Can the Book of Shadows from a Warlock pact double as a Wizard's spell book if the character has multiclassed? If the Book of Shadows was lost and the character summoned a new one, would the transcribed spells return as well?


6 Answers 6


There is nothing mechanically preventing it, so talk to your DM about it

A wizard's chooses their spellbook and it can be almost anything - even a bag of rocks

Xanathar's Guide to Everything, goes into even more detail about a Wizard's spellbook and how they definitely have a great amount of flexibility when choosing what to use.

Your wizard character’s most prized possession — your spellbook — might be an innocuous-looking volume whose covers show no hint of what’s inside. Or you might display some flair, as many wizards do, by carrying a spellbook of an unusual sort. If you don’t own such an item already, one of your goals might be to find a spellbook that sets you apart by its appearance or its means of manufacture.

It includes examples of spellbooks of differing designs and compositions such as:

Small stones inscribed with spells and kept in a cloth bag


A tome with pages that are thin sheets of metal, spells etched into them with acid

So, a wizard can literally inscribe their spells on rocks if they want to. There's no indication here if this is actually any restriction on what is allowed besides that you be able to write/inscribe on it. If anything, it seems they are encouraging players to find creative things to use as spellbooks.

Book of Shadows easily fits the description of a standard spellbook

Pact of the Tome. Your Book of Shadows might be a fine, gilt-edged tome with spells of enchantment and illusion, gifted to you by the lordly Archfey. It could be a weighty tome bound in demon hide studded with iron, holding spells of conjuration and a wealth of forbidden lore about the sinister regions of the cosmos, a gift of the Fiend. Or it could be the tattered diary of a lunatic driven mad by contact with the Great Old One, holding scraps of spells that only your own burgeoning insanity allows you to understand and cast.

Narratively, many of these things sounds like they could be describing a wizard's spellbook. In fact, even more like a typical spellbook than many of the options listed above that are allowed for actual spellbooks (rocks eg).

Given the similarity, your DM might reasonably rule that you can use a Book of Shadows as a spellbook

The fact that they are narratively very similar and that there is nothing in either class or in the mechanics of the tomes themselves that would preclude such a use says to me that it is likely able to be used without much worry in a game.

I actually cannot think of a way I would reasonably be able to say to my player that they aren't able to write spells in their Book of Shadows but rocks are totally ok. You can write in it and it seems that is enough.

Of course, this is an unusual use and your DM must be the one to make the final call on whether they agree with it.

Besides a potential (significant) advantage against losing the Spellbook of Shadows, there really isn't much in the way of mechanical advantage or disadvantage to be had here. And because this advantage comes from a player's choice in class, I am fine to give it to them personally.

Replacing your Book of Shadows/Spellbook (Wizard spells probably will not regenerate)

If you lose your Book of Shadows, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and it destroys the previous book. The book turns to ash when you die.

The rules don't say here whether any modifications you made to the book (eg adding wizard spells to it) are preserved when the new book is summoned. This will have to be a DM decision on how they want this to work (if they allowed it in the first place).

If the DM says that the inscribed spells are retained, then you have a spellbook that is impossible to lose.

However, it seems much more reasonable to rule that they do not. The powers that give the Book of Shadows likely have no interest in standard wizard spells and may actually dislike them (thanks @ShadoCat).

If the DM rules that the inscribed spells are not retained, then you have to follow the standard wizard rules for inscribing spells. It never hurts to have a backup "standard" wizard spellbook, just in case.

Note that just because you are putting wizard spells in your book of secrets does not make them warlock spells.

