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We are using the variant encumbrance rules, and my anemically weak wizard is constantly struggling with the weight of his various books and other equipment. Thankfully, he recently came into possession of a spellbook that contains Leomund's secret chest, and enough funds to afford the expensive material. So he could stow away his books in the chest, and just call them up when he wants to memorize other spells (or add a spell to them).

However, I am worried what will happen if the tiny replica is stolen or got lost. Is there any way to create a backup replica?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What happens if two wizards cast secret chest on the same chest? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 6:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a direct answer for the issue, but as a much cheaper workaround have you considered Floating Disk (first level slot instead of 4th, ritual, can be cast with a focus instead of components) or a pack mule(8gold) with an alarm and/or glyph of warding spell(200gold) on the spellbooks in question? Also remember, they're YOUR spellbooks, so if someone is brazen enough to sneak off with them, scrying the person who took your spellbooks is particularly viable. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 23:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheFallen0ne I do have floating disk and make ample use of it, but the time pressures of the campaign vs ritual casting (and it not being able to pass over chasms) make it impractical as a permanent storage solution. We used to use mules, but at our level they die far too easily from collateral damage. I sometimes use animated skeletons, instead, but they have the same short half-life (half-unlife?), and moving all the pogs for them is cumbersome. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2022 at 12:07

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No, but there's an alternative: using (Drawmij's) Instant Summons

The spell uses phrasing such as "the miniature replica", which already strongly suggests that there is a 1:1 relationship between miniature and secret chests. More importantly, the following passage makes it implicitly very clear that there is exactly one chest associated with each casting:

This effect ends if [...] the smaller replica chest is destroyed [...]

Beyond that, spells only do what they say they do. Therefore, since nothing suggests that a backup of the replica chest can be made, it can't, if you're following RAW (rules as written).

That being said, your DM can of course make a house rule that you can create a backup. Based on my experience, I doubt this would be a problem in terms of balance.

However, there is another solution that is possible while following the official rules.

You can combine your casting of (Leomund's) Secret Chest with (Drawmij's) Instant Summons.

Unfortunately, this requires a higher character level, as Instant Summons is a 6th-level spell, as opposed to the 4th-level Secret Chest. It also requires an additional 1000GP that are lost if you ever do lose your replica and have to (attempt to) recall it.

If both spells are within your capabilities, however, you can use Instant Summons on the replica chest, as it falls within the limitations of the spell:

You touch an object weighing 10 pounds or less whose longest dimension is 6 feet or less

It's not entirely clear what the dimensions and weight of the replica are, but given that even the big chest (3x2x2 feet) fits the size criteria, we would only have to worry about the weight, and I personally don't imagine a "tiny replica" to weigh over 10 pounds.

Fortunately, we can also calculate it (tl;dr: when made out of realistic materials and not solid gold, the chest likely does fall within the weight limitations)

We know the big chest is worth 5000gp, and the tiny chest 50gp (=1% of the bigger value). Assuming linear scaling, we know that the replica chest is 100 times smaller, though thanks to the square-cube law, we can't just divide each length by 100. Instead, we divide each length by the third root of 100, which is roughly 4.6. This leaves us with a 0.65x0.43x0.43 feet chest (volume 0.12ft³, which is 1% of the bigger chest's volume, validating our calculation). Frankly, that's actually bigger than I would have imagined it. Going forward, calculations will be made using a size of 20x13x13 centimeters because Metric is superior :D
Let's assume the chest is completely rectangular and has a wall thickness of 1cm. This means we have 2x(13cmx13cmx1cm) and 4x(18cmx12cmx1cm) sheets of gold to represent the chest walls, or 338cm³+864cm³=1202cm³ (as opposed to 3380cm³ if the chest were solid throughout. By calculating volume * density, we get the mass, and by calculating using the density of gold (19.3 g/cm³), we know the chest is at most 23 kilograms. That's more than permitted, but the chest is for sure not made of 23 kilograms of gold, as that would make it significantly more expensive than 50GP. Assuming the chest is made of several materials including mostly oak (~0.9g/cm³) as well as some ivory (~1.9g/cm³) and gold (19.3g/cm³), let's average this out to about 2g/cm³, resulting in 2.4kg or less than 10 pounds. With 10 pounds = 4.5kg, the maximum allowed density would be about 3.7g/cm³.

