[RPG] If I have the War Caster Feat, can I cast spells requiring a material component even if I’m holding a weapon and shield


I'm playing a Warlock in 5e. I'm trying to make him a front line fighter/tank because we don't have any and our healing sucks. Thus, I'm trying everything I can to avoid being hit altogether. Mirror Image is helping, but I think some feats would really round out the character. One of these would be Medium Armor Prof. The other – War Caster, because how can I use a shield and my Pact Weapon if it stops me from casting spells, right? So, here's my question:

If I take War Caster, that allows me to perform the somatic components with my hands fullm holding weapon and shield. Does it also allow me to benefit from my Arcane Focus? Even though I can't touch it because I have my hands full?

If not, how can I cast spells at all that have material components? You have to pull the component out of your pouch to use the spell if it has a material component. If my hands are full I can't use either my focus OR my pouch!

Seeing as I'm doing this in Adventurers League, I want a really clear answer. I know I have to talk it over with my DM and see if they agree, but I need a good argument. What I'm saying is, I can't accept a house rule for this because it's sanctioned. I'm really hoping there's some kind of clarification out there for this.

Rules As Intended, either focus or pouch should work if I have that feat, but Rules As Written, there is no provision, so technically, this feat is only useful for a person with their focus in one hand and a shield or weapon in the other… which makes the feat pointless. (At least this part of it.)

Best Answer

You're right, you're kind of stuck.

Thankfully, the action economy of 5e works in your favor here.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Select a crystal as your Arcane focus
  • Wear the crystal on your body (necklace, pendant, whatever). Components pouch also works here as there is no action economy on drawing stowing one of those.
  • When you want to cast a spell, drop your weapon and touch your crystal
  • When you're done casting, pick up your weapon.

This takes no additional actions, is perfectly legal (nothing specifies how big a crystal must be, just that you have a hand free to use it. (dropping a weapon costs you nothing, picking it up is your interact with object that's free with an attack or move).

The only real risk here is that if you do this a great deal, an enemy might begin to ready actions to attack you, or even move away from you while your weapon is stowed. This is something you'll have to live with for this to actually work.

Last thing that I'll say is that you should talk to your Adv League GM, or even seek out an answer from their twitter feed on this. GMs for Adv League are supposed to be lenient and use common sense in their rulings as the ruleset is flexible by design.