Ritual casting does not expend a spell slot, I know that. However, the Wizard class feature does not say anything about whether you must prepare the subject spell to cast it as a ritual. On one side, it is anyway "casting" a spell, so you can say "yes, you must prepare." On the other hand, (although it is just about how wizards cast rituals,) your ritual involves your spellbook, so you can see the ritual ceremony "from the spellbook", which removes the need to prepare the spell.

My question is: Must I prepare the subject spell in advance to perform it?

This is only about Wizards. Clerics, Druids, Bards have these problems nailed down explicitly. Clerics' and Druids' ritual casting requires you to prepare the spell in advance, and Bards' rituals can only be drawn from what they know.


Below is the Wizard listing:

Ritual Casting

You can cast any Wizard spell as a ritual if you have the spell in your spellbook and the spell has a ritual version. To cast a spell as a ritual, you must add 10 minutes to the spell’s casting time, during which you undertake a prescribed ceremony that includes your spellbook.

Now, what differs the description for Clerics from Wizards, (since clerics prepare spells as well) is that for wizards this sort of things is right in their wheelhouse. Other spell casting classes don't have the rituals spelled (hah) out for them in a guide. They carry a token that channels the ritual, and thus I don't believe it has to be a prepared spell as a class feature for the wizard in question. I've combed the wording, and the only bit they really seem to c/p is the middle bit about taking an extra 10 min, the rest looks fairly deliberate.

After reading multiple times from spell casting and the class descriptions, there seem to be two requirements to ritual cast for a wizard:

  1. Do you have your spellbook?
  2. Is the ritual in it?
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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to that, PHB p. 201-202 reads: (...) The ritual version of a spell takes 10 minutes longer to cast than normal. (...) The caster must also have the spell prepared or on his or her list of spells known, unless the character’s ritual feature specifies otherwise, as the wizard’s does. My version of the Wizard's Ritual Casting: (PHB p. 114) You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don't need to have the spell prepared \$\endgroup\$ – Mark wishes Monica well Dec 3 '17 at 0:31

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