Must a Ranger’s spellcasting focus be druidic, or can it be arcane (or even holy)?

This question was inspired by the question about what constitutes a bardic spellcasting focus. It has been somewhat overcome by Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (p. 57) which explicitly describes a Ranger’s Spell focus as a druidic focus, but since not all tables will use that optional rule the question will remain up.

A Ranger’s spellcasting ability is described thusly:

By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does.

As discussed here, a Ranger meets the definition of a spellcaster in that a class feature, not an item, grants the character the ability to cast spells. While that would support a Ranger using a spellcasting focus, only three spellcasting foci get explicit treatment in the rules (unless I missed a spot).

  • A Holy Symbol (Basic Rules p. 48.)
  • A Druidic Focus (Basic Rules p. 48.)
  • An Arcane Focus (Basic Rules p. 47.)

Aside: I may be making a leap. The text on druidic focus does not mention Rangers. The leap is based on the Ranger class spellcasting feature being explicitly tied to druidic spellcasting in the brief text covering that class feature.

  • Spellcasting Focus:

You can use a druidic focus (see “Equipment as a spellcasting focus for your druid spells).

  • Druidic Focus.

A druidic focus might be a sprig of mistletoe or holly, a wand or scepter made of yew or another special wood, a staff drawn whole out of a living tree, or a totem object incorporating feathers, fur, bones, and teeth from sacred animals. A druid can use such an object as a spellcasting focus.

In a case of specific over general, Paladins and Clerics are called out as being able to use a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus (Rangers were left out). This left me with two questions, only one of which is germane to the Ranger2. The Ranger gets no specific call out (unlike the Paladin) on whether the character can use for a spellcasting focus a holy symbol, a druidic focus, or an arcane focus. (Since the Ranger is a spellcaster, there’s got to be something that the class can use to substitute for material components, right?)

Why would this matter?

A lot of Ranger spells have material components. Just reviewing the SRD (which isn’t the whole list) the following spells calling out "V,S,M" in the components line:
Level 1
Alarm, Animal Friendship, Detect poison and disease, Goodberry, Jump, Longstrider
Level 2
Animal Messenger, Barkskin, Darkvision, Locate Animals or Plants, Locate Object, Pass without a trace, Spike Growth
Level 3
Nondetection, Water Breathing, Water Walk, Wind Wall
Level 4
Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature, Stoneskin
Level 5
Commune with Nature

The adventuring Ranger won’t always be in a "home" environment

Considering that terrain types generally coincide with Druid Circles …

Arctic, Coast, Desert, Forest, Grassland, Mountain, Swamp (I’d call seaborne adventure close enough to Coast for these purposes)

… it might be impossible to find mistletoe in the desert when a material component is needed.

Question restated

Can the Ranger use an arcane focus or a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus, or is the ranger constrained to the druidic focus (a holly symbol1?) based on the class’ spell casting feature being heavily druidic in nature1?


1 Please excuse the puns. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves.
2 I leave the idea of druids being priest of nature (mostly gotten around with Nature Domain clerics) for another question regarding a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus for a druid.

Can an Armorer Artificer wearing Guardian-model Arcane Armor cast a somatic spell without holding tools or having the Warcaster feat?

The Guardian model described in the Arcane Armor feature of the Armorer Artificer includes "Thunder Gauntlets":

Each of the armor’s gauntlets counts as a simple melee weapon while you aren’t holding anything in it…

If the Artificer holds tools for a material component of a spell, the description above doesn’t apply. However, if the armor itself is used as the focus (assuming it’s an Infused Item), the Artificer is effectively holding a weapon in each hand.

To deal with this, must the Artificer have taken the Warcaster feat (to allow performing the somatic component of a spell while holding a weapon)? Or can the Thunder Gauntlets be considered "sheathed" when not attacking with them?

(Note: All Artificer spellcasting requires a material component, so performing a somatic-only spell is not an concern.)

How does Arcane Armor’s removal of Strength requirements apply at a table using the Encumbrance variant?

The Armorer Artificer’s Arcane Armor feature says:

If the armor normally has a Strength requirement, the arcane armor lacks this requirement for you.

This is in reference to the following regarding certain heavy armors:

If the Armor table shows "Str 13" or "Str 15" in the Strength column for an armor type, the armor reduces the wearer’s speed by 10 feet unless the wearer has a Strength score equal to or higher than the listed score. [PHB, pg 144]

However, the Encumbrance variant says, in part:

When you use this variant, ignore the Strength column of the Armor table in chapter 5.

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strength score, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet. [PHB, pg 176]

Is there guidance for how to apply the Arcane Armor feature at a table that uses the Encumbrance variant?

Which Artificer Infusions are appropriate for the Armorer’s Arcane Armor’s special weapon?

At 9th level, the Armorer Artificer (from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) gains the "Armor Modifications" feature :

You learn how to use your artificer infusions to specially modify your Arcane Armor. That armor now counts as separate items for the purposes of your Infuse Items feature: armor (the chest piece), boots, helmet, and the armor’s special weapon. Each of those items can bear one of your infusions, and the infusions transfer over if you change your armor’s model with the Armor Model feature. In addition, the maximum number of items you can infuse at once increases by 2, but those extra items must be part of your Arcane Armor.

