Don’t Lose Focus! Your Guide to the Rules for Concentration in D&D – Posts

None of us fancy a lecture on the deserves of focus and focus. However focus in fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons is way simpler to enhance upon than focus in your on a regular basis life. That is excellent news, as a result of focus is a type of mechanics which you could’t get away from in fifth version. It’s virtually in all places. Let’s test our focus and try this vital mechanic.

How focus works

Focus is, at its core, a easy mechanic: A personality can solely focus on one spell or capacity at a time, and should preserve their focus throughout the impact. Focus is mostly present in spells, notably these with ongoing highly effective results. Spells that require focus are denoted by a black diamond within the period heading of their description and are sometimes colloquially known as “focus spells.” 

Bless spell

Whatever the supply—be it a racial trait, magic merchandise, or spellcasting characteristic—a focus spell requires focus. If there’s an exception to this rule, it’s explicitly said, reminiscent of with the potion of velocity and spells solid by way of a Wild Magic sorcerer’s Wild Magic Surge.

Some character options, magic gadgets, and even creatures even have particular talents that specify it requires focus. The phrase “as if concentrating on a spell” signifies that each one the focus guidelines for a spell apply to this characteristic, so there aren’t any loopholes permitting the stacking of, for instance, hunter’s mark with the Favored Foe ranger characteristic present in Tasha’s Cauldron of Every little thing.

There are two further sources of focus, which are typically simply forgotten:

  • First, any spell with a casting time longer than one motion requires focus throughout its casting time. So whereas mending, prayer of therapeutic, animate useless, and comparable spells will not be focus spells per se, they do require focus throughout their precise casting course of. This additionally applies to spells being solid as rituals, because the casting time of such spells is greater than an motion. If focus is misplaced, the spell slot is just not expended, however should you nonetheless need that spell to be solid, you’ll have to start out over from the start. 
  • Second, utilizing an motion to prepared a spell requires focus till that spell is solid, even when the spell isn’t often a focus spell.

What’s a ‘focus test?’

If you’re concentrating on a spell or capacity and one thing occurs to threaten your focus, the Dungeon Grasp can ask you to make a Structure saving throw. If you’re profitable, you preserve your focus. If you’re unsuccessful, your focus breaks and the impact ends.

Whereas earlier editions included “focus checks,” this time period is just not discovered throughout the fifth-edition ruleset, although it’s used colloquially by gamers. As an alternative of a “test,” questions on focus are resolved by way of the aforementioned Structure saving throw. This distinction is vital as a result of any bonuses or debuffs to a capability test don’t apply. For instance, selecting Structure for the hex spell. Then again, any profit or disadvantage for a saving throw applies.

What breaks focus

Two confused mages run from pink rainfall

The commonest solution to have your focus damaged is by way of taking injury. While you take injury, it’s essential to succeed on a Structure saving throw for every supply of injury, or your focus is damaged. The DC of this saving throw is both half the injury taken or 10, whichever is larger. A fast tip that can assist you keep in mind: The DC is 10 except the injury taken is a minimum of 22, as a result of we spherical down.

A personality encountering environmental phenomena could, on the discretion of the DM, be requested to make a DC 10 Structure saving throw, breaking focus on a failure. The instance given within the fundamental guidelines is getting hit by a wave whereas aboard a storm-tossed ship. Different examples may be an enormous earthquake, or falling bushes within the midst of a windstorm.

Whereas the above conditions permit a personality the possibility to keep up their focus, some conditions break a personality’s focus instantly, and not using a save:

  • Casting a second focus spell. As a result of you’ll be able to solely focus on one spell or capacity at a time, a second supply of focus ends the primary one.
  • Ending your focus. A personality could finish their focus voluntarily, with out utilizing an motion or a response.
  • Going right into a rage. Barbarians can not focus whereas raging.
  • Turning into incapacitated. A personality who turns into incapacitated loses focus. 
  • Dying. I belief this wants no clarification, however you’ll be able to’t focus on an impact should you’re useless.

In all cases the place a personality’s focus is damaged, whatever the scenario or the strategy by which it occurs, the lively impact drops instantly—no fuss or room for shenanigans. This implies, for instance, whenever you start concentrating on a second spell, you don’t resolve the primary spell’s results one final time.

Guidelines Tip: Do not forget that the next circumstances apply the incapacitated situation, so that they may also break focus: paralyzed, petrified, shocked, and unconscious. Moreover, as a result of sleeping renders a personality unconscious, it additionally breaks focus. 

What does not break focus

This was fairly the listing of how you’ll be able to have your day wrecked just a little, so what does not break focus?

