5E concentration in 5th edition, whats your fix?

Concentration

  • half duration

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • Wisdom save

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • do away with it

    Votes: 10 4.7%
  • or play as is

    Votes: 203 94.9%

  • Total voters
    214
  • Poll closed .
The only issue I have with Concentration is how easy it is to fail the Con Save, due to the minimum DC: 10. I would much rather total all the damage taken in a round, and have the caster make a single save at the start of their turn. It's more paperwork, but right now swarms of mooks doing 1 damage each is super strong at disrupting spells, which seems odd to me. Having a concentration spell fail in such a manner (especially after 1 round or less), really sucks. Given that only Sorcerer and Fighter (Eldritch Knight) are proficient, IME it happens far too often.
 

Olrox17

Explorer
Ah, I remember having to track a page long list pf buffs, all with different durations. Man, DMing third edition spellcasters wasn't fun.
 

transtemporal

Explorer
I think its a good balancing/simplifying mechanic but I also think its a bit broken at high level. In my most recent adventure, the party got hit by a 58 point hellball-thing from a death knight (that was only average damage). Not surprisingly, not one character made the DC 28 con save to maintain concentration, not even the hill dwarf cleric with 20 con and warcaster.
 
So this is what I propose i did some checking and there are 10 rounds in a minute and most spells that require concentration last that long max. So lets say you cast a spell that requires concentration but opt for not concentrating then I would say the duration would be haf of base which would be 5 rounds. now in most of my old games I ran most combat does not go past a few rounds let alone 5 and if they do the other side is hurting pretty good.
To me that fact that combat rarely lasts that long is an indication that this house rule would hardly change anything.

Concentration is a double-face rule. There's the no-stacking aspect and the damage-disrupt aspect. Assess them separately and make sure your house rules changes the one you dislike. Meals said that originally they were separate rules, one of them called Focus, but IIRC in the public playtest they were always presented together.

Personally I am very content with the no-stacking aspect so I'd leave it as-is.

The damage-disrupt aspect bothers me a little because for some reason we still struggle remembering that we have to roll those concentration check. I would not miss that rule, but clearly to remove it has significant tactical implications, as attacking the caster to disrupt her spells would cease to be a useful tactic.
 

Kinematics

Explorer
I'm similarly fine with the concentration mechanic, but am annoyed a bit on how the mechanic is applied, sometimes.

For example, Alter Self. I can see why it has concentration — you can alter the effect it gives you, and the ability to give yourself magical claw weapons is certainly something I would expect concentration for — but most of the time I just want to be able to use it as an alternate for Disguise Self, which doesn't require concentration, which makes it perfect for the other types of spells I'm likely to cast in conjunction with it which themselves require concentration.

As a sorcerer, I can't afford to be taking alternate versions of spells for different circumstances, and multi-utility is a godsend. I just want to get my disguise and not worry about it anymore after that. But I end up with Disguise Self instead of Alter Self, despite Alter Self having some nice additional utility that I wouldn't mind paying concentration for some of the time, because there's no point in a concentration disguise when I need to be able to cast other concentration spells while using it.


I wouldn't mind a line of spells that give you a simple effect to start with, or a more elaborate set of effects if you were willing to pay concentration for them. For example:

Alter Self

You transform your physical appearance. This lasts until the spell ends, or until you dismiss it with an action.

If you cast this spell as a concentration spell, you may, as an action, alter your transformed appearance, or shift yourself into a form that can survive underwater, or grow natural weapons that count as magic and give you +1 to attack and damage.