Once cast on the replica, you can then simply teleport the replica to yourself by crushing the associated sapphire (within the limitations as listed in Instant Summons' description).

If you need more backups, you can just create more sapphires associated with the replica, as nothing states that only one sapphire can be linked to an object. This can be especially beneficial not only if you want to store backups in multiple locations (obligatory tangential advice to adhere to the 3-2-1 rule), but also to ensure that in the case of theft, you don't risk crushing your only sapphire while someone is actively carrying the chest. Instead, you can subsequently try again, perhaps using scrying for better timing, as you now know from the first attempt who stole from you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ These calculations are adorable +1. 50 gp weigh exactly 1 lbs according to the rules. I think adding in the craftsmanship and profit margin, the replica would need to weigh less if made from pure gold. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 12:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, My wiz does have a way to get Dwarmij’s and is of level to cast it, so your idea actually does solve my problem, unless the thief is smart enough to immediately cast dispel magic on the replica. And I could try to avoid that by masking it with Nystul's aura, so they hopefull won't think to dispel. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 12:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Groody I forgot that GP have a defined weight, but either way, that's not representative. The chest for sure isn't made of real gold. That's because the replica and big chests are made of the same material, so being made of pure gold would mean the big chest weighs 100 pounds. I haven't calculated it, but I'm 99% sure you can't make a structurally sound 3x2x2 feet chest out of 100 pounds of gold, given that even a 20x13x13 cm gold chest like above already weighs 23kg. Hence my calculation at the end assuming it's mostly high-quality wood with gold and ivory inlays or something like that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that makes sense. I would guess that the normal, ornate chest weighs as much as the chest from the equip list in Chapter 5 PHB (25 lb.); that one also has 12 cubic feet of capacity, just like this 2x2x3 feet chest. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 13:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might put the calculations as a subscript font footnote rather than a spoiler taking up room in the middle of your text. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 22, 2022 at 21:30
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No, the description provides no method of creating additional replicas.

The spell description provides no means of creating a second replica chest, and there is no method involving multiple castings that helps either. Each time you cast it, you create one secret chest with one replica:

You hide a chest, and all its contents, on the Ethereal Plane. You must touch the chest and the miniature replica that serves as a material component for the spell.

The language of the description is invariably singular. One chest, one replica; that’s all you get.

Further, it does not work to cast the spell on the same chest with a different replica, as that falls afoul of the “Combining Game Effects” rule:

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap.

The chest cannot be the target of the effect of secret chest more than once at the same time.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have access to it yet, so not really a practical option right now, but how about wishing for a second working replica? (Unlikely the risk of burning your ability to cast it for such an off-label use is worthwhile, I guess). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 8:53
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Probably, but...
Make sure to discuss a few key points with the DM first.

By description alone, the spell doesn't stop you from getting a second miniature, to then have someone else cast the spell as you summon the chest back to the material plane. But you do need a second person with the spell.

This effect ends if you cast this spell again, if the smaller replica chest is destroyed, or if you choose to end the spell as an action.

The specifics of casting it twice on the same chest isn't mentioned in the description of the spell, so it would be up to the DM.
It might not work at all, or you might end up needing to touch BOTH replicas for the spell to work properly.
Or maybe, each replica could only retrieve the chest from their respective hidden spot in the ethereal plane.

Using two chests

Considering the “Combining Magical Effects” rule, (PHB p. 205), and "Combining Game Effects" rule (DMG p. 252), it would make sense that you can't cast it on the same chest without ending the first spell. The spell itself doesn't have a duration, but the chest and the replica is obviously under the effect of the spell.
In this case, you would need to put the first chest in a second chest, spending another 5000 gold for the possible backup.

Which only works if the DM allows you to use a slightly smaller chest than the required spell component.

an exquisite chest, 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet

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    \$\begingroup\$ The “same name can’t stack” rule for game effects would prevent a second person from casting the spell on the chest. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 6:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov That's a good point. Didn't think of it in that regard, but that does make sense. So the second casting would override the first spell then I assume? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 6:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I think most recent would apply. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 6:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ "and the chest is recalled by the thief" — but by the spell wording, only caster can recall chest. There was a Q&A about it on this site, can't find it now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Nov 22, 2022 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Crawford agrees. Well you don't have to worry about that scenario then, that's good to know. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2022 at 11:08

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