  • Common exercise. Regular adventuring exercise, reminiscent of strolling and foraging, has no bearing on focus.
  • Breaking line of sight. When a focus spell requires you to see the goal throughout casting, that requirement is just for when the spell is solid. Ducking behind cowl, shifting into one other room, and even being topic to forcecage doesn’t finish your focus.
  • Different circumstances. Situations that don’t trigger a personality to be incapacitated don’t have any impact on focus. You might be frightened and nonetheless hold your focus—solution to go, you!
  • Being focused by a focus spell. When a focus spell, reminiscent of polymorph, is solid on you by another person, it doesn’t finish your personal focus.
  • Wild Form. A druid can use Wild Form with out breaking focus.

Guidelines Tip: Within the case of Wild Form, polymorph, or comparable shapeshifting results, the goal should use the Structure modifier of their new kind. Nonetheless, a druid who has proficiency in Structure saving throws retains their proficiency when in Wild Form.

Bettering your focus saves

Two mages casting a spell together

Spells and talents that require focus are usually highly effective results, so let’s have a look at just a few methods you’ll be able to enhance your character’s capacity to keep up their focus.

Sustaining focus depends in your Structure modifier, so you’ll be able to profit from growing your Structure rating by way of ASIs. In case your group makes use of feats, some so-called “half-feats” give a single ASI bonus together with a characteristic—Chef, Sturdy, and Talent Knowledgeable are notable examples. Some magic gadgets may also improve your Structure rating, just like the amulet of well being or a belt of dwarvenkind.

Moreover, characters with proficiency in Structure saving throws will extra reliably succeed on these saving throws as they degree. Even the bottom proficiency bonus is +2, so the influence of proficiency is difficult to overstate. The one courses to start with this proficiency are the artificer, barbarian, fighter, and sorcerer, so others must search for it elsewhere. The Resilient feat offers a capability rating improve plus proficiency in that capacity’s saving throws, so selecting Structure knocks out two birds with one stone. College of Transmutation wizards can use their transmuter’s stone to achieve proficiency in Structure saving throws.

Struggle Caster particularly offers benefit on Structure saving throws made to keep up focus, as does the warlock invocation Eldritch Thoughts, which might be picked up with the Eldritch Adept feat. A Circle of Stars druid utilizing their dragon starry kind can’t roll decrease than a ten on the die when rolling to keep up focus. And when you’ve got an artificer within the social gathering, their Thoughts Sharpener infusion turns a failed Structure saving throw made to keep up focus into a hit.

Lastly, any characteristic that buffs saving throws indirectly might be helpful, together with: Inspiration, Bardic Inspiration, Fortunate, and even the bless spell.

Making focus attention-grabbing in your recreation

Focus is prolific inside fifth-edition D&D, so there are a myriad of how to make use of it in your leisure. Listed here are just a few solutions to get you began:

  • DMs can plan complete encounters the place the one aim is to interrupt an enemy’s focus. Maybe a cultist solid summon fiend, bringing a murderous demon into an in any other case quiet city. Or an indignant elementalist unleashes management climate. The characters may be despatched to disrupt a ritual being solid. In situations like this, casters would possibly use minions, traps, or harmful terrain to guard themselves.
  • DMs may also incorporate easy cowl ways to guard concentrating spellcasters. An enemy would possibly solid conjure animals and disappear down a hallway. A robust enemy would possibly even use forcecage.
  • Incorporating environmental phenomena into encounters is a fast solution to make the most of focus, elevating the stakes within the course of. Incapacitating assaults, reminiscent of these of the catoblepas or chuul, can muck with a personality’s focus. Appeal spells can be utilized creatively, like utilizing suggestion to make an enemy drop their focus.

Focus FAQ

Gnome scholar smoking and carrying booksWhat number of spells can I focus on directly?

You may solely focus on one spell at a time. Chances are you’ll solid a non-concentration spell, reminiscent of fireball, while you’re concentrating.

What occurs when I’m concentrating on one spell and start to solid a second focus spell?

The primary spell drops as quickly as you start casting the second spell. The primary spell has no impact the second the second spell has begun. 

What’s a focus save?

To take care of focus, it’s essential to succeed on a Structure saving throw. To make this saving throw, roll a d20 and add your Structure modifier, in addition to any related bonuses. Your DM will let you realize should you succeed or fail in sustaining focus.

How lengthy are you able to focus?

Till the spell or capacity has reached the tip of its period, or till your focus is damaged indirectly.

Do racial trait spells require focus?

If the spell usually requires focus, it additionally requires focus when solid by way of a racial trait.


Alyssa (@alyssavisscher) incessantly rambles on Twitter about D&D. She particularly enjoys analyzing its general construction from a beginner perspective, bringing bigger ideas to small, bite-sized items. She’s a father or mother of 4, neurodivergent, disabled, and is impressively horrible at small discuss.



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