I've come across a few questions regarding the spell storing ring to which my question matters. Under spell storing ring it reads:

Any creature can Cast a Spell of 1st through 5th Level into the ring by touching the ring as the spell is cast. The spell has no Effect, other than to be stored in the ring.

So to store a spell in the ring you cast the spell. Shield or absorb elements have a casting time of a reaction, can they be cast without a trigger? In particular, in our game the need came up to store reaction spells mid-combat. But the casting time of these spells is a reaction, so the question came up can you use your reaction without a trigger?

Under rules for spellcasting there are 3 blocks that give some guidance on casting time:

Each spell description begins with a block of information, including the spell's name, level, school of magic, casting time, range, components, and duration. The rest of a spell entry describes the spell's effect.

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

Some spells can be cast as reactions. These spells take a fraction of a second to bring about and are cast in response to some event. If a spell can be cast as a reaction, the spell description tells you exactly when you can do so.

Rules for combat has this:

Certain Special Abilities, Spells, and situations allow you to take a Special action called a Reaction. A Reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on Your Turn or on someone else’s.

Combining these, we know that the spell block contains the casting time, these spells have a casting time of "1 reaction". We know these spells take a fraction of a second to bring about so they are fast, it seems requiring an action or bonus action for it to be cast is unwarranted. However, it also says if a spell can be cast as a reaction, the spell description tells you exactly when you can do so. Furthermore "a reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind."

Does this mean you can't cast a reaction spell without the trigger? Does this imply that you have to get hit to store the shield spell into the ring?

Can a mage cast shield or absorb elements without getting hit or receiving elemental damage? If so, when can they take their reaction to store the spell in the ring, I'd presume it would have to be their own turn (using their reaction just to store the spell), but can they react to nothing off turn to store the spell?


1 Answer 1


RAW, reaction spells can only be cast in response to their triggers.

This is very explicitly stated in one of the rules you quoted:

If a spell can be cast as a reaction, the spell description tells you exactly when you can do so.

This statement leaves no room for casting reaction spells at another time.

You’re probably not breaking anything by ignoring this.

It’s probably fine to ignore this rule for the sake of casting into the ring of spell storing, as most of the triggers are easily enough contrived during downtime. You can probably manufacture the triggers yourself to cast reaction spells into the ring, so don’t waste time doing that and just let it happen.

I’ve used the ring of spell storing to do this with hellish rebuke before. The first time we did it, we had good fun, my sorcerer friend missed his first two punches to hit me, and when he did I yelled rude things at him to charge the ring with a hellish rebuke. It’s a strategy we used quite often, so we did away with the pageantry and just mentioned to our DM we wanted to store some rebukes into the ring and moved on after marking off the spell slots.

In this answer I outline a case where ignoring the RAW here might actually be an issue. The situation there involves storing a counterspell into a Shield Guardian, and the required trigger is actually quite difficult to reproduce - impossible without a magic item with a certain property. In any case, discuss with your DM how to handle this problem when it arises.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is basically exactly the answer I was looking for, and pretty much what I thought myself. Felt it appropriate to post the question though because I wasn't finding anything related within Stack Exchange. Thanks TM. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dezvul
    Commented Nov 21, 2020 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, yes... "Ring of Black Eyes" aka a Ring of Spell Storing filed with nothing but Shield. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 4:11

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