5E Market price for a spell book?

shame very little has been made better
I disagree in the sense that the game has been made more accessible to a wider audience for the simple fact that a new player can jump into a game only having to know that for the most part they are rolling a d20, high is good and then maybe damage die. Until d20, there were quite a few subsystems a player had to know that may have turned them off to either playing initially, or playing again. I'd say that's progress for the better.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
If you don't think 5E is a far superior system to everything that has come before, I could pontificate about why it is for hours.

Regardless, D&D is an RPG. A Role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. So do NPCs. And a sale of a spellbook in D&D is nothing more than an interaction between a PC and an NPC. Don't just reduce it to numbers - think about what NPCs might be interested in it and what they might offer.

Let's say Tim the Wizard comes back to town with a spellbook he collected on his last journey. It was in the possession of a wizard from far away. It has 32 spells in it of levels 1 through 6, with most of them being from the PHB, but a 6th, a 5th, a 4th, 2 3rd, 2 2nd, and 3 1st spells that nobody in the region has (DM created). Tim has already copied down the spells he did not know into his own spellbook and now wants to sell the spellbook he found for profit.

He goes to the local wizard's academy and is directed to Headmaster Giles. He shows Giles the book and asks for an offer. Giles notes that most of the spells in the book are already known to the academy, but the 10 new spells interest them. They'd like to borrow the book and copy the spells, and are willing to pay 300 GP per day. They plan to put wizards to work copying spells immediately and go around the clock, returning the spellbook within 3 days. If the PCs balk, he says that they'll buy it for 1000 gp. They're pretty sure that whoever buys it will agree to rent it to them, so they are not willing to budge without a great persuasion or intimidation role.

Not satisfied, Tim continues on and discovers that there is an independent wizard in town named Myztek. When he meets with Myztek, Myztek asks to thumb through the book and identifies that in addition to the 10 spells new to the region, 6 of the other PHB spells are ones he has not found yet. Again, he'd like to borrow the book to copy the spells. He offers an exchange to Tim - He whips out his spellbook and let's Tim see what is in it. There are a few unique spells that Myztek created in it, as well as a number of PHB spells Tim does not know. Myztek offers to give Tim lifetime access to his spellbooks in exchange for lifetime access to any spellbooks that comes into Tim's possession. However, if he is to copy the spells in Tim's book, he will be unable to offer any cash as he'll need that gold to buy supplies. When Tim pushes to make a sale, Myztek offers a unique magic item that he has, or to trade away a map to a damned dwarven city filled with curses - and treasure.

Tim says he'll think about it and continues on. While he is pursuing more options he is approached by a wealthy noble in town. The noble says he heard about the spellbook and wants to buy it for his son, a fledgling wizard at the academy with "real promise". Tim has a low passive insight and is not on guard, so he fails to realize that the noble is a member of the local thieves guild in disguise - but not just a rogue. He asks to see the book and then casts dimension door to travel into hiding with it. He has an amulet of proof against detection and location. Tim now has to try to track him down to recover the book or just let it go. Later on, he may encounter the spells in the hands of the guild and realize they stole it from him.

Lots of ways to go, but you need to put yourself in the position of the NPCs to figure out what they might offer.
 
As a minimum baseline, the wizard who penned the spellbook needs to be recompensed for time (lifestyle) and materials, and wants to turn a pretty profit.

For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. Assuming wizard wishes to maintain comfortable lifestyle, that's 2 gp per day (or 8 hours of work).

And then there are materials – we'll say the base spellbook (50 gp) and whatever the ink cost will be. One ounce of ink (10 gp) = 30 ml, you can get about 20 pages per ml, so 30 ml (1 oz) gives about 600 pages. There's no guideline in 5e for how many pages a spell takes up, but in past editions it was one page per spell level. So any single spellbook only needs 1 oz of ink.

