I'm sure this is a basic answer and quite a dumb question, but I really am confused on the matter. When you cast a spell, do you have to provide every component to it, or can you settle for just one, unless otherwise specified (such as a specified gp amount material). For example, a spell with VS components; is such a spell able to be casted simply by speaking the verbal component, or must you speak while performing the somatic components as well?


3 Answers 3


Spell components are all-or-nothing...

If you can't complete them all, you can't cast the spell.

If you can’t provide one or more of a spell’s components, you are unable to cast the spell. - "Components", PHB p 203 or Components on D&D Beyond

...but there are ways around them.

Depending on the exact class, there are options for the material components - a spellcasting focus can substitute for them. Ranger is notable for not having access to a spellcasting focus, and will always need a component pouch or the specific component.

Sorcerers (with Subtle Spell) and Druids (at L20 via Archdruid) can get around verbal and somatic components, but pretty much everybody else is stuck with them.

Spells cast from magic items don't need the components at all, though the specific item may impose other requirements.


Spellcasting Components

You have to provide all indicated components

If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell.

(PHB, p. 203)


There are ways to bypass those components, here are some (no guarantee for completeness)

Verbal (V)

  • A sorcerer with the subtle spell meta-magic
  • A level 20 druid with the Archdruid class feature

Somatic (S)

  • A sorcerer with the subtle spell meta-magic
  • A level 20 druid with the Archdruid class feature
  • Any spellcaster with the War Caster feat can not really bypass this requirement, but they can also use hands occupied by a weapon or shield

Material (M)

  • If you have a component pouch, a spellcasting focus or a holy symbol (depends on your class), you can ignore all material components which have no indicated costs
  • If you cast a spell from a spell scroll you do not have to have the material components
  • A way of the four elements monk does not have to provide material components for their elemental spells. (PHB, p. 80)

All of them

  • There are some monsters which can cast spells with their innate spellcasting ability they do not have to provide any components.
  • Unless stated otherwise if you cast a spell from an item you can do so without any components. (DMG, p. 141)
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Another way to ignore Material and Somatic components is the Wish spell,which can duplicate any 8th level or lower spell with no need for components. (Wish itself requires a Verbal component) \$\endgroup\$
    – Teron
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a small fault in the Material section: pouches and focuses also cannot replace components that will be used up. Not all components with a gp price are used up and vice versa. \$\endgroup\$
    – TBP
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 9:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TBP in the equipment chapter it explicitly says that a component pouch replaces all material components except for those that have a specific cost. Independent of consumption or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thyzer
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 9:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might be another difference betwenn a focus and a pouch I'd overlooked so far. I'll check once I get my hands on my PHB. \$\endgroup\$
    – TBP
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TBP The spellcasting chapter mentions that you have to provide consumed materials for each casting, but this does not exclude the pouch from replacing/providing them, as long as they have no specific cost. I am not sure if same applies to foci, though. I would think yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thyzer
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 9:30

Yes. Spell casting requires all listed components casting, generally ...

Unless you have a holy symbol or arcane focus, which can substitute for some material components, you need to speak the words (Verbal) and make the motions(Somatic), and maybe dig into your component pouch for a spell component (Material), in order to cast the spell.

If you can't provide one or more of the spell's components, you can't cast the spell.(PHB p. 203)

This creates some obstacles to casting if you are, for example, under a silence spell. Unless you can get the verbal components to work, the spell won't work.

How do you get around the requirements?

  1. Play a Sorcerer or a (20th level) Druid

    The Sorcerer has a metamagic option called "subtle spell" that (if chosen) allows the Sorcerer to get around the requirement for somatic or verbal components (PHB p. 102) but most other spell casters don't have access to that workaround.

    At 20th level...you can ignore the verbal and somatic Components of your druid Spells, as well as any material Components that lack a cost and aren't consumed by a spell. You gain this benefit in both your normal shape and your beast shape from Wild Shape." PHB pg 68

  2. Ring of Spell Storing

    Another way around this problem is via the ring of spell storing. (DMG p. 192). That item has to have the spell cast into it in the normal manner, (which requires all of the components be present) but when it's time for you to use the spell, you simply cast it from the ring. It is limited to five total spell levels, so spells of level 6-9 can't be stored in that item.

  3. Use a scroll

    If the spell is on your class's spell list, you can use an action to read the scroll, and cast its spell without having to provide any of the spell's components. (DMG p. 200)

    The text of the description for scrolls indicates that you need to read it, but it does not specify that you need to read it aloud. (DMG p. 139). (This is something you may need to work out with your DM).

  4. Cast a spell from a magic item

    Casting the spell from a magic item (like a wand) also overcomes the need for a spell component's use.

    The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesn't expend any of the user's spell slots, and requires no components unless the item's description says otherwise. (DMG p. 141).

  5. At high level, cast a spell (8th level or lower) by using the wish spell to avoid using material / somatic components. (Wish still requires the verbal component).


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