All that time and money spent on copying spells into one's spellbook! Sure, while the rest of the party is all like woohoo look at that pile of gold we're rich! what will we spend it all on?, but we wizards know that we'll be stocking up on ink and spell components.

But it's not the cost, it's the time! Copying just 4 4th level spells, for example, takes 32 hours, which is somewhere between 2 to 4 days doing nothing but copying spells, all day long. It's exhausting, and the rest of the party is going hey we gotta get back out there get your nose out of those books, or maybe getting in trouble down at the tavern.

There's gotta be ways to speed it up!

I know of two:

  • Wizards of the schools of abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, and transmutation have the {School} Savant feature at 2nd level that allow them to copy spells of their respective schools at half time and cost
  • Wizards of the order of scribes have the Wizardly Quill feature, which reduces time from 2 hours to 2 minutes per spell level

What other game features are there that speed up spell copying time?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the rules don't mention that you can't be doing anything else, or that the hours have to be spent consecutively. If riding on a wagon or a boat, you DM may allow you to scribe a spell. Also you DM may allow you to split up the time across several days. \$\endgroup\$
    – yesennes
    Jan 13, 2022 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @yesennes That looks like the start of a really good answer to me... \$\endgroup\$
    – CabinetCat
    Jan 15, 2022 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


The Law of the Harvest applies

Some things take time, and there is no practical way to speed them up. Crops must be planted and tended before they can be harvested. So it is with wizards and their spellbooks. Wizards are the strongest class in the game, this is just a minor inconvenience to them. The practical consideration is that a wizard probably cannot add new spells while out on an adventure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I get your point, but is there anything in the rules to support your answer? It's a game of resource management; in many ways, it's all about making efficient use of resources, of finding ways to get around the Law of the {Whatever}. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Jan 13, 2022 at 16:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack the lack of effects (besides Scribes) supports this. Copying spells is a heavily DM dependant feature, because they regulate both resources needed: downtime and scrolls/books \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleth
    Jan 13, 2022 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ jack, i can't really link to that nothing exists. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Jan 13, 2022 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can't link it, but the answer would be improved by specifically stating it \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 14, 2022 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin, that's really beyond the scope, but pretty sure the optimization community is fully behind this. Other subclasses may be strong, but the Wizard chassis is clearly out in front. Surveys don't mean much - the most-played subclass is the Champion \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Feb 2, 2022 at 15:20

Possibly, Simulacrum (ask your GM)

I have exactly the same problem as you, and rid myself of the time part by obtaining Simulacrum on spell level 7, and let the darned Simulacrum do the copying. (Unfortunately, this does nothing against my status of being permanently broke or indebeted from buying ink).

The logic is that it is an exact copy of myself, so it writes the spells in exactly the way I do, and we both could use them.

has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any Equipment. Otherwise, the Illusion uses all the Statistics of the creature it duplicates.

There is the need for GM agreement to this, as you could argue that even though the Simulacrum shares all the caster's statistics if he makes it a copy of himself, it is not the caster, and so its spellbooks are not the wizard's. The Simulacrum also has the restriction that it cannot learn:

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.

You possibly could argue that the Simulacrum cannot prepare new spells for its exisiting spell slots as this constitutes learning.

Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.

(Emphasis added). So if it cannot prepare any spells, no spell is of a level it can prepare, and it cannot copy spells.

However, Simulacrum is so powerful it is considered broken. My GM had no hesitation to accept the bargain and have me leave the thing at home to copy spells, rather than see it become a copy of a party member and amplify my power nearly twofold.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, a lot of room for GM interpretation. In my wizard's current game, the simulacrum can't copy the creator's spells for them, since it's not "you". In the end, each game with simus is going to have to deal with these questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 1, 2022 at 23:08

"Technically" they exist

Well, there are no written rules about speeding up spell copying (other that you described) in any class or subclass features and under any magic or mundane items. That being said, there exist two legal ways to speed this process up.

Time stop

You can cast time stop, and spend those 2-5 actions writing spells into your book, saving you 6 to 24 seconds(including casting time of the time stop). This is terrible and will almost never matter, but RAW, this can help, that's why I am mentioning it.


Well, the more useful way. Of course wish could grant you ability to speed up spell scribing, but this is up to GM. What isn't really up to GM is this part of the wish spell's description:

You create one object of up to 25,000 gp in value that isn't a magic item. The object can be no more than 300 feet in any dimension, and it appears in an unoccupied space you can see on the ground.

So you could wish for a spellbook (which is not a magic item) containing spells that equal in value to 25,000 gp (including the value of book itself) that are scribed by you. That way, copying from it would instead take half as long:

Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. 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. You need spend only 1 hour and 10 gp for each level of the copied spell.

So, twice as fast. That is greatly limiting, considering you can make up to 499 levels worth of spells, if the spellbook itself would be less than 50 gp. On the flip side, you could probably get all the spells you want in one wish, or all spells that exist in three. You do not need to know how to cast the wish spell, considering items like the luck blade or the ring of three wishes can do that for you.

Being creative

You could ask your GM if expertise in arcana a skill, or proficiency in calligrapher's supplies would help reduce that(by far the most sensible way), or homebrewing some magical item, but this is entirely up to your GM approval.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it worth noting that the long hours of spell scribing are an inherent part of how this type of spellcaster is balanced within the system? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cronax
    Jan 13, 2022 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cronax It is not really a question of balancing, but flavor and fluff, with some logic. If this would be about balance, then one subclass could not be doing that 60 times faster than the rest. It is more of adhering to idea of "Old, studious wizard who spent most of his life mastering the arcane" stuff. Also in 5e D&D rarely you see some strong benefits without some kind of price or limit, so tis' but natural. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cezaryx
    Jan 13, 2022 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ But that's precisely my point: The studious wizard is granted incredible versatility in the total number of spells they have access to, but having to prepare which ones in advance and having to go through a lengthy and costly process to acquire more spells seems like they're all a part of the price and limit to balance that versatility \$\endgroup\$
    – Cronax
    Jan 13, 2022 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ The subclass that can do it faster than the rest suffers an opportunity cost from the other subclass features they do not get, though. They gain versatility (by being more readily able to obtain spells) at the cost of increased power of specialization. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2022 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cronax The amount of downtime available to the party between adventures, and the amount of time pressure a party is on between adventures, isn't something there's guidelines for in the game; rather, it's a matter of GMing style. As such, between-adventure downtime is rarely used for game balance, as it's too variable and unpredictable a constraint. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Jan 13, 2022 at 21:54

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