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The text from Somatic reads that the caster must have a hand free to gesture with when they cast a spell with a somatic component.

None of the conditions such as restrained or grappled seem to restrict hand motion.

Am I missing something or are these conditions useless for preventing the casting of somatic component spells?

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You still need an action to cast a spell. Certain conditions disallow actions or restrict a character to specific actions. I don't have the rules at hand, but from memory I'd say that being grappled and held restricts you to actions that break the hold. – nvoigt Jul 21 '14 at 15:53
@nvoigt neither restrict action. Yes, obviously conditions like unconscious, petrified and incapacitated prevent you from casting any spells. – wax eagle Jul 21 '14 at 15:56
@waxeagle Is your intent to restrict answers to RAW only, or would you welcome other interpretations? – GMJoe Jul 22 '14 at 2:38
I believe restrained gives you disadvantage on attacks, so if you wanted to cast a spell that requires an attack roll, restrained would come into play there, but not on the somatic components question. – PurpleVermont Jan 19 '15 at 16:52

Basically the rule requires you don't wield a weapon or shield without a feat that allows you to.

Page 79 under material component.

A spell caster must have a hand free to access these components , but it can be the same hand used for the somatic components.

So yes those conditions are not useful for distracting a wizard. The best thing you can do is be adjacent to the wizard, or hurt them so they need to make a concentration check.

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Being adjacent doesn't really help in this edition. I suppose you could prepare an action to whack them if they try casting, and hope they fail their concentration check? – PurpleVermont Jan 19 '15 at 16:51
@PurpleVermont adjacency will inflict disadvantage on a ranged attack spell. – wax eagle Jan 19 '15 at 18:39
@waxeagle if so, we've been playing that wrong (or maybe it never came up - we have a large party and the caster is pretty good at staying out of the fray). Can you point out the page number where that is stated? Thanks! – PurpleVermont Jan 19 '15 at 22:36
@PurpleVermont That's a separate question really, but check out the combat chapter under "Ranged attacks in close combat" ranged spell attacks are still ranged attacks. – wax eagle Jan 19 '15 at 23:53

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