Find a penny, pick it up.
And all the day you’ll have good luck.
An ancient relic of a long-dead hero and a link to the divine
Well it’s got to do something, but I’ll be damned if I know what
"Their trumpets are also of a peculiar and barbaric kind which produce a harsh, reverberating sound suitable to the confusion of battle."
from the memoirs of Diodorus Siculus,
Commander of the Legion XIX (retired)
Magical items are often prohibitively expensive, largely because the Dragon Blood crystals needed to power them are so very rare. For centuries alchemists and magicians alike have searched for a cheaper, and more abundant, alternative. This just might be the long sort after formula, but price could be higher than anyone ever imagined.
Why go to all trouble of applying makeup, when a few simply cantrips can produce much better results in a fraction of the time?
Nothing comes from nothing, or so they say.
So how do you power those "always on" items?
A magical beacon designed to attract minor spirits to the mundane plane
When magic is the stuff from which the world is made no man can afford to ignore it. For those who are unable, or unwilling, to undertake the rigorous study required to master the arcane arts the power of magic may still by available - for a price.
A shape-shifter of some sort has taken up a post at the War College of an enemy realm, where he secretly picks off only the most promising officer cadets, arranging bizarre accidents that gradually debase the leadership of the hostile army. In the long run, this will improve his nation's chances when the inevitable conflict comes.
As a shape-shifter he can impersonate superiors and peers alike and send the target candidate to the cleverly-prepared site of his (or her?) execution. As long as he is successful, no-one will ever know about the deception--even necromancy will only implicate the one impersonated...