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Can a wizard use wands and scrolls of spells from his prohibited schools of magic?

  1. i.e: Can an abjurer who banned evocation and enchantment use a wand or scroll of fireball (an evocation spell) normally?

  2. If he can't use them normally, could he instead use them with the Use Magic Device skill?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Switching default male pronoun to default female, in deference to Wizards’ own style and to match rules quotes.

Her wizard class features give her no special ability to activate the item

As she does not have access to Enchantment or Evocation spells, she does not qualify as having those spells on her spell list for the purposes of activating spell-completion and spell-trigger items (e.g. scrolls and wands), even for spells that are otherwise on the wizard spell list. The School Specialization sidebar makes that much, at least, quite clear:

Spells of the prohibited school or schools are not available to the wizard, and she can’t even cast such spells from scrolls or fire them from wands. (PHB1 p57)

However, Use Magic Device is all about using items you usually can’t

A wizard could use the Use Magic Device skill to activate such items, the same as any other character. Wizards don’t get Use Magic Device in-class and don’t tend to invest heavily in Charisma, but the loremaster prestige class is really easy for a wizard to enter, and would get you Use Magic Device.

Anyway, that a wizard can Use Magic Device on spell-completion and spell-trigger items is, unfortunately, not immediately clear from the rule I quoted: that rule says they are not available, with no qualifications. Unfortunately, Wizards had this tendency, particularly early on, to assume single-classed characters, and ignored cross-class skills. It probably simplified the language, but at the cost of making things confusing when you stepped away from those assumptions.

For this, I am going to draw parallels to the question of whether or not a multiclass specialist wizard may cast spells of her banned school with her other class. The books explicitly allow this (Complete Arcane 185), despite that very same rule I’ve quoted above which seems to say that the specialist wizard may not cast those spells at all. What that line actually means is that the wizard class itself does not give you the ability to cast those spells or use those items when you specialize and ban those schools. You can still use the usual methods around that inability, the same as, say, a monk could.

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A Wizard does not naturally acquire "Use magic device" but do not fear:

Domain granted power - Magic Domain - now you can use spell trigger items from any school. Complete Champion page 52.

However, you are trading level 5 feat for it, but then again if you're not multiclassing after 5 levels of Wizard, I don't know what you're doing with yourself to get the 'use magic device', so the tradeoff pays off nicely.

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