spellcaster

D&D Spellcasting 5E – The Power of Obscene Gestures

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We look at spellcasting in 5e D&D. Specificlly casting spells with only somatic spellcasting components.Below you will find both the video and the transcription.

D&D Spellcasting 5E – The Power of Obscene Gestures Video

D&D Spellcasting 5E – The Power of Obscene Gestures Video Transcription

Ted: “What the hell Dave why do I deserve that ?”

Dave: “What about this one?”

Ted: “You can’t do that on Youtube!”

Dave: “But Ted, I thought we’re talking about, obscene gestures.”

Ted: “I meant casting spells in Dungeons and Dragons with using only somatic components.”

Dave: “Oh, I guess I should put these away.”

Ted: “Yeah.”

Dave: “Hey, welcome to Nerdarchy for nerds by nerds. I’m Nerdarchist Dave, and today I’m hanging out with this nerd as usual.”

Ted: “Nerdarchist Ted.”

Dave: “Hey, maybe this is your first time visiting Ted’s basement with us. It’s a place where we like to talk about news, viewers, and homebrews for 5th edition, Dungeons, and Dragons. Sometimes we even talked about other role-playing games.”

Ted: “So if you don’t want to miss a single video, then don’t forget to crit hit that subscribe button and attune to that notification bell.”


Dave: “All right, so we did our video a little while ago. Wizards and their words can kill you. So we decided to, hey, let’s look at somatic now components and kind of like finish things off. I don’t think we’re going to delve into material components only because I’m pretty sure there aren’t any smells that actually do that. So there are actually 17 spells that are just gestures only somatic a component only. We don’t have the wide berth that we did with vocal components.”

Ted: “Absolutely. So 17 spells where we did the other one was only using the vocal components. You know, they’re ranged all across all spell levels. We actually have a couple of levels, you know, fourth and seventh that doesn’t have any options. So it’s not quite as useful here.”

Dave: “Not only that is super heavy in the uh, cantrip department.”

Ted: “Super heavy what do we have seven options?”

Dave: “Seven options. And the other thing too is now if you wanted to make a cast or with using somatic components, mainly not all, you could add material components into it and it does bump it up a bit.”

Ted: “It goes to 25. So that gives you some options. So whether you want to use, you know, the, the somatic components and either a focus or those material components, you know, you’d have like a caster who’s got the ability to ignore, oh, I’m in the silence is spell, who cares, I’m going to, I’m going to do this anyway.”

Dave: “Also to occasionally you do get those players that want to be like, I want to play a mute character and I’m only going to sign it the table and gesture and things of that nature or use like telepathy or something. Well with 25 options that do allow you to do it. You definitely have some dead spots though as far as your spells are known.”

Ted: “We, uh, we still falter at the fourth and seventh level and you know, a lot of the spells that we are looking at here do fall into more, you know, defensive and reactive.”

Dave: “Absolutely. So I guess with that we can jump in and look at like the three top spells that we came up for, you know, using your gestures only. Uh, before we do that, it is worth noting that if you want to make a character, a really diverse wizard or any spellcaster really, it’s really diverse in their casting. I’ve never really considered spell components in there. Like I’m like, do I have this energy type of damage? Do I have a range? Do I have saving throws are different saving throws? But like this adds a whole another layer. If you’re like, well, how can I really balance out my, my spell caster and make sure they’re ready for every situation”

Ted: “Absolutely. But you know what else is worth noting?”

D&D Spell, spellcaster
Is your D&D wizard the sort who prefers to control the battlefield and debuff enemies rather than get all messy with damaging spells? You might be a pacifist spellcaster. [Art from Magic: The Gathering ‘Battle of Wits’ by Jason Chan]
Dave: “What is that Ted?”

Ted: “D&D Beyond, we happen to pull up our spells, only use their somatic components over on D&D Beyond and it’s worth noting that they’re sponsoring this video.”

Dave: “Yeah, absolutely. D&D Beyond makes everything we do so much easier. Whether it’s making videos for you, fine folks out there or it’s playing her own games, making characters. You could do it on D&D Beyond. You can do it fast and easy. I was able to set my son up who’s fairly new to the hobby and really doesn’t make characters on its own that much and be like, here, make your character. And he’s able to quickly make them. Our nephew who’s like in seventh grade is easily going through on D&D Beyond creating characters in seconds. All right, maybe minutes. But it is super fast. It’s super easy. You can also make monsters over there. New magic items the cloning feature. I love it so much. I pick a monster, I copy the monster and then I make the changes I want.”

