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Arcane spell failure

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[edit] Arcane Spell Failure

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.

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.

Casting a spell from a wand is not subject to ASF, but reading a scroll is.

Spells that don't have somatic component are not subject to ASF, either when cast or read from scrolls.

[edit] Scrolls and Arcane Spell Failure

Any scroll of a spell on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list will be susceptible to "Arcane" Spell Failure even if the reader should not be subject to it - ie the reader is an Artificer, Bard wearing light armor, divine caster, etc. Thus, for example, Clerics cannot reliably use Protection from Energy scrolls in their heavy armor. This behavior may be modified in the future, as developers have acknowledged it should not work this way.

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.

[edit] Reducing Arcane Spell Failure

[edit] Item Enhancements

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

[edit] Armor/Shield Materials

  • 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.

[edit] Enhancements

  • 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 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.

[edit] Warforged

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.
  • 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. [2]

[edit] Bards

  • As noted above, bards are not subject to ASF while wearing Light armor.
  • The Warchanter tier 5 enhancement Armorer extends this benefit to Medium armor as well.

[edit] Default ASF Penalties

Table: Arcane Spell Failure — Armor
Armor Name Failure % Armor Type
Composite Plating (Warforged only) 5% Light
Padded Armor 5% Light
Leather Armor 10% Light
Mithral Body (Warforged only) 15% Light
Studded Leather Armor 15% Light
Chain Shirt 20% Light
Hide Armor 20% Medium
Breastplate 25% Medium
Brigandine 25% Medium
Scalemail 25% Medium
Chainmail 30% Medium
Adamantine Body (Warforged only) 35% Heavy
Banded Mail 35% Heavy
Full Plate 35% Heavy
Half Plate 40% Heavy
Splint Mail 40% Heavy


Table: Arcane Spell Failure — Shields
Shield Name Failure %
Buckler 0%
Light Shield 5%
Heavy Shield 15%
Tower Shield 50%
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