When using a typical spellbook, a wizard must spend money on materials and ink to record new spells into their book. From the "Your Spellbook" sidebar of the wizard class in the Player's Handbook:

For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.

In Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, there is a wondrous magic item called the Crystalline Chronicle which functions as a spellbook. However, it is not a book, it is a crystal ball that psychically encodes the information:

While you are touching the crystal, you can retrieve and store information and spells within the crystal at the same rate as reading and writing. [...] It functions as a spellbook for you, with its spells and other writing psychically encoded within it.

It is not immediately evident to me that any fine inks are a necessary component of recording new spells within the Chronicle, but material components for the particular spells might be. Is the cost to the wizard the same if they are using the Chronicle instead of a normal spellbook? Does it matter if the particular spell does not have any material components to expend?


1 Answer 1


Inks are not the only cost of copying spells

You have correctly cited the rules for copying a spell into your book, and noted that they include "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". Just prior to your citation, it also says (emphasis mine):

Copying a spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the wizard who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation.

Note that, rules as written in the PHB, the cost of copying a spell into your spellbook comes from the inks you ultimately use, the inks you use while 'deciphering', but also from the materials you use while practicing and experimenting with the spell. The materials are not specified as being only those which you must pay for to actually cast the spell (i.e., consumables with a listed cost in the spell description). As part of the practice and experimentation process to learn a new spell, materials might be consumed that are not consumed in casting once the spell has been learned. Thus, there are actually three different sources of expense in copying a spell, and the rules do not provide a way to parse out how much each costs relative to one another or the total cost [However, consider this answer comparing copying a new spell with replacing spells already known for one approach].

It is certainly reasonable to assume that recording spells in the Crystalline Chronicle would be less expensive than the traditional process of writing them in a spellbook with fine inks. But since there is no way to calculate out the cost of copying a spell "without the ink", we don't know what proportion of the copying cost the ink represents, or even whether it is the same proportion between different spells.

Another question is whether you are taking an unknown spell you are learning for the first time and encoding that in the Chronicle, or merely 'transferring over' a spell you already know and have previously copied into your traditional spellbook. The latter might not involve any practice or experimentation on your part, any material components, or any inks. As a DM, I would be comfortable in this case assigning the cost to 'psychically encode' such a spell as only time, but that would be a personal ruling.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, you can see evidence for the ink making only a fraction of the cost also in the fact that copying your own spells costs just 10 gp per spell level, instead of 50. Maybe you use some more ink for scratching out false starts when figuring out the spell when you originally transcribe it, but 10 gp of actual ink cost would seem a reasonable baseline. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 7:12

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