How can a character create a Spell Scroll?

I've read through the DMG, and the section "Creating a Magic Item" on p.284 is about creating the design of a magic item "type", rather than create an actual magic item


Xanathar's Guide to Everything adds optional rules for creating spell scrolls. They can be found on page 133, but I'll highlight the basics here.

A character must have proficiency with the Arcana skill as well as the spell prepared/known and must have the material components required to cast the spell.

The cost to scribe a spell scroll is in gold required and time taken. See chart below, all Cantrips scribed are cast as if the caster were 1st level.

Level Time Cost Gold Cost
Cantrip 1 day 15 gp
1st 1 day 25 gp
2nd 3 days 250 gp
3rd 1 week 500 gp
4th 2 weeks 2,500 gp
5th 4 weeks 5,000 gp
6th 8 weeks 15,000 gp
7th 16 weeks 25,000 gp
8th 32 weeks 50,000 gp
9th 48 weeks 250,000 gp
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't say the other answer is obsolete; the XGtE rules are specifically optional, so an answer with information on what to do outside of those rules is still usable, if incomplete. \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Dec 1 '17 at 1:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CTWind true though I think these rules are much more reasonable though if your DM is going to allow your character to create spell scrolls to begin with. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Rose Apr 10 '18 at 17:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest removing that the answer is obsolete and stating clearly that Xanathar provides an optional rule to use. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 22 '20 at 0:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's a good point, I've edited the answer to also reflect that. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Rose Dec 22 '20 at 20:23

The Create a Magic Item section on page 284 of the Dungeon Master's Guide is for the Dungeon Master not PCs. It's there to help the DM create a homebrew magic item that doesn't already exist in the rules.

PCs have to craft magic items in their downtime (if the DM allows them to), rules for which can be found in the Crafting a Magic Item section on page 128 of the aforementioned DMG, or (for spell scrolls specifically) on page 133 of Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing to keep in mind with spell scrolls*—and other one-shot items like potions—is the cost to craft is "*is typically half the value of a permanent item of the same rarity," DMG 135, the sentence right above the Magic Item Rarity table. \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Apr 10 '16 at 14:21

While this question has been asked and answered: it is completely up to the GM. As a GM I find the guidelines in Xanathar's Guide to be unreachable. The prices provided do not match up with magic item cost guidelines provided in the DMG.

DMG 135

If your campaign allows for trade in magic items, rarity can also help you set prices for them. As the DM, you determine the value of an individual magic item based on its rarity. Suggested values are provided in the Magic Item Rarity table. The value of a consumable item, such as a potion or scroll, is typically half the value of a permanent item of the same rarity.

DMG Page 135 \begin{array}{lll} \text{Rarity} & \text{Character Level} & \text {Value}\\ \hline \text{Common} & \text{1st or higher} & \text{50-100 gp}\\ \text{Uncommon} & \text{1st or higher} & \text{101-500 gp}\\ \text{Rare} & \text{5th or higher} & \text{501 -5,000 gp}\\ \text{Very rare} & \text{11th or higher} & \text{5,001 - 50,000 gp}\\ \text{Legendary} & \text{17th or higher} & \text{50,001+ gp}\\ \end{array}

DMG Page 200 Spell Scroll \begin{array}{llll} \text{Spell} & \text{Level Rarity} & \text{Save DC} & \text{Attack Bonus} \\ \hline \text{Cantrip} & \text{Common} & \text{13} & \text{+5} \\ \text{1st} & \text{Common} & \text{13} & \text{+5} \\ \text{2nd} & \text{Uncommon} & \text{13} & \text{+5} \\ \text{3rd} & \text{Uncommon} & \text{15} & \text{+7} \\ \text{4th} & \text{Rare} & \text{15} & \text{+7} \\ \text{5th} & \text{Rare} & \text{17} & \text{+9} \\ \text{6th} & \text{Very rare} & \text{17} & \text{+9} \\ \text{7th} & \text{Very rare} & \text{18} & \text{+10} \\ \text{8th} & \text{Very rare} & \text{18} & \text{+10} \\ \text{9th} & \text{Legendary} & \text{19} & \text{+11} \end{array}

These tables lead you to the "value" of the scroll, not the cost to create. The creation cost would have to be lower than the value, or no one would sell at such low prices. If Xanathar's Guide to pricing of scroll cost was used, the value of the scrolls would be much higher. At 250,000 gp for a 9th level spell keep in mind that you have this from the Player's Handbook.

PHB Page 114

Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two wizard spells o f your choice to your spellbook. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Wizard table.

The system is giving the player two spells per level, for free. It is assumed that players are researching these spells while they are adventuring. So if you utilize Xanathar's pricing guide, then your wizards are somehow coming across 500,000 gp or each level from 17 to 20th and beyond.

Perhaps utilize Xanathar's Guide for the creation of a new customized spell the player wants, while sticking to the DMG guidelines for the creation of scrolls the player already knows.

If you follow the guideline of previous editions and the crafting of things costs half its value, you would instead get a table that looked like this.

\begin{array}{ll} \text{Rarity}& \text {Value}\\ \hline \text{Common} & \text{25-50 gp}\\ \text{Uncommon}& \text{51-250 gp}\\ \text{Rare} & \text{251 -2,500 gp}\\ \text{Very rare} & \text{2,501 - 25,000 gp}\\ \text{Legendary} & \text{25,001+ gp}\\ \end{array}

Be sure to add in the additional cost of material components for a spell without halving that. 100gp of diamond dust is still 100gp of diamond dust... unless you're crafting it (ie mining it from the ground). But let's not go into the outrageous pricing of gems. =)

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    \$\begingroup\$ You could save the reader some cognitive overhead by combining the tables from p. 125 and p. 200 and stating that is what you've done. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Oct 9 '18 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you add a tl;dr summary to the top of the answer. What I'm reading is that there are two ways to calculate, Xanathar's and 1/2 cost of DMG. If that is the case, can you make that more explicit? \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Oct 9 '18 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe those cheaper high level scrolls were themselves made with magical items such as never-ending magical inkwell. That's why they can just be legendary instead of 250000 GP. And the XGE rules are rules for when you don't have such fantastic items. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandra Feb 8 '20 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also it says in the PHB that copying spells into the spell book costs 50 gp per level. Scrolls, unlike pages in your spellbook, will also contain the spell slot and the components. Making scrolls is a way to get more slots on a future day. A "bag full of fireballs"♥ \$\endgroup\$ – Sandra Feb 8 '20 at 17:15

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