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Infernal Legacy grants tieflings ability to cast Hellish Rebuke as a reaction at 3rd level, as if it was cast using a 2nd level spell slot. Hellish Rebuke as spell has Verbal and Somatic components.

How can a tiefling using a sword and a shield (or wielding two weapons, separate item in both hands anyway), cast it in a battle, as a reaction? Is there something which allows practical use in regular battle, or is this class feature nearly useless for most front line fighting tieflings? Am I missing something obvious here?

The spell description does say "point a finger", which could be plausibly done with weapon in hand, but I don't think requirements of somatic component allow such exceptions strictly RaW?

I mean, it can still be used in bar fights, but 3d10 fire damage seems rather excessive retribution for some peasant hitting you with a beer mug... And I guess there's the odd ambush where damage is done when the PC does not have weapon in hand yet. And a principled good-aligned warrior might walk into a battle with an empty hand, and only envelope the baddie in hellfire after receiving a damaging hit, and then draw a weapon, but that is getting a bit ridiculous...


Alternatively, are there other options for making that high-AC front-line tiefling warrior, who can use its racial abilities in battle well?

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You have some options.

Sheath your weapon in advance.

Just before ending your turn, if you expect to be hit, you can use your item interraction to sheath your weapon. This allows you to cast hellish rebuke and then you can draw your weapon again at the beginning of your following turn.

Just keep in mind you only have one item interraction on every turn, so you can't draw and sheath during the same turn.

Have the War Caster feat

This feat states that:

You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.

This option is available by 4th level, if the GM allows feats.

Know the Subtle Spell metamagic.

This metamagic states:

When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast it without any somatic or verbal components.

This option is available to 3rd level Sorcerers.

Be a different kind of tiefling

It's a bit of a copout, but it's worth mentioning that WotC published no less than 10 different kinds of tieflings, and some grant racial spells that may be more suitable to a frontliner, such as the Zariel Tiefling from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, which states:

You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the searing smite spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the branding smite spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Another option is wielding a Two-Handed weapon. You can release one hand from the weapon without dropping it, which removes a lot of possible negatives \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 4 at 1:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 the question is specifically about sword and board or dual wielding. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Sep 4 at 1:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I mean you also mentioned the counter idea of being a different kind of tiefling entirely, but fair \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 4 at 4:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ A common option (far more common in my experience than any of the above) is 'just don't care about v,s or m' and cast it anyway. Requires DM permission of course, but I have only met one DM who really cares about that kind of thing. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Sep 4 at 12:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wakiNadiVellir metamagic can be used on non-sorcerer spells rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/53714/… \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Sep 4 at 14:26

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