D&D 5E Counter-spelling, dispelling and multiple castings with magic items

I'm curious about a few things:

Question 1:
An spell cast out of an item is an ACTION but is it counted as a spell, or an item activation action?

For example,

Item Activation: If I have a staff of the magi, can I use Firewall, using charges out of the staff and then cast Misty Step using my usual spell slots?
Or is it CASTING a spell? In which case, I would not be able to Misty Step because that is two spells in one action.

A ring of spell storing might be another example.

Question 2:

Can you counterspell spell cast out of an item? Can you counterspell:
a) Web spell that is activated by a wand?
b) Petrification cast out of The Ring of Winter?
c) Protection from Evil (cast at will) or a Fireball cast from a Staff of the Magi?
d) Invisibility activated by a ring of invisibility?
e) healing derived from a potion of healing
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
Rapidly, as I'm going to make dinner, it really depends on the description of the item. Some really cast the spells, others (like potions) don't. FOr example: "Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item, often by expending charges from it." In that case, it can be counterspelled.
 

Dausuul

Legend
>> An spell cast out of an item is an ACTION but is it counted as a spell, or an item activation action?

Both.

The action is typically "Use an Object," as described in the PHB: "When an object requires your action for its use, you take the Use an Object action." Any time an item says you can "use an action" to activate it, that's Use an Object unless otherwise stated.

Just discovered the above is incorrect: The action is not any of the "standard" actions (per the DMG, magic item activations specifically do not count as Use an Object, mostly so thieves can't use Fast Hands on it). It's just a generic action.

Regardless, you are also casting a spell. You just aren't using the "Cast a Spell" action to do it, in the same way that various abilities let you attack without taking the Attack action. All the normal spellcasting rules apply. It can be counterspelled, you can't cast a bonus action spell on the same turn*, etc.

(Edit to add: As @Lyxen notes, it only counts as spellcasting if the item specifically says you cast the spell. Contrast, say, a potion of mind reading, which says you "gain the effect of the detect thoughts spell." Gaining the effect ≠ casting, so the potion effect can't be counterspelled.)

*Unless the spell cast from the item is a cantrip, of course.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
I think it depends on the items. If the item says "you cast a spell" then you are taking the Cast a Spell action and counterspell would work to stop it.

Given your examples:

Staff of the Magi:
1642444762393.png

Since the text says your action is being used to "cast one of the follow spells", I would think you could counterspell and you would NOT be able to bonus action misty step.

Ring of Spell Storing:
1642444890717.png

Also Cast a Spell action.

Can you counterspell:
a) Web spell that is activated by a wand?
1642444970644.png

Yes to counterspell.

b) Petrification cast out of The Ring of Winter?
Don't know that one.

c) Protection from Evil (cast at will) or a Fireball cast from a Staff of the Magi?
Yes, counterspell (see above).

d) Invisibility activated by a ring of invisibility?
1642445073664.png

It doesn't say "cast" in any way, so NO to counterspell.

e) healing derived from a potion of healing
Again nothing about "casting a spell", so NO to counterspell.

There is probably a JC tweet about it somewhere, though, but that is how I would rule them.

EDIT: Here it is. If you want the JC-ruling, if the item says "cast a spell" or its equivalent, you can counterspell it.
1642445426088.png
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Functionally, though, Spells from magic items can't be counterspelled because, unless the item specifies, they are cast without any components.

Meaning that while they can technically be counterspelled if you somehow announce you're casting the spell, the spell can't be counterspelled in realistic scenarios.
 

Functionally, though, Spells from magic items can't be counterspelled because, unless the item specifies, they are cast without any components.

Meaning that while they can technically be counterspelled if you somehow announce you're casting the spell, the spell can't be counterspelled in realistic scenarios.
I thought the only caveat to counterspell was that you needed to be within 60 feet and be able to see the target. The spell description doesn’t specify that you must see the somatic or material components. Although, such components would help you guess the spell and its level, probably. I haven’t read anywhere that subtle spell makes a spell immune to counterspell. I have seen many DMs rule that way.

It seems to me that raising your wand and pointing it at my ally is enough of a tell to let me counterspell
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I thought the only caveat to counterspell was that you needed to be within 60 feet and be able to see the target. The spell description doesn’t specify that you must see the somatic or material components. Although, such components would help you guess the spell and its level, probably. I haven’t read anywhere that subtle spell makes a spell immune to counterspell. I have seen many DMs rule that way.

It seems to me that raising your wand and pointing it at my ally is enough of a tell to let me counterspell

Indeed, this is my perspective as well, it's not that you need to see components to identity the spell being cast, it's that you need to be aware that spellcasting is occuring to counterspell it, and brandishing a wand is clearly an indication. On the other hand, maybe casting a spell from a ring can be discreet ? At this stage, like most of 5e, it's a DM's ruling that matter, and maybe you can cast discreetely with a ring of Animal Friendship, and maybe not with a ring of shooting stars.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I thought the only caveat to counterspell was that you needed to be within 60 feet and be able to see the target. The spell description doesn’t specify that you must see the somatic or material components. Although, such components would help you guess the spell and its level, probably. I haven’t read anywhere that subtle spell makes a spell immune to counterspell. I have seen many DMs rule that way.

It seems to me that raising your wand and pointing it at my ally is enough of a tell to let me counterspell
The Subtle Spell immune-to-counterspell thing is based on a Jeremy Crawford tweet, not an official rule. His logic makes sense (this time), but I don't think we can just assume it extends to magic item casting; if using a focus is enough to reveal a spell, then surely using a magic item should be equally revealing.

(Several people in the replies asked Crawford about magic items. He didn't respond. No knock on Crawford, he's a busy guy, but I wish they would hire a dedicated rules guru who could put a bit more time and thought into it.)
 
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Asisreo

Patron Badass
I thought the only caveat to counterspell was that you needed to be within 60 feet and be able to see the target. The spell description doesn’t specify that you must see the somatic or material components. Although, such components would help you guess the spell and its level, probably. I haven’t read anywhere that subtle spell makes a spell immune to counterspell. I have seen many DMs rule that way.

It seems to me that raising your wand and pointing it at my ally is enough of a tell to let me counterspell
That's correct, but it's also what I mean. You don't really need to point the wand at your ally unless the item description says you do.

Take Wand of Web. It says you take an action to cast the Web spell, but that's all there is to it. You do have to hold the wand, but there's nothing requiring you holding it visibly to potential targets, nor does the web spell's flavor text even mention where the web originates from. Not that it matters, the trigger for counterspell is during a spellcasting. If Web flung out like Spiderman, the spell had already been cast and its too late.

And yes, while you can cast counterspell intuitively, like how I said the caster announces their casting, the character wouldn't be able to know if the character is casting a spell or using an imperceptible action like Search, or just skipping their turn in hopes you erroneously use counterspell anyways.
 

Wands are made for pointing. That’s what they’ll do. :)

I can’t think of any fantasy novel or movie where a wand wasn’t visibly wielded or focused on or pointed at the target. But If a DM allows subtle magic item use, I guess that’s up to the table.

so from the differing answers, a staff or wand might not be able to be counterspelled

but the consensus is that using an item to cast a spell is still casting a spell this prohibiting you from casting another spell as a bonus action (unless it’s a cantrip)
 

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