[RPG] Casting Shillelagh while holding weapon and shield


I'm playing a lv4 Cleric who uses a quarterstaff and a shield.

If I choose Magic Initiate as my lv4 feat and pick the Shillelagh cantrip, will I be able to cast it on my weapon without having to free up my hand(s)?

Technically, it requires both material (which i could provide with the shield hand using the holy symbol) and somatic components, the latter requiring a free hand. That means I should drop my weapon, which makes no sense since I need to hold it ("The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature’s power[…]").

Best Answer

Short answer: Not while your shield is donned

Here's the rest:

You could not use a holy symbol for shillelagh

Your Spellcasting Focus feature says the following:

You can use a Holy Symbol (see "Equipment") as a spellcasting focus for your cleric spells.

Shillelagh is not a cleric spell for you so a holy symbol cannot be used as a spellcasting focus, you must use the material components of...

mistletoe, a shamrock leaf, and a club or quarterstaff

You don't need a second free hand, but you do need one

Material components can be accessed with the same hand as the hand used for somatic components according to the Spellcasting rules in the Player's Handbook:

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell’s material components... but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

(Emphasis mine)

What this all means for you

You require a free hand to access the material components and the only eligible target is a held quarterstaff or club. The hand holding the weapon is not considered free for the purposes of providing components. Therefore, you must doff your shield to cast shillelagh on the quarterstaff.

How to get around this

If the quarterstaff is your spellcasting focus, as would be the case if you use the magic item Ruby of the War Mage (XGtE 138 and quoted below) for example, you could cast shiellelagh including the somatic components with the hand holding the quarterstaff since the quarterstaff would then substitute for the material components.

this ... ruby allows you to use a simple ... weapon as a spellcasting focus for your spells.