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Q&A

Does a Wizard automatically know how to craft scrolls from known spells?

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In the DMG (p. 128) it is stated that to craft a magical item during downtime, a character

must have a formula that describes the construction of the item.

However, it does not give any more details on what form this "formula" must take, or how it should be acquired.

Meanwhile, in the Basic Rules, it is stated that a wizard can copy spells from one spellbook into another:

You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell.

From this, we can deduce that a wizard has at least a basic idea of how to represent spells in graphical form, however it is not clear to me whether this knowledge is sufficient to craft a spell scroll, which is an innately magical item quite different (in my understanding) from a simple representation of a spell in a spellbook.

Do the rules on copying spellbooks automatically allow a wizard to craft a spell scroll from a spell in their spellbook (assuming they meet all other requirements — e.g. being at least level 3, having the requisite time and GP), or does the wizard need to acquire a separate "formula" describing how to do so?

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2 answers

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In 5e, every wizard can copy any wizard-class spell into a new spellbook at a minimal cost in time, but preparing a spell is a much more involved activity, described in Xanathar's Guide to Everything on page 133.

Briefly, the wizard needs the Arcana skill, any material components, a cost ranging from 15 to 250,000 gp, and an amount of time ranging from 1 day to 48 5-day workweeks.

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Maybe (Ask your DM)

Remember; Crafting A Magic Item is an optional Downtime Activity available to the DM to offer.

Your DM may use these rules as presented, but interpreting vagaries is left to DM discretion. As written, nothing in the rules presented in the Dungeon Master's Guide indicate that the requirement for a formula is waived for wizards, or any other spell caster.

Your Dungeon Master may be using other rules for this.

Your DM may opt to use the rules in the DMG, bearing in mind that significant leeway is given to determine cost, requirements and availability, even with no modification of these rules whatsoever. Your DM may decide to create their own rules, disallow creation of magic items altogether, or use an entirely different set of rules.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything offers an alternative optional rule for Scribing Scrolls.

XGE has a different Crafting an Item downtime activity in the Dungeon Master's Tools chapter, with specific exceptions for brewing potions of healing and scribing a spell scroll. The Scribing a Spell Scroll optional Downtime Activity list only proficiency in the Arcana skill, providing any material components required for the casting of the spell and having the spell prepared, among the character's known spells, as requirements to scribe a scroll of a spell. XGE reiterates the requirement for a formula in the Crafting an Item option, however it specifies scribing a spell scroll is an exception to those rules, and does not indicate any requirement for a formula in the Scribing a Spell Scroll option.

Regardless, the rules on copying spellbooks have no bearing on a wizard's ability to scribe scrolls. (Unless your DM rules otherwise.)

However, the 10th-level Order of Scribes feature, Master Scrivener, from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything allows you to create limited spell scrolls quickly at no cost, and using your DM's standard scroll creation rules at half the normal time and cost. The 10th-level Artificer feature, Magic Item Adept, allows you to craft a magic item with a rarity of common or uncommon in a quarter of the normal time, and with half as much of the usual gold cost. Other features may interact with your ability to create spell scrolls or even other scrolls, but unless your DM makes a ruling to the contrary, no class or subclass feature and no feat, grants the ability to create or scribe spell scrolls, regardless of if it allows you to copy spells into a spellbook, ritual book or Book of Shadows.

TLDR; Your DM may decide Wizard automatically know how to craft scrolls from known spells, but the rules on copying to/from spellbooks are unlikely to be a factor.

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