Last Updated on January 22, 2023
While some adventurers hunger for glory, others lust after something more tangible: treasure. While gold, priceless art, cursed idols, baby dragon eggs, deeds to nearby ruined castles, and favors from powerful NPCs are all great, nothing gets D&D 5e players quite as excited as a brand new magic item.
- Consult our table to find the item you’re looking for or similar items for an idea of the cost.
- Below the table is a chart to price your item based on rarity and character level.
- Finally, we have some guidance on where items might be found while adventuring, or bought and sold at shops.
Use this table as a baseline for pricing the magic items in your games. Remember, the value of goods in any DnD game is up to the DM. Feel free to alter the price of goods as you see fit based on your campaign world, the players’ location, and the greed of the shopkeeper.
Magic Item Pricing Table
Different Types of Magic Items in DnD
There are numerous magical items scattered throughout D&D 5e, from harmless curiosities to world-shattering artifacts of unimaginable power and everything in between.
Magic items can vary wildly in terms of function, form, power, and price. Depending on the kind of world in which your campaign takes place (high fantasy versus pulp sword and sorcery, for example), magical items can be widespread and readily available, or the kind of rare and mysterious artifacts that nations go to war to control. While the value of magic items is ultimately up to the DM, there are some general guidelines that apply.
In addition to our detailed pricing table, we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying and selling magic items. We’ll consider both common and unusual cases so that you can craft a fair economy in your game, and quickly price the loot you’re handing out to players.
Some items, such as spell scrolls and potions are consumable. Items like this disappear after they are used. Others endure far longer than their nonmagical incarnations. For example, drinking a potion consumes the item, but a magic longsword could be around for centuries — still in perfect condition, even as all the metal around it has long ago corroded into hunks of useless rust.
While some magic items are used to group multiple objects into a single category based on function — the rather pedestrian +1 magic weapon, for example — others are one-of-a-kind artifacts of nigh incomprehensible power. Typically forged by a powerful hero, villain, or deity, these iconic items quickly form the focal point of their own mythology, and inspire good and evil folk alike to seek them out for better or worse.
Entire campaigns have centered around recovering relics of untold power, like the Sword of Kas, the Hand and Eye of Vecna, or the mythical sword Blackrazor. These magical items are almost always priceless, and therefore don’t inhabit the scope of this guide.
Other more common magical items do have a monetary value, however. And, while trade in magic items is often restricted, illegal, or so rare and expensive that it’s usually easier to just go fight a dragon in the hope there’s something good in its hoard, buying a magic item is in no way impossible.
Also, the individual prices of these items aren’t set in stone, much like a monster’s hit points. They’re basically up to the DM. So how does this work? How do you come up with the prices of hundreds of magic items? Well, the answer is rarity. The DMG provides a very basic solution for pricing magic items based on an item’s rarity level.
How to Price Magic Items
DnD has a lot of magic items in the game. How do you, the DM, put a price on all of these items?
Well, in order to ensure your players don’t end up paying well over the odds for a potion of healing, or end up getting their hands on something way too dangerous at 1st level, item value in D&D 5e is linked to rarity. In addition to determining the general price range for a magical item, rarity is usually treated as a rough guide for the levels at which player characters should have an opportunity to acquire them.
Obviously, these are just guidelines. If you want to run a low magic campaign, then it makes sense that the few magic items in your world would be considered priceless—or at the very least be priced well above their rarity. Likewise, if you want to run a campaign that hinges around a player character coming across a powerful item, there’s no sense in waiting for 7 levels to kick off the story; just give Frodo the cursed ring and cue the Nazgul.
However, pricing magic items based on their rarity is a good place to start.
Just like items in a real economy, items in DnD may have a price that varies depending on the situation, and determining where a magic item falls within its price bracket (or whether it falls in that range at all) is something that’s ultimately up to you.
I like to think of the upper end of an item’s rarity as the basic asking price, and the lower end as the figure the shopkeeper will be willing to accept—provided the PCs roll well on their Persuasion checks to haggle.
Pricing Cursed Items
Cursed magic items usually have undesirable properties attached to them. Depending on the curse, the value of such an item may decrease significantly. For example, a shop probably won’t buy a magic amulet that unleashes an annoying ghost every night, even if it does increase the wearer’s intelligence.
Where Can Players Buy and Sell Magic Items?
Magic items are extremely rare in most DnD campaigns. Powerful items pilfered from far off dragon vaults and the crypts of slumbering liches will be extremely valuable, but it won’t always be easy to find a buyer.
Players may find it difficult to purchase magic items with coins alone. An alchemist may be unwilling to part with a magic potion for anything short of a personal favor.
Because magic items are usually very expensive, finding someone to buy them is hard. Your party might have a stash of powerful items for sale, but most shops don’t have 80,000 gold pieces just lying around.
