Once my mage becomes a Court Mage and gets the Shield Proficiency, I put a wooden shield on him. It now says he has no free hand to cast somantic spells, which are almost all spells. So how do I use my Shield Proficiency and the ability to protect a nearby ally and use spells at the same time?
When giving the Court Mage the Shield Proficiency you ought to automatically give them the ability to Not have to use Somantic requirements. It's been a while since I played but if I remember correctly, once you get an ability or proficiency choice upgrade that is one of the choices you can make.
You essentially force us to make that choice in order to use a shield. That sucks to be honest. One of the only reasons I play a mage is the Manacolan Rosary and the ability to craft magical gear. I choose the craft in half time every time. Now I can't choose that for several levels because of bad character design.
I hope that I am wrong and that I am just misunderstanding something here but if not I may have not chosen a Court Mage.