I split this off from this question: Do spells from the Ritual Caster feat need to be prepared when taken by a Warlock? at the recommendation of comments there because the Cleric's Ritual Caster class feature could have an effect on the answer.

Say I have a Cleric that takes the Ritual Caster feat. Do the spells learned from the feat have to be prepared by the Cleric before being cast as a ritual or do they always have the spells available to cast as a ritual?

My confusion stems from the fact that most of the mechanics from the Ritual Caster feat seems to mirror the way a Wizards casts spells. Wizards are the only class that are specifically allowed to cast spells as a ritual without preparation by default. However, nothing in the feat actually describes that it works the same as Wizard ritual casting or different from it. On top of that, the Cleric Ritual Caster class feature says that ritual spells do have to be prepared.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not understand why you split this into two questions, when it can be answered perfectly in one. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Apr 15 '18 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega: Mainly because Clerics have the Ritual Caster class feature which does make it a distinctly different case though it may end up having the same answer. I'd rather have to ask a couple questions to get full answers to both parts than the alternative. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 15 '18 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I've edited my answer in the original question to answer this one as well, clearing that the class of the character doesn't matter. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Apr 15 '18 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Splitting these up looks OK. We don't know whether the situation is exactly the same for the two classes until answers arrive, and if they should be different answers we don't need to force anyone to do the legwork of two classes when we could ask them to do just either one. The questions make sense being asked separately and don't need to be asked together. If there's a generic canonical question to be made out of these, we can assess that possibility after the fact. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 15 '18 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint we mark questions as duplicates based on the question not the answers. Even two entirely different questions can have the same answer, but they may still both be worth asking. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 15 '18 at 21:48

The pertinent part of the Ritual Caster feat:

These spells are written in a ritual book, which you must have in hand while casting one of them.

No other requirements for casting are specified, so this is the only one.

A Cleric with the Ritual Caster feat merely has two sources of ritual casting.

They can ritual cast as per the Cleric ability - where the spell they cast must be prepared, but need not be in their Ritual Caster book.

Or they can ritual cast as per the Ritual Caster feat - where the spell must be in their Ritual Caster book, but need not be prepared.

Neither ability's rules has any effect on the other - just because they're named the same doesn't mean they affect each other, just like how the Monk feature Unarmored Defense does not interact with the Barbarian feature Unarmored Defense.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose: To quote my reply to your comment on my answer on your question: Characters don't even need to have a Spellcasting feature to be able to take the Ritual Caster feat. Nothing about ritual casting inherently requires the spell to be prepared; if the feat doesn't mention it, it's not a requirement. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 15 '18 at 23:43

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