Description is simplified, but something like that. I'm not sure how many spells could be adapted like this, though, without becoming problematic. For example, lack of concentration might mean you can't modify an illusion created with Silent Image, but would being able to create multiple Silent Images unbalance things? How would that compare with casting multiple Minor Illusion cantrips? It would probably be OK, but each spell would have to be carefully examined before trying this.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
Having run older versions of D&D I was a little taken aback by the concentration of spells that will require concentration. I am just talking about spells with the mechanic right now but may address other concentration issues later. As it stands way too many spells have this and not to mention the wizard has been neutered beyond what he should be. Bam hit well the one spell that i can cast to help that needs concentration ends because of con save fail. And only one can be cast that reqires concentration which does not leave many options on your list, no wonder i don't have a single mage in my game group. So this is what I propose i did some checking and there are 10 rounds in a minute and most spells that require concentration last that long max. So lets say you cast a spell that requires concentration but opt for not concentrating then I would say the duration would be haf of base which would be 5 rounds. now in most of my old games I ran most combat does not go past a few rounds let alone 5 and if they do the other side is hurting pretty good. So I think this would be a good work around for the caster in the group and give a bit of the old feel to how the caster was well more useful. Or you could make the concentration a mental thing and a wisdom save as being a marine most things are the will and deternination to focus and keep alive is inpart a mental thing as much as physical.
The only thing I would change is the damage breaking concentration.
A single point of damage and a bad roll can break concentration on a spell.
Sometime it gets very frustrating, and maybe it is a clue, but rolling to keep concentration is the most “forget to apply” rule at our table.
Removing damage break concentration could help some spell to get more interesting to use.
 
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cthulhu42

Explorer
Having run older versions of D&D I was a little taken aback by the concentration of spells that will require concentration. I am just talking about spells with the mechanic right now but may address other concentration issues later. As it stands way too many spells have this and not to mention the wizard has been neutered beyond what he should be. Bam hit well the one spell that i can cast to help that needs concentration ends because of con save fail. And only one can be cast that reqires concentration which does not leave many options on your list, no wonder i don't have a single mage in my game group. So this is what I propose i did some checking and there are 10 rounds in a minute and most spells that require concentration last that long max. So lets say you cast a spell that requires concentration but opt for not concentrating then I would say the duration would be haf of base which would be 5 rounds. now in most of my old games I ran most combat does not go past a few rounds let alone 5 and if they do the other side is hurting pretty good. So I think this would be a good work around for the caster in the group and give a bit of the old feel to how the caster was well more useful. Or you could make the concentration a mental thing and a wisdom save as being a marine most things are the will and deternination to focus and keep alive is inpart a mental thing as much as physical.
I have to wonder how far you've actually gotten into a 5E campaign.

If you've DMed into the higher levels and have still decided that concentration is no good, then by all means, change it. There are plenty of good house rule ideas here and on other threads.

If you haven't though, I'd strongly recommend playtesting for awhile and seeing how the mechanic actually works in play, at least up to 10th-15th level. In the context of the rest of the system, you might be surprised at how well it fits.

I generally play wizards, and coming from 3.x, concentration was pretty jarring and I didn't like it at all. But after actually playing a bit, and especially after DMing, the method to the madness became clear. And that's been true with many things in 5E that were a big departure from my 3.5 mindset.

One of the big things to remember, as has already been mentioned, is that concentration makes DMing enemy spellcasters about 100 times easier than it used to be. For that reason alone I let it stand as is.

But again, if you've given it a fair shake and your table is bound and determined to get rid of it, then house rule away!
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Biased thread title seems to assume concentration 'needs' fixing.

It does not, it works perfectly as is. It serves to balance the classes pretty well, forces Wizard players to really think about their actions, stops the ridiculous stacking of effects that blighted previous versions of the game, and does not unduly slow play down.

I like it.
 

Waterbizkit

Explorer
The rule works as intended and I quite like it, there's nothing that needs fixing. The poll seems to bear that out...

Anyway, do what you think is best for your game, but this is one rule I personally wouldn't tinker with.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm similarly fine with the concentration mechanic, but am annoyed a bit on how the mechanic is applied, sometimes.

For example, Alter Self. I can see why it has concentration — you can alter the effect it gives you, and the ability to give yourself magical claw weapons is certainly something I would expect concentration for — but most of the time I just want to be able to use it as an alternate for Disguise Self, which doesn't require concentration, which makes it perfect for the other types of spells I'm likely to cast in conjunction with it which themselves require concentration.

