Material Component, free hand...FAQ?


Rules Questions


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So this has come up before and probably will again:

Do you need a 'free hand' to use material components?

I've always assumed that you don't, based on the idea that the material component covers having the material component available, while somatic component covers actually manipulating it. Some people obviously very much disagree, and say that you must have a free hand to manipulate a material component regardless of whether the spell has a somatic component or not. So...

CRB: Casting Spells wrote:
To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture (if it has a somatic component), and manipulate the material components or focus (if any). Additionally, you must concentrate to cast a spell.

You must 'manipulate the material components or focus', though it doesn't state whether that's part of the somatic or material components, or even really what that means.

CRB: Material Component wrote:
A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don't bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

There's nothing explicitly stated about manipulating materials or having a free hand under 'Material Component'.

CRB: Concentration: Grappled or Pinned wrote:
Casting a spell while you have the grappled or pinned condition is difficult and requires a concentration check (DC 10 + the grappler’s CMB + the level of the spell you’re casting). Pinned creatures can only cast spells that do not have somatic components.
CRB: Conditions: Pinned wrote:
A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component.

So one entry states that a pinned character can only cast spells without somatic components but leaves out material components, while the other states that a pinned creature can't cast spells with material components. As far as I've seen, this is the one thing that actually implies you need a 'free hand' for material components. But then there's this:

CRB: Wizard: Arcane Spells and Armor wrote:
If a spell doesn't have a somatic component, an arcane spellcaster can cast it with no arcane spell failure chance while wearing armor. Such spells can also be cast even if the caster's hands are bound or he is grappling (although concentration checks still apply normally).

So according to this, even a character with their hands bound can cast a spell with a material component, so long as it doesn't have a somatic component.

As a side-note, the SRD apparently took the liberty of adding in extra notes about material components and the grappled condition, which has been quoted as if it was actual Paizo rules text and clouded the issue.

So it seems to me, overall, that the great majority of text says or implies that you don't require a 'free hand' or really much or any motion at all to fulfill a material component. The entry for the pinned condition states that you can't use a spell with a material component while pinned, implying you need motion of some kind; but then other text says you can meet a material component even with hands bound, which would very strongly imply that whatever else you need, you don't need a free hand.


This whole "dilemma" stems from you for some reason deciding that manipulating material components is not part of the material component somehow.

Whichever way it goes, that's the only sticking point, and it's a weird one at that.

You claiming that manipulating the material component is part of the somatic component is what MAKES it impossible to cast while bound or pinned.

If it stood as its own thing (which, logically, it should) you would just be bringing up rules quotes talking about spells without somatic or with material components and seeing what shakes out.


Sundakan wrote:

This whole "dilemma" stems from you for some reason deciding that manipulating material components is not part of the material component somehow.

Whichever way it goes, that's the only sticking point, and it's a weird one at that.

You claiming that manipulating the material component is part of the somatic component is what MAKES it impossible to cast while bound or pinned.

CRB wrote:
If a spell doesn't have a somatic component, an arcane spellcaster can cast it with no arcane spell failure chance while wearing armor. Such spells can also be cast even if the caster's hands are bound or he is grappling (although concentration checks still apply normally).

You can cast with a material component with your hands bound. My reason for viewing manipulation as part of the somatic component comes directly out of A)trying to interpret rules text in a coherent way, and B)using the literal definition of 'somatic'.

If motion and/or free hand is crucial to a material component, why on earth isn't that mentioned under what's required to fulfill a material component?


Because the rules are written assuming you are a humanoid with two hands, one mouth, and no innate at-will telekinetic powers.

Same reason Kasatha and other four-armed races and classes cause so many headaches.

By the same token there are no rules saying you can't walk if both your legs are chopped off, and yet you don't see anybody tilting at that windmill.


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Grappled Condition wrote:
The only spells which can be cast while grappling or 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 10 + the grappler's CMB + the level of the spell you're casting) or lose the spell.

Going by this quote you need to have the material components in your hand to cast any spell that requires them.

Sovereign Court

You need to manipulate a material component to use it. Manipulation requires you to hold it in hand, you can't manipulate a component that's still in your pouch.


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@ Sundakan: Because there are no rules for chopping legs off. The only relevant rules for that are for specific creatures like Hydras who have special rules regarding their limbs. Since no such rules exist, people don't bother tilting at something like that.

But, there are rules for material components, which state that they are required, and must be drawn for the spell to take effect, even though it's a free action to do so.

---

So, you need two hands to cast a spell, one to draw components, and one to fulfill somatics, and not just one, since you can't draw components with one hand, and fulfill somatics with that same hand.

Congratulations, this is the perfect way to nerf spellcasting as a whole. Who needs Staves, Wands, or Rods? They are practically useless now! Who says Paladins, Bloodragers, Magi, et. al. need spells? They're busy wielding weapons, they don't have time for paltry things like spells!