The mechanics of which spells are considered class spells are outlined in each class and in the rules elsewhere. Using a Book of Shadows as a spellbook will not change these. This is essentially just a retheme of the case in which you would have two separate books with very little mechanical difference.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, Mearls discounts part of this but he is technically not citable for this venue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth: also he appears to be both unsure "don't believe so" and wrong since there is nothing in the class feature of the wizard that puts a restriction on the spellbook that I can find. Mearls is much more familiar with intent and design and not nearly as good at adjudicating rules from an end-product perspective. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would say that not being losable is a huge advantage, not slight, but this would vary from table to table, I suppose. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I wasn't debating the call, I just thought that it's not an insignificant advantage and should be more emphasized in your answer. Besides making your spellbook unlosable, it means an enemy can never steal it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 0:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ The powers that give the Book of Shadows likely have no interest in standard wizard spells and may actually dislike them. I'd rule that you get the BoS as a brand new worn out ratty tomb that looks exactly like it did when you first got it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadoCat
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:06

Yes. A Warlock's Book of Shadows can also be used as a Wizard's spellbook.

The most important thing about a Wizard's spellbook is that it is their personal spellbook, where they have described in their own manner and notation how to cast a spell. They may only prepare Wizard spells from their own spellbook. There is a section in the Wizard class writeup (PHB 114) which gives an open-ended description for how the spellbook might physically appear.

Nothing in the description of the Pact of the Tome (PHB 108) feature for Warlocks contradicts the loose rules on spellbooks for Wizards. It should be possible for the spellbook given by the Warlock Patron to also be usable for Wizard spells.

The description for spellbook under Adventuring Gear (PHB 150) is an example of a typical spellbook which might be easily purchased for 50 gp and weighs 3 lbs. It happens to have 100 blank vellum pages when bought.

The grimoire given to the Warlock by her Patron might indeed be (physically) the same as a basic spellbook that you can buy from a merchant, but it should not have to be. Likewise, there does not appear to be a hard rule on the number of pages that can be in a spellbook or against other forms or recording spells.

(This answer expands on Slagmoth's comment pointing out the equipment description as a typical example, not a hard rule.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, Mearls discounts this but he is technically not citable for this venue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. (1) Mearls was not very definitive in his answer. (2) I don't see anything in the Warlock feature preventing this. (3) WWJCD. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick Brown
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:49

No. They are two distinct items.

A spellbook is a specific item in the Player's Handbook; not just any book will do. The magic of the Book of Shadows does not constitute the requirements for the spellbook item

More specifically, a spellbook is made with vellum pages whereas the grimoire granted by your pact does not ensure this.

a spellbook is a leather-bound tome with 100 blank vellum pages

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    \$\begingroup\$ This should really be read as "typically". Different cultures have different ways of recording things, using the description of an item as gospel for a rules adjudication that all of them are the same seems shaky. Check out the sidebar on PHB 114 on "The Book's Appearance". Could literally be anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:17

Yes and No.

There is no reason why a warlock/wizard couldn't write his spells into the Book of Shadows and use that portion of it as his spellbook. It will have to be tracked separately, i.e. any spells written in it as warlock spells (if you have the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation) will not be able to be prepared as wizard spells.

What is in a newly summoned Book of Shadows replacing a lost one is a DM call. Certainly the three cantrips, yes. There is debate as to whether the replacement book even comes with all the rituals added to it if you have the BoAS; I rule that it does, that the added rituals become part of the book provided (and replaced if needed) by the patron. I would rule that the replacement book would not include the wizard spellbook portion (or, for that matter, any poems, recipes, diary entries, or lunatic ravings) unless prior arrangement of that is made with the patron (and the DM).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The concern I have with the replacement not including the wizard spells is the "lost" BoS is destroyed as part of the summoning, which means if you use it as a spellbook you cannot summon a new one without destroying your old one... a normal spellbook can be traded/sold/found (if lost). In this case, summoning ruins all of these potentially positive things, so there is a large extra risk associated with combining them... although a GM could decide only the warlock portions turn to dust and the spellbook sections remain. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 23:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, if what the player wants is for only the warlock portions to turn to dust if he has to re-summon his Book of Shadows, he can make and use his wizard spellbook normally, separately, like any other wizard. And, in either case, of course the wizard can make a spare book to keep in a safe place, according to the rules for those. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 23:45

RAW, you can not use it as a Wizard's Spellbook

A Wizard's Spellbook requires (PHB, 114) limits a spellbook to contain only Wizard spells.

