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Arcane spell failure

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Arcane Spell Failure[edit]

Arcane Spell Failure (ASF) is the chance that an arcane spell — that is, one from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list or Bard spell list — will fail to be cast due to interference from the caster's armor or shield. Bug: If the spell is also in the Cleric/Favored Soul list, it does not suffer from ASF.DDO Forums

Such a failure expends the spell's spell points and cooldown as if it had been cast.

The ASF penalty from armor and shields is cumulative - they are added together.


Scrolls and Arcane Spell Failure[edit]

Similar to divine spells, Artificer-exclusive spells are not subject to Arcane Spell Failure, but Artificers using Sorcerer/Wizard list scrolls are subject to Arcane Spell Failure. So, for example, anyone using a Lightning Motes scroll will suffer no Arcane Spell Failure, but an Artificer is susceptible to Arcane Spell Failure when using a scroll of Reconstruct (available to Artificer but from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list).

Similarly, Bards wearing light armor using scrolls on the Sorcerer/Wizard's list will be susceptible to Arcane Spell Failure even for spells also on the Bard spell list. A Bard wearing light armor has no chance of Arcane Spell Failure when casting Greater Heroism as a spell, but is susceptible to failure when casting it from a scroll.

Reducing Arcane Spell Failure[edit]

Item enchantments[edit]

Item enchantments do not stack unless otherwise noted. Only the highest reduction will apply.

Armor/Shield Materials[edit]

  • Mithral is exceptionally light, reducing the Arcane Spell Failure chance of an armor or shield made with it by 10%. For very light types of armor or shields, this can completely negate ASF by itself.
  • Darkleaf reduces the ASF of the armor or shield made with it by 5%, but this material is generally found on rather heavy armors (Breastplate and Banded) and will not negate ASF alone.
  • Alchemical Crystal reduces the ASF of an Alchemical Shield by 10% when applied to it through reforging.


  • The Arcane Fluidity enhancement is available to Elves, Half-Elves, Drow, and Morninglords (iconic) as a Tier 1 racial enhancement. Rank 1/2/3 reduce ASF from armor (but not shields) by a total of 5%/10%/15% at a cost of 1 AP per rank.
  • The Wizard/Sorcerer Eldritch Knight Spellsword core enhancement 2 and 4 each reduce ASF from armor and shields by 5%, for a total of 10% with both.
  • The Eldritch Knight tier 2 enhancement Light Armor Proficiency reduces ASF from armor by 5% and grants Light armor proficiency at a cost of 2 AP.
  • The Eldritch Knight tier 4 enhancement Medium Armor Proficiency reduces ASF from armor by 5% and grants medium armor proficiency at a cost of 2 AP.
  • The Eldritch Knight tier 5 enhancement Still Spell reduces ASF from armor and shields by a total of 5%/10%/15% at a cost of 1 AP per rank.

Warforged and Bladeforged[edit]

Arcane Spell Failure is of particular importance to Warforged and Bladeforged arcane casters as their natural body plating imposes at least a 5% ASF penalty by default.

Fortunately, there are also warforged-exclusive ways to mitigate ASF:

  • Composite and Mithral body plating are considered light armor and thus don't impact warforged Bards or Warlocks.
  • The Inscribed Armor enhancement is available to Warforged and Bladeforged as a tier 1 racial enhancement, reducing ASF from body plating by 5%/10%/15% for a cost of 1 AP per rank.
  • Lesser Arcane Sigil and Arcane Sigil are docent-exclusive enhancements, reducing ASF by 5% and 10% respectively. Prior to U17 LAS/AS were untyped and stacked with normal item enhancement effects and with each other. After U17, LAS/AS were apparently changed to global enhancement bonuses and no longer stack with other item enhancements or with each other. DDO Forums

Bards and Warlocks[edit]

  • Bards and Warlocks are not subject to ASF while wearing Light armor.
  • Both have access to a tier 4 enhancement which extends this benefit to Medium armor as well.

Effects that increase spell failure[edit]

Certain spells and effects can grant you a chance of spell failure; this can affect also divine casters:

Default ASF penalties[edit]

ASF — Armor
Armor Name Failure % Armor Type
Composite Plating (Warforged only) 5% Light
Padded Armor (pre-MotU) 5% Light
Leather Armor (pre- and post-MotU) 10% Light
Mithral Body (Warforged only) 15% Light
Studded Leather Armor (pre-MotU) 15% Light
Chain armors (post-MotU) 15% Light
Chain Shirt (pre-MotU) 20% Light
Hide Armor (pre-MotU) 20% Medium
Breastplate (pre-MotU) 25% Medium
Brigandine (pre-MotU) 25% Medium
Scalemail (post-MotU) 20% Medium
Scalemail (pre-MotU) 25% Medium
Chainmail (pre-MotU) 30% Medium
Half Plate (post-MotU) 30% Heavy
Adamantine Body (Warforged only) 35% Heavy
Banded Mail (pre-MotU) 35% Heavy
Full Plate (pre-MotU) 35% Heavy
Half Plate (pre-MotU) 40% Heavy
Splint Mail (pre-MotU) 40% Heavy
ASF — Shields
Shield Name Failure %
Buckler 0%
Light Shield 5%
Heavy Shield 15%
Tower Shield 50%