As a sorcerer, I can't afford to be taking alternate versions of spells for different circumstances, and multi-utility is a godsend. I just want to get my disguise and not worry about it anymore after that. But I end up with Disguise Self instead of Alter Self, despite Alter Self having some nice additional utility that I wouldn't mind paying concentration for some of the time, because there's no point in a concentration disguise when I need to be able to cast other concentration spells while using it.
I see the dilemma, but to me that's a vital part of it - if you want that flexibility it takes up spells known.

Spells Known as a mechanic has three important roles for me. First is balance, and giving out "more spells" per spell known would adjust that. The second is preventing a caster from having a spell for every occasion that steps on the abilities of non-casters or trivializes challenges. Knock, Invisibility, Fly, etc. The last is keeping options down in combat so that caster's turn doesn't take too much longer than a non-caster even through that have more options.

All of that said, I see Sorcerers as much more of masters of specific magics, with more ability to twist a particular bit of arcana around to do what they want but without the breadth of different types of magic like a wizard. I would have been perfectly happy with sorcerers getting fewer spells known, but they can also pick a "spell chain" of related spells where they have all of them a "how I can manipulate this spell" - so giving disguise self, alter self, polymorph, and true polymorph for example as one pick (but again, with even less pick).
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
... Then there are completely awesome spells like spiritual weapon that for some bizarre reason don't require concentration. It totally doesn't make any sense to me.
Certain iconic spells are better than other spells of their level. Fireball, Spiritual Weapon, Wish, etc... The designers have talked about the decision to put some spells and items ata higher power level relative to similarly leveled/raritied items to mke them more iconic. While not every overpowered spell appears to be intentional, some just are.
 

neogod22

Explorer
The only issue I have with Concentration is how easy it is to fail the Con Save, due to the minimum DC: 10. I would much rather total all the damage taken in a round, and have the caster make a single save at the start of their turn. It's more paperwork, but right now swarms of mooks doing 1 damage each is super strong at disrupting spells, which seems odd to me. Having a concentration spell fail in such a manner (especially after 1 round or less), really sucks. Given that only Sorcerer and Fighter (Eldritch Knight) are proficient, IME it happens far too often.
Not really, if you have a CON of 10, you have a 55% chance of passing, unless you take 22+ points of damage. If you take the war caster feat, it goes up to 80%. A higher CON and magic items that increases your saves will bring these figures much higher.

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cmad1977

Adventurer
Since concentration works and in any a problem there’s no fix needed.


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Arilyn

Hero
Certain iconic spells are better than other spells of their level. Fireball, Spiritual Weapon, Wish, etc... The designers have talked about the decision to put some spells and items ata higher power level relative to similarly leveled/raritied items to mke them more iconic. While not every overpowered spell appears to be intentional, some just are.
This reasoning makes no sense. Some spells are more powerful just cause of tradition?

My pet peeve is suggestion. Now the GM has to decide exactly when the triggering event occurs? Isn't this the kind of fiddly bit 5e discourages?

With so many spells requiring concentration, it makes magic feel more tenuous and more like psionics.

I've just dumped the concentration rules, and I thought that I was probably making a poor decision, and would have to bring them back in some house-ruled form. Hasn't affected the game's balance at all...Now my players aren't actively avoiding spells with concentration. There's no more defensive spells dropping before they do anything. We don't have extra rolls during combat, Too much stacking is not a problem as there are just not enough buff spells in the game to worry about. My only real niggling guilt is the rangers' s Hunter's Mark spell.
 

neogod22

Explorer
This reasoning makes no sense. Some spells are more powerful just cause of tradition?

My pet peeve is suggestion. Now the GM has to decide exactly when the triggering event occurs? Isn't this the kind of fiddly bit 5e discourages?

With so many spells requiring concentration, it makes magic feel more tenuous and more like psionics.

