Hiring a High Level Caster

So, you want a 9th level mage/cleric to spend 2 weeks doing research to identify that shiny wand you just found.

You give them the 1000 gp for the ritual costs.

How much does their two weeks of time cost? What is the going rate for X level characters? Do you use the henchmen monthly fee divided by 2?

I make my PCs pay Specialists for a whole month even if the job is done within 2 weeks.

Hiring a mage to identify a magic item is effectively commissioning custom magic research. This would be handled as per the rules in ACKS, Chapter 10, Buying and Selling Magic Items, sub-section Commissioning Magic Items:


"The adventurer commissioning the item will be responsible up front for paying the base cost and the cost of any precious materials, and for providing any required special components.  If the spellcaster successfully completes the item, the adventurer will then be charged an additional fee equal to 7,000gp per month, or twice the base cost, whichever is greater."

The fee of 7,000gp per month probably seems anomalous. It's the monthly cost to hire a 9th level character.

Since researching an item takes 1,000gp and 2 weeks (1/2 month) base, and requires no special components or precious materials, the cost would be (1,000gp) + (7,000gp/2) = 4,500gp.  

Yes, I realize this is incredibly expensive. It's meant to be - the "magic item market" is intended to be very inefficient. It can cost as much to identify an item as it costs to make an item. As a result, many items are left unidentified, or only loosely IDed via trial and error. 

Keep in mind that you, as Judge, control the extent to which an item has to be identified.  For example, in the Auran Empire setting:

- Most wands and staffs bear runes that indicate that their command word

- Most potions have distinctive smells and textures that hint at their effects


In my most recent campaigns, potions are labeled and often also have the sigil of the maker and when it was produced. I do this because, to me, single use magic item is not worth spending the time at the table to ID unless magic of any sort is very rare. Also, I make mead. One batch looks like the next though they taste very different. When you have 10 cases of mead in the cellar it is impossible to figure out which one is the 2009 cyser and which one is the 2008 pyment without some sort of marking. I’m really not into popping corks to figure out which is which and then re-corking the ones I want to drink later. I can’t imagine a wizard who would produce a number of potions without marking them in some fashion.

That could be some sort of wizard mark that can only be detected by casting another spell or having a special set of spectacles. That could be a fun sort of trick or trap though, mis-marked potion bottle to foil the unwary but if a special command word is spoken or if you look at the bottle in a mirror it shows what the real contents are.