Does an artificer's Magic Item Savant feature allow the artificer to cast a spell that is higher than he can normally cast from a spell scroll without making an ability check to cast it?

The relevant part of the Magic Item Savant feature description reads (WGtE p. 180, or E:RftLW p. 58; emphasis mine):

You ignore all class, race, spell, and level requirements on attuning to or using magic items.

I already know that a spell being on your spell list is a normal requirement to cast a spell, and this requirement would be removed by Magic Item Savant.

What is unclear to me is that the spell being of a level you can cast normally is required to cast the spell without making an ability check. Is this considered a spell requirement for using the item without an ability check?


3 Answers 3


Artificers with the Magic Item Savant Feature only require Ability Checks to cast spell scrolls if it's a 5th level spell on the Artificer Spell List, and the Artificer is below level 17

Under normal conditions, a spellcaster is unable to cast (or even read!) a spell scroll bearing a spell that isn't on their spell list (Spell Scroll, Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 200). However, as has been established, the Magic Item Savant feature allows them to ignore any class or level requirements to use a magic item, which includes spell scrolls.

Then, the requirement to make an Ability Check is worded like this:

If the spell is on your class's spell list but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using your spellcasting ability to determine whether you cast it successfully.

Since Artificers gain the Magic Item Savant feature at level 14, the only spells that will ever fulfill this condition are 5th level Artificer spells. Any other spell is

  • Of a level they can already cast (so the condition doesn't apply), or
  • From a Spell List for a different spellcasting class (so the condition doesn't apply)

Therefore, the only time an Artificer with the Magic Item Savant feature ever needs to make an Ability Check to cast a spell scroll is if they are between levels 14-16 and attempting to cast a Spell Scroll for a 5th level Artificer spell.

"But that seems... really specific. Especially since it also means they could cast 5th level spells from any other class' spell list without the check!"

Yes. At my table, I'd probably houserule it to simplify and just say that any Artificer with the Magic Item Savant feature no longer requires Ability Checks for any Spell Scrolls. The slight boost in power is worth, in my opinion, the time otherwise spent by players and DMs double-checking to determine if a 5th level spell is on the Artificer Spell List or not.


You must succeed on the spellcasting ability check (against a DC of 10 + spell level) to cast the spell from the spell scroll, as mentioned previously.

Magic Item Savant relates to the ability to use magic items (specifically spell scrolls, in this case) that can normally only be used by specific races/classes.

For example, say you're a warforged Battle Smith artificer and randomly stumble upon a dwarven thrower:

Weapon (warhammer), very rare (requires attunement by a dwarf)

Oh No! You've always wanted to go into battle like Thor... but you're unworthy. Wait... Magic Item Savant! You are instantly worthy to pick it up and wield it.

In regards to the spell scroll, you would be able to (try to) use any spell scroll - even for spells of level 6-9, which artificers usually cannot cast. You still need to cast it properly though, which is where the spellcasting ability check comes into play.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, good answer. I'm still not convinced though. It is strange to me that the feature would specify that it allows you to ignore level requirement when, as far as I can find, the only two things that can possibly be seen as a level requirement with regards to the attunement and use of magic items are: spell level requirement for casting from scrolls without needing to make an ability check, and the holy avenger item getting its aura expanded to 30 ft at level 17. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 1:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ The more I read into this, the more I am coming along to your side of the reading. I get that a magic item savant would be able to use ANY magic scroll (ignore class), but the ignore level aspect would only relate to the DC. I cannot think of (or research) anything that WOULD fit the wording of being able to ignore level requirements. The wording is too specific to not have a singular use, which makes me think scrolls ARE that use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wartowel
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's exactly it, as I said, there are only two possible 'level restrictions' I can find. Those being spell scroll requirements for casting without requiring an ability check, and holy avenger's aura extending from 10 ft to 30 ft at level 17. Why have such a specific reading if it only applies to a single item? Also, I feel like it doesn't break things that they can use higher level scrolls. They are already 14 and are already a half caster (focused on items) anyway. Heck, the artillerist is pretty much a full caster except that he lacks spell slots. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 2:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also notably the holy avenger's case is pretty much the same scenario as the spell scrolls, it isn't technically a level requirement to use the item, it is a level requirement related to the use of the item to get its full benefits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 2:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Level 14 you can make a Ring of Protection every day after you catch some ZZZzzzs. I feel as if you should be able to do a better job than a ranger when it comes to casting from a scroll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wartowel
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 2:52

You must make the ability check regardless

Magic Item Savant states in part:

You ignore all class, race, spell, and level requirements on attuning to or using a magic item.

Spell Scrolls state in part:

If the spell is on your class's spell list but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using your spellcasting ability to determine whether you cast it successfully. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a failed check, the spell disappears from the scroll with no other effect.

The ability check described above is a requirement on casting the spell successfully, but it is not a requirement on using the Spell Scroll. Making that ability check is a just part of using the Spell Scroll, and whether you succeed or fail at casting the spell, you've still used the Spell Scroll. Hence, Magic Item Savant has no interaction with this ability check.

In other words, Magic Item Savant changes whether you are capable of using a magic item, but it doesn't change how well you use it: you can use a Holy Avenger and fail to hit, likewise you can use a Spell Scroll and fail to cast its spell.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ My problem is the wording of magic savant: "you ignore... requirements on... using a magic item." This doesn't say you ignore the requirements to use it, you ignore the requirements on using it, what exactly does that mean? does it include requirements in relation to using, not just requirements to use a magic item? "if... you must..." By definition a requirement is a condition that must be satisfied, in this case for a result. You are required to be able to cast the level of spell on the scroll to avoid being required to make the check. It is a requirement, but not to use the scroll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 2:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the question is, what is a "requirement on using" something. And if this includes any requirements entailed within the item, not just requirements to use it; then is the requirement to be able to cast spells of the same level as the spell on the spell scroll, in order to not not be required to succeed an ability check to cast, considered a "spell" requirement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your edit should be reverted Ruse, "requirement on" is bad English. Requirement 'for' is best, requirement 'to' works but is also bad. The issue I'm having with the feature is how the language is poorly used. 'On' is a preposition putting one noun in a physical position usually related to the position of another noun. In a more vague use of 'on,' the phrase "requirement on using" is relating the requirements to the use of the item, not fitting it as a requirement specifically for the use of the item. This could mean a requirement that exists because the item is used. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 3:53
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ My issue with this answer is that you technically can't use a spell scroll of a higher level than you can normally cast without making the ability check in the first place. Therefore, the ability check should count as part of "using a magic item" because without it you can't even use the spell scroll in the first place. This means that it's a requirement which you would ignore (thus allowing Artificers to ignore the need for an ability check when using 6th to 9th-level scrolls). \$\endgroup\$
    – user53884
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 22:51

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