Each spell has the following:

Name of Spell

[Level] [School]

Casting Time: x

Range: x

Components: x, y, z (special)

Duration: x

Classes: x

Description: [Effects]

So what parts of each attribute in a spell are requirements to cast or maintain the spell?

Sourced answers only please, I'm not interested in speculation or opinion.

As an example, let's ask a question like, "What attributes are required to take the attack action?"

An example answer would cite things like: A weapon (natural, unarmed or armed), a target, and an ability score to roll which can be used with the weapon; and these would all be sourced from the rulebooks citing that they are requirements (which the books do). Class features, level, extra attack actions, proficiency and more would not be, as the rules state you can add your proficiency if you are proficient in the weapon, or a class feature can allow additional attacks based on triggers.

Oh, and this pertains to general spellcasting, so you don't need to account for specific over-rides like say, Subtle spell. Specific beats general, that's not what I'm asking about.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A link to referenced discussion: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/130648/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 5:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be fair to remove any mentions of Wish completely, instead of referencing the discussion and then saying "this question is not specific to Wish". \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 11:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ What problem are you actually trying to solve? The phrase "requirements to cast or maintain the spell" seems like you have a specific situation in mind. Is it wish or something similar? Without knowing the point, the question seems very ambiguous, and no scattershot answer about the definition of the word "requirement" is going to really help solve your problem without any context. If wish actually is the context, we need to know. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is this even asking? Are you asking, "If I'm maintaining a spell that has 'Classes: Cleric' and I stop being a cleric for whatever reason, can I continue maintaining the spell?" Are you asking, "Can I cast a spell if there are no valid targets in range?" Are you asking, "Can I cast a spell if I spent longer than the listed casting time casting it?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the exclusion of text related to Wish, i.e. "any requirements," may be causing confusion. Although the answer should not be specific to Wish, I think a substantial understanding of your question is derived from it and thus the inclusion of that text is relevant to creating an answerable question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


Requirements, unfortunately, is never really given a game term definition.
So as with all words that don't have a game term definition, we should attempt to use the standard english definition.

Using that, we can say that anything is a requirement if it prevents you from casting the spell.

So with that in mind, here's the list:

Name of Spell - not applicable to anything, "requirements" or otherwise.

[Level] [School] - If a spell is not normally of the right level or school for you, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Casting Time: x - If you do not spend the amount of time specified, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Range: x Having nothing in range does not actually prevent you from casting a spell (for example, readying) - it prevents you from targeting it. This is NOT a "requirement".

Components: x, y, z (special) - if you cannot provide the proper components, you cannot cast the spell. This is a "requirement".

Duration: x - duration has nothing to do with whether you're capable of casting a spell. This is NOT a "requirement".

Concentration - When casting a spell normally, you can choose not to maintain concentration. The spell will end, but you are not prevented from casting it. This is NOT a "requirement".

Classes: x - If a spell is not on your prepared or known spells, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Description: [Effects] - Effects can only take place after casting is completed. This is NOT a "requirement".

Spell Slot - If you cannot provide the right spell slot, you cannot cast a spell. This is a "requirement".


When casting a spell, you are required to provide components, the correct time casting, an appropriate spell slot, and for that spell to be on your prepared or known spells list (specific features can negate some or all of these requirements, or even add requirements: see Subtle Spell or Ritual Casting).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related mainsite Q on readying a spell and targeting later: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/87657/23970 \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Much of your answer ignores the word "requires" in the rules, which is why I specifically stated I wanted sourced answers, not opinions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a new question that could use your answer. Please consider answering it here! You might even be able to just copy and paste this one over. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 15:48

To answer indirectly, I'm going to start off with stating that the wording in 5e can be ambiguous.

Here are a few others that I personally came across where ambiguous wording caused issues:

In the case of Wish, this is also ambiguous, as the "requirements" of a spell are not explicitly explained. You can end up arguing about the semantics of a spell until the cows come home. However, Jeremy Crawford has explained the function of Wish with a Tweet:

Wish spell: (1) Duplicated a spell of 8th level or lower? No stress. (2) Did anything else with wish? Stress. #DnD

The "stress" mechanic used here identifies the difference. Wish states that if using the spell to duplicate a spell of 8th level or lower (emphasis mine):

You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

This means that by simply speaking, you cast the spell. You don't need the components, or spend the time to cast the spell, the effects of the spell just happen, with no extra effort. Referring back to Jeremy's tweet, this would not induce any stress.

If, however you wanted to cast the spell that functions outside the bounds of the spell's ability, that does incur stress.

Let's use "Tsunami" as an example:


8th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Sight
Components: V,S
Duration: Concentration, up to 6 rounds
A wall of water springs into existence at a point you choose within range. You can make the wall up to 300 feet long, 300 feet high, and 50 feet thick. The wall lasts for the duration.

Wish states that I can make Tsunami appear in the same action that I cast the spell, rather than spending a full minute chanting and gesticulating (V & S components), anywhere that I can see, and that's the spell done. I have cast the spell, by using Wish. If I wanted to, I could then cast Tsunami again elsewhere, the very next turn (if I had the spell in my list).

If you think about it, that is already an incredibly powerful ability. If you used Wish to summon a wall of water that big, instantaneously, that lasted for 36 seconds (6 rounds). That's 4500 cubic metres of water just appearing, and then staying in place for 36 seconds, before dissipating. To be able to maintain that without spending the time to concentrate on holding the water in place, and then spending the next minute (10 rounds if you're in combat), recreating those same effects would definitely be beyond your normal ability. You could flood an entire city in just over a minute.

So, in conclusion: Wish can be used to instantly cast any spell without the need of components or a casting time, without any further effects. If you wish to bypass the concentration, alter the range, or even the size of the spell, that is outside of the standard rules, which will incur stress. So by that logic, the only "requirements" of casting a spell are the Components, and the Casting time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer addresses the other question about wish in a separate question. This question is not about Wish, but rather about what qualifies as spell requirements. Thank you for your answer, but it doesn't even being to answer the question I asked. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 11:13

List Below

Level, School, Class - Descriptors which denote which level the spell is, and what school it belongs to and which character class typically has access to it. This is the base requirement for being able to cast the spell in general. However there are numerous specific overrides to this. The references for this is actually the vast majority of the PHB, with each class having some form of access to spellcasting in various ways. Sometimes this is required, other times it's exempted.

Casting Time - Requirement, PHB pg. 202, Casting Time, emphasis mine:

Casting Time

Most spells require a single action to cast, but some spells require a bonus action, a reaction, or much more time to cast.

Range - Requirement, PHB pg. 202, Range, emphasis mine:


The target of a spell must be within the spell’s range.

Components - Requirement, PHB pg. 203, Components, emphasis mine:


A spell’s components are the physical requirements you must meet in order to cast it.

Duration - Descriptor normally, Requirement when using Concentration, PHB pg. 203, Concentration, emphasis mine:


Some spells require you to maintain concentration in order to keep their magic active.

Targets - Requirement, PHB pg. 204, Targets, emphasis mine:


A typical spell requires you to pick one or more targets to be affected by the spell’s magic.

Description - While the description is required to tell you what the spell does, whether or not something in the description is required will be described as such. For example, Fireball requires you to pick a point within range you can see in order to cast the spell in that direction. Command requires a creature who can hear you, understand you and that is not undead in order for the spell to take effect.


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