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What are the requirements for a wizard to successfully copy a spell from a scroll into their spellbook?

First, I’m thinking that copying a spell from a scroll is similar to copying a spell from my own book into another book (as the scroll is in my possession just like my spellbook), but I could be wrong on this too.

Otherwise, the cost goes to 2 hours and 50 gp per spell level to copy (as opposed to the 1hr & 10gp).

It seems like one would have to succeed the intelligence check and pay the cost in terms of time and gold. But then I’m wondering about the order in which one would make the check and spend the resources (hopefully the check comes first, so as to not waste time and gold in the unfortunate event of a failed check).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Purple Money: I had concerns about this being a duplicate but didn’t see that any previous q&a covered what I’m asking. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg0141 May 17 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like your real question is whether the time and gold are spent before or after making the check. That is, you know the requirements, but not the order in which they are required. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson May 17 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ryan Thompson: I’m not certain of the requirements; would appreciate confirmation (refutation) of that as well \$\endgroup\$ – Greg0141 May 17 at 22:37
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The requirements are money, time, spell slots of the copied spell-level, an Arcana check, and a scroll with a wizard spell of 1st-level or higher.

Because Specific Beats General (PHB 7), the wizard has to make an additional Intelligence (Arcana) check with a DC of 10 + Spell level that is added on top of the normal costs (DMG 200-201).

The reason for it not being 1 hr and 10gp per spell level is because this price only applies when copying a spell from your spellbook not into your spellbook from a scroll (PHB 114).

The normal costs are described in the PHB (114). Also, note that you have to have spell slots of the level of the spell that you want to copy (PHB 114).

So as a total you have to pay 50 gp per spell level, take 2 hours per spell level, and make an Arcana check of DC 10 + spell level.

Whether the Arcana check is a success or not, the scroll is consumed. It is unspecified when during the process the gold cost comes into play or if you notice whether or not you fail the check, but the cost has to be paid before the copy is completed (PHB 114).

Starting at your second wizard level, you gain the Arcane Tradition (PHB 115, schools 115-119) class feature that lets you choose a school of magic in which the gold and time you must spend to copy a spell of the chosen school into your spellbook is halved.


As an experienced DM, I rule that the cost always has to be paid prior to the process as the cost is due to the materials (components and inks; PHB 114) that are used. I rule that you do not know whether you have done everything correctly until you completed the process (spent time and gold) and are able to try your new spell because you are effectively transcribing the spell into your unique system (PHB 114) and you only know if it works when it works because only after doing everything correctly you can prepare it like your other spells.

Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells. (PHB 114)


Thank you, Quadratic Wizard for contributing to this answer.

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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You're 100% correct, but it'd be helpful to have the quotes and not just the citations. Up to you and also consider citing that it's of your school you get the discount. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 18 at 2:16

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