The description of a spell scroll in the DMG states:

If the spell is on your class’s spell list, you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components.

Does this also apply to spells that require ‘special’ components — the sort that a components pouch would not cater for? For example, Plane Shift requires a tuning fork specifically tuned to the destination plane; Imprisonment requires a variety of components depending upon the type of restraint being inflicted. Do scrolls of these spells no longer require these fancy components to cast?


3 Answers 3


Yes, components are not needed to cast from a spell scroll

The DMG covers this under Chapter 7 - Activating a Magic Item (emphasis mine):

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.

A Scroll is a magic item and thus follows the above guidance on activating it. Do note that this casting is a one-time event:

The writing vanishes from a scroll when it is read. Once used, a consumable item loses its magic and no longer functions

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense for spells in which the material component is consumed during the casting. However, it's less clear how this would work if the scroll was for a spell such as, say, Drawmij’s Instant Summons, where the material component is not consumed by the casting but becomes a retained trigger for the delayed part of the spell (“At any time thereafter, you can use your action to speak the item’s name and crush the sapphire. The item instantly appears in your hand regardless of physical or planar distances, and the spell ends”). Any ideas on that score? \$\endgroup\$
    – RickL
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 7:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RickLecoat This is a separate question you should ask separately. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RickLecoat It works the same everywhere. The quoted rule is simply "requires no components". \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch in fact I think it has been asked before. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RickLecoat I've added a new question to discuss those very interesting points. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/150327 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 15:30

Yes. The components are used when the scroll is scribed.

From Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 133:

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.

See How can a character create a Spell Scroll? for more.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. That suggests that in creating a spell scroll for a spell that requires different, specific components according to the precise effect of the spell, the scroll is effectively locked to a particular version of the spell, as determined by the components used in its creation. (eg. with Plane Shift the particular alloy of the tuning fork is specific to the plane being travelled to, so a spell scroll of Plane Shift would only allow travel to a specific plane, not ANY plane). \$\endgroup\$
    – RickL
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Along with mention that caveats exist such as needing the gem for Drawmij's Instant Summons, I think NautArch's answer would benefit from this citation, showing that the materials components are used when casting the spell into the scroll. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RickL: On Critical Role, Matt Mercer found a sensible narrative explanation for that: the scroll case included a tuning fork as well as a scroll. But RAW, you can scribe multiple scrolls using the same tuning fork; mechanically you don't have to pack each scroll with a tuning fork since it's not consumed. But then yes, it would make sense for it to be locked in. This is the point where a DM has to step in and do some world-building for their campaign world about the fine details of how magic works, because the rules as written leave open questions (unless a later book nails down more.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22 at 8:50

All components are used when scribing the scroll. So technically you could choose to make a Scroll of Imprisonment useless for your players by stating that the materials used to craft the scroll included a statuette of a boss they already killed.

That would really upset your players though. You should probably ask your wizard to do an arcana check on the scroll so he knows the specific conditions of it and make sure it's still useful to them but only for one of your bosses, maybe introduce a new boss in this way.

  • 2
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    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 5:17

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