This is also adding more than there needs to be. You can use the same hand for two different things. A round is 6 full seconds, not an instantaneous moment in time. I can swap my staff to my other hand, draw a potion, drink the potion, and then swap my staff back all in one round, for example.

Likewise you could do your somatic components, then draw your materials (or vice versa), and say your incantation in one round.

Why overcomplicate matters by adding your own spin or strawmanning? You need a free hand for somatic components because the game says you do. You need a usable hand for material components because that is how you are capable of manipulating items, and the game says you need to manipulate these items.

Sovereign Court

I don't think you need two hands - you can draw colored with one hand, shake it vigorously and then throw it in people's faces. Or draw a focus and hold it up dramatically and point it at unbelievers.

Consider the magus. That's a whole class built on the assumption that spellcasting requires exactly one hand.

Scarab Sages

It's obvious that casting was never meant to require more than one hand. Too many systems and classes in the game require that to be true for it to be suggested that it is not.

And, when it comes to material components I always look back to the reason they exist before making a ruling. MC's exist for flavor and fluff or to balance a spell by cost. That is it. They aren't there to limit a caster's ability to cast, in general.


You need a free hand to manipulate material components.
You need a free hand to provide somatic components.

From basic inference that rods and staves work, and that classes like ranger and paladin are supposed to be able to wield a weapon and cast spell we can conclude that you can use the same free hand to do so, because these actions don't have an associated action economy cost.

But it does mean, you can't have both hands occupied and cast a spell. Well, not without still spell and eschew materials.


Sundakan wrote:

This is also adding more than there needs to be. You can use the same hand for two different things. A round is 6 full seconds, not an instantaneous moment in time. I can swap my staff to my other hand, draw a potion, drink the potion, and then swap my staff back all in one round, for example.

Likewise you could do your somatic components, then draw your materials (or vice versa), and say your incantation in one round.

Why overcomplicate matters by adding your own spin or strawmanning? You need a free hand for somatic components because the game says you do. You need a usable hand for material components because that is how you are capable of manipulating items, and the game says you need to manipulate these items.

The bolded part has been noted time and time again to be false. TWF, which Spell Combat is written to parallel (though it shouldn't have been), has multiple FAQs released that state you cannot use limbs associated with the attacks allotted from TWF for anything other than the attacks allotted from TWF. An even stricter reading would break TWF with thrown weapons, since you are required to designate specific weapons, and completing attacks with identical thrown weapons (such as by having more than 2 javelins to throw at an enemy) wouldn't be possible, but that's not what I'm arguing for here.

What I'm arguing is that you must fulfill the conditions of an action either before (in the case of material components) or during (free hand for somatic components) the action being taken, which is precisely what the precedent the TWF FAQs are telling us. In order to cast a spell, you need to have material components drawn out (which takes a hand to do), and be able to fulfill somatic components (which requires a hand free, not busy doing things like gathering material components). If you don't meet those requirements, you cannot cast the spell. Full stop.

Scarab Sages

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Sundakan wrote:

This is also adding more than there needs to be. You can use the same hand for two different things. A round is 6 full seconds, not an instantaneous moment in time. I can swap my staff to my other hand, draw a potion, drink the potion, and then swap my staff back all in one round, for example.

Likewise you could do your somatic components, then draw your materials (or vice versa), and say your incantation in one round.

Why overcomplicate matters by adding your own spin or strawmanning? You need a free hand for somatic components because the game says you do. You need a usable hand for material components because that is how you are capable of manipulating items, and the game says you need to manipulate these items.

The bolded part has been noted time and time again to be false. TWF, which Spell Combat is written to parallel (though it shouldn't have been), has multiple FAQs released that state you cannot use limbs associated with the attacks allotted from TWF for anything other than the attacks allotted from TWF. An even stricter reading would break TWF with thrown weapons, since you are required to designate specific weapons, and completing attacks with identical thrown weapons (such as by having more than 2 javelins to throw at an enemy) wouldn't be possible, but that's not what I'm arguing for here.

What I'm arguing is that you must fulfill the conditions of an action either before (in the case of material components) or during (free hand for somatic components) the action being taken, which is precisely what the precedent the TWF FAQs are telling us. In order to cast a spell, you need to have material components drawn out (which takes a hand to do), and be able to fulfill somatic components (which requires a hand free, not busy doing things like gathering material components). If you don't meet those requirements, you cannot cast the spell. Full stop.

Since you have this down pat, apparently, answer me this; when does the material component get consumed by the spell? And at what point in the spell casting are somatic components used? Do their placements in the action described(swift, standard, full... etc) prevent you from using the same hand?

Remember, casting is not swinging a weapon. And FAQs relate only to their question.

There is no hard answer for these questions. I think that's true for a reason. But even if it is not... spell casting obviously does not take two hands. Otherwise, the magus class doesn't make any sense.


Exactly. FAQs about attacks don't matter as to this discussion. Attacks use different rules than other actions.


@ Lorewalker: Material Components are consumed when the spell is cast (or presumably cast, but with no effect, in the event of a failed concentration check). Somatic Components are done during the action of casting the spell. I don't understand the third question; examples to elaborate would be appreciated.

