I'm building a Hexblade Warlock from level one. This pretty much requires you to have a sword and shield. How is it possible for me to cast my spells without my hands open?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Alex, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange. Check out our tour to see how we work here, and when you reach 20 rep, you can also join us in Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 6, 2017 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


In short... you can't right away.

A Hexblade (XGE p55) warlock cannot fight sword-and-board full-time from level one, unless you restrict yourself to purely verbal spells (of which the Warlock has very few). The character will need to put away the sword on spellcasting rounds using the one free object interaction.

If a Hexblade takes Pact of the Blade as their Pact Boon at L3, they become eligible for the Improved Pact Weapon invocation and can swap out one of the invocations selected at L2. From that point, they can keep their weapon and shield in hand at all times, using the weapon as a spellcasting focus.

Unless you're a variant human...

...and even then, you have to check on a spell-by-spell basis. Variant humans give up the across-the-board stat bump in favor of a feat (and some other benefits) at first level.

The War Caster feat (PHB p170) allows you to cast spells with Somatic components with your hands full. If the spell needs Material components, you'll still need to put the sword away to get at your component pouch or focus item.

Or have some help...

The Ruby of the War Mage, a Common attunement-required item from Xanathar's Guide to Everything can turn any weapon into a spellcasting focus. Despite the item's name, it is not specifically an arcane focus - it can be used by any class.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh i see. I knew pact of the blade could be used with Hexblade but i didnt know that. How many times is that usable or does it last until you long rest? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alex This isn't a discussion forum. It's best to read the full rules, and then ask a new questions on parts you don't understand. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spells that have only verbal components can be cast regardless of what you are holding and Warlocks can learn a couple such spells at level 1. I think it's worth adding to your answer because this fact might not be immediately obvious to new players. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Aug 30, 2018 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse I agree. I'm not sure I'd take any of those spells, but they are a thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Aug 30, 2018 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "War Caster ... If the spell needs Material components, you'll still need to put the sword away" never seen it ruled like that, it makes the feat useless. Just wrap a necklace with your focus around the sword-hand or have it on a longer necklace around the neck, so you can grab it. The Ruby of the War Mage on the other hand helps you to cast without the feat. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18, 2019 at 17:01

Option 1: Be a Variant Human, and choose Warcaster (PHB 170) as your starting feat.

Option 2: Be ready to juggle your items, drawing and stowing with forethought, until you get to 4th level and pick Warcaster.

Option 3: Shift (at least to start) more towards offense than defense, and use a two-handed weapon, This does more damage, and while you need two hands to wield it, you can hold it in one hand to cast spells. Although this will cause you to give up the ability to use you Charisma modifier, instead of strength, for the attack and damage rolls.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ive looked into warcaster but my DM is playing 5e and says it doesnt transfer over well \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't talking about transferring anything. The 5e PHB has feats, and one of them is War Caster (p.170 PHB). A variant human can start with a feat, all others have their first chance to get one at 4th level. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 6, 2017 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ provided you don't multi-class \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2018 at 1:05

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