Ted: “But if that’s not enough, you have all of the SRD content that’s over there for free. Whether you’re, you know, bought anything or not, you’ve got something that you can be able to check out. And that’s beside the other free content, like the videos and the articles that give great advice and great dnd content.”

Dave: “I mean, even as we speak, I’m quickly filtering out things that I don’t need. So when we talk about these spells, I’m only going to be looking at what I want to. It’s so fast. It’s so easy. I love the D&D Beyond.”

Ted: “So getting back into it, Dave says, we’re going to talk about the top three spells that are gestures only.”

Dave: “Yeah, I don’t know. I wouldn’t say necessarily like the top the best because obviously there’s a ninth level spell that we’re ignoring because we thought some other spells or cool or handy absorb elements is one of my favorites. It’s a first level spell. It comes up, you can use it over and over again. It’s a defense spell, it’s an attack spell. It’s a reaction so it covers a lot of bases. It’s also an abjuration spell. If you happen to be an abjurer that can be useful, you can use it at higher levels. So basically it’s a range of self, first level, reaction, it last one round. The spell captures some of the incoming energy lessening effects on you and storing it for your next melee attack. You have resistance to the triggering damage type until the start of your next turn. Also, the first time you hit with a melee attack on your next turn, that target takes an extra d6 damage of the triggering type. And the spell ends now for every spell level above first that damage increases by a d6. So literally someone could hit you for a d6 of fire damage. You can absorb half of it and then send back 9d6 fire damage on your next turn if you want it to do something completely crazy and insane.”

Ted: “Dave has used this many times in my game and there have been many times that he’s bumped it higher and thus done more on is retaliatory strike than he did then I did to him as a player. A lot of fun.”


Dave: “Yeah. Also, I’ve also used it playing a gish. I mean the same character. I just used it a little bit of a different application and that is where I dropped fireballs on myself. Take the damage, use this spell, take half, make my saving throw and you know, so end up taking a quarter of the damage. But then you know, not only did my enemies take the fireball damage next time when I hit them with my axe they are also taking more fire damage and again, you know, you can bump up the spell and do even more damage. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Ted: “Absolutely. So I actually found a, a new spell from Xanathar’s that you know I had overlooked previously. Maybe because it’s an eighth level spell, but this is, this is a phenomenal spell that as a DM I am guaranteeing that this is going to appear and then you know, a game and then in the somewhat near future. All right, so the eighth level spell as I said, we have an illusory dragon from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Casting time is one action, the range is 120 feet, as we said, it’s somatic only, the duration is a minute, school is illusion, attack or save is wisdom, and it can do acid or any number of things. By gathering threads of shadow material from the shadowfell, you create a huge shadowy dragon in an unoccupied space. You can see within range, the illusion lasts for the spell’s duration and occupies its space as if it were a creature. It is concentration so you know, don’t get attacked when the illusion appears and of your enemies that can see it must succeed on a wisdom saving throw or become frightened of it for one minute and they frightened creature ends. It’s turning in a location where it doesn’t have a line of sight of the illusion. It can repeat the saving throw ending the effect on itself, on success as a bonus action on your turn. You can move the illusion up to 60 feet at any point during it’s a movement. You can cause it to exhale, a blast of energy in a 60-foot cone originating from its space. When you create the Dragon, choose a damage type acid, cold fire, lightning, necrotic or poison. Each creature in the cone must make an intelligence savings throw taking 7d6 damage of the chosen. Type on a failed to save or half as much damage on a successful one. So pretty cool. You get a, you know, breath cone attack every round. As a bonus action in addition to being able to, you know, do other stuff but we’re not done yet. And the illusion is tangible because of the shadow stuff used to create it, but attacks miss it automatically, it succeeds on all savings throws and is immune to all damage and conditions. You’ve got a damage source that’s out there that’s got the potential to be drawing attention and attacks from the party. Super Awesome. But we’re not done it a creature that uses an action to examine the dragon can determine that it is an illusion by succeeding on an intelligence investigation check against your spell save DC. If the creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the creature can see through it and has advantage on saving throws against its breath. So even if you know that it’s fake, it can still hurt.”