Of course it isn't. That's why I didn't say you had to use hand A for this requirement, or hand B for that requirement. That's exclusive to TWF.

But it doesn't discount the factor that A. Actions have inherent restrictions and requirements, and B. Not adhering to those restrictions, or fulfilling those requirements means you can't take those actions. This is true, and extends to subjects well beyond the FAQ I linked; I merely provided it as an official example.

Spellcasting is no different. You need material components, verbal components, somatic components, focii, or even other subjects, depending on the spell. Not meeting those requirements means you cannot cast that spell.

Problem is, Magi were built on a given pretense that isn't supported by RAW. It's the same reason why things like the Bodyguard feat were written the way they were, but actually function in a manner quite different than its intended usage. Same goes for things like Potion Glutton, and so on. It's just on a much bigger scale than a niche feat.


Claxon wrote:

You need a free hand to manipulate material components.

You need a free hand to provide somatic components.

From basic inference that rods and staves work, and that classes like ranger and paladin are supposed to be able to wield a weapon and cast spell we can conclude that you can use the same free hand to do so, because these actions don't have an associated action economy cost.

But it does mean, you can't have both hands occupied and cast a spell. Well, not without still spell and eschew materials.

[citation needed] for the bolded part.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Claxon wrote:

You need a free hand to manipulate material components.

You need a free hand to provide somatic components.

From basic inference that rods and staves work, and that classes like ranger and paladin are supposed to be able to wield a weapon and cast spell we can conclude that you can use the same free hand to do so, because these actions don't have an associated action economy cost.

But it does mean, you can't have both hands occupied and cast a spell. Well, not without still spell and eschew materials.

[citation needed] for the bolded part.

No there isn't.

There is no action type associated for providing material or somatic components. Therefore there is no action economy used. You use the free hand to provide one, and then the other.


Claxon wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Claxon wrote:

You need a free hand to manipulate material components.

You need a free hand to provide somatic components.

From basic inference that rods and staves work, and that classes like ranger and paladin are supposed to be able to wield a weapon and cast spell we can conclude that you can use the same free hand to do so, because these actions don't have an associated action economy cost.

But it does mean, you can't have both hands occupied and cast a spell. Well, not without still spell and eschew materials.

[citation needed] for the bolded part.

No there isn't.

There is no action type associated for providing material or somatic components. Therefore there is no action economy used. You use the free hand to provide one, and then the other.

There isn't one associated with material components because you're assumed to already have the materials out before casting the spell (which would take a move action to do, I might add), and there isn't one associated with somatic components because you're fulfilling those as part of the action required to cast the spell.

Until the spell is cast, those material components are occupying one hand, and while you are casting the spell, you need one hand free to fulfill the somatic components. Unless you can prove that you can use the same hand occupied by material components, or that material components in a hand don't constitute as making the hand unavailable, then by the rules, spellcasting does require two hands (except for certain spells).

Liberty's Edge

Anyone know which spells have verbal and material components without somatic?

I could see spells requireing a focus not having somatic, but I would think that any component that is consumed by the spell would have the be manipulated in some way and therefore would require the use of a free hand.


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Myself, I'm with Badbird. I've always thought of "manipulate the material components" as part of the "gesture (if it has a somatic component)". I don't really see the need to complicate the process by adding another action. If it ends up that there IS another action in there, then it just makes feats that bypass material components even more powerful/attractive. False Focus + Tattoo Holy Symbol for the win.

Sovereign Court

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Darksol, I think you're reading way finer than the text was meant to be read. There is a lot of evidence for designers thinking that spells require only one hand to be cast. The magus class is the most obvious, but clerics and such are also expected to be using both weapons and/or shields, and casting spells.

It may be interesting to take a look at what Ultimate Magic has to say about spell components:

Components

For the most part, a spell's components have very little to do with its overall power level unless it requires a costly focus or material component or has no component at all. Most spells have verbal and somatic components, and new spells should follow this trend.

The advantage of spells that don't require verbal components is they can be cast in an area of silence, and thus there is the temptation to create silent versions of common combat spells. However, doing so devalues the Silent Spell feat, just like making swift-action spells devalues Quicken Spell, though not to such a great extent (casting two spells per round is a more serious problem than having a backup spell to counteract an unexpected silence). If casters decide they'd rather prepare a silent magic missile instead of acid arrow, or a silent acid arrow instead of fireball, they've deliberately chosen weaker options, and that's fine.

The advantage of spells that don't require somatic components is they can be cast when bound, grappled, or when both hands are full or occupied, and arcane spell failure doesn't apply. Just as creating silent versions of spells devalues Silent Spell, making non-somatic spells devalues the Still Spell feat. The premise of the game is that most spells require words and gestures, and new spells should stick with that unless the theme of the spell suggests it wouldn't require a somatic component, or it was specifically designed to escape bindings or grapples.

