You’ve just come back to town after a fruitful season of adventuring, and your pockets are stuffed with gold! What’s the first thing you want to spend it on? Okay, AFTER the drunken night at your favorite tavern. Magic items! The possibilities are endless. A decanter of endless water for the hangover? You’ve got it. A magic weapon for the next, bigger adventure? Say no more. Bag of holding for more gold? Smart thinking. Wait… Just how much is this going to cost?
We’ve got your back; we’ve got a handy guide on how to price magic items and set a standard for throughout the realm. Read ahead to find out how to price magic items and create your magic item store for D&D 5e!
Funny enough, Wizards of the Coast has only touched on this topic once in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. In the book, they have a “convenient” table that tells you the prices of items based on their rarity. Don’t tell the authorities, but I’ve transcribed that table here:
|Very Rare||(1d4+1)*10,000 gp|
Note that these prices should be halved if the item in question is a consumable item (potion/scroll). While this gives a solid guide to the high and low prices for magic items, it doesn’t actually tell us how we should grade our custom items, which is half the fun! Of course, this works perfectly fine if we’re taking items straight from published works. We’re going to delve into how to determine rarity and how to properly price items!
Step one in choosing a price for your items is determining its rarity. This is easy enough when you’ve got your Magic Item Cards or a Dungeon Master’s Guide and are taking your items from there, but what if you’ve got a super cool item that you made yourself and want to determine a price? That’s where drawing the comparison between tiers of items is useful.
We’ll dive into each tier of rarity and give examples of what types of items fit into each slot!
Common magic items cost anywhere between 20 gp and 70 gp on average. This can all change on whether or not the shopkeeper is generous, likes the party, or thinks they can pull a fast one on them. The magical items that fall into this tier are niche utility items. A spicy item for spies, the Band of Loyalty, is a common item. This item kills the wearer instantly if they are dropped below zero hit points (no death saves, no healing, dead). A base healing potion is also a common item. The 2d4+2 variety, that is, greater through supreme are higher tier.
For common items, the usual determining factor is the fact that they serve a very specific purpose, have minor benefits, or are purely aesthetic. If you created a magic item that was, say, a music box that could reproduce any tune it has heard, that may be common! In that case, it could be worth more to a bard than to a cleric, and would be marketed as such.
The uncommon tier is where we start to get into weaponry and armor, and prices rise accordingly: 100-600 gp. As a rule of thumb, +1 weapons and spell foci are uncommon, and each extra plus sends it up a tier (but don’t worry, I’ll still remind you throughout this guide). The armor we see here does not give bonuses to armor class, but instead provides a certain defense. Adamantine armor, which prevents the wearer from being critically struck, and mariner’s armor, which gives the wearer a swim speed, are both uncommon magical items. The universal utility of bags of holding also find themselves in this tier of rarity. An uncommon utility item would be the alchemy jug, which holds a veritable smorgasbord of different liquid types: acid, poison, beer, and mayo can all be called forth from it!
Uncommon items generally give some type of tactical advantage. Whether that is an armor that has a unique effect, or a weapon that gives bonuses, having an uncommon item will nearly always be of some use. If an item is purely utility, like the jug, it provides a hefty boon. A character can technically live off of the contents of the alchemy jug alone if they have to, or if they really like mayonnaise. Any type of +1 weapon would fall into this tier as well.
Rare items are where things start to get a little wild. We’re dealing with prices from 2,000 gp all the way up to 20,000 gp. Here you’ll find +2 weapons and spell foci. You also start to get into +1 armor and shields, giving a big buff to armor class when used in tandem. There are also weapons with other unique properties, like the sun blade. Imagine a lightsaber, but in D&D. That’s what the sun blade is. Plus, it does bonus damage to undead! A great deal of wands and staves fall into this tier as well, as the spells worth getting are all of 3rd level and above. Wands of fireballs and lightning bolts and fear are rare items.
To get a purely utility item at this level, it has to do a lot. That’s just what something like the robe of eyes does. It lets you see in every direction at once, granting advantage on perception checks. It gives you darkvision out to 120 ft away, and lets you see invisibility and into the ethereal plane at that same range. Unfortunately, all these eyes mean when you have an intense source of light (like the light cantrip cast on the robe itself) you are blinded for one minute.
If you’re making an item and want to know if it’s rare or not, think of its power level. Is it on par with a +2 weapon, or +1 armor? If it is, you may be dealing with a pretty beefy item! This isn’t a bad thing; it just means you have to take into account the value of the item and make sure that your players can afford it if they really want it. Or you could just have them find it in a dungeon!
