I'm playing a Hexblade warlock with the War Caster feat.

While holding my staff (an arcane focus) and a shield, can I cast spells without penalty? What if the spell has a consumable component?


There is no reason that it should not work.

A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

PHB pg 203

If your staff is your focus and you don't have the components then you have to hold it. The only issue I would see is that if the spell requires consumable items then you must provide them regardless of if you have a focus.

If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell.

PHB 203

It is assumed as part of the spell you are reaching into a pocket and finding the components here:

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access these components, but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

PHB 203

So I see no reason why needing consumable materials would be an issue, a person could just rest their staff against their shoulder, reach in their pocket, and continue casting the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer! Thanks for contributing, and welcome to RPG.SE! \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 1 '18 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ "a person could just rest their staff against their shoulder," while moving 30 feet a turn? Dodging a fireball? Being on the lookout for a passing by enemy to whack, or keeping an eye on their opposite number in case a quick counterspell is needed? That's absolutely two object interactions. \$\endgroup\$ – vonBoomslang Sep 2 '18 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang If you have to get that technical then put the staff or components in the shield hand or stow the staff under your arm. If you can do the somatic components for a spell with a shield hand then you can hold a diamond or staff as well. What I'm trying to say is that these are PC's they might be played in a zany way, but they are nothing to sneeze at when it comes to combat proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – EyesForDays Sep 3 '18 at 0:14

Per the latest Sage Advice, you can cast spells in this way.

From the Sage Advice Compendium:

What’s the amount of interaction needed to use a spellcasting focus? Does it have to be included in the somatic component?

If a spell has a material component, you need to handle that component when you cast the spell (PH, 203). The same rule applies if you’re using a spellcasting focus as the material component.

If a spell has a somatic component, you can use the hand that performs the somatic component to also handle the material component. For example, a wizard who uses an orb as a spellcasting focus could hold a quarterstaff in one hand and the orb in the other, and he could cast lightning bolt by using the orb as the spell’s material component and the orb hand to perform the spell’s somatic component.

Another example: a cleric’s holy symbol is emblazoned on her shield. She likes to wade into melee combat with a mace in one hand and a shield in the other. She uses the holy symbol as her spellcasting focus, so she needs to have the shield in hand when she casts a cleric spell that has a material component. If the spell, such as aid, also has a somatic component, she can perform that component with the shield hand and keep holding the mace in the other.

If the same cleric casts cure wounds, she needs to put the mace or the shield away, because that spell doesn’t have a material component but does have a somatic component. She’s going to need a free hand to make the spell’s gestures. If she had the War Caster feat, she could ignore this restriction.


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