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D&D 5E "....as if you were concentrating on a spell"

Arial Black

Adventurer
There are a handful of effects in 5e that are NOT spells, but last for a certain duration "or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell)".

So how can these effects be combined with concentrating on an ACTUAL spell?

According to the PHB p203, the following factors can break concentration:-

1) casting another spell that requires concentration: you lose concentration on a spell if you cast another spell that requires concentration. You can't concentrate on two spells at once

2) taking damage

3) become incapacitated or killed

4) the DM may decide that certain environmental phenomena require you to succeed on a DC 10 Con save or lose concentration

So 2, 3 and 4 are obvious. The non-spell effects under discussion are definitely lost if you take damage or get shaken up and fail the save, or become incapacitated or die.

But what about casting a concentration spell?

What about losing a spell upon which you are concentrating?

As an example, let's say we want to build a ranger using the new options in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. The Favoured Foe feature allows you to mark any target you hit, and you do extra damage to that target every time you hit it while it has the mark. This mark lasts for 1 minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).

Could I mark a creature and then cast Searing Smite-a concentration spell-without losing the mark? Searing Smite IS a spell, but it is NOT another spell, it is the only 'spell' upon which you are concentrating.

Could I cast Searing Smite and then mark it with Favoured Foe, without losing the spell? After all, I have NOT 'cast a spell' that requires concentration.

The rules for concentration say that you can't concentrate on two 'spells' at once, but Favoured Foe is NOT a spell, so that rule doesn't apply here.

Has there been any official guidance on this?
 

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Arial Black

Adventurer
Yes, on Page 5 of Xanathar's guide to Everything. Page 5, if I'm not mistaken:

As soon as you start casting a spell or using a special ability that requires concentration, your concentration on another effect ends instantly.

So yeah, sorry about that.
Thanks for your reply.

Is an effect which lasts until you lose concentration by definition an effect that requires concentration?
 

DollarD

Long-time Lurker
I'd say that to lose concentration, implies that you were concentrating on said effect. Otherwise how would you 'lose' concentration in the first place?

The wording also notes 'as if you were concentrating on a spell' which implies that you're concentrating on the effect as well.

In the games I'm DM'ing in, I'd argue that you cannot concentrate on two things at once - but there's probably scope for a DM to houserule around that...
 

Arial Black

Adventurer
I'd say that to lose concentration, implies that you were concentrating on said effect. Otherwise how would you 'lose' concentration in the first place?

The wording also notes 'as if you were concentrating on a spell' which implies that you're concentrating on the effect as well.

In the games I'm DM'ing in, I'd argue that you cannot concentrate on two things at once - but there's probably scope for a DM to houserule around that...
The crux of my uncertainty is this: a Pact of the Blade warlock's weapon counts as a magic weapon for the purposes of bypassing damage resistance/immunity, but counting as a magic weapon for one purpose does not make it an actual magic weapon! For example, it won't detect as magic to a detect magic spell.

So, does the fact that you lose the effect in the same way you lose concentration on a spell make it an effect that requires your concentration to maintain?

You are not actually concentrating on Favoured Foe, it's just that you lose the mark under some conditions AS IF you were concentrating on a spell
 

DollarD

Long-time Lurker
You are not actually concentrating on Favoured Foe, it's just that you lose the mark under some conditions AS IF you were concentrating on a spell

Well, it reads:
When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 minute or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).

The way I read it is that it it lasts until you lose your concentration - implying that you were actually concentrating on it - and that the conditions for losing your concentration is that same as the conditions for losing your concentration when concentrating on a spell.

i.e.
(as if you were concentrating on a spell)
applies to:
lose your concentration

You don't lose the mark under some conditions as if you were concentrating on a spell. You lose the mark if you lose concentration - and the same rules for losing concentration when concentrating on a spell applies here.

It's not a spell, but you still concentrate on it. :)
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
There's been some debate about this in some corners. My take is that if the rules text says "as if concentrating on a spell" you're concentrating on it at least as much as you would be if you have cast a spell, and you can only concentrate that way on one thing (barring houserule-type effects). I'm pretty sure it's both RAW and RAI that your hypothetical ranger/paladin cannot cast a Smite spell while focusing on Favored Foe.
 