The advantage of spells that don't require material components is they don't require a spell component pouch (and in the rare circumstance in which if you're grappled, you needn't already have your material components in hand to cast the spell). Most material components are part of a spell for flavor rather than to satisfy rules. The guano and sulfur material components of fireball are there because early gunpowder (black powder) was made from guano and sulfur. The fur and glass rod material components of lightning bolt come from the ability to create a buildup of static electricity by rubbing fur against a glass rod. The game could present those spells without material components at all, and it would have a negligible effect on how the game plays (as proven by the "it has whatever I need" spell component pouch, and the sorcerer class getting Eschew Materials as a bonus feat)—they're just in the spell for fun. Balance your spell assuming it has no material components or free material components, and then add them in if the flavor seems appropriate.

Notice how somatic components require at least one free hand, and material components merely require that you can get to them at all. But they're not supposed to be a high-impact thing. If spells with material components were really intended to require more hands than somatic-only spells, this would have been the place to say it.

---

Furthermore, you suggest that drawing components might be a move action, but it's not:

Spell Components: To cast a spell with a verbal (V) component, your character must speak in a firm voice. If you're gagged or in the area of a silence spell, you can't cast such a spell. A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance to spoil any spell he tries to cast if that spell has a verbal component.

To cast a spell with a somatic (S) component, you must gesture freely with at least one hand. You can't cast a spell of this type while bound, grappling, or with both your hands full or occupied.

To cast a spell with a material (M), focus (F), or divine focus (DF) component, you have to have the proper materials, as described by the spell. Unless these components are elaborate, preparing them is a free action. For material components and focuses whose costs are not listed in the spell description, you can assume that you have them if you have your spell component pouch.

Here you can see two things: only Somatic components are called out as requiring a dedicated hand; and drawing material components is a free action.

---

The pattern of only Somatic components explicitly requiring a free hand is repeated in the magic chapter:

Somatic (S): A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

Material (M): A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don't bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

---

So there you have three different sections repeating that somatic components need free hands, and not saying so about material components.


RedDogMT wrote:
Anyone know which spells have verbal and material components without somatic?

There are lots. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/tools/spells-db provides a database you can look at if you like, but here's a partial list.

Darkness, Deeper Darkness, Displacement, Light, Suggestion, Mass Suggestion, Teleportation Circle, Tongues, Ventriloquism, Honeyed Tongue, Keen Senses, Lover's Vengeance, Haze of Dreams, Tap Inner Beauty, Vision of Hell, Lighten Object, Mass Lighten Object, Abstemiousness, ...


Ascalaphus wrote:

Darksol, I think you're reading way finer than the text was meant to be read. There is a lot of evidence for designers thinking that spells require only one hand to be cast. The magus class is the most obvious, but clerics and such are also expected to be using both weapons and/or shields, and casting spells.

It may be interesting to take a look at what Ultimate Magic has to say about spell components:

Components

For the most part, a spell's components have very little to do with its overall power level unless it requires a costly focus or material component or has no component at all. Most spells have verbal and somatic components, and new spells should follow this trend.

The advantage of spells that don't require verbal components is they can be cast in an area of silence, and thus there is the temptation to create silent versions of common combat spells. However, doing so devalues the Silent Spell feat, just like making swift-action spells devalues Quicken Spell, though not to such a great extent (casting two spells per round is a more serious problem than having a backup spell to counteract an unexpected silence). If casters decide they'd rather prepare a silent magic missile instead of acid arrow, or a silent acid arrow instead of fireball, they've deliberately chosen weaker options, and that's fine.

The advantage of spells that don't require somatic components is they can be cast when bound, grappled, or when both hands are full or occupied, and arcane spell failure doesn't apply. Just as creating silent versions of spells devalues Silent Spell, making non-somatic spells devalues the Still Spell feat. The premise of the game is that most spells require words and gestures, and new spells should stick with that unless the theme of the spell suggests it wouldn't require a somatic component, or it was specifically designed to escape bindings

...

Interesting citation from Ultimate Magic; funny how it's not in the Core Rulebook though, which is where I went to look for such information and came up empty.

I would argue that the entry merely states you don't need to draw the material component prior to casting the spell, which then denotes it to still being required to be drawn as part of casting the spell.

Of course, that doesn't excuse the factor that A. You still need limbs to draw those items from the pouch in question, and B. If your limbs are occupied or busy performing other activities that require those limbs (such as Lay On Hands), you can't use them to draw such items until the action associated with that limb is completed.

I read somewhere that drawing material components was a free action, but I just couldn't figure where it was. You'd think such important information would be in the Magic section...But, that means you still need a hand to draw those components to cast the spell, in the same vein that you need a hand to draw a sword to attack an enemy.

Just because it doesn't explicitly say it doesn't mean that it isn't implied or assumed. At best, you can argue that material components aren't items (and as such, wouldn't take up your hand), but then that creates a disparity between inexpensive material component spells and expensive material component spells, since you need to buy the expensive material component spells individually (and as such, keep track of them just like you would any other item), whereas inexpensive material components are covered with a feat or a spell component pouch, a single-acquired item that, once obtained, never needs restocking or runs out of materials (even if it's for ease of play).

