In my last post, I looked for an official way to make the fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons rules for for spell components and free hands match the way players operated at the table—with little attention to what characters have in hand.
This may soon become obsolete, and that makes me happy. Alphastream, who has earned a much greater stature in the Dungeons & Dragons community than I have, gave my gripes a boost that garnered the attention of designer Jeremy Crawford.
As I wrote my original post, I created the following suggestions for rulings and house rules, so you, dear reader, get them despite their brief relevance.
First, I suggest allowing the characters with the War Caster feat to use a weapon as a spellcasting focus. This small change offers a path that lets most martial-spellcasters to operate without headaches.
For many classes, I have a suggested rulings and additional house rules. The rulings steer close to the rules as written, while the house rules introduce small changes that makes classes work as players expect.
|Class||Suggested Ruling||House rule|
|Bard||Bards need a free hand for components or their musical instrument. For El Kabong, the instrument doubles as a weapon.||Bards in the College of Valor may use a melee weapon as a bard spellcasting focus.|
|Cleric||For clerics, brandishing a worn holy symbol or one on a shield satisfies the need for both somatic and material components.|
|Druid||Druids who wish to carry a shield can opt to use staff as a spellcasting focus in the other hand. The staff doubles as a weapon.||Druids may use visibly worn mistletoe, holly or totemic objects as a focus that satisfies the need for both somatic and material components.|
|Fighter – Eldritch Knight||Eldritch knights may cast while holding a two-handed weapon in one hand. Those who wish to carry a shield should plan on taking the War Caster feat.||Eldritch knights may use their bonded weapon as a spellcasting focus.|
|Paladin||For paladins, brandishing a worn holy symbol or one on a shield satisfies the need for both somatic and material components.|
|Ranger||Rangers who opt for the two-weapon fighting style should plan on taking the War Caster feat.||Rangers who choose the two-weapon fighting style may use a melee weapon as a ranger spellcasting focus.|