Wands of Touch Spells?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've been trying to clarify this one, but can't find anything conclusive.

If I activate a wand that contains a touch spell (e.g. Shocking Grasp or Inflict Light Wounds), do I still get the free touch attack the spell would normally grant? If so, do I need an empty hand to do it, or can I touch with either the wand or the hand holding the wand? For a Wizard or Sorceror, this won't often matter, but a Cleric is often holding a shield in the off-hand.

Can answerers please provide references as well?


my question would be, why wouldn't you get the touch attack normally granted by the spell? you get the spell from the wand or from your own ability to cast, either way they are going to work exactly the same.


You get a free touch, but, by RAW, you cannot simply touch them with the wand, it must still be done via the normal methods. I'd allow it, though, for whatever that's worth.


Since mechanically nothing about making the touch with the wand would be different it should be fine to flavor it that way.


I don't see why you couldn't cast with the wand, then just hold it in your fist and touch the target with your closed hand.

You just have to touch them, not throw a punch or anything.


I think the touch spell would come from the wand, and the reason I believe this to be true is because a wand of magic missle, or fireball shoots from the wand and not your finger as it normally does so why would touch spells be any different?


Lord Worcestershire of Perrins wrote:
I think the touch spell would come from the wand, and the reason I believe this to be true is because a wand of magic missle, or fireball shoots from the wand and not your finger as it normally does so why would touch spells be any different?

What makes you think that fireballs and magic missiles come out of the wand?


Pretty much every description of a wand-swinging wizard casting a spell ever, I'd guess.


Arbane the Terrible wrote:
Pretty much every description of a wand-swinging wizard casting a spell ever, I'd guess.
PRD wrote:
To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area. A wand may be used while grappling or while swallowed whole.


Talonhawke wrote:
Since mechanically nothing about making the touch with the wand would be different it should be fine to flavor it that way.

It is a major difference since as OP points out free hands are valuable in the economy of actions.

If a cleric wielding a shield is trying to use a wand of Cause Major Wounds on someone's character, damn right they should argue that cleric has to have already taken a move action to loose the shield or suffer the harmless discharge of the spell as listed under Holding the Charge section in the combat chapter.


Frankthedm wrote:


Talonhawke wrote:

Since mechanically nothing about making the touch with the wand would be different it should be fine to flavor it that way.

It is a major difference since as OP points out free hands are valuable in the economy of actions.

If a cleric wielding a shield is trying to use a wand of Cause Major Wounds on someone's character, damn right they should argue that cleric has to have already taken a move action to loose the shield or suffer the harmless discharge of the spell as listed under Holding the Charge section in the combat chapter.

Since the wand subsumes the need for material components, somantic components (only waving the wand is mentioned) and is probably activated by will or a verbal command. Why should another hand be necessary? It doesn't specify that. It does specify waving the wand presumably with the hand holding it. Unless wands are "two handed" items :) The user is not the source of the magic; the wand is. The spell should originate from the wand. It shouldn't require other somantic elements (or another hand) and apparently ignores arcane armor penalties to casting (which are somantic). In fact, using UMD it's doubtful the user knows the proper somantic elements, for that matter any caster without actual knowledge of the spell probably doesn't. I'd say touching the target with the wand would do it. Ymmv.


Frankthedm wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
Since mechanically nothing about making the touch with the wand would be different it should be fine to flavor it that way.

It is a major difference since as OP points out free hands are valuable in the economy of actions.

If a cleric wielding a shield is trying to use a wand of Cause Major Wounds on someone's character, damn right they should argue that cleric has to have already taken a move action to loose the shield or suffer the harmless discharge of the spell as listed under Holding the Charge section in the combat chapter.

Except that he is also touching so many other things as well your not penalizing him for what makes the shield special? His armor isn't discharging the spell nor might his undergarments. That shield no more discharges the spell than a wizards staff causes him to auto discharge spells or a grave walker witch's poppet would cause it on hers.


You can still touch stuff wearing a Light Shield or Buckler. If a Cleric wants to use wands, he just has to limit his shield.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Does anyone truly rule that you ned two hands to utilize a wand? Really?

/sigh

The spell comes from the wand, not the user. It's like saying that when you pull the trigger on a gun you throw the bullet with your other hand.

Please, stop being silly.


Tempestorm wrote:
Does anyone truly rule that you ned two hands to utilize a wand? Really?

Nope, just Wands with touch spells if you want to utilize the free touch without dropping the Wand.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Can I touch them with my tongue instead?


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Can I touch them with my tongue instead?

Sure if your a Grippli with the right feat.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
Tempestorm wrote:
Does anyone truly rule that you ned two hands to utilize a wand? Really?
Nope, just Wands with touch spells if you want to utilize the free touch without dropping the Wand.

Ok, so wand of Fireball... launces from the wand

Wand of Mage Armor... again from the wand
Wand of Shocking Grasp... jumps to your hand and then you have to touch somebody... colour me confused.

How about Burning Hands?

Either the spell origninates from the wand or it doesn't. There shouldn't be a difference. You utilize a wand of shocking grasp then you poke the enemy with said wand.

How many times during regular or Society play have you heard someone say, "I tap them with my wand of cure light wounds." I even do it while holding a heavy steel shield/staff/sword/etc. in my other hand. And so does everyone else I have ever seen play the game.


Nowhere in the spell touch attack section of the CRB does it say a touch attack must use a hand... Nothing about having a free hand...

It's not prohibited by RAW to make a spell touch attack with full hands, or with your feet, so I would permit it. I actually don't think it's RAI that you can, but I also don't think it's RAI that you can't use a wand of shocking grasp with a shield. If someone was going to get nitpicky about the shield thing, I'd get nitpicky about the "doesn't say you have to use a hand" bit.

It's rather obvious that the wand is intended to deliver the spell.


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I've always allowed creatures to touch the target with the wand (or staff). Otherwise it's needless complexity.


Tempestorm wrote:

Ok, so wand of Fireball... launces from the wand

Wand of Mage Armor... again from the wand
Wand of Shocking Grasp... jumps to your hand and then you have to touch somebody... colour me confused.

Mage Armor is also a touch spell. :-)


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Grick wrote:
I've always allowed creatures to touch the target with the wand (or staff). Otherwise it's needless complexity.

I'm fine with this ruling, and would house-rule it that way myself.

But that's not RAW, so in the rules forum, I will continue to assert that yes, you need a free hand to touch someone even if the touch spell is cast from a wand. That means you need your non-wand hand free, to drop your wand, to put your wand away, or to make an unarmed strike (which provokes without IUS) and targets regular AC not touch AC).

It may be stupid, but RAW is stupid pretty often.


mplindustries wrote:
Grick wrote:
I've always allowed creatures to touch the target with the wand (or staff). Otherwise it's needless complexity.

I'm fine with this ruling, and would house-rule it that way myself.

But that's not RAW, so in the rules forum, I will continue to assert that yes, you need a free hand to touch someone even if the touch spell is cast from a wand. That means you need your non-wand hand free, to drop your wand, to put your wand away, or to make an unarmed strike (which provokes without IUS) and targets regular AC not touch AC).

It may be stupid, but RAW is stupid pretty often.

Where does it state that a touch attack must be made with a hand?

I couldn't find it anywhere (but I'll admit, I only looked for 10 mins...).

Unless it states that, you can't assert that you need a free hand for that. You're assuming just as much as the wand-delivering camp in that case.

Unless, of course, it does say somewhere you must use a free hand to deliver a touch attack...


mplindustries wrote:
But that's not RAW, so in the rules forum, I will continue to assert that yes, you need a free hand to touch someone even if the touch spell is cast from a wand.

The RAW do not state that you need a free hand to touch someone.

So since the RAI doesn't contradict any RAW, there's no problem using the RAI and allowing a touch with either the wand or the hand that's holding the wand.


Mechanically, "Touch" isn't specific on how you do it (hands, free hand, wand), it's merely a range definition against Touch AC.

In fact, there are ranged touch attacks (targeting Touch AC).

YogoZuno wrote:
If I activate a wand that contains a touch spell (e.g. Shocking Grasp or Inflict Light Wounds), do I still get the free touch attack the spell would normally grant?

Yes.

YogoZuno wrote:
If so, do I need an empty hand to do it, or can I touch with either the wand or the hand holding the wand?

Whatever floats your boat.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Tempestorm wrote:

Ok, so wand of Fireball... launces from the wand

Wand of Mage Armor... again from the wand
Wand of Shocking Grasp... jumps to your hand and then you have to touch somebody... colour me confused.
Mage Armor is also a touch spell. :-)

You are absolutely correct Hogarth, I was not thinking about that when I wrote the above.


Jeez its magic! Discussion over!

-joke-


there is no reason to believe you cannot use a touch attack with the hand that is holding the wand.

PRD wrote:
Touch: You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. If the spell allows you to touch targets over multiple rounds, touching 6 creatures is a full-round action.
PRD wrote:

Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks. You can score critical hits with either type of attack as long as the spell deals damage. Your opponent's AC against a touch attack does not include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. His size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) all apply normally.

Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.

nowhere does it say you cannot be holding something in your hand when you touch them. you do not wield a wand, you simply hold it while speaking the command word. whether you touch them with a finger from the hand holding the wand or the wand itself is inconsequential.


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Ok, I accept that, but now I'm just cracking up at the idea of passing touch spells through your bro-fist.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've always imagined, and ruled, that it comes form the wand. You are not touching with your hand or other appendage so much as you are jabbing the target with the wand (or having the fireball be thrown from the wand, or whatever).

It seems absolutely clear to me that this is the intent behind the rules.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Frankthedm wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
Since mechanically nothing about making the touch with the wand would be different it should be fine to flavor it that way.

It is a major difference since as OP points out free hands are valuable in the economy of actions.

If a cleric wielding a shield is trying to use a wand of Cause Major Wounds on someone's character, damn right they should argue that cleric has to have already taken a move action to loose the shield or suffer the harmless discharge of the spell as listed under Holding the Charge section in the combat chapter.

Your gear don't count for "touching something" and discharging a held charge.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
Ok, I accept that, but now I'm just cracking up at the idea of passing touch spells through your bro-fist.

Wonder Twin Powers Activate! Anybody??

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, didn't expect that to cause so much controversy...

I'm happy that the RAW supports touching with a hand holding the wand, or at the least doesn't disallow it.

Thanks for the discussions.


YogoZuno wrote:

Wow, didn't expect that to cause so much controversy...

Its just part of what happens here in the rules forum.

Sczarni

Okay, how does a Wand of Shocking grasp/Ghoul Touch/Vampiric Touch interact with the spell Spectral Hand (during it's duration) in regards to spell delivery and holding the charge?

When you activate the wand, is the charge held in the wand itself, in the Spectral hand, or either/or caster's choice?

Naturally if either of the two latter, this makes a wand of X touch attack spell much more valuable to a caster with limited spell slots.


Tangent:

Anyone else wanna to see a fighter, using a wand of shocking grasp, hold the charge, and then deliver it through a bullrush?

Or a wand of cause major wounds in the hands of a monk, being delivered through a flying kick?

/endoftangent

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