Site News

Arcane Spell Failure

Arcane Spell Failure:  Armor interferes with the gestures that you need to make to cast an arcane spell.  Arcane spellcasters face the possibility of arcane spell failure if they're wearing armor, so wizards and sorcerers usually don't wear armor.  Bards have a hard choice because they're more likely to get into combat than wizards and they cast fewer spells, so getting some armor makes more sense fo them than it does for a wizard.  
    Casting an Arcane Spell in Armor:  When you cast an arcane spell while wearing armor, you often must make an arcane spell failure roll.  The number in the Arcane Spell failure column on Table 7-5: Armor is the chance that the spell fails and is ruined.  If the spell lacks a somatic (S) component, however, you can cast it without making the arcane spell failure roll.
    Shields:  If you are wearing armor and using a shield, add the two numbers together to get a single arcane spell failure chance.
Player's Handbook p. 105

Reading this section from the book, it is easy to miss the section about somatic components.  For example, a bard wearing Chainmail  (30% arcane spell failure) can cast a spell like feather fall without the 30% chance to fail.  A sorcerer may take the Armor Proficiency (heavy) feat to wear Full Plate armor in combat and get the Still Spell feat; then he could simply cast a fireball or magic missile spell without worrying about the armor getting in his way.

The following listing comes from the Sorcerer/Wizards spell list and is a compilation of the spells available to them without a somatic component.  A character with the Still Spell feat may cast any of his spells without somatic components (within the feat's restrictions).

0 Level SpellsFlare, Light
1st Level SpellsFeather Fall, Hold Portal, True Strike, Ventriloquism
2nd Level SpellsBlindness/Deafness, Blur, Knock
3rd Level SpellsDisplacement, Suggestion, Tongues
4th Level SpellsDimension Door, Lesser Geas, Polymorph Self, Shout
5th Level SpellsContact Other Plane, Teleport
6th Level SpellsGeas/Quest, Mass Suggestion
7th Level SpellsPhase Door, Power Word - Stun, Teleport without Error, Vanish
8th Level SpellsMass Charm, Otto's Irresistible Dance, Power Word - Blind
9th Level SpellsMordenkainen's Disjunction, Power Word - Kill, Prismatic Sphere, Teleportation Circle, Time Stop, Wail of the Banshee, Wish

Open Gaming Lisence


Valid CSS!


This website uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Publishing, LLC, which are used under Paizo's Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This [website, character sheet, or whatever it is] is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Publishing. For more information about Paizo's Community Use Policy, please visit For more information about Paizo Publishing and Paizo products, please visit