D&D 5E How do you interpret the green-flame blade and booming blade somatic component?

For some reason, when these cantrips got changed from a V to S component (accompanying the consistent M that is the weapon itself), I thought that was more about aesthetics and making it so you don't have to speak a magic word every time you use them. I was interpreting the S component as the attack you make with the weapon itself.

Which is an odd lapse for me, because it was just today that I realized you need a free hand for S components, and it doesn't seem like the hand you are swinging your sword with is terribly free.

So the most obvious rules interpretation is that you need your other hand free. It also wouldn't be a stretch to say you can't use it with two-handed weapons, since the attack is made as part of the casting, and your hand is not free at that time (but the rules are silent about whether you hand needs to be free for every moment of the casting, so that's not necessarily called for).

Now I'm wondering if that interpretation is correct and the actual intent was to nerf the spell a bit by, perhaps, limiting it to one-handed weapons and making it so a rogue can't easily switch between casting the cantrip and making an off-hand bonus attack.

On the other hand, one could make a weaker case for the somatic component being the weapon attack in this case. There are two components to it. The first part is based on the change in wording of part of the spell, and the second is based on the interpretation of the interaction between S and M components in the spellcasting rules.

The original had "As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack", while the newer version has "you brandish the weapon used in the spell's casting and make a melee attack". "Brandishing" could just be flavor text as a minority (I believe) of spells have, or it could indicate the weapon is the somatic component.

In addition, the the components section of the PHB says "A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components--or to hold a spellcasting focus--but in can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components." However, that part is under the Material, rather than Somatic section, and requires us to make that rule go both ways, which isn't the obvious context.

What do you guys think the intent is supposed to be here?
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
PHB pg 203, under Material Components:

"A spellcaster must have a hand free to access these components, but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components."

So RAW the hand holding the material component can always be used to do the somatic components. The component being the weapon means that the hand holding the weapon can by RAW do the somatic.

It's a bit different than normal, and is only thanks to the weapon being the component where normally it's not and it occupies a hand.
 

ECMO3

Hero
For some reason, when these cantrips got changed from a V to S component (accompanying the consistent M that is the weapon itself), I thought that was more about aesthetics and making it so you don't have to speak a magic word every time you use them. I was interpreting the S component as the attack you make with the weapon itself.

Which is an odd lapse for me, because it was just today that I realized you need a free hand for S components, and it doesn't seem like the hand you are swinging your sword with is terribly free.

So the most obvious rules interpretation is that you need your other hand free. It also wouldn't be a stretch to say you can't use it with two-handed weapons, since the attack is made as part of the casting, and your hand is not free at that time (but the rules are silent about whether you hand needs to be free for every moment of the casting, so that's not necessarily called for).

Now I'm wondering if that interpretation is correct and the actual intent was to nerf the spell a bit by, perhaps, limiting it to one-handed weapons and making it so a rogue can't easily switch between casting the cantrip and making an off-hand bonus attack.

On the other hand, one could make a weaker case for the somatic component being the weapon attack in this case. There are two components to it. The first part is based on the change in wording of part of the spell, and the second is based on the interpretation of the interaction between S and M components in the spellcasting rules.

The original had "As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack", while the newer version has "you brandish the weapon used in the spell's casting and make a melee attack". "Brandishing" could just be flavor text as a minority (I believe) of spells have, or it could indicate the weapon is the somatic component.

In addition, the the components section of the PHB says "A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components--or to hold a spellcasting focus--but in can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components." However, that part is under the Material, rather than Somatic section, and requires us to make that rule go both ways, which isn't the obvious context.

What do you guys think the intent is supposed to be here?

You can use the same hand for both the material and somatic component and since the weapon is the material component you don't need another hand free.
 

For the benefit of my rogue player, I'm almost certainly going to allow it. However, from a legalistic perspective, here's how I see that part in the PHB.

Under the Material components heading it is saying you can use an M component in the same hand as you are doing an S component. But it does not say under the Somatic components heading that you can use a S component in the same hand as you are holding an M component, simply because you are using an M component in that hand.

This is a distinguish that I don't see anyone noticing, and I've checked some old discussions about it. Normally, such a thing would never matter, but in a corner case like this where the Material component is being used for "something else", ie, an attack, I'm not sure that clause justifies it being used as a Somatic component also, because of the distinction in the previous paragraph.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
For the benefit of my rogue player, I'm almost certainly going to allow it. However, from a legalistic perspective, here's how I see that part in the PHB.

Under the Material components heading it is saying you can use an M component in the same hand as you are doing an S component. But it does not say under the Somatic components heading that you can use a S component in the same hand as you are holding an M component, simply because you are using an M component in that hand.

This is a distinguish that I don't see anyone noticing, and I've checked some old discussions about it. Normally, such a thing would never matter, but in a corner case like this where the Material component is being used for "something else", ie, an attack, I'm not sure that clause justifies it being used as a Somatic component also, because of the distinction in the previous paragraph.
Disagree strongly. On FB groups where people ask 5e question, the #1 category is "The rule is complete in itself, but because it doesn't explicitly acknowledge that it works exactly as normal for my corner case, I feel the rule is incomplete."

The case you are talking about does not exist in the 5e rules. You are not making an attack with the material component while you cast the spell. The effects of a spell do not happen until the spell is completed casting, and that is when the attack happens.

There is no corner case, it works exactly by RAW which is explicitly clear you can do it.
 

Oofta

Legend
The spell states "You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting..." and the material component is a melee weapon.

Under casting a spell in the PHB it states "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." (Bold added.)

Since the component is the weapon it can be held.

On the other hand I'm pretty lenient on this because otherwise several spells for clerics, paladins, etc. don't work well.
 

ECMO3

Hero
For the benefit of my rogue player, I'm almost certainly going to allow it. However, from a legalistic perspective, here's how I see that part in the PHB.

Under the Material components heading it is saying you can use an M component in the same hand as you are doing an S component. But it does not say under the Somatic components heading that you can use a S component in the same hand as you are holding an M component, simply because you are using an M component in that hand.

This is a distinguish that I don't see anyone noticing, and I've checked some old discussions about it.

Maybe I am missing something, but if you can use a M component in the same hand as you are doing an S component then that means the same hand can do both the M and the S component.

The fact it does not say this under the S section is irrelevant, otherwise this sentence has no meaning.

Normally, such a thing would never matter, but in a corner case like this where the Material component is being used for "something else", ie, an attack,

The attack is the somatic component of the spell.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The spell states "You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting..." and the material component is a melee weapon.

Under casting a spell in the PHB it states "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." (Bold added.)

Since the component is the weapon it can be held.

On the other hand I'm pretty lenient on this because otherwise several spells for clerics, paladins, etc. don't work well.

Clerics and Paladins can use shield as spellcasting focus. Alot of Paladin spells are also V only.

It's things like Eldritch Knights that get screwed.
 

You can always use the hand that holds the m component to perform s components. Hence "waving your wand".

RAW, RAI, "brandishing your weapon" is the s component.

This does become an issue in that RAW you cannot benefit from a magical focus that is not a weapon when casting these spells. And for artificers, they can only use it with a weapon that they have already infused: "You must have a spellcasting focus—specifically thieves’ tools or some kind of artisan’s tool—in hand when you cast any spell" "you can also use any item bearing one of your infusions as a spellcasting focus".
 

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