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Some spells have casting times of 1m (Tsunami, Conjure Elementals, etc). I am a low level caster with no access to Wish. Is there a way to prepare the spell (maybe somehow pre-cast it the day before into an item) to be able to use it in combat in a single turn?

If I'm in a defensive position, I can combine a spell with Glyph of Warding. But the Glyph can't move too far, so it won't work if I'm storming the enemy castle and I need my trusty elementals. Spell scrolls and Rings of Spell Storing also maintain the spell's casting time, as far as I know. Sorcerers can only quicken 1 action to 1 bonus action.

What other options are there?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you interested in methods that apply generally to any spell or also things like a magic item making an exception to the required casting time of one specific spell? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18, 2020 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I was looking for general methods, given that I don't have a particular spell in mind \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Apr 18, 2020 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ You do realize that the casting time is meant to balance powerful spells, and this the very reason that ways to bypass this casting time are (1) unlikely to be found and (2) may not be appreciated by your party/DM. At the very least, should you find any work-around, I'd very much recommend talking to your DM about it -- they may prefer you do without -- or be prepared to face foes using the work-around. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2020 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. DM approves this. We were discussing ways for the Wizard to use Conjure Elementals, and DM suggested we looked into options like this. \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Apr 19, 2020 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Can magic items let you cast spells with long casting times as actions? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 11:03

3 Answers 3

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A 10th-level Wizard of the Chronurgy Magic Arcane Tradition from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount gets this as a class feature, with the Arcane Abeyance feature allowing them to condense a spell of 4th level or lower into a mote that lasts for an hour and can be unleashed with an action, once per short rest.

This wouldn't work for either of the spells you mention, though, since they are 8th and 5th level.

(I suspect any more general mechanisms to do this more generally are rare, nonexistent, or very hard to get in RAW, given that WotC apparently felt the need to constrain to "4th level or below" and "you can only save it for one hour" to make this balanced.)

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Yes, with items.

Spell Gems, from Out of the Abyss & Infernal Machine Rebuild, are produced by deep gnomes. You can load them with spells you can prepare, plus you can attempt to cast spells above your level by making a DC roll:

A diamond spell gem can contain one spell from any class's spell list. You become aware of the spell when you learn the gem's properties. While holding the gem, you can cast the spell from it as an action if you know the spell or if the spell is on your class's spell list. Doing so doesn't require any components, and doesn't require attunement. The spell then disappears from the gem.

If the spell is 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 gem with no other effect.

A diamond spell gem can store up to 9th level spells. Spells cast from the spell gem have a save DC of 19 and an attack bonus of +11.

You can imbue the gem with a spell if you're attuned to it and it's empty. To do so, you cast the spell while holding the gem. The spell is stored in the gem instead of having any effect. Casting the spell must require either 1 action or 1 minute or longer, and the spell's level must be no higher than the gem's maximum. If the spell belongs to the school of abjuration and requires material components that are consumed, you must provide them, but they can be worth half as much as normal.

[...]

They're available in 9 grades of quality.
A Lapis Lazuli Spell Gem has "uncommon" rarity & can hold a 1st level spell.
A Jade Spell Gem has "very rare" rarity & can hold a 5th level spell.
A Diamond Spell Gem has "legendary" rarity & can hold a 9th level spell.

Many magic items grant the ability to cast spells as an action, specifically overriding their usual casting times:

Currently, it seems no canonical item grants the Tsunami spell, but...

An Elemental Gem, is a type of uncommon item, each variety of which grants one casting of Conjure Elemental as an action.
(Normal casting time for Conjure Elemental would be 1 minute.)

Each Bowl/Brazier/Censer/Stone of Commanding Water/Fire/Air/Earth Elementals, is a rare item, which grants one casting of Conjure Elemental as an action, each day.

Tome of the Stilled Tongue, is an item with legendary rarity rating, which lets an attuned wizard cast any spell they write in it, as a bonus action:

~while holding the tome, you can use a bonus action to cast a spell you have written in this tome, without expending a spell slot or using any verbal or somatic component. Once used, this property of the tome can't be used again until the next dawn.
...

Staff of the Magi, lets an attuned sorcerer, warlock, or wizard cast Conjure Elemental as an action.

Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, also lets an attuned user cast Conjure Elemental as an action (among its other traits).

Similarly, Staff of the Woodlands, lets an attuned druid cast Awaken as an action.
(Normal casting time for Awaken would be 8 hours.)

Some Necklace of Prayer Beads, let an attuned cleric, druid, or paladin cast Wind Walk or Planar Ally... as a bonus action.
(Normal casting times are 1 minute & 10 minutes.)

In addition, some class features can reduce casting times for some spells.

At 2nd level, Order of Scribes wizards from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, get a subclass feature called Awakened Spellbook, which (among other things) lets them cast Rituals without the additional 10 minute ceremony:

When you cast a wizard spell as a ritual, you can use the spell's normal casting time, rather than adding 10 minutes to it. Once you use this benefit, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.

