Consider the following homebrew magic item:

Uncanny Bookmark

Wizard only, requires attunement.

When you complete a long rest, you may optionally delay choosing the spell for one of your spell preparations. At any point while this spell preparation remains unchosen, you may choose a spell in your spell book that you could have prepared during the long rest and declare that this spell is the spell that you prepared. This choice may be made at any time, and it does not require an action or reaction. Once a spell has been chosen for the delayed preparation, the preparation becomes permanent until you complete a long rest.

What is the appropriate rarity for such an item?

My intuition is that this item bears some similarity to a wish spell, in that both allow you to cast any spell in your spell book. This clearly isn't a perfect comparison, but it suggests that the item might need to be as rare as Legendary (per the DMG's Magic Item Power by Rarity table on p. 285).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you plan to have more than one of this item? \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 13 at 21:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion (it belongs in chat). Comments are not for providing feedback on the proposed magic item (it belongs in answers). \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Aug 14 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @biziclop No—but does that information typically change the rarity of items? \$\endgroup\$
    – nben
    Aug 21 at 22:30

4 Answers 4


This would work best as a Rare item, but test

This is an item that would not be unbalanced in tier one. It naturally scales its power down because early on, the selection the wizard has access to is so much smaller. For example, for a 1st level wizard with Intelligence 15 and two rituals like detect magic or comprehend languages already can cast all the spells in their spellbook. All this would do is allow them to cast the rituals as normal spells. It gets more powerful as the wizard gets more powerful. And I think what level of play the item works well with with is a useful consideration for rarity assignment.

There is little that directly compares which makes power assessment difficult. However, there is guidance in the DMG that rarity should be based on spell level for an item that can create a spell like effect. So I'm looking at this through the lense: if this where a spell, what level would it be?

As @TheBlest pointed out in the comments (now unfortunately removed), the UA playtest contains a spell that has a very similar effect, Memorize Spell, which allows you to memorize any spell from your spellbook in exchange for an appropriate slot memorized spell. That spell is pegged as third level. There is one large difference: your effect is instantaneous, not even requiring a reaction, while that spell takes a minute to cast, so it is useless in combat. This makes your effect more powerful.

On the other hand, wish this ain't. Wish allows you to cast any spell up to 8th level, from any list, and without any material components. Here you are still limited to the effects you already have access to, and by all the normal costs, plus you cannot create new effects. That is a huge step down in power.

If lateral transfer from a similar system is allowed, I can add from my play experience: in Pathfinder (which plays similar to D&D 3.5) wizards have a feature called Arcane Bond that allows them to cast any spell in their spellbook once a day, and that was nice to have, but not super powerful.

Attunement cost

In addition, this consumes one of your precious attunement slots, while a ring of three wishes does not. That is a large cost. When I first saw this, I thought, I don't really care what rarity this is, the question is would I give up one attunement slot for being able to have one flexible pick like this? Flexibility certainly has its own power, but it is much harder to quantify than additional spell slots and spell levels. You could use that attunement slot for other items like a staff or wand that give you not only options but also raw firepower in the form of many additional castings.

From practical play, there always is a situation where you wish you had memorized the knock, or the charm person. However, for the lower level spells of first or second level, you can quite effectively also address this by crafting Uncommon scrolls, and that costs no attunement.

So, an item that can replicate a 3rd level effect like Memorize Spell, could be Uncommon, but this effect would be more powerful due to its speed. An item one step down from level 9 spells like wish would be Very Rare.

I think this would work best as a Rare item, so you could actually still get to use it during a normal campaign for some time, possibly getting access to it as early as 5th level. Very rare items typically only get handed out from level 11 (Xanathar's, p. 135), when many published campaigns are already winding down.

Because this is such an unique effect that is hard to triangulate for power, I would strongly recommend to test this, and be prepared (and prepare your players) to adjust if it turns out to be more powerful than you thought.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What rarity is an item that lets prepare all of your highest level spells for the price of one preparation spot? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 13 at 22:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkovwasonStrike That's a different item. You can pick any one here flexibly, but not all. Once you select one, the others are out. Normally, you also have only 2-4 of your highest level spells from picks, plus maybe a few you found - and you'll still be able to only cast one of them. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14 at 2:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ That item is not as good as this item. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14 at 6:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TheBlest Comments are designed to be ephemeral, and there are lots of possible reasons for deletion, Cf. here. That being said, I had a comment on nben's original question that explained what I thought were relevant criteria for an answer to consider without being an answer itself, and it too was deleted without explanation. A comment flagger can see whether their flag was deemed helpful or not, but unfortunately a flagee cannot see why their comment was deleted. Unless you NEED an explanation, it is better to shrug and move on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Aug 14 at 19:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TheBlest Typically if it was in clear violation of guidelines, the moderator who removed it would say something like, eg, 'please don't answer in comments'. It may be that someone just flagged it as 'not helpful' or 'no longer needed'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Aug 14 at 19:22

I'd consider adding a level limit, then attaching a rarity to that level limit.

