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The Scrying spell has as its material component

A focus worth at least 1,000 gp, such as a crystal ball, a silver mirror, or a font filled with holy water

The magic item crystal ball says

While touching it, you can cast the Scrying spell (save DC 17) with it.

If using the magic crystal ball to cast scrying, you would not need to use the crystal ball itself as the focus and material component for the spell it allows you to cast, per DMG p. 141:

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesn't expend any of the user's spell slots, and requires no components, unless the item's description says otherwise.

But suppose you actually knew the spell and could cast it yourself. If you did not have a silver mirror or holy water font, could you use a non-magic crystal ball as a material component?

That is, is the spell specifically asking for the magic item crystal ball, or is a non-magic ball of crystal, provided it is worth 1000gp, sufficient?

For reference, on the PHB adventuring gear list, an arcane focus "crystal" is worth 10gp, while an orb (with the same weight of the magic item crystal ball) is worth 20gp.

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A non-magical crystal ball is sufficient

assuming it is worth at least 1000 gp. We can see this from the typography of the spell listing, in which the words "crystal ball" are not italicized. The D&D 5e rulebooks consistently italicize the names of magic items anywhere they are used (except section headings), as per the D&D Style Guide.

It also makes sense from a design intent perspective: why list a crystal ball as a possible component if you could cast the spell directly from the magic item anyway?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The real complicated question here is - could you use the magical crystal ball item to cast the Scrying spell anyway, assuming you want to use your character's superior DC? \$\endgroup\$ – Zibbobz Aug 3 '20 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zibbobz Yes. It fills both requirements for the Scrying spell. It's A) a crystal ball, and B) definitely worth more than 1K GP. Since the spell doesn't specify non-magical crystal ball, that doesn't interfere with the spell casting at all. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Aug 3 '20 at 13:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ In a similar vein, in my campaign I have a Pearl of Power, a magic item that is also a pearl, which I've been using as the material component for Identify. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Aug 3 '20 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zibbotz How's that complicated? A magic crystal ball of sufficient value is quite clearly an item such as a crystal ball, a silver mirror, or a font filled with holy water. Why wouldn't it be? \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Aug 3 '20 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WakiNadiVellir I guess it isn't that complicated - just a curiosity on whether or not it would count. \$\endgroup\$ – Zibbobz Aug 3 '20 at 13:51

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