Wildshape says: "You can't cast spells...". Does this include casting spells from magic items (even though there is no component, like with a Helm of Telepathy)?

"Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesn’t expend any of the user’s spell slots, and requires no components, unless the item’s description says otherwise."

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a tough one. I think your question may be better served to cut down a level and get to the root of the potential disagreement: when magic items are being used, are "you casting a spell" or are "you using a magic item to cast a spell". What you site, Helm of Telepathy, reads "While wearing this helm, you can use an action to cast the detect thoughts spell (save DC 13) from it." That "from it" makes me not sure. The helmet is casting the spell, then, no? The spell is being cast "from it" after all. But being cast by you. I think you might get better answers if you highlight this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Euch
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


No, not if YOU are casting the spell

The restrictions for Wild Shape state the following (PHB, p. 67, bold added):

You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

Note that the ability to cast spells is ruled out unconditionally. If they has said "your ability to cast spells or speak or take any actions that requires hands ..." you would be able to cast spells in Wild Shape if your shape could perform the required components, or if there were none.

As it stands, even if the spell requires no components, you still cannot cast it.

With certain magic items, you could still gain the effects of spells

Note that there are some magical items which create the effect of spells without you being the one that cast them. Consider the potion of Heroism (DMG, p. 188, bold added):

For 1 hour after drinking it, you gain 10 temporary hit points that last for 1 hour. For the same duration, you are under the effect of the bless spell (no concentration required). This blue potion bubbles and steams as if boiling.

So while Wild Shaped into a beast with sufficient manual dexterity, you could drink a Potion of Heroism, and be under the effect of the Bless spell since it wasn't you who cast it.

Contrast this with the Helm of Telepathy (DMG, p. 174, bold added):

While wearing this helm , you can use an action to cast the detect thoughts spell (save DC 13) from it.

In this case, you are explicitly the one casting the spell ("from it" does not change this fact). So you could not do so in Wild Shape.

Naturally, once you hit level 18 in Druid, you would be quite capable of doing so. But not before.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How about if it's a magic item that has charges, say for instance a Hand of Vecna that is attached to you before you went into Wild Shape, or a Wand of Fireballs that could be held by a beast? Would you rule that it was the magic item that was casting the spell and not the beast? \$\endgroup\$
    – Brandon
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 1:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brandon The deciding factor would not be the presence or absence of charges, but the description of the magical item in question. In the case of the Hand of Vecna, "You can use an action and expend 1 or more charges to cast one of the following spells" (DMG p. 224). Gramatically, this means "you...cast one of the following spells." Thus, the spells could not be cast because "you can't cast spells" (PHB p. 67). The Wand of Fireballs is similarly unusable because "you.. cast the fireball spell... from it" (DMG, p. 210). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brandon As a counterexample, the Necklace of Fireballs could be used by a Druid in wildshape (provided their beast form had the manual dexterity necessary to detach a bead and throw it). The text of that item reads "When it reaches the end of its trajectory, the bead detonates as a 3rd-level fireball spell" (DMG, p. 182). The crucial difference is that the text does not define the item's user as casting the spell themselves. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brandon It's also debatable whether or not a Hand of Vecna would still be usable while a Druid is wildshaped (e.g. does the hand count as equipment while fused to your body). That could be the basis of its own question! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 16:16


You can't cast a spell from an item in beast form, nor use anything that requires speech or a body part that your beast form doesn't have.

Wild shape says:

You can't cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

According to the DMG, items activate by one of four methods:

Wearing and wielding items

A magic item meant to be worn must be donned in the intended fashion. ... In most cases, a magic item that's meant to be worn can fit a creature regardless of size or build.

You can wear any item that your beast shape has the right body parts for. You need feet to wear boots, hands to wear gloves, and so on.

Command word

A command word is a word or a phrase that must be spoken for the item to work.

No. You can't speak in beast form, so you can't use a command word item.


Some items are used up when the are activated.

You can use any consumable that you have the right body parts to activate. If you can physically drink a potion, you can use it. You can't speak to activate scrolls.


Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item.

No. You can't cast spells, because wild shape specifically says you can't cast spells. Helm of telepathy is one such item.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean that you can cast spell if you use Subtle Spell? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 7:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix. Quadratic wizard and Gandalfmeansme have already answered this. Unfortunately the answer is no, because wildshape says "you can't cast spells". It's pretty specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 7:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not all beast forms are restricted from.speaking. you may want to apply a qualifier such as 'if you can't speak' \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 17:21

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