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D&D 5E Commerce Spells

tglassy

Adventurer
Is it just me, or do Continual Flame, Arcane Lock and Magic Mouth just make pseudo magic items you can sell? I mean, assuming you’re playing in a setting that doesn’t have a wizard on every corner, a lvl 3 Wizard should be able to sell a lantern that gives off no heat and cannot be extinguished, ever, for more than the 50 gp it costs. And I’m not sure if there’s a Guard Captain who wouldn’t take what is essentially a mobile, permanent Alarm Spell for each of his night watchmen. That would be worth Well more than 10 gp each.

Is it just me, or could this be a very effective way to make money as a lower leveled Wizard?
 

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BlivetWidget

Explorer
There's a lot that wizards of any level could do to really make bank, many of which don't even have material component costs. No economy could be expected to stand against the forces of magic, so DnD mostly turns a blind eye to it.

The general rule of thumb is that crafted items should have a market value about twice what it cost to produce them. Spellcasting services don't have many good price point examples in the official literature, but Adventurers League (until Season 8, when they just started making numbers up that "felt right") generally held to the formula:

spellcasting service cost (gp) = 10 * Level**2 + one_time_cost / 10 + 2 * recurring_cost

The limiting factor is going to be demand. The prices can get pretty steep, and just like in the real world, people don't always make the best long-term choice. For example, every house in Phoenix, AZ should have solar panels on the roof, but most don't because it takes time to recoup the investment. The situation is similar for an ever burning lamp: demand surely exists, but not as much as you'd think from a long-term view.

If you're running the game, this is a fun exercise to justify the income for your NPC questgiver. If you're playing in someone else's game, they'll probably just want you to adventure. If they give you downtime, though, I wouldn't hesitate to propose it.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
I was recently given some downtime in a game, and I had little money to burn, and was looking for a way to invest. Getting the Magic Mouth Spell, which is also a Ritual, as a mobile, permanent Alarm Spell seemed like a good way to make money with a small investment. At first I was just thinking of selling them to the party. But then I figured the town we just saved could really use them, too. It got me looking at other ways to make money during down time. I mean, even with just Magic Mouth, what rich guy wouldn’t want his door to say “Welcome, My Lord” when he entered? Give me 50 gp and you’ve got it. For Party Members, I could make one of their swords permanently have a Flame effect on it. Not helpful in combat, but still cool. Or on Armor, if we don’t care about stealth, or want to make a Katniss like impression. Arcane Lock can be sold to anyone who likes their security.

Yeah, any Spell can be used to grant services, but these make permanent semi-magical items. They just seem very potent once you stop trying to only find combat uses for every spell.
 


Warforged DK

Explorer
This idea is the basis of Eberron's magical economy. You may not have low-level wizards running about, but you've got people who know how to use these rituals as a sort of skilled workman. The Dragonmarked houses have commoditized the use of certain spells and abilities and have the greatest market share, if not a monopoly on the use of certain spells.
It's a great take on magical economy
 

My thinking would be that this turns magic into technology.

Which personally, I think is uninteresting - so I'd be thinking about reasons why this doesn't happen.

Maybe continual spells that aren't occasionally topped up by the caster tend to break down and cause all sorts of problems?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Is it just me, or do Continual Flame, Arcane Lock and Magic Mouth just make pseudo magic items you can sell? I mean, assuming you’re playing in a setting that doesn’t have a wizard on every corner, a lvl 3 Wizard should be able to sell a lantern that gives off no heat and cannot be extinguished, ever, for more than the 50 gp it costs. And I’m not sure if there’s a Guard Captain who wouldn’t take what is essentially a mobile, permanent Alarm Spell for each of his night watchmen. That would be worth Well more than 10 gp each.

Is it just me, or could this be a very effective way to make money as a lower leveled Wizard?

Not to say there wouldn't be a market, but I also don't think it would be all that big. Plus what's to set your wizard's continual flame offering apart from some other wizard's offering since they're all the same?

I mean, for those who can afford a spare 50+ gp for a continual flame item? I'm sure they have one or more. That is one way that noble houses display their wealth is with all of these kinds of spells cast in and around their houses.

Taverns in metropolises like Waterdeep might probably have continual flame things going on.

But 50 gp is equivalent to 3,000 hours of lamp oil (6 hours per flask, 1 sp per flask). In even a pseudo-medieval/renaissance society like D&D tends to default to, 90% of people out there are working with the daylight and basically going to sleep at night. Why spend what could represent 7-14% (rounding here) of your annual income on a continual flame item for the house when you can probably light the hour or so of dark you need to for 9-10 years with the much more cash flow friendly of 1 sp per 6 hours (probably 3-6 days)? I know, "but the continual flame could last that family for 20, 30, 40 years or generations!".

Similar concept IRL, it takes money to save money. Even though buying the more expensive thing in clothing or something usually means it will last longer and over the life of the item, will end up being cheaper overall, it takes the extra money to buy the more expensive item up front. Think high quality clothing or shoes, etc.
 

I allow spellcasters to sell their services as downtime to live a wealthy lifestyle in a large town or city, because there will be some need of their services. In smaller communities they could live a comfortable lifestyle by trading their services for less, because there isn't enough economy to support the cost of their services. As a side note, if they want to downgrade their lifestyle, I allow them the option to pocket the cost difference.
 


aco175

Legend
I try to limit this to NPCs. There are a lot of 'tricks' that spells and items can do to circle around the logic or intent of something. We have discussed some here before like quivers of endless arrows and potions of endless water.
 

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