[RPG] Can a level 1 Ranger cast spells from Ranger spell scrolls


From what I know, you can use a Spell Scroll if the spell is on your class's list.

Rangers gain the Spellcasting feature at second level (getting spell slots to cast 1st-level spells at that point), but they are technically Rangers already at level 1.

So, could a level 1 Ranger cast spells from Ranger spell scrolls? (If so, I suppose he would need to roll even for first-level Ranger spell scrolls.)

The answer to this question also applies for level 1 Paladins.

Best Answer

Yes, but the Ranger must pass an ability check to cast the spell

Spell Scroll

A spell scroll bears the words of a single spell, written in a mystical cipher. If the spell is on your class’s spell list, you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components. (SRD, V 5.1, p. 242. DMG p. 200)

That's the constraint; is it on my class spell list? But here's the kicker:

If the spell is on your class’s spell list but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using your spellcasting ability to determine whether you cast it successfully. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a failed check, the spell disappears from the scroll with no other effect.

At level 1, you can't normally cast a level 1 spell. Therefore, the Ranger must pass (DC = 11) ability check for a level 1 spell to be cast from the scroll. (And DC = 12 for a 2d level scroll spell, etc)

You have already learned how to cast spells

In the Ranger class description, this entry implies that spell casting ability is already present before the first spell slots arrive at level 2

By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does. See Spells Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and the Spells Listing for the ranger spell list.

That's a little bit of textual analysis, and possibly hair splitting. It doesn't say "after" or "when" you reach 2d level. The "you have learned" points to something that has already happened. There is still the chance to fail, per the scroll rules text cited above.

Thanks and acknowledgement must go to @NautArch, and to @DavidCoffron and to @GreySage for a detailed discussion of this whole thing in chat to kick this point around.

It is worth noting that the attempt to meet or beat the 11/12, whatever DC requires a decision on what spell casting modifier to add to the roll: 0 or the Wisdom modifier.

Either go with 0 + proficiency - per GreySage's answer - under the theory that the spell casting feature hasn't "switched on", or add the wisdom modifier + proficiency under the theory that the Ranger being a spell casting class will use the spell casting modifier.

The DM can rule either way, but should consider why to add, or not to add, the Wisdom modifier before making that ruling.