Dungeons & Dragons: Focus Explained

Magic is a key part of Dungeons & Dragons, being available for various playable classes as well as many monsters that adventurers may encounter on their travels. Magic comes in a wide variety of forms that can be used to aid allies or harm enemies.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: What is the Action Economy?

While some spells such as Fireball provide an instant effect, there are countless spells that can be held for longer. These spells are known as focus spells, requiring a caster to maintain concentration on a given spell in order to maintain its effect. To help newcomers to D&D, we’ll explain the ins and outs of focus in Dungeons & Dragons!

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Concentration Maintain Spell


Circle of the Moon Druid by Nicholas Elias for MTG
Circle of the Moon Druid by Nicholas Elias

When casting a Concentration spell, its caster is able to focus on that spell for a time specified by the spell. For example, while the Moonbeam spell can be sustained for up to one minute (ten combat rounds), the Protection from Evil and Good spell has a potential duration of ten minutes. If for any reason a caster wants to stop focusing on a given spell, they can do so with no action or reaction required, immediately ending the effects of that Focus spell.

It is important to note that a character is unable to hold Focus on more than one spell at a time, which means that if you want to cast a second Focus spell while you are already holding Focus for another spell , the effects of the first spell would end .

Although a caster is unable to focus on more than one spell at a time, they are still able to perform other actions such as attacking or even casting other spells provided the spell has a time. casting an action. This means that even if a Druid focused on a Moonbeam spell, they would still be able to move across the battlefield to heal an injured ally with Cure Wounds.

Concentration controls


Magic Missile by PINDURSKI
Magic Missile by PINDURSKI

While sustaining a Concentration spell, if a caster takes damage, they must make a Concentration test to avoid losing Concentration, ending the spell prematurely. Concentration checks are Constitution ability checks, prompting some high concentration spellcasters such as Druids to invest in their Constitution score. By default, the DC of a Concentration check is ten.

However, if a source deals more than 20 damage to a caster of focus on a spell, the DC is equal to half the damage taken by the caster from a single source. For example, if a cleric concentrating on a Shield of Faith spell were to take 32 damage from a fireball, he would have to succeed on a DC 16 Constitution check. caster takes damage, spells such as Magic Missile that provide multiple sources of damage can be great for trying to break an enemy caster’s focus.

For those looking to make their ability to pass Concentration tests more reliable, the War Caster feat and the Eldritch Mind Eldritch Invocation are available for Warlocks.

Focus and distance


DND Tasha Cauldron Spell Casting Art
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything by Magali Villeneuve

A unique element of focus spells is that a caster is able to maintain a spell’s focus even if they were to leave the spell’s range. For example, the Moonbeam spell has a range of 120 feet, which means the beam created by the spell must be created within 120 feet of the caster. However, if a druid cast this spell on an enemy positioned 120 feet away, then used their move to move an additional 30 feet from the target, the moonbeam would remain. This allows certain focus spells to retain beneficial effects even when fleeing, hiding, or fighting from a distance.


Dealing with an enemy’s focus spells


Midnight Path Lighting by PINDURSKI
Midnight Path Lighting by PINDURSKI

While a player’s focus spells can provide great value during a combat encounter, an opponent’s focus spell can often be a headache to manage. As many opposing casters tend to have lackluster Constitutions, ensuring that a party regularly bombards that caster with multiple sources of damage each turn to cause them to make Concentration checks repeatedly increases the chances of them failing due to the amount of testing. Even if an enemy caster has a positive constitution modifier, they can only pass their barrage of Concentration checks for a certain amount of time.

Alternatively, if a party doesn’t have a way to target an enemy spellcaster with a significant number of attacks per turn, a spell’s effects can be prematurely interrupted by casting Dispel Magic.

Next: Dungeons & Dragons: Schools of Magic Explained


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