Beyond your magical swords, shields, and armors, there is a class of magical things that fall into a catch-all of “Wondrous Items.”
Mostly these are items worn about the body in various positions including on the head, chest, eyes, belt, hands, wrists, (knees and toes, KNEES AND TOES).
While donned like this, they provide a magical benefit to the user which is permanently applied while the item is worn or called upon when the user needs it.
With such a bevy of items available, it’s hard for a person to really know what is the most useful item to select. This is especially true if you are playing Pathfinder First Edition and your DM is allowing you to use 3rd Party or Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 content.
Never Fear! Me and the Boys in the Lab have come up with a list of items you should look into with planning your next shopping trip in character!
First though, we should talk about the simple Mechanics of Wondrous Items.
What Are Wondrous Items, and How Do They Work?
Pathfinder First Edition and Pathfinder Second Edition categorize their magic items differently. So for the purposes of our article here, we are going to give a quick look at both, but mostly use Pathfinder First Edition’s terminology.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
Those categories being magical weapons, magical armor, rings, staves, potions, wands, scrolls, and rods. Wondrous items can sometimes be cursed, but for the most part cursed items are separate from them, as are Artifacts and Relics. They can be Intelligent though!
Wondrous Items are broken up into two different types: Slotted items and Slotless items. Slotted Wondrous Items fall into a “slot” on the body, basically a position they take up.
With rare exceptions, you cannot have two wondrous items in the same space. Even if they could fit, the harmonics of their magic would cancel each other out.
The Slots are:
- Belt – Worn about the waist.
- Body – Worn about the torso and trunk of the body. Robes, body wraps, dusters.
- Chest – Worn on the chest. Vests, shirts, jackets.
- Eyes – Worn over the eyes. Glasses, Goggles, monocles, lenses.
- Feet – Worn over the feet. Boots, Socks, Sandals.
- Hands – Worn on the Hands. Gloves, hand wraps, gauntlets.
- Head – Worn on or about the head. Crowns, Masks, Helmets.
- Headband – Worn directly on the Forehead. Headbands, laurels, phylacteries.
- Neck – Worn around the neck. Amulets, Brooches, Medallions
- Shoulders – Worn over or around the shoulders. Cloaks, Capes, Pauldrons.
- Wrists – Worn around the wrists. Bracelets, Bracers, Manacles.
Slotless Wondrous items are items that don’t really correspond to any of the above because they cannot (conventionally) be worn on or about the body. Typically they are trinkets you can carry and invoke for specific effects like summoning allies or mounts.
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Pathfinder 2nd Edition does not have Wondrous Items as they are defined in 1st Edition. Though most of the same magical items do exist by a different name.
The closest analog to the Pathfinder 1st Edition Wondrous Items, and therefore items that will be appearing in this list, are Worn Items and Held Items.
Like Slotted items, Worn Items are items that you may wear on your body. Though you are limited to a maximum of 10 at any given time.
Held Items are like Slotless Items. They are items you have in your inventory to call on whenever you should need them. This does not include Wands, Weapons, or staves as they have their own rules to follow.
The 10 Best Wondrous Items
Below is a list of the top 10 wondrous items we think every party or character should have in Pathfinder!
The list is split into 2 parts, one for each of the Pathfinder Editions, as their magic items are relatively difficult to find directly corresponding items.
These items are judged on how universally helpful they would be to a character or party in most situations. While Sovereign Glue or a Silver Raven Figurine of Wondrous Power are really cool, there are other items that are more universally helpful to your Character.
That being said, if you really want a Figurine of Wondrous Power and have the means to get it, then do so. I’m not a cop.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
Our first item is almost a no brainer here. Amulets of Natural Armor hang around your neck and toughen up your skin to resist blows.
They range from giving you a +1 Natural Armor Bonus at the lowest level upto +5 Natural Armor Bonus at the top level. This is useful to all classes and builds, as AC can mean the difference between being alive or a red smear on the floor.
The Natural Armor Bonus can stack with other Armor bonuses as well, so it will just make those wearing heavy armor that much tougher. Though it won’t stack with other Natural Armor Bonuses, so keep that in mind.
A magical cloak, lined with steel wire to focus its magic. These cloaks seem to be very simple, but are deceptively powerful. They add a resistance bonus to all three of your character’s saving throws.
Like the Amulets of Natural Armor, this bonus can start as low as +1, all the way to a +5. It applies to all saving throws, so it is useful in nearly all possible situations.
This item is possibly one of the most iconic items in Fantasy Roleplaying. This is one of the most efficient ways to carry large inventories of items without overburdening your character or player.
The level of power is directly proportional to how much weight a Bag of Holding can carry. Simply put, the more powerful a bag of holding is, the more it can carry.
Relatively easy to craft, and inexpensive to purchase, these boots are a huge boost to any low level party’s arsenal. The ability to move much further in a round is a boost to just about everyone.
Though more mobility-inclined party members (Rogues, Barbarians, Fighters) are probably going to get more out of it, the ability to move further is never a bad thing.
A possible strict upgrade to the above boots, these boots can seriously improve the abilities of a party of heroes. As we have discussed before, Haste is an incredibly potent spell.
