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5E Material components

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What exactly does it mean for a spell to consume a valuable gemstone? Does it just vanish? Does the Wizard grind it to dust (and if so do they now have gem dust to use as a component for other spells?) Do the bury it as an offering to some deity?
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Some spells shield me
Some spells buff me
I think they're ok

But if I don't have the proper components
Then my casting goes astray

I can beg and I can plead
But the DM won't see the light (that's right)

'Cause the wizard with the cold hard cash
Can always cast spells right

'Cause wizards all need to use material components
When casting a spell at our opponents
You know that wizards all need to use material components
When casting a spell at our opponents
 

jasper

Rotten DM
What exactly does it mean for a spell to consume a valuable gemstone? Does it just vanish? Does the Wizard grind it to dust (and if so do they now have gem dust to use as a component for other spells?) Do the bury it as an offering to some deity?
Depends on how much you left in the special effects budget. If a lot it blows up in pretty colors. If not, we stop the film, put dust in the wizards hand and restart the film. If you asking seriously, the gemstone vanish.
 

What exactly does it mean for a spell to consume a valuable gemstone? Does it just vanish? Does the Wizard grind it to dust (and if so do they now have gem dust to use as a component for other spells?) Do the bury it as an offering to some deity?
I'm assuming it gets consumed or disapates on the spot.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I have the player describe what happens to components that are consumed if they want.

For example, a revivify may require holding the diamond in the cleric's hand which start to glow with the light from a soul that's been captured. Then the cleric slams the diamonds into the head of the fallen PC, reviving them.

Another may make a prayer, clap their hands and dribble the dust into the mouth of the PC.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
I have the player describe what happens to components that are consumed if they want.

For example, a revivify may require holding the diamond in the cleric's hand which start to glow with the light from a soul that's been captured. Then the cleric slams the diamonds into the head of the fallen PC, reviving them.

Another may make a prayer, clap their hands and dribble the dust into the mouth of the PC.
darn oofta every time you bring back from the dead I have a headache. And this time I didn't have an axe in my skull.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For me it comes down to what type of game does the DM and players want to run? If its a meticulously tracked inventory game where encumbrance is used then Id definitely track components, how many pages each spell takes up in a spellbook and how much it weighs. Chances are a high level wizard is going to have more than one spellbook, and non-magical backpacks and pouches only hold so much. Add spell components to this and theres alot of factors that can dictate which spells are available to a wizard at any given time.

We played a campaign where we took all of this into account where I played a Mage. I remember having multiple spellbooks and having to choose which ones to take and which ones to leave behind when preparing to go out on an adventure. Including spellbooks, components, magical items and mundane equipment I could only carry so much. This was a fun campaign, made for very realistic game.
We do this. Some years ago I assigned page counts to every arcane spell we have (mostly so I could better cost out ink and paper for casters trying to learn/copy spells), and now we track these in our games.

Were it not for her handy backpack of holding, the main MU I play these days couldn't carry her spellbooks; never mind the rest of her gear. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Or in prior editions, when the component is a freaking LIVE SPIDER. I mean, how and where do you keep something like that? And why would you want to eat it? Just get a party rogue.
Given as the assumption is you're crawling around in dusty old dungeons, finding a spider when you need one should be the least of your worries... :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I have the player describe what happens to components that are consumed if they want.

For example, a revivify may require holding the diamond in the cleric's hand which start to glow with the light from a soul that's been captured. Then the cleric slams the diamonds into the head of the fallen PC, reviving them.

Another may make a prayer, clap their hands and dribble the dust into the mouth of the PC.
For divine spells my baseline assumption is that the material components are offered up in sacrifice to the deity; and when the deity takes them they vanish. Most of the time, this results in a successful spell.

One thing I try to stay away from, other than a few specific spells, is having exact material requirements e.g. diamond dust for spells (particularly divine spells) that simply have a cost attached. For example, Raise Dead carries a cost of around 5000-7000 g.p. in my game; but as it's all just sacrificed to a deity anyway I'm not too fussed about what particular things/items/coins/gems go into making up that value. It's up to the players/PCs as to what is actually used.
 

We do this. Some years ago I assigned page counts to every arcane spell we have (mostly so I could better cost out ink and paper for casters trying to learn/copy spells), and now we track these in our games.