At 10th level, Chronurgy wizards from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, get a subclass feature called Arcane Abeyance, which lets them carry a ≤4th level spell as a transferable item for 1 hour:

When you cast a spell using a spell slot of 4th level or lower, you can condense the spell's magic into a mote. The spell is frozen in time at the moment of casting and held within a gray bead for 1 hour. This bead is a Tiny object with AC 15 and 1 hit point, and it is immune to poison and psychic damage. When the duration ends, or if the bead is destroyed, it vanishes in a flash of light, and the spell is lost.

A creature holding the bead can use its action to release the spell within, whereupon the bead disappears. The spell uses your spell attack bonus and save DC, and the spell treats the creature who released it as the caster for all other purposes.

Once you create a bead with this feature, you can't do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

At 3rd level, sorcerers get a class feature called Metamagic, which lets them use Quickened Spell*:
(*This changes casting time by less than one turn.)

When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.

(Characters granted the Boon of Quick Casting can do a form of this too: "Choose one of your spells of 1st through 3rd level that has a casting time of 1 action. That spell's casting time is now 1 bonus action for you.")

The 9th level spell, Time Stop, gets you 1d4+1 extra turns.

9th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V
Duration: Instantaneous

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.

This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you. In addition, the spell ends if you move to a place more than 1,000 feet from the location where you cast it.

Glyph of Warding can activate on demand and may be ruled as remaining in one location while the location itself moves.

To paraphrase a statement by Jeremy Crawford, the 'location' of a spell's effects may (at DM discretion) be ruled as remaining stationary relative to a 'map' location, even if that map area is mobile.

For example, the Cloud of Daggers spell has an area of effect, which may (subject to DM fiat) remain stationary relative to one point aboard a moving Squid Ship which has its own battlemap.

Essentially, Crawford's ruling creates a situation where anything large enough to warrant a map of its spaces, may be ruled as having 'locations' which are stationary within it. A large ship, or train, or even an extradimensional space, can often be large enough to get its own battlemap, & the spaces on that battlemap can (subject to DM fiat) be considered stationary fixed points for the effects of a spell even when the place itself is in motion.

Taking Crawford's ruling, a Teleportation Circle cast every day in the hold of a ship, could be made permanent even if the ship were in a different place every day.

Bigger mobile spaces may have better chances of DM approval as containing fixed 'locations', 'spaces' or 'points', within them (most ships are Gargantuan), but subject to DM fiat, a Glyph of Warding could remain unmoving inside the extradimensional space of a Portable Hole or Demiplane, ready to trigger if a creature approaches that space while the hole/door is open.

Presuming that a spellcaster with Glyph of Warding & Conjure Elemental could get access to a large ship or an extradimensional space of sufficient size (Demiplane spell, or Planar Key, or perhaps a mere Portable Hole), their DM may permit casting Conjure Elemental into a Glyph located within a ship or extradimensional space, as a pre-cast spell accessible while traveling.

Summary

So, although some rare or high-level options may be unavailable (or conditional &\or costly) for a low level caster:

Both by Rules As Written & by Rules As Intended, there are several canonical ways to accelerate & pre-cast spells with long casting times, in 5e.

And of course, there's always Wish (1 action).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil thanks for the formatting edit. I didn't know starting lines with > would display a blockquote! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 11:19
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A Tome of the Stilled Tongue can do this and more

If you are a wizard and you manage to acquire one of the 5 existing Tomes of the Stilled Tongue (and you don't mind becoming pen pals with a certain secretive deity), you can transcribe the spells you'd like to be able to quick-cast into the tome and then cast one of them per day as a bonus action:

If you can attune to this item, you can use it as a spellbook and an arcane focus. In addition, while holding the tome, you can use a bonus action to cast a spell you have written in this tome, without expending a spell slot or using any verbal or somatic components. Once used, this property of the tome can't be used again until the next dawn.

Note that you can do this with any wizard spell, regardless of casting time. In fact, you don't even need to prepare the spell first.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a great example of using an item, to accelerate the casting. Is it appropriate for me to add this example to the list of examples in my answer, or is that undesirable? Regarding spell preparation though, one would need to be able to prepare the spell, to add it to the Tome... still, a great example of how OP could accelerate casting the spells requested. I'm adding this for now, unless told not to. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2022 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ A spell gem is still cheaper / less rare, making it more available (potentially even preferable) at lower levels, but the tome is definitely a superior item overall, if a high level character can obtain it. Would the relative power level & rarity/cost of a given spell acceleration method, be worth detailing? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2022 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ProphetZarquon Sure, you can add it. It's definitely a niche option, since attracting the attention of Vecna is not something you generally want to do without a very good reason. That's a purely narrative cost though, so there isn't really a way to put a gp value on it. (In fact, out of character, it might be considered a benefit rather than a cost if the player thinks it will lead to an interesting story.) In any case, you can't just pop over to the local magic item shop and buy yourself a Tome of the Stilled Tongue. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2022 at 16:11

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