Casting spells can be such an incredibly exciting thing to do in Dungeons and Dragons. I mean, without spells the game would just be… okay it would still be incredible. Still, spells do bring some magic to the game.
If you’re looking for a feat that is going to give you some really valuable spellcasting out of combat, then this is the one for you.
In this article, we’re going to be going over what exactly the ritual caster feat does and how it differs from the ritual casting class feature.
We’ll also touch on some of the best spells you can take with this, so definitely stick around for that.
What Is the Ritual Caster Feat?
Ritual caster is a feat that lets anyone with a minimum wisdom or intelligence score of 13 gain access to ritual casting.
Characters that pick up this feat receive a ritual spell book with two 1st-level spells from the spell list of a single class with which they can record new spell books of the same class.
Here is the specific wording for the feat as it appears in the PHB:
Prerequisite: Intelligence or Wisdom of 13 or higher
- You have learned a number of spells that you can cast as rituals. These spells are written in a ritual book, which you must have in hand while casting one of them.
- When you choose this feat, you acquire a ritual book holding two 1st-level spells of your choice. Choose one of the following classes: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You must choose your spells from that class’s spell list, and the spells you choose must have the ritual tag. The class you choose also must have the ritual tag. The class you choose also determines your spellcasting ability for these spells: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.
- If you come across a spell in written form, such as a magical spell scroll or a wizard’s spellbook, you might be able to add it to your ritual book. The spell must be on the spell list for the class you chose, the spell’s level can be no higher than half your level (rounded up), and it must have the ritual tag. The process of copying the spell into your ritual book takes 2 hours per level of the spell and costs 50 gp per level. The cost represents the material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.
At first glance you might not think this is that impressive; having two 1st level spells isn’t the best thing out there. If that was it, you’d be right.
The big bonus is that you can copy spells into your book in much the same way a wizard can. This can give you access to much higher-leveled spells that you won’t need a spell slot for.
Not needing spell slots means something huge. You don’t need spell slots of any level to cast spells.
This means that a level one barbarian who took this feat with wizard as the focused class can cast the 5th-level spell Rary’s Telepathic Bond if they happen across the appropriate spell scroll and have 10 hours to kill copying it down.
That would’ve taken nine whole levels in wizard, and even then you’d only be able to cast it once a day.
Keep in mind, that’s just one example, and there are many other things that feel downright game-breaking about this feat when you really put your mind to it.
In case you haven’t read our article on ritual casting already, I’ll give you the brief of it.
Ritual casting allows you to cast spells without a spell slot, provided they are able to be cast as rituals. This process does take 10 minutes longer, but since these are mostly non-combat spells, that isn’t really a deterrent.
Ritual Caster and Ritual Casting: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between the class feature and this feat is that the feat provides you with a book of specifically ritual spells of one class.
Spellcasters who have ritual casting just have the ability to cast a few of their spells as rituals instead of using a spell slot, while Ritual Casters have an entirely separate group of spells dedicated to the sole purpose of being cast as rituals.
This might not seem like a big difference, but considering the fact that most classes require you to have a spell prepared in order to cast it as a ritual, there’s a lot to be gained here.
To answer the subtext question of “What’s the point?”: the point of this feat is to gain access to more spells than you would normally and free up some known/prepared spells in the process.
Who Should Take the Ritual Caster Feat?
This is one of the rare situations where anyone can benefit from taking a feat.
Whether you’re a barbarian looking to get more utility outside of combat or a sorcerer looking to expand their casting ability, this can benefit you.
Probably the only class that won’t benefit from this is the wizard class, who can already cast any ritual spells from their spellbook. Even then, they could take this feat focused on another class so they can effectively expand their spell list.
The biggest thing that should deter anyone from this feat is the prerequisite, but having a 13 in either intelligence or wisdom isn’t that hard and barely even constitutes a M.A.D. build.
How To Get the Most Out of Ritual Caster
If you want to see value in this feat you’re going to want good spells to fill your ritual book with. This means taking the spell list of a good class and being in a campaign that is going to expose you to more powerful spells.
Before we jump into the spell lists, let’s talk about spell exposure.
As any wizard can tell you, it’s not every day that you get the chance to peek at another wizard’s spell book. Unless you’re in a campaign filled with mages (maybe a Strixhaven campaign) you’re going to mostly rely on spell scrolls.
Good DMs will see you take this feat and create opportunities for you, maybe even make entire quests around getting cool spells. Really, that’s a note for any dungeon masters out there – make your players dreams come true.
Still, you can’t always rely on that being possible, especially if your DM already has a solid idea of what the campaign looks like.