@ John Mechelas: Fair enough on the FAQ, but the ideal that a FAQ was necessary to denote spell component pouches to be an exception from the Haunted curse certainly says something about spell component pouches, in that it's a specific exception to retrieving stored items from your gear, or more ironic, that material components aren't items at all; the former makes more sense, since the latter implies expensive material components aren't items, even though spellcasters need to buy them for each time they cast such spells.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


I read somewhere that drawing material components was a free action, but I just couldn't figure where it was. You'd think such important information would be in the Magic section...But, that means you still need a hand to draw those components to cast the spell, in the same vein that you need a hand to draw a sword to attack an enemy.

I don't think it does.

I think your analogy fails, largely because a sword is a large, bulky, and unwieldy object. You can't hold (and use) two swords in the same hand.... but you rather explicitly can hold several coin-sized objects in the same hand, as any stage magician will be happy to demonstrate.

And, in fact, it's even explicit in some spells that the required component (singular) is actually plural. For example, the component for alarm is -- or rather, are -- "a tiny bell and a piece of very fine silver wire." It makes no sense at all that an alarm spell requires one hand for each component. (The symbol spells are worse, typically requiring four actual material components each, and so does statue).

I have no problem interpreting the various rules texts as saying that, for example, to cast darkness you need to have bat fur and a piece of coal -- but a few strands of fur and a tiny chip of coal smaller than a penny suffice, and that these can easily be held in the same hand that is already holding a sword. On the other hand, it's hard -- to the point of impossible -- to finger-spell the words "fiat tenebrae" using a hand that is wrapped around a sword hilt.


BadBird wrote:


Do you need a 'free hand' to use material components?

To cast a spell with somatic spell components, the spellcaster must be able to perform precise hand movements with at least one free hand ~Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

...or basically what Claxon said.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Granted the rules on this are not totally 100% spelled out, but does anyone really have any doubt what a FAQ, if made, would say?

You need a free hand to manipulate (the latin root manus means hand) material components and that free hand can be the same hand used to perform somatic components. In other words, both material and somatic components require a free hand, but neither of them make the hand 'unfree.' (Note that this has nothing to do with 'hands of action', which is an entirely different subject.)

I would expect that for spells with a material components, the somatic components are actually tied to manipulating the material components. In other words, the flavor feels to me like not only can you use the same hand, but you must use the same hand (note that this isn't a rule, and I am not proposing one.)

Scarab Sages

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ Lorewalker: Material Components are consumed when the spell is cast (or presumably cast, but with no effect, in the event of a failed concentration check). Somatic Components are done during the action of casting the spell. I don't understand the third question; examples to elaborate would be appreciated.

Of course it isn't. That's why I didn't say you had to use hand A for this requirement, or hand B for that requirement. That's exclusive to TWF.

But it doesn't discount the factor that A. Actions have inherent restrictions and requirements, and B. Not adhering to those restrictions, or fulfilling those requirements means you can't take those actions. This is true, and extends to subjects well beyond the FAQ I linked; I merely provided it as an official example.

Spellcasting is no different. You need material components, verbal components, somatic components, focii, or even other subjects, depending on the spell. Not meeting those requirements means you cannot cast that spell.

Problem is, Magi were built on a given pretense that isn't supported by RAW. It's the same reason why things like the Bodyguard feat were written the way they were, but actually function in a manner quite different than its intended usage. Same goes for things like Potion Glutton, and so on. It's just on a much bigger scale than a niche feat.

1) You're pulling that out of your butt, as there is no official answer for when a material component is consumed during the casting of a spell.

2) And this doesn't answer my question at all... as you don't note at what point in time during the casting of a spell the somatic component is used.
3) Allow me to rephrase, "I use a standard action to cast a spell and, during that standard action, I perform each action required to cast the spell. Including manipulating my material and focus components, perform my somatic component, speak my verbal component, make my spell variable choices, launch the spell. I use the previous two answers to figure out what parts of the spell casting process I do first... what is that order and what can I do at the same time?"

The correct answer is... there is no answer. You're thinking too deeply on a subject that obviously is not supposed to function the way you are suggesting. The CRB includes rules that require spell casting to only need one hand... so I think your idea that the magus is based on a false premise fails.

But, others here have stated the concept much better and you still can't see it. Thus, I think I will have to call my part of the argument complete.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


I read somewhere that drawing material components was a free action, but I just couldn't figure where it was. You'd think such important information would be in the Magic section...But, that means you still need a hand to draw those components to cast the spell, in the same vein that you need a hand to draw a sword to attack an enemy.

I don't think it does.

I think your analogy fails, largely because a sword is a large, bulky, and unwieldy object. You can't hold (and use) two swords in the same hand.... but you rather explicitly can hold several coin-sized objects in the same hand, as any stage magician will be happy to demonstrate.

