My wizard was caught reading the thoughts of a city guard as I was trying to dig for info about a friends wrongful arrest. As a result I was also arrested and thrown in prison. I was stripped of my items including my arcane focus I use for my spells...

In chapter 10 under Materials it says that the Arcane Focus can be used in place of the material components. I can't find anything in the PHB about needing a focus to cast all spells, just that it replaces the need for most materials, with a few exception such as large monetary valued materials. Does this mean I can cast spells I have prepared that only have Vocal and/or Somatic components?


Yes, you can cast prepared spells which require only Verbal and/or Somatic components when deprived of your focus. (As long as you can produce the Verbal and Somatic components, that is.)

The focus only functions to replace (subject to the limitations you mentioned) such Material components as are required. It, like a component pouch, is not implicated when a spell has no Material requirement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can also cast spells without a focus if you have a materials bag that contains the materials required for that spell. \$\endgroup\$ – ohmusama Sep 21 '15 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ indeed I could Ohmusama, but I dont have a components pouch to begin with, let alone the fact i was stripped of my belongings when thrown in jail... \$\endgroup\$ – MC_Hambone Sep 21 '15 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MC_Hambone creative spellcasters find all kinds of material components while in jail. I even had one manage to acquire bat guano while imprisoned once, that was a very memorable escape. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Sep 21 '15 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Extending what gatherer818 said, it's surprisingly easy to find live spiders in many prisons - And in some editions, eating a live spider is the material component of the Spider Climb spell. Moral: Never imprison a wizard in a tower. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Sep 23 '15 at 0:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Implicated? I'm not sure that's the word you're looking for... \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. May 15 '17 at 15:19

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