What Is A Ritual Spell?
Spells in Dungeons and Dragons are a critical function of spellcasting classes. In low magic settings, one may see them less. But in most classical Forgotten Realms settings, magic is a staple tool for combat and problem-solving.
Their casters may employ them for combat, puzzle-solving, or even social interaction as they move through the worlds in which they adventure.
For the vast majority of spells, they require the use of a Spell Slot, which determines the relative power (level) of the spell and is consumed upon use. Some, however, can be cast without the use of spell slots by performing rituals.
The Player’s Handbook states that:
Certain spells have a special tag: ritual. Such a spell can be cast following the normal rules for spellcasting, or the spell can be cast as a ritual. The ritual version of a spell takes 10 minutes longer to cast than normal. It also doesn’t expend a spell slot, which means the ritual version of a spell can’t be cast at a higher level.
To cast a spell as a ritual, a spellcaster must have a feature that grants the ability to do so. The cleric and the druid, for example, have such a feature. The caster must also have the spell prepared or on his or her list of spells known, unless the character’s ritual feature specifies otherwise, as the wizard’s does.
Spells with the ‘Ritual’ tag are primarily used for utility or problem solving as most players don’t have 100 turns of combat to spare to ritual cast a spell during a fight; their power is their utility value.
Rituals such as Identify, Comprehend Languages, and Detect Magic are amongst the most potent problem-solving tools available to casters.
Who Can Cast Ritual Spells?
The ritual spells available — and the circumstance under which they can be cast — for each character will vary based on classes, subclasses, and feats.
As stated by the Player’s Handbook: “To cast a spell as a ritual, a spellcaster must have a feature that grants the ability to do so.”
Each spellcasting class has different limitations:
You can cast an artificer spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
You can cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.
You can cast a cleric spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
You can cast a druid spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.
These are the only published classes that come with their own Ritual Casting feature.
Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Warlocks cannot Ritual cast spells — even if they have the Ritual tag — without first taking the Ritual Caster feat.
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.
Players who take the Ritual Caster feat can ritual cast spells out of their ritual book.
It is possible to take the Ritual Caster feat more than one time, thus allowing you to have ritual books for more than one class, but at that point, it may be better to simply multiclass to gain access to the whole level 1 spell list.
Ritual Spell List By Class
Players looking to utilize the Ritual Caster feat to its fullest should consider the spell lists of both their current class — should they have one — and the class they intend to utilize as the basis for their ritual book.
The following table shows the casting ability of each class.
- ✓ – all subclasses of this class have natural access to it.
- ✘ – a class has no natural access to it.
- ⨁ – certain subclasses of this class gain access to it.
Players looking to utilize Ritual Caster to its fullest should consider taking Wizard, Cleric, or Druid as their ritual casting class, as these classes have the widest breadth of ritual casting ability.
Ritual Spell List Cheat Sheet
Below, we’ve assembled a shortened tool-tip set for all the above ritual spells, a cheat sheet of sorts. Clicking on the spell’s name will take you to the full details page for the spell’s effect.
The caster designates a door, window, or space no larger than a 20-foot cube that is magically warded against intrusion. Tiny or larger creatures other than those designated by the caster that touch the object or enter the space trigger a mental or audible alarm.
Mental alarms ping the caster so long as they are within 1 mile of the cast site. Mental alarms will wake the caster from sleep. Audible alarms create the sound of a handbell for 10 second that can be heard within 60 feet.
The caster performs any one of a number of religious ceremonies from the list below:
- Atonement: Caster makes a DC 20 Wisdom check to restore a creature whose alignment has changed to its original alignment.
- Bless Water: Creates Holy Water.
- Coming Of Age: Grants a young adult creature an extra 1d4 to any ability check that they make in the next 24 hours. Can only be cast on any creature once.
- Dedication: Grants any creature who wishes to be dedicated to your God’s service an extra 1d4 to all saving throws made in the next 24 hours. Can only be cast on any creature once.
- Funeral Rite: Protects a corpse from becoming undead for the next 7 days. Can be overridden only by a Wish spell.
- Wedding: Grants two adult characters who wish to be married +2 bonus AC so long as they are within 30 feet of each other. Can only be granted again if widowed.
For one hour, the caster is able to understand any spoken languages they hear and any written languages they can see, so long as they are physically touching the surface on which the words are written. Does not affect arcane sigils or glyphs which are not part of a written language.
For up to 10 minutes, you can sense the presence and location of magic within 30 feet of you. You can use an action to sense a faint aura around any object or creature which bears magic and learn its School of Magic. This spell is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.
Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard
For up to 10 minutes, you can sense the presence and location of poisons, poisonous creatures, and diseases within 30 feet of you. You can also identify the poisons, creatures, and diseases in each case. his spell is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.