Second, as an attunement slot, we can justify more than just flexibility but a tiny power bump in order to simplify its wording.

Uncanny Bookmark

Requires attunement by a Wizard

When attuned to this bookmark, you may choose to cast a Wizard spell in your spellbook that you do not have prepared of up to 2nd level without expending a spell slot. You cannot use this item to cast a Wizard spell you would not be able to prepare. Once you have done so, this spell is considered prepared for you until you complete a long rest or lose attunement to this bookmark, and you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest.

Rarity: Uncommon (2nd level), Rare (4th level), Very Rare (6th level), Legendary (8th level).

This gives a small power boost (in the form of an extra slot) to make up for the attunement. It is otherwise thematically identical. Unlike the base item it doesn't auto-scale in power at higher levels; a high level wizard can't use a heroic tier item to suddenly cast wish.

It is limited to level 8 spells, keeping the uniqueness of 9th level spells as 1 per long rest.

Removing the "without using a spell slot" makes it a significantly worse item, but also a less fun one. I might drop the rarity by 1 tier?

Requires attunement by a Wizard

When attuned to this bookmark, you may choose to prepare a Wizard spell in your spellbook that you do not have prepared of up to 2nd level. You cannot use this item to prepare a Wizard spell you would not be able to prepare. Once you have done so, this spell is considered prepared for you until you complete a long rest or lose attunement to this bookmark, and is in addition to the spells you prepared normally, and you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest.

Rarity: Common (2nd level), Uncommon (4th level), Rare (6th level), Very Rare (8th level).

Items with a variety of level limits are common in 5e - most items with a +1 through +3 bonus follow this pattern. Scrolls and Tattoo's and Spell Gems also vary in rarity based on the level of the spell they support.

The bookmark written above is similar to a Spell Gem from Out of the Abyss; the Gem has a few more abusable corner use cases, but the Bookmark is more flexible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might mention that this approach of varied rarities with level limits is used by the Sane Magical Prices guide for 'discount' versions of the Rod of the Pact Keeper (or, if there is a RAW item that functions the same, better that). \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Aug 14 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt: Spell Gems (from Out of the Abyss) vary in rarity, with the rarest (diamond) holding any spell up to 9th level, and a save DC 19 / attack bonus +11. Down to Obsidian (cantrips) and Lapis Lazuli ("up to" 1st level), both with a spell-save DC of 13 / attack bonus +5. (A creature can use an action to cast the stored spell if they know it or it's on their class's spell list, and a spellcaster can cast a spell into an empty gem to refill it.) TCE also has Spellwrought Tattoos from Common to Rare varying by level of stored spell (single-use items). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you like to stick with standard templating, "Wizard only, Requires attunement" -> "Requires attunement by a Wizard" \$\endgroup\$
    – Jorn
    Aug 17 at 11:22


When trying to understand the power of a homebrew choice, you need to look at both the "intended" consequence, and the extreme.

As pointed out in the comments, this works very similar to the wish spell:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

But there are two major difference that are a pro and a con:

  1. Using this bookmark, presumably, still requires any components needed by the spell. So you cannot simply make a Simulacrum on a whim.
  2. You can instantly cast a non-prepared 9th level spell.

It gets more powerful the higher the level of play

At 5th level, a wizard can memorize 5 + your Int modifier (we'll assume 18 at this level) for a total of 9 spells prepared. A wizard can prepare 8 of any level spell. The smart choice is to actually not memorize a 1st level spell of little use, like say, don't get charm person and fill up on the higher level spells like normal. The chance of the character needing charm person during a day is small. But the bookmark doesn't care about what spell level is "missing". And when the time comes, you can cast a different 3rd level spell (so long as you still have a spell slot). So prepare fireball and hypnotic pattern, because you can also cast haste if the need arises.

Now consider the wish spell. Its power comes from being able to cast ANY spell of 8th level or less. It is extremely powerful to have memorized. But there are only a few 9th level spells, and they are all pretty good. However weigh that against having only a single 9th level spell slots at 20th level.

