magic item prices 5e cover

Magic Item Prices 5e

Is it only me who enters a panic mode when all out the sudden my players say “We want to go shopping for magic items?” Now, figuring out what the vendors might have is a piece of cake, but how much it is? Now that’s a problem. So here is a little help to figure out magic item prices in 5e.

Magic item prices in 5e is a ridiculous hard thing. Oh, you have a rare item there? Is is 1000 gold, 4500 gold? Who knows… and so the search begins while the players await my decision.

Items are one of the most cool thing in D&D. It is the best loot, it can grant amazing powers and simply change the way a character works just by attuning to a mysterious object of power. The act of finding or creating a magic item, identifying it, is probably my favourite thing in D&D overall.

That’s why in this article I dive into the arcane marketplace, compare the pricing rules from Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGE) and try to figure it out once and for all. WARNING! There is a nifty calculator down belowe and you can simply use it as it is.

Magic Item Cost Calculator

I’ve prepare a simple to use calculator for magic items.

You can use it for free here from the Google Sheets. It is compatible with books, but you can easily use it to price your homebrew items as well.

You will be able to set the magic item price base on:

  • Item rarity
  • Type – Major or Minor
  • Market Factors like Thriving economy or Competetive Market
  • Reputation of the party
  • Negatiotation modification
  • Consumble character of the item
  • Setting type

Understanding Magic Item Rarity

In D&D 5e there are five tiers of rarity for magic items:

  • Common – Common magic items are relatively mundane and can be found or crafted with relative ease within the game world. These items typically provide minor benefits or enhancements to characters’ abilities without significantly altering gameplay dynamics.
  • Uncommon – Uncommon magic items are more potent or specialized than common ones but are still relatively accessible. They might offer moderate bonuses or unique abilities that can be useful in specific situations. Characters may need to seek out skilled artisans or explore hidden locations to acquire them.
  • Rare – Rare magic items are powerful and highly sought after. They provide substantial bonuses or unique abilities that significantly impact gameplay. Acquiring rare items often requires completing challenging quests, defeating powerful adversaries, or navigating complex dungeons. They are usually found in the possession of powerful entities or hidden in remote and dangerous locations.
  • Very Rare – Very rare magic items are exceptionally powerful and extremely rare. They offer significant advantages or game-changing abilities that can greatly influence the course of a campaign. Obtaining very rare items typically involves undertaking epic quests, facing legendary foes, or discovering ancient artifacts hidden in the farthest reaches of the world.
  • Legendary – Legendary magic items are the most powerful and coveted artifacts in the game world. They possess unparalleled abilities that can alter the fate of nations or reshape the fabric of reality. Legendary items are the stuff of legends, often associated with epic quests, ancient prophecies, or the deeds of legendary heroes. Acquiring a legendary item is the culmination of a character’s journey and may require confronting gods, defeating world-threatening evils, or unraveling mysteries lost to time.

Obtaining magic items

As a rule of thumb, common and uncommon items are easily bought. Rare items can be bought but there might be more at stake than just money. Very rare and legendary are best loot or an objective of a quest – however pricing might help significanlty when such items would be forged by the players as part of their journey.

Magic Item Prices 5e in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG)

The Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) provides guidelines for magic item pricing primarily in Chapter 7: Treasure, specifically on pages 135-136. Here’s a summary of what the DMG says about magic item pricing:

The rarity of a magic item directly influences its price. Common and uncommon items are generally more affordable and readily available, while rare, very rare, and legendary items command exorbitant prices due to their scarcity and power. Players may need to expend significant resources or undertake perilous quests to acquire higher rarity items.

The prices mostly depand on rarity (which we already covered) and demant & availability.

Item RarityPrice Range (GP)Example Items
Common50 – 100Potion of Healing (50 gp), Spell Scroll (Cantrip, 50 gp)
Uncommon101 – 500+1 Weapon (500 gp), Cloak of Protection (500 gp)
Rare501 – 5,000+2 Weapon (5,000 gp), Ring of Protection (5,000 gp)
Very Rare5,001 – 50,000+3 Weapon (50,000 gp), Staff of Power (50,000 gp)
Legendary50,001+Holy Avenger (150,000 gp), Vorpal Sword (150,000 gp)

Magic Item Prices 5e in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGtE)

XGE answered a lot of questions, us DM’s had. The whole book covers a lot of interesting elements but here we want to focus on magic items prices and purchasing. Some of the subsystems from DMG are overwritten, other are supplemented.

Xanathar first introduces a mechanics on fiding the magic itemto buy altogheter. This means, that you cannot simply enter the store, but you have to actively look for it – one workweek to be precise and on top of that, spend 100 gp. Yikes! Obviously it is a optional rule.

There is also a whole complicated subsystem for finding the items but we’re not gonna delve into that. All we want here is to figure out the magic item price.

Asking prices in XGtE

RarityAsking Price FormulaExample Items
Common(1d6 + 1) x 10 gpPotion of Healing (40 gp), Spell Scroll (Cantrip, 60 gp)
Uncommon1d6 x 100 gp+1 Weapon (600 gp), Cloak of Protection (600 gp)
Rare2d10 x 1,000 gp+2 Weapon (19,000 gp), Ring of Protection (10,000 gp)
Very Rare(1d4 + 1) x 10,000 gp+3 Weapon (30,000 gp), Staff of Power (40,000 gp)
Legendary2d6 x 25,000 gpHoly Avenger (200,000 gp), Vorpal Sword (75,000 gp)

XGtE approach to magic item prices are much more complex but allows you to find diversity and flexibility. In the same time they don’t offer such a wide spread that DMG gave us.

magic items hoard 5e

Major and Minor Magic Items

This typology was also introduced in Xanathar’s, however it wasn’t applied to prices in an explicit way. You can only see how the ‘consumable’ trait adjust the price, but I think considering the major/minor type also can naturally influence the economy of the world.

