I have been playing a sorcerer that went to wizard school as part of his backstory and often refers to himself as a terrible wizard. So he has a spellbook that I’ve spent time and gold on. He is not a multi class and so he can’t directly cast from said spellbook. But the rules are slightly loose so it seems you can scribe scrolls into the book and then scribe scrolls from your book. All this seems fair and legit because it can take substantial amounts of gold and time for it to be worthwhile but for limited spell pools (like my sorcerer) it can be a way around that. Ultimately my DM is allowing this but I would like to know what the community thinks of this idea. Again I have good backstory behind it and I have spent gold equal to a minor magic item on it.

A little more info we are level 4 right now I spent 100 gp on the book itself and 50 gp per level 1 spell (I have 8 level 1 spells in it) and my DM gave me 2 spells scribed in it to begin with because he liked the backstory. That means the out of pocket cost has been 400gp so far. I forget which book it is but scribing scrolls of level 1 costs 25 gp of which I have scribed a couple. So it is an expensive endeavor therefor I feel it is balanced.

The whole idea was to have a spellbook that I would put spells into and scribe scrolls from that book. I am not preparing spells from that book just to have a larger amount of spells known. It was meant as a compilation of my characters knowledge having studied as a wizard his whole life but not quite being able to do it the same as everyone else in his wizard school (as per being a sorcerer). Yes I could just multi class or outright buy the spell scrolls but I wanted it to be more immersive from a role playing stand point. Knowledge is the driving factor but the way a lot of sorcerers are depicted or conceived they don’t have to care about that.

Questions are

  • Since I am a sorcerer can I only use scrolls from my class list or are scrolls more universal? (Anyone can use?)

  • Am I understanding spellbooks correctly? Or are they truly just meant for a wizard and I am manipulating the system in a way that wasn’t intended?

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying you are using the "spellbook" as a scroll repository? (Because scrolls and wizard spellbooks are two completely different things). Or are you actually preparing spells from the book like a wizard, even though you claim to be a sorcerer. I'm confused about what you are really doing here \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Apr 3, 2019 at 13:12
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome! Please take the tour as an introduction to the site and check the help center for further guidance. This appears to be asking multiple questions which should be asked separately: "Can a Sorcerer use spell scrolls from any class?" (which might be answered here) and "Can a Sorcerer use a spellbook?". The last one asking about fairness is probably not answerable in the stack for being a matter of opinion. I recommend cutting this down to the second question and asking the first separately if needed. Good luck and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Apr 3, 2019 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’ve rolled your last edit back, and removed the new questions added in a previous edit. That changes the question you’ve asked. If that question has been answered (as indicated by the “ANSWERED - thanks” parts I edited out), and you have new questions now that you have this answered, please post a new question post to ask the new question. Changing this one, based on the answers, just invalidates these answers and the work put into helping you. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2019 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenjaminOlson See this FAQ for why your comment was removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2019 at 14:57
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Turkatron No problem, it’s what we have lots of editors for: to help keep things in shape even when new people are learning. :) Aside, this Q&A site works a bit different from a forum; you can learn more in the tour, with more details in the help center. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2019 at 15:03

6 Answers 6


By RAW, only Wizards can use spellbooks

See the following post: Can a multiclass Wizard copy any Wizard spell they find into their spellbook?

There have been recent errata to the PHB, which can be found at D&D Beyond:

Copying a Spell into the Book When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.

(emphasis mine)

Since your wizard level is 0, you cannot prepare wizard spells.

You can only use scrolls from your class list

As @Flumph mentions, this is discussed here: Who can use magic scrolls?


You are not understanding it correctly

Lets go in the order of your questions:

A Spellbook is an innate link to the wizard class. A wizard specifically mentions the spellbook in their class description, no other class does this. Other classes make no mention of it and it doesn't seem like there are any other uses for it. This is also supported by the description of a spellbook. Also, as in Weasemunk's answer you have no wizard level, thus no possibility to add a spell to your spellbook.

