I'm considering having my players find a big cache of alchemical items as part of an upcoming adventure. I feel like dozens of bottles of liquid should weigh something, but I don't see a weight listed anywhere.

Do any potions, alchemical items, or consumables have listed weights anywhere?

If not, have you given these things weight in your games? How much? Any problems?

Our game attempts to be fairly realistic, so information on how much a small glass vial actually weighs might be useful as well. I don't have any small glass vials sitting around.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How much do scrolls and potions weigh? \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 3:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus Yeah, I saw that one, but the only answer says "yes, they don't weigh anything", which doesn't work for me. Even if the rules say there's no weight, I'm going to figure out a weight to use. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


RAW, they weigh nothing in 4e. But for a more realistic estimate, we can look at other information we have about potions. I'll be using 3.5 SRD, because it's easily accessible on the web. (Potions don't weigh anything in 3.5e either, but there's still some information in it we can use.)

The 3.5 SRD says this about potions:

A typical potion or oil consists of 1 ounce of liquid held in a ceramic or glass vial

1 fluid ounce of water weighs about 1 dry ounce, or 0.0625 lb. Assuming potions are about as dense as water means the same applies to them.

The 3.5 SRD also says vials weigh 1/10 lb. This doesn't specify whether the vial is full or empty - for simplicity, you could assume it's full. Or, you could assume this is the empty weight, meaning a full vial weighs 0.1 + 0.0625 = 0.1625 lb, or 2.6 oz, or 13/80 lb.

(or round any of those numbers up to the easiest approximation)

  • \$\begingroup\$ We're playing a 4E game, but I still find this useful as it is based on real units. 1/6th of a pound now sounds reasonable. I had 1/2 a lb based on my own random guess. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 3:26
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Sometimes I wish I could upvote edits. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 3:47

enter image description hereI had worked this out back in 98, using real glass vials. Saying a glass vial weighs 1/10 of a pound is ludicrous, modern glass blowing makes them heavier than that and the D&D pseudo medieval world wouldn't have been better than modern times. Ok, enough rant.

In real life, a 1 oz (8 dram) vial is 3.5" by 1.25" diam. and weighs 4 oz or 1/4 lb, with roughly a 3 oz. dry weight. Cost was 1 gold as of a 1984 Dragon article (Living in a Material World) and in 3.5 players guide.

Now, further Canon is from the first DMG and is about the price of Holy water vials, which have to be special or the holy water will loose its power ...within specially blessed/cursed vials of crystal - either rock or special leaded glass. Each empty vial is worth 2-5 gold pieces. I kept this as a separate price, and the rules therein on the manufacture of holy/unholy water, to eliminate the mass production of these substances. I also had 4 oz vials which were 4.5 inches tall and 1.75 in dia 8in circumference, and weigh 6 oz empty.

Ooopps, left out the one discrepancy, they made up a size and lowered the volume capacity of what I had come across, but adds info as well. The Vial has a AC 13 (+8 size, -5 dex, 1 hp, hardness 1, and a break DC of 12-DMG pg 229). This is for Ceramic or glass, Metal would also be AC 13, but have 18 hp and hardness would be 9 (-1 less than iron or steel for brass or bronze, -3 for any softer metal like electrum, -4 for gold or silver, -5 for platinum, +2 for Titanium) Vials are listed as holding ½ oz or .16 lb

Getting this technical was due to having Physicists, Chemists and IT geeks as players. Don't get me started on flasks, or the fact that pot makers lost money turning iron into kettles based on book prices.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Oerth, welcome to RPG.SE. Remember to check out the tour and help center some time. I think it might help make your answer more readable if you broke it up into paragraphs. At the moment it is a wall of text and it is difficult to disentangle the actual answer (weights of glass jars) from the extraneous information (we don't care about the other stats of the glass jars). \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry you have trouble reading it, but all the information is relevant to explain (just one - dont get me started on flasks, as they weigh more empty than full) a mistake in the books. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 5:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ That formatting is more readable now. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 7:38

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