The Thief rogue's Use Magic Device feature says:

By 13th level, you have learned enough about the workings of magic that you can improvise the use of items even when they are not intended for you. You ignore all class, race and level requirements on the use of magic items.

This allows the rogue to attune to "sorcerer/wizard/warlock only" items. But is the restriction "requires attunement by a spellcaster" also covered by the trait?

The official "spellcaster restriction" is explained in the rules on attunement:

If the prerequisite is to be a spellcaster, a creature qualifies if fit can cast at least one spell using its traits or features, not using magic items or the like.

The problem I have with that is, that I think that by RAW, Use Magic Device does not let you use an item restricted to "spellcasters", but generally those items are supposed to be less restricted than other items which might be class exclusive. Or have I overlooked something?

Does the Thief rogue's Use Magic Device feature let them attune to items that require attunement by a spellcaster?


3 Answers 3


By RAW, no.

The Use Magic Device feature lists the specific attunement requirements that it circumvents, and, as the question states, "spellcaster" isn't one of them. There are other attunement requirements that Use Magic Device doesn't get around — for example, alignment restrictions exist for a Sword of Answering or a Talisman of Pure Good (or Evil).

If the intent was for Use Magic Device to get around all attunement restrictions, then it would say so; we can infer that the intent is that some such restrictions cannot be avoided.

It's possible that the intent of the designers was to allow rogues with Use Magic Device to be able to use the (mostly) wands with the 'spellcaster' restriction, but so far the wording of the rules doesn't support that.

But probably by RAI, yes.

In this Twitter post from October 2016, Jeremy Crawford was asked about how a Wand of Paralysis is used by a rogue, and he doesn't say that it can't be done. But the applicability of Use Magic Device to the spellcaster attunement requirement wasn't the subject of the question, either.

However, this doesn't seem to be a critical game balance issue, and given that Use Magic Device is intended to allow rogues to use spell scrolls, it doesn't seem unreasonable to extend it to the "spellcaster" items as well.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ But isn't spellcasting a class restriction? Aren't the traits/features required to become a spellcaster derived wholly from classes (unless you think that racial spellcasting counts)? I mostly agree with your RAW interpretation, but I disagree that the "wording of the rules doesn't support [qualifying as a spellcaster]"; I think it supports it vaguely because spellcasting is (usually) a class feature/trait. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2017 at 21:05
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @eyecosahedron "a creature qualifies if it can cast at least one spell using its traits or features". The rule could have said "class features", but it doesn't; it thus definitely includes racial spellcasting and the Magic Initiate feat. So, no, spellcasting doesn't derive wholly from classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jul 4, 2017 at 21:32

Does the “use magic device” feature of the thief subclass allow you to attune to items requiring you to be a spellcaster?

Yes, it allows Thief rogues to attune to such magic items

Being a spellcaster is defined in the rules by the creature having the spellcasting feature, gained either as a class feature (e.g. Sorcerer PHB p. 101: spellcasting) or as a racial trait (e.g. Spirit Naga MM p. 234: spellcasting or Drow Elite Warrior MM p. 128: innate spellcasting). Either way the Use Magic Device feature means a 13th+ level Thief ignores this requirement. As stated in the Use Magic Device feature:

Use Magic Device (PHB p. 97) says:

You ignore all class, race and level requirements on the use of magic items.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ In the DMG it defines spellcaster as the following: "If the prerequisite is to be a spellcaster, a creature qualifies if fit can cast at least one spell using its traits or features, not using magic items or the like." (DMG, p.136&138) not as a creature with "spellcasting feature". I am not sure that your argument is valid, even though it feels correct. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thyzer
    Jun 28, 2017 at 19:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Find me a monster from an official source where "can cast at least one spell using its traits or features" is not under a "spellcasting" or "innate spellcasting" trait or feature. It's why I included the examples. I can't find one, though I have not been exhaustive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Jun 29, 2017 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Spellcasting" is something specific, it's something that is granted by your class usually at level 1 but half-casters like Paladin get it at level 2. "Innate Spellcasting" is again a specific term found in stat blocks. Every player race that can cast a spell isn't listed as "Spellcasting" a High Elf has "Cantrip" whereas a Drow has "Drow Magic", also Warlocks have "Pact Magic" not "Spellcasting, a Way of the Shadow or Way of the Four Elements Monk can cast spells but doesn't have the "Spellcasting" class feature, and lastly if you gain the ability to cast a spell via a Feat like Ritual Caster \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon H
    Jun 30, 2017 at 7:16

Aside from spell scrolls, attunement is the only way I can think of in which magic items apply the class, race, or level restrictions the Thief Rogue's feature is intended to circumvent. It seems strange for the feature to bypass these restrictions themselves, but still be blocked by the method by which they are applied.


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