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Can a humanoid character cast spells with Still Spell metamagic feat (without material components or with Eschew Materials) that has his arms occupied (or is being pinned)?

  • For example Magic missile requires Verbal and Somatic component. It is also written that "A missile of magical energy darts forth from your fingertip". Is "fingertip" part of somatic component or independent necessary part of spell? Can character use something else for launching missiles?
  • Another example is Scorching Ray. It is also V and S. But it's a ranged touch attack. I found no mention of arms in description of this spell as well as in ranged touch attack description. So, can character use his eyes (or something else) for the ranged touch attack of a stilled Scorching Ray?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ chin. totally use the chin. \$\endgroup\$ – Erin Thursby May 22 '17 at 16:17
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You can cast still spells without free hands

That is exactly the purpose of the Still Spell metamagic feat, it removes the somatic component of spellcasting.

Somatic (S)

A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

But you cannot cast most spells while pinned

Yes, even still spells might be impossible while pinned, as the conditions say:

A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component.

This means you require a spell without somatic components and without material components. So most spells are out, unless you have both Still Spell and Eschew Materials.

Material (M)

A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don’t bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

If you use the advanced spell search, only 109 spells out of 1973 (~5%) have both conditions (no somatic and no material components) without using the two mentioned feats.

Can character use his eyes for the ranged touch attack of a spell?

Yes, the spell still has a verbal component though. But he is not really using his eyes for anything other than looking at his target and aiming the spell.

What if the creature has no hands?

They can conjure spells just fine, using other parts of their body instead of their hands, as seen on this question: Can a naga cast spells even though it has no hands?

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These descriptions are not intended to be taken as rules (as there are fingerless creatures, such as the demilich who can cast magic missile). It is commonly accepted that these descriptions are only there to give a nice skin to spells.

Considering free hands, the only mention I found in the rules about a hand needing to be free to cast a spell is in the definition of what is a somatic component:

A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

So you can cast a still magic missile without a free hand, but not a not-still one.

For the pinned condition:

A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler’s CMB + spell level) or lose the spell.

The rules are pretty explicit: you can cast a still magic missile while pinned, but have to make a concentration check.

Concerning creatures with a non-humanoid anatomy, the rules are quite ambiguous but the general idea is that if a spell with somatic components is listed on the stats of a monster it means it has a way to provide them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What about range touch attack of a still scorching ray? Is it possible to cast still scorching ray without a free hand? \$\endgroup\$ – morev007 May 22 '17 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. There is no rule about someone needing a hand to cast a spell requiring a ranged touch attack (for example the demilich I put as an example has prepared scorching ray) \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme May 23 '17 at 9:01

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