This would allow many characters to use it without having to wait for another caster to buff them with it. Like above, this would be more useful to more mobile characters, but it will strictly benefit ANYONE.
We aren’t done with speed yet! Who wants an extra move action? That’s right! Everyone does! A second move can help anyone get into and back out of a dicey situation with ease!
This is especially true with anything that boosts the character’s movement speed. Use this for easy running attacks, or to get into spell range and back out without putting yourself at risk!
Returning to our high-dollar options here, the question is what makes it special? Why should you pool your money for this one? This is a fast mount for more than one creature, and it is flying. This means you can move fast and cover a great deal of ground without having to worry about what is below you.
This can be used in Dungeons as much as when traveling. Is there a huge cavernous drop ahead? Just fly over it. Traps line the hallway floor? Just fly over it. Group of short goblins blocking your path? Just fly over it!
Conversely, you can also use it as a mobile platform for your ranged fighters, letting them fly above an encounter and rain down arrows, bolts, or magic on your enemies.
8. Soul Soap
Our least expensive, and yet pretty useful item, Soul Soap is a fun little item to keep around for that Fighter/Barbarian/Bard/party-member-with-low-wisdom-save to give them an extra chance to shake off any mind control they are stuck under.
It’s cheap and easy, but you have to get that party friend pinned down to do it. Worth it for such a low cost.
This one is actually 3 items in one! Ioun Stones are small stones that orbit your head and provide a passive bonus. They provide different bonuses based on their condition.
A Cracked stone is going to give you a +1 bonus on initiative, which is always a great bonus. A Flawed stone, which is slightly more expensive, gets a +1 to Armor Class but at the cost of lower Strength.
An unflawed and undamaged stone, however, gives you just the bonus to AC without the lowered Strength.
This is a great item to cap off a build. Relatively inexpensive, it is easy to slowly upgrade if you choose, or just leave it with the cracked version for the bonus to initiative.
The last of the Pathfinder 1e items, this is a great utility for anyone in a party or maybe everyone. The lenses provide a +5 bonus to Perception tests, which can be the huge difference between an Ambush and being ready for a fight.
At least one party member should have a pair of these to make sure nothing surprises the group.
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Like the above list, this one is graded by the item’s universal usefulness to the individual character as well as the party. Some are a rehash of the above items, but others are new.
Some of these items have the Invested trait. You cannot have more than 10 invested items on your body to get the benefits.
No ifs, ands, or buts. This is a universally useful item. Great for moving through dark areas if you don’t have the ability to see in the dark. That or you can use it for permanent lighting in your house! It is literally the torch that never goes out. It even works underwater.
The return to the iconic. Every party needs at least one of these, if not for just the looting! At least one member of the party needs these, and it wouldn’t be too hard a stretch to make sure that everyone has at least one Bag of Holding. Much like Pathfinder 1e, the more potent the level of the bag, the more Bulk the bag can carry.
These boots offer a good spring in your step to keep you going further than you normally would. They are the Pathfinder 2e version of the Boots of Striding and Springing. More movement is always an improvement for every class, but these also add bonuses to Athletics Tests.
These goggles are the most stylish of shades when it comes to Pathfinder. Under normal circumstances, you are getting a +1 bonus to Perception tests while wearing them.
Also, once per day, you can refocus the lenses to gain Darkvision for up to an hour! Give this one to your scouts to make sure they can see what is coming.
Once per minute, the wearer of this ring gets a pretty hefty Ranged Attack for 2d6 force damage with a chance to shove someone pretty far. If you need to make space, or protect a party member, this is a damn good option.
With no attack roll, it all depends on the target to pass their Saving Throw to not be thrown back.
Who needs a tool? Everyone does! This little do-dad is a universal tool. With a quick activation, it can become almost anything you could need. This one is a Minecrafter’s dream!
By the same token as the Any-Tool, everyone needs a door. Why pick a lock when you can just create your own entry way into the next room? Even after using its powerful effect, the door knocker can still offer a passive bonus of a +1 on tests to lockpick doors.
Give this to your thief-like character and no door will stop you.
This item does a good number of things. On its own, it operates as a bag of holding as well as providing a bonus to survival tests. If you are attempting to track down a creature that is moving using teleportation magic, you can actually track it based on the magic it is using and see where it ended up.
You can also use it to transport yourself and up to 4 willing participants as per the Plane Shift spell. This is amazing for getting a party to their next destination quickly and follow a mark you need to hunt down.
This is the Pathfinder 2e answer to replace the Boots of Speed from 1e. Like the Pathfinder 1e boots, these allow you to get the effect of a Haste spell for up to a minute during the day. In addition, they offer the same +5 speed boost you get from the Boots of Bounding above.
These boots are a straight-up improvement, though you might miss the +2 bonus to Athletics.
Finally, we have the Pathfinder Second Edition version of Eyes of the Eagle. They add a +2 Bonus to Perception, and additionally offer low-light vision. This is a must-have for scouting-type characters, and perhaps something that EVERYONE could use.
Especially if you are going to some place dark with the potential to be ambushed.