I'm waffling on some interpretations regarding the Order of Scribes wizard subclass in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, and would really appreciate some second opinions. Most of the features seem pretty straightforward in their application, but as usual I think there are some edge case spells with more than one reasonable interpretation.

The description of the Order of Scribes wizard's 6th-level feature Manifest Mind states, in part (TCE 77; emphasis mine):

[...] As a bonus action while the book is on your person, you can cause the mind to manifest as a Tiny spectral object, hovering in an unoccupied space of your choice within 60 feet of you. The spectral mind is intangible and doesn't occupy its space, and it sheds dim light in a 10-foot radius.

The description of the light spell reads:

You touch one object that is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension.

Can the light cantrip be cast on the Tiny spectral object manifested by a Scribes wizard's Manifest Mind feature?

To me, it seems reasonably clear that since the manifest mind is an object, it is RAW a valid target for a spell like light, if you want it to be a brighter floating lantern. I have read some hot-take claims to the contrary since it is intangible, but I don't believe that position is supported by the rules (you can touch, stab, and otherwise physically interact with incorporeal ghost creatures, after all).

I would appreciate any thoughts or references I may have missed that would clarify my uncertainties, and thanks for your time!


You can cast light on the manifested mind.

The description of the light cantrip has the following conditions for its use:

You touch one object that is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension. [...] If you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature, that creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw to avoid the spell.

From the description of the manifested mind, we can state the following:

  • The mind is an object.
  • The mind is Tiny, and therefore it is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension.
  • The object is not, by default, being carried by a hostile creature, so there are no conditions that would prevent a successful casting of the spell.

As you've stated, the description of light makes no additional conditions on its target that would preclude it from being cast on a spectral object.

But the mind is "intangible".

The fact that the mind is intangible may, at first glance, imply that the mind cannot be touched, however there are existing examples that demonstrate how something intangible can be interacted with. For example, the description for the project image spell states the following (emphasis mine):

The illusion looks and sounds like you but is intangible. If the illusion takes any damage, it disappears, and the spell ends.

The illusion can only take damage through physical interaction (i.e. via touch, weapons, spells, etc.), so this provides sufficient evidence to state that intangibility does not preclude physical interaction.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Excellent analogy with regards to Project Image, I think that is better than my aside about ghosts. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 25 at 1:13

Rules As Written, you can't do this

You've written:

you can touch, stab, and otherwise physically interact with incorporeal ghost creatures

The dictionary definition of "intangible" is "unable to be touched or grasped".

The argument you're making is: "the ghost, which has an ability called "incorporeal movement", can be touched; therefore the words incorporeal and (by extension) intangible don't mean anything in 5e, and you can touch intangible things."

I think the Rules As Written argument should be that something that is intangible cannot be touched, because that is the literal definition of that word.


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