[RPG] How are spells made permanent in 5e


As we all know, the golden-age era of spellcasters having access to spells like Permanency is now over with the arrival of 5E. I am now DM'ing a top-tier campaign, and several of my PCs are casters who have requested a way of making several spells permanent.

What I have found so far

I have done some research and have found a few things which might help give direction to this.

  • There is a homebrew 5E version of the Permanency spell on the unofficial D&D wiki, but I don't feel like it's quite complete, and there is nothing for concentration spells.

  • I am already aware that several spells have permanent versions which last until dispelled, such as Teleportation Circle, Glyph of Warding, Guards and Wards, etc.

  • Since Wish doesn't have spell permanency as one of its guaranteed effects, I'd prefer to omit it as a solution. It would probably have drawbacks, mostly with its reliability (using it this way is a 33% chance of no longer being able to cast it), and also because several casting classes do not have access to it.

  • As far as having a permanent effect on a PC directly, I was thinking of having PCs with access to Clone create a clone, but with a longer casting time, and having to cast the spell they want to affect them permanently a certain number of times. The original then dies, and is transferred to the now enchanted body.


I am looking for ways, other than the casting of Wish, to add permanency to spells.

What is a good answer?

Good answers to this question will follow the Good Subjective/Bad Subjective rule. I am looking for answers from DMs who have tried granting players some form of permanency in their spells.

Best Answer

Make it a Downtime Activity

More on less on par with Crafting a Magic Item.

This is how I approach permanency in the Eberron game that I run, and my players have been happy with it so far.

The initial problem

Trying to directly port Permanency into 5E is a problem, since Permanency had an XP cost, and using XP is an optional rule in 5E.


D&D 5e's Adventurer's League has a precedent for charging Downtime as a 'toll on the character's soul.' (See Here, the section on Jenny Greenteeth)

For further precedent...making a magical effect permanent is essentially what you are doing while crafting a magic item. So making a spell Permanent is following the same sort of procedure as you'd use to craft an enchanted item with a persistent effect...but you're attaching it to a person or place instead.

My Rules

For the downtime activity of making a spell Permanent, I basically follow the rules for crafting a magic item, starting on page 128 of the DMG, using the 'Power By Rarity' table on page 285 to determine the 'effective rarity' of the spell to be made permanent.

Because Permanent spells can be torn down with Dispel Magic, I treat them as 'consumable' items (half the cost and creation time of a 'normal' magic item of that power level). If you want Permanency to be harder...then treat them as normal cost for their rarity level. And if you want to cap which spells can be made permanent, bear in mind that 3.5e actually had a rather short list of spells that could be made Permanent.

By dint of flavor, I generally say that making a spell Permanent doesn't actually take the full duration of you working on it. I rule that some of that time (often about half) has to be spent recovering from the physical and spiritual exertion of what you just did.


Naturally, you have to know the spell in order to make it permanent, and every day you spend working on the permanency, you burn an appropriate level spell slot to cast that spell.

Additionally, you need to be somewhere while working on this where you can acquire all the extra spell components needed to stabilize the spell into a self-sustaining loop.

Finally, because of the delicate nature of permanency...you can't interrupt your work. If you're in the first half of the downtime and you skip a day...you get to start over. If you're in the second half of the downtime, you're operating at 3 levels of exhaustion and that day doesn't count towards your recovery time.

Whoever (or whatever) is the recipient of the Permanent Spell, must be present the entire time the spellcaster is working on making the spell permanent (so, the entire workday for the first half of the downtime). After that, they may wander off while the spellcaster recovers.