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The sorcerer in my group has a wand of lightning bolts:

While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast the lightning bolt spell (save DC 15) from it. For 1 charge, you cast the 3rd-level version of the spell.

He asked whether he could use the Quickened Spell Metamagic option to cast the lightning bolt spell as a bonus action. The description of Quickened Spell reads:

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.

One the one hand, the item specifically mentions that the caster uses their action. On the other, the item also says the caster is casting the spell, so metamagics can apply.

My opinion is that specific beats general, and that the sorcerer cannot do this. The wand could relate to any spell, with longer or shorter casting times, and would always require an action. But I wanted to make sure that is RAW.

Can a sorcerer use the Quickened Spell metamagic option on a spell cast from a magic wand?

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Quickened Spell does nothing; the item always requires an action.

You are casting a spell through the wand, so the spell is a valid target for metamagics.

For 1 charge, you cast the 3rd-level version of the spell.

As an example, if it were a single-target spell like chromatic orb, you could use Twinned Spell on it and target 2 creatures. However, the spell you are casting from the wand always requires an action:

While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast the lightning bolt spell (save DC 15) from it.

This is independent from the spell's actual casting time. The rod of resurrection, for example, lets you cast a spell with a 1-hour cast time using only your action.

In other words, Quickening the spell has no effect, the wand overrules it. You are using your action to activate the magic wand. As part of that activation, you cast a spell. But it doesn't matter what the spell's casting time actually is; you have already spent your action, and that is all you will need to spend.

In fact, as aaron9eee pointed out, even other abilities like the Rogue's Fast Hands have no effect on this.

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a function of the Use an Object action, so a feature such as the rogue's Fast Hands can't be used to activate the item.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I think the point blue moon is getting at here is you would use your action to "Use an Object", which results in a spell being cast; you are casting the spell, but not in the normal way. \$\endgroup\$ – L0neGamer May 3 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 True, but that does seem like a very weird edge case, so I'm not surprised the rules don't account for it. I'll just rule that the Quicken Spell metamagic does nothing in this case, as the item overrules it. \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 4 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Works for me, thanks! Earlier comments removed \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 4 at 14:16
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No, a Sorcerer cannot Quicken a Wand.

First of all, let's look at the wording for the Sorcerer's Quickened Spell metamagic:

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.

So, Quickened Spell only works on spells that you cast.

Next, let's look at the wording of the Wand of Lightning Bolts:

While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast the lightning bolt spell (save DC 15) from it.

Here, you are using a magic item to cast a spell. You use its charges instead of your spell slots, its spell DC instead of yours, and the description specifically says the spell comes from it.

Any spellcaster can attune to a Wand of Lightning Bolts. That means that a cleric can attune to and use it, even though clerics are unable to cast the Lightning Bolt spell. Therefore, it stands to reason that the person wielding the wand is not casting the spell, but is merely triggering the magic already contained therein.

Furthermore, activating a magic item, even if that item casts a spell or creates a spell-like effect, is completely different from casting a spell. The Basic Rules: Activating an Item section reinforces this by saying:

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a function of the Use an Object action, so a feature such as the rogue's Fast Hands can't be used to activate the item.

This question has some answers that would disagree with me, and they even make some sense when read a certain way. However, that question was originally asked almost 6 years ago. Perhaps the wording was different back then - I have no way of knowing. Since a Wand of Lightning Bolts doesn't use the caster's spell DC and can be used by classes that have no access to the spell it casts, it makes the most sense to keep spell effects generated by magic items and those created by character separate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the second part of the answer, that the item requires an action. However, not the first part (AFAIK the sorcerer is casting the spell, not the wand) \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 3 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you have support/evidence that when using a magic item such as this you are not actually the one casting that spell, I recommend putting the support/evidence into the answer. Perhaps you could also provide answers to this and this since your conclusion is the opposite of the ones made there \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 3 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if your conclusion is right (and I'm not convinced it is), the answer's claims are incorrect. If an item says you cast a spell from it, you're casting a spell (which means that in general, Metamagic options can be used on it) - and the wand of lightning bolts does say "you [...] cast the lightning bolt spell" from it. It's true that you're casting a spell, regardless of what type of action is involved in casting the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 4 at 9:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, JC doesn't seem to be completely consistent in his Twitter rulings, and that's probably why they are no longer 'official'. Hopefully, the SAC will address this at some point. Until then, I think there are two valid interpretations for the use of Wands, it just depends on what part of the description you emphasize. Most of my D&D experience is from 1e, where half of the wands in the game could be used by anyone. There was a clear distinction between device and character generated magic effects. I think that should still be the case. \$\endgroup\$ – aaron9eee May 4 at 11:43
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You can use the Quickened Spell Metamagic on a spell cast from/using a wand, and it works like any other Metamagic

