How much should a “button of Cure Light Wounds” cost (should it be available at all?)

My fellow players would like to have a command-word or use-activated “button” of Cure Light Wounds at will, i.e. unlimited uses/day.

How much should this cost (if it should be available at all?)

Item cost estimation rules per DMG

The Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) contains guidelines on the value of custom magical items. This includes guidance on the estimated price of spell effect items, like the Cape of the Mountebank (command activated Dimension Door 1/day) and use-activated/continuous effect items like the Lantern of Revealing (continuous Invisibility Purge.)

The general formula for the cost of a command-word/use activated spell-effect item appears to be the following five numbers, all multiplied together.

  1. Base price 1,800 GP for command-word activated items, or 2,000 GP for use-activated or continuous items.
  2. Spell level × Caster level
  3. Factor for base spell durationif a continuous effect item.

    If a continuous item has an effect based on a spell with a duration measured in rounds, multiply the cost by 4. If the duration of the spell is 1 minute/level, multiply the cost by 2, and if the duration is 10 minutes/level, multiply the cost by 1.5. If the spell has a 24-hour duration or greater, divide the cost in half.

  4. Body slot factor – ×1.00 for an item taking up a body slot, ×1.50 for an item taking up a “strange slot” (i.e. Boots of True Seeing – see Body Slot Affinities), ×2.00 for an item that doesn’t occupy a slot.
  5. Charges/uses per day – ×1.00 for unlimited uses per day, ×0.80 4 uses/day, ×0.60 3 uses/day, ×0.40 2 uses/day, ×0.20 1 use/day. Alternately, ×0.50 for an item with 50 charges.

Example: Ring of Friendship

Taking the example of the Ring of Friendship (10,800 GP, command-word activated Charm Animal (Clr/Drd 1st, CL3) at will), we have:

  1. 1,800 GP for command-word activated
  2. Spell level 1 × caster level 3
  3. Factor for base spell duration – N/A (not a continuous effect item)
  4. ×2.00 for Body slot factor – apparently ×2 because rings don’t have a body slot affinity
  5. ×1.00 for unlimited uses/day

Cost of Ring of Friendship 1,800 × 1 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 10,800 GP, which matches the 10,800 GP cost quoted in the SRD.

Extrapolating to a Ring of Cure Light Wounds

Let’s try and create a Ring of Cure Light Wounds, a command-word activated item which casts Cure Light Wounds (Cleric 1st, CL 1) unlimited/day.

  1. 1,800 GP for command-word activated
  2. Spell level 1 × caster level 1
  3. Factor for base spell duration – N/A (not a continuous effect item)
  4. ×2.00 for Body slot factor – apparently ×2 because rings don’t have a body slot affinity
  5. ×1.00 for unlimited uses/day

According to these factors the Ring of Cure Light Wounds should cost 3,600 GP.

However, everyone in my RPG group has a different opinion.

  • Alice thinks the above cost (3,600 GP) is correct.

  • Bob thinks that the Ring of Cure Light Wounds is ludicrously overpowered and shouldn’t exist. (It dispenses literally infinite healing out of combat – a major game balance issue.)

  • Charlie thinks that such an item is outside the rules given by DMG because the DMG gives rules for spell effect items based on spells with a duration, i.e. rounds/level, minutes/level, but gives no rules for spells with instantaneous duration (i.e. Cure Light Wounds.)

  • Dave agrees with Charlie that the rules don’t cover spell-effect items for instantaneous spells, but rather than disallowing them entirely, Dave thinks the “duration factor” should be ×4 (as if Cure Light Wounds had a duration of rounds – the most expensive option that DMG allows for.)

  • Erin thinks that the DMG guidelines are flexible and we should consider the cost of the Ring of Cure Light Wounds in context of other, existing magic items. For example, the Ring of Regeneration is 90,000 GP. The Ring of Cure Light Wounds is at least as powerful (if not more powerful!) so it should cost at least 90,000 GP.

Who, if anyone, is right? RAW preferred, otherwise RAI.

For context, this came up in the context of a dungeon crawl à la Tomb of Horrors: frequent combat, little chance to rest, and no prospect of resupply.