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I have a player in my game who wants to learn Draconic from his two party members in their downtime. Something that he was wondering about was why he has to pay 1gp if the party members are freely teaching him how to speak the language. In the 5e PHB, it says:

Training lasts for 250 days and costs 1gp per day.

Now, the question is, is that cost for paying the instructor or is it for something else entirely?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do not answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 28, 2015 at 16:11

4 Answers 4

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What makes the most sense to you?

The rules text doesn't make it at all clear exactly what that money is going to. There are three different options that I see: training materials, paying the instructor, or both. Depending on how you and your group sees it, any of those three options are totally acceptable. You should figure out which one makes the most sense to you, and stick with that ruling.

If the cost of training is just for materials, then you should pay full price. If it's just for paying the instructor, then you shouldn't pay anything. If it covers both, then you should pay a lesser amount, perhaps half.

The important thing to remember here (and elsewhere in 5e) is that when the rules are super vague like this, the best thing to do is figure out what makes the most sense for your group, and stick with that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is clearly asked by the DM \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2015 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Edited to be focused on the DM's side instead of the player's side. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Oct 28, 2015 at 18:45
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I'd argue that the free training doesn't grant you fluency in that same time period. Training from someone that specializes in teaching languages is what's required. The costs are time and training materials. Note that the full text says "First, you must find an instructor willing to teach you." This implies that a native speaker isn't sufficient, but requires a person that can teach as well.

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It represents the costs of everything involved in the training in general.

The situation you've explained is rather specific. Feel free to reduce the cost, but I'd advise against removing it completely - there are other costs involved besides the teaching labor (e.g. food, materials, etc.). ^_^

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I think you can do whatever makes sense for your group. With my group, we treated the gold cost as a out-of-game balancing thing, so sought an excuse to make it valid in-game. We decided that much of learning Draconic would be learning the vocabulary and grammar associated with hoards. Dragons have to keep track of monumental hordes with relentless accuracy. We figured the dragons would be comfortable with a very high learning curve on such an art. Thus, the total of 250gp was marked as "losses," stemming from not really understanding the grammar used in maintaining a decent sized hoard, and losing a few GP along the way, until we get the right tone-stresses mastered.

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