5E Using Magical Devices for Concentration

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I had a thought and wondered if anyone else did this:

When you cast a spell through a magical device (such as a staff) that requires attunement, the device maintains the concentration for it.

Example: my wizard has a staff of frost and uses it to cast Fog Cloud (concentration, up to 1 hour).

While she holds the staff, the spell is in effect but it frees her to cast another concentration spell. If she is damaged, she still makes the check due to her connection to the staff.

This seems like a way to encourage using devices and the spells they offer.

I know having multiple concentration spells can be a red flag, but in reviewing some of the items and the fact you need to be attuned to it seems like a reasonable balance.

Any thoughts or concerns? Any major issues you can think of?
 

Esker

Hero
I think it depends what kind of spellcasting items are handed out. I don't see Fog Cloud being a problem, but it's a slippery slope. Also, published NPC casters tend to have poor concentration saves, so this likely benefits PCs more, unless you're using a lot of homebrewed enemy casters.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I think it depends what kind of spellcasting items are handed out. I don't see Fog Cloud being a problem, but it's a slippery slope. Also, published NPC casters tend to have poor concentration saves, so this likely benefits PCs more, unless you're using a lot of homebrewed enemy casters.
I am only looking at items in the DMG. We often do homebrewed enemy casters since their spell selections are not great IMO.
 

Esker

Hero
Ok. Well, this makes something as simple as a Wand of Web super desirable. A Staff of Power was already an incredible item; with this change it'd be off the charts. But if you treat those items as accordingly more powerful than they would normally be, then I'm sure you could make this work. After all, unlike when you change the normal rules about concentration, the DM has control over what items the PCs have access to.
 

Esker

Hero
Worth noting also that items like the Wand of Paralysis exist already, which circumvent concentration rules by having their effect not be classified as casting a spell.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
Ok. Well, this makes something as simple as a Wand of Web super desirable. A Staff of Power was already an incredible item; with this change it'd be off the charts. But if you treat those items as accordingly more powerful than they would normally be, then I'm sure you could make this work. After all, unlike when you change the normal rules about concentration, the DM has control over what items the PCs have access to.
Certainly, items would be considered more "powerful" but also more desirable as well.

Worth noting also that items like the Wand of Paralysis exist already, which circumvent concentration rules by having their effect not be classified as casting a spell.
Oh, I know. It is like a Ring of Invisibility--which doesn't cast the spell, but makes you invisible nonetheless.
 

Todd Roybark

Adventurer
I have house ruled some items to work like this. On a Mac-Fuirmidh cittern, it has not been overpowered in my opinion, (even with Fly). The bard has had this item to close to 4 years now, so an extensive playtest.

I would not make it universal, however. Case by Case seems more reasonable to me.
 

Esker

Hero
I have house ruled some items to work like this. On a Mac-Fuirmidh cittern, it has not been overpowered in my opinion, (even with Fly). The bard has had this item to close to 4 years now, so an extensive playtest.

I would not make it universal, however. Case by Case seems more reasonable to me.
Yeah, it seems a lot safer to do something like this with magic items, since the DM can always adjust each one individually without unintended cascading consequences.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I had a thought and wondered if anyone else did this:

When you cast a spell through a magical device (such as a staff) that requires attunement, the device maintains the concentration for it.

Example: my wizard has a staff of frost and uses it to cast Fog Cloud (concentration, up to 1 hour).

While she holds the staff, the spell is in effect but it frees her to cast another concentration spell. If she is damaged, she still makes the check due to her connection to the staff.

This seems like a way to encourage using devices and the spells they offer.

I know having multiple concentration spells can be a red flag, but in reviewing some of the items and the fact you need to be attuned to it seems like a reasonable balance.

Any thoughts or concerns? Any major issues you can think of?
Messing with concentration is risky because of the potential combination abuse effect that comes with it and inability to break concentration from the item.

OTOH, items enhancing spellcasting is a common trope. I would be more inclined to replace one item's ability with a feature that allows concentration on two effects once per day.

Or make an item that requires attunement an specifically does nothing but allow concentration on 2 effects once per day. Attunement is also meant to help manage having too many benefits.
 

Esker

Hero
Messing with concentration is risky because of the potential combination abuse effect that comes with it and inability to break concentration from the item.
@dnd4vr said he would still have the wielder make concentration saves to maintain the spell. In light of that, I think this change is safer than a feature that allows concentration on two effects generally, since this way the DM can regulate which specific spells can be stacked.
 

Ashrym

Hero
@dnd4vr said he would still have the wielder make concentration saves to maintain the spell. In light of that, I think this change is safer than a feature that allows concentration on two effects generally, since this way the DM can regulate which specific spells can be stacked.
That's a lesser-of-two-evils approach. It's still risky to allow stacking more effects. That doesn't change just because another approach could could be even less safe.

Concentration was implemented for a reason.

My recommendation to changes because of magic items would be start small, see how it goes, and add more. Adding more later based on how it goes is better than taking away later based on how it goes as a matter of perspective.
 

Esker

Hero
That's a lesser-of-two-evils approach. It's still risky to allow stacking more effects. That doesn't change just because another approach could could be even less safe.

Concentration was implemented for a reason.

My recommendation to changes because of magic items would be start small, see how it goes, and add more. Adding more later based on how it goes is better than taking away later based on how it goes as a matter of perspective.
Yeah, what I said above is that if you do this you have to think real hard about what items you hand out (which you should regardless, but even moreso now). You could even have it be a property attached to individual items instead of a blanket one.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
After taking the time to review all the items in the DMG, there are only a few that doing this rule with would make them that much more powerful (namely, Instruments of the Bards, the Staff of Power, and the Staff of the Magi). Many of other items would see more use, but not game breaking or anything IMO.

So, I think we will playtest it and if it turns out I am wrong, we can always remove it.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I certainly wouldn't want to do it in our current game. We already know the BBEG of the whole thing is an uber-arch-mage-type (probably around CR 25 I would guess), and I certainly don't want HIM able to do this! :eek:
 

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