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I'm playing a Pathfinder game as a Psion, and am considering making some power stones (effectively scrolls) of Control Light. Control Light, unlike Darkness, is a "Concentration" duration power.

Does this mean that I have to maintain the power when I manifest it from the power stone? What if I were using a spell trigger or command word item instead of spell completion?

If there are any relevant differences between 3.5 and Pathfinder, elaboration of them would also be appreciated.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Completion (scrolls, power stones) and trigger (wands and staves, djorges and psicrowns) items function almost identically to simply casting or manifesting the spell or power. The only major differences are:

  • Resource expenditure – they are single-use or use charges, rather than requiring spell slots or power points

  • Access – you need to know/prepare a spell or power to cast or manifest it, while it merely has to be on your list for the items (for completion items, you also need sufficient Caster Level or Manifester Level), and you can get around even that with Use Magic Device or Use Psionic Device.

  • Provoking – Trigger and Command Word items do not provoke attacks of opportunity for activating them. Completion items do, just as casting or manifesting does.

  • Action requirement

    • Pathfinder

      • Completion items, but not trigger items, are activated as a “Standard Action (or the spell’s casting time, whichever is longer),” which sucks if the effect was a Swift Action, and makes the effect basically unusable if it was Immediate.

      • Trigger and Command Word items are activated as a Standard Action regardless of the original casting/manifesting time. Whether or not the omission of the parenthetical clause found for Completion items was intentional is anyone’s guess.

    • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 before Rules Compendium

      • All three item types originally used only a Standard Action, as with Pathfinder trigger items.
    • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 with Rules Compendium

      • All items that duplicate a spell or power take as long to activate as they would to cast or manifest.
    • Of the three options, I strongly urge all DMs use the 3.5 Rules Compendium one. It’s by far the most reasonable of the three.

The particulars of the effect itself, once cast/manifested/activated, are the same in all cases. Thus your Duration is still based on your Concentration, which you must do yourself (spending a Standard Action each round). The only type of magic item that generically changes the Duration of an effect is the Continuous type.

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I think if a power needs Concentration to last then it doesn't matter if you cast it yourself or use an item. The item allows you to cast the spell, but you are the one who chooses where it happens and who it affects and how long it lasts so