This feels like a dumb question, but does casting spells out of combat (like if someone used detect magic) use up spell slots? I would assume it does but I wanted to check in case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome to the Stack. I recommend the tour to get yourself oriented. Happy stacking! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Jun 14, 2023 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ is there anything that makes you think they wouldn't? \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Jun 15, 2023 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


Yes, they do.

As described in the basic rules for spellcasting:

When a character casts a spell, he or she expends a slot of that spell's level or higher, effectively "filling" a slot with the spell.

There are no exceptions noted here about being in or out of combat.

However, some spells in 5th edition can be cast as a ritual, in which case it takes an extra 10 minutes to cast but doesn't use the spell slot. For example, identify normally takes 1 minute to cast, but if you spend 11 minutes it doesn't use a spell slot.

Detect magic normally takes 1 action (6 seconds) but it can also be cast as a ritual. It takes 10 minutes and 6 seconds to cast, but then you don't use the spell slot.

Note that not all spellcasters can cast spells as a ritual, only those with the Ritual Casting feature. There are also some other sources for ritual casting, such as the warlock's Book of Ancient Secrets eldritch invocation and the Ritual Caster feat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Caveat emptor: not all classes that can cast these spells can do so as a ritual, so always check the label. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Jun 14, 2023 at 15:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some suggestions for improvement: (1) Link to the Ritual rules and /or quote the section that says the difference is that ritual spells don't cost slots, (2) Link to the Spell Slots rules, which say that a slot is used, don't give any exceptions outside of combat, but do list a few exceptions, and (3) mention that ritual casts still require the spell to be prepared (for non-wizards) or for the spellbook to be on hand (for wizards). \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 14, 2023 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood I think mentioning ritual casting but not freely granted spells is good here because ritual casting was created specifically as a way to cast (some) spells out-of-combat without it costing you spell slots. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Jun 15, 2023 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zibbobz: There are some ritual spells with material components that are consumed on cast, like Find Familiar, Protection from Evil & Good, Augury and some other divination spells, and some others. Including Fortune's Favor which does consume a 100 gp pearl. (In 5e the default is that materials aren't consumed. Apparently in previous editions, materials were consumed unless it specified they weren't.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2023 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes And in even earlier editions, material components either were or weren't consumed, as defined in the spell descriptions. The default behaviour or material components is something that's changed a lot over time. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Feb 12 at 10:03

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