[RPG] If I fail the check to copy a spell from a scroll, is the gold needed to copy the spell spent anyway


I am playing a wizard. I was reading the PHB and saw that you could copy spells into your spellbook for a cost (50 gp + 2 hours of work, per spell level).

My question regards when copying the spell from a scroll. There is a spellcasting ability check required when copying it; the scroll is then destroyed, whether the check is successful or not.

A wizard spell on a spell scroll can be copied just as spells in spellbooks can be copied. When a spell is copied from a spell scroll, the copier must succeed on an Intelligence (Arcana) check with a DC equal to 10 + the spell's level. If the check succeeds, the spell is successfully copied. Whether the check succeeds or fails, the spell scroll is destroyed.

If I fail the check to copy the spell from the scroll, is the 50 gp (per spell level) needed to copy the spell lost?

Best Answer

Yes, the gold is spent whether or not the Arcana check succeeds

Per the "Your Spellbook" sidebar in the PHB (p. 114):

The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.

You have already spent the gold before the Arcana check. Whether you succeed or fail, it's spent.

Per "Ability Checks" in the DMG (p. 237):

An ability check is a test to see whether a character succeeds at a task that he or she has decided to attempt.

Note that the phrasing is past tense; an ability check comes after the attempt is made. If the player was allowed to make the check prior then there would be no risk.

So first the character buys the supplies, then they experiment, then they roll an Arcana check to see if their practice paid off.