First of all, I'd like to announce that I'll be participating in the GM's Day Sale over at RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. For the duration of the sale, you can get Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road in Print, PDF, or the Print/PDF bundle for 10% off! (I'll also be mirroring this sale on my Lulu Store for those of you who prefer to shop there.) [EDIT: Actually, it gets better. Since this was my first GM's Day Sale, I wasn't sure if I should be marking down my products or if they were. So I reduced my prices, then the sale kicked in and reduced them further! BEST PRICES EVAARRR!!!!]
This month, I wanted to do a magic item that points out something interesting about the magic of Oz and how it works with the rules of the game.
Mrs. Yoop's Magic Apron
Power: Apportation 4 (2)
Scope: Self/Person/Object (0)
Ritual: Simple (Say "Open!") (0)
Item: Limited Use (only to open and close things) (-2)
Effect Power: 0
What makes this item interesting isn't the effect itself, but who is wielding that effect. Since Mrs. Yoop is a Yookoohoo, she doesn't normally have access to Apportation magic. But she does have the ability to create an item that uses Apportation. Just one more instance of a time when a magic item is better than a spell.
Since this sort of thing has come up a few times, I just wanted to present something of a "Master List" of the times when you'd want a magic item rather than a spell.
If you don't want to roll: Creating a magical item does not require a roll, while casting a spell does. If you need a particularly large or potent effect, or are worried that your Brains skill is not up to the task, a magical item may be a better expenditure of Oz Points than trying to get a big enough bonus.
If you want an enduring effect: Only some spells offer permanent effects (Transformations and Transmutations) and those have significantly raised Difficulties. Duration is not a factor for items, so their effects last as long as makes sense.
If you need a power that only magic items can provide: Some things, like Scrying or Travel, are exclusively limited to items. Other times, such as with Mrs. Yoop's Apron, it can allow you a form of magic your training doesn't normally allow you to use.