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


  • 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
  • Poll closed .

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First Post
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?
WIth just level 1 spells without concentration a illusionist with alter reality would break the game.


I do think the designers of 5E went a little overboard applying the concentration mechanic. Some spells are pretty much never going to be taken because they use up your concentration slot. Other spells require you to get into melee, and that's rough because then you get hit and stop concentrating. 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.
I think if you just look at a list of spells regardless of class and which ones have concentration and which don't, you'll get a misleading impression of how the mechanic works. Having played in games with a few different spell casters now, it seems that some classes have concentration heavy spell lists by design as a way of balancing them.

How about instead of the Constitution save being triggered by (and the DC based on) damage, add a new special attack option called Disrupt Spell?
It would require a standard attack roll, and (instead of the attack doing damage) the target must make a Con save with a DC equal to 8 + the attack modifier. If the attack roll is a crit, the save is made with Disadvantage.


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
I'm not sure what your definition of 'fiddly' is, but your houserules are what I would describe as fiddly, not the concentration rules.


I don't understand the problem. Concentration *is* a fix; the problem was the stacking buffs/debuffs that trivialized the contributions that non-casters made.


Concentration is fine and works as intended. If you don't like it, you can of course change it, but I think the 5e version is just right.


Funny I just so happen to have had an encounter like that with me playing a sorcerer and the wizard was as you said. Many ways to overcome, one do not stand in the open, draw him into an enclosed area, fog cloud or obscuring mist he can not see or darkness to level the playing feild. Hold an action with the archer concelled to hit the area the person is casting from because he can not be seen but the spell can be onced cast shoot the area or web it with a readyed spell. But this may require a bit more grery matter than the kids have now days.


I don't understand the problem. Concentration *is* a fix; the problem was the stacking buffs/debuffs that trivialized the contributions that non-casters made.
Never had too many issues with it in my games really with the stacking. Unless the GM at high level was preparing an evil lich or wizard. Even then all the buffing in the world could not stand up to a dispell magic or antimagic field, or mordenkainen's disjunction spell.


I think concentration has its place in maintaining a spell effect or a spell that can be altered from moment to moment but as what I am saying is in all the other versions of this game it was cast it and forget it. Yes a wizard could if he so wanted stack protections but that would be dumb because after he would be out of spells for that day. But now a short rest and long rest people cast take a short rest and riance and repeat. This I think is what lead to the concentration rules and the over all path to 5th as 4th edition started this and most of its hold overs have infultrated this as well. So back in the day you memorized spells once a day and after casting them you had used all your energy for that day and had to wait till the next to rermem more spells. This prevented stacking and many other issues in the game and in and of its self kept the magic user from over shadowing many in the group even at high levels. He had to make sure and choose his spells wisly as that was all he had for the day and rationed them out of the course of the day. I like many things that have been done to this game and its evolution over time but as far as it has come it has also taken a few steps back. I have beeen reading the players book now a few times and have noticed small changes that when togther make a big diferance in the game play and feel. I wondered as to why no one played a wizard in my group of 5 and almost all are a meele class and only one priest who does not cast spells much. We are low level right now but I asked them why no wizards and was told that well the concentration and the only being able to maintane one spell was only a part of it. One on my guys a warlock said he wished there was a way to maintan more than one spell effect. This is what lead me here and taking a closer look at the spells and could not find mordenkainen's disjunction in the spells any where. I think will look closer and determine that to cast a spell without concentration you are no longer in control of it and is set at the time it is cast on the person like alter self. It lets you change it every round, so in this case cast and forget you choose at the time of casting say aquatic adaption this would free you up to do something else but once out of the water or when not needed you can drop the effect which would end the spell. In short a lesser effect or duration for a no jhands on spell.

Arial Black

I'm currently playing in multiple campaigns across different systems, including 3.5e at epic levels, Pathfinder at 13th and 9th, and of course 5e. I've played the game since 1e, and have watched the game evolve.

In 3.5e and PF, if we have some warning of an encounter and some information about it (which we usually do, especially if it's us who initiate the attack) then each caster decides what they want to cast (bearing in mind we expect to use a lot of spells because we have a lot of slots!), checks the duration of each, makes a list of the order they want to cast them, work backwards in time so the final spell is cast just before we say 'Geronimo!', compare our various lists, co-ordinate our casting times, and start casting at G minus the number of spells that the caster with the longest list wants to cast.

The upshot is that we spend around half an hour of game time on this before the fight even starts! Then, we win. At that point it feels like we are going through the motions because our planning has been so thorough.

This way is just the sensible way to do it. Our behaviour has evolved over time in the environment of increasing encounter difficulty, and failure to do this could easily lead to a PC death or even a TPK.

Along comes 5e with the concentration mechanic (and fewer slots), and all that madness falls away. One or maybe two rounds of buffing, tops, if any. The game simply flows better, and is more fun simply because actually smashing the bad guys is more fun than just planning to smash the bad guys.

I'd leave the 'focus' part of the rule as is, and thank the heavens for it.

