Gold in material components for spells

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So me and my friend are trying to find out the logical use for gold in the use of summoning spells and what not. But some spells say "total cost". So does that mean if we found the materials needed the total cost would decrease? Or would it still cost 2000gp to summoner something regardless of how you aquire other items. We are just trying to find a logical reasoning for the use of gold in the summoning ceremony. Any input would be appreciated, also if you don't know maybe you could just think of a reason that would make sense.

Thanks  
Maybe it isn't just summoning. The example we are trying to get to make sense is with the creation of Golems. It gives us a time limit to create as well as a gold piece amount
It's because you have to buy the materials. The gp requirement is basically so you can say "Ok, I've spent 2k gp to create my clay golem", instead of worrying about going to the clay pit to buy the clay, then to the magic shop for the special inks used to inscribe invisible runes, etc.
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What kind of summoning spells are you talking about?  Or are you just talking about the golem creation process there?

As Count Von Coc says, the cost normally represents the cost of the materials you need.  If you already had the right amount of the right materials, you wouldn't need to buy them.  Most golems require some more specific ingredients that you're unlikely to have except for making the golem in question (such as 5,000 pounds of pure iron smelted with specific additional ingredients), though it's relatively plausible in the case of something like a stone golem that you might have access to some hard stone of exceptional quality.

Note, however, that the costs for anything other than the specific materials described are still otherwise consumed in the enchanting process.  Under 3.5 rules, you might avoid 5,000 gp of costs when making the stone golem by having appropriate stone available, but the other 45,000 gp of the creation cost (and the 3,400 XP cost) still needs to be paid as part of the processes used to transform it into a functional servant.  The exact materials or other requirements involved in that are never really described, making it hard to acquire them separately without talking to your DM.

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My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Gotchya. This is helpful. We were arguing over if he could just spend the time and collect everything then only pay the EXP. but this clarifies it. Thanks again
Gotchya. This is helpful. We were arguing over if he could just spend the time and collect everything then only pay the EXP. but this clarifies it. Thanks again

In theory, you could still gather all the required materials yourself, but you'd need to find out what they were, since there isn't a standard description.

For example, the stone golem creation process normally assumes that you'll spend 45,000 gp on whatever extra materials are required.  If you knew every exact ingredient, you could presumably quest around and find them instead of buying them, but it would take a while, and it's generally not interesting enough to be worth doing as an adventurer.  Since symbol of stunning is a required spell, its normal material components of mercury, phosphorus, and powdered gems might make up part of the material component cost for golem creation, but things like roasting a pile of cinnabar and probably giving yourself mercury poison isn't a very attractive option compared to just buying some quicksilver from the nearest alchemist.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Yep, the cost associated with the creation process assumes you have nothing in the way of components when you start the build.  IMO, there's no reason to stop you from gathering the components yourself since, obviously, they're components that can be gathered.  That's not to say, of course, that this would be an easy or efficient process.  If it's something you'd like to try, though, talk to your DM and see how he feels about it. 
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You would also need to make a bunch of skill checks you likely can't to get all the components.

Think of how much skilled labor you can buy with the price of that golem--you really want to provide that yourself????  I think you'll be dead of old age before you're done.
I'll mention that the "cost" of aquiring the specific materials you need will most likely be just as great as buying the material.  If you say you need 1000 gp of gems you'd better believe that the 1000 gp of gems you find are being counted against your wealth so you really gain nothing by adventuring for them.
 
The long and short of finding the ingredience yourself to save money is that the DM should be using the Wealth by Level Guidelines, so basically instead of adventuring for gold to buy the material, you are adventuring to find the material. So the "savings" are illusionary, good for roleplaying, and a sense of accomplishment having earned the materials rather then simply purchased them might make the golem more "real" and less impersonal, if that makes any sense.

ie the DM knows the player wants to find 5,000 gp of Mercury for his golem, so in the next treasure instead of finding 5,000 gp in gold, the player finds 5,000 gp worth of vials of Mercury. 

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