And, in fact, it's even explicit in some spells that the required component (singular) is actually plural. For example, the component for alarm is -- or rather, are -- "a tiny bell and a piece of very fine silver wire." It makes no sense at all that an alarm spell requires one hand for each component. (The symbol spells are worse, typically requiring four actual material components each, and so does statue).

I have no problem interpreting the various rules texts as saying that, for example, to cast darkness you need to have bat fur and a piece of coal -- but a few strands of fur and a tiny chip of coal smaller than a penny suffice, and that these can easily be held in the same hand that is already holding a sword. On the other hand, it's hard -- to the point of impossible -- to finger-spell the words "fiat tenebrae" using a hand that is wrapped around a sword hilt.

It fails because you don't see the analogy properly. I never said that you couldn't put more than one material component in your hand, because if that's the case, every spellcaster would require 3+ hands for spells that list 2 or more material components.

What I said is that you need a hand to draw the material components required; holding isn't necessarily required (though I can understand how it's implied, but even then, a single hand for material components is more than necessary).

In other words: how can you draw components if one of your hands is busy making the required gestures, and your other hand is holding on to/wielding a weapon?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

What I said is that you need a hand to draw the material components required;

... and I see no indication that the hand need be free.

In fact, I specifically see the opposite; the need for a free hand is called out for with somatic components, but not for material components.

Quote:
In other words: how can you draw components if one of your hands is busy making the required gestures, and your other hand is holding on to/wielding a weapon?

Using either or both of those hands, as convenient.


Darksol, your interpretation may be the more "logical" one if you make inferences about the real world and try to apply that to Pathfinder.

But that is your mistake. This is a game, and logic often isn't applied.

Nothing in the rules prevents you from using the same hand to supply both material and somatic components, and nothing mentions an action economy cost to perform either beyond the action type for casting the spell.

If the game really required both hands to be free to cast a spell, don't you think it would specifically mention that? Don't you think that they would mention that both hands need to be free to cast a spell with somatic and verbal components if that was the intention?

But based on the existence of classes that are intended to wield a weapon and cast spells, and the fact that wizard can have weapons as bonded items that they must hold to cast their spells...how would those options work if things really worked as you suggest?

Even if you think that it's RAW, certainly you really believe that it's intended.


Lorewalker wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

@ Lorewalker: Material Components are consumed when the spell is cast (or presumably cast, but with no effect, in the event of a failed concentration check). Somatic Components are done during the action of casting the spell. I don't understand the third question; examples to elaborate would be appreciated.

Of course it isn't. That's why I didn't say you had to use hand A for this requirement, or hand B for that requirement. That's exclusive to TWF.

But it doesn't discount the factor that A. Actions have inherent restrictions and requirements, and B. Not adhering to those restrictions, or fulfilling those requirements means you can't take those actions. This is true, and extends to subjects well beyond the FAQ I linked; I merely provided it as an official example.

Spellcasting is no different. You need material components, verbal components, somatic components, focii, or even other subjects, depending on the spell. Not meeting those requirements means you cannot cast that spell.

Problem is, Magi were built on a given pretense that isn't supported by RAW. It's the same reason why things like the Bodyguard feat were written the way they were, but actually function in a manner quite different than its intended usage. Same goes for things like Potion Glutton, and so on. It's just on a much bigger scale than a niche feat.

1) You're pulling that out of your butt, as there is no official answer for when a material component is consumed during the casting of a spell.

2) And this doesn't answer my question at all... as you don't note at what point in time during the casting of a spell the somatic component is used.
3) Allow me to rephrase, "I use a standard action to cast a spell and, during that standard action, I perform each action required to cast the spell. Including manipulating my material and focus components, perform my somatic component, speak my verbal component, make my spell variable choices, launch the spell. I use the previous two answers to...

Not really. I followed the rules when I "pulled that out of my butt." Here's my citations, starting with the Material Components:

Material Components wrote:
A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process.

I suppose I was wrong when it was cited that material components can be drawn as part of casting the spell (and aren't require before, unless you're bound/grappled, but in those instances I'd be correct), otherwise I'm pretty spot on there, wouldn't you think?

For the whole "concentration" stuff, it tells us right in the Concentration rules:

Concentration wrote:
To cast a spell, you must concentrate. If something interrupts your concentration while you're casting, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell. When you make a concentration check, you roll d20 and add your caster level and the ability score modifier used to determine bonus spells of the same type. Clerics, druids, and rangers add their Wisdom modifier. Bards, paladins, and sorcerers add their Charisma modifier. Finally, wizards add their Intelligence modifier. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the level of the spell you are trying to cast, the higher the DC (see Table: Concentration Check DCs). If you fail the check, you lose the spell just as if you had cast it to no effect.

In this case, you are considered to have cast the spell (and thereby annihilated the material components) to no effect.

And of course, the Somatic Components. While the actual component doesn't say it's done during, there is a portion in the general Components rule that would suffice:

Components wrote:
A spell's components explain what you must do or possess to cast the spell. The components entry in a spell description includes abbreviations that tell you what type of components it requires.

