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Suppose a wizard casts Simulacrum on their self, creating a duplicate who has all the same spells prepared and has all the same spell slots (minus the 7th level slot used to cast Simulacrum, of course). Can the duplicate use the wizard's spellbook to do any of the following?

  1. Prepare new spells after a long rest
  2. Cast spells as rituals
  3. Copy new spells into the book
  4. Copy their currently prepared spells into a new book that is then usable by the original wizard

Which of those, if any, is the duplicate capable of doing? Is there anything the duplicate can't do with the spellbook that the original wizard can?

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Okay - Lots of questions means lots of sources. So lets first look at the main spell, simulacrum.

... It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates, except that it is a construct.

... The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots.

So the key points are that it's a weaker duplicate of the wizard, and cannot learn.

Now lets see what it takes for a wizard, to cast a spell. Under the general rules:

Before a spellcaster can use a spell, he or she must have the spell firmly fixed in mind, or must have access to the spell in a magic item. ... Other spellcasters, such as clerics and wizards, undergo a process of preparing spells. This process varies for different classes, as detailed in their descriptions.

So wizards prepare spells, and we'll look at that in a moment. First, take a look at ritual spells since that will come up shortly.

To cast a spell as a ritual, a spellcaster must have a feature that grants the ability to do so. ... The caster must also have the spell prepared or on his or her list of spells known, unless the character's ritual feature specifies otherwise, as the wizard's does.

So wizards can cast ritual spells, but they do it differently than others. So let's see what it says about wizards casting spells, both normal and ritual.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of wizard spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell.

You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.

So those are the wrinkles to all of this. Now lets look at the questions again:

1. Prepare new spells after a long rest?

For wizards, to prepare a new spell, requires studying and memorization. This reads to me as "learning" which a simulacrum cannot do. So there is no way for a simulacrum to learn a new spell, only use the spells in its head at time of creation.

2. Cast spells as rituals?

There is nothing stopping it from reading directions from the book--assuming a simulacrum can read your notes. But since you wrote the notes in the first place, and the spell description says that it is the same as the original and has all the same stats, I would say that reading your own handwriting would qualify. And as a bonus, since rituals don't use spell slots, you can cast them repeatedly as a simulacrum cannot regain spell slots.

3 .Copy new spells into the book?
4. Copy their currently prepared spells into a new book that is then usable by the original wizard?

These I am lumping into the same category. The spell states that the simulacrum "cannot become more powerful". Adding new spells to a spellbook, whether into the existing spellbook or in creating a new one, would fall into the realm of "more powerful". However, since the simulacrum cannot actually use the new spell (can't learn it), its up to the DM to decide if that would make the simulacrum more powerful or not.

To the other point, if a simulacrum is tasked with copying a spellbook, they would use the same notation as the original. In fact the PHB states:

Replacing the Book.
You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell."

The simulacrum would copy the spellbook using the same notation as the original so they would not be able to create a spellbook that the original could not read.

So the short answer is, the simulacrum can cast rituals so long as they have the spellbook handy. They cannot change memorized spells ever. And copying spells is DM interpretation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO, learning means you have no previous memory whatsoever about the knowledge and the "steps" necessary to use said knowledge. In that sense, your opinion on the nature of knowledge appears to be flawed to me. Following that logic, following a map would be the same as looking at the simulacrum's spellbook and being unable to make sense of it from the original's memories. \$\endgroup\$ – Catar4 Aug 12 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with almost everything. The only thing I disagree with are points 3 and 4. You can give the clone a spellbook that he can read with all the spells and that doesn't make it more powerful. It'd make a normal wizard more powerful, thus, writing and copying spells from and to the spell book won't make the clone stronger. It could make the original wizard stronger, but that is not cover in the limitations. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Aug 12 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catar4, there is a difference between reading a map and memorizing a spell. Both the map and the spellbook each have a standard language that can be read. But the map can be used without memorization. You don't need to plot out the whole route to use it. Just read it as you need it; exactly like a ritual spell which I agree a sim can do. But the spell requires the whole process to be learned, in full, without error. That's out of scope for a sim. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 12 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink, You're right. I reworked my answer to #3 and #4. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 12 at 19:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson, per the side block for wizards, "Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell." \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 12 at 22:42
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  1. Prepare new spells after a long rest

    It can prepare new spells after a long rest as long as the simulacrum has spell slots left:

    The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots.

  2. Cast spells as rituals

    It is a duplicate, so yes it can cast (ritual) spells.

    You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid... The duplicate is a creature, partially real and formed from ice or snow, and it can take actions and otherwise be affected as a normal creature... Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates [...].

    Normal spells would require a spell slot of course and rituals won't.

  3. Copy new spells into the book
    Yes, it is a duplicate, it can do that, as above.

  4. Copy their currently prepared spells into a new book that is then usable by the original wizard

    I would rule no, that is something you yourself must do:

    Copying that spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the wizard who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation. (PHB, Spellbook, Wizard Class, Chapter 3)

    If you've ever come across your own (old) notes / code / comments when you've written a complicated design or program and think "How did I write that?" you'll understand this.
    It is also known that writing helps memorizing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How does preparing new spells relate to regaining expended spell slots? There is, AFAIK, no explicit relation between these in 5e. I'm failing to follow your logic on point 2, point 3 is missing, and on 4: why would you rule no, where is the point of ambiguity? You should explain this. Also, cite where your quotes are from. This is particularly important when you quote something other than the spell description in question. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 12 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right @Someone_Evil, I've edited the post. If the simulacrum has access to a spellbook it can change it spells. \$\endgroup\$ – DrTrunks Bell Aug 12 at 7:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the simulacrum is a duplicate of the wizard who cast it, would they not also be able to practice a spell that wizard wrote and transcribe it into the spellbook using their own notation since it will be identical to the caster's? \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Aug 12 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @John Is the wizard making a copy of himself (a) or of someone else(b)? Whose spellbook are you writing in? A wizard has to scribe his/her own spells. You can have someone else's spell copied in your spellbook, you still need to encode it yourself if you want to ready it later. \$\endgroup\$ – DrTrunks Bell Aug 12 at 8:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would potentially challenge point #1 though on the basis that a Simulacrum can't learn, so it arguably would be unable to memorise spells, which is a requirement for preparing them. I'll have to look into this further. \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Aug 12 at 9:35

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