This question was inspired by the question "Does using a Spell Scroll always include a verbal component?"

Here is Jeremy Crawford's ruling on the components for a spell cast from a spell scroll:

Spell scrolls follow the normal rule for casting a spell from a magic item: you don't need to provide any components to cast the spell (V, S, or M). Spell scrolls have a twist, though: you must read the scroll to cast its spell. This is effectively an ad hoc component.

Does this mean that as long as I'm able to read the scroll (and touch it) - regardless of whether I'm holding it or not - I'll be able to cast from the scroll?

Consider the following scenario:

I have the scroll strapped on my back, and I have an arcane eye watching my back (the scroll). I will be able to read the scroll, and physically touch the scroll.

Can I activate the scroll this way?

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    \$\begingroup\$ A reminder to any potential close-voters: If the question is not clearly answered in the rules and is thus up to DM discretion, then that may in fact be the answer. Being up to the DM (if that is the case) doesn't make the question "primarily opinion-based"; you can simply explain why that's the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 4:38

2 Answers 2


The rules do not say

The DMG only says "unleashing that magic requires using an action to read the scroll."

The image of a caster reading a scroll from a lectern (usually carved with dragons and gargoyles and the like) is common in fiction so I would rule that you don't have to physically touch the scroll.

I would, however, rule that you have to physically eyeball the scroll. That would avoid any "long range scroll" high-jinks.



There is no general rule that you need to be holding a magic item to be able to use it. The rules for Activating an Item (p. 141, DMG) say:

Activating some magic items requires a user to do something special, such as holding the item and uttering a command word. The description of each item category or individual item details how an item is activated. Certain items use the following rules for their activation.

All that scrolls require for their activation (p. 139, DMG) is:

Unleashing the magic in a scroll requires using an action to read the scroll.

The description does not say you need to be holding the scroll, so nothing in the description prevents you from reading a scroll you are not holding or carrying. Neither does the more specific description of the spell scroll item introduce such a requirement. Therefore, you can activate it, as long as you can read it.


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