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As an example, a ring of Animal Friendship costs 10,800 gp, while right below it the ring of Blinking costs 27,000 gp, and yet while they're nearly identical as far as function, they don’t scale the same.

If I were following the rules for creating magic items, I’m assuming I’d get a cost of spell level × caster level × 1800 (for command activation). Yet those variables don't seem to give me the costs that the SRD/DMG tell me. Animal Friendship costs too much while Blinking costs less than it should.

Yet a ring of Meld into Stone costs 27,000 gp and it does match the formula I’m using and functioning just like the other two rings.

What’s going on here? Is there an error in the costs of several items or am I not getting something?

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Erik’s answer is totally correct that the guidelines are exactly that, just guidelines, and Wizards of the Coast can and often does write exceptions to them.

But I wanted to take a look at these two particular cases.

The ring of animal friendship has caster level 3rd, so by the guidelines it would cost \$1\times 3\times 1800\text{ gp} = 5400\text{ gp}\$—half what it actually does. But its price is exactly right for a 2nd-level command word spell at caster level 3rd. And since most items at CL 3rd are for 2nd-level spells—it’s the minimum for that spell level after all—I wonder if that might not have just been a mistake, someone going quickly, not double-checking charm animal and just assuming it was 2nd-level because of the caster level on the ring. Pure speculation on my part, though.

Meanwhile, the ring of blinking is caster level 7th, but its price is exactly what it would be at caster level 5th—which would be the usual (minimum) choice for a 3rd-level spell like blink. So perhaps again someone was assuming things were supposed to be at their minimums, and this time knew blink was a 3rd-level spell and didn’t double-check the actual caster level on the item. More speculation.

So, while purely speculative, I think there is plausible cause to suspect these two items in particular were simply in error.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Aaaah stupid phone, thank you for catching that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 1 '20 at 14:13
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The table you are referring to is titled "Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values" and gives you (often poor) suggestions for what new types of magic items would cost.

These aren't rules, and for any item listed in the DMG you don't need to refer to the table for their cost. They just cost what is says behind that specific item, which might or not relate in any way to the table.

Keep in mind that the final price of any item is up to the DM, as a player you have no way to create your own items except in discussion with the DM who will set the final price based on what they deem the price should be, possibly by looking at the guidelines, but also likely by gut-feeling when people try to pull shenanigans.

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