Were it not for her handy backpack of holding, the main MU I play these days couldn't carry her spellbooks; never mind the rest of her gear. :)
Off hand I dont remember how many pages a spell takes up in a spellbook in 5E or 3E for that matter, but in 2E Im pretty sure that a spell took up "x" amount of pages per level plus 1d(?) pages. This made it rather tricky when adding spells to a spellbook depending if it was a 100 page regular spellbook or the 50 page travelling spellbook. I think in regards to the OP if you're using material components, these factors make a difference too, as you said ink, parchment, etc all adds up.
 

I'm not too fussed about what particular things/items/coins/gems go into making up that value. It's up to the players/PCs as to what is actually used.

Only time I care is depending on the material component, its rarity, cost and where they currently are. A player can have all the money they want but if they are looking for a very weird, expensive and obscure item in a back water village with a population of 73 people, try all they want but its just not available.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Off hand I dont remember how many pages a spell takes up in a spellbook in 5E or 3E for that matter, but in 2E Im pretty sure that a spell took up "x" amount of pages per level plus 1d(?) pages. This made it rather tricky when adding spells to a spellbook depending if it was a 100 page regular spellbook or the 50 page travelling spellbook. I think in regards to the OP if you're using material components, these factors make a difference too, as you said ink, parchment, etc all adds up.
Our spellbooks default to 300 pages, but as our spells are on average somewhat longer than [level + d4] pages it more or less evens out.

There's huge variance, too. Even at 1st level the range is 1 (Read Magic) to 25 (Identify) pages, with an average of about 6; the average increases as levels go up, to the point where by the time you're casting 7th or 8th level spells you might only be able to squeeze four or five of them into a normal spellbook.
 

Our spellbooks default to 300 pages, but as our spells are on average somewhat longer than [level + d4] pages it more or less evens out.

There's huge variance, too. Even at 1st level the range is 1 (Read Magic) to 25 (Identify) pages, with an average of about 6; the average increases as levels go up, to the point where by the time you're casting 7th or 8th level spells you might only be able to squeeze four or five of them into a normal spellbook.
You house rule this?
 


Each spell's write-up has a line "Spell book pages" that shows how many it takes.
I liked the variation in spell pages. If I found a spellbook and there was a spell I wanted to copy and it was 5 pages in that book but took me 7, reminded me of copying someone's homework when I was in high school during lunch.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Ho... in 1ed? I had an excel spread sheet for all character's components and I was keeping track of it like a raving madman. Even a failed spell would use up a component. It was really hard being a caster in 1ed...

I started to relax on components in 2nd edition. I have been tracking 1gp+ component ever since.
Spider Climb, and the live spider was as recent as 3.5. 5e just says spider, so I suppose it can be dead now.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Given as the assumption is you're crawling around in dusty old dungeons, finding a spider when you need one should be the least of your worries... :)
It would sure lead to amusing situations.

Human Wizard: "Crud! 2 orcs and I'm almost out of spells. Good thing that I still have Spider Climb!" :::Human wizard drops to his knees and scrambles around looking for spiders:::

Orc #1: "What is he doing?"

Orc #2: "Oh! This is my favorite spell to watch!

Human Wizard: :::Continues to pounce at things on the floor:::

Orc #1: "This IS fun!"

Orc #2: "Yep. The somatic portion is fantastic."
 


Spellcasting requires up to 5 "components": verbal, somatic, material, mnemonic (prepared/known), and energy (spell slot). While no one ever considers removing the latter two, for whatever reason the first three are considered "optional" by many. Under normal circumstances spellcasters can and should have easy access to material components or a spellcasting focus, just as they can speak and move their hands, so it becomes relatively unimportant in day to day gaming. However, it's not something that should be ignored completely as there are three reasons why material components should exist.

  1. It gives the DM control on how much powerful magic can be used in the game and when. If I don't want the party to be able to cast Identify at the start of the campaign, they simply won't find a 100 gp pearl. By limiting these non-consumed material components, the DM can put a "soft ban" on some spells until they're ready to deal with it. With clerics and druids having nearly unlimited spell selection, this can be vital for certain campaign structures.
  2. Certain spells are balanced by the consumption of expensive components, especially resurrection magic. Allowing this to be ignored greatly increases the power of these spells, since they can be used limitlessly. Spells such as stoneskin, teleportation circle, greater restoration, revivify/raise dead, hero's feast, and worst of all simulacrum, suddenly become day to day spells, rather than limited utilities to be used only when necessary.
  3. There are several scenarios that become unplayable without them, mostly the "captured" and "survival" types, where the party is supposed to be with limited resources. If you allow the casters to ignore material components you may as well allow the martial characters to ignore the need for weapons and armor in these scenarios too.
 

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