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SRD:Arcane Spells and Armor

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Arcane Spells and Armor

Wizards and sorcerers do not know how to wear armor effectively.

If desired, they can wear armor anyway (though they’ll be clumsy in it), or they can gain training in the proper use of armor (with the various Armor Proficiency featslight, medium, and heavy—and the Shield Proficiency feat), or they can multiclass to add a class that grants them armor proficiency. Even if a wizard or sorcerer is wearing armor with which he or she is proficient, however, it might still interfere with spellcasting.

Armor restricts the complicated gestures that a wizards or sorcerer must make while casting any spell that has a somatic component (most do). The armor and shield descriptions list the arcane spell failure chance for different armors and shields.

By contrast, bards not only know how to wear light armor effectively, but they can also ignore the arcane spell failure chance for such armor. A bard wearing armor heavier than light or using any type of shield incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance, even if he becomes proficient with that armor.

If a spell doesn’t have a somatic component, an arcane spellcaster can cast it with no problem while wearing armor. Such spells can also be cast even if the caster’s hands are bound or if he or she is grappling (although Concentration checks still apply normally). Also, the metamagic feat Still Spell allows a spellcaster to prepare or cast a spell at one spell level higher than normal without the somatic component. This also provides a way to cast a spell while wearing armor without risking arcane spell failure.

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