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Materia are special little crystal orbs that contain magicite that provide a magical effect when affixed to a weapon, shield, or suit of armor (or any other item that grants an armor bonus to AC). These materia are carefully crafted by spellcasters. There are five types of materia (Spell, Support, Independent, Ability, and Summon; see Table: Materia Types).

Table: Materia Types

AbilityYellowBestows a Feat or Skill.
IndependentPurpleBestows a unique ability.
SpellGreenUses Black Magic spells.
SummonRedSummons an Avatar.
SupportBlueUses White Magic spells.

Different materia require different amounts of materia experience points (MXP) in order to level and become more powerful. When you have materia attached, 1/10th of the XP you earn (through combat only) is added to that materia’s MXP. (So if you receive 1000 XP, each materia attached earns 100 MXP). Any materia you have but are not attached will not earn any MXP as well as any materia attached to weapons not wielded or drawn during any combat. As a materia earns more MXP, it can eventually advance in level (to a maximum of level 3). The amount of MXP required to increase in level is dependent on the rarity of the materia (see Table: Materia Advancement). Materia require a level of 1 in order to provide bonuses to your character, so materia of uncommon or higher rarity will not provide any effects until they have earned enough MXP. Materia are often referred to by their name and level. For example, a Lighting materia of level 2 is called a Lightning 2 materia.

When a materia gains enough MXP to become Mastered, it stops gaining MXP and creates a new materia of the same material at level 0. The new materia will be formed instantly from the original and detach in a process similar to mitosis. All non-common new materia begins its life at level 0 and 0 MXP while common materia begins at level 1.

Table: Materia Advancement

Materia LevelMXP (Common)MXP (Uncommon)MXP (Rare)MXP (Legendary)
¹: Mastered materia produces a second materia with 0 MXP

The level of the materia not only describes the relative power level of the materia’s effect, but also the minimum required quality or enhancement bonus of the armor, shield, or weapon for the materia to function:

  • A 0-level materia gains MXP only whenever it is attached to an object, even if the object itself is not masterwork.
  • A 1st-level materia functions only when attached to an object with an enhancement bonus of +1 or higher.
  • A 2nd-level materia functions only when attached to an object with an enhancement bonus of +3 or higher.
  • A 3rd-level or mastered materia functions only when attached to an object with an enhancement bonus of +5 or higher.

Whenever a materia levels up beyond the required quality or enhancement bonus of an object, it still functions as a level less than it is now until attached to an object that meets the requirements.

For materia to function and gain MXP, it must be attached onto an item. Each item can hold a single materia, but an attached materia can be swapped for another one at any time. Attaching a materia to (or removing it from) an item requires a move action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Effectively, each eligible item has a single “slot” that can be filled by any appropriate materia. Once attached, it immediately activates and provides the user with all its bonuses. If attached item is sundered, the materia is not destroyed.

Bonuses from the same type of materia don’t stack unless they provide different types of bonuses. A level 2 or 3 materia will receive all the bonuses of lower level versions of that materia in addition to the bonus for its level unless those bonuses are of the same type, in which case it will only receive the highest of those bonuses.