The Book of Ancient Secrets invocation says (PH p. 110):

On your adventures, you can add other ritual spells to your Book of Shadows. When you find such a spell, you can add it to the book if the spell's level is equal to or less than half your warlock level (rounded up) and if you can spare the time to transcribe the spell. For each level of the spell, the transcription process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp for the rare inks needed to inscribe it.

There's no mention of rolling anything.

But in the DMG (p. 200) under the Spell Scroll magic item it says:

A wizard spell on a spell scroll can be copied just as spells in spellbooks can be copied. When a spell is copied from a spell scroll, the copier must succeed on an Intelligence (Arcana) check with a DC equal to 10 + the spell's level. If the check succeeds, the spell is successfully copied. Whether the check succeeds or fails, the spell scroll is destroyed.

This entry refers specifically to wizard spells, and seems to be more directed toward wizards copying wizard spells into their spellbooks, but since warlocks can copy any scroll that would also include wizard scrolls.

I've copied one spell already in our campaign, and the DM didn't call for a roll, which is fine with me, but I'm just wondering if anyone knows what was intended.


1 Answer 1


The arcana check seems to be specific to attempts to copy spells from scrolls.

If you read the wizard section of the PHB, in a sidebar they mention you can copy spells from books if you have the required level and the spell is in the wizard's spell list. No check mentioned.

So it probably has more to do with the scroll being a consumable item.

If you were to copy a ritual spell from a scroll, it would be sensible to make you roll an arcana check.

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ (+1) "So it probably has more to do with the scroll being a consumable item." Exactly this. With a spellbook, the caster can go over the text again and again without risk. With a scroll, the text is set to activate with magical reading: the Arcana check represents the effort of getting the reading correct in just one try. ^_^ \$\endgroup\$
    – Pitzy
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 3:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Great perspective! And Pitzy's explanation made it even clearer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tevis
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:19

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