Ritual Spells in D&D 5e are a great way for spellcasters to use helpful utility spells without sacrificing valuable spell slots. By taking the time to spend an extra 10 minutes in casting a spell with a “Ritual” tag, the caster is able to save their spell slots for later use.
If you are playing a spellcasting class, you will want to take advantage of ritual spells.
So let’s take a deeper dive to learn the ins and outs of Ritual Spells in D&D 5e.
What is a Ritual Spell?
Ritual Spells in D&D 5e are spells that are able to be cast without using a spell slot. These spells are typically utility spells that aid the caster by creating some effect.
Some of these spells allow the caster to magically identify items or summon an invisible servant to assist them with mundane tasks. Others allow the caster to communicate with powerful beings beyond the Material Planes or attempt to divine the results of future events.
These spells are indicated by a tag that says “ritual” in the spell’s description. In the books and on spellbook cards, this tag is located right under the spell’s name and next to the spell’s level and school.
What Classes Can Cast Ritual Spells in D&D 5e?
As a part of their class features, 7 classes are able to cast ritual spells.
Bards, Clerics, Druids, and Artificers are able to cast spells as rituals, but they must have the spell prepared for the day.
Wizards, however, only need to have the ritual spell in their spellbook. Whether or not they have prepared the spell for the day, the wizard can spend the extra 10 minutes to look up the ritual in their spellbook and cast the spell.
Warlocks who take the Pact of the Tome and take the Book of Ancient Secrets as an Invocation are able to cast ritual spells. In fact, Warlocks who do this are able to learn rituals from any class’s spell list and write them in their book.
Lastly, Barbarians who take up the Path of the Totem Warrior gain the ability to cast beast sense and speak with animals as rituals.
How to Cast Ritual Spells in D&D 5e
So how does a character cast a ritual spell?
Depending on the caster and spell, the ritual may be cast using their spellbook, some tools (such as incense or runes), or from memory.
Unless indicated otherwise, the ritual adds an extra 10 minutes of casting time to the spell and can only be used to cast spells that are indicated with the “Ritual” tag.
Because this takes longer to cast, this is not an option while the group is in combat.
Similarly, the party will want to make sure that they are in a safe place when the caster goes to begin the ritual. Should the party find themselves getting attacked before the ritual is finished, the caster will need to restart the ritual once combat is finished.
Limitations of Ritual Casting
To cast spells as a ritual, the character must have the ritual casting ability. Not all magic users are familiar with the intricacies involved in ritual casting.
Rangers, Sorcerers, Arcane Tricksters, Eldritch Knights, and Warlocks who do not take the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation are unable to cast rituals. Those who wish to do so may take an interest in the Ritual Caster feat.
Spells casting using rituals cannot be cast at a higher level for additional effect.
Additionally, the ritual casting process does not remove the need for material components or an Arcane Focus. The Divination spell, for example, will still require incense and an appropriate offering of a combined value of 25gp to cast as a ritual.
Learning New Rituals
For Arcane casters, new rituals can be learned by copying spells from a scroll or another wizard’s spellbook. Copying spells in this way requires 2 hours and 50gp per spell level to scribe.
Rituals that are learned this way must be on the character’s spell list as potential options for that class. A wizard, for example, could not learn the ritual to cast Commune with Nature since this is not an option on the Wizard spell list.
Warlocks possessing the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation, on the other hand, are able to learn ritual spells from any class’s spell list. This still has the same time and gold cost per spell level as other casters.
Examples of Ritual Spells in D&D 5e
There are a fairly large number of ritual spells available to casters in D&D 5e with more being added regularly. These are a few examples of common ritual spells that are sure to serve the party well from low levels on into the late game.
Find Familiar is arguably the most useful ritual spell in the entire game. Familiars can be infinitely helpful to the caster and their party. It’s a popular pick for a reason!
Detect Magic allows the caster to determine magical auras within 30 feet of themselves. This can be useful for finding magical items or locating arcane traps. Because it also reveals the school of magic being detected, a clever caster may be able to make an educated guess on the nature of the magic’s effect.
Leomund’s Tiny Hut has a long history of protecting adventurers at low levels as they journey through dungeons and wilderness areas. It’s always a wise pick!
Comprehend Languages is a great ritual if you are attempting to eavesdrop on some enemies or read a letter but don’t understand the language. This spell can be vital to gaining new information that informs the party’s course of action!
Ritual Spells in D&D 5e add an extra level of utility to casters’ role within the party. By spending some extra time to cast ritual spells and save spell slots, casters are able to still assist the party without finding themselves unable to use their more powerful spells in combat.
If you’re playing a caster, it’s important to understand how casting Ritual Spells in D&D 5e works. You’ll definitely want to keep some notes on rituals handy to help your party in a pinch!
“I can cast Water Breathing tomorrow” is a saddening thing to hear when your paty’s boat is in danger of capsizing!
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