D&D 5E How do you deal with expensive material components in your campaigns?


actually dracula
In low-effort "fun" games, I'll do a straight gp conversion and there'll be no hassle gaining these components. In a game with a more serious tone/playstyle, I make the PCs trek to where you would logically find that stuff. So dwarves or high-end gem-dealers for the 1000gp diamond, or maybe an abbey where they keep them on hand (but then you'd have to persuade them to part with it, and probably pay a premium if you're just 'stocking up'). Expensive incense you could buy from any large religious establishment. Expensive, heavy chests you might need to commission, unless you're in a large city.

Even in cities I'm more likely to ask a player to "roll for availability" for big-ticket component items, rather than them rocking up to Rocko's Classy Components with their pouches open.

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As a Hard Fun DM, I will have the players just live with never being able to cast some spells as they can't get expensive components. And when they buy components they use up money that they could have used for other things. And so on.

After all, SO MANY players refuse to change anything about the game...even more so spells. THEY will scream about how perfect the rules are and how "we" can't change them. I might ask if they would approve a simple fix or two and they scream no.

So, when it comes to expensive spell components, I just agree with their standing. Sorry, you got to have that 5000 gold diamond, says right there on the page, in the rules. Nothing we can do.....


As a side note, I cut my teeth on B/X D&D and it quite some time before I switched to AD&D. I mention this because B/X spells didn't require components at all, so I played for a fair amount of time without components at all.


I'm a stickler for the component rules - you have to have the item on you before you cast - and no just deducting the gold and adding it to our inventory. However, I regularly have spellcasting opponents drop material components (I made a table!) and always have plenty of downtime so for the most part characters can hunt down or commission expensive components or other items.

It's kind of fun, as a player finding that random material component can push them to try out spells they otherwise wouldn't have bothered with.

If you are dirt poor you probably should not be looking for expensive components or taking spells that require them.

I would say a single soul coin could probably be bartered for 2 or 3 diamonds for revivify. I would think Maggie (or her redcaps) might barter for services. Bel, Arkhan or Mahadi might also barter services for components if you can find them.

If you are traveling with Lulu or Monocolor and you are evil you could probably offer to turn them over to any highly placed Devil for some components.
Sadly, we double-crossed Arkhan, there's bad blood between us and Bel, we haven't been able to locate the Bazar so we've never met Mahadi, and and Red Ruth put a 10k soul coin bounty on our head. We haven't been making friends(except Lulu, of course - and we'd never turn her in!). I imagine the bounty is going to prevent us from making any good deals in any towns. But, who knows: when we get ambushed, the bounty hunters might have material components!


Follower of the Way
Note: I don't play or run 5e, so this is speaking far more generally. Should've paid more attention to the thread tag, but I got more than halfway through the response below before I realized, and figured it was still worth posting even if it's not necessarily relevant.

I mostly invent them on-the-spot (with occasional help from online name generators) and set prices which seem reasonable based on the economics of the situation. That's only for fancy ingredients though, stuff you have to do dangerous things to acquire (or which takes a long time to grow or the like), which then gets used to make a special potion or forge a new item or whatever.

For "repeat use" material components? I usually don't bother, or I treat it like buying ammunition--you pay a certain amount and you get the flexible timey-wimey charges to pull out of your pouch. I find being a real stickler about expensive material components--unless it's for something special, unusual, or out of the ordinary, is just...not fun. So I don't really track it.


I generally allow straight conversion of gold in inventory to component. Though some thinks like secret chest may also require downtime.


Yes, sometimes indirectly. There's what you mentioned, and also finding fire lily flowers for an alchemist. The part can keep a third of what they find which lets them cast fire spells at +1/die, or something like that.
For a fun mechanic, replace 1s with max value on the die.

So instead of 6d6+6 you get 6d6 but each 1 is +5.

The bonus is a bit less than +6 (5/6 per die instead of +1 per die), but it doesn't raise the max.

It is reasonably VTT friendly -- just look at the 1s and add a bonus.
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