We'd also assume higher level spells are more valuable because higher-level casters are rarer than low-level casters. A multiplier can used for the spell level. 1.0 for cantrips & first-level, 1.2 for second-level, 1.3 for third-level, and up to 1.9 for ninth-level.

Let's take a 9th level wizard who penned the following spellbook:
  • 1st Level (x6): Alarm, Burning Hands, Charm Person, Chromatic Orb, Color Spray, Comprehend Languages
  • 2nd Level (x5): Alter Self, Arcane Lock, Blindness/Deafness, Blur, Cloud of Daggers
  • 3rd Level (x6): Bestow Curse, Blink, Clairvoyance, Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Water Breathing
  • 4th Level (x6): Arcane Eye, Banishment, Confusion, Conjure Minor Elementals, Control Water, Ice Storm
  • 5th Level (x4): Animate Objects, Bigby's Hand, Cone of Cold, Teleportation Circle
Cost maths would be:

60 gp materials costs

1.0 level multiplier * (1*6*50) level of spell * # spells * 50gp + (2 * (total hours / 8) comfortable lifestyle = 1.0 * 300 + (2 * (12 / 8)) = 303 gp

1.2 level multiplier * (2*5*50) level of spell * # spells * 50gp + (2* total hours / 8) comfortable lifestyle = 1.2 * 500 + (2 * (16/8)) = 604 gp

1.3 level multiplier * (3*6*50) level of spell * # spells * 50gp + (2* total hours / 8) comfortable lifestyle = 1.3 * 900 + (2 * (36/8)) = 1179 gp

1.4 level multiplier * (4*6*50) level of spell * # spells * 50gp + (2* total hours / 8) comfortable lifestyle = 1.4 * 1200 + (2 * (48/8)) = 1692 gp

1.5 level multiplier * (5*4*50) level of spell * # spells * 50gp + (2* total hours / 8) comfortable lifestyle = 1.5 * 1000 + (2 * (40/8)) = 1510 gp

For a total price of 5,348 gp.

Now comes the question of how much profit the wizard wants to turn. This is a niche product, highly valued by specific individuals, and there's a reason the wizard is doing this rather than baking bread. So a 20% profit margin doesn't seem unreasonable.

So the selling price might be around 6,417 gp and 6 sp.

If you go by the wealth by level breakdown that was done by @tankschmidt, then a 9th level PC would have amassed ~16,200 gp over the course of their career thus far. So purchasing this spellbook represents a major investment, on par with establishing a guildhall/trading post (5,000 gp), buying the majority share in a sailing ship (10,000 gp), or negotiating a very good price on a rare magic item (2d10 x 1,000 gp).
 

lordxaviar

Explorer
As a minimum baseline, the wizard who penned the spellbook needs to be recompensed for time (lifestyle) and materials, and wants to turn a pretty profit.


Like your break down, but dont think any mage would sell his spell books, I was thinking more of a treasure amount to ensure a even division for any party.
 

lordxaviar

Explorer
I disagree in the sense that the game has been made more accessible to a wider audience for the simple fact that a new player can jump into a game only having to know that for the most part they are rolling a d20, high is good and then maybe damage die. Until d20, there were quite a few subsystems a player had to know that may have turned them off to either playing initially, or playing again. I'd say that's progress for the better.
It has more in common with basic dnd then advanced, without the need for all the cool dice we have been collecting for decades..lol
 
It has more in common with basic dnd then advanced, without the need for all the cool dice we have been collecting for decades..lol
I think its fair to say that 5E on its face without using the optional rules is the "simplest" edition since Basic/D&D. I've used many rules from all editions or ad hoc rules on the fly in my 5E game and it has zero negative effect, and I think that's the best part of 5E that it allows and encourages you to do that.

Regarding your comment on dice, I sometimes pull out my d30 every couple of game sessions. I still have no idea what the hell that thing is for, I saw it, it looked cool and so I bought it. I use it to threaten my players and add suspense. Uh oh, here comes the d30, if I roll a 30 someone DIE30's!!! So far I've yet to roll a 30 so I'm still not sure what would happen if I did, but neither do my players. Serves its purpose by adding a little game tension. I sometimes ask my players to roll a random d12 or percentiles, etc just so they don't feel they didn't waste money on a full dice set even if the roll means nothing.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
Price is where supply meets demand. It has nothing to do with cost to fabricate, directly. Many a seller has built something for $100X and found they could only sell it for $50X. They either sell at a loss or don't sell - and eat the entire $100X loss.

Regardless, most spellbooks sold will be found spellbooks. In 5E, you can't just use a spellbook you find - you have to copy the spells into something using your personal methods. But, doing so does not destroy the original spellbook. What does that mean? It means that we're generally adding to the number of spellbooks out there every time a new wizard learns his trade. Occasionally a spellbook is destroyed, but many of them will survive for many generations after the scriber passes away.

The value of the spellbook would be determined the same way that the value of a hoard of magic items would be - with each thing in it having a value based upon rarity and utility.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
It depends on how many wizards are actually in the area and how interested they are in it.

It would be like any collectible.

For the common person...normally they'd only spend pennies on the dollar for it...so maybe 5 CP or less?

For the interested Wizard, it depends on the Spells. For a starting spellbook of 1st level spells, probably 25 gold.

For something with 2nd level spells, perhaps 50 GP.

For something with 3rd level spells, it starts to rise in price exponentially, so we will say 2500 GP.

For 4th level spells, 25,000 GP

For 5th Level Spells 125, 000 GP.

6th Level spells...600K GP

7th Level Spells...well 1 Million GP.

8th Level Spells....5 Million GP

9th Level Spells...you better be a good wizard cause they are going to hunt you down and try to kill you for the book if they know it's available...a nice wizard may give you something very valuable in trade...etc.

(could also apply to those books with 7th and 8th level spells as well).
 
Price is where supply meets demand.
Yep. Trying buying a sword in an area engaged in war, good luck.

In 5E, you can't just use a spellbook you find - you have to copy the spells into something using your personal methods
I didnt know this, is this in the PHB or DMG? I mustve missed this or mis-read/mis-interpreted it.

with each thing in it having a value based upon rarity and utility
Agree, that's why it'd be hard to put a hard set of rules on the cost of spellbook, unless it was extremely low level and common spells. Even then a spellbook in a large city might sell for 200 gp or 1000 gp depending on who wants it. The buying power would be pretty large but the demand might not be there as they are pretty common. Now that same spellbook in a remote back water town might want the book more because its uncommon in the area but would have little monetary means to purchase it.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
...I didnt know this, is this in the PHB or DMG? I mustve missed this or mis-read/mis-interpreted it...
You prepare the list of wizard spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of wizard spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your wizard level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher

Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook for free. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Wizard table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook (see the “Your Spellbook” sidebar).
Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.


Copying that spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the wizard who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation.


For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.
[/quote]
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
...something with 3rd level spells, it starts to rise in price exponentially, so we will say 2500 GP.

For 4th level spells, 25,000 GP

For 5th Level Spells 125, 000 GP.

6th Level spells...600K GP

7th Level Spells...well 1 Million GP.

8th Level Spells....5 Million GP

9th Level Spells...you better be a good wizard cause they are going to hunt you down and try to kill you for the book if they know it's available...a nice wizard may give you something very valuable in trade...etc.

(could also apply to those books with 7th and 8th level spells as well).
A typical PC, following the guidelines in the DMG, will find about 150,000 GP in monetary/liquid treasure prior to level 17. Between 17 and 20, that amount might grow to 700,000 GP or so. Nobody walking around has the types of funds you're talking about.
 
[/QUOTE]

OK yeah in retrospect I do remember reading this. IDK why I didnt catch it when I read your post, I was texting someone so that mightve had something to do with it, my bad.
 

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