Do spellcasters lose spells if they fall unconscious?

By "lose" I mean lose the spells they have in their heads - their memorized spells, or prepared spells. Not looking at concentration, but the spells they have "set" for the day.

I always played that rule in 1e/2e but not seeing a written rule on it in the books.


2 Answers 2


No, they don't lose spells

There are no rules about losing known spells when unconscious. Doing so may seriously upset the balance of the game, but always discuss house-rules with your table if it's something you're interested in.


The Concentration mechanic for spellcasting may be what you're looking for. This rule does state that any spells that require Concentration for ongoing effects end if the caster becomes Unconscious.


In 5e, spellcasters either have a list of known spells (and generally can only swap a spell for another when they level), full access to the list (but prepare known spells daily), or have known spells that they can prepare daily. Losing a spell would be a massive ongoing hindrance, as well as difficult to track what is known/gone both on a short term and long term basis.


Contrary to 1e, in 5e you can prepare a spell once and cast it any number of times. I think this is proof enough that the spell is well imprinted in your brain.

Falling unconscious does not really mean that your brain was hurt. Of course, that could happen and the DM could decide that it happened (actually some monsters specifically attack your brain..)

In 5e, it will be much more likely for you to lose your spellbook than a spell in your brain. Actually, Out of the Abyss starts that way... all your belongings get taken. That's quite a hit for a wizard. On the other hand, the spell you still have in your head stays there until you get your spellbook back or a get a new spellbook at some point.

What can also cause problems is losing your focus. It won't prevent you from casting the spell, just that you will need to find material components if the spell requires such. Without a focus or those material components, the spell won't work.


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