Eclipse d20 – Casting while Grappled

Here we have another one of Alzrius’s questions – in this case, a relatively quick one.

What’s a good way for an arcane spellcaster to try and deal with enemies that use the old “grapple the mage!” routine to prevent him from casting spells successfully?

Well, the most basic route is to stack on the relevant easy-casting metamagics. Presuming that you don’t want (or can’t afford) to do that…

Most game masters won’t let you get away with an Immunity to being grappled, although a low-grade version that simply offers some bonuses against grapple attempts is more likely to be allowed into the game.

Spell effects that don’t need conventional casting – Innate Enchantment, Inherent Spell, and similar abilities – are useful, but tend to drain points that a mage will probably want to spend on building up his or her spell progression, which gets him or her more magic and more versatility.

If you want discourage people from grappling you, it might be amusing to invest in a bit of Innate Enchantment – perhaps a minor variant on Shocking Grasp designed to discharge when someone grapples you – with rapid casting and unlimited-use use-activation. That would only be a 4000 GP effective value for a spell level and caster level of one, and would inflict 1d8+1 damage each per round on anyone who grappled you.

Boosting your concentration check until you can reliably cast spells while grappled is possible, but – given the no-somatic-components and must-have-components-in-hand restrictions, that’s probably not the best approach unless you’re already stacking Eschew Components and Still Spell metamagics on things anyway – or have bought off some of the standard restrictions on your arcane spellcasting progression.

Personally, I’d recommend one of two approaches:

  • Power Words (6 CP) will let you store a few precast spells to release as move-equivalent actions – and it won’t matter if you’re being grappled, all you’ve got to do is release them. Even better, if you’re not being grappled, you can use your them for a bit of extra punch in an emergency or to carry along a few extra spells. All in all, they’re a pretty good choice.
  • More unusually, you could take Blessing, specialized in transferring your spellcasting abilities to your familiar (3 CP). You’ll have to spend another (3 CP) buying it the Natural Spell ability (and equip it with a little spell component pouch), but it can be quite entertaining to have your familiar blast another bunch of the enemy with a fireball while one of them is grappling you.

Details on those options can, of course, be found in Eclipse and – for the Rapid Casting modifier for enchantments – in The Practical Enchanter.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too. Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion.

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