The crux of my uncertainty is this: a Pact of the Blade warlock's weapon counts as a magic weapon for the purposes of bypassing damage resistance/immunity, but counting as a magic weapon for one purpose does not make it an actual magic weapon! For example, it won't detect as magic to a detect magic spell.

So, does the fact that you lose the effect in the same way you lose concentration on a spell make it an effect that requires your concentration to maintain?

You are not actually concentrating on Favoured Foe, it's just that you lose the mark under some conditions AS IF you were concentrating on a spell

In the warlock example, it counts as a magic weapon for a specific purpose detailed by the rules: bypassing damage resistance/immunity.

As the abilities mentioned say "as if you were concentrating on a spell," I would posit that #1 (from the OP list) still counts as a limitation because it's "as if you were concentrating on a spell."

"1) casting another spell that requires concentration: you lose concentration on a spell if you cast another spell that requires concentration. You can't concentrate on two spells at once." Meaning that concentrating on the ability (which is treated as concentrating on a spell) stops if a concentration-spell is cast.
 

In the warlock example, it counts as a magic weapon for a specific purpose detailed by the rules: bypassing damage resistance/immunity.
And a Bladelock can summon one in an anti-magic field just fine, and its ability to bypass damage reduction also is not suppressed in such a field.

In your face Demi-liches.

It is not a magic weapon (unless it also is one via being transformed by the second part of the feature) and summoning it is not a magical ability.

Supernatural for sure (like a Dragons breath or a Beholders ability to fly). But not 'magical' for rules effects other than 'counting as magical' for two specific purposes (overcoming resistance and immunity).
 


Arial Black

Adventurer
I think the introduction of these abilities is best seen as saying that Concentration is now a general mechanic, not spell-specific. Just imagine "requires Concentration" is put on such abilities, just as it is put on spells.
I'm now convinced that this is the case.

And that's a problem.

On its face, at 3rd level the ability lets you do 2.5 extra damage....per round....if you hit that target at least once in that round. So less than 2 per round given that you might miss.

This is not much at all.

Then...it only lasts for one minute...twice per day.

That makes it worse.

But that's not the real horror.

The real horror is this: while you are benefitting from this less than 2 points per round, it actively prevents you from benefitting from half your other ranger abilities! The vast majority of ranger combat spells are concentration spells, and since Favoured Foe does so little for you that you'll use your spells first, all it really does is give you a tiny boost if you've already run out of slots.

If this was meant to fix the ranger, it failed!
 


On its face, at 3rd level the ability lets you do 2.5 extra damage....per round....if you hit that target at least once in that round. So less than 2 per round given that you might miss.

At low level. It does scale as you advance in level, and has a fantastic action economy (free action to use, after you land the hit)

Then...it only lasts for one minute...twice per day.

2-6 times per day. It also scales with proficiency bonus in uses per day.

The real horror is this: while you are benefitting from this less than 2 points per round, it actively prevents you from benefitting from half your other ranger abilities!

No it doesn't 'prevent' anything. You can still use Hunters Mark or whatever on subsequent rounds; it's just if you do, Favoured Foe ends.

Seeing as Favored enemy wasnt doing much anyway for you (advantage on Int checks for lore and a language) that's not a total waste.

It simply gives you an extra option for those times when you're not concentrating on anything, wanna use your bonus action for something else (sending your Beastmaster pet into attack, TWF, firing a second hand crossbow, using some other Bonus action ability or feature like Monster Hunter Rangers 'Hunter eye', find yourself in an AMF or out of spells etc), and want some extra damage.

Rangers didnt (and dont) need extra damage on top of Hunters Mark to be competitive (especially at low to mid level where they're one of the best DPR kings in the game). What they needed (and still to some degree need) is an incentive to stick with the class past around 6th level or so.
 

The crux of my uncertainty is this: a Pact of the Blade warlock's weapon counts as a magic weapon for the purposes of bypassing damage resistance/immunity, but counting as a magic weapon for one purpose does not make it an actual magic weapon! For example, it won't detect as magic to a detect magic spell.
I would rule that the pact weapon counts as magical because it is magical. It appeared out of thin air after all. It would certainly register to Detect Magic in my game. There is nothing to suggest it does not.
So, does the fact that you lose the effect in the same way you lose concentration on a spell make it an effect that requires your concentration to maintain?