But because you didn't memorize that 1st level charm person, you can forget about memorizing wish and grab other 9th level spells. And when the time comes, swap in the wish spell to cast any other 8th level or lower spell. Even spells not in your spell book.


The ring of three wishes is a legendary item. Since this item can be used very similarly, I would put it at the same rarity.

The differences are:

  1. The ring works three times, then it is gone. Whereas the bookmark resets every day.
  2. The ring can cast any spell automatically, but the bookmark requires the spell to be in the wizard's spell book. But once the wizard knows wish, then it's identical.
  3. The ring allows the wearer to cast wish three times total without using spell slots. The bookmark would allow wish to be cast twice a day maximum (the two spell slots).
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catprog: Huh? In 5e, preparation slots are separate from the spell slots you cast with. Unless there are items or effects that could randomly "erase" a spell from your list of prepared spells, there's no mechanical difference between preparing Wish twice vs. leaving one of your preparation slots unfilled, except that it takes 9 extra minutes after a long rest if you're changing your list of prepared spells. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14 at 3:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't seem to be as similar to Wish as you say. In particular, use of the item does not produce the effects of a spell -- it just adds a spell to your list of prepared spells for the day. You would still need to cast it normally to produce the effects. Additionally, the spell needs to be one in your spellbook that you could have prepared normally during the previous long rest. That limits the spells available, and were I ruling on it, also does not provide for shennanigans with the levels of prepared spells. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14 at 12:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1. I agree with John, this is nowhere near as powerful as a ring of wishes. "Cast any 8th level spell without a spell slot" is oodles more powerful than "expend a spell slot to cast a spell you already have in your spellbook". Also, this sort of thing happens at most tables I play at already. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dragonfang
    Aug 14 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...where are we getting the second 9th-level spell slot from? Even a level 20 wizard can only cast one 8th or 9th level spell per day in 5e dnd. I am also confused about why we are differentiating the spell 'level' of the unprepared spot in the example in the middle section, because 5e does not care about that--if you got 'em you can always double down on prepping bigger spells and just spam the one lvl 1 you prepped when you're down to lvl 1 slots. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1, this answer assumes that the wizard can cast without a spell slot, but nothing proposed in the question suggests that. Given that the basis for this answer's determination of Legendary hinges on that, I think you need to re-evaluate this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23 at 16:15

It should be at least legendary.

There is a bunch of official items from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything that work in a similar way of the proposed item: Alchemical Compendium, Astromancy Archive, Atlas of Endless Horizons, Duplicitous Manuscript, Libram of Souls and Flesh.

All of them have 3 charges, and they share a common option:

If you spend 1 minute studying the book, you can expend 1 charge to replace one of your prepared wizard spells with a different spell in the book. The new spell must be of the [X] school.

The sole difference is the school to which the new spell must belong to, which is thematically linked to nature of the item. Each one present another option (that costs 2 charges) linked again to the theme of the item. These items are listed as Rare.

Since they are providing a similar mechanic to the proposed item, one has to compare the aspects that look alike:

  1. The substitution option can be taken 3 times per day, in ideal conditions (3 charges left).
  2. The new spell must belongs to a particular school of magic.
  3. The change takes 1 minute.
  4. The wizard does not have to leave out one slot from the prepared spell list.

The proposed one instead:

  1. The substitution can be taken once per long rest.
  2. The new spell can be any in the spellbook.
  3. The substitution is instantaneous and does not require an action, a reaction or a bonus action.
  4. The wizard has to leave one slot from the prepared spells list free.

There are two aspects that seems to set the power of the Uncanny Book at a lower level than the spellbooks from Tasha's, namely 1) and 4), but the other twos allow the wizard to be incredibly versatile, since just with a thought they can choose any spell from the spellbook that may save their life, solve a problematic situation, or whatever hard situation that they may encounter.

There is another magic item that provides a similar option, the Crystalline Chronicle:

  • If you spend 1 minute studying the information within the crystal, you can expend 1 charge to replace one of your prepared wizard spells with a different spell in the crystal.
  • When you cast a wizard spell, you can expend 1 charge to cast the spell without verbal, somatic, or material components of up to 100 gp value.

The first bullet allows the change of prepared spell, without leaving out a prepared slot and without any limitation on the school. Anyway, it still requires 1 minute for the change. The rarity of this is Very Rare.

