The Book of Ancient Secrets Eldritch Invocation says that a Warlock can add ritual spells to his book of Shadows, and that this requires 50 gp worth of rare inks per spell level.

A wizard can copy additional spells to her spellbook which costs 50 gp per spell level which represents "the material components you expended as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as fine inks you need to record it."

Is there any indication as to whether these inks are the same? (If the Warlock runs out of ink, can the Wizard share some of hers, and would that work?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there any evidence that the inks used for two different spells are the same inks even? Let alone, two different classes. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Apr 29 '15 at 14:46

The published rules don't go into this level of detail. As far as I see it there are two basic ways to rule this.

The pragmatic approach

Fine inks are rare, and rare inks are fine. They cost about the same, so they are the same.

The flavourful approach

For example: A wizard's fine inks are the sort you could use to write an invitation to a society ball. They are expensive and durable. A warlock's rare inks dripped from some eldrich rift in reality and are unsuitable for any other purpose than recording a warlock's spells.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or, well, people would look on your party invitations with some distaste. "Oh, Marcie, do put that horrible thing down. I think I have an 'e' crawling on my arm somewhere..." \$\endgroup\$ – Clockwork-Muse Apr 29 '15 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Failing to see why giving players headaches and making them do more bookkeeping results in greater flavor. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 30 '15 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Ars Magica is an answer to that. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Mar 16 '16 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're going for flavour, consider having the inks be "interchangeable" but with a chance of throwing in some wild magic... \$\endgroup\$ – Perkins Jul 7 '16 at 19:37

No, they're not the same. The wizard's fine inks are cheaper!

the material components you expended as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as fine inks you need to record it

The 50 gp the wizard spends covers piles of duplicate material components, and also some good-quality ink. Even cheap material components add up when you're using them up over and over again as you cast and experiment repeatedly over the course of several hours; therefore, the ink must cost less than the full amount.

Also note that the cost is per spell level, so scribing a (e.g.) 3rd-level spell takes six hours and costs 150 gp in material components and fine inks.

Meanwhile, a warlock's rare inks are, all by themselves, 50 gp per spell level, with none of that cost divided to cover anything else.

The inks' base costs being different, they must be different. The fact that they are contrastively described as fine inks and rare inks gives further, if small, support to the interpretation that they are distinct.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe warlock spells are simply more ink-intensive, so you use the same ink, but more of it per page... \$\endgroup\$ – Sobrique Apr 29 '15 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the interpretation of them being different. Also, this might turn into a side-quest plot hook. "You ran out of ink, and your wizard friend's isn't special enough to write down your warlock-class spells... Bards tell the story of an elder warlock in the middle of the forest, you might want to look for him to see if he has some to spare" \$\endgroup\$ – STT LCU Apr 29 '15 at 9:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @STTLCU see my answer to this question. \$\endgroup\$ – AncientSwordRage Apr 29 '15 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Interesting suggestions! That's a much more complete answer than my simple comment, but I completely agree with you anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – STT LCU Apr 29 '15 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont A spell focus is not mentioned in the scribing rules, nor do the spell focus rules say that it can be used to discount experimental magic costs. In other words: learning how the spell works requires working with it as-written, components and all. You can use a focus after learning the spell. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 29 '15 at 14:42

There is no explicit equivalence. However, the identical cost and function suggests that it's all the same sort of office supplies being used.

Game mechanically, the ink is essentially just flavoring for the cost of adding spells to a book. In most cases the wizard could have just given the warlock 50 gp instead. There's no economic impact to the game in allowing them to share ink, if it seems like a fun bit of detail.


"Fine" means "of high quality", while rare means "hard to get". If your DM is a mean person, she won't equate those. On the other hand, maybe it goes one way, but not the other: maybe the "rare" inks can be used in place of "fine" ones (hard to get ink should be of high quality, right?), while "fine" inks can't be used in place of "rare" ones (there's a possibility that there's added components to the rare stuff that the fine ones just don't have), or vice versa.

At the end of the day, it's how much trouble you (or your DM) wants to give the players. If you want to make life easier for them, you give it equivalence. If you want to be a stickler, you don't. And if you feel that the warlock has it easier, you make rare replace fine but not the other way, and if you think the wizard has it too easy, you go the other way.

Just my two cents as an occasional DM and frequent player.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Rare" needn't always be a subset of "fine". Consider that rare undersea vent-dwelling worm meat is hard to get a hold of but are not considered fine dining; similarly, fresh basilisk blood may be rare, but kinda of clumpy for writing and not exactly "fine". \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 30 '15 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hence the "vice versa" in the original paragraph. You can easily work it the opposite way: Fine inks are expensive, therefore hard to aquire (ie rare), while rare inks could easily be not very good, as you point out. It's more a question of game balance and DM preference, than honestly a set-in-stone rule. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnycomeLately May 16 '15 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this not increase the cost of the wizard learning the spell? He still has to buy all the material components. \$\endgroup\$ – Axios_Verum Jul 6 '16 at 3:44

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