Are there limitations on what spells a creature can cast while holding a readied spell?

To give an example, say that a cleric uses their action to cast, and hold, a sacred flame, with some arbitrary trigger. Are they, by RAW, allowed to cast a bonus action spell such as healing word?

Does this also work if the held spell is, say, ice knife and the bonus action spell is shillelagh?

This is different to this question about what spells you can cast on a turn if you cast a leveled spell as an action, as I am asking whether there are restrictions on what can be cast while a creature is holding the spell.


1 Answer 1


The description of the Ready action (p. 193) states that you have until the start of your next turn to use a readied action. It continues:

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell’s magic requires concentration (explained in chapter 10). If your concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect.

The spell is treated as being cast at that point when you declare you are readying the spell with whatever trigger is appropriate. Therefore, any restrictions that apply to other actions are based on the spell you ready, a cantrip or a spell using a spell slot. You are now also concentrating on the spell.

If a cantrip is readied, a bonus action spell can be cast as long as it does not require concentration (as you are already concentrating on the readied spell).

If a spell cast using a slot (i.e. a non-cantrip) is readied, you cannot cast a bonus action spell as per the bonus-action spellcasting rules (Player's Handbook, p. 202):

You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

You would not be prevented from casting a reaction spell. However, doing so would prevent you from being able to release the readied spell - as doing so requires you to have a reaction available, and as per the Ready action, it must be used before the beginning of your next turn.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is it more correct to say that "If a cantrip is readied, a bonus action spell can be cast. If the bonus action spell requires concentration, you will lose the readied spell" rather than "<...> can be cast as long as it does not require concentration"? Looking over the concentration rules, it doesn't look like it would prevent casting another concentration spell, simply that you'd lose concentration on the first spell if you did so. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 15:47

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