PHB p.193:

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs.

the same page:

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger.

The spell is cast and is waiting to be released. If you ignore all possible triggers, what happens with the spell? Does it dissipate without a trace?

Another question handles the scenario of ignoring just one (or some number) of triggers, but I'm wondering what happens if you ignore all triggers.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Does taking the option to ignore a Ready trigger waste it, or let you use it on a later trigger? \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Dec 22, 2016 at 13:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Adam my question is about the case when you ignore all triggers and never release the spell. What happens with it? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Dec 22, 2016 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah! I had assumed the use of the phrase "the trigger" meant only one particular instance of a trigger, rather than all triggers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam I should clarify this \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


The spell was cast, you release concentration, and no effects occur.

First, note that Ready states that you cast the spell on your turn, as part of taking the Ready action. From chapter 10 we know that "when a character casts a spell, he or she expends a slot." (PHB p.201, emphasis mine.) So you did cast the spell, expending its slot, on your turn. (If it was a level>0 spell, that is.)

Second, you ignore the trigger. Now what? You can't have it take effect, because you've not "release[d] it with your reaction when the trigger occur[red]." (PHB p.193, emphasis mine.)

Maybe it fizzles right then, maybe you can maintain concentration on it and hold the energy until later? Either way, it's going to fizzle with no effect: if your table thinks you can maintain concentration on it that'll only hold until you drop it (or it's interrupted). In either case it's broken and "the spell dissipates without taking effect," per Ready.


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