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I am aware that the Somatic Weaponry feat in Complete Mage allows you to use spells with somatic components while your hands are full, but does this apply to a Warlock's invocations, or spells exclusively?

If context helps, I'm considering a Warlock build that will make use of a Spiked Chain.

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No, both because spell-like abilities are not spells, and more importantly because it would be meaningless.

Spell-like abilities do not normally have somatic components. Warlock invocations are special in that they do have “simple” somatic components that are affected by the Arcane Spell Failure of Medium or Heavy armors. There is no indication that weapons interfere with them, however. RAW, it’s not automatic that the rules for spells apply to spell-like abilities (or else the feat would work); if your DM is houseruling that they do, then he should be amenable to houseruling the feat to work.

Moreover, a Spiked Chain would not interfere with spells anyway – you can carry two-handed weapons with one hand, and can remove and add hands to a weapon as a free action. Thus you can let go of the chain with one hand, cast the invocation, and put the hand back in order to attack with it. Similarly, bucklers definitely leave the hand free to use somatic components, and light shields arguably do. The only people who have to worry about somatic components while wielding weapons are those who are dual wielding.

Finally, I want to point out that eldritch glaive in Dragon Magic is a much better alternative to the Spiked Chain. It is cast as a full-round action, and allows you to make as many attacks as you could in a full-attack, each attack being a touch attack that deals eldritch blast damage. Like a regular glaive, the eldritch glaive has reach (but cannot hit adjacent targets). It’s really the best way to make a melee Warlock.

If you don’t have Dragon Magic, I probably still wouldn’t bother with hideous blow. You can only ever use it to make a single attack, which is pretty poor. Focus on invocations for defense/mobility/debuffs; eldritch blast just becomes a (relatively good) back-up ranged weapon for when you cannot use your Spiked Chain.

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Okay, that sounds a lot cooler. I do have Dragon Magic, so that could work out. In the meantime, would I need to bother with regular melee weapons if I use Eldritch Glaive, and if so, what would be the best recommendation? – Cobalt Nov 23 '12 at 1:37
@Cobalt: you would not, no: the eldritch glaive invocation creates a magic weapon for you. It counts as a Blast Shape, too, and you can apply Eldritch Essences to it, which is pretty cool. Vitriolic Blast for an almost irresistable attack, various debuffs, etc. Dragon Magic is a good book for Warlocks in general. – KRyan Nov 23 '12 at 2:00
Ah, cool. Would I benefit from proficiency feats for it, though? – Cobalt Nov 23 '12 at 14:16
"Proficiency feats"? If you mean (Simple, Martial, Exotic) Weapon Proficiency, you don't need them. If you mean things like Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, etc... those are bad feats that I don't recommend you take unless you need one as a prereq. But they do work; see Complete Arcane about "weapon-like" spells and spell-likes. Also, see this guide for way more information than I have about how to do melee Warlocks. – KRyan Nov 23 '12 at 14:23

The feat specifies spells exclusively, but invocations are spell-like abilities. RAW, you can't use Somatic Weaponry with Invocations for the same reason you can't use metamagic feats with spell-like abilities. On page 7 of Complete Arcane, it states explicitly that "spell-like abilities are not actually spells". If you have a DM who would allow it, you could ask for a version of the feat that applies to Invocations instead of spells.

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Ah, thanks, then. Frankly, now that I think about it, the build I was thinking of would have needed a lot of feats to work out, so I guess a simpler build that lets me focus more on my powers would work better in the long run. – Cobalt Nov 23 '12 at 1:06

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