Concentration 5e: How DnD concentration spells work

Plenty of D&D spells from Wizards of the Coast require concentration 5e – here's what it is, how to maintain it, and the best DnD concentration spells

DnD concentration 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a fire-covered spellcaster

In DnD, spellcasting isn’t always as simple as waving a magic wand – concentration 5e is often as important as the regular components you’d need for casting. DnD concentration spells require an extra level of mental work. If you want to make this kind of magic happen, you better start rubbing those temples and blocking out distractions.

There’s the rub, you see – DnD concentration spells will fail if your ability to focus is broken. You’ll need to know concentration 5e inside and out if you want to avoid that happening, and Wargamer is here to help. Below you’ll find a clear explanation of concentration, courtesy of the Player’s Handbook. You can also learn which concentration 5e spells are the best to learn, as well as what DnD classes or 5e feats will make it easier to focus.

Here’s everything you need to know about concentration 5e:

DnD concentration 5e -Wizards of the Coast art of a party watching magic burst from a spellbook

What is concentration 5e

While verbal, somatic, and material components are needed to cast a spell in D&D, concentration is required to keep ongoing spells – well, going. A successful bout of concentration can keep a spell’s effects active for several combat rounds, but the spell ends as soon as concentration is lost.

How long you can concentrate will vary from spell to spell. For example, Control Weather can last for eight hours if concentration is maintained, while Tasha’s Hideous Laughter only lasts for one minute. It’s also important to note you can choose to end concentration at any time without spending an action. 

DnD concentration 5e -Wizards of the Coast art of a drow spellcaster meditating to keep a monster in a magical forcefield

How concentration 5e is broken

While you can carry on moving and attacking as normal while concentrating, certain factors will end your focus. Casting another spell that requires concentration is a big no-no, and being incapacitated (can’t take actions or reactions) or killed will obviously get in the way. Conditions like paralysed, petrified, stunned, and unconscious all cause incapacitation – so try to avoid these!

If you take damage while concentrating, you must roll a Constitution saving throw (difficulty class of ten or half the damage taken, whichever is higher). When there are multiple simultaneous sources of damage, each of them needs a separate Constitution saving throw. Fail any of these, and your concentration spell is over.

There’s one last threat to your concentration – the whims of the DM. A Dungeon Master may rule that something in your environment also triggers a Constitution saving throw. After all, if a tower is crashing down around you, it might be harder than normal to keep your mind on track. 

DnD concentration 5e -Wizards of the Coast art of a gnome casting lightning magic on a furry monster

How to make DnD concentration spells easier

The simplest way to make concentration spells easier is to avoid the conditions that end your focus. This obviously means avoiding death and incapacitation where possible, but it also means you’ll need consistent success on your saving throws.

In general, a better Constitution stat means you’re less likely to go down in a fight or fail your saving throws. Choosing DnD races like the Dwarf or Stout Halfling 5e guarantees a little boost to Constitution, and you can achieve the same results using Custom Origin rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Certain classes can also help you out – the Barbarian 5e, Fighter 5e, and Sorcerer 5e all get Constitution saving throw proficiencies.

Several feats can also help keep concentration going by boosting Constitution saving throws. Durable and Tavern Brawler both add an extra point to your ability score, and War Caster is specifically designed to give you advantage on Constitution saving throws that maintain concentration. 

DnD concentration 5e -Wizards of the Coast art of a wizard casting a lightning spell on skeletons

Best DnD concentration spells

While many of the best damage-dealing spells don’t rely on concentration, there are some that are still worth picking up if you prefer an offensive play style. Witch Bolt is a strong first-level spell for the Sorcerer, Warlock 5e, and Wizard 5e. Additionally, Moonbeam is a popular choice for the Druid 5e and the Paladin 5e classes.

Most of the best concentration spells play a supporting role in combat, or they have utility in non-violent roleplaying scenarios. Here’s some of our favourite supporting DnD concentration spells:

  • Fly – gives a creature a flying speed of 60ft for up to ten minutes
    Invisibility – perfect for stealthing, this gives makes a creature invisible for up to one hour
  • Bless – Three creatures can add 1d4 to attack rolls or saving throws for up to a minute
  • Haste 5e – A creature gets double speed, +2 armour class, advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and an extra attack action per turn for up to one minute
  • Detect Magic 5e – For up to ten minutes, you can sense any magic within 30ft (handy when investigating a dungeon)