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In our next campaign I want to play a Hexblade - Vengeance Paladin multiclass.
The campaign will eventually reach the high levels. I want my final level split to be 14 levels in Hexblade and 6 in Paladin. I want to play this, both so that we don't die all the time, and for story reasons. I can post the backstory later, if that is helpful.

I want my character to be the tank for our group, so I want to use heavy armor, and a shield with a longsword. However, I have noticed, that I can not really cast spells this way. With the holy symbol and the Improved Pact Weapon invocation, I can ignore material components eventually, although a bit late for my taste.

What worries me more are the somatic components of spells. Many of the spells I want to use, such as hold person, mirror image, and shadow of moil require somatic components.

I want my character to be a half elf, so I want to take the Elven Accuracy feat at level 4. My next feat would be at level 10. At that point, I can take the War Caster feat. That is very late though.

Is there any way to cast spells with somatic components for me, without using War Caster, or do I have to give up my shield?

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Free object interaction is your friend

Each of your turns can include one so-called "free object interaction":

Your turn can include a variety of flourishes that require neither your action nor your move.

[...]

You can also interact with one object or feature of the environment for free, during either your move or your action. For example, you could open a door during your move as you stride toward a foe, or you could draw your weapon as part of the same action you use to attack.

If you want to interact with a second object, you need to use your action. Some magic items and other special objects always require an action to use, as stated in their descriptions.

One of the examples given is drawing your weapon prior to taking the attack action. Similarly, sheathing your weapon should be a valid free object interaction. On any given turn, you can draw your weapon and take the attack action, or sheathe your weapon and use your now-free hand to cast a warlock spell, using a component pouch to supply the material components if necessary. This should have you covered for most combat actions you would want to take.

More general item-juggling issues

There are some actions that will still be problematic, such as pulling out a magic item and using your action to activate it, because if you are currently holding a sword, sheathing it and pulling out an item is 2 object interactions, not 1. To get around this, you'll either need to drop the sword before fetching the other item, or spend your action to fetch the item after sheathing your sword. However, these are not issues specific to a paladin/warlock multiclass–they are problematic for any character with both hands occupied. If you know on the previous turn what you're planning to do next turn, you can use your free object interaction at the end of the previous turn to sheathe your sword, then use your free object interaction on the start of the next turn to draw the other item. And of course, if your last action was casting a spell rather than attacking with a sword, your hand is likely free and you can pull out an item and activate it with no problem.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much! We don't really use magic items, so that is not a problem. My warlock focus is ofc my sword, so I need to keep that in my hand. Can I stow my shield in a similar way? Or can I just drop it and pick it up again? \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Böcker Feb 2 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you said seems to be "legal" to me. However, I don't understand what the somatic part of the warcaster feat is for then. Is it just to be able to move after casting and interact with another object? I am a bit worried about "cheating" by using the upside of a shield without paying the price for it... \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Böcker Feb 2 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanBöcker A shield is strapped to your arm and requires an action to equip/unequip. Regarding the war caster feature, keep in mind there are other costs to sheathing your weapon, such as losing the ability to make attacks of opportunity with it. And sometimes you really need that free object interaction for something like opening a door along the path of your movement to avoid being slowed down, or pressing the macguffin release button. Being able to perform somatic components without freeing your hands makes the logistics of spellcasting while armed much simpler. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 2 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. So to cast warlock spells, I would need to buy a seperate focus (other than my blade), stow my weapon, cast with the other focus, and draw the weapon again in the next round? \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Böcker Feb 2 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanBöcker I would recommend a component pouch rather than an arcane focus, since you don't need to draw or stow it. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 2 at 18:57

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