Author Topic: Spell like abilities with no hands.  (Read 337 times)

Offline Silveron

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Spell like abilities with no hands.
« on: May 09, 2018, 10:49:20 AM »
From what I have understood from 2nd-3.5 rules is spell like abilities do not require hand gestures.

I am even thinking back to the books where Shandril was asked to shoot shellfire from her busom, rear, eyes, knees, and she could.

Does anyone know of any specific rules that say otherwise? I know some are ranged touch attacks and such but that just method for attack.

Our dm is trying to say when our party members change forms any form that does not have hands they loses spell like abilities.

I have never heard of anything like this.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 01:06:48 PM by Silveron »

Offline Jackinthegreen

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Re: Spell like abilities with no hands.
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2018, 12:36:11 PM »
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#spellLikeAbilities has the information online, or the Monster Manual page 315 has it as well.

To quote the Monster Manual:

Spell-Like: Spell-like abilities are magical and work just like
spells (though they are not spells and so have no verbal, somatic,
material, focus, or XP components). They go away in an antimagic
field and are subject to spell resistance if the spell the ability resembles
or duplicates would be subject to spell resistance.
A spell-like ability usually has a limit on how often it can be
used. A spell-like ability that can be used at will has no use limit.
Using a spell-like ability is a standard action unless noted otherwise,
and doing so while threatened provokes attacks of opportunity.
It is possible to make a Concentration check to use a spelllike
ability defensively and avoid provoking an attack of
opportunity, just as when casting a spell. A spell-like ability can be
disrupted just as a spell can be. Spell-like abilities cannot be used
to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.
For creatures with spell-like abilities, a designated caster level
defines how difficult it is to dispel their spell-like effects and to
define any level-dependent variables (such as range and duration)
the abilities might have. The creature’s caster level never affects
which spell-like abilities the creature has; sometimes the given
caster level is lower than the level a spellcasting character would
need to cast the spell of the same name. If no caster level is specified,
the caster level is equal to the creature’s Hit Dice.
The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the
level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature’s
Cha modifier.
Some spell-like abilities duplicate spells that work differently
when cast by characters of different classes—for example, true seeing.
A monster’s spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/
wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a
sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to cleric, druid, bard, paladin,
and ranger, in that order.

Emphasis on somatic is mine.  Unless it specifies otherwise such as the Warlock from Complete Arcane where it says on page 7 "Because the somatic components required for warlock invocations are relatively simple..." it means the SLA does not have any hand gesture requirements whatsoever.

So the question comes down to:  Where do these spell-like abilities come from?  And also what kind of limitations are placed on the form change, if any?  As the Alter Self spell mentions, the creature retains its SLAs when changing forms but if it has a breath attack for example and the new form doesn't have a mouth then the breath attack doesn't work.

Offline Silveron

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Re: Spell like abilities with no hands.
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2018, 01:15:17 PM »
THANK YOU!

We are doing a sea adventure game. We have a Druid, a wereseal, a hengeyokai, and two regular characters who bought magic items that allow them to change shape. So we all have a form that can swim or fly, making it a big deal to lose spell like abilities.

Most of them are innate. Darkness, detect magic, fairy fire, etc, or class like eldritch blast, alter self from Binder pact magic. All the forms were using have appendages, so basic movements should still be possible, just more flipper then hand.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 01:22:58 PM by Silveron »

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Spell like abilities with no hands.
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2018, 01:47:12 PM »
THANK YOU!

We are doing a sea adventure game. We have a Druid, a wereseal, a hengeyokai, and two regular characters who bought magic items that allow them to change shape. So we all have a form that can swim or fly, making it a big deal to lose spell like abilities.

Most of them are innate. Darkness, detect magic, fairy fire, etc, or class like eldritch blast, alter self from Binder pact magic. All the forms were using have appendages, so basic movements should still be possible, just more flipper then hand.
Warlock invocations are unique among spell-like abilities in that they do have somatic components.
"When life gives you lemons, fire them back at high velocity."

Offline Silveron

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Re: Spell like abilities with no hands.
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2018, 02:22:16 PM »
Ya, as Jack said. Page 7 Complete Arcane.

We're not worried about invocations at the moment. Only have two. Dark speech one (shatter), I would think that one is more verbal, and Devil's Sight that lasts 24 hours. It's the stuff like detect magic and light/darkness were more worried about.

Offline Jackinthegreen

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Re: Spell like abilities with no hands.
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 12:39:34 PM »
Ya, as Jack said. Page 7 Complete Arcane.

We're not worried about invocations at the moment. Only have two. Dark speech one (shatter), I would think that one is more verbal, and Devil's Sight that lasts 24 hours. It's the stuff like detect magic and light/darkness were more worried about.

Baleful Utterance (Complete Arcane 132) is explicitly called out as a sonic effect but per the other rules associated with invocations (only having somatic components but not verbal, etc) it technically doesn't even require a mouth much less a mouth that can speak.  One could rightly waive it as saying the magic itself provides the sound just like Ghost Sound, etc.

There is some fluff in regards to invocations working more easily with alternate forms.  As it says in Complete Arcane page 7, "Because the somatic components required for warlock invocations are relatively simple..." that gives some fluff reasoning to allow it in alternate forms.

However, the rules of Alter Self (Player's Handbook page 197) mentions this:  "You retain any spellcasting ability you had in your original form, but the new form must be able to speak intelligibly (that is, speak a language) to use verbal components and must have limbs capable of fine manipulation to use somatic or material components."

Pretty much all wild shape, polymorph, or other shape-changing abilities are based on Alter self so that's the most relevant general rule, but of course other effects can have more specific requirements or allowances.

So normal somatic components of a spell would require a form whose limbs are capable of fine manipulation which would certainly rule out something like a dolphin or fish.  A sea lion probably wouldn't work either, but it at least does have "fingers" so maybe.  An otter would probably work though.

What are the forms your party is using?

And if nothing else, modifying the Natural Spell feat to make a new feat that allows for warlock SLAs to explicitly work in any form would be a totally acceptable way to make it work.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:56:01 PM by Jackinthegreen »