Very Rare Pricing
With prices ranging from 20k to 50k gp, your party will need a dragon’s horde to afford very rare magical items. At the very rare tier, published material maxes out weapons and foci at +3, but this isn’t to say you can’t homebrew something with a little more punch. Armor reaches +2 at this point, meaning very rare full plate will net you a whopping 20 armor class! Names of items get more badass at this tier too, with weapons like blade of the medusa or staff of fate. Any item at this tier is a massive boon to a party, and provides massive benefits. Very rare items that can cast spells tend to cap out at 5th or 6th level.
Utility at this tier looks something like the ring of regeneration. This ring heals the wearer for 1d6 health every 10 minutes, given they have at least 1 hit point. It also causes missing body parts to regrow after 1d6+1 days! Something at this tier would have to give the utility of a high-level spell if that’s the only thing it offers.
These items are quite literally the stuff of legends. Ranging from 50k to 300k gp, a party will be lucky to get their hands on a single one of these. The mere existence of these items can warp a campaign, legendary items are just that sought after. Many of them have unique names like the Blackrazor or Moonblade! Some are sentient items that have personalities all their own. At this tier is also +3 armor, providing a huge boost to armor class!
Legendary utility items tend to be high level spells at will. The ring of invisibility allows the user to become invisible as an action as many times as they would like. The only items that have charges are those that cast 7th through 9th level spells, such as the ring of three wishes. This item, you guessed it, allows the wearer to cast the wish spell three times!
Any item that would fit into the legendary category would be immensely powerful. As mentioned before, weapons of lore could be considered legendary. There’s a reason for the stories of the awe-inspiring power of these items. Items that can alter the very fabric of a campaign would also be good to put in this tier, since they would make it a little more challenging for the common folk to acquire, say, the fabled sword of the very gods themselves.
These items are, well, unique! They don’t quite fit into any of the previous categories due to their nature. Many of Matther Mercer’s items that can be found in the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount or Call of the Netherdeep get tiered upgrades that scale based on story progression, and I would consider that unique. With unique items, there really is no good basis for price, as they can truly be whatever you’d like them to be. If an adventurer is purchasing a slumbering ancient artifact, would it be the price of a legendary item? Probably not, given it does not have the full weight of its power behind it, but it would probably be more expensive than an uncommon item.
We have some options for figuring out how to price items that may defy classification in other ways.
First, ensure that the prices match your campaign. If your campaign is very low magic and a merchant has stumbled upon a magical item, they would likely price it quite expensively due to magic’s rare nature within the world. You could also take this the other way, though, and have them not know what it does, and try to pawn it off as quickly as possible. If you’re running a high magic campaign and health potions are given out like candy on Halloween, maybe average magic item prices are lower than other campaigns.
You can always use a premade table, like the one above, or find another table that fits your world better!
Sane magical prices are sometimes hard to come by. Once you start getting into the very rare tier, things get out of control fast! To keep things affordable, you can give your party a discount with the merchants due to their heroic deeds. If you aren’t worried about the party doing insane things with their money, throwing heaps and heaps of gold at them would do the same thing, and allow them to shop to their hearts’ content.
Randomly generating prices is also a possibility! Use an online utility like donjon to generate shops and prices for your world.
Here are some questions related to magic item pricing!
Potion Prices 5e
|Potion of…||Rarity||Healing Done|
|Supreme Healing||Very Rare||10d4+20|
If you use these rarities in tandem with the price table, you can determine the average prices of healing potions!
What are Magic Items in 5e?
Magic items are any item that is not mundane! If it has any type of enchantment on it, it is considered magical. It would be easier to ask what ISN’T a magic item, as the masses of magic items far outweigh their mundane counterparts. Buffed weapons, armor, shields, potions, and most any other useful item will be considered magic.
Magic Item Rarity Table 5e
The different types of rarities in D&D 5e are as follows: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, and Legendary. There are some outlier quantifiers like Unique or Artifact that fall outside of the purview of rarity.
Magic Item Prices from 5e Xanathar
Here’s that pricing table once more:
|Very Rare||(1d4+1)*10,000 gp|
Wrapping Things Up
Magic items are one of the coolest parts of D&D! When you can give your party a smattering of magic items that end up becoming their signature weapons, foci, or armor, it’s so fun to watch them use their new toys. Pricing is where things can get kind of bogged down, but don’t sweat it! Worst case, your party can save up, or you can send them on a quest instead of monetary payment. However you slice it, economy isn’t exactly what 5e is built for, so it’s up to you and your party how to deal with it in the most enjoyable way possible. I hope we’ve helped so you can go off and adventure with your new magic items now!