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A spellshard is a flavorful replacement for a mundane book, and among other things, a wizard can use one as a spellbook. On this subject, the item description says:

An arcane caster can use a spellshard instead of a spellbook; the spellshard costs 1 gp per “page” in the shard, and otherwise functions as a mundane spellbook.

Spellshard, Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, pg. 115

It's not clear to me what the "1 gp per 'page'" means. The fact that this clause occurs in the middle of a sentence about using the spellshard as a spellbook seems to imply that it is specifically related to this use. Is 1 gp per page an additional cost to copy spells into the spellshard? How many "pages" is one spell? Does the spellshard hold a limited number of "pages", and does this limit the number of spells that can be copied into it?

In short, what practical differences exist between a mundane spellbook and a spellshard being used as a spellbook?

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There are, in my mind, two possible ways to interpret this item, starting with what I think is most likely/intended.

It costs 1gp to add pages to the Spellshard

This isn't explicitly stated, but there's two parts of the item description that lead me to believe that this is the case. One is the section you quoted, and the other is this:

Thinking of a particular phrase or topic will draw you to the first section that addresses it, and a simple ritual allows you to add content to the shard.

Spellshard, Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, pg. 115

The way that I interpret the confluence of these two passages is that the ritual to add "content" to the spellshard costs 1gp in some kind of consumed reagents for each page that is required to be added to the Spellshard. Conversely, there's no reagents required if the "adding content" is simply filling out or altering a page that's already in the shard.

What those reagents are is unspecified, which means it comes down to your DM.

Alternatively...

Spellshards have a Finite capacity; the price is determined by their page count

This is more straightforward: A 300 page Spellshard costs 300gp. You can't add pages to it, but you can use a ritual to make alterations/additions to the contents of the Spellshard.

This seems like a more straight-forward reading of the item description, especially since the description doesn't explicitly say how to add or remove pages from the shard. I do believe the above is a reasonable interpretation of the abilities and features of this item, but I suspect this latter interpretation is closer to the Rules-As-Written.

Either Way...

The item says it can act like a mundane spellbook. That means for a Wizard:

  • You may add spells to it (using the normal costs for copying spells)
  • You may prepare spells from it
  • You may cast Ritual Spells contained within it as Rituals, even if the spell isn't prepared when you do so
  • ... Anything else that a normal Spellbook is able to do, minus any particular constraints of the shard itself.

In the case of your specific questions: it depends on which interpretation you go with, but at my table, it would cost 51gp (26gp if it's from your school) to add a spell to this spellbook, unless it had free, blank pages, in which case it would simply cost 50gp (or 25gp). This might seem strange, considering that you cannot physically use the ink to transcribe the spells into the shard, but bear in mind the 50gp/25gp cost isn't solely ink:

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.

Spellbook, Player's handbook, pg. 114

So it's not just inks used to transcribe the spell; perhaps you could argue with your DM whether there should be a discount since you don't have to use ink? That's a decision they will have to make.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps also worth noting...while not defined by the rules, a Spellshard is probably quite a bit harder to destroy by accident. They wouldn't be much bothered by fire, water, age, bugs, mold, or any of the other myriad threats that can destroy something made of paper/vellum or its contents. These threats are mostly ignored in the rules...but a DM could bring them up. They are also smaller (fit in the palm of one hand) and could thus--likely--be more easily concealed on your person. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Apr 19 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be nice to address why/how the cost of adding a spell is unchanged, when part of that cost is "fine inks" originally, which is obviously not needed here. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Apr 19 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega I've updated to point out that the cost isn't solely inks, but also material components spent experimenting with the spell, which I think handily explains why you'd still have to pay [most of, if not all of] the normal costs of copying the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Apr 19 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I go with the latter interpretation, am I correct in understanding that the only mechanical difference is the price tag? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Apr 19 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson Under that interpretation, I believe that would be the only mechanical difference. As expected from a Common-Tier magic item. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Apr 19 at 17:30
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Standard spellbooks are vellum books with 100 pages each, initially blank. They cost 50gp each.

Standard spellshards are magical book-equivalents with varying numbers of effective pages, initially blank. They cost 1gp per page, and otherwise function as a standard spellbook (including costs to copy spells and so forth).

It's a bit more expensive per page, but it looks cooler, and it can potentially hold more pages than a standard book (or less) if that's important to you. It's probably lighter as well.

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Assuming the interpretation that it takes 1gp to add a page of content to the Spellshard, it would make the most sense to reduce the cost of adding a spell to your spellbook by 10gp (The presumed cost of the inks since that is the cost of copying a spell from your own spellbook into a new spellbook, which has no experimental costs) and then add 1gp to the resulting price for the cost of a page worth of content, resulting in prices of 41gp and 16gp for normal and same-school spells, respectively. This interpretation makes the most sense for campaigns in which magic items have a base price dependent on their rarity tier.

Alternatively, it could be ruled that the page has to be totally filled out before it is added to the spellshard, meaning you would still incur the ink cost as normal, possibly as replacement for the normal 1gp cost of adding a normal page's contents to the shard, which is presumably the cost of normal paper or vellum and the ink used on its contents.

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! You might want to take the tour and check out the help center, they both have some useful resources for asking and answering questions here. It seems like you're proposing a ruling or a homebrew rule without describing how that ruling has worked in your own games. If you aren't working directly from the rules, we ask that you Back It Up! by telling us how the ruling you described worked in your own game. It's easy for anyone to come up with a ruling, what we want here is backed up and playtested rules. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 31 at 5:22

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