How (if at all) does one purchase magic items in 5e?


5th Edition (And Beyond)


My group is taking a break from PF to play some 5e. One issue we've encountered: in PF, once you get a certain amount of treasure, you head for Ye Olde Magic Shoppe to convert that gold into +1 swords, rings of protection, and what have you. But 5e doesn't seem to have a straightforward system for pricing and acquiring magic items. Am I missing something? When my player says "I have 2,000 gp -- what can I buy with that?", how should I respond?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Go to the book, see what the player is looking for, see if it is a reasonable addition to the campaign, and if you're using the silly proto-attunement rules, make sure that they don't have more than they can handle magic gear-wise when you give it to them?


Yeah, 5E's really wonky with items as a whole. Half the time it feels like they only grudgingly included them at all, particularly because there's no fixed prices and it's all kind of "do what the GM wants".

Magic item shops are supposedly rare, but people can do crafting.


5e operates under the assumption that you aren't buying magic items. When I've GMed, I've allowed potions to be bought. I put healing potions as the cheapest possible for their rarity, and others at about double that cost (varying with what they are). I don't let them buy/sell other items though.

That does mean that they are accumulating gold that doesn't have a "purpose". As GM, have fun coming up with things they can spend that money on. Do they want to build a big house? Start a business? Raise an army? Help the poor? Build monuments? The gold becomes a vehicle for roleplaying what that character wants out of life. A paladin I'm playing now is a sort of adviser/general to the local monarchy, and he spends his money currying favor with the general population. He provides his resources to nobles of good character who need help, and generally improving the lot of the poorest peasants. Also, when the party is exceptionally disruptive to peasants, he pays to help them restart their lives (so they can rebuild homes/businesses/etc).


The DMG has some rough guidelines about how much a magic item is worth, based on its rarity, but it's very much up to the DM to determine how easily available magic items are in their game. (In Eberron, for example, one of the setting's conceits is that low-powered magic items are very common and can be purchased fairly easily.)

The rules for creating characters above 1st level include some guidelines for how many items (and of what rarity) a character of a given tier should have. It's surprisingly low, because the 5E rules make very few, if any, assumptions about characters having magic treasure, at any level. If you're coming to 5E after playing 3E or Pathfinder (where most of your finely calibrated wealth by level must be invested in well-chosen magic items in order to survive, much less flourish) it takes some effort to switch gears to 5E's "all magic items are rare and wondrous" approach.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The downtime rules in Xanathar's Guide to Everything do address buying and selling magic items.


You use this excellent supplement: https://gurbintrollgames.wordpress.com/blackballs-treasure-2/

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