If I were to alter anything it would be the 'disruption' part. But I don't want fiddly rules; Keep It Simple, Stupid. So the simplest, best way to modify the 'disruption' part is to ignore the 'minimum DC 10' of the Con save. If the caster takes, say, 3 damage then instead of the easily failed minimum DC 10 for such a trivial amount of damage then use the normal calculation but without the minimum, so in this case the DC would be 1. You'd have to be trying hard to fail that, so unless you have a Con penalty you don't even need to roll.


First Post
I've played since Blue Book Basic, and to me, this version is the best one yet, and Concentration is one of the major reasons.

My table is over 50% new players for the first time in 20 years. We always have new people waiting in the wings to try the game at any time. There is no way in hell I could get new gamers to stay if spellcasters hadn't been simplified and balanced.

Go ahead, house-rule to bring back fiddly, overly-complex gods of older editions. Your table. But your reasons don't hold water. The game is balanced and works.


This poll is an eye-opener. It seems like every few weeks there's a new thread about how the concentration rules suck; I had started to think maybe it was a widespread concern.

But apparently it's just that the tiny group of people who hate concentration are very, very loud about hating it.
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Kobold Avenger

I'm absolutely alright with the half of concentration where you can only maintain one concentration effect at a time. It helps with the idea to me where it's the player who cast the spell who should remember that the spell is in effect and it's duration (which in 5e is simplified).

I hate the saving throw to maintain concentration when damaged. The damage save is not something a player would remember too often since it's detrimental for them to remember such things, unless they are prompted too. It's too much dice rolling, and it makes Dispel Magic only useful in situation cases as Fireball might actually do a better job at dispelling fire resistance or any buff for that matter from a caster.

Removing the damage save affects a couple of feats and subclass abilities like Battle Caster, Mage Hunter and the Conjurer Subclass ability.


If I was going to modify the concentration, it would be to probably to modify the Con save to see if you loose concentration (It is a bit fiddly). If I wanted to go further, I would take things on a spell by spell basis: does this spell really need concentration? There are a number of spells in 5e that could probably use another pass (I don't see why Dancing Lights really needs Concentration). If I still wanted to go further, I would try out a magic item that allowed a user to concentrate on a specific spell without using their concentration slot. Perhaps the item would be single use, or have charges (we already have items that do this, aka Ring of Invisibility, etc). If I still wanted to go further, I might go into certain spells and allow them to be upcast X,Y, or Z levels to no longer require concentration, depending on the spell in question. Some spells probably would not get rid of the concentration requirement no matter how many levels they were upcast.


To be fair - the poll asks what "our fix" is - which means what rules we use, not what rules we think we should use. There are probably some that use no "fix", but think there should be one, and likely others that are being asked to use a fix by the DM, but do not think one is necessary.

If I were designing 5E from the ground up, I would not have done concentration as is, but would likely have added the capability to concentrate on multiple spells as a higher level ability. If not the 'concentration point' option I described before (which is a bit too 'math-y', but is very efficient), it might have been something like:

Multi-concentrate: At 5th level you can concentrate on 2 spells so long as the total spell level is less than half your spellcasting level (rounded down).
Improved Multi-concentrate: At 11th level you can concentrate on 3 spells so long as the total spell level is less than one third your spellcasting level (rounded down).
Ultimate Multi-concentrate: At 20th level you can concentrate on up to 4 spells so long as they do not exceed 7 spellcasting levels.

(Spellcasting level follows the spell slot rules for multiclassing, but warlock is treated as a full caster).

Am I saying this would have been better? No - but it would have been less of an abrupt change from the mentality of prior editions, and I've had been worried about the knee jerk reaction to concentration that we saw when the edition was released.


I like the concentration rule as is.

It's true I don't always remember the saving throw in case of damage. The more I play, the more I believe it's fine not to throw every time but just when you remember it. For example, if the players encounter a wizard casting whatever concentration spell, and nobody tells me "I hit the wizard as to disrupt his concentration on x spell", then I'll most likely forget about the saving throw. Same thing when players are using concentration spell. If none of the enemies are particularly intent on breaking a player's concentration on a spell, then I dismiss the rule. But in case some particular spell effect is completely wreaking the encounter one way or another - "Who in hell is casting Spirit Guardian? Again!?" -, and the players or monsters suddenly become aware of the danger a specific caster is posing, then the focus on the fight can shift to maintaining/breaking concentration, and we'll roll the saving throws.

If I had to tweak the rule, I'd use these home rules:

-Do away with the concentration saving throw, and allow a caster to take X melee hits each turn before concentration breaks ( X is constitution modifier +1). And if he/she takes half his HP in dmg in one turn, concentration breaks.

-Keep the rule as is, but just suppress the concentration requirement on a selected few spells ( Mostly, when I look at early druid, it's concentration fest. Having to explain to a newbie druid that she can only cast one spell at a time from her list, because they all have concentration... it's a bit of a heartbreak.)

-Consider that a player only needs to keep concentration on spells of the highest slot level he has (But I certainly lack the high level game experience to see how things could go wrong with this rule.) - For example, the highest spell slots a 10th level wizard has is 5. So he only needs to keep concentration on spells of the 5th level.

I'm just throwing some ideas, but mostly, it's fine as it is. It's not perfect, but it's close.
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