And Somatic Components are listed as a part of it. So, per RAW, you actually need to have a Free Hand prior to casting the spell if the spell has Somatic Components, whereas it's been listed that Material Components, and is consistent with being bound/grappled dismissing any ability to cast Somatic Component spells at all.

So, no, I didn't "pull it out of my arse." I simply read the rules as they're written, and I provided my citations as proof of that.

As for the options, it doesn't particularly matter, because it's a conditional factor you must meet. You must be able to accomplish all of those subjects at the same time in order to cast the spell, as I've bolded above.

But more concisely, Combat Chapter lists drawing Material Components as a Free Action, but otherwise functions as what you must possess to cast the spell. Somatic Components function under the "what you must do" clause, based on the description. Moving or waving your hand, while not defined, can be well assumed that it's an act that must be done. Ironically enough, it's not defined, though I imagine if you can draw Material Components from a pouch as a Free Action, Somatic Components should take equal or less time.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

What I said is that you need a hand to draw the material components required;

... and I see no indication that the hand need be free.

In fact, I specifically see the opposite; the need for a free hand is called out for with somatic components, but not for material components.

Quote:
In other words: how can you draw components if one of your hands is busy making the required gestures, and your other hand is holding on to/wielding a weapon?
Using either or both of those hands, as convenient.

Cool, so I can draw and drink a potion while making attacks with my Greatsword. Thanks for clearing that up for me.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Cool, so I can draw and drink a potion while making attacks with my Greatsword. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Have you a way to draw/drink a potion as a free action? If so, yes, you can.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Cool, so I can draw and drink a potion while making attacks with my Greatsword. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

If you had a way to draw and drink the potion as a move, swift or free actions then you could still make an attack with your greatsword.

If you could do it only as a swift or free action you could make a full attack with your greatsword.


Claxon wrote:

Darksol, your interpretation may be the more "logical" one if you make inferences about the real world and try to apply that to Pathfinder.

But that is your mistake. This is a game, and logic often isn't applied.

Nothing in the rules prevents you from using the same hand to supply both material and somatic components, and nothing mentions an action economy cost to perform either beyond the action type for casting the spell.

If the game really required both hands to be free to cast a spell, don't you think it would specifically mention that? Don't you think that they would mention that both hands need to be free to cast a spell with somatic and verbal components if that was the intention?

But based on the existence of classes that are intended to wield a weapon and cast spells, and the fact that wizard can have weapons as bonded items that they must hold to cast their spells...how would those options work if things really worked as you suggest?

Even if you think that it's RAW, certainly you really believe that it's intended.

But it's not an aspect of realism that isn't otherwise enforced in other parts of the game; as I mentioned above, drawing/drinking a potion and swinging my Greatsword would be possible if we argued that material components didn't require a hand to draw (if I was casting, for example, Transformation, which requires a Potion of Bull's Strength). If the game was as realistic as it's supposed to be, I'll take one of my friends' most memorably argued (and regularly mocked) points: Drinking a potion and moving at the same time would be possible. But it's not, and I accept that it's not, both for balance and realism purposes (it still takes time for that potion to tick in).

Nothing in the rules says that material components don't require a hand to draw them, which means I can use my feet to draw a potion, or use it to drink it, right? After all, nothing in the rules says I have to fight with my hands; feet wielding Greatswords is the new hip fighting style now! Also, it's been cited that drawing material components requires a free action in the Combat chapter, but you don't destroy the material components until the spell is cast (regardless of whether you fail a relevant concentration or not).

There are several things in-game that should be quite obviously stated, and yet they aren't. The Dead condition is a prime example of this, and we have people (jokingly) positing that Dead people can still act and fight. (Sure, if they had the Undead type.)

Same goes with other carried-over rules, like being able to 5-foot after you stand up (it was better-defined if you could do this in 3.X than Pathfinder, now it's table variation), BAB rules (you still aren't told about what +6/+1 means in the rules for BAB), and so on. The factor that this isn't one of them not only isn't shocking (there's so many other oversights that I'd create a wall of text trying to list and explain them all), but quite frankly means that it relies too much on it being a hold-over of a predecessor to properly explain how the game functions, and not being an all-new construction of the game to introduce newcomers. (I mean, maybe new players wasn't the target audience of this game's development, but if it was, and I imagine it's somewhat relevant, that it would be something to clear up so that said players properly understand what they're supposed to mean, or what they can do.)

I'm not saying that's what's intended. What I'm saying is, that's what the rules are saying, and that a GM is well within his rights to tell you "That spell requires 2 hands to cast because the book says XYZ." You can call the GM wrong, a moron, or even just a giant dick, but the fact of the matter is that, stuff like that is possible (heck, even without the rules being written that way, it can happen), and with the rules being written the way they are, the GM has better leverage to use for their insidious motives.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Cool, so I can draw and drink a potion while making attacks with my Greatsword. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Have you a way to draw/drink a potion as a free action? If so, yes, you can.

