My party has a Barbarian who multiclassed to wizard. Levels 3 and 1, respectively.

He has incorporated the Staff of Defense (from Glasstaff in the Lost Mine of Phandelver Starter Set adventure) into the handle of his great axe and is attuned to it. He also has Shield in his spellbook.

When raging he loses his ability to cast his Wizard spells, but can he use the Staff's ability to cast Shield as a reaction while enraged?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not a duplicate (I don't think) but related with basically the same answer: Can a tiefling barbarian cast Hellish Rebuke while raging? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 21:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @him It's not a duplicate. Tiefling's Hellish rebuke is a racial spell. This question deals with spells cast using a magic item. It's definitely related and good to link, though! \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 22:03

3 Answers 3



Interesting choice of multiclass, but the answer is still no.

Raging barbarians are subject to the following requirement as you know:

If you are able to cast spells, you can't cast them or concentrate on them while raging.

Note that it does not make exception for how you are able to cast a spell. Off the cuff spellcasting ability could stem from racial ability, class levels, taking certain feats, and having access to magic items including the aforementioned staff.

The staff gives you the ability to use your Action to cast a spell, which includes Shield (which suggests poor phrasing given that's a Reaction spell).

Regardless, your goal is to cast a spell using the staff, which is not permitted while raging.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the 5e tag was added, I went ahead and undeleted your post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose did the OP add the tag? The edit logs indicate it being added by you, but I'm not sure what the comment history was. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ one argument could be done that the item allows you to use "Action" to cast the spell, and not "Reaction". So you have to cast shield as an Action even though it would use only a reaction. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 13:59

No, you can't cast shield while raging.

Rage specifically states (emphasis mine):

If you are able to cast spells, you can’t cast them or concentrate on them while raging.

While the Staff states (emphasis mine):

you can use your action to cast one of the following spells from the staff

  • \$\begingroup\$ Perfect. Thanks for the interpretation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stormwind
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ So in combat if he has yet to rage and he gets attacked he could theoretically cast Shield, then Rage as a bonus action on his turn, attack, and still have Shield's +5ac for the round. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stormwind
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 1:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ He could cast Shield or attack, not both. Casting the spell from the staff is still a full action, not a reaction. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 2:00

Against the rules, but it's your game.

The posts above are correct that the rules do not allow him to cast while raging. You can decide that he can though. Let the reason he got the level in wizard inform the requirement for casting the spell in combat. If the character just "woke up one day," and decided to be wizard, then there's not much to go on.

However, for example, if the character's a primal path totem barbarian who chose the eagle's path. Maybe the wisdom of the eagle aids their combat and they can try a DC 13 check to remember to trigger the spell. Again, you're going off book here, but, if you want it to work, then it works.


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