When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a level for which you have spell slots and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.

This is a hard limit that doesn't allow the possibility of inscribing spells from other lists in it without having to homebrew a solution for a combined Wizard/Warlock book and what happens on recall.

The Warlock's Book of Shadows

The Pact of the Tome (PHB, 108) provides this book at third level, with the following capability:

When you gain this feature, choose three cantrips from any class’s spell list. While the book is on your person, you can cast those cantrips at will. They don’t count against your number of cantrips known.

Unless you take the Book of Ancient Secrets Invocation (PHB, 110), there isn't even any mechanic allowing the Warlock to add any spells into the book. And even with that specific Invocation, they can only add Ritual spells.

But a book is a book, right?

One would think that because the Book of Shadows is a book, it could double as a Wizard's Spellbook for containing spells. There are, however, a couple of problems with that assumption:

  1. Warlock's can't add new spells to the Book unless they take the Invocation for adding Ritual Spells.
  2. Wizard's can only have Wizard Spells in their spellbook

Bypassing the recreation of a Wizard's Spellbook

The Book of Shadows allows replacement (PHB, 108)

If you lose your Book of Shadows, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron.

A wizard is very dependent on their spellbook, and the mechanics to replace it are not simple - especially for anything that wasn't prepared.

If you lose your spellbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new spellbook. Filling out the remainder of your spellbook requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal. For this reason, many wizards keep backup spellbooks in a safe place.

By putting spells in a book that can be summoned in it's entirety back after loss or destruction, you are significantly increasing the power of a Wizard by removing that obstacle. This is not a minor obstacle, either. Wizards need to spend time and money in order to make copies and keep them safe. By removing that, you are eliminating a time and money consuming mechanic and ignoring several of the requirements for both Wizards and Warlocks.

A workaround the removes the concern of what happens on recalling the book after it's destruction

Rather than trying to bypass the existing rules around the Book of Shadows and Wizard Spellbooks, just have the Spellbook stuffed with loose sheets of paper with the Wizard's spells on them. It's effectively the same thing as writing them in the book, but it removes any chance of player/DM arguments on whether or not the Wizard spells return.

In addition, it does allow the Warlock/Wizard to inscribe Rituals into the book (if they took that invocation) that would return on recall - while the loose leaf sheets of Wizard spells would not.

A reason to allow

Rubiksmoose's answer is very well thought out, and as long as the Wizard spells do not reappear when the Book of Shadows is replaced, then there is little risk. It is just very important that both players and DMs understand that those spells will be lost upon destruction, loss, or replacement of an existing Book of Shadows.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that the Patron would not (and could not) re-scribe the wizard spells into the book, and thus it's a nonissue. However, to get around your silly (your words) limitation, just glue loose pages into the book of shadows. ta-da. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 That's exactly my point. Simplify it by just stuffing/pasting your loose leaf spells into the book. It bypasses any arguments between player and DM as to wait happens when the book is recreated. Those pages are in the book, but are not the book. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you have to make a workaround for the sake of a workaround, then what is the point? If I wasn't allowed to put cups in the glass cabinet, unless I'd put a piece of paper beneath them (even though I could take the piece of paper away afterwards), what is the point of having the piece of paper at all? \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a well supported and well reasoned answer, +1. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Wizards can only have wizard spells in their spellbook." There is nothing in any rulebook anywhere stating this. I could fill all of the margins of my spellbook with fried rice recipes just as easily as I could inscribe warlock-style secrets. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 24, 2018 at 15:56

As A Dm I would situationally allow it. But there is a compromise to be made.

