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Arcane spell failure

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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.

Divine spells – that is, any spell from the Cleric and Favored Soul or Druid spell lists, are not subject to ASF, nor are Alchemist or Artificer exclusive spells. There are a couple of edge cases:

  • Certain spells appear on both the Sorcerer/Wizard and Cleric/Favored Soul spell lists. Presumably to create complications based on the caster's classes, these spells never suffer from ASF.
  • Bug: Certain non-Arcane spells do suffer from ASF – for example, Raise Dead.

A failure caused by Arcane spell 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.

To see your current arcane spell failure, drag a spell subject to ASF to your hotbar and hover over it. If an item (armor or shield) has ASF, its failure chance is displayed on the item; however, this information does not include global ASF reductions that you might have.


Spells cast from items and Arcane Spell Failure[edit]

Spells cast from a scroll which are normally subject to Arcane Spell Failure when cast directly are also subject to it when cast from a scroll. This can be awkward for characters who do not usually cast Arcane spells, as they likely will have no way of bypassing the failure chance, especially if wearing heavy armor or a shield. To get around this, spells cast from wands or clicky items are never subject to ASF. This is useful for heavily armored characters in need of an Arcane spell, although note that not all spells have applicable wands or clickies.

Reducing Arcane Spell Failure[edit]

Item enchantments[edit]

The following effects do not stack with each other; only the highest reduction applies.

Additional stacking sources:

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. Mithral also reduces the weight category of armor (but not the size class of shields) by one step (Heavy to Medium, etc.) which reduces the PRR provided by the armor since PRR from armor is based in part on the weight category.
  • 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.


Several enhancements allow no-ASF spellcasting not normally allowed by their caster class. This does not reduce the ASF for other (heavier) armors or shields.

Flat reductions in ASF can be found in...

  • 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 Eldritch Knight third core enhancement Imbue the Blade reduces ASF from armor, shields and Warforged Body feats by 15% at a cost of 1 AP.
  • The Eldritch Knight fourth core enhancement Subtle Force I reduces ASF from armor, shields and Warforged Body feats by an additional 20% (total 35%) at a cost of 1 AP.
  • The Eldritch Knight tier 2 enhancement Shield Training reduces ASF from shields by 5% and grants proficiency with all shields except Tower Shields at a cost of 2 AP.
  • The Eldritch Knight tier 4 enhancement Armored Arcana grants medium armor proficiency and reduces ASF from light armor, medium armor, and Mithral Body to 0% at a cost of 2 AP.
  • The Battle Engineer Infused Armor core enhancement 3 and 5 each reduce ASF by 10%, for a total of 20% with both.

Epic Destinies[edit]

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%
Small Shield 10%
Large Shield 15%
Tower Shield 50%