Essential for wizards, a Spellbook is a leather-bound tome with 100 blank vellum pages suitable for recording Spells.

Your next question: Since I am a sorcerer can I only use scrolls from my class list or are scrolls more universal? (Anyone can use?)

This one is easy (emphasis mine):

A spell scroll bears the words of a single spell, written in a mystical cipher. 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.

If its not on your class' spell list, you cannot read it, and thus cannot cast it.

Your last question: "Would you allow this in your own game? And do you think it is fair and legit?"

No I would not allow it. It just seems like an infinite number of scrolls, and thus spells, although it costs time and money. This was meant to be a feature for the wizard, so it seems unbalanced to let a sorcerer do it too. I would allow a sorcerer to create spell scrolls of the spells they personally know, since this give a lot less advantage than the entire sorcerer spell list.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate the feedback but I would like a little more clarification. So as I understand a little better because I have no wizard spell slots I cannot scribe into the book at all. So as a sorcerer I can scribe spells into scrolls would that be only the ones known then? And if I were to just buy scrolls they would still need to be from my class only? \$\endgroup\$
    – Turkatron
    Apr 3, 2019 at 13:37
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If we're following RAW, you wouldn't be able to scribe any spells at all. And the scrolls do indeed need to be for your class, although you do not have to know them personally. Think of the lore perspective; A sorcerer is born with his magic, he doesn't care how it works as long as it does. A wizard studies years and years, which is why he writes it down. Talk with your DM and ask what he thinks. \$\endgroup\$
    – SlimeBolt
    Apr 3, 2019 at 14:09

RAW, only wizards use spellbooks

Since the arcane power of wizards come from study, they use spellbooks. This is not the case for sorceres since their power seems to come from their ancestry or soul. Also worth noting is that copying spells into a wizard spellbook normally costs 50GP per spell-level.

However, I have let a first-time player use the spellbook system as a bard just to get a feel for all the different kind of spells without nailing him down to the limited choice they and some other classes seem to get. This worked fine at my table but I can't guarantee the same for yours so talk about it with your DM.

As for your scroll question, check out this other question. Who can use magic scrolls?


As others have mentioned, by RAW this is not allowed, nor balanced. However, it can be balanced rather easily with a small amount of DM fiat.

While rules for creating scrolls sort of exist in the DMG, Xanathar's Guide to Everything goes into more detail in its optional rules, specifically defining what is required to scribe scrolls rather than the generic magic items rules from the DMG. This is useful, since building scrolls using the DMG rules is prohibitively expensive as those rules seem designed for more permanent items rather than consumable ones.

From the Xanathar rules summarized at How can a character create a Spell Scroll?), you need the following to scribe a scroll:

  1. The Arcana skill
  2. The spell must be prepared and/or known
  3. The material components
  4. Time and Gold per the chart

Using a level one spell as an example, you would need 25 gold and 1 day to scribe it. Using the concept of Common Magic Items (also from Xanathar), your GM could allow a spellbook (or better yet, a quill) that replaces the need for #2 with simply having a written copy of the spell on your class's spell list available, allowing you to scribe a spell into a standard spellbook from a scroll (or another spellbook) without being a wizard (the only current way to scribe a spell you don't currently have prepared, aside from the formula method of magic item creation form the DMG).

Optionally, the pen could bypass the need for #1 (the Arcana skill).

This still steps on the toes of the wizard's spell book feature, but since you can't use it to prepare spells (the true power of the spellbook), all it really grants is an ability to obtain spell scrolls nearly at will, though they still have a cost (albeit a discounted one). It might be better for balance to require the quill to also double or even triple the cost of the transcription/creation, thus bringing the scroll cost more inline with what it would cost to buy from a merchant, thus reducing the utility of the magic item to merely allowing a more consistent supply of those scrolls for which you have the spells scribed.

