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The Uncanny Forethought feat (Exemplars of Evil, p. 26), among other benefits, allows a spellcaster such as a Wizard to leave a spell slot open and then later:

[...], as a full-round action, you can use a reserved slot to cast any spell that you know. The spell is resolved as normal, but for the purpose of the spell, your caster level is reduced by two. The level of the slot used must be equal to or greater than the level of the spell you intend to cast.

However, is not clear what a known spell is for a Wizard; does this mean:

  1. A spell known through Spell Mastery?
  2. A spell known, as in written in one's spellbook?
  3. A spell known, as in written once in a spellbook? (which may have since been lost)
  4. A spell known, as in on the Wizard spell list?
  5. A spell known, as in on the character's spell list? (which may have been extended)
  6. Something else entirely?

Looking through the SRD, the only mention of known spell in relation to a Wizard is:

Unlike a bard or sorcerer, a wizard may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting a good night’s sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the wizard decides which spells to prepare.

Which does not define what know means, at all.

I am not aware of any errata, and searches proved fruitless.


I would note that (1) is pretty unlikely to be the meaning, here, since spells known through Spell Mastery have a dedicated entry in Uncanny Forethought.

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From the Player's Handbook glossary, p. 310:

known spell: A spell that an arcane spellcaster has learned and can prepare. For wizards, knowing a spell means having it in their spellbooks. For sorcerers and bards, knowing a spell means having selected it when acquiring new spells as a benefit of level advancement.

This implies that the answer is your option 2: a Wizard knows a spell if they have it in their spellbook(s).

This doesn't specifically address what happens if your spellbook is inaccessible. My reading would be:

  • Strict RAW: You only know spells that are in a spellbook you currently have, since that's all that the glossary entry says, and I don't know of a clearer or updated definition anywhere else in the rules. Thus, if you lose your spellbook, you can't use Uncanny Forethought until you recover it.
  • How I would rule in a real game: I would allow things that let you prepare and cast spells without your spellbook (like Spell Mastery, or the Eidetic Spellcaster ACF from Dragon #357) to count as "knowing" the spells for the purpose of Uncanny Forethought. I would also probably allow casting spells via Uncanny Forethought that you knew at the time you last prepared spells and reserved slots, as suggested by Carcer in the comments. Losing your spellbook is already an enormous problem for a Wizard; I see no need to further penalize a player who invests character resources in having a backup plan for if it happens.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd be tempted to suggest that for the purposes of the feat, you could use it to cast any spell you had the ability to prepare at the time you reserved the slot, even if you later lose your spellbooks. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Sep 7 '18 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Updated to include that idea and another example of something that should probably count as "knowing" spells. I think by extremely literalist RAW these things don't work, but I agree that they probably should and would allow them as a DM. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Sep 7 '18 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @A_S00: Excellent point regarding Eidetic Spellcaster. I'll read the quote as "A spell that an arcane spellcaster has learned and can prepare." being the definition and "For wizards, knowing a spell means having it in their spellbooks." being a non-normative explanation of the consequences in the general case. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Sep 8 '18 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a subtle distinction made in Complete Arcane and elsewhere between spellbooks from which a wizard can prepare spells by making Spellcraft skill checks and spellbooks from which a wizard can prepare spells without making Spellcraft skill checks (these latter are called, I think, mastered spellbooks). I'd be sorely tempted as a DM only to allow the feat Uncanny Forethought to be used with spells found in a wizard's mastered spellbooks. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 9 '18 at 20:19

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