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D&D 5E Spellbook value

pukunui

Legend
Hi all,

I’m running Tomb of Annihilation. One of the side quests involves finding a shield guardian and its control amulet for a wizard, who pays the PCs with a spellbook containing fifteen random spells of levels 1-6.

Firstly, this doesn’t really seem like a fair payment to me.

Secondly, my group has no wizards in it, so a spellbook is pretty useless for them.

I’m thinking of having the wizard give them an assortment of scrolls and potions instead, but I don’t know what all would be a fair payment in return for a shield guardian and its control amulet.

Anyone got any thoughts? I’ve got until the weekend to sort it out.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Hi all,

I’m running Tomb of Annihilation. One of the side quests involves finding a shield guardian and its control amulet for a wizard, who pays the PCs with a spellbook containing fifteen random spells of levels 1-6.

Firstly, this doesn’t really seem like a fair payment to me.

Secondly, my group has no wizards in it, so a spellbook is pretty useless for them.

I’m thinking of having the wizard give them an assortment of scrolls and potions instead, but I don’t know what all would be a fair payment in return for a shield guardian and its control amulet.

Anyone got any thoughts? I’ve got until the weekend to sort it out.
What does your group have in it? What level are they too?
The thing about stuff like a high level spell in a spellbook is that even to a wizard the value is literally zero until level twelve or so when they can scribe it. Sure they might look forward to doing it, but when was the last time you gave a level 5 fighter barbarian cleric rogue or whatever a magic item they couldn't use until they send 300 gold seven levels from now?
 

Rather than try to place an abstract value on the job, let's look at what he is currently paying.

Figuring on an even distribution of spells levels 1-6 a spellbook with 15 spells would have an average of 52.5 levels of spells. That means for the wizard to recreate it (assuming he has another copy of the spells since he is a wizard willing to part with them) it would cost him 2625 gold worth of magic inks and papers (assuming he is not a member of a school scribing spells of that school), along with a base cost for a spellbook of 50 gold, and 105 hours of scribing. So whatever it is worth to the party or to him, in his mind a book of 15 random spells levels 1-6 probably represents about 2000-3000 gold of materials and 12-15 eight hour work days.

As for "Spellbook not being fair payment", I think it's a great payment, depending on the campaign, and whether or not there are any wizards in the party. Not every person you help will have wealth stored in a "convenient to every random adventurer" format. A spellbook is actually great for this sort of "sidequest to find a buyer" item as it is fairly easy to transport and no great mystery what type of buyer they are looking for (other wizards or people who sell things to wizards).

But, if they are not actually going to have trading opportunities for the rest of the campaign then sure, swap it for one or more things worth (very roughly) 3000 or so gold. What that should equal in 5e potions, scrolls, or magic items is, as always, a matter of great debate.
 

pukunui

Legend
Perfect! Thank you both.

For the record, the PCs are all level 5. There’s a half-elf fighter (arcane archer), a human rogue (scout), an aasimar sorcerer (divine soul), and a forest gnome ranger (fey wanderer).
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Perfect! Thank you both.

For the record, the PCs are all level 5. There’s a half-elf fighter (arcane archer), a human rogue (scout), an aasimar sorcerer (divine soul), and a forest gnome ranger (fey wanderer).
Level 5 is a good level for the NPC to bring them to a friend's shop & buy them +1 doodad of their choice or similar +1 weapons are actually worth dramatically less than the spellbook & the PCs probably won't care but you can use that as an opportunity to make them awesome +1 items with things like this:
  • Windshot: this +1 longbow is able to create arrows each time the user draws the string without needing to carry them in a quiver. Instead of piercing these arrows carry the slashing cut of the wind. In addition once per long or short rest the user can gain the effect of swift quiver for one round activated as part of their normal attack
  • Briar: This +1 longbow increases the range that hail of thorns covers, when used in conjunction with hail of thorns you can choose to either effect 1 extra creature within 10 feet of the target to also make the dex save (normally it's +1d10 dex save within 5ft) or instead raise the effect from creatures within 5 feet of the target to creatures withn10 feet of the targer.
  • Blessed staff: This staff has the benefits of a +1 wand of the warmage but also grants you the ability to cast $fancyname sacred flame that functions as both sacred flame as well as create bonfire under the target (both are dex save so just do em together) but both deal radiant damage. This might sound really powerful & will look very cool, but in reality the damage gap between casters & martials is enormous with casters far behind & the bonfire will push baddies to take a step that mybe triggers an AoO for anyone in melee :D
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
A spellbook is actually great for this sort of "sidequest to find a buyer" item as it is fairly easy to transport and no great mystery what type of buyer they are looking for (other wizards or people who sell things to wizards).
This. And if the party has no wizards in it, then the PCs have no idea what its value could be.

A book that has magic in it? For wizards? It's probably worth a fortune!

Okay, sure. You have a rules lawyer in the group, and he does Benjamin's math to discover that all the spells in the book are worth a mere 3,000 gold pieces. But . . . there's one more spell in the book. One created by the DM. How's the rules lawyer going to price that one? (Or even know what the spells are, since he's not a wizard . . . )
 

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