I've just dumped the concentration rules, and I thought that I was probably making a poor decision, and would have to bring them back in some house-ruled form. Hasn't affected the game's balance at all...Now my players aren't actively avoiding spells with concentration. There's no more defensive spells dropping before they do anything. We don't have extra rolls during combat, Too much stacking is not a problem as there are just not enough buff spells in the game to worry about. My only real niggling guilt is the rangers' s Hunter's Mark spell.
I'm assuming your game is pretty low level, or your spellcasters don't have the right spells or haven't grasped the concept of the nightmare you are setting yourself up for, because when they can cast 4th+ level spells without concentration, there will be no way to stop a wizard. Just off the top of my head alone, I would create a nightmare senerio with greater invisibility, fly, and haste. No concentration, no fear of spell failure, there will be no way to dispel or counter anything I do.

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Having run older versions of D&D I was a little taken aback by the concentration of spells that will require concentration. I am just talking about spells with the mechanic right now but may address other concentration issues later. As it stands way too many spells have this and not to mention the wizard has been neutered beyond what he should be.
Is it that your experience has been that casters are underpowered relative to non-casters in 5e, or that they are simply less powerful than casters in previous editions?

Poll results are telling. Sure, it's just an EnWorld sample, but I've never seen a poll here this lopsided.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I'm assuming your game is pretty low level, or your spellcasters don't have the right spells or haven't grasped the concept of the nightmare you are setting yourself up for, because when they can cast 4th+ level spells without concentration, there will be no way to stop a wizard. Just off the top of my head alone, I would create a nightmare senerio with greater invisibility, fly, and haste. No concentration, no fear of spell failure, there will be no way to dispel or counter anything I do.

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Sure they can do this all at once, but that's three spell slots gone at once. They can be really cool and dominate this encounter, but what about the next?

You have a point, but I've played with the same group for years. When we play wizards we spread our spells around, casting on buddies and not using up a bunch of slots at once. My throwing out concentration works for us, it's not really something I'm advocating. I think at another table, I'd probably keep concentration but get rid of the rolling after damage. I would definitely go through the list and remove concentration from some spells, and maybe even add it to others.
 

neogod22

Explorer
Sure they can do this all at once, but that's three spell slots gone at once. They can be really cool and dominate this encounter, but what about the next?

You have a point, but I've played with the same group for years. When we play wizards we spread our spells around, casting on buddies and not using up a bunch of slots at once. My throwing out concentration works for us, it's not really something I'm advocating. I think at another table, I'd probably keep concentration but get rid of the rolling after damage. I would definitely go through the list and remove concentration from some spells, and maybe even add it to others.
I play AL, so I don't have a choice, but I'm glad it exists because, like I said earlier, it's a w way street. When you encounter wizards and the 1st spell they cast is either greater invisibility or time stop, I'm always glad they can only concentrate one one thing at a time. Not only that but, the concentration mechanic allows for the disruption of the spells too. But it is a balance, or like in past editions, wizards will be all too powerful at high levels.

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ccs

40th lv DM
Given that my preferred edition is 1e, I don't see any problem with spells simply having a duration....

As the DM:
So if I were fixing this in a vacuum I'd just drop the concentration mechanic.
But I'm not fixing it in a vacuum. So I just let the players decide if they wanted to keep it as is or change it somehow.
For the time being they've chosen to play it as is. We'll revisit the question next campaign.
And as the DM my monsters are not hindered by this if I don't want them to be because monsters don't have to work exactly like PCs.:)

As a player? I'll let the table/DM know my preferences. Then I'll roll with whatever the group has decided.
It's just a question of do I solve the problem using x aproach or y.
 
My table finds rolling concentration checks for damage too fiddly for us. So we changed that part, we only make concentration checks when the attack exceeds ac by 5 or more or if the blow bloodied the PC (we kept the concept, I throw a slight penalty on them when they are bloodied, this encourages the players to avoid playing whack a mole, they are less effective if they are low on hp)
It might be more things to track for other tables, but we already do magnitude of success even with attacks, right on ac = half dmg, beat ac by 5 = max dmg, beat ac by 10 = crit, so we are just tying another thing to the magnitude of success
 

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