Stuff about wands

First off, if you cast a spell from a wand you are still casting that spell. This is established in the following two Q/A's:

In particular, the wand of lightning bolts states:

While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast the lightning bolt spell (save DC 15) from it. For 1 charge, you cast the 3rd-level version of the spell.

Additionally the Activating a Magic Item section of the DMG states, under the "Spells" subsection (page 141):

Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item.

These show that when using a wand, or any magic item you are still the one casting the spell.


We also know that activating/using a wand does not involve the Cast a Spell action nor the Use an Object action. Instead it uses an entirely different action, something like the "Use a Wand" action. We know this from the Activating an Item section of the DMG (page 141):

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a feature of the Use an Item action [...]


Stuff about the Quickened Spell Metamagic

The description of the Quickened Spell Metamagic option

When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action

We are casting the spell, and lightning bolt does have a casting time of 1 action, so that's good.

you can spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.

Unfortunately, casting time is barely defined by the rules in any real way. What we do know is from the Casting Time section:

Most spells require a single action to cast, but some spells require a bonus action, a reaction, or much more time to cast [...]

And from the Activating an Item section of the DMG, under the "Spells" subsection (page 141):

[...] The spell uses its normal casting time, range, and duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the spell requires concentration [...]

Thus we know that when casting lightning bolt from a wand of lightning bolts it will still have a casting time of 1 action, and, since we are casting the spell (as established earlier), we can apply Quickened Spell to that casting, changing lightning bolt's casting time to a bonus action.


But does this do anything useful?

Using a wand does not involve taking the Cast a Spell action, but Metamagic doesn't require the Cast a Spell action in the first place, so that's good. We are taking the "Use a Wand" action to ultimately cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, and have changed the casting time of that spell to 1 bonus action.

Does the action required to use a wand of lightning bolts represent the casting time of the spell? It is literally the amount of time it takes to cast the spell, but how exactly are these two things related (the casting time of a spell and the amount of time it takes to use an item that lets you cast that spell)?


The rod of resurrection points the way

The "Spells" section on Activating an Item also says this:

[...] Certain items make exceptions to these rules, changing the casting time, duration, or other parts of a spell [...]

One example of such an item is the rod of resurrection which states:

The rod has 5 charges. While you hold it, you can use an action to cast one of the following spells from it: heal (expends 1 charge) or resurrection (expends 5 charges).

The resurrection spell ordinarily takes an hour to cast, but this magic item changes its casting time to 1 action.

Using this we can conclude that the casting time of lightning bolt is the same as the amount of time it takes to use the wand of lightning bolts and thus Quickened Spell allows us to use our bonus action to cast lightning bolt.


What is the alternative?

We've already established that you can definitely use Quickened Spell on a spell cast from a Wand. It was just unclear what it actually did.

And so there is an alternative answer: When using a rod of resurrection you are using an action to cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 hour and when using a wand of lightning bolts you are using an action to cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 bonus action (this would mean you've used up your action and you can't cast a spell of 1st level or higher on your current turn). This is a perfectly valid interpretation; it prevents Quickened Spell from working in any meaningful way, but it also results in particularly unusual situations.


Non-rules supporting evidence

It's already established in the following two questions that you can use Metamagic on spells cast from magic items, including spell scrolls specifically:

Given that you can use every single other Metamagic with these spells, why prevent people from using Quickened Spell on them? To me, it would be especially odd that every Metamagic can be used except Quickened Spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally prefer your alternative explanation. I've compiled it into a stand-alone answer, to offer voters with a more clear alternative. I'm curious to see the community's opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 3 at 19:26

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