Hmmm, that didn't warrant the response I was expecting. Let's try another subject...

What about two one-handed weapons? Could I draw/drink a potion while TWFing?


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Cool, so I can draw and drink a potion while making attacks with my Greatsword. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Have you a way to draw/drink a potion as a free action? If so, yes, you can.

Hmmm, that didn't warrant the response I was expecting. Let's try another subject...

What about two one-handed weapons? Could I draw/drink a potion while TWFing?

Show me rules text demanding that drinking a potion requires a free hand.....

Scarab Sages

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"Nothing in the rules says that material components don't require a hand to draw them, which means I can use my feet to draw a potion, or use it to drink it, right? After all, nothing in the rules says I have to fight with my hands; feet wielding Greatswords is the new hip fighting style now! Also, it's been cited that drawing material components requires a free action in the Combat chapter, but you don't destroy the material components until the spell is cast (regardless of whether you fail a relevant concentration or not)."

You realize your basic premise here is completely flawed? Because there is a fundamental difference between a hand and a foot. Trying to say that the game does not note that... fails to note the reason why an animal companion cannot wield an item. The concept of a 'grasping appendage' exists in text.

Also, the game does not say that a material component is consumed at the end of casting. It, in fact, does not say when the component is consumed except that it is consumed during casting. That could be any time between the beginning and ending of casting. A spell is cast when casting has completed. That means you need a free hand at some point during casting to do a somatic component and it could be after a material component is consumed.

Also, the free action is not to draw a material component. It is to...

Combat Rules wrote:
Prepare spell components to cast a spell

That is a different thing.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"There are several things in-game that should be quite obviously stated, and yet they aren't. The Dead condition is a prime example of this, and we have people (jokingly) positing that Dead people can still act and fight. (Sure, if they had the Undead type.)"

The game well covers the dead condition too. You just have to actually read the books instead of reading excerpts.

This quote answers what you can do after you die. If you actually read the books.
Dead Condition wrote:
"The character's soul leaves his body."
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"Same goes with other carried-over rules, like being able to 5-foot after you stand up (it was better-defined if you could do this in 3.X than Pathfinder, now it's table variation),

You can 5-foot after standing... because...

combat rules wrote:

"Stand Up

Standing up from a prone position requires a move action and provokes attacks of opportunity."
...
and
...
" You can't take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can't take a 5-foot step in the same round that you move any distance."

these two rules do not interfere with each other during a turn.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
"BAB rules (you still aren't told about what +6/+1 means in the rules for BAB)"

Yah... this is answered in the CRB. It's a common term.

combat rules wrote:
"Each creature has a base attack bonus and it represents its skill in combat. As a character gains levels or Hit Dice, his base attack bonus improves. When a creature's base attack bonus reaches +6, +11, or +16, he receives an additional attack in combat when he takes a full-attack action (which is one type of full-round action—see Combat)."


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The fact that metamagic rods exist (in the CRB no less!), and are intended to be used by, and are actually used by, creatures with less than 3 hands, frankly renders this discussion moot.

It works.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:

Darksol, I think you're reading way finer than the text was meant to be read. There is a lot of evidence for designers thinking that spells require only one hand to be cast. The magus class is the most obvious, but clerics and such are also expected to be using both weapons and/or shields, and casting spells.

It may be interesting to take a look at what Ultimate Magic has to say about spell components:

Components

For the most part, a spell's components have very little to do with its overall power level unless it requires a costly focus or material component or has no component at all. Most spells have verbal and somatic components, and new spells should follow this trend.

The advantage of spells that don't require verbal components is they can be cast in an area of silence, and thus there is the temptation to create silent versions of common combat spells. However, doing so devalues the Silent Spell feat, just like making swift-action spells devalues Quicken Spell, though not to such a great extent (casting two spells per round is a more serious problem than having a backup spell to counteract an unexpected silence). If casters decide they'd rather prepare a silent magic missile instead of acid arrow, or a silent acid arrow instead of fireball, they've deliberately chosen weaker options, and that's fine.

The advantage of spells that don't require somatic components is they can be cast when bound, grappled, or when both hands are full or occupied, and arcane spell failure doesn't apply. Just as creating silent versions of spells devalues Silent Spell, making non-somatic spells devalues the Still Spell feat. The premise of the game is that most spells require words and gestures, and new spells should stick with that unless the theme of the spell suggests it wouldn't require a somatic component, or it was specifically designed to escape bindings

...

As someone who is only concerned with RAI, I found this post (and the Ultimate Magic quote in particular) very helpful in settling how to adjudicate this question.

Thanks!


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Ascalaphus wrote:

UM wrote:
The advantage of spells that don't require somatic components is they can be cast when bound, grappled, or when both hands are full or occupied, and arcane spell failure doesn't apply.

Good catch. I think that's a pretty conclusive statement of intent, particularly considering that it reflects all kinds of other text implying the same thing. Hopefully that offers at least a little more resolution to people wondering where to go with it.

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