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Rules for Crafting Scrolls and Potions for D&D 5e


The art of putting usable magic to paper, or scrivening, allows adventuring casters to conserve their energies. With a small handful of exceptions, these scrolls are usually not meant for the eyes of anyone aside from its creator. While magic is already arcane to most people, magical scrolls are often meant to be deliberately obtuse, to ensure that the spell can’t be copied, or worse, turned against its creator.

Creating Scrolls

Crafting a spell scroll is a light activity that can be accomplished during a long rest.

Crafting spell scrolls requires proficiency in Calligrapher’s tools, and each scroll crafted has a cost depending on level. Additionally, creating a spell scroll consumes a spell slot of equal level, though since it can be done while resting, this is only of consequence if the caster is ambushed before they regain their resources.

Scroll LevelScroll CostTime to Craft
Cantrip10gShort Rest
150gLong Rest
2120g2 Long Rests
3200g3 Long Rests
4320g4 Long Rests
5640g5 Long Rests
61280g6 Long Rests
72560g7 Long Rests
85120g8 Long Rests
910240g9 Long Rests
Prices derived from Sane Magical Prices

The gold price is an abstraction of purchasing reagents, so if you value economic verisimilitude, prices in small towns and villages should be lower. Prices in cities should be higher. Players purchasing the scrolls from NPCs, rather than crafting the scrolls themselves, can expect some markup.

Your DM might require additional potentially rare reagents to craft spell scrolls of 5th or higher level, as sealing such powerful, active magics to velum can be especially tricky and require additional resources. These reagents are usually expensive, difficult to find, dangerous to acquire, or some combination of the three. Examples may include a large diamond, the heart of a cockatrice, or a rare flower that can only be found in a deadly mountain-top.

Empowered Scrolls

You can create up-cast spell scrolls. To do so, you must have a spell slot of the appropriate level available to you as well as the gold available to create a scroll of the appropriate level. For example, you can create a scroll of Cure Wounds at third level, provided you have a third level spell slot and 200g.

You can also create scrolls with a +1, +2, or +3 modifier. To do so, you expend half of your hit dice and consult the +n scroll chart below.

Caster LevelScroll Bonus
+n scroll chart

Using a Spell Scroll

Using a spell scroll usually destroys it, but characters with proficiency in arcana can attempt to preserve the scroll. To do so, they roll an arcana check after using the spell scroll. The DC is 10 + the level of the spell scroll. The DC increases by 2 each time the scroll is used without being destroyed. If the check fails, the scroll disintigrates.

Spell scrolls use an action, bonus action, or reaction, according to the spell description of the spell they contain. For example, a scroll of Fireball would require an action to use, while a scroll of Feather Falling would require a reaction to use.

A spell scroll always uses the ability modifier of the person who crafted the scroll.

Cantrip Scrolls

Because cantrips are among the simplest of spells, scroll makers with proficiency in certain skills can augment their cantrip scrolls. If you are proficient in the correct skill (in addition to caligrapher’s tools), when you create a cantrip spell scroll, you can choose from one among the following options:

Common Language Scroll. Unlike most spell scrolls, this one is designed to be simple enough for anyone to use. Any creature that can read can cast this cantrip from this scroll, using their own spellcasting ability modifier. If your character does not have a spell-casting modifier, then their spellcasting modifier is Intellect.

Break Seal to Cast. This scroll is designed to cast the moment the seal is broken. If the cantrip normally requires an action, it can also be cast as a bonus action. Additionally, cantrip scrolls with Break Seal to Cast can be cast as reactions without readying an action.

Powerful. This cantrip scroll gains an additional damage dice.

Class SpellSkill required to augment a cantrip spell scroll
Wizard, WarlockArcana
Cleric, PaladinReligion
Druid, RangerNature
Spell Crafting Skill Chart


Potions are, in some ways, the opposite of spell scrolls. If scrolls are generally meant to be used only by their creator, potions are meant to be usable by anyone who can drink them. Drinking a potion causes a change in the imbiber, temporarily granting them enough innate magic to accomplish the potion’s effect.


You need proficiency with Alchemy Tools to brew potions. Brewing potions is a light activity that can be accomplished over one or more long rests.

When you finish brewing a potion, roll your proficiency dice. The potion has doses equal to half of the result of your roll, minimum 1. If your proficiency bonus is doubled for this check for any reason, do not half your result.

Proficiency BonusProficiency Dice
Proficiency Dice Chart

You can turn any spell you know into a potion. If you encounter a potion in the world, you attempt to identify it with an alchemy tools (Int) check.

RaritySpell LevelPotion CostTime to Craft
CommonCantrip20gShort Rest
Uncommon1100gLong Rest
2240g2 Long Rests
Rare3300g3 Long Rests
4420g4 Long Rests
Very Rare5540g5 Long Rests
61580g6 Long Rests
73000g7 Long Rests
86000g8 Long Rests
Legendary912,000g9 Long Rests

Unlike scrolls, potions can be used by anyone. Spell scrolls use the casting bonus of the person reading the scroll, but potions use the spell-casting modifier of the brewer.

Learning New Recipes

You can examine any potion you find and take an hour to make an Alchemy Tools Check (Int) to try to divine its secrets. If you are successful, you can add the potion to the list of potions you know how to brew. Whether you succeed or fail, the potion is spoiled from your experiments with it. The table below has suggested DCs for an alchemist to learn a potion based on its rarity or spell level.

Potion RaritySpell LevelDC to Learn Potion
Very Rare520

Types of Potions

There are two broad catagories of potions; chemical and alchemical. Chemical potions cause a magical reaction when their contents are exposed to air, water, or skin. Alchemical potions cause the imbiber to undergo a change that allows them, for a brief time, to cast spells intuitively in a manner similar to sorcerers. The alchemist chooses whether they’re making a chemical or alchemical potion before it is finished brewing.

Chemical Potions. Chemical potions are used in the heat of the moment, and use an action, bonus action, or reaction, depending on the recipe used to create it to immediately cause the potion’s effect. Chemical potions can target an area or a single creature, but can never target multiple creatures. For example, a potion made from Cure Wounds or Healing Word is used by drinking it, while a potion of Fireball or Lightning Bolt can be cast by hurling it, or uncorking it and pointing the mouth of the potion toward the target. For another example, a potion of Fly or Bless would only target the imbiber, even though both spells can normally target multiple creatures.

Chemical Potions use the spellcasting modifier of their creator, unless a concentration check is required; then it uses the spellcasting ability, such as Charisma or Wisdom, of the creator, but creature who used the potion’s ability score, such as -1, 0, +1, and so on.

Alchemical Potions. Alchemical potions require an action to use, and grant the imbiber the ability to cast the spell used to make the potion.

Alchemical Potions use the imbiber’s Constitution to derive their spellcasting modifier.


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