As the DM, if you’d like for players to be able to buy and sell magical loot, there are some likely venues. Depending one what they are looking for, they might be able to find it with a little effort.
Players looking for healing or cures are likely to find help at a temple. These services are often expensive, requiring rare components that must be replenished. Instead of gold, temple associates may ask for help from the players, presenting an excellent opportunity for a quest.
Certain shops might buy and trade magic items, especially in wealthy cities or provinces where such goods are likely to surface. It’s up to the DM to determine what a shop may or may not have. Keep in mind that most shops will only rarely come across magical goods.
It’s extremely unlikely that any shop would have a legendary sword just lying around, no matter how much gold the players may have. Likewise, selling magic armor might be easy, but not many people will have enough money to afford it’s true value.
Magical items may appear at auction. Players could find themselves in a bidding war with other adventurers, or wealthy collectors. And auctions are a great chance to sell loot as well. Who knows, someone out there might be willing to pay an arm and a leg for your collection of magic fish hooks.
Some traders move from town to town, trading for this and that. Players can usually find these traders on the outskirts of town, selling strange and exotic items. A lucky adventurer might be able to find magic items from such a person, for a price.
Any wandering trader is likely to have a bodyguard, however, so tread lightly if you’re thinking about skipping the part where you have to pay.
If legality isn’t an issue, players might seek less than honorable means of selling or buying treasure. Thieves can be found in most cities. Locating them isn’t easy, however. And of course, there are no refunds.
Where Do Players Find Magic Items?
It takes a lot of time, gold, and powerful magic to create a magic item. Because of this, most folks never even see such a thing. Adventurers, however, are not ordinary people.
Most magic items are ancient relics from past civilizations, or the works of powerful mages living in far away lands. It’s extremely rare to find someone with the ability to produce a new magic item.
A Dragon’s Lair
Dragon’s are notorious for collecting treasure, especially magic items. Wherever there’s a dragon’s lair, you can be sure to find plenty of good loot. Getting to it—and getting out alive—is another matter.
A Wizard’s Tower
Powerful wizards often scour the world looking for items that enhance their powers. More often than not, they stash these treasures at the top of a tall tower. Unless you can fly, you’re not going to get to them.
Rotten Crypts and Tombs
Old crypts are a great place to go looking for treasure, granted someone else hasn’t gotten there first. Maybe there’s even a chest full of magical goodies down there in the dark, but you can bet it’s either cursed, or guarded by something really unfriendly.
A Deep Dungeon
Probably the most common location for finding magic items, a dungeon is sure to have great treasures. Mad kings and evil wizards of all varieties are fond of stashing powerful items in dungeons. What better way to lure adventurers to their doom. Bwahahahaha!
Trading for Magic Items
If players are in a place where many adventurers, explorers, and traders gather, they may be able to trade for magic items. In such a location, there may be many magic items available, providing the players have enough gold.
In these cases, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of available items—and their prices—ahead of time. Make sure to choose items appropriate for the player’s levels. If the players get powerful items too early, they may find the monsters and other encounters in the game less challenging.
Creating and Pricing Custom Magic Items
Creating a new magic item can be as easy as tweaking an existing item, or changing its item type. The new item would probably have the same value as the one it was derived from.
Custom magic items may also have a value based on their power level. A wand that allows its holder to cast a level 6 spell, for example, would be a rare find, and could be worth several thousand gold pieces.
Selling Unidentified Magic Items
Some DM’s choose to make identifying magic items more challenging than simply letting a player pick up a glowing sword and going “Oh, yeah! A rare magic sword that gives +2 to charisma. Sweet!”
Players have to either experiment to learn the magic properties of items, or else use the identify spell. So how should you go about pricing items that haven’t been identified? Buying an unidentified item might simply be a gamble. I doubt many shops or traders would be interested in buying items that they couldn’t identify, but some adventurers might be willing to stick their hand in the bin of mystery bargains and roll the dice.
Varying the Price of Items
Just because two items are identical, doesn’t mean they have to carry the same value. Other elements can factor into the price of an item. For instance, an item’s previous owner might have an effect on its value. That isn’t just any +1 longsword. That’s the +1 longsword the mighty Deric used to defeat the Skull King.
Likewise, items might have different values in different situations. A ring of protection might be worth one price at a shop, and another on the eve of a dangerous battle. A dealer of stolen goods might add a finder’s fee. And don’t forget sentimental value. You might have a hard time getting a wizard to part with a magic ring anyway, but what if it was a gift from her grandmother? Good luck!
Pricing Legendary Magic Items
Some magic items are incredibly powerful. These items may be beyond normal concepts of value. After all, exactly how much do you charge for a scroll that releases an ancient and powerful monster? Who would buy it?
As the DM, these questions could be the beginning of new adventures. When such items come up in a campaign, they are likely to draw attention from players and NPCs alike. As such, legendary items are unlikely to trade hands without much consideration. Even possessing such an item could be extremely dangerous.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.