Inspired by this question about a Simulacrum copy using a spellbook, I started wondering how locked into their initial state a Simulacrum copy would be (when I was wondering exactly how useful a spellbook would be to the simulacrum). The text of the Simulacrum spell states (PHB, p. 276, bold added):

The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots. If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains.

Now, this got me wondering: what if a high level Cleric (used as an example to sidestep the wizard's need for a spellbook) were to be copied via the Simulacrum spell? On the one hand, that character can't "learn or become more powerful," so that would imply that their mental state is somewhat locked in: and besides, there are two major benefits of a long rest (regaining hit points and spell slots) that they are specificaly denied. On the other hand, when you prepare a new list of spells as a Cleric, you don't necessarily become "more powerful," or "learn" new information: it's more of a lateral move, similar to dropping a sword and drawing a bow instead. You aren't necessarily "more" or "less" powerful, but rather are better suited to your current challenge.

I also got confused because the rules on a wizard copying their own spellbook state (PHB, p. 114, bold added):

You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book... This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell.

The bold section gave me pause, because it is referring to any spell in the book, not just those spells the wizard has prepared. This implies that "knowing how to cast the spell" is distinct from having that spell prepared, which makes me question whether preparing spells falls under the "ability to learn."

My instinct is that a simulacrum can't prepare new spells, because their inability to natively regain hit points or spell slots makes me think of them as basically being restricted to the resources the creature would normally have between long rests. But I'm sufficiently unsure that I'm asking it here. Can a simulacrum of a caster that can select different spells to prepare at the end of a long rest do so, or are they locked into the spells that were prepared when they were created?

  • \$\begingroup\$ NOTE: Some other questions such as this one have answers which give thoughts on this topic. But as the provided answers disagree on this point (and it was only part of the question), I thought this question was worth asking. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21 '21 at 15:34
  • 1
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given the amount of different casters, simulacrum shenanigans and whatnot this might need to be narrowed down to a single caster type, especially if you copy an NPC of some sort. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 21 '21 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I'd certainly be interested in hearing how the answer might change depending on caster type. My example of a Cleric is intended to serve as an example with the fewest possible complications (i.e. their ability to prepare different spells isn't dependent on equipment), so an answer is free to focus on that. But if they wanted to expand the answer to other classes (or NPC abilities), I'd be happy to see the results. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21 '21 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ An interesting question. I would have assumed no, but you make an interesting case with the wizard's known vs prepared argument. I think the biggest implication is for a wizard simulacrum and the TCE optional "Cantrip Formulas" rule, wherein wizards treat cantrips in much the same way that clerics treat spells. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22 '21 at 0:45

Yes, if …

… the Illusion uses all the Statistics of the creature it duplicates.

For a cleric, one of those “statistics” is their Spellcasting feature which says:

You can change your list of prepared Spells when you finish a Long Rest.

So if a Simulacrum of a cleric can take a long rest it can change its prepared spells. Maybe you need to ask if they can take a long rest?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Do you have any particular reason to think a simulacrum can't take long rests? It might be useful to remember that an errata to the PHB has clarified that "“Adventurers, as well as other creatures, can take short rests in the midst of a day and a long rest to end it.” \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21 '21 at 20:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme I have views but the site has a one question per post rule. This is the answer to your one question. If you want another you have to pay the fee to post it - I believe it is currently $0.00. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 21 '21 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't mean my comment as a second question, but rather a suggestion to something that would improve this answer. But of course, it's your answer, and if you view that as a separate question I understand. Just to clarify: are you saying that if a simulacrum can take a long rest, then you see it as unambiguous that a simulacrum of a cleric could change their prepare Spells after taking one? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21 '21 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 21 '21 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't ask the follow up question at first, because I originally considered it clear that the simulacrum could take a long rest. But upon realizing that I wasn't sure if constructs could sleep (I assume they can?), I decided to ask it. I've done so now. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26 '21 at 16:27

I would judge that they can change which spells they have prepared at the end of a long rest - which would actually be the only benefit they could gain from that. However, this possibility would soon become fairly useless, since they cannot regain spell slots, so every spell they shoot is one more slot away from becoming completely useless beyond cantrips.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain why you rule this way and what rules (if any) back it up? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 21 '21 at 18:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .