Gauntlets and Somatic Components


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

So my question is this, When wearing gauntlets or spiked gauntlets (assume either both hands are so equipped, or one is and the other is wielding a weapon or shield etc...), do you still count as having the free hand necessary to perform somatic spell components?

Editorial Anecdote wrote:
I have personally worn hand crafted forged iron gauntlets and found that while they are heavy, they did not restrict my manual dexterity any more so then a pair of thick gloves.


I don't think there is any statement in RAW that explicitly is going to say "Even while wearing a gauntlet you can still use somatic components", but I'm about 99% sure that it still counts as a free hand. Otherwise clerics (and magi) everywhere who wear armor that includes gauntlets would be unable to cast any such spells, and I think such a gross oversight is extremely unlikely.

Shadow Lodge

While i would love for that to be true, I am not so certain from a RAW reading that it is. By its description, a spiked gauntlet for example is a light melee weapon, and not listed under the unarmed strikes section. that combined with this:

paizo.com/prd wrote:

Light: [b]A light weapon is used in one hand.[b] It is easier to use in one's off hand than a one-handed weapon is, and can be used while grappling (see Combat). Add the wielder's Strength modifier to damage rolls for melee attacks with a light weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or half the wielder's Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. Using two hands to wield a light weapon gives no advantage on damage; the Strength bonus applies as though the weapon were held in the wielder's primary hand only.

An unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon.

Leads me to believe that at the very least a spiked gauntlet does not count as having a free hand.


I could possibly see an argument for a spiked gauntlet (i.e. too cumbersome to make delicate gestures because of the spikes), but I think what's going on here is that people are too heavily reading into the fact that a gauntlet is a light weapon. But the only way it should cause spells to not be cast is for arcane spells in their spell failure chance. Divine spells you just need a free hand, and beyond that you can be inside a suit of triple-thick stone plate and not even be able to move.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

They do not interfere with Somatic Components.

Neither do Spiked Gauntlets.


Here is another viewpoint: while wearing a gauntlet you can do everything else with your hand that you can normally do, including wielding weapons and manipulating things.

Scarab Sages

I feel you are reading too much into the free hand mention. The somatic components are referring to quick movements and twists of the hand and wrist or pointing a finger at the target of your spell. Its not like American Sign Language or something where exact finger placement and direction is going to change the meaning..

For example thing of the flourish and waving done by stage magicians.

Otherwise with gauntlets and a shield the iconic cleric with his warhammer and full plate with large shield would have to stop and half strip himself to cast a cure spell on the fighter who is bleeding to death at his feet during or after the battle.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Here is another viewpoint: while wearing a gauntlet you can do everything else with your hand that you can normally do, including wielding weapons and manipulating things.

Yes. That is exactly how they work.


So from the other thread... Can you cast a touch spell, hold the charge, attack with a spell storing spiked gauntlet and deliver both the touch attack (held charge) and the stored touch spell in the gauntlet. I doubted it because the gauntlet may count as weapon attack and not unarmed strike.

This question, by the way, doesn't have much to do with somatic components. Just the difference between a weapon strike and an unarmed strike.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Gauntlets are weapons. Yes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gol Zayvian wrote:

So my question is this, When wearing gauntlets or spiked gauntlets (assume either both hands are so equipped, or one is and the other is wielding a weapon or shield etc...), do you still count as having the free hand necessary to perform somatic spell components?

Only if you do nothing with that hand during the entire combat phase. You can not do two handed fighting, even with a gauntlet, if you intend to do spell combat.


Spell combat implies the magus class. So I guess the answer is no -- unless magus with spell combat?


Chromnos wrote:

So from the other thread... Can you cast a touch spell, hold the charge, attack with a spell storing spiked gauntlet and deliver both the touch attack (held charge) and the stored touch spell in the gauntlet. I doubted it because the gauntlet may count as weapon attack and not unarmed strike.

This question, by the way, doesn't have much to do with somatic components. Just the difference between a weapon strike and an unarmed strike.

Chromnos wrote:
Spell combat implies the magus class. So I guess the answer is no -- unless magus with spell combat?

If you want to deliver a Blindness spell from a Spell Storing Gauntlet you have to make a melee attack with your gauntlet. If you cast Shocking Grasp, you can hold the charge and deliver it later, but it requires a melee touch attack instead of a weapon attack. So in general you couldn't deliver both spells through a single attack action.

The Spellstrike ability does let you deliver a touch spell through an attack with your weapon, so you would be able to inflict an enemy with Blindness and Shocking Grasp with one melee attack with the gauntlet. (So you need Spellstrike rather than Spell Combat.)

To my knowledge there are only three ways to acquire Spellstrike.

(1) Levels in Magus.
(2) Use the Variant Multiclass System and select VMC Magus.
(3) A Blade Adept Arcanist can select Spellstrike as an Exploit.


Did the gauntlet and spiked version used to count as unarmed attacks, solving this problem?


Blindmage wrote:
Did the gauntlet and spiked version used to count as unarmed attacks, solving this problem?

I don't know if it solved the problem, but Gauntlets were considered Unarmed Attacks in the CRB. They got moved to light weapons in Ultimate Equipment. Spiked Gauntlets, on the other hand*, were never listed as Unarmed Attacks.

* ;)


For the record, I think this part cinches it, under 'Gauntlet, Locked':

Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:


While the gauntlet is locked, you can't use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)

The rules also somewhere talk about using a touch spell as a punch spell, so gauntlets shouldn't change that.


Qaianna wrote:

For the record, I think this part cinches it, under 'Gauntlet, Locked':

Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:


While the gauntlet is locked, you can't use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)
The rules also somewhere talk about using a touch spell as a punch spell, so gauntlets shouldn't change that.

I don't believe that is true. Describing touch spells as "punch spells" would be completely at odds with the approach to touch spells that is taken in the rule books. And my searches of the PRD did not produce any occurrences of the phrase "punch spell."


Gisher wrote:
Qaianna wrote:

For the record, I think this part cinches it, under 'Gauntlet, Locked':

Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:


While the gauntlet is locked, you can't use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)
The rules also somewhere talk about using a touch spell as a punch spell, so gauntlets shouldn't change that.
I don't believe that is true. Describing touch spells as "punch spells" would be completely at odds with the approach to touch spells that is taken in the rule books. And my searches of the PRD did not produce any occurrences of the phrase "punch spell."

I was renaming this bit.

Core Rulebook wrote:
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.


Qaianna wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Qaianna wrote:

For the record, I think this part cinches it, under 'Gauntlet, Locked':

Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:


While the gauntlet is locked, you can't use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)
The rules also somewhere talk about using a touch spell as a punch spell, so gauntlets shouldn't change that.
I don't believe that is true. Describing touch spells as "punch spells" would be completely at odds with the approach to touch spells that is taken in the rule books. And my searches of the PRD did not produce any occurrences of the phrase "punch spell."

I was renaming this bit.

Core Rulebook wrote:
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.

Ok. Yes, you can discharge a touch spell with an unarmed or natural attack. But gauntlets are neither unarmed attacks or natural attacks. They are classified as light melee weapons. So you would need the Spellstrike ability in order to deal damage with a gauntlet while delivering a touch spell.


Gisher wrote:
Ok. Yes, you can discharge a touch spell with an unarmed or natural attack. But gauntlets are neither unarmed attacks or natural attacks. They are classified as light melee weapons. So you would need the Spellstrike ability in order to deal damage with a gauntlet while delivering a touch spell.

Damn. Spiked gauntlets and cesti look cool, too. (Not that wizards are proficient in them.)


Qaianna wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Ok. Yes, you can discharge a touch spell with an unarmed or natural attack. But gauntlets are neither unarmed attacks or natural attacks. They are classified as light melee weapons. So you would need the Spellstrike ability in order to deal damage with a gauntlet while delivering a touch spell.
Damn. Spiked gauntlets and cesti look cool, too. (Not that wizards are proficient in them.)

Natural weapons can be cool too. Tieflings and Ratfolk both have +2 to INT and can get claws or a bite. And you are automatically proficient with your natural weapons.


Gisher wrote:
Qaianna wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Ok. Yes, you can discharge a touch spell with an unarmed or natural attack. But gauntlets are neither unarmed attacks or natural attacks. They are classified as light melee weapons. So you would need the Spellstrike ability in order to deal damage with a gauntlet while delivering a touch spell.
Damn. Spiked gauntlets and cesti look cool, too. (Not that wizards are proficient in them.)
Natural weapons can be cool too. Tieflings and Ratfolk both have +2 to INT and can get claws or a bite. And you are automatically proficient with your natural weapons.

So let's start the next huge brawl.

Kim the kitsune is now casting, and has a natural attack, just ... not on her hands. Would you let her try to deliver Shocking Chomp? (Not that this is a good idea in general, but ... )


Qaianna wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Qaianna wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Ok. Yes, you can discharge a touch spell with an unarmed or natural attack. But gauntlets are neither unarmed attacks or natural attacks. They are classified as light melee weapons. So you would need the Spellstrike ability in order to deal damage with a gauntlet while delivering a touch spell.
Damn. Spiked gauntlets and cesti look cool, too. (Not that wizards are proficient in them.)
Natural weapons can be cool too. Tieflings and Ratfolk both have +2 to INT and can get claws or a bite. And you are automatically proficient with your natural weapons.

So let's start the next huge brawl.

Kim the kitsune is now casting, and has a natural attack, just ... not on her hands. Would you let her try to deliver Shocking Chomp? (Not that this is a good idea in general, but ... )

Absolutely. Bite is a natural attack so it follows the CRB rules that you cited earlier. Chomp-Zap away.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo.com/PRD wrote:
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.

Emphasis Mine. You absolutely can make an unarmed strike with Spiked Gauntlets to deliver a touch spell for which you're holding the charge.

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