I've been told that, when you use a Spell Scroll, there's always a de facto verbal component involved, as you have to read the scroll's contents out loud. That would mean that a Sorcerer using a Subtle Metamagic on a spell scroll would still be counterspellable and couldn't use the scroll in a zone of Silence, for instance.

Is the above true ? (that using a Spell Scroll always include a verbal component)


2 Answers 2


Spell Scrolls probably don't require any Components

As of the 2018 DMG Errata, the rules have gotten a bit hazier because of the particular wording of Spell Scrolls.

The wording now reads as such:

If the spell is on your class's spell list, you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components. Otherwise, the scroll is unintelligible. [...]

Spell Scroll, Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 200 (after 2018 Errata)

However, the section in the DMG on Magic Items still reads as follows:

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item, often by expending charges from it. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell and caster level, doesn't expend any of the user's spell slots, and requires no components unless the item's description says otherwise. The spell uses its normal casting time, range, and duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the spell requires concentration. Certain items make exceptions to these rules, changing the casting time, duration, or other parts of a spell.

Spells, Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 141

So by a strict Rules-as-Written reading, the rules for Magic Items say "spells cast from items don't require components unless the item says so", and the rules for Spell Scrolls say "spells cast from a scroll do not require Material components", so we have to conclude that because Scrolls don't specifically say they do require Verbal or Somatic components, they must not require them.

However, I'm hard pressed to imagine a situation where Wizards of the Coast would make this change to the rules for a Spell Scroll if they expected that there would be no mechanical impact. It's possible they simply chose to include the extra line to make it clearer to the user what they're not required to provide (i.e. expensive Material Components) but it's also possible that they included this line because they wanted to retcon back in that scrolls do require Verbal/Somatic components, and simply chose a wording that doesn't quite manage it.

So while I believe the rules-as-written are quite clear, the rules-as-intended might be that spells cast from Spell Scrolls are supposed to require Verbal/Somatic Components.

A Spell Scroll might be Counterspell-able, despite this

Copied from my original answer

Simply because the action of grabbing a Spell Scroll and reading it will be visible to an enemy spellcaster, they may have the opportunity to attempt to Counterspell it, in a way that a regular Subtle-cast spell would only be Counterspell-able if it has Material Components. This will depend on the exact scenario where the Caster is casting from a scroll; if casting from a scroll that is already sitting in front of them, without clear evidence the caster is reading from it, the spell may not be Counterspell-able.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My understanding of these rules is that reading from a scroll is similar to speaking the command word that causes a magic item to cast a spell: the words are not the verbal component of the spell, but they are words that must be spoken aloud to cast the spell in this way. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2019 at 19:18

Spell scrolls require no components

The rules for activating a spell from an item are:

The spell ... requires no components, unless the item's description says otherwise.

So, the general rule is that an item cast from a magic item requires no components UNO.

The rules for spell scrolls are:

... you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components.

So the specific rule is that it requires you to read it (not necessarily aloud), and "without providing any material components." This is superfluous because the general rules already say this - indeed they exclude all components.

However, given there are no secret rules, the fact that it mentions material components and not the others doesn't mean that you have to provide the others - the specific rules for spell scrolls do not change the general rules for magic items.

You have to read it - you don't have to read it aloud

Further the instructions are that you have to "read it", not that you have to read it aloud. Again, no secret rules means both silent reading and aloud reading are acceptable.


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