Dave: “Yeah, it’s a high-level spell. It’s going to be hard to get rid of. It lasts for a minute. That’s 10 rounds for the utility of the spell of the different types of damage you can do the frightening effect. That’s why I kind of edged out the other attack spell that we were going to go with. It was actually higher. It’s psychic scream. psychic scream you can affect 10 creatures with it. You do a ton of damage, but this is like wow, you can do a lot of damage over a lot of rounds and you have options and not to mention after that initial casting, you’re free to cast other spells as well. You could psychic scream later.”

Ted: “Right. So I look at this, this is a kind of spell-like, you know, you could really just experiment with your players. I’m going to put this out there as a caster who is hidden or you know what have you and they’re going to on their subsequent turns get away like they’re going to move, you know, to somewhere that they’re not really presenting a threat and see what the players do for that minute. Is the thing going to chase them down? You know, are they going to try and dispel it? Are they going to try and interact with it? So you could have a lot of fun where only this spell is damaging them or you could totally go apeshit bonkers and have that spell caster, you know, laying down other spells because it doesn’t have to hurt the dragon.”

Dave: “No, absolutely. With that brings us to the final choice and kind of, because this is like an iconic spell for, for the game since the third edition, it’s kind of iconic for wizard duels. If you’re an arcane spell. Heck if you’re any kind of spellcaster and you can get access to the spell, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take it again. It’s another reaction, so always super useful. Range 60 feet, as a third level spell, it is instantaneous, it’s another abjuration spell. Yes, we are talking about”

Both: “Counterspell.”

Dave: “You would attempt to interrupt a creature in the process of casting a spell. If the creature is casting a spell of third level or lower, it’s spelled fails and has no effects. If it is casting a spell, fourth level or higher, making an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 plus the spell level on a success to creature spell fails and has no effect. You can pump this spell up and cast it at higher levels. Meaning you don’t have to make that check as long as the spell you’re countering is equal to the level or lower”

Ted: “A lot of fun and has caused me much an ire agita what call it, what you will when you’ve got multiple players in your group casting this at your spellcaster, it can really take the, you know, really steal the thunder directly out of your combatants.”

Dave: “Well yeah and it’s fun. As Fun as that is, it’s become even crazier when you then have NPCs that are also counter spelling and you have several players in your game that are also counter spelling who end up with counterspell, a Palooza going on and it’s like, who’s going to finally get to cast the spell?”

Ted: “ We have had in one instance the spell got cast or the spell attempted to get cast. Dave counterspells it thing tries to counter Dave’s counter. Um, so bard winds up countering my counterspell must have, the spell goes off. I was like”

Dave: “Yeah, that is definitely happening. And I think we’ve actually, at least once I added one more layer to that with a second enemy spellcaster.”

Ted: “Yes.”


Dave: “Things can get really crazy and it also makes the resources, the spells slots go really fast when everyone is counter spelling everybody.”

Ted: “But sometimes, you know, if you acknowledge what spell is being cast, you know, through the use of an arcana check or what have you, you know, you’re like, no, no, I don’t want this to happen. I don’t care how much resources I have to put into it. This spell needs to not go off.”

Dave: “This needs to not happen.”

Ted: “So they’re really, you know, it’s, it’s just a phenomenal spell with the higher levels. The more your Arcana skill goes up and it goes up in a much, much, uh, you know, faster method. You know, you can get a plus 11, you know, max stat and Max Proficiency Bonus mixed, you know, and, and that’s, you know, the average roll of a 10, that’s a 21. Whereas you know you only need a 19 for the highest level spell in the game. It’s pretty easy to get.”

Dave: “Yeah. So if you’re using arcana checks, the question is how are you guys doing it in your game? And I want to hear about your crazy counterspell stories that had happened while you’ve been playing, whether it was the DM using NPCs against you or whether it was you know, you as the player character and you know, you’re the adventuring party using counterspell against your DM. Hey, if you enjoy this video, I want to invite you to join the Nerdarchy adventuring party over on Patreon. Hey, Ted what can they expect to find over there?”

Ted: “Well, if you want to join us over on Patreon, we’re creating products every month that has components that can be used by both the player and a DM alike.”

Dave: “Don’t forget, Ted, our patrons every month are automatically entered into our giveaways.”

Ted: “While that’s true, Dave, but that’s not all. We also have those weekly Patreon hangouts and that’s just a small tip of what we’re doing over on Patreon.”

Dave: “Until next time.”

Both: “Stay nerdy!”

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My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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