Crafting Magic Items

Crafting a Magic Item requires three or four things based on the item created:

  • a formula
  • (possibly) special ingredients
  • time
  • money


All magic items of uncommon quality or better require formula to craft (common quality magic items may be created with minimal research in a local library or temple the character has access to). These formula are complex and include diagrams, rituals required, special ingredients needed, and proper tool preparation techniques. Formula can be found in treasure, purchased from guilds or temples, or researched by a character with their own study. Even if you find a formula, you must spend an amount of time understanding and learning the ritual processes.

Researching Formulae

You can spend time between adventures researching a desired magic item. First, you must have access to a library or information repository of some kind to collect your data. Additionally you must have access to a lab or safe area where you can perform experiments on your research and findings. It will take one or more ability checks to assure you are able to understand and scribe the ‘recipe’.

Time to research a formula starts at a set number of days adjusted by some variable factors shown below. Researching incurs a cost of 1gp per day:

Item Quality Research Time
Uncommon 10 days
Rare 60 days
Very Rare 180 days
Legendary 365 days

Variables on time required:

  • you have an identical item to study: -25%
  • you have a willing instructor who knows how to craft the item teaching you the entire duration: -50%
  • you have proficiency in the tools required for creation: -15%
  • (does not stack) you have an existing formula to base your research: -80%
Special Ingredients or requirements:

For rare/select items I may require a special ingredient that must be sought after, possibly triggering a quest. These can be anything from “the wood from a tree struck by lightning” for javelins of lightning, to “three tears from a merfolk” for a ring of swimming. If necessary, these will be declared at the table when a character inquires about creating an item. As a side note, all very rare and legendary items will require special reagents.

Additionally, some items may have a special requirement that must be fulfilled to create the item. For example to create an elven cloak or boots the creator must be an elf, or have the direct assistance of an elf that is qualified to create the item on their own. (no elf peasants to create elven chain mail). Similarly for a girdle of dwarvenkind. If necessary, these will be declared at the table when a character inquires about creating an item

Crafting an item

The creation of magic items is not an activity to be undertaken while actively adventuring. Crafting any item such an item requires a quiet workspace with access to specific crafting tools. For common items, a set of standard tools applicable to the item being crafted may be used. For items of uncommon quality or better, these tools must be brand-new magical versions of a specific sets of artisan’s tools, found in chapter 5, “Equipment” of the Player’s Handbook. These tools must be brand new and ‘untainted’ by prior enchanting for each item created. The specific type of artisan’s tools required is based on the type of item being crafted. A magic sword would require smith’s tools, while a magic potion would require alchemist’s supplies. For uncommon items or better, the cost of these tools is included in the creation cost of the magic item, although a character may work with the me to establish and build a workshop that contains these materials without having to keep incurring the expense every time they create a magic item.

An item has a creation cost specified in the Crafting Magic Items table. If the character is crafting the item in a workspace of the appropriate quality, this creation cost is reduced by half.

The Building a Workshop table shows the cost of creating and maintaining such a workspace.

Workspace Quality Item Quality Produced Construction Cost Daily Upkeep Skilled Hirelings
Apprentice Common 500 gp 5 sp -
Novice Uncommon 1,000 gp 1 gp -
Journeyman Rare 2,000 gp 5 gp 1
Master Very Rare 5,000 gp 10 gp 2
Grandmaster Legendary 10,000 gp 50 gp 5

When engaged in the crafting of a magic item, a character determines their daily progress by rolling an appropriate stat check based on their primary spellcasting stat. Hirelings that assist in this process can either assist on this heck, granting advantage on the roll, or can contribute with their own proficiency bonus. The check is modified as follows:

Progress = (Spellcasting stat check + proficiency bonus + character level) x 5 gp

For example, a 10th-level wizard with an Intelligence of 16 can make progress up to a maximum of 185 gp per day in crafting a magic item (23 Intelligence + 4 Proficiency + 10 level x 5).

A character spends the amount calculated by their progress on each day they are engaged in crafting until the total cost for the magic item is paid. At this point the item is considered to be complete.

A character is assumed to work for 8 hours on each day they are engaged in crafting a magic item. If a spell will be produced by the item being created, the creator must expend one spell slot of the spell’s level for each day of the creation process. Any spell components that normally consumed when the spell is cast are also consumed during the creation process.

While crafting a magic item, a character can maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay the 1 gp per day, or a comfortable lifestyle at half the normal cost (see chapter 5, “Equipment”, of the Player’s Handbook).

Crafting Magic Items

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