The material explanation in chapter 10 of the Players Handbook states that:

'A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specified component before he or she can cast the spell.

However in the Wizard class section it says that:

'When you find a wizard scroll of 1st level or higher you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it. Copying that spell involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the wizard who wrote it....etc,etc. For each level of the spell the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents the material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.'

However immediately after that it states that copying a spell from your own book costs only 10 gp, which I assume constitutes the cost of the fine inks, therefore if you don't have to expend the material components via using an arcane focus, does copying another wizards spells into your own spellbook still cost 50 gp per level, or just 10 gp per level for the fine inks.

If so would this also apply for a materials pouch?


3 Answers 3


They are different actions. Casting a spell can require components used to cast the spell. Bat poop, licorice, a rope, a diamond, a pearl, OR you can use a spell focus like a wand. However, if there is a component with a cost you ALSO need that one. This cannot be replaced by a spell focus. That is for casting the spell, and only casting the spell.

On the other hand, wizards (not sorcerers, bards, etc.) get spell books in which they can write spells and expand their potential spell options. In order to understand that spell and write it down you need to fiddle with it a bit, which costs money for components, and you write it down with the fine ink. However, once you've figured out the spell, if you copy it into a new book you are only paying for the ink. If you are copying from another wizard's book, it implies you don't really understand the spell yet, so you'd still need 50gp per level.

As long as you see these actions as separate (casting the spells in combat vs. understanding and writing the spells in a book) it should make sense.

As a DM, I'd rule that if a wizard lost his spell book, but had the chance to copy from another wizards book, I'd charge them 50gp for new spells, or just 10gp for spells they had already figured out and wrote in their lost book. That makes the most sense for me.



material focus/components are used during casting spells. Learning and copying them into your spellbook is different entirely.

Copying from another wizard's spellbook still costs 50 gp per spell level. Remember that each wizard has their own methods for writing and preparing their spells so copying from another wizard's book is full price to reflect the practice you need to master the spell.



You still need to pay for “the fine inks”.

I guess if you use a focus, you need more ink because reasons.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd narratively justify it by saying that you still need the normal material components when mastering a spell; only once you fully understand how it normally works can you figure out how to substitute those components using a focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer like I said: reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Apr 19, 2020 at 11:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .