D&D 5E How were the "Sane Magic Item Prices" arrived at?

Starfox

Adventurer
Experiment: How much is Keoghtom's Ointment sold for?
My answer: Keoghtom's Ointment replicates one of two 2nd level spells, upcast Cure Wounds and Lesser Restoration. Anyone can use it. So I'd say the cost should be about three times that of a 2nd level scroll, which by SMIP is 120 gp. Final price is 360 gp. A set of three might go for a round 1,000 gp.
 

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it reflects supposed power level and the character level where it can be expected to appear.
Rarity doesn't mean anything at all.

Boots of the Winterlands: uncommon, provides cold resistance + immunity to some difficult terrain + other fluff.

Ring of Cold Resistance: rare, cold resistance only.


There are plenty of other examples where a more common item is of equal or greater power than a less common item.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
In my reading, "rarity" doesn't really reflect rarity at all, it reflects supposed power level and the character level where it can be expected to appear. Common items at level 1-4, uncommon at 5-9, rare at 10-14, very rate at 15-20. The pricing rules in the DMG are based on the idea that you get ten times the loot at each tier and thus the cost is also multiplied by ten. But the rarity ratings are deeply flawed, with flight items being a great example - more rare in no way makes for better flight. Rarities are also setting specific. That the flying broom is just uncommon makes perfect sense in a Hogwartsesque setting, but is in no way balanced against other flight items.
If your reading results in the text being deeply flawed, have you considered you are reading it wrong?

If common/uncommon/rare/very rare/legendary actually also reflected how common the item is to be found, and not just its power level, wouldn't that erase the deep flaw?

Like, winged boots being overly common is ok, because they only arrive if the DM picks them. If the DM is using random tables, then the odds enough winged boots arrive for an entire party at low levels is low. So even then, getting a broom of flying at the next encounter won't be a disappointment, because someone will still want it.

And the carpet of flying? Likely to be desired when it arrives, because the odds the entire party has flight is low.

Heck, if you use random treasure tables, the odds the same party encounters two of winged boots, a carpet of flying, and a broom of flying and wings of flying is very low. So the comparison doesn't actually matter in a sense!

If the item's arrival in a random treasure parcel after the PCs have gotten previous random treasure parcels (with the occasional custom item) is exciting, the item is still a good reward for its rarity level. It being better than an item on another treasure table doesn't matter in actual play.

This problem only occurs if you open the treasure tables up as a shopping list.

And above, I talked about that. If you are going to have more magic items for sale, as a DM you should pick them. They can be a broad set of items. And you should consider what the impact is of items you add.

Only if you open up the whole list, or pairs of items without considering their relationship, does this pricing problem occur.

Don't open up a magic mart, be it a catalogue service (physical or not) or a single store with a huge inventory, and the entire pricing problem evaporates.

If you are playing in Eberonn?

What I'd do is do some treasure table rolls for your version of Eberonn. Roll a bunch of times. Assign each roll to a house. Apply a variable markup to each item over the base DMG numbers (2x to 10x) for public purchase, with membership having its privileges (killing the markup).

Vary each of the rolls. So if you roll a +2 scythe, maybe say "ok, maybe not a scythe" -- except, maybe it is? Maybe an guide sells a kick as farming implement that acts as a +2 scythe. And that a good way to get yourself a high quality magic blade is to buy the farming implement and see if you can jury-rig the enchantment into a different weapon type; this is akin to how, in our world, the best way to make some kinds of tools is to buy something mass-produced for a different purpose and modify it.

Include common items for sale. Maybe roll some common items randomly and invent some variations.

There; adventuring magic items for sale, but not an infinite catalogue. Most magic items for sale won't be adventuring gear after all; they'll be items to make the economy run.

Once you have the general inventory, individual magic shops in a particular town can use the magic item tables. As manufacture of items in Eberonn is still somewhat "home workshop"y and craft based, a one-off item for sale is possible. Like, you can buy the journeyman items produced by the trainees (no warranty express or implied) which in turn helps pay for that student's education.
 


dave2008

Legend
Yeah, at this point I've sort of thrown up my hands, and am using some combination of my gut, the AD&D Encyclopedia Magica, the Thieves Guild website / the Sane Magic Item prices document, and then more of my gut. It's very messy and I know it could be better, I just don't have any answers right now.
What is your goal with giving magic items prices? Seems the simplest method would be to base it on rarity.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
What is your goal with giving magic items prices? Seems the simplest method would be to base it on rarity.
Sure. The next campaign I'm planning to run includes a very small number of magic item shops, a Magefair, and the rare merchant auction with a magic item. When I GM D&D typically I'll include a fair number of homebrewed magic items as well. So my goal is to establish rough estimates for a baseline value (which I can then tweak by seller/region/etc if I want to) & to have some underlying system/guideline when pricing my own creations (if I choose to have them for sale in a given context).
 

dave2008

Legend
Sure. The next campaign I'm planning to run includes a very small number of magic item shops, a Magefair, and the rare merchant auction with a magic item. When I GM D&D typically I'll include a fair number of homebrewed magic items as well. So my goal is to establish rough estimates for a baseline value (which I can then tweak by seller/region/etc if I want to) & to have some underlying system/guideline when pricing my own creations (if I choose to have them for sale in a given context).
Is there a particular reason you wouldn't price magic items by rarity or are looking for what those prices should be?
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Is there a particular reason you wouldn't price magic items by rarity or are looking for what those prices should be?
Well, there's 3 answers to that.

First, like I mentioned, I create lots of homebrew items. There's very little guidance in the DMG about how to place a value on a homebrew item unless it happens to be comparable to something existing. For roughly half the items I make I can triangulate rough reference points, but for the other half I do it by pretty much feel or just giving up. Which gets to the second issue...

Second, the DMG values give goofy results. The example that I gave earlier is a good, if simple, reason why I wouldn't do it by rarity alone: boot of flying are uncommon (DMG says 101-500 gp value), while a potion of flying is very rare (5,001 - 50,000 gp). If we happen to comb through Xanathar's Guide, specifically the downtime activity Selling a Magic Item, it advises us - in the case of a consumable item - to take half of this as a sale price. So even with that guideline from Xanathar's, we're being advised that the potion of flying should be sold for more than boots of flying. In my mind, that's goofy. When brought up with my old gaming group when I first noticed that, we all had a chuckle at how nonsensical it was.

Third, the DMG values give pretty wiiiiide ranges without any guidance about where within that range to value a magic item. For convenience, I'll reproduce those values below:

Common 50 - 100 gp
Uncommon 101 - 500 gp
Rare 501 - 5,000 gp
Very Rare 5,001 - 50,000 gp
Legendary 50,001+ gp
 

dave2008

Legend
Well, there's 3 answers to that.

First, like I mentioned, I create lots of homebrew items. There's very little guidance in the DMG about how to place a value on a homebrew item unless it happens to be comparable to something existing. For roughly half the items I make I can triangulate rough reference points, but for the other half I do it by pretty much feel or just giving up. Which gets to the second issue...

Second, the DMG values give goofy results. The example that I gave earlier is a good, if simple, reason why I wouldn't do it by rarity alone: boot of flying are uncommon (DMG says 101-500 gp value), while a potion of flying is very rare (5,001 - 50,000 gp). If we happen to comb through Xanathar's Guide, specifically the downtime activity Selling a Magic Item, it advises us to take half of this as a sale price. So even with that guideline from Xanathar's, we're being advised that the potion of flying should be sold for more than boots of flying. In my mind, that's goofy. When brought up with my old gaming group when I first noticed that, we all had a chuckle at how nonsensical it was.

Third, the DMG values give pretty wiiiiide ranges without any guidance about where within that range to value a magic item. For convenience, I'll reproduce those values below:

Common 50 - 100 gp
Uncommon 101 - 500 gp
Rare 501 - 5,000 gp
Very Rare 5,001 - 50,000 gp
Legendary 50,001+ gp
Thanks! I never really interact with the D&D monetary system, so I wasn't aware prices were even provided. I meant: why not make up cost by rarity for your campaign. Besides, real life prices can be pretty nonsensical (I mean look at diamonds or an "i" anything), so that tracks for me.
 

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