You are holding something in you hand and you cast a touch spell and hold it. Nothing happens. But what happens if you move the item into your other hand for whatever reason? Does the spell discharge or does it count as still having been a held item?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m a little confused by your set-up: are you holding the charge in an empty hand, and moving the item into that hand? Or are you holding the charge in the same hand as holding something (as, indeed, I can find no rule saying you can’t), and then transferring that thing to the other hand (that’s not holding the charge)? Also, is this item responsible for the charge (e.g. a wand), or just some other item? (And, unfortunately, without knowing the answers to any of those, I can tell you this will be a complete mess because the rules for holding a charge are awful.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you can cast the spell and use it with either hand, I was under the impression that both hands (or your whole body, and the hands are the only exit points) are holding the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


Cast a Spell on Touch Spells in Combat says

If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.

Emphasis mine. However, the FAQ includes this exchange:

Does wearing a gauntlet, cestus, or similar glove-like weapon count as "touching anything" for the purpose of accidentally discharging a held touch spell?

It's probably a fair house rule to extrapolate this FAQ entry to include any object the caster's holding when the spell's cast so long as the caster A) keeps at least one hand free and B) doesn't drop then retrieve the item. So, for example, casting a touch spell while wielding a longsword then transferring that longsword from one hand to another shouldn't discharge the spell, but casting a touch spell, dropping a backpack, and then retrieving the backpack would discharge the spell, as would taking one hand off a longspear, casting a touch spell, then putting both hands on the longspear. (If you're interested, there's also a whole thread here about accidental discharges during grappling. Totally safe for work. I swear.)

Hey, is this really a magus question?

Because if it is, there are actual rules for that which are both more and less generous than house rules above. This short FAQ presents this official rule covering the magus's spellstrike:

Can a magus use spellstrike... to cast a touch spell, move, and make a melee attack with a weapon to deliver the touch spell, all in the same round?
Yes. Other than deploying the spell with a melee weapon attack instead of a melee touch attack, the magus spellstrike ability doesn’t change the normal rules for using touch spells in combat.... So, just like casting a touch spell, a magus could use spellstrike to cast a touch spell, take a move toward an enemy, then (as a free action) make a melee attack with his weapon to deliver the spell.

On a related topic, the magus touching his held weapon doesn’t count as “touching anything or anyone” when determining if he discharges the spell. A magus could even use the spellstrike ability, miss with his melee attack to deliver the spell, be disarmed by an opponent (or drop the weapon voluntarily, for whatever reason), and still be holding the charge in his hand, just like a normal spellcaster. Furthermore, the weaponless magus could pick up a weapon (even that same weapon) with that hand without automatically discharging the spell, and then attempt to use the weapon to deliver the spell. However, if the magus touches anything other than a weapon with that hand (such as retrieving a potion), that discharges the spell as normal.

Basically, the spellstrike gives the magus more options when it comes to delivering touch spells; it’s not supposed to make it more difficult for the magus to use touch spells.

That On a related topic paragraph might be information you're really after, especially the implications of the section about a weaponless magus. Discussion of this ruling gets going in this thread and in this thread.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This question is about a magus I am building, but it should be applicable to any character. After all, rogues might be holding a weapon and want to use a wand with a touch spell, but not use the weapon to deliver it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fering That's interesting. A rogue wielding a weapon in one hand and a wand in the other that uses the wand to cast a touch spell could, using the house rule above, I guess, like, bump into a dude to discharge the touch spell. As a DM I'd be okay with that. I can't see how that would somehow be more effective than, for example, just playing a wizard. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be much improved by at least mentioning how awful the accidental-discharge rule is and how much matters are improved by ignoring it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or by being, at least, sensible enough to call the accidental discharge rule only if the item being touched is a legal target for the held charge. It wouldn't make sense to discharge a spell that targets a creature because I accidentally touched a sword. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Pitzy
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I don't want to earn your downvote by even in comments defending (if only a little) the accidental discharge rule, but it seems like the design goal was to force touch spells be cast in combat rather than be cast ahead of time as buff spells. That makes the problem not so much the accidental discharge rule but the rule that allows holding a touch spell's charge indefinitely... which the accidental discharge rule seems to have been made to address, albeit in a really terrible way. It's like they married the indefinite hold rules yet got a prenup with the accidental discharge rules. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 13:09

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