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D&D 5E Can you case feather fall if you are not holding a feather or a focus?

ECMO3

Hero
Feather fall has a material component of a feather, but it is cast as a reaction. Unless you knew someone was going to fall it would be rare that you were actually holding a feather. As such can you cast it as a reaction when it is not your turn if you don't have it in hand?
 

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aco175

Legend
Maybe you do not need it in hand. The magic of the spell uses the component from your pocket. Maybe is needs to be worn somehow, like in a hat on the outside someplace for it to be able to be used. Then, as you fall you can grab it.

I mostly handwave this.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Feather fall has a material component of a feather, but it is cast as a reaction. Unless you knew someone was going to fall it would be rare that you were actually holding a feather. As such can you cast it as a reaction when it is not your turn if you don't have it in hand?

You need a free hand at the time you cast - you can imagine that hand quick dips into the component pouch and grabs the feather. Don't worry about it too much.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
As others have said, you just need a free hand and the components (or pouch or focus) on your person.

“A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell’s material components—or to hold a spellcasting focus—but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.” PHB, p203.

So you’re pushed off a cliff and as a reaction you reach down to grab your component pouch and cast the spell.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I mostly handwave this.
lf.jpeg
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Feather fall has a material component of a feather, but it is cast as a reaction. Unless you knew someone was going to fall it would be rare that you were actually holding a feather. As such can you cast it as a reaction when it is not your turn if you don't have it in hand?

The RAW states that "A character can use a Component pouch or a Spellcasting focus (found in “Equipment”) in place of the Components specified for a spell." So, you do need a free hand, but you don't need to access the feather. Since the component pouch is used IN PLACE of the components specified for the spell, you just need to hold your component pouch (which, obviously, made of magic-transparent materials so holding it allows you to hold all the components inside it). There is no need to retrieve the particular material component from inside the component pouch as far as I know, making it more compatible with reaction spells.
 

It may be a reaction spell, but does that really matter it it takes 10 or 20 seconds of falling before you could splat? Even 5 seconds of falling is enough time, reaction or not. The small amount of distance someone would have to fall for the split-second casting to matter is not likely to kill, so it is unlikely to get cast. But in those very rare situations, I would probably let the player get away with it, even though I normally seem to be pickier about timing than a lot of other DMs are.
 


The RAW states that "A character can use a Component pouch or a Spellcasting focus (found in “Equipment”) in place of the Components specified for a spell." So, you do need a free hand, but you don't need to access the feather. Since the component pouch is used IN PLACE of the components specified for the spell, you just need to hold your component pouch (which, obviously, made of magic-transparent materials so holding it allows you to hold all the components inside it). There is no need to retrieve the particular material component from inside the component pouch as far as I know, making it more compatible with reaction spells.

Yes, a lot of it is abstracted away, as Jeremy Crawford said in a Sage Advice, but you still have to reach into the pouch for the components.

 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
It may be a reaction spell, but does that really matter it it takes 10 or 20 seconds of falling before you could splat? Even 5 seconds of falling is enough time, reaction or not. The small amount of distance someone would have to fall for the split-second casting to matter is not likely to kill, so it is unlikely to get cast. But in those very rare situations, I would probably let the player get away with it, even though I normally seem to be pickier about timing than a lot of other DMs are.
You’d have to be falling awfully far for it to take 10 or 20 seconds. I recommend not thinking about it too hard. The rules say you just need the components or focus on your person and a free hand. Trying to work out how long you would actually have to grab and manipulate them based on how far you’re falling only leads to madness.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
With a free hand and a component pouch, M components without a gp value are not a problem; as part of casting you can manipulate the pouch and use the component(s) in there (or use a focus in your hands).

M components without a gp value's main impact is when you are disarmed (no focus, no pouch). You could find a spider web in a dungeon, for example, and be able to cast web.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I think the original idea of material components is to "cost a hand slot".

So if you're a wizard or sorcerer, keep a hand free all the time and stop worrying. Most mages don't use shields, so in older editions it was mainly a choice between holding a weapon in the other hand vs being the torch-bearer, holding the map or similar. Many mage-types in 5e don't even use weapons because they have attack cantrips, so it's even easier.

There will be exceptional cases like if your hands are tied, gripping/holding on to something etc. so you'll have to make a choice.

Then of course people will always argue that they want to pass an object to the other hand, hold two objects while you cast, use a leather strip to drop the weapon without having to pick it up... I hate those debates. The rule is there to force a strategic choice as if your hands are a limited resource. If your group doesn't like it, IGNORE it and move on. Otherwise use the rule and don't cheat.

A reaction on the other hand doesn't take a specific amount of time, so even by the rules you are not supposed to worry about how fast you need to reach for a material component, just "spend" your reaction and the rules abstraction have you covered.
 




S'mon

Legend
Flavour wise, having the feather on a neck thong or similar sounds coolest. I think the game pretty much assumes the caster uses a focus and has the focus in-hand. I'd avoid screwing over non-focus casters, anyway.
 

aco175

Legend

Copied from DnDBeyond;

Material (M)​

Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry. A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in “Equipment”) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell. A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components -- or to hold a spellcasting focus -- but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Copied from roll20 net
Arcane focus
Crystal10 gp1 lb.
Orb20 gp3 lb.
Rod10 gp2 lb.
Staff5 gp4 lb.
Wand10 gp1 lb.
Component pouch25 gp2 lb.

Looking at the problem, it seems that I could buy a 5gp staff to use as a focus and not even need a component pouch for the 25gp. I would then not need to collect and twigs and berries or fur and feather.

I personally like the wand better and could see it having some sort of secret compartment where a piece of each of these minor components are stuffed in to make it work. It could be some sort of ritual as well where you burn a list of components and the smoke infuses the wand, or maybe a stew of components where wands are dipped.

None of that though is RAW and it just says you can go buy something like a orb or wand and be done with collecting things.
 


ECMO3

Hero


Looking at the problem, it seems that I could buy a 5gp staff to use as a focus and not even need a component pouch for the 25gp. I would then not need to collect and twigs and berries or fur and feather.
Only if you are a Wizard or Sorcerer.

Other classes can not use an arcane focus for this spell. Warlocks can use an arcane focus for Warlock spells, but would need a feat to get feather fall and it would not be a warlock spell and would not be eligible for using a staff. Same for any other class that gets it.
 

Only if you are a Wizard or Sorcerer.

Other classes can not use an arcane focus for this spell. Warlocks can use an arcane focus for Warlock spells, but would need a feat to get feather fall and it would not be a warlock spell and would not be eligible for using a staff. Same for any other class that gets it.
If your DM is a rule pedant, if the warlock gains Feather Fall via Artificer Initiate then:
  • You gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools of your choice, and you can use that type of tool as a spellcasting focus for any spell you cast that uses Intelligence as its spellcasting ability.
 

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