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Suppose I have a multiclassed bard/warlock who chooses unseen servant as one of their warlock spells. Given that unseen servant is also on the bard list, can they then use the bard's Ritual Casting feature with this spell?

The Ritual Casting feature says

You can cast any bard spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.

The cleric and druid Ritual Casting features use equivalent wording (wizard is different). The question is, what defines a "bard spell". There seems to be no explicit definition.

The best clue I can find on this terminology is in the wizard's spellbook description

When you find a wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook...

This applies to spells found on spell scrolls as well as spellbooks. Now, a spell scroll doesn't have a class attached: whether a cleric, wizard or sorcerer scribes a detect magic scroll, the result is the same. So in this quote, "wizard spell" must mean "spell on the wizard list". (See also this question: If a cleric wrote a scroll of a spell that a wizard can learn, could a wizard learn the spell?)

If "bard/cleric/druid spell" is used in the same way in the Ritual Casting rules, then a multiclassed bard-warlock should be able to cast a warlock unseen servant as a ritual. But it would be nice to have some more support for this conclusion (or counter-evidence).

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No, every class spell is keyed to the class that learned/prepared it

Per the PHB, under spell casting:

Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your classes, and you use the spellcasting ability of that class when you cast the spell. Similarly, a spellcasting focus, such as a holy symbol, can be used only for the spells from the class associated with that focus.

So, spell learned as a Sorcerer is a "Sorcerer Spell", even if that spell exists in multiple class spell lists.

So if a Sorcerer prepares detect magic, it's a Sorcerer spell. If you multiclass into Bard, even though the character knows detect magic, and it exists on the Bard's spell list, it's not a "Bard Spell" so it cannot be cast ritually as a Bard.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But this never uses the terminology "sorcerer(eg) spell". If we assume that term refers to the associated class, the use of "wizard spell" in the spellbook rules doesn't really make sense, since scrolls don't have an associated class (or if they do, it's generally unknown!) \$\endgroup\$
    – pyrocrasty
    Jul 15, 2023 at 9:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ That said, the quote in your comment does bring up an interesting point regarding spellcasting abilities. It doesn't come up in the bard/warlock example, but if you were to cast, say, a warlock comprehend languages with a wizard's ritual casting feature, you'd be using a CHA-based spell with a wizard feature, which does seem a little odd. \$\endgroup\$
    – pyrocrasty
    Jul 15, 2023 at 9:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another problem with this is that the term is used in quotes like this one: "each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook". These are spells you don't even know yet. So "wizard spell" can't mean something like "spell you prepared as a wizard". It seems like it has to mean "spell on the wizard list". Although maybe this is overly pedantic. \$\endgroup\$
    – pyrocrasty
    Jul 15, 2023 at 10:03

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