This question hasn't popped up in any of my games, whether as DM or player, but I thought of it while coming up with character concepts and wondered how it should be ruled.

If a caster does not have hands, can they perform the somatic components of their spells?

For example, if a player has the idea to have a caster born without arms who uses somatic components using their "ghost limbs" should they be able to since the restriction that they're not wielding weapons or a shield isn't being infringed?

Alternatively, if the above is true, does that mean players couldn't disable an enemy caster they captured by Skywalker-ing their hands so they don't have a free hand to cast the spell with?

The Player's handbook describes somatic components as:

Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures.

But I don't know how I'd interpret this.

I guess the main question is do somatic component rules emphasize having a (free) hand or do they emphasize not wielding an item/weapon? Are there any official rules for these edge cases or is there a way to interpret the rules on somatic components that answers these questions?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry to mark this as a duplicate of a closed question, but that really is what this is. If you do feel that it is different enough, can you please update and let us know why it shouldn't be a duplicate? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 22, 2021 at 21:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch No, that's fair. I guess the wording of my google search was different enough that I didn't see this. oops \$\endgroup\$
    – Robotex
    Mar 22, 2021 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ FYI, the duplicate question has been reopened. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 23, 2021 at 22:00


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