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I have a wizard PC who wants to gain the feat Magic Initiate and use free 1st level spell to use mage armour once a day. He already knows Mage armour, so:

  1. Can he use the Feat to gain a free casting of Mage armour once each day?
  2. Should he get another 1st level spell but not get to freely cast it once a day?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Kinradia, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange. Check out our tour to see how we work here, and when you reach 20 rep, you can join us in Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 19 '17 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ #2: Do you mean to ask whether it would be practical for him to learn one or that if he gets to learn one more because he took a spell he knows with the feat? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Dec 19 '17 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does he get to learn one more spell because he took the feat, despite using the feat on a spell he already knows? \$\endgroup\$ – Kinradia Dec 19 '17 at 17:50
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So, assuming your player chooses Wizard as their Magic Initiate class:

If their chosen Initiate 1st-level spell is Mage Armor, they learn the spell (add it to their spellbook) and also can cast it for free once a day. However, to cast it with spell slots, they must also prepare it as one of their spells for the day. This does allow them to pick other spells for their starting spells known, and still have the ability to prepare Mage Armor if they wish.

However, if they already know Mage Armor, taking the feat does not automatically allow them to learn a different spell for free; if they did, they would cast that one 1/day instead of Mage Armor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So no extra spell if he wants the feat to effect his use of mage armour? \$\endgroup\$ – Kinradia Dec 19 '17 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correct, in the absence of houserules. \$\endgroup\$ – Paladin852 Dec 19 '17 at 18:25
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You can gain the spell to cast for free 1/day, but that is the spell you are picking.

You would not get to pick a 2nd 1st level spell just because you already know it. While you can move your Initiate spell to your spellbook, you can not move a spell into Initiate with it's rules.

From the Sage Advice Compendium:

If you have spell slots, can you use them to cast the 1st level spell you learn with the Magic Initiate feat? Yes, but only if the class you pick for the feat is one of your classes. For example, if you pick sorcerer and you are a sorcerer, the Spellcasting feature for that class tells you that you can use your spell slots to cast the sorcerer spells you know, so you can use your spell slots to cast the 1st-level sorcerer spell you learn from Magic Initiate. Similarly, if you are a wizard and pick that class for the feat, you learn a 1st-level wizard spell, which you could add to your spellbook and subsequently prepare.

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