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View Full Version : Do you need one hand to cast spells?



Zephra
2007-01-04, 03:49 PM
I'm dming, and my player is a warforged spellcaster. he wants a weapon in the place of one hand, and I think he can't cast spells with just one hand. what are the rules?

Fax Celestis
2007-01-04, 03:49 PM
If you have one free hand, you can cast spells.

Zephra
2007-01-04, 03:51 PM
thanks! that was quick! maybe 2 minutes:smallsmile:

Nerd-o-rama
2007-01-04, 03:53 PM
And if you're talking about a Battlefist, I'd say he could gesture with that. An Armblade or an Armbow, however, would require his offhand to be free.

The technical rule is, you need to be able to gesture with one hand.

ClericofPhwarrr
2007-01-04, 06:32 PM
How about a cleric with touch spells? If he's wielding a heavy mace in one hand, can he have a heavy shield? Or does he need a light shield (or buckler) to cast touch spells while in combat?

Yuki Akuma
2007-01-04, 06:40 PM
How about a cleric with touch spells? If he's wielding a heavy mace in one hand, can he have a heavy shield? Or does he need a light shield (or buckler) to cast touch spells while in combat?

That depends on whether the touch spell has a somatic component or not. There's nothing in the rules that says your hand has to be free to use it for a touch attack.

And really, the cleric can just drop his weapon. It's a free action. Picking it back up is a move action, too, so a cleric can cast a spell as a standard action and pick his weapon back up as a move action.

He'd have to be daft to do it while standing next to someone, though...

Skyserpent
2007-01-04, 07:07 PM
What if a spell has both a material and somatic component? Would that require two hands?

Fizban
2007-01-04, 07:16 PM
My question precisely. The rules seem to imply that you just need one hand for both the material component and the somatic component, but that really doesn't make sense.

Skyserpent
2007-01-04, 07:50 PM
What if you're missing fingers!?

And I don't think you should be able to gesture with a battlefist... It's a gigantic piece of metal shaped like a fist. it can't move.

Yuki Akuma
2007-01-04, 07:53 PM
The rules allow you to just use one hand, even when there are somatic and material components. And why not? For all you know, the somatic component involves waving around the material component.

Errata
2007-01-04, 08:10 PM
So if a spell has a material component but no somatic component, you can cast it without use of your hands?

Yuki Akuma
2007-01-04, 08:23 PM
So if a spell has a material component but no somatic component, you can cast it without use of your hands?

Sure, if you've already got it in your hand. If you're gonna go reaching in that spell component pouch, you need a free hand.

Raum
2007-01-04, 09:30 PM
Sure, if you've already got it in your hand. If you're gonna go reaching in that spell component pouch, you need a free hand.
As far as I know, you need to posess the material component, not necessarily have it in hand. The SRD states "A spellís components are what you must do or possess to cast it."

I can't think of any spells using a material component without also requiring a somatic component. So the only method I can think of meeting the conditions specified is using Still Spell...and I would not require a caster using it to have the material component in hand...just need it on their person.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-04, 10:10 PM
But when you're grappling, I'm pretty sure you're not able to cast spells with material components unless you've got the material component in your hand. Lemme check, I'll be right back...

EDIT: Here we go.

Grappling or Pinned: The only spells you can cast while grappling (file:///Users/shazz/Documents/PDFs/sovelior_sage_srd%20Folder/abilitiesAndConditions.html#grappling) or pinned (file:///Users/shazz/Documents/PDFs/sovelior_sage_srd%20Folder/abilitiesAndConditions.html#pinned) are those without somatic components and whose material components (if any) you have in hand. Even so, you must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + the level of the spell you’re casting) or lose the spell.

So, that seems to suggest to me that you need the material components in hand in order to cast a spell, rather than merely on your person somewhere.

Raum
2007-01-04, 10:17 PM
True, but the source books are often contradictory. And while the grappling rules are the primary source for when grappling, they're secondary to spell use in other situations.

Does it make sense? No. But it's not the only contradiction. Probably why WotC said to use the specific source to override less specific sources.

Shazzbaa
2007-01-04, 10:21 PM
True, but the source books are often contradictory. And while the grappling rules are the primary source for when grappling, they're secondary to spell use in other situations.

Does it make sense? No. But it's not the only contradiction. Probably why WotC said to use the specific source to override less specific sources.

Well, I'd certainly understand some other rule overriding the grappling rule...but I don't know of any rule that contradicts it. What's the rule you're thinking of?

Raum
2007-01-04, 10:30 PM
The rule I quoted earlier can be found here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#components). This is the rule specifically covering components. Using WotC's guidelines of applying the most specific source when they contradict, the requirement for having a component in hand only applies when grappling.

As I said, it doesn't really make sense. :/

Karsh
2007-01-04, 10:31 PM
Hmm...


Usually you don’t worry about components, but when you can’t use a component for some reason or when a material or focus component is expensive, then the components are important.

From the SRD right below what's been quoted before. Now the question becomes what qualifies as "Not being able to use it," as that little important bit of information is never outlined.

Errata
2007-01-04, 10:48 PM
I'm mostly thinking of Still Spell. The Still Spell feat would be greatly diminished in usefulness if you had to move to use it (obviously). In situations where you can't move for some reason, its generally not an option to grab components. And honestly, how often is it going to come up that you can't move but you still manage to have the material component in hand. If you can't even move your hand with that component, then presumably its just going to magically dissolve from it or something, so it may as well be dissolving from your belt pouch. Of course there are spells with no material component that the feat can be used on, but if you have to have the components in hand to use a still spell, then its pretty close to just disallowing still spell from being used with those.