Excellence, Mass Greatness, and Mass Excellence. .
      • Manipulation: Fascinate, Hold Audience.
      • Synergy: Block, Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity.
  • Use Magic Device +16 (Wands +19) (+9 (4) SP +1 (Racial) +6 Cha +3 (Racial Speciality / Wands)). As a follower, Uthaine can automatically use whatever wands are placed in its Wand Chambers. Since there are no automatic failures on skills, it doesn’t even have to roll.
  • Listen +9 (+9 (4) SP +0 Wis)
  • Spot +9 (+9 (4) SP +0 Wis)
  • Decipher Script +13 (+9 (9 SP)+4 (Int) )
  • Diplomacy +14 (+9 (9 SP) +5 (Cha))
  • +1 SP in all eight Knowledge Skills/Specialized (lets the user make rolls as if skilled, but provides no bonus, 4 SP).
  • All Crafts and Knowledges: Effectively +10. +3 Racial Speciality in Knowledge/History/The Emerald Isle).

Mystic Artist Upgrades:

  • +16 Bonus Uses of Mystic Artist (total 26) (24 CP),
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/Only for Skills, only for “Taking 60″ in advance, only for Int and Cha based skills (18 CP). Yes, when Uthaine really tries it gets a total of 90 on Perform and 70 on Craft and Knowledge Skills.
  • Amplification (6 CP). Uthaine can affect twice as many targets as usual with it’s bardic powers.
  • Echoes (6 CP): Gain +3 minutes of duration with your Mystic Artist effects. If you wish, the minutes can be saved for later and invoked independently on those who remember them.
  • Rapid (6 CP). Mystic artist abilities take effect as soon as you start performing.
  • Seeking (6 CP). Mystic Artist effects can be limited to particular groups of targets.
  • Projection (6 CP): Double the radius affected by the user’s Mystic Artist powers.
  • The Path of Dissonance (48 CP): Selective Targeting (up to seven targets, fourteen after Amplification, 6 CP), Distracting (Concentration opposes skill checks, 6 CP), Disrupting II (Greater Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Psionics, or inflict (Check) damage to all living and/or undead targets within range, 12 CP), Stunning (2d4 Rounds, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Maddening (Cause Confusion, possibly Feeblemind, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Banishing (Antipathy or Dismissal Effect, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Shattering (Circle of Death, Undeath to Death, or Disjunction, or (Check) damage to all inanimate objects within range, 6 CP).

This neatly illustrates the real power of Intelligent Items with Eclipse levels. They don’t have that many relevant things to spend their character points on – and restricting them with the Adventurer Framework obviously makes no sense. That leaves them free to purchase entire ability chains, right up through their capstone abilities, along with things like that specialized Luck to augment them. Shattering, for example, is the ninth feat in a chain which starts with Mystic Artist – and, as such, is rarely available to sixth level characters. Just as importantly, this design spends 132 CP on Mystic Artist – as much as it would cost to buy twenty levels of Adept, Psychic Warrior, or Wilder magic progressions. While such specialization has weaknesses as well, those aren’t as serious for an item as they are for an actual independent character. Items aren’t expected to function on their own or to be useful in almost any situation.

Minor Abilities:

  • +1d6 (3, total of 8) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (1 Point counts as an extra Charge or Use for any of Uaithne’s powers or functions, recovers at twice the usual daily rate (2 Points per day, 4 with rest and meditation, 6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only works overnight to refill Uaithne’s mana pool (4 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (6 CP): Ventriloquism (2/Day) and Joyful Noise (2/Day) with +1 Bonus Use (Each, 3 CP) making them both 3/day.
  • Inherent Spell II (6 CP). Greater Invisibility Sphere (lasts 10 minutes/level) with +1 Bonus Use (2 CP).
  • Inherent Spell III (6 CP): Greater Astral Caravan (L5, Takes along willing individuals within 20′ feet)

Uaithne is another very powerful item – and one far better adapted to most adventuring than Nagakanya; Nagakanya may help reduce major disasters to adventures, and set up “defend the pass” situations, and heal all and sundry, but it’s basically a “support the civilians” item. Uaithne, on the other hand, may have healing and utility functions, but it can also buff people and help them kill things in a variety of ways, including some pretty major attacks of it’s own.


3 Responses

  1. It occurs to me to ask: to what extent can the Use Magic Device skill interact with intelligent items? Can it force them to use powers when they don’t want to? If so, for how long? Could it be used in response to an ego contest?

    • While it’s a thought with interesting applications – “I grab the enemy Sorcerer’s head and roll Use Magic Device to activate his Fireball to take out his boss! What’s the DC?” – I suspect that the skill is a lot more limited than that without buying modifiers for it. You can use it to emulate a particular alignment of course (although it takes Pathfinder to note in the base rules that it only lasts for an hour) – but you probably can’t force an intelligent item to use one of the intelligence’s personal powers against it’s will. You can, however, use it to forcibly activate one of the base items functions even if the intelligence objects (although the game master might opt to apply a penalty) or to activate an item in one of the intelligent items item slots.

      Thus if the base item was a ring that could cast Lightning Bolt three times a day and the intelligence was added to that, you could apply Use Magic Device to activate the lightning bolt, even though Intelligent Items can activate the host items base powers on their own. Similarly, if the ring has a secondary miniature item attached to it you could employ Use Magic Device to activate that item, much as you might apply it to activate an item that you were trying to take away from someone else.

      For a reference for how well THAT usually works we have Bavmorda and Fin Raziel fighting over Cherlindrea’s wand – but players are prone to trying things like that.

      And sadly, an Ego Contest is an active attack. Use Magic Device won’t help with that.

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