During my last game, the party split and PC has been affected by shivering touch, effectively dropping to 0 dexterity.

If a spellcaster's dexterity score is dropped to 0, but the other ability scores are still intact, is it possible for them to use verbal components of the spell? Is it possible to cast spells at all in this case?

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    \$\begingroup\$ More about how Dexterity 0 does or doesn't cause actual paralysis can be found in answers to this question that has a terrible title. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2019 at 19:15

2 Answers 2


According to the archival glossary:

Dexterity 0 means that the character cannot move at all. He stands motionless, rigid, and helpless.

He does not gain paralyzed condition and thus no specific game rule limits him to purely mental actions or prevents him from talking. Thus, we must fall back to natural English meanings of the words.

My interpretation would be that he can cast spells that are purely mental, or ones that require focus / material components he is already holding. Given that section on verbal components state:

A silence spell or a gag spoils the incantation (and thus the spell).

I would interpret that being forced to be motionless spoils such components just as well. On the other hand, as a player I would accept ruling either way on that point.


As Mołot wrote, you can cast spells that are purely mental.

Another way around this would be to use metamagic feats to cast all the spells that you cannot use verbal/somatic/material components:

  • Silent Spell: Since you cannot move at all (even your lips and tongue if the DM is severe, but you can still breathe so you can use at least your diaphragm... so DM decides)
  • Still spell: For the somatic part
  • Eschew Materials: Since you need to reach/hold your components (so if you don't already have them in hand this feat is necessary, works only if the cost is <=1gp)
  • \$\begingroup\$ With eschew materials for some spells with focus that costs 1gp or less I think you still need to hold it though, can someone confirm this please? \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Dec 1, 2019 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you V2Blast once again... I'm getting better... :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Dec 1, 2019 at 9:13

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