I'm considering whether to place a high-level magic item in my epic-level game.

On page 28 of the PHB, under the bard 'spells' section, it states (emphasis mine):

As noted above, a bard need not prepare his spells in advance.

Could a bard choose to prepare spells in advance, and thereby gain the benefit of the vest of the archmagi (Magic Item Compendium, page 145)?

it allows [the wearer] to recall up to three arcane spells that he had previously prepared and cast (as a pearl of power, except that it can be used for any spell up to 9th level and activating it requires only a swift action).

The description of the pearl of power (DMG, page 263) states:

...Once per day on command, a pearl of power enables the possessor to recall any one spell that she had prepared and then cast. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it had not been cast.

Note I'm aware of 'Memento Magica' from the Magic Item Compendium. This is not an 'asking for solutions' type question Instead I am interested in determining the following, by RAW:

  • May a bard choose to prepare spells?
  • Is that sufficient to enable the benefit of items such as a pearl of power and a vest of the archmagi?
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thanks for the tidy up. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 29, 2019 at 4:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to help! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 29, 2019 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


No, he can't

Nothing in the rules prevent him to do it, specifically. That said, nothing in the rules specifically prevents, for example, Fighter from knowing a spell, right?

Bard is not prevented from preparing spells, but he does not get the ability to do so. Wizard is like:

A wizard must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time (see below).

Bard does not get anything like this.

On page 88, in Metamagic section, Sorcerers and Bards subsection, it is also pretty clear that these classes are assumed to always cast spontaneously:

Sorcerers and bards choose spells as they cast them.

And there is also an Arcane Preparation feat ( Player's Guide to Faerûn, p. 32). It's benefit is:

You can prepare an arcane spell (...)

And it is specifically meant to be used by Bards, as per description in "Normal" section:


A sorcerer or bard who (...)

Feat is not an open content so I cannot repost it here in full, but I believe that existence of a feat that allows Bards and Sorcerers to prepare spells if they choose to do so shows pretty clearly that they can't prepare by default.

Bottom line: wording of the Bard's spellcasting could've been and should've been a bit clearer indeed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Arcane Preparation clinches it to my mind hence I've marked as answered, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 29, 2019 at 12:24

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