Even in the first tiers of play the Uncanny Book could be a game changer. For example, a 4 level wizard has 12 spells in the spellbook (by following the rules in the PHB and without considering additional spells provided during the adventures by the DM). They can prepare a maximum of 8 spells, supposing that they maximized the INT score. Using this item, the wizard can prepare 7 spells, choosing to leave out some that may of some use in particular situations, for example the Shield spell, since they know they always managed to be out of the fight, or the Mind Spike because they are not planning to read thoughts. But by using this item they have the whole spellbook at their disposal in an instant, being hence ready to adapt to a large range of situations.

This further versatility to the Wizard class makes the Uncanny Book's rarity (strictly) greater than the rarity of one of the items from Tasha's: it elevates the rarity of the Uncanny Book to Legendary, not even Very Rare, even comparing it with the Crystalline Chronicle, since the latter requires 1 whole minute for the changing.

Actually, there is another item in the DMG, the Tome of the Stilled Tongue, a legendary item providing (again) a similar option for casters:

If you can attune to this item, you can use it as a spellbook and an arcane focus. In addition, while holding the tome, you can use a bonus action to cast a spell you have written in this tome, without expending a spell slot or using any verbal or somatic components. Once used, this property of the tome can't be used again until the next dawn.

In order to cast any spell in the spellbook, this item requires to use a bonus action but the caster does not spend a spell slot, while the Uncanny Bookmark allows to do this using an Action (the Cast a Spell action) but at the cost of leaving one "preparation slot" free. The provided feature (casting any spell in the book) is the same, but the Uncanny Bookmark has a slightly higher cost (leaving a "preparation slot" free), which is not so impactful, due to the high number of spells one can prepare. Supposing that the DM is not very generous, a 20th level wizard has 24 spells in their spellbook and they may prepare 25 spells, provided they maximized their INT score. The cost is hence negligible.

The real power of both items lies in being able to cast an unprepared spell: but the Tome allows to do this per day, while the Uncanny Bookmark allows to have that spell prepared until the rest of the day, hence the wizard can cast it multiple times, provided that they have slots available.

From a game balancing point of view, we have to remember that the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons is highly in favor of the players, and the wizard class is really powerful and very versatile. Using this item augments the power and the versatility of such class, against other classes, and further eases the game, allowing the wizard to access and to use spells in their whole spellbook in an instant.

To be honest, I do not think that I would use this item in my games as a DM: I could give it a try in case I consider this as an artifact designed for wizards that, among other properties, presents this option for delayed spell preparation.

Otherwise, since there is already a magical item that provides a very similar option to what yours item does, I suggest to use the Crystalline Chronicle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think a large part of the power of these magic items is the fact that they come with a number of spells already in them. Unless you play a game with spells readily handed to you to copy to your book, this is quite powerful for a wizard. The proposed item does not do that. Shouldn't that be part of the comparison? \$\endgroup\$
    – Deeps
    Aug 15 at 21:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this provides good reason to consider Very Rare for the Uncanny Bookmark, but these Tasha's books do not seem less powerful than the bookmark to me. They books include some very powerful non-wizard spells like Word Of Recall, which is a high level cleric-only spell. They also include other effects like voiding an attack using a reaction. Meanwhile, the Tome of the Stilled Tongue (legendary) allows a bonus action to subtle cast of any spell in your spell book without even spending a spell slot. Is the bookmark really "at least" as good for a wizard as the tome? Or is the tome better? \$\endgroup\$
    – nben
    Aug 21 at 20:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage I think you've misunderstood the Tome. The Tome lets you cast, for example, Foresight, which usually takes 1 minute, as a mere bonus action, subtly, without spending a spell slot. The bookmark requires you to spend the full minute and the spell slot and does not give the advantage of a subtle cast. I.e., with the tome you get the free spell preparation and you don't even have to spend the full casting time or the spell slot. \$\endgroup\$
    – nben
    Aug 21 at 22:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage alternatively, you may have misunderstood the Bookmark? The Bookmark still requires you to cast the spell as normal, you just don't have to spend an action to fill the empty preparation slot with a spell from your spellbook. \$\endgroup\$
    – nben
    Aug 21 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is over focused on the versatility that this creates in relation to other legendary items which grant versatility and more. Tome of the Stilled Tongue lets you have cast an unprepped spell w/o a slot and is thus legendary (which means it lets you have an extra free 9th level slot at the extreme end). Crystalline Chronicle lets you swap out a prepared spell for a different one but takes a full minute and lets you cast without components and is thus Very Rare. The proposed items lets you swap on the fly but still needs a slot to use the spell and you've equated that to TotST. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23 at 16:06

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