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Crafting magic items in DnD 5E

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Magic Items have been a staple of Dungeons & Dragons’ since its inception nearly 50 years ago. This part of the game still exists in 5E. While magic items are usually given by the DM to be rewarded for defeating great evils or plundering from a Dragon’s hoard, players sometimes want to play a more active part in getting cool and powerful items.

How to make a magic item

This is to say that creating a healing potion of magic scroll follows their own rules, which are outlined in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. We will discuss this later in the article.

The rules for creating magic items are found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, (DMG), on page 129 and in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything(XGTE), on pages 128-129. There are two options for a DM: these rules can be used in combination or separately.

DMG Crafting

The DMG rules, which are more restrictive than the other options, require the following*:

  • This formula explains how to create the magic item.
  • The character crafting should be a spellcaster, with spell slots, and if the item casts spells, the character must also know how to cast it.
  • The character must meet the minimum requirement to make the item rare. This will be displayed in the table below.
  • The materials must be purchased at a gold price that is proportional to their rarity.
Item Rarity Creation Cost Minimum Level
Common 100 GP 3rd
Uncommon 500 GP 3rd
Rare 5,000 GP 6th
Very Rare 50,000 GP 11th
Legendary 500,000 GP 17th

After meeting all requirements, the player can begin crafting the item. This takes eight hours per day and increases progress by 25GP each day. The item can be finished once the crafting cost has been paid. For example, a rare item would take 100GP to make and four days of work (100/25=4). The legendary item, however, costs staggeringly high at 500,000GP. It would require 20,000 workdays or nearly 55 years of downtime.

The item must be capable of casting a spell. To do this, the PC that created it must keep a slot open for the spell and any other material components in their possession. The spell will consume the components, which means that the creation process consumes them daily unless the item can only cast the spell once. In this case, the creation process will only consume the components once. The creation cost of the item does not include the cost of the consumed components.

You can cut down on the crafting time by getting your friends to help you! You can add 25GP to your daily progress each day if everyone participates and meets the same requirements. Two characters could create the rare item in two days (100/50=2) rather than four. Our legendary item would take only 10,000 workdays or little more than 27 years. This makes it an easier pursuit for shorter-lived race.

XGTE Crafting

Xanathar’s magic item crafting option is more flexible than the DMG’s in certain ways, and it integrates with adventuring. These rules are required for a PC to use:

  • A formula that describes the creation process.
  • You can obtain special ingredient(s) through one or more adventures. A monster must also be defeated in order to gain this ingredient. However, you do not necessarily need any part of its body. Instead, you may need something it is guarding, for example.
  • There is enough downtime. It’s measured in workweeks (five days with 8 hours of work each day)*
  • A certain amount of gold
  • All tools necessary to make the mundane item (e.g. Smith’s Tools for making a sword).

These requirements are half for consumable items such as scrolls or potions.

The cost of creating an item depends on its rarity. This also includes the suggested CR for the monster that you must defeat in order to obtain the special ingredient. The table below is a combination of two tables on page 129 in XGTE.

Item Rarity Workweeks Price Monster CR Range
Common 1 50 GP 1-3
Uncommon 2 200 GP 4-8
Rare 10 2,000 GP 9-12
Very Rare 25 20,000 GP 13-18
Legendary 50 100,000 GP 19+

This set of rules, unlike the DMG option has the potential for complications to occur during the crafting process that may require the PC/party to address. A ten percent chance of a problem arising for every five hours spent crafting an item. While the book does not give you any mechanics to make this decision, roll a with a complication occurring on the roll.

The following table (page 129) shows examples of complications:

d6 Complication
1 Rumours swirl about that the project you are working on could be unstable and pose a threat to your community. *
2 You are forced to replace your tools after they are stolen. *
3 Local wizards are interested in your work and will insist on watching you.
4 A powerful noble will offer a high price for your work, and is not interested to hear no. *
5 A dwarf clan accuses your of taking its secret lore in order to fuel their work. *
6 An adversary spreads rumors about your work as shoddy and susceptible to failure. *
These options could involve a competitor, as explained on pages 123 and 122

Making potions for healing

Breaking a potion of Healing is different from other magic item creation. A Potion of Giant Strength would use the same rules as any other magic item creation. These potions are simpler.

A character needs to be proficient with the herbalism tool and have enough time and gold to make the potion of your choice, as indicated in the table below.

Type The Amount of Healing Time Price
Healing 2d4+2 1 Day 25 GP
Greater Healing 4d4+4 1 workweek 100 GP
Superior Healing 8d4+8 3 workweeks 1,000 GP
Supreme Healing 10d4+20 4 workweeks 10,000 GP
This table is located on page 130 of the XGTE. However, we have added the Amount of Healing column to make it easier to find.

How to write a spell scroll

If your character is able to cast spells, then it’s likely that you have wanted to do more in a single day. This is where spell scrolls are useful.

Writing a Spell Book requires:

  • Prepare the spell or use one of the spellcaster’s existing spells.
  • Material components that the spell requires
  • Proficiency in Arcana
  • There should be enough downtime
  • A certain amount of gold*

*Seen in the table below from page 133 XGTE

Spell Level Time Price
Cantrip 1 Day 15 GP
1st 1 Day 25 GP
2nd 3 Days 250 GP
3rd 1 workweek 500 GP
4th 2 workweeks 2,500 GP
5th 4 workweeks 5,000 GP
6th 8 workweeks 15,000 GP
7th 16 workweeks 25,000 GP
8th 32 workweeks 50,000 GP
9th 48 workweeks 250,000 GP

Similar to the other rules for crafting items in XGTE, scribing a scroll spell can lead to complications ten per cent of the time. Examples of complications include:

d6 Complication
1 You purchased the last remaining ink needed to make scrolls. This angered a wizard in the town.
2 You are accused by the priest of a temple for good of using dark magic. *
3 A wizard is eager to get one of your spells in his book and presses you to buy the scroll.
4 It is a random spell of the same level, created by an error in the creation of the scroll.
5 You bought a rare parchment for your scroll that has a barely discernible map.
6 A thief tries to enter your workplace. *
These options could involve a competitor, as explained on pages 123 and 122


Even if you end up being gold poor, you will have become magic item rich by reading this article. If you found this guide useful and want to learn more about 5E, then visit our how-to section. Or, if you are interested in buying a new book, then see our book reviews. Remember to use the consumable items before campaign ends.

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