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The ring of spell storing lets you save uses of a spell for later - great for a paladin who doesn't have many spell slots. At first, I thought it'd be perfect for storing Divine Smite, but reading over it, now I'm noticing some issues.

First, the description of the ring of spell storing says:

Any creature can cast a spell of 1st through 5th level into the ring by touching the ring as the spell is cast.

However, the description of the Divine Smite feature says:

When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon's damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st.

Can the paladin's Divine Smite feature be stored in a Ring of Spell Storing?

Divine Smite says nothing about casting a spell, only that you expend spell slots to make it happen. Since there is no casting action involved, I presume it is just considered an ability that uses up spell slots, and thus can't be used with the ring?

Even if we say that Divine Smite can be used with the ring, I assume the only way I would be able to fill it is if I was in combat, correct? A requirement of using it is that I hit a creature with an attack; there is no way of just using it at will.

I am fairly certain it will not work, but figured I'd double check that I'm not missing something since I'm new to D&D.

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Divine Smite can't be stored in a Ring of Spell Storing.

Any creature can Cast a Spell of 1st through 5th level into the ring by touching the ring as the spell is cast. The spell has no effect, other than to be stored in the ring. If the ring can't hold the spell, the spell is expended without effect. The level of the slot used to cast the spell determines how much space it uses.

Divine Smite is not a spell of between 1st and 5th level. Since it's not, it cannot be stored into the Ring of Spell Storing.

You did not ask for the reverse, but likewise:

You cannot activate Divine Smite using spells stored in a Ring of Spell Storing

Divine Smite specifically calls out "spell slot" as the resource it consumes to be activated. However, the Ring of Spell Storing stores spells, not spell slots. The difference being that the spell is effectively already formed and cast whereas a spell slot is an untapped source of magical energy. So even if there are 5 spell slots worth of level 1 spells stored in the ring, you cannot spend any of them to use the Divine Smite ability.


What it means to be a Spell in 5e

While this is starting get get a little off-scope in my opinion, it may not be clear as to why Divine Smite is not a spell, even though it is powered by a spell slot.

This is an excerpt from the Player's Handbook Chapter 10 on Spellcasting.

Every spell has a level from 0 to 9. A spell's level is a general indicator of how powerful it is, with the lowly (but still impressive) magic missile at 1st level and the earth-shaking wish at 9th.

If it doesn't have a spell level, it's not a spell. End of story, right?

But what if you consider the Divine Smite's choice of spell slot to be the "level" for Divine Smite? I mean in that same chapter, there's this excerpt.

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting.

If we used a 2nd level spell slot to power Divine Smite, that would make it second level, because it assumes that level, right?

Still no. The reading of the first excerpt should be clear on it's own at this point: if it doesn't have a level to begin with, it's not a spell. Since it's not a spell, rules that change the effective level of spells don't affect it. There's no loophole here.

Almost always, race and class features are not spells. If there is an exception, I don't know of it. Whenever they involve spells, such as Tiefling's Infernal Legacy or Warlock's many invocations, they'll explicitly use the word cast, state which already-existing spells they replicate, and whether they are cast at different levels than their base. These types of features grant the ability to cast a spell, but are not a spell in-and-of themselves.

Divine Smite does none of these things, does not have an indicated spell level, and is not included in the list of Spell Descriptions at the end of Chapter 11 in the Player's Handbook (the book Divine Smite was introduced in). So, nothing about this feature involves an actual spell, just a spell slot.

The Paladin class does however have a wide variety of spells that function like Divine Smite, but require a higher action economy (an extra bonus action vs. Divine Smite's actionless trigger), occupy the Paladin's Concentration, and have weaker damage overall.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Further evidence that Divine Smite isn't a spell. It is not listed in the spell descriptions section in the PHB. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2018 at 9:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that you could achieve a similar effect by storing, say, Branding Smite (or any of the Paladin's Smite spells) in the Ring. It would do less damage than a normal Divine Smite, but would accomplish essentially the same thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dacromir
    Mar 15, 2018 at 10:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer (though correct) could be slightly improved by adding more evidence that divine smite is not a spell. Related: here's a helpful Crawford tweet: Divine smite is not a spell, yet it is fueled by spell slots. and another if you wanted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rubiksmoose
    Mar 15, 2018 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated the question based on comment feedback. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Mar 16, 2018 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Funnily enough, I couldn't find any indication ANYWHERE that a spell needed to be associated with a school of magic! Its just that every spell that exists is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Mar 30, 2018 at 14:10

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