First of all type type can be applied to the number of items a vendor has. Look at the table on page 135 of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, we see that characters on level 1-4 on avrage should have 9 minor itemst and 2 major items. It is helpful to apply this rule to stocks in magic shops so when the players visit them, there isn’t that much to buy from the major type of items. Alternativaly, their prices could be much higher, so the investmenet on part of the players is bigger as well.

Haggling, barganing and negotiating – better magic item prices in 5e

I’ve seen dozens of way to introduce haggling as a part of D&D and I believe the best one is the one that suits your players and yourself the most. Here are a few ways to do it:

  1. Opposing Charisma (Persuasion) check – This give the DM adn the players a very clear view of what is going to happened and there is no space for hurtful interpretation. The dice decide.
  2. Old School Role Play – Less work for you, more fun for players. If they find a clever way to approach the vendor and ask him for better price, its up to you if they succeed.
  3. Mixed – Mixing the two above can be fun and allow yourself to be fair with the players. Based on the players actions you can call for a roll and maybe even change the Persuasion into Deception or Intimidation for that matter. Remember that you can use different abilities with different skills so Wizard buying a magic book can easily use Intelligence (Persuasion) check for this as well.

Magic Items Pricing 5e – Other factors

Below you can find other factors that can influence magic item prices in 5e. All of those are included in the calculator you can use yourself.

Market Factor

It describes an economy situation of the given terrirory the players are. If most of the campaign takes place in the same region, you don’t need to change it, but if the party is traveling, it might be interesting to adjust the prices as well.

I’ve introduced 5 tiers of market factors as follow:

Tier 1: Thriving Economy

  • Description: The region boasts a prosperous economy with high demand for magic items and ample resources.
  • Effect on Prices: Magic items are in high demand, leading to slightly higher prices compared to other regions. (+20% to base price)

Tier 2: Stable Economy

  • Description: The local economy is stable, with moderate demand for magic items and reasonable availability.
  • Effect on Prices: Magic item prices are relatively standard, reflecting balanced supply and demand. (No modification to base price)

Tier 3: Depressed Economy

  • Description: The region’s economy is struggling, resulting in lower overall demand for luxury items like magic items.
  • Effect on Prices: Magic item prices are slightly lower due to decreased demand and limited purchasing power. (-10% to base price)

Tier 4: Competitive Market

  • Description: The area is characterized by fierce competition among magic item vendors, driving prices down.
  • Effect on Prices: Magic item prices are lower than average as vendors compete for customers. (-20% to base price)

Tier 5: Restricted Market

  • Description: The market for magic items is heavily regulated or restricted, limiting availability and increasing prices.
  • Effect on Prices: Magic item prices are significantly higher due to scarcity and regulatory constraints. (+30% to base price)

Reputation

It was obvious to me to use it as a factor in the pricing method, since I use the reputation system in my games most of the time. Being friendly or admired in the city should improve the purchasing power of the characters and similarly, if they are considered a manace, people would usually be less eager to lower the prices.

You can easily applies the reputation to your Negotations, however for the sake of the calculator, that was simply easier to do.

If you don’t use any system like this, you can either ballpark it or chose the Neutral option, that doesn’t modify anything.

Reputation TierReputation ScorePrice Modifier
Outcast-50 to -30+10%
Mistrusted-29 to -10+5%
Neutral-9 to 9No modification
Honored10 to 29-5%
Admired30 to 50-10%

Negotation Modification

Considering that a lot of people use different ways to go deal with negotations, this value doesn’t use any specific mechanics but just checks and modifies the price by the factor of successful or unsuccessful negotations.

This means I simply apply:

  • Successful (-10% off the asking price)
  • Unsuccessfull (+10% to the asking price)
  • None (Simply nothing)

If there is no attampt at all to negotatiate, just use None option. Note that Unsuccessful negotation rises the price.

Consumable

XGtE suggests a few times to cut the price of magic item by half if it is a consumable item. I use the same rule in my calculator, which turns scrolls and potions into very useful and fun items to purchase and actually use, instead of hoarding them.

Setting

Setting can influence the role and thus the price of items in major way. Low magic will make the items much more expensive and elusive, while high magic can make even rare items available for the characters in every magic store.

In the calculator I’ve used a Low Magic, High Magic and Standard typology that offers enough flexibility but without overworking the system itself.

Low magic is a setting where magic items are a rare occurance in the world and thus their price will be much higher. In High magic setting, the prices will be lower, since they are simply more common in the world. Forgetten Realms is considered here to be Standard, although you might want to adjust it to your way of playing.

  • Standard Setting – no modification
  • Low Magic – doubles the price
  • High Magic – reduces the price by half

In some cases like Eberron, where lower level magic is very attainable but higher magic is very rare, there should be a curve on the pricing. In that case you can choose to pick High Magic setting for Common, Uncommon items; Standard for Rare; Low Magic for Very rare and Legendary.

Conclusions

Stop wasting time and use the calculator already! For real, you don’t need to browse all the books to find out how much a wand of magic missle is.

By day, I am working in business and marketing environment, by night (and weekends!) I DM several Dungeon & Dragons campaigns, create my own homebrew stuff and write stories.

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