Duskblade gets combat casting, then invokes that whenever damaged. Totally wrong, but I can't find rules to counter it.


I have a friend playing a Duskblade. He got Combat Casting at level 2. That gives him a +4 to concentration when casting defensively.

So, he cast next to a dire rat, the rat got an AOO, and hit for 4 or 5 points of damage. This causes a concentration check. The whole table of players says "Hey, you get +4 because of your new combat casting feat." I say no, because combat casting only applies to casting defensively. They counter that it says right in the listed for the ability that it's +4 to concentration (they're right, it does say that) and that even if it does only apply when casting defensively, that casting defensively isn't an action and is automatically what happens when an attack is incoming.

I'm a rules lawyer, told them all they were wrong, but now the game is over and I'm looking it up, and I cannot find *anything* that says that you have to declare casting defensively. I can't find anything that would inhibit a spellcaster from using it after damage is incoming. There is no stated order of actions anywhere that I can see.

Is anyone aware of any official errata, FAQ, or anything that clears it up and spells it out very deliberately? I need it super-super clear for these players, and it needs to expressly state that it must be pre-declared, and hopefully this comes from any official source.

Any ideas, anyone?
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Defensive casting is a non-action option for casting a spell in combat. It needs to be declared because it affects what actions others can take in response (by removing their option to respond to an opportunity).

The default option for casting a spell allows opponents an attack of opportunity. Defensive casting preempts the AoO but requires a Concentration check to work.

from the SRD "Actions in Combat" page said:
Attacks of Opportunity
Generally, if you cast a spell, you provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies. If you take damage from an attack of opportunity, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + points of damage taken + spell level) or lose the spell. Spells that require only a free action to cast don’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
Casting on the Defensive
Casting a spell while on the defensive does not provoke an attack of opportunity. It does, however, require a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to pull off. Failure means that you lose the spell.

The way the math works, relatively quickly all casters reflexively defensive cast in combat since there is no chance of failure especially if they invested in Combat Casting.


the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
See the 3.5 Player's Handbook, p.170, under Concentration.

PHB said:
Casting Defensively: If you want to cast a spell without provoking any attacks of opportunity, you need to dodge and weave. You must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you’re casting) to succeed. You lose the spell if you fail.

The caster chooses to do this when casting the spell. If he succeeds (and the +4 from Combat Casting applies to this roll), then no AOO is triggered. If he fails, he loses the spell. Combat Casting does not help if you are making a Concentration check due to taking damage.


Yup, it says "on the defensive or [at specific disadvantages]", rather all the time.
But it also doesn't specifically use term "casting defensively". This may be ruled to include most combat modes focused on defence - not only "casting defensively", but also while "fighting defensively" (which is possible with spells and SLA as Swift actions).

This is why Skill Focus: Concentration is considered superior to Combat Casting.
Yeah, it gives only 1 less in the specific situations when Combat Casting applies, and still +3 in all others. Though given how 3.x skills work, it will soon be dwarfed by skill ranks from levels, too. Unless you take it with a level in class that doesn't have Concentration on the list, while bloating another Juggernaut skill that it does have?
If you'd house-rule something that nerfs skill bloating, however, these bonuses would matter much more in general, and houseruling a slightly greater difference Combat Casting and Skill Focus as well would be a good thing.

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