You are not actually concentrating on Favoured Foe, it's just that you lose the mark under some conditions AS IF you were concentrating on a spell
You need to concentrate on favoured foe, you need to concentrate on a spell. There is only one kind of concentration, some spells use it, some other abilities use it.
 

Arial Black

Adventurer
At low level. It does scale as you advance in level, and has a fantastic action economy (free action to use, after you land the hit)



2-6 times per day. It also scales with proficiency bonus in uses per day.



No it doesn't 'prevent' anything. You can still use Hunters Mark or whatever on subsequent rounds; it's just if you do, Favoured Foe ends..
I chose my words carefully. I said "at 3rd level".

And since I said "while benefitting" from Favoured Foe it prevents you from "benefitting" from concentration spells, I'm still not wrong. You cannot simultaneously benefit from both.
 

I would rule that the pact weapon counts as magical because it is magical. It appeared out of thin air after all. It would certainly register to Detect Magic in my game. There is nothing to suggest it does not.

It's not 'magical' according to the rules. Neither is the act of summoning it.

Supernatural, yes. But not magical. They're different things in 5E.

It can be summoned in an AMF, it doesn't lose its properties in that AMF, and it doesn't register to detect magic.
 

Arial Black

Adventurer
I would rule that the pact weapon counts as magical because it is magical. It appeared out of thin air after all. It would certainly register to Detect Magic in my game. There is nothing to suggest it does not.
I can't stop you homebrewing, but if it were actually magical it would say so. It's actually more words to say it counts as magical than it does to say it is magical. Like they do for every single magical weapon in the DMG.
 

I chose my words carefully. I said "at 3rd level".

And since I said "while benefitting" from Favoured Foe it prevents you from "benefitting" from concentration spells, I'm still not wrong. You cannot simultaneously benefit from both.

No you cant benefit from both simultaneously, but so what? It's not like 3rd level Rangers are lacking in the DPR stakes. Bonus action Hunters Mark, Shoot enemy with Crossbow (maybe with Sharpshooter and Archery style) trigger Colossus slayer. 1d10+1d8+1d6+3 (maybe +10) damage. If Hunters Mark is already active, you're spamming 2 shortsword attacks at a total of 4d6+1d8+6 damage per round.

At 3rd level.

Where it Favored Foe comes in handy:

1) 1st level (no Hunters mark available at that level). It's free damage.
2) Where you're not concentrating on a spell, want to use your bonus action for something else (and plenty of Ranger abilities use that bonus action, in particular Beastmasters and two weapon fighters) and want a bit of extra damage that round.
3) For when Hunters Mark is down and you are out of 1st level slots (or want to hold back and save one). Rangers are not proficient in Con saves, so Hunters Mark can drop a lot, and as half casters they dont have many slots at low levels.

I might want to send my Beast Pet into Help or Attack (or do anything other than Dodge) which uses my Bonus action (so no Hunters Mark). In times like that, where Im not currently concentrating on HM, a free bit of extra damage is nice.
 

I can't stop you homebrewing, but if it were actually magical it would say so. It's actually more words to say it counts as magical than it does to say it is magical. Like they do for every single magical weapon in the DMG.

Magic weapons are (RAW) 'magical'. They detect as such and are shut down in an AMF.

Pact weapons are not (RAW) 'magical' (although they are 'supernatural') nor is the ability to summon them 'magical' (both of which can be done in an AMF).

The game distinguishes between 'magical' effects (spells, items, features that use slots to function such as smites etc) and 'supernatural' effects (dragon breath, constructs moving around, beholders hovering, ghosts existing etc).

The latter dont count as magical, nor do they detect as such.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supernatural, yes. But not magical. They're different things in 5E.

Where in the 5e rules is "supernatural" defined as "not actually magic"?

3e had that as a keyword on types of abilities - I don't recall that being the case in 5e. So, this sounds like your personal interpretation, rather than a fact of the game for everyone.
 

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