Before everyone looses their mind, we should look at rules as written and rules as intended. A wizards spell book by definition is: "Your spellbook is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous spellbook in a mishap." By definition A dwarf could put a bunch of rocks, covered in the proper magical formula's and stuffed into a nice bag. But if we are going to insist on using proper terms lets latch on to it being a 'loose collection of notes' It should be noted that in the wizard class itself it acknowledges that a wizard can have more then one spellbook.

That being said, its function is 2 fold. First it is meant to store the knowlage of the spells. Secondly The spell book can optionally be used as a spellcasting focus.

Looking at the book of Shadows its discription is "Your patron gives you a grimoire called a Book of Shadows. When you gain this feature, choose three cantrips from any class's spell list (the three needn't be from the same list). While the book is on your person, you can cast those cantrips at will. They don't count against your number of cantrips known. If they don't appear on the warlock spell list, they are nonetheless warlock spells for you." It can also be used as an arcane focus.

The inteded function of the book of shadows is to give the warlock all the bonus's and invocations that come with it, as well as represent what the warlocks goals and magical knowlage. Much like a wizard dose with his spellbook to a much lesser extend.

A compromise can then be reached, What if the Wizard recreated lets say Ten pages of their spell blook, Then they shoved the pages into the book of shadows itself. By definition of a spell book being able to be "A LOOSE COLLECTION OF NOTES" the book of shadow's is a spell book. The wizard can then store their real spell book in a moderately safe location. You could aditionally take the book of ancient secrets invocation and copy all your wizard rituals into the book itself, and functionally its a wizards spell book. For the case of the "order of scribes" the sentient spellbook will be the pages shoved into the book of shadows.

That being said, the compromise that I put in the beginning of this explanation is this. If the book of secrets is Lost/destroyed, the spell blook pages are assumed to be lost/destroyed. Other then that the book of shadows can be used as an Arcane focus for wizard spells. The logic being is that Just as you can use the same wand, for a sorcerer spell, A wizard spell, and a Warlock spell, an arcane focus's only job is to channel the magical energy. If you want another reason, its becouse the spellbook inside the book of shadows is actually the one acting as the arcane focus.

Three last point. First if you read the multiclassing rules, under spellcasting with Pact Magic it states "If you have both the Spellcasting class feature and the Pact Magic class feature from the warlock class, you can use the spell slots you gain from the Pact Magic feature to cast spells you know or have prepared from classes with the Spellcasting class feature, and you can use the spell slots you gain from the Spellcasting class feature to cast warlock spells you know." You could cast fireball with pact magic, and hex with a level one spell slot as a level 20 if you fit both requirements for the spells. Pact magic can be used in tandom with wizard spells, and vice versa. Why are we makeing it more complicated then it has to be.

Second, if there was no cost for loosening your spell book's that would break the wizard. So if a you could just short rest and restore the spell book to perfect condition that defeats the purpose of it being lost.

Last but not least. The D&D is about haveing fun. As A DM you have FINAL SAY in what happens at your table for ruleings like this. Think about when you where playing, you probably fell inlove with a concept for a character, think about when you did something really cool that probably shouldn't have worked like it did realisticly. Let your players have those moments. In a recent campain I had a first time player be slighly peer pressured into warlock. He read the rules and realized that he could play a pact of the blade with his Archfey patron. He grabbed the 'Moonbow' Invocation and used Eldrich blasts as if they where spectral arrows that 'exploded' on impact. Whenever he cast a spell When discribing his action, it started with createing a spectral Arrow, he shot it and then (The spell) Took effect. He went from being slightly annoyed that he was getting roled into a spell caster, but now warlock is probably going to be his favorite class. Is that technically how a warlock should cast there spells? No, but it dosen't break the rules so... I ruled it was fine, everyone loved it! Work with your players to see what they want, and if its doable do it!

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    \$\begingroup\$ The DMing having final say is a truism, and not really a valid portion of any argument. It's the rough equivalent of a parent telling a child "because I said so". \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 1:13

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