Cast Actions are similar to standard actions, except that they require you to spend time casting the power (such as a spell or prayer) prior to it taking effect. This length of time is denoted as Casting Time (CT) and is usually measured in segments, however some powers exist that have very long casting times measured in minutes, hours, or even days. Cast actions may only be taken on your turn. After you begin a cast action, you spend the casting time Concentrating on the power. During this time you are vulnerable to disruption (see Concentration). When the casting time has completed, any energy or component costs associated with the action must be paid, and the effects of the power are then resolved. Cast actions typically have a recovery time in addition to the Casting Time, and after casting the power you must wait the recovery time until you may take your next turn.
Power with Cast Actions usually have components, such as chanting, precise gestures, and/or exotic materials. These components are required for the casting of the power. For more about components, see How to Read a Power.
Somatic components are precise physical gestures, wild movements and the like that draw energy to the caster. A caster that is prevented from moving (resulting from effects such as paralysis, petrification, or being tied up) cannot cast a power that has a somatic component. Similarly, you cannot make unrelated physical gestures (such as pointing or hand gestures) while casting a power with a somatic component or your power is disrupted.
Verbal components are precise incantations, chanting, speaking in arcane tongues, and even singing. They bind and command the energies of a power. A caster that is prevented from speaking or making any noise cannot cast a power that has verbal components. Effects such as a silence spell or being gagged prevent casting powers with verbal components. Similarly, you cannot make unrelated speech while casting a power with a verbal component or your power is disrupted.
Material components are objects that are used to focus and harness the energies of a power. They are consumed during the cast. A caster cannot use a power if he does not have the material components necessary for the power present.
A Focus is an object through which you channel your casting. This object must be in the possession of the caster to utilize it and is usually displayed, but it need not be held. Typically a power or ritual will require a specific object as a Focus.
Divine Focus (DF)
A Divine Focus is a Holy Symbol or similar object that one uses to harness divine energies. This symbol is used similarly to the Focus, except that a single Divine Focus may be used for most Divine Prayers and rituals, without needing a Focus specific to the purpose. In order to utilize a Divine Focus, you must actively worship the deity to which it is dedicated.
Holding a Cast
Normally when using a cast action, the power’s effect takes place immediately upon completion of the cast. However, when you complete the cast you may instead choose to hold the cast, which allows you to delay the power’s effects until a moment of your choosing. While holding a cast, you may unleash the power at any time at a free action. However, holding a cast requires concentration, and therefore leaves you vulnerable to Disruption. The maximum amount of time that you can hold a cast is 5 rounds.