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Spell Thief states:

[...] Immediately after a creature casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with its spellcasting ability modifier. The DC equals your spell save DC. [...]

For a multiclassed spellcaster who is the target of this feature, what spellcasting ability do they use to make the save?

For example, let's say you have a Warlock 17/Wizard 3, targeted by this feature do they use Charisma or Intelligence for the check?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related question about "your Spellcasting ability": "Do racial/feat/non-Spellcasting classes' spellcasting abilities count as a spellcasting ability for Staff of Power?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 26 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you intentionally using "Warlock/Wizard" as an example? The Warlock uses very different multi-classing rules from other spellcasting classes. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik May 26 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, Warlock/Wizard is an example (the primary consideration when choosing the combination was that they use different spellcasting abilities, which is the salient mechanic for Spell Thief) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 26 at 10:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik ^ forgot to tag you above \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 26 at 10:56
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They use the ability related to the spell they are casting

The spell thief ability is directly related to the spell the target is casting. Therefore the target makes the save with the same ability they use to determine the attack roll or spell save DC for the spell that was cast.

From the rules for multiclassed spellcasting we find:

Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your Classes, and you use the Spellcasting Ability of that class when you cast the spell.

Since Spell Thief targets a caster to steal a specific spell, the target makes the save with the ability associated with that spell. In your example if target casts Magic Missile with their wizard levels they make the save with intelligence. If they cast Hunger of Hadar with their warlock pact-magic, they make the save with charisma.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Spell Thief also forces the creature to make a saving throw after they have completed the casting. If they don't make that saving throw they then lose access to a spell (the one they have just cast). It doesn't target the spell itself for the saving throw. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 26 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro True, I've slightly adjusted the wording to make that clearer. I still think this answer is correct though. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 26 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's clearer. How would you suggest spells that exist on both spell lists for a multiclassed spellcaster are handled? \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 26 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro it is determined by which class the target prepared it from. Even if you know a spell from multiple sources you have to declare which class you are preparing it from. As you as still subject to the known/prepared spell limits as if you were a single class. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 26 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro You would still learn the spell from one of your classes or prepare the spell from one of your classes. If you had two versions of the spell available though and your spellcasting classes used the same ability modifier I think you'd just have to state which class was using that spell. Though there is extremely little reason for this to occur since you're almost always wasting a known/prepared slot by taking the same spell twice \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 26 at 15:08

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