So here’s the big tip: take this if there is a wizard in your party. This might seem super obvious, but it’s important to know that you can just copy their ritual spells down and be another person capable of working some magic in important scenarios.
You don’t even need to be using the wizard spell list since there are quite a few ritual spells that overlap between classes.
Now, in order to get the most out of Ritual Caster, you also need to have a reason for taking it.
There is a bit of a difference in the utility of this feat if you’re a caster or if you wouldn’t normally have access to spells, so let’s discuss that.
Whether you’re a full-time spell slinger or a paladin stocked to the teeth with smites, spell slots are extremely important, and so are your prepared spells.
This feat lets you conserve some of your most valuable resources by not worrying about some of the utility spells we all know and love.
If you’ve played Pokemon, you might be familiar with the concept of an HM slave. It’s a weird term, but it was used for a pokemon in your party whose entire moveset was dedicated to out-of-combat utility.
Being that member of a D&D party is so consuming, and even putting spells like Detect Magic or Purify Food and Drink can feel like you’re betraying your awesome character design.
This feat lets you have your cake and eat it too. Being able to cast those utility spells as rituals lets you do the things you really want to do with your spell slots and your prepared spells.
Find Familiar is why you’re here, maybe, but more on that later. Of course, you could also be here because your party splits up a lot or there aren’t a lot of casters in your party.
You’re presented with the opportunity to sacrifice an ASI or a more martial-themed feat, in hopes of getting your party through tough situations.
Ritual Spells in 5e
There aren’t that many spells in 5e that can be cast as rituals. Out of the over 500 spells currently published, there are only 34 which have the ritual tag.
Below, I’ve listed all the spells and which class’s spell list they’re on.
Comprehend Languages 1st-Level
- Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Detect Magic 1st-Level
- Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard
Detect Poison and Disease 1st-Level
- Cleric, Druid
Find Familiar 1st-Level
Tenser’s Floating Disk 1st-Level
- Bard, Wizard
Illusory Script 1st-Level
- Bard, Warlock, Wizard
Purify Food and Drink 1st-Level
- Cleric, Druid
Speak with Animals 1st-Level
- Bard, Druid
Unseen Servant 1st-Level
- Bard, Warlock, Wizard
Animal Messenger 2nd-Level
- Bard, Druid
Beast Sense 2nd-Level
Gentle Repose 2nd-Level
- Cleric, Wizard
Locate Animals or Plants 2nd-Level
- Bard, Druid
Magic Mouth 2nd-Level
- Bard, Wizard
- Bard, Cleric
- Bard, Druid, Wizard
Feign Death 3rd-Level
- Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard
Leomund’s Tiny Hut 3rd-Level
- Bard, Wizard
Meld into Stone 3rd-Level
- Cleric, Druid
Phantom Seed 3rd-Level
Water Breathing 3rd-Level
- Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard
Water Walk 3rd-Level
- Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer
Commune with Nature 5th-Level
Contact other Plane 5th-Level
- Warlock, Wizard
Rary’s Telepathic Bond 5th-Level
Dramij’s Instant Summons 6th-Level
For those of you who are a bit more visually minded like myself, here’s a graph.
This shows how many ritual spells each class has in their arsenal, along with how many of those you can learn right away.
As you can see, bard, cleric, and druid are all really evenly matched, sorcerer and warlock are pretty abysmal, and wizard really stands out above the rest.
That being said, if you have a specific spell in mind, like say Beast Sense, you should go with the class that has that spell.
What Are the Best Spells To Take With Ritual Caster?
When we pick our 1st-level spells as we take this feat, we want something that is going to be versatile and useful.
The top options are definitely going to be Find Familiar and Detect Magic, but other spells like Tenser’s Floating Disk, Purify Food and Drink, and even Ceremony can be incredibly useful in the right campaigns/situations.
Find Familiar definitely sits in at the top of the list because it can help any character in big ways. Literally, a familiar can use the Help action and give you (or your allies if you’re nice) advantage on an ability check or attack roll.
I like the idea of a barbarian with a little rat that gives him advantage on his attacks, Ratatouille style, but that’s just me…
Detect Magic is self-explanatory, but that doesn’t mean I won’t explain it.
You’re going to be able to figure out where magical creatures and objects are nearby – extremely helpful when there isn’t a caster nearby – or if you are a caster that doesn’t want to constantly keep Detect Magic locked and loaded.
If you’ve been hemming and hawing about this feat and whether or not you should take it, take it.
You won’t be disappointed even if you’re never able to scribe in a single new spell. Chances are though, you will get access to some incredible abilities that really make your character stand out from the crowd.
As always, happy adventuring.