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So I have been reading through the 5e PHB section on wizards and a couple of things surprised me and I'm not sure if I am missing something. I was under the impression that Wizards required their spellbook to be able to cast spells and that they can only use their prepared spells for a day. So my questions are:

  • Can a wizard cast spells without access to their spellbook?
  • If a wizard loses their spellbook can they cast their prepared spells indefinitely?
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Yes, you can cast spells without your spellbook. And yes, your list of prepared spells will stay prepared until you prepare a new list. In the Preparing and Casting spells section, only preparing a new list of spells actually requires your spellbook. Casting just requires spell slots and a prepared list of spells, and regaining spell slots just requires a long rest.

There are some other things you can't do without your spellbook, however:

  • You can't cast spells as rituals.
  • You can't use your Arcane Recovery feature.
  • Most importantly, you probably can't learn new spells. A generous DM might rule that your two new spells learned from levelling up just appear in your spellbook, wherever it might be, but I certainly wouldn't.
  • By the same token, I have no idea what would happen with the Spell Mastery and Signature Spells features if you gained them while you didn't have your spellbook. You might not gain them at all; you might gain them once you reclaimed your spellbook.

A suggestion for you: The game assumes that a Wizard has a spellbook, and a lot of the Wizard rules don't quite work without one. If you lose your spellbook, get a new one as soon as possible. For the pittance of 50 gp, you can make the rules work properly again. Even if you still don't change your list of prepared spells, it'll be worth it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 21 '16 at 0:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ So... if someone multiclasses from another class and takes one level of Wizard, theoretically they don't get a spellbook for free and would have to buy/acquire one. (At least, that's what Googling and the only seemingly relevant Sage Advice suggests: sageadvice.eu/2015/01/20/spellbook-for-free) In that case, would they get to have (Int mod)+(Wizard level) number of spells prepared automatically, even without a spellbook? Also, since cantrips are an innate thing, they can use those without a spellbook, right? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 17 '18 at 5:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there some official confirmation on the ruling that you can't cast spells as rituals without your spellbook? Unlike the Arcane Recovery feature the wording in the RAW doesn't suggest that you actually use the spellbook while casting a ritual, only that the spell must be in the spellbook. \$\endgroup\$ – Chryckan Sep 5 '18 at 18:00

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