You gain the service of a familiar — a fey, celestial, or fiend — which takes the form of a beast of your choice from the list. The familiar acts independently of you but always follows your instructions.
The familiar has a telepathic bond with the caster and can be used to deliver touch range spells so long as they are within 100 feet of you. Once summoned, the caster can dismiss their familiar to a pocket dimension where they await their next summons. If a familiar drops to 0 HP, it is dispelled and the ritual must be cast again in its entirety to gain service from a new familiar.
Creates a circular, horizontal force plane with a 3-foot diameter that is 1 inch thick. The disk remains for 1 hour and can hold up to 500 pounds. If more weight is placed on it, the spell ends.
The disk is immobile while you are within 20 feet of it but will follow you if you move further away from it. The disk can move over uneven terrain and slopes but cannot cross an elevation change of more than 10 feet, such as a 10-foot deep pit. The spell ends if you move more than 100 feet from it.
You choose an object you can touch. If it is a magic or magic-imbued item, you learn its properties, how to use it, if it requires attunement, and how many — if any — charges it has left.
You also know what spells — if any — are affecting it. If the item was created by a spell, you learn what spell created it. If cast on a creature, you learn what — if any — spells are affecting it.
Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Wizard
The caster chooses a piece of their own writing. To those not designated by the caster, they see the message as an unintelligible magic script or a different message selected by the caster. Creatures with truesight can read the original message.
Non-magical food and drink within a 5-foot sphere are purified of all poison and disease.
Artificer, Cleric, Druid
You gain the ability to speak with and understand animals. Their knowledge and awareness are limited, and they may not have particularly in-depth knowledge. You may be able to persuade them to perform a small favour for you at the DM’s discretion.
Bard, Nature Domain (Cleric), Druid
You create a mindless, shapeless, invisible force that performs simple tasks at your command and lasts for 1 hour. On each turn, as a bonus action, you can command it to move up to 15 feet away from you and interact with objects.
It can perform tasks such as pouring wine or serving food. It has 10 AC, 1 HP, and 2 Strength but cannot attack. The spell ends if you send the servant more than 60 feet away from you.
You select a Tiny creature, such as a squirrel or a bat, and specify both a location you have visited and a person who matches a general description such as “man wearing the uniform of a town guard”.
You then speak a message of up to 25 words. The creature will travel towards the location for the spell’s duration covering 50 miles per 24 hours of flying and 25 miles if not flying. When the messenger arrives, they deliver the message, replicating the sound of your voice. If the message is not delivered within 24 hours, it is lost.
By employing some kind of divination tool, you receive an omen from an otherworldly entity about a specific course of action you intend to take.
The DM may choose the following omens:
- Weal for good results.
- Woe for bad results.
- Weal and woe for both good and bad results.
- Nothing for neither good nor bad results.
The spell does not take into account any circumstances which may change the outcome. If you cast it multiple times without taking a long rest, there is a cumulative 25% chance of receiving a random reading.
Touching a willing Beast grants you the ability to use your action to perceive what they see and hear. You can use any special senses they possess while doing so but are blinded and deafened to your surroundings.
You protect a target corpse from decay, and it cannot become undead for 10 days. It also extends the time limit on resurrecting them as days spent under the influence of this spell do not count against spells such as Raise Dead.
Cleric, Wizard, Circle of Spores (Druid)
Describe or name an animal or plant. Focusing on the voice of nature will give you directions to the nearest animal or creature of that type if any exist within 5 miles.
Choose an item not being worn or carried by another creature and say a message of 25 words or less. Upon encountering triggers you designate, a mouth will appear on the object and speak your message in the same voice, tone, and volume that you initially spoke it.
If the object has a mouth or something that looks like a mouth, the mouth will appear to make it seem as if the object said the message. The triggers may be as general or as detailed as you like but must be based upon visual or audible cues.
Artificer, Bard, Wizard
For up to 10 minutes, no sound can be created in or pass through a 20-foot radius sphere centered on the point of your choice. Creatures inside are immune to thunder damage and deafened. Casting a spell with a verbal component is impossible inside this sphere.
Bard, Cleric, Circle of the Land (Druid)
You can choose up to 10 words to appear in the sky for up to 1 hour. The words seem to be made of clouds, and a strong wind can blow them away.
Artificer, Bard, Druid, Wizard
You flick your wrist and cause the item in your hand to disappear into a pocket dimension where it remains for up to 1 hour. You can use your action to summon the object to your free hand or send it back to the pocket dimension.
Any object still in the pocket dimension when the spell ends appears at your feet.
Chronurgy (Wizard), Graviturgy (Wizard), Dunamancy (Wizard)
You touch a willing creature and place it in a cataleptic state indistinguishable from death for 1 hour. The target is blinded and deafened for the duration and appears dead to all inspections, physical and magical.
If the target is diseased or poisoned when you cast the spell or becomes so after you cast the spell, the disease or poison does not affect them until the spell ends.
Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard
You create a 10-foot radius dome of force energy around you, which protects you and up to 9 medium or smaller creatures from the weather elements for 8 hours. Spells cannot enter or be cast through this dome.
It ends if a creature larger than medium tries to enter, more than 9 creatures try to enter, or you leave its radius. The spell fails to cast if a creature that is too large or too many creatures exist in its area.
The dome is opaque from the outside but transparent from the inside, and you can command it to become dimly lit or dark.
You step into a stone object or surface big enough to hold you, becoming part of the stone. You cannot see out of the stone, and Perception checks to hear out of the stone are made with disadvantage.
Minor damage to the stone does not affect you, but partial destruction of the stone deals 6d6 bludgeoning damage to you and expels you. Complete destruction of the stone or transmutation into a different material deals 50 bludgeoning damage and expels you.
Expulsion from the stone causes you to fall prone on the ground nearest to where you first entered.
You create a Large quasi-real, horselike creature equipped with a saddle, bit, and bridle that lasts for 1 hour. It has the stats of a riding horse but has a speed of 100 feet and can travel 10 miles an hour or 13 miles at a fast pace.
When the spell ends, the steed gradually fades, giving the rider 1 minute to dismount. It also ends if you dispel it or the steed takes damage.
You, and up to 10 creatures you choose, gain the additional ability to breathe underwater for 24 hours.
Artificer, Druid, Wizard
You, and up to 10 creatures you choose, gain the ability to cross any liquid surface as if it were harmless, solid ground (those crossing magma or lava will still take damage from heat).
If targetting a submerged creature, the spell lifts them to the surface at a rate of 60 feet per turn.
Artificer, Cleric, Druid
You make an offering to a God or their servants asking a single question about a specific goal, event, or activity and the DM offers a truthful reply. The answer may be a short phrase, cryptic rhyme, or an omen.
If you try to cast this more than one time per long rest, there is a cumulative 25% chance of receiving a random reply.
Cleric, Circle of the Land – Forest (Druid), Circle of the Land – Grassland (Druid)
You communicate with a divine being or proxy and can ask up to 3 yes-or-no questions. If the question is beyond that deity’s scope of knowledge, the answer may be unclear.
In a situation where a one-word answer may be misleading or contradict the deity’s interests, the DM may offer a short phrase instead. If you cast the spell more than once per long rest, there is a cumulative 25% that you receive no response.
You instantly gain knowledge of the land within 3 miles of you, 300 feet in caves and natural underground settings. This spell can’t be used where the land has been replaced with construction such as dungeons and towns.
You gain up to three facts about your choice of any of the following options:
- terrain and bodies of water
- prevalent plants, minerals, animals, and peoples
- powerful celestials, elementals, fiends, fey, or undead
- influence from other planes of existence
You contact a demigod, the spirit of a sage, or other power extraplanar entity. This spell requires a DC 15 Intelligence save to cast. On a failed save, the spell deals 6d6 psychic damage to the caster, and they are Insane until Greater Restoration is cast upon them or until they finish a long rest.
While insane, they cannot take actions, read, or understand what other creatures are saying, and speak only in gibberish.
On a successful save, they can ask up to 5 questions to the entity they have contacted to which the entity can answer with one-word answers such as “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “always”, “never”, or “unclear”.
If a one-word answer is misleading or contradicts the entity’s interest, the DM may offer a short phrase.
You forge a telepathic link with up to 8 willing creatures lasting as long as 1 hour. While linked, you can communicate with those creatures — regardless of whether or not you share a language — telepathically over any distance.
This spell does not extend to other planes of existence or creatures with less than 2 intelligence.
Using a sapphire worth 1,000 gold as materials, you inscribe an invisible mark of an object’s name on the sapphire. You must use a different sapphire each time you use the spell on an additional item.
After that, you can use your action to speak the item’s name and crush the sapphire. The item will immediately appear in your hand regardless of physical or planar differences, and the spell ends.
If another creature is holding or carrying the item when you crush the sapphire, the item is not transported to you. You, instead, learn about who the creature carrying it is and the rough location of the object. Casting Dispel Magic or a similar effect on the sapphire also ends the spell.
You create a ward that protects up to 40,000 square feet of floor space and a height of 30 feet lasting 1 day.
For the duration, creatures cannot enter the area through teleportation, using portals — such as those created by the spell Gate — or planar travel through the Astral Plane, Shadowfell, Feywilds, Ethereal Plane, or the Plane Shift spell.
You can designate any number of types of creature from the following list: Celestial, Fey, Fiends, Elementals, or Undead.
Any creatures who enter the space take 5d10 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice when you cast the spell). The spell cannot overlap with the radius of another Forbbidance, and if you cast Forbbidance in the same place every day for 30 days, it will last until dispelled.