One of the beauties of the design of third edition Dungeons and Dragons is the philosophy of freedom. In earlier games, restrictions were the rule of the day. An elf could not play a paladin. A dwarf could not be a monk. The strength attribute maxed out lower for females than for males. Druids could not use certain weapons. Magic-users could not wear armor. But in the new version, all those restrictions are gone, and so are the vast majority of the others.
Wizards and sorcerers, for example, can now cast spells in armor. However, more logically, armor restricts the motions and gestures required to cast spells; the heavier the armor, the more restrictive. So casting arcane spells in armor incurs a chance of failure.
That is, for spells that use those motions and gestures.
Most spells require a verbal component and a somatic component for casting. The somatic component includes the hand-waving, the grand gestures, the pointing, bending, and moving that is restricted by wearing armor. A small but goodly number, though, have verbal components without somatic ones. These spells can be cast with a few words only -- useful, for example, if the mage is tied up. Or wearing armor.
In fact, it is quite possible to create a mage that focuses on these "verbal-only" spells. Such a mage could wear any armor desired, even the heftiest of plate armors and shields, with no fear of failure. Such a mage, clad in steel, would be an arcane tank indeed!
This week, I'd like to end with a list of the core arcane spells that are verbal only, to give an idea of the potential of the tactic. Next week, I'll go into detail on multiclassing, feats, magic items, and somatic spells that are useful to our arcane tank.
Verbal-Only Arcane Spells:
- Level 0: Flare, Light
- Level 1: Feather Fall, Hold Portal, True Strike, Ventriloquism
- Level 2: Blindness, Blur, Darkness, Knock
- Level 3: Displacement, Suggestion, Tongues
- Level 4: Dimension Door, Lesser Geas, Shout
- Level 5: Contact Other Plane, Teleport
- Level 6: Geas, Mass Suggestion
- Level 7: Phase Door, Power Word Blind, Greater Teleport, Teleport Object
- Level 8: Mass Charm Monster, Irresistible Dance, Power Word Stun
- Level 9: Mage’s Disjunction, Power Word Kill, Prismatic Sphere, Teleportation Circle, Time Stop, Wail of the Banshee, Wish
This is the first in a four-part series on Arcane Tanks:
- Part one - List of spells with no somatic components.
- Part two - Picking the best race, class, and otehr options for your arcane tank.
- Part three - Best-practice strategies for your arcane tank.
- Part four - A few custom magic items for your arcane tank.
Artwork credit, with thanks: "Iron Wizard" by Jason Rainville for Paizo Publishing.