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I am wondering how large the hand gestures have to be for spells with somatic components. I know in the question How loud/obvious is a wizard casting a spell? the Player Basic Rules p.79 say,

Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures.

so they don't have to be forceful or intricate.

Would it be fair to say that lower level spells have smaller, less noticeable, somatic components?


For an example, Mage Hand (cantrip) may just be a flick of the wrist and wave of fingers, Dispel Good and Evil (5th level) may be more akin to a secret hand shake, and Meteor Swarm (9th level) would require the caster to do the YMCA.


This question is less about being noticed casting a spell and more about having the ability to even attempt to cast it. I'll be honest, it might also be a cheeky way of asking if I (as an arcane trickster) can cast mage hand while I'm in chains and have it pick the lock (which I know is against the spirit of the rules but I'm curious to see if it's against the letter).

I'm also interested in my question "Do more powerful spells have more forceful gestures?" but I suppose that's more of a discussion and better suited for the chat.

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marked as duplicate by NautArch dnd-5e Aug 7 at 13:45

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    \$\begingroup\$ I may have misread your edit (also, you don't need to signal edits, just update your question in entirety - the edit history takes care of seeing revisions.) If your actual question is can I cast while in chains, then there may be a different duplicate, or at least related which I'll add to the duplicates:. However, we will need to know what mechanic your DM is using for 'in chains'. DId they say you can't use somatic components? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 7 at 13:56