5E Can items bypass the concentration limit?
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  1. #1
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    Can items bypass the concentration limit?

    Take a Staff of the Magi for example. It can cast invisibility, which normally requires concentration.

    Can the staff be used to cast invisibility on multiple people at once, or can it only have 1 up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    Take a Staff of the Magi for example. It can cast invisibility, which normally requires concentration.

    Can the staff be used to cast invisibility on multiple people at once, or can it only have 1 up?
    Not normally:

    Quote Originally Posted by DMG: Activating an Item
    Spells

    Some magic items allow the user to Cast a Spell from the item. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesnt expend any of the users Spell Slots, and requires no Components, unless the items description says otherwise. The spell uses its normal Casting Time, range, and Duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the spell requires Concentration. Many items, such as potions, bypass the casting of a spell and confer the spells effects, with their usual Duration. Certain items make exceptions to these rules, changing the Casting Time, Duration, or other parts of a spell.
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    If an item is able to bypass the concentration limit, it will say so in its description. See Blackrazor for an example.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by pukunui View Post
    If an item is able to bypass the concentration limit, it will say so in its description. See Blackrazor for an example.
    Yep, check the specific item description. If the item says that it allows you to cast a spell, it's a spell with concentration restrictions.

    An item like the Ring of Invisibility, that doesn't refer to casting the spell...you should be okay.

    RING OF INVISIBILITY
    Ring, legendary (requires attunement)
    While wearing this ring, you can turn invisible as an action. Anything you are wearing or carrying is invisible with you. You remain invisible until the ring is removed, until you attack or cast a spell, or until you use a bonus action to become visible again.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    Can items bypass the concentration limit?
    Yes, either by not referencing a spell in the effect description, or by explicitly stating "no Concentration required".

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    Can the staff be used to cast invisibility on multiple people at once, or can it only have 1 up?
    I realize you mean "can I maintain more than one casting of the spell?" and there's the answer no.

    But the question as asked means "Can I upcast the staff's Invisibility to cast it on multiple people at once, using a higher spell level?" and there's the answer also no, since the staff's description does not contain any such language.

    A wand of magic missiles, for example, says "You can increase the spell slot level by one for each additional charge you expend." The staff does not.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Croesus View Post
    Yep, check the specific item description. If the item says that it allows you to cast a spell, it's a spell with concentration restrictions.

    An item like the Ring of Invisibility, that doesn't refer to casting the spell...you should be okay.

    RING OF INVISIBILITY
    Ring, legendary (requires attunement)
    While wearing this ring, you can turn invisible as an action. Anything you are wearing or carrying is invisible with you. You remain invisible until the ring is removed, until you attack or cast a spell, or until you use a bonus action to become visible again.
    Unfortunately using the ring counts as casting a spell (see the Activating a magic item quote above) so the example was a bit unlucky.

    Yes, you don't need to concentrate, but that doesn't help for this particular spell since Invisibility specifically ends when you cast a spell.

    Meaning that if it had been most other spells, you could have cast that spell on someone else and then use a Ring of That Other Spell to also buff yourself.

    It's just for Invisibility the example doesn't work. The idea itself is sound.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Unfortunately using the ring counts as casting a spell (see the Activating a magic item quote above) so the example was a bit unlucky.

    Yes, you don't need to concentrate, but that doesn't help for this particular spell since Invisibility specifically ends when you cast a spell.

    Meaning that if it had been most other spells, you could have cast that spell on someone else and then use a Ring of That Other Spell to also buff yourself.

    It's just for Invisibility the example doesn't work. The idea itself is sound.
    I'm unclear what you mean. The ring does not allow you to cast invisibility, it allows you to "turn invisible". I interpret that to be different - the language in 5E is pretty consistent, so I doubt the different language was an accident.

    If you have a concentration spell active, then cast invisibility, the previous concentration spell stops per the concentration rules. Invisibility doesn't change that, since it's cast second in my example.

    The ring specifically states that you use an action to turn invisible, not cast invisibility. So, as in the example above, you could cast a concentration spell, then turn invisible. You would retain the benefit of the first spell as well as the invisibility. YMMV
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  9. #9
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    The only example I'm aware of where a magic item will concentrate on a spell for you is, as I mentioned above, Blackrazor: "Blackrazor can caste the haste spell on you once per day. It decides when to cast the spell and maintains concentration on it so that you don't have to."

    Note that Blackrazor is casting the spell, not you. That's why you don't have to concentrate on it yourself.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by pukunui View Post
    The only example I'm aware of where a magic item will concentrate on a spell for you
    That might well be true, but don't forget potions.

    They might not do the concentration for you. But since they waive the concentration altogether, the end effect is the same.



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