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One of the features of the find familiar spell is to deliver spells with a range of "touch" cast by the wizard:

Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Your familiar must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it. If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your attack modifier for the roll.

The use of the familiar's reaction to deliver the spell seems to be geared toward touch spells that can be cast on a single turn, such as shocking grasp.

However, suppose I want to cast identify on an object out of my reach by having my owl familiar fly up and land on it, and then cast the spell with the familiar touching the object. Could I have the familiar spend 1 minute sitting on the object while I cast the identify spell?

If so, does the familiar simply spend 10 rounds using its reaction each round to continue delivering the spell? Or does the requirement for delivering the spell using the familiar's reaction limit this feature to only spells that can be cast during a single turn?

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RAW, Identify cannot be cast without touching the object.

While Identify has a range of Touch, and can thus be delivered via familiar, it also specifies that:

You choose one object that you must touch throughout the casting of the spell.

This is a separate requirement from the range of the spell - even if you have your familiar deliver the spell, you must still be touching the object for the duration. This also applies to the Sorcerer feature Distant Spell.

For other Touch spells with a longer casting time than one action, the familiar would only need to use its reaction once.

The feature specifies:

it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it.

The trigger "cast the spell" is only completed at the end of the casting time, when the spell slot is used.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it seems that choosing identify as my example spell may have been a mistake. But on the other hand, looking through the list of long-cast-time touch-range spells, I don't really see any other spells that make sense to deliver through a familiar. For example, spells like illusory script or glyph of warding require activities that a familiar could not perform anyway, such as writing text or inscribing runes. So maybe identify is the only example that matters. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Mar 20 at 5:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson you can search on D&D Beyond for touch spells with a caster time longer than 1 action, using this query. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be possible to filter spells by range, so sorting the results by range (which the linked query does) will have to do. Using the query, you can see that Mending would be a valid example for what you're attempting to do. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 20 at 9:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with this interpretation. The Find Familiar spell says "when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell." This means any reference to the caster as you in the spell description is in reference to the familiar, in terms spell delivery. \$\endgroup\$ – The Hidden DM Mar 20 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this leans too heavily on the one line saying "you", and @TheHiddenDM 's comment is a good point - Using your familiar this way specifically should be treated as "replace any instance of 'you' with 'your familiar'" \$\endgroup\$ – Ethan The Brave Mar 20 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ If a Sorcerer using Distant Spell to change a touch spell to a 30' ranged spell must still touch the creature/object, that would prevent the ability from functioning, would it not? This would mean that a spell's description "that you touch" or "within range" are overridden if the spell's range changes. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Mar 20 at 20:46
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Yes, RAW, you can cast longer spells through your familiar.

According to the section on Longer Casting Time:

When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so.

The Find Familiar spell states(emphasis mine):

When you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell.

This means that, as long as you are casting the spell through the familiar, the spell acts as if the familiar is casting it, in terms of how it is delivered. So, as long as you cast the spell and your familiar uses a reaction every turn, your familiar is touching the target and you maintain concentration, you should be able to cast spells with longer cast times through your familiar.

Any interpretation which states that you must be the one touching the object, not only prevents you from casting spells that take more than one turn, it prevents you from casting touch spells trough your familiar entirely. For example, Shocking Grasp states (emphasis mine):

Lightning springs from your hand to deliver a shock to a creature you try to touch.

So, casting it at a distance wouldn't work under this interpretation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the familiar is using a reaction each turn. As far as the spell delivery, the spell is cast as if the familiar is casting it, meaning any reference to "you" in the spell is referencing the caster, which is the familiar. \$\endgroup\$ – The Hidden DM Mar 20 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pardon me for being dense, but why would "any interpretation stating you must be the one touching the object prevents you from casting spells that take more than one turn?" \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Mar 20 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The whole quote is "Finally, When you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell." So, you are casting the spell and providing the components, however the familiar delivers your spell, as if it is casting it. \$\endgroup\$ – The Hidden DM Mar 20 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara I'm not sure what you are asking. If this is a question of why that interpretation would prevent you from casting 1 action touch spells, I argued that the spell description of most touch spell references the caster touching the target. So, if the caster isn't the familiar, then you could only use this feature on creatures you can already reach, which defeats the purpose of casting through the familiar. \$\endgroup\$ – The Hidden DM Mar 20 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I figured out your meaning. You mean "Any interpretation which states that you must be the one touching the object, not only prevents you from casting spells that take more than one turn through your familiar" As it reads now, it sounds like you're saying that longer cast touch spells would be uncastable by even the character under the interpretation that the character only can deliver the spell. I couldn't figure out why that would be. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Mar 20 at 20:39
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It seems that it wouldn't work per RAW.

PHB, Longer Casting Times

[...]When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so (see “Concentration” below).[...]

You must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you can't because you aren't touching it; the object isn't in range of the spell. Your familiar resting on it won't work because using its reaction each turn isn't enough to satisfy the long casting time.

However, as a DM I'd be inclined to consider allowing your familiar to use its reaction each round to deliver the spell until it is complete.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That is what I was getting at. I will include it, though we both have the same idea I think, making my answer redundant. \$\endgroup\$ – Token Mar 20 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it can then, and we're both wrong? The long casting time is supposed to show that you need to use an action each turn casting the spell, and to cast the spell each turn you need to be in range. \$\endgroup\$ – Token Mar 20 at 3:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lorkeith isn't making the same arguement as you. I think you might be misunderstanding their point. The Identify spell has a specific restriction that means it doesn't work. I don't know if the familiars reaction each round does satisfy the requirement for long casting time or not. But if your answer is that it doesn't you need to support that somehow. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 20 at 3:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems I had assumed all spells that had both a long casting time and also a touch range required that the target be touched for the duration. I didn't realize that Identify was unique in that aspect. I'm unsure how to continue my answer. Should I delete it? I like his better anyhow. \$\endgroup\$ – Token Mar 20 at 3:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you need to delete it, you raise a good point about long casting time but I don't know what the answer is. Perhaps re-word it to discuss both sides of that ruling. I.e. "Your DM may rules this... which means... or they may rule this... and therefore.. etc." Feel free to use parts of the other answer and credit them with a link. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 20 at 3:23

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