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My party is in possession of a book of accounts and ledgers which we have retrieved on behalf of a benefactor. We are supposed to return the book to the benefactor but the information contained within it is valuable* and could be of great benefit to us.

We have a College of Creation Bard in the party who has the Performance of Creation feature:

As an action, you can channel the magic of the Song of Creation to create one nonmagical item of your choice in an unoccupied space within 10 feet of you. The item must appear on a surface or in a liquid that can support it. The gp value of the item can’t be more than 20 times your bard level, and the item must be Medium or smaller. The item glimmers softly, and a creature can faintly hear music when touching it. The created item disappears after a number of hours equal to your proficiency bonus. For examples of items you can create, see the equipment chapter of the Player’s Handbook.

Could the bard create a duplicate of the accounts and ledgers book using Performance of Creation?


*Here, I use the term valuable to mean "of great importance." It could well be that there is some monetary value that could be assigned to the information contained within the book but that evaluation would vary from person to person.

In our particular case, we are retrieving the ledger as a favor and no money has been promised for the service of retrieving it.

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Probably not, but ask your DM.

There line of the feature description that pushes me toward "No" is:

For examples of items you can create, see the equipment chapter of the Player’s Handbook.

To me, this indicates that we are creating generic items, rather than a particular item and any detailed information it may contain. This is my ruling, but the feature description is obviously ambiguous enough for a DM to rule otherwise.

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You've already said why it won't work

From your question:

We are supposed to return the book to the benefactor but the information contained within it is valuable and could be of great benefit to us.

From the rules:

The gp value of the item can’t be more than 20 times your bard level, and the item must be Medium or smaller.

It sounds like you are expecting the book to be worth quite a bit. Even a level 20 bard could only make an item worth 400 gp.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I should probably have used a different word. I was using "valuable" as a way of indicating its importance, not as a definition of monetary worth. Obviously, the two can be related. But in this case, there is no declared price. I'll add that clarification. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Apr 1, 2021 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Value to an individual is not the same as an items actual value. For example, a steel penny made in the 60's during the copper shortage may be quite valuable to a coin collector, but to anyone else, it's still just a penny. This information may be quite valuable to the party and to the financers whom the ledger belongs to, but to most people, it's not of any particular note. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2021 at 20:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara True, but I would assume it would matter how much you could potentially get for the book. For example. a decanter of endless water might be of little interest to someone who live in an ocean, but it would be of great value to someone living in a desert. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2021 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think a DM could totally go that route but it seems problematic to me to use it as a matter of course. While the rules acknowledge that perceived value will deviate from listed value given context, they make no allowance for it in defining functional limits for spells and abilities. That is, the list value is the value the rules rely on. Otherwise, a variable value would mean that the value limit of the ability becomes meaningless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Apr 2, 2021 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara I can see your point, but I have to think that an item that is "value added" is worth more than cost price. For example, if you had a map leading to an enormous hidden treasure pile, that would surely be worth more than the paper it was written on? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2021 at 5:34

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