This special weapon is called ‘Thunder Gauntlets’ (a simple melee weapon) for the ‘Guardian’ Armor Model, and ‘Lightning Launcher’ (a simple ranged weapon) for the ‘Infiltrator’ Model.

But I am wondering which Artificer Infusions are appropriate for this special weapon ? Is it only the ‘Enhanced Weapon’ and ‘Radiant Weapon’ infusions, or are there others ?

If an Artillerist casts a spell through their arcane firearm, how is the d8 bonus damage applied?

The Artillerist Artificer’s Arcane Firearm feature says:

When you cast an Artificer spell through the firearm, roll a d8, and you gain a bonus to one of the spell’s damage rolls equal to the number rolled. [ERLW, pg. 60]

How does this affect spells with multiple rays? Just add d8 to a single ray? E.g. Scorching Ray: "Make a ranged spell attack for each ray. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 fire damage." So one ray of the player’s choice does 2d6+1d8 and the rest do 2d6?

And what about Area of Effect spells? Does it add d8 to every creature’s damage (before any halving from successful saves)? E.g. Fireball: "Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one." So all creatures take 8d6+1d8 (or half of that)?

Can an Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight who takes the Magic Initiate? [duplicate]

Can an Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight who takes the Magic Initiate (Wizard) feat cast the first level spell they pick with their spell slots, like a Bard who took Magic Initiate (Bard) can? Or the Wizard for that matter?

Both AT and EK uses the wizard spell list, so one could assume so, but can they?

This question have not been directly answered when it comes to Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight, so please do not close my question, the problem is if it counts for AT and EK.

I repeat, this specifik question needs to be clearly answered 🙂

Can an Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight who takes the Magic Initiate (Wizard) feat cast the first level spell they pick with their spell slots? [duplicate]

Can an Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight who takes the Magic Initiate (Wizard) feat cast the first level spell they pick with their spell slots, like a Bard who took Magic Initiate (Bard) can? Or the Wizard for that matter?

Both AT and EK uses the wizard spell list, so one could assume so, but can they?

What happens to an abjurer’s Arcane Ward when they fail the saving throw against a Banshee’s Wail?

An abjuration wizard has the Arcane Ward class feature (PHB, p. 115):

Starting at 2nd level, you can weave magic around yourself for protection. When you cast an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, you can simultaneously use a strand of the spell’s magic to create a magical ward on yourself that lasts until you finish a long rest. The ward has hit points equal to twice your wizard level + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, you take any remaining damage.

A Banshee (MM, p. 23) has the Wail action:

Wail (1/Day). The banshee releases a mournful wail, provided that she isn’t in sunlight. This wail has no effect on constructs and undead. All other creatures within 30 feet of her that can hear her must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature drops to 0 hit points. On a success, a creature takes 10 (3d6) psychic damage.

If an abjuration wizard who has an Arcane Ward active fails their saving throw against a Banshee’s Wail, they would drop to 0 hit points. What happens to their ward?

  • Does it drop to 0 hit points instead of the wizard (meaning the wizard does not drop to 0 hit points)? The Wail ability is not damage (if you fail the save), whereas the Arcane Ward specifically mentions damage, so I assume this isn’t how it works…
  • Does it disappear when the wizard drops to 0 hit points? I don’t think anything about the Banshee’s Wail or dropping to 0 hit points generally would make it disappear…
  • Does it remain active? I’m assuming this is the most likely answer, given my above reasoning…

What happens when a dying abjurer with an Arcane Ward active is attacked?

An abjuration wizard has the Arcane Ward class feature (PHB, p. 115):

Starting at 2nd level, you can weave magic around yourself for protection. When you cast an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, you can simultaneously use a strand of the spell’s magic to create a magical ward on yourself that lasts until you finish a long rest. The ward has hit points equal to twice your wizard level + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, you take any remaining damage.

If an abjurer is dropped to 0 hit points by means other than damage (such as by failing a saving throw against a Banshee’s Wail), their Arcane Ward remains active (assuming it was active before). What happens if they are attacked whilst dying?

  • They take a step towards death; the rules on Damage at 0 hit points don’t take the Arcane Ward into account;
  • The Arcane Ward continues to "block" damage, so the ward would need to be reduce to 0 hit points/the damage exceed the ward’s hit point before it counts as the wizard taking damage at 0 hit points. Hence if the ward had 10 hit points and a monster dealt 5 hit points, the wizard would not suffer any failed death saving throws;
  • Both of the above; the Arcane Ward would continue to absorb damage, which may be relevant for death by massive damage, but the wizard would still suffer failed saving throws anyway);

Which is easier to use for a new dnd player? Component Pouch or Arcane Focus?

I just got into dnd and am creating my first character (a half elf wizard). I am at the starting equipment section, and can’t chose between the component pouch or arcane focus. I have looked up the pros and cons of both, but I am still indecisive. Is one easier to use than the other? This game is already pretty confusing so if one is easier to use it’d be very helpful to know. Have a wonderful day!