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Bless, along with several other spells, like Commune and Dispel Good and Evil, list Holy Water as a material component. None of them list a cost for this holy water, but the items table says that a flask of holy water costs 25g. Do these spells have a cost or not?

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From PHB, p. 203:

Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry. A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in chapter 5) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

In other words, if no cost is listed, then your pouch/focus should be enough. Many of the trivial components are meant for flavour/fluff/comedic effect (see: those that require guano; or the lightning spell that require fur + glass, to generate static electricity).

Also notice that Bless requires a "sprinkling of holy water," which seems to be a trivial amount, unlike like a flask.

About the vial: the same reasoning applies (no cost listed, so, focus/pouch takes care of it), though granted, it's where the rules start to keel under the pressure of realism. A GM would obv. not allow a player to have such a profitable activity, and he needn't prevent it by fiat: he could just reason "if that were possible, every Cleric/Pally could do it, flooding the market and erasing all profits" (or something along those lines). But again, this is just catering to realist intuitions, which can become a slippery slope very quickly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about the Commune spell, which explicitly lists a "vial" of holy water? \$\endgroup\$ – Strill Oct 2 '14 at 0:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Strill While this is anecdotal (I have no reference at-hand), I find a "vial" to be a few ounces at most (like potions are referenced to be in previous editions) and a "flask" to be at least a pint, probably more (like a flask of whiskey). You're talking about the difference between a half-swallow and several good swallows. Additionally, per the other questions on this topic, apparently in 5e nothing is consumed unless it specifically says it is, so... that "vial" comes in your SCP and is never used up, while flasks get thrown at vampires, etc... \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Oct 2 '14 at 0:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ As is, the last paragraph of the answer is hard to understand without reading the comment below the answer. Could you make the answer more self-contained? \$\endgroup\$ – Thanuir Aug 30 '18 at 13:38
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Spell components only cost gold if they explicitly say they do.

The flask of Holy Water listed is a full flask which has a number of uses, e.g. throwing at vampires.

The Holy Water listed as a spell component would only have to be a very small amount, probably a drop or two. This is like the difference between leather armour and the 'piece of cured leather' required for Mage Armour. As long as you have your component pouch or focus, don't worry about it. But if you found yourself with a flask of Holy Water and no component pouch, you could use a little bit of Holy Water from the flask to cast Bless.

With regards to Commune, the vial of Holy Water required does not have a gold cost listed against it. Therefore, it doesn't cost anything.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The RAW says that holy water is made by clerics or paladins using water, 25g worth of powdered silver, and a 1st-level spell slot. \$\endgroup\$ – Strill Oct 2 '14 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Strill Ok, that was my bad. With regards to buying vials, though, spell components are an abstraction, and like all abstractions, they leak. It's up to the DM to prevent or allow these kind of shenanigans. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 2 '14 at 0:44

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