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A character has a scroll and wishes to use it if a certain event occurs in a combat round. Can that character take the Ready action and state "I will read the scroll if…?" Or must he begin reading the scroll to cast the spell and say "I will complete casting the spell if…", thus being forced to use the spell, but only cast it if the conditions are met?

Since (DMG p.200) states:

If the spell is on your class's spell list you can use an action to read the scroll and cast its spell without having to provide any of the spell's components.

It would seem to follow that it uses the Cast a Spell action and fall under that rules specific interaction with the Ready Action. [emphasis added]

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    \$\begingroup\$ I read "scroll function" and thought I was on StackOverflow... \$\endgroup\$ – SPavel Mar 31 '17 at 1:48
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You can Ready the action to read the scroll. (Your first interpretation.)

A spell scroll is cast as its own action, not using the Cast a Spell action. (DMG p.200) This scroll-casting action, then, is the one "you take in response to [your declared] trigger." (PHB p.193, "Ready")

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    \$\begingroup\$ Would it be legitimate to Ready the spell from the scroll on your turn (ie cast it from the scroll) and hold the charge in the normal way, in order to complete the spell faster? I recognise that determining the mechanical consequences of completing the spell faster would be down to DM fiat, and that this risks wasting the scroll. \$\endgroup\$ – Clearly Toughpick Mar 31 '17 at 4:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ClearlyToughpick that's a good question... I'm not sure. I think it's actually worth its own Q&A, personally. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 31 '17 at 12:39

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