Some GMs might consider the magic item to be of a higher rarity for their campaign, but I chose to use the Common Magic Item rules here since it was an item that your GM had already granted you at a low level (presumable level one).

This small change balances your existing implementation (with a slight mechanical reflavoring) since you are then using an already existing mechanism (albeit an optional one) to perform the transcribing, and simply changing a small part of it with the use of a custom magic item. The spell must still be on your class list (that is, something you could already cast from a scroll), and you are already meeting all of the other magic item creation costs that would be associated with the item normally. In this case, if the magic item was a quill, you could simply be scribing it on to sheaves of parchment as ready made scrolls, and then simply copying scrolls to create the ones that you would use. You pay (if the cost to scribe is increased) the same that you would pay to buy them from a merchant (something you could already do without any rules modification), you simply have the ability to obtain them without a trip to a market, and without risk that merchants run out of stock. This is balanced against a time investment (8 hours or days per scroll), and thus is not over-powerful for a magic item (or even just a rules change), and IMO extremely unlikely to unbalance a campaign.

  • \$\begingroup\$ you seem to have gathered what I was trying to get at best. It is ultimately up to my DM but knowing more of how things were intended makes a more accurate discussion. If only wizards could scribe scrolls then if you ever wanted a scroll of any other class that means they would have to be a multi class. That seems like outright nonsense to me. It would be a lot of work for any other class to do it with a fraction of the benefit anyways. I will have a spellbook with only sorcerer spells in it because that is all I would know how to do. Using the wizard spellbook as a template. \$\endgroup\$
    – Turkatron
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:23


Only Wizards can use spellbooks: the rules for Spellbooks are part of the Wizard class block as a class feature. In addition, Wizards can only use them with Wizard spells

If you where a level 1 Wizard, you'd be limited to spells you can prepare as a Wizard:

Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.

(Sorcerers cannot prepare spells, so what spells you know as a Sorcerer don't change this.)

The Wizard's ability to have an unlimited number of spells written down is nearly unique to their class. The Tome Warlock can also do this, using a slightly different mechanic (Book of Shadows), and cast the spells in it as Rituals.

Both of these are significant class features, and they are not merely balanced by the gp cost requirement.

The easiest way to emulate this is to make your "spellbook" be a cover on a whole pile of spell scrolls.

Note that you can only scribe a scroll you know, so you won't be able to make duplicates of the spell scrolls you own (all means of copying from a spell scroll in 5e destroy the original scroll). And you can only cast spell scrolls for spells on your list (but you can cast spells you don't know).

If the DM wanted to be flexible, they could create a feat to let you do this.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide supporting quotes from the rules to back up your assertions that 1) Only wizards can use spellbooks 2) They can only use them with wizard spells 3) You can only scribe or use a spell scroll for a spell that you know or is from your class list? (I know the other answers have some of these references already, but it would good to treat each answer as self-contained with references). \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:39

As others mention, RAW would not allow for this. However, lifted straight from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything:

Scribing a Spell Scroll

With time and patience, a spellcaster can transfer a spell to a scroll, creating a spell scroll. Scribing a spell scroll takes an amount of time and money related to the level of the spell the character wants to scribe, as shown in the Spell Scroll Costs table. In addition, the character must have proficiency in the Arcana skill and must provide any material components required for the casting of the spell. Moreover, the character must have the spell prepared, or it must be among the character's known spells, in order to scribe a scroll of that spell. If the scribed spell is a cantrip, the version on the scroll works as if the caster were 1st level.

As long as these rules were not being broken, you could roleplay your actions however you like. Mechanically speaking, you aren’t using a spellbook, you are just creating a scroll.

You could instead say that you are adding these wizard spells to your list of known spells but, as only wizards can cast them, you can’t cast any wizard spells you know. I don’t think you’d even be able to cast the scrolls you’ve copied unless your DM allows for that.

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    – V2Blast
    Apr 3, 2019 at 23:29

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