D&D 5E [Let's Read] The Wanderer's Guide to Merchants & Magic

log in or register to remove this ad


Someone on another forum asked me my thoughts on how well-balanced the pricing is for magic items in the book. I elaborated enough that I feel it deserves its own post.

I believe that I can only gain a holistic view via actual play, which I sadly haven't had the chance to do so. But just in eyeballing things, by the time individual PCs can purchase multiple RNG-boosting stuff they're at Epic Tier or very close to it. I think the Guide overall did a good job. There are some cheap items you can buy in droves, but they tend to be the kinds of things that are limited-use or give neat gimmicks vs the kind of things an entire build or character class would be an idiot to go without.

Here's the table for the refurbished PC Wealth by Level. This is for individual PCs, not the whole party:


Just going by the SRD items...

Let's look at the various RNG-boosting items. The Belts of Giant Strength range from 4,000 (Hill Giant) up to 50,000 (Storm Giant). Enhancement bonuses for armor range are 1k, 10k, and 30k for +1 to +3. For weapons it is 500, 5k, and 15k. The stat-boosting Tomes cost 30k each. Wands of the War Mage are rather affordable, being 400, 2k, and 5k for the enhancement bonuses.

Magic items which can summon, control, or create creatures are singularly expensive. A Ring of Djinni Summoning is 50k, a Ring of Elemental Command is 20k, the items for Commanding X Elementals are 5k, an Efreeti Bottle is 25k, and an Iron Flask is 50k. A Manual of Golems is 5k. Figurines of Wondrous Power are on the cheaper side of things, ranging from 500 (onyx dog and silver raven) up to 4k (obsidian steed). Horns of Valhalla range from 10k to 25k. There are some exceptions, such as Pipes of the Sewers costing 500 but like the cheap Figurines are mostly for very weak creatures.

The more powerful ioun stones are also expensive: Mastery is 30k, Regeneration 8kk, although the others are more affordable ranging from 1k to 5. Staves of all kinds tend to average five-digit figures, with a few being four-digit (Healing, Python, Withering).

Potions overall are pretty cheap, ranging from 25 to 1k at most (storm giant strength) and are easy to buy in bunches. Spell Crolls are a tad more expensive, after 5th level they start costing more than 1k per scroll.

Fore more broad utility stuff, things vary. Wings of Flying are a pretty 4k, while a Carpet of Flying is 12k. A Stone of Good Luck is an affordable 1.5k. A Ring of Mind Shielding is a cheap 500, while a Ring of Protection is 2k. Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location is 500, a Deck of Illusions is 1k, a Robe of useful Items is 1.5k, a Portable Hole 2k, a Bag of Holding 1k, and Adamantine Armor is 1k plus twice the cost of the base armor in question. A Ring of Invisibility is 8k.

Around low levels PCs can only really afford to splurge on a few moderately pricey items at most. Past the First Tier they can easily splurge on a bunch of cheap magic items and potions if they want. +1 weapons and armor are easy for PCs to obtain as well, but +2 and higher they need to start weighing the balance between raw RNG increases vs more general utility. Same deal for items that grant additional creature minions past a certain power level.

For example, let's say we want to buy gear for a sneaky "mage assassin" type. We get an Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location for 500, a +1 weapon for another 500, Boots of Elvenkind for another 500, and a Ring of Spell Turning for 6k. That costs 7.5k in all, much of it from the Ring which is the only one they have to attune to. We'll spend almost all of our 10th level wealth, but around 5th level we can get the other items by investing all of our gold. By 8th level it's less of an all-consuming investment.

Let's say we have a tanky fighter. The good kind of tanky, not the one who defends Putin's invasion of Ukraine or claims that effeminate men are counter-revolutionary. A +3 armor is 30k, +3 shield another 30k, a Ring of Protection 2k, and a Cloak of Protection another 2k. They have to attune to the Cloak and Ring, leaving just 1 attunement slot open. This costs 64k, which is something that can only be earned at 19th level if buying on an individual basis.

How about we reduce the enhancements to +2? That makes the purchase 24k instead, which is still almost all the wealth of a 14th level PC.

Okay, let's try something else: a speedy swashbuckler. Scimitar of Speed for 10k, Ring of Free Action for 2.5k, and Boots of Speed for 3k. All of them require attunement, and cost 15.5k. They all deal with helping the character do more, be it an extra attack, doubling speed, or ignoring difficult terrain. While the bonus action activation of the Boots cannot be used on the same round as the scimitar's bonus attack, it can last for a duration of 10 minutes per day. In order for an individual PC to afford it, they'll need to be 12th-13th level, and again much of the investment comes from the Scimitar. At 9th level we can afford all but the Scimitar.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases