## dnd 3.5e – Is a sorcerer with the domain-access alternative class feature considered both an arcane and a divine caster?

The alternative class feature Domain Access (Complete Champion, p. 52) reads, in part:

Choose one cleric domain. If you worship a specific deity, the domain you choose must be one to
which your deity grants access. You gain the granted power of the chosen domain. In addition, you can cast one domain spell of each spell level available to you per day from that domain.

Does having access to the domain spells make a sorcer qualify for any prestige class that requires the PC to be a divine caster?

## Is the Ultimate Magus the only arcane dual-progression class?

I am lookig for a class to continue the prepared/spontaneous progression that the Ultimate Magus (Complete Mage variant, p. 77) has, everything but 3rd-party publications is valid.

Is there something similar to the Ultimate Magus PrC out there?

## Yes, depending on how the spell targets creatures

Rubiksmoose gave an excellent break down of what an attack is here, but what’s relevant to this question can be found on p.193-194, PHB:

Whether you’re striking with a melee weapon, firing a weapon at range, or making an attack roll as part of a spell, an attack has a simple structure

If there’s ever any question whether something you’re doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you’re making an attack roll, you’re making an attack.

As a familiar is not able to attack (excluding a Warlock Pact of the Chain familiar), but there is no mention to a familiar’s ability to cast a spell, then the familiar should be able to cast any spell that does not require an attack roll. In regards to the concentration of the spell in question, Arcane Abeyance states, as you’ve linked:

…A creature holding the bead can use its action to release the spell within, whereupon the bead disappears. The spell uses your spell attack bonus and save DC, and the spell treats the creature who released it as the caster for all other purposes.

The only places the spell would not use the familiars abilities are on the spell attack bonus (irrelevant for a familiar) or spell save DC. All other aspects of the spell would be the responsibility of the familiar, including concentration.

## What is the ‘arcane focus’ in my attacks/spells?

I am trying to play D&D and am making my first character sheet. I finished everything but one part is confusing me.

I have everything done for my sorcerer character sheet and one of the attacks/spells is called arcane focus. I can’t find out what the bonus or the damage type is.

## dnd 5e – Is it possible to use a weapon as a normal weapon and an arcane focus at the same time?

A weapon can be an arcane focus in some cases, but you’ve gotten a few things confused/wrong.

## Arcane focus staffs work as quarterstaffs; not all quarterstaffs work as arcane focuses

You said:

I read online that a quarterstaff can double as a weapon and an arcane focus

This is not accurate. To phrase it more accurately, as the section on staffs under the “Magic Item Categories” heading in the DMG (p. 140) states:

Unless a staff’s description says otherwise, a staff can be used as a quarterstaff.

This means that any magic item staff can also function as a quarterstaff.

This does not, however, mean that the converse is true; not all quarterstaffs can necessarily serve as arcane focuses. There’s a reason that a regular quarterstaff costs 2 sp, while an arcane focus staff costs 5 gp; the latter is specially built/designed to serve as a focus for magical energies. Later in the same chapter of the rules, in the description of arcane focuses, it specifies (emphasis mine):

An arcane focus is a special item – an orb, a crystal, a rod, a specially constructed staff, a wand-like length of wood, or some similar item – designed to channel the power of arcane spells. A sorcerer, warlock, or wizard can use such an item as a spellcasting focus.

## Shocking grasp doesn’t involve a spellcasting focus

A spellcasting focus, such as an arcane focus staff, replaces the material components of a spell (if the listed material components do not have a specified cost and aren’t consumed):

(…) A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus in place of the (material) components specified for a spell. (…)

However, the shocking grasp spell only has verbal and somatic components:

Components: V, S

As such, no spellcasting focus is involved in the casting of the spell. A focus (or component pouch) is only used to cast a spell if the spell has material components.

## Some things let you use a weapon as a spellcasting focus

As far as I know, there exist two class features (a bard subclass feature and a warlock eldritch invocation) and one magic item that allow you to use a weapon as a spellcasting focus:

• The ruby of the war mage, a common magic item from Xanathar’s
Guide to Everything
(p. 138), allows a character of any class to use
their weapon as a spellcasting focus – even if their class doesn’t
normally allow them to use a spellcasting focus:

Etched with eldritch runes, this 1-inch-diameter ruby allows you to
use a simple or martial weapon as a spellcasting focus for your
spells. (…)

• The College of Swords bard subclass from Xanathar’s Guide to
Everything
(p. 15) gains the Bonus Proficiencies feature at 3rd
level when they choose the subclass. One of its benefits is:

If you’re proficient with a simple or martial melee weapon, you can
use it as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells.

• Pact of the Blade warlocks can create a pact weapon or
transform an existing magic weapon into a pact weapon. Xanathar’s
Guide to Everything
(p. 57) adds the Improved Pact Weapon option
for the Eldritch Invocations feature; it modifies this pact
weapon and its options in a few ways, one of which is:

You can use any weapon you summon with your Pact of the Blade feature
as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells.

## Simultaneous timing is rare

Finally, ravery’s answer already addresses the issue with timing. Very few spells involve a weapon attack being made as part of the casting of the spell itself (which is separate from the effects of the spell, which follow its casting). Even if a spell affects a weapon, it usually does not involve an attack being made with it while the spell is still in the process of being cast.

In general, either you’re using your spellcasting focus to cast a spell, or you’re making an attack with a weapon; you’re virtually never doing both at the exact same time.

The only exceptions to that involve the booming blade and green-flame blade cantrips from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (p. 142-143). Both have the components listed as:

V, M (a weapon)

And both spells begin with the following text:

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails.

This suggests that in that particular case, you could technically be using the weapon as a focus (assuming you meet one of the 3 criteria above) and as a weapon at the exact same time… However, since both those spells have no other material components, and involve an attack being made with the weapon, there’s really no difference to whether you’re using your weapon as a focus or as the actual material component itself in those specific cases.

Beyond that edge case, virtually none of your actions happen simultaneously with each other; they usually occur sequentially. Even if you do multiple things on the same turn (e.g. hit an enemy with your quarterstaff, then cast shocking grasp as a bonus action using the Metamagic option Quickened Spell), they’re not happening at the exact same time.

## dnd 5e – How balanced and clear is my Arcane Luthier subclass for the Artificer

I've long been disappointed by how brief and largly meaningless D&D 5e's handling of musical instruments is. Bards can use them as spellcasting focuses, but other than that, there's not much to them. Hardly anyone has a reason to play a musical instrument for any length of time, nor does it really matter much if you're any good at it.

To address that, I decided to make my own subclass that focuses on crafting and playing musical instruments. It's a subclass of the Artificer, using class rules from Eberron: Rising from the Last War (which is not the same as any of the earlier drafts of the Artificer in various Unearthed Arcana documents).

Here's the subclass, my questions about it are below:

An Arcane Luthier is a master of the magical crafting of musical instruments. While less innately talented than a Bard at musical performance, an Arcane Luthier's skills at musical composition and the ability to create their own personalized instruments often makes them among the best instrumental performers around. Their abilities to manipulate emotion with music can make them very popular with those who hear them play.

## Musical Instrument Proficiency and Crafting

When you adopt this specialization at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in two musical instruments of your choice.

• If you spend an entire long rest touching a musical instrument you are not proficient with, you can exchange one of your existing musical instrument proficiencies for proficiency with the touched instrument. You are always proficient with musical instruments you have crafted yourself, even if you are not proficient with their instrument type.
• Musical instruments you are proficient with count as tools for your other Artificer class features (so you may use them as spellcasting focuses, create them with The Right Tool for the Job, and use double your proficiency modifier on ability checks made with them after you gain the Tool Expertise feature at 6th level).
• If you create a musical instrument with The Right Tool for the Job and keep it with you continuously for one week, you may use appropriate materials worth half the instrument's normal cost during a long rest to make it permanently become a normal item which will no longer vanish if you use The Right Tool for the Job to create another tool or instrument.

## Arcane Luthier spells

After you adopt this specialization at 3rd level, all spells on the Bard spell list count as Artificer spells for you.

• You must use a musical instrument you are proficient with as a spellcasting focus to cast any spell not normally on the Artificer spell list.
• At 3rd level, you learn Minor Illusion cantrip. You may not exchange this spell for another cantrip, but it does not count against the number of Artificer cantrips you know.
• You always have certain spells prepared after you reach particular levels in this class, as shown in the table below. These spells don't count against the number of artificer spells you prepare.

$$begin {array} {c c} textbf {Artificer Level} & textbf {Spell} \ hline 3 text {rd} & textit {Charm Person, Silent Image} \ 5 text {th} & textit {Calm Emotions, Enthrall} \ 9 text {th} & textit {Fear, Hypnotic Pattern} \ 13 text {th} & textit {Compulsion, Hallucinatory Terrain} \ 17 text {th} & textit {Dominate Person, Seeming} \ end {array}$$

## Virtuous Instrumental

At 3rd level, you know how to blend spellcasting into your instrumental music.

• While you are playing an instrument you have crafted (either with The Right Tool for the Job or more mundane means), you may change the casting time of an Enchantment or Illusion spell with a casting time of 1 action to instead have a casting time of 1 bonus action. You must follow the normal rules for casting spells with a bonus action (briefly: you may not also cast a leveled spell with your main action, cantrips are OK).
• When you cast an Enchantment spell in this way, you can prevent one or more affected creatures from knowing they were magically charmed and from becoming hostile when the spell ends. For each creature you wish to do this for, you must spend one action during the spell's duration performing music they can hear and succeed on a Charisma (musical instrument) check with a DC equal to 10 plus half the creature's CR or level. The creature will still know their emotions or behavior have been manipulated, but will assume it is just a natural effect of your music, rather than a magical effect.
• You may play music with an instrument you have crafted in place of the vocal or somatic components of any spell you cast. If a spell has costly material components that you have in your possession, you do not need to use a free hand to manipulate them (though they will still be consumed if the spell says so).

## Beguiling Melodies

Starting at 5th level, you can compose musical themes that enhance the abilities of your spellcasting to manipulate the senses and emotions of those who hear you.

• Whenever a creature makes a saving throw or an investigation check against a spell you cast from the schools of Enchantment or Illusion, it does so with disadvantage if you are playing a musical instrument you are proficient with and the target can hear your music.
• You are a skilled accompanist, able to compose and play fanfares and harmonies that bring out the best in the performances of others. When you are playing music with an instrument you are proficient with, you may use the Help action targeting any number of creatures of your choice, but only to give the targets advantage on ability checks to perform before an audience who can also hear your music. The performances you accompany do not need to be musical, you can also accompany dramatic or oratorical performances with your music.

## Magically Charged Instrument

At 9th level, you can add additional magic to musical instruments you create.

• This feature works like the Spell Storing Item feature of the core Artificer class, but it may only be used to store a spell from the Bard spell list in a musical instrument that you have crafted. If you store a first or second level spell, it follows the normal rules for Spell Storing Item. You may instead store a 3rd level Bard spell in the instrument, but if you do, the instrument will be destroyed when the spell ends the first time it is used.
• This feature operates separately from the regular Spell Storing Item feature, so when you have both after 11th level, you may store spells in two different items, one instrument from this feature, and another item (which may also be an instrument, since they can be spell focuses for you) from the normal Spell Storing Item feature. Use the normal Spell Storing Item rules for the second item, even if it is another musical instrument.
• Starting at 15th level, you may use this feature store a 4th level Bard spell, with the instrument being destroyed after one use. If you store a 3rd level spell, the instrument will only be destroyed after its second use, rather than its first.

## Battlefield Instrumentation

At 15th level, your instrumental performances awe your enemies, even in the thick of battle.

• Creatures that are not immune to being charmed have disadvantage on attack rolls against you if you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted and they can hear your music.
• While you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted, you may cast the Sanctuary spell on yourself, without needing to have it prepared or using a spell slot. The spell has no effect on creatures that cannot hear your music, and ends immediately if you stop playing. You may cast the spell this way a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and regain all uses after you complete a long rest.
• While you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted, you may cast Mass Suggestion, without needing to have it prepared or using a spell slot. After you cast it in this way, you may not do so again until you finish a long rest.

I've also created a thematically related Infusion, that any Artificer should be able to choose:

## Enhanced Instrument

Item: A musical instrument (requires attunement)

While playing this instrument, a creature gains +1 on ability checks related to their performance. Spells cast with this instrument as a spellcasting focus gain +1 to their spell save DC. These bonuses increase to +2 when you reach 10th level in this class.

1. Are there any ambiguities in the rule presentation, or ways I could better or more consistently phrase things? Because some of my previous reviewers were not as much mechanics geeks as I am, I have deliberately included some text restating some existing rules (like how bonus action spellcasting limits your main action, and which Artificer features interact with their tool proficiencies). But other than that, I'd like to be a bit less wordy if I can get away with it without introducing ambiguity.
2. Is this subclass balanced? I'd appreciate comparisons against other Artificer subclasses, as I've only had a tiny amount of experience playing with an Artificer in the same game as me. I'd also like to compare Arcane Luthier Artificers to Bards, since there's a bit of overlap between them, given that my subclass gets access to the Bard spell list. One of my reviewers was particularly concerned since Artificers can choose to prepare any spell on their spell list, while Bards can only learn a few of their spells, swapping them out only as they level. Is that versatility really problematic, given that an Artificer is a half-caster?
3. Does the subclass overlap too heavily with the Bard thematically? I'd hope that there would still be a clear distinction between the high-CHA Bard front-man (e.g. Freddy Mercury) versus the high-INT Arcane Luthier guitar virtuoso (e.g. Brian May, with his PhD in Astrophysics). But would it be problematic to have both in the same party?
4. Does the subclass diverge too far from conventional D&D norms? It's inspired in part by modern stereotypes about rock musicians, and I'm not sure if there is an equivalent from the middle ages. I suppose that D&D does not always need to adhere too closely to history, but I don't want to push things too far. And maybe the Artificer is a norm-shifting class already, with a bit of steam-punk theming, and this isn't any worse.

## dnd 3.5e – Does an Arcane Hierophant without animal companion obtain a companion familiar?

Upon entering the Arcane Hierophant class you obtain a “Companion Familiar”, the feature description says you have to dismiss your familiar but you may retain your animal companion if you have one.

Companion Familiar: Upon becoming an arcane hierophant, you must
dismiss your familiar, if you have one (You do not risk losing XP for
doing so.) You may retain any one animal companion you already
possess. You add your arcane hierophant class level to your druid or
ranger level for purposes of determining your animal companion’s bonus
Hit Dice, natural armor adjustment, and Strength/Dexterity adjustment
(see the sidebar The Druid’s Animal Companion, page 36 of the Player’s
Handbook). For example, a character who is a 4th-level druid/3rd-level
wizard/4th-level arcane hierophant has the animal companion of an
8th-level druid (+4 bonus HD, +4 natural armor, and +2
Strength/Dexterity adjustment, or an animal companion chosen from the
4th-level or 7th-level lists). In addition, your animal companion (if
any) gains many of the abilities that a familiar would normally
possess. You add your arcane hierophant class level to your arcane
spellcasting class level, and determine the Intelligence bonus and
special abilities of your animal companion accordingly (see the
sidebar Familiars, page 53 of the Player’s Handbook). For example, a
4th-level druid/3rd-level wizard/4th-level arcane hierophant has a
familiar companion equal to that of a 7th-level wizard and 8th-level
druid (Intelligence 9, alertness, improved evasion, share spells,
empathic link, deliver touch spells, speak with master, speak with
animals of its kind, devotion). The Hit Dice, hit points, attack
bonus, saving throws, feats, and skills of the familiar companion are
determined as normal for an animal companion. Due to the familiar
companion’s unusual Intelligence score, it may very well have more
skill points than other animals of its kind. The familiar companion is
a magical beast (augmented animal), but you can bestow harmless spells
on your familiar companion as if it were an animal instead of a
magical beast. If your familiar companion is killed or dismissed, you
do not lose XP. You can summon a new familiar companion by performing
a ceremony requiring 24 hours of uninterrupted prayer.

It is not clear to me what happens when you become an AH using classes that don’t have the Animal Companion feature (like a Cleric/Scout/Wizard, for example). Do you still get a companion familiar?

While i reckon it says “if any” in parenthesis, I find it weird the specifics of a class feature to be left to such an expression. Also, unlike the wild shape feature, it doesn’t state you don’t get it if you are not a druid.
On top of that (even if it should be related to the death of an companion familiar, but the wording seems to be vague about this implication) it also tells you how to get a new one by performing a ritual.

Me and my group always end up thinking the AH is a great class but its features are really poorly worded

## dnd 5e – What kind of terrain is allowed for Mirage Arcane?

The spell mirage arcane is problematic in that much is left undefined, or unclear. It is a 7th level spell, so its powers are unexpectedly great. Nonetheless, there must be some limitations to the spell. I’m specifically interested in the type of terrain that the local one can be changed to.

Jeremy Crawford once unofficially tweeted that targets could drown in an imaginary lake, or fall off an imaginary cliff, so we can assume that spawning a lake in the middle of nowhere isn’t too far-fetched.

The mirage arcane spell gives you tremendous latitude in how you make the affected terrain look and feel. The altered terrain can even hurt someone. You could drown in the spell’s illusory lake, for example, or fall off an illusory cliff.

1. Can extraplanar terrain be used? Places like the Elemental Plane of Fire are inherently dangerous to humans. Could you use Mirage Arcane to summon typical terrain from that plane, like a sea of fire (for example)?

2. Do acid lakes, toxic bogs, and active volcano calderas count as terrain? I’m inclined to say that if one can drown in an illusory lake, then surely one can melt in an illusory acid lake. The toxic bog though, it’s more debatable if its terrain components are the deadly ones. And I’m not sure if a big lake of lava is terrain.

3. Does the allowed terrain depend on location? Perhaps summoning a lake of lava in the middle of a calm meadow is a bit extreme (then again, perhaps not for a 7th level spell). However, surely if one were to use this spell in a volcanic landscape, then it would be appropriate?

## You always use your skill bonus when casting spells

The Basic Rules clarify, in the chapter on Spellcasting (emphasis mine):

The DC to resist one of your spells equals 8 + your spell casting ability modifier + your competition bonus + any special modifier.

and…

Your attack bonus with a spell attack equals your spell casting ability modifier + your competition bonus.

Using a spellcasting approach only replaces certain material components …

A character can use a component bag or a spell casting approach instead of the specified components for a spell.

… so being proficient with an arcane approach doesn't affect the details of spellcasting.

As a side note, this is true not only for arcane spotlights that function as staff quarters, but also for characters like the College of Swords bards who get:

If you are proficient with a simple or martial melee weapon, you can use it as a spell casting focus for your bard spells.

## You always use your skill bonus when casting spells

The Basic Rules clarify, in the chapter on Spellcasting (emphasis mine):

The DC to resist one of your spells equals 8 + your spell casting ability modifier + your competition bonus + any special modifier.

and…

Your attack bonus with a spell attack equals your spell casting ability modifier + your competition bonus.

Using a spellcasting approach only replaces certain material components …

A character can use a component bag or a spell casting approach instead of the specified components for a spell.

… so being proficient with an arcane approach doesn't affect the details of spellcasting.

As a side note, this is true not only for arcane spotlights that function as staff quarters, but also for characters like the College of Swords bards who get:

If you are proficient with a simple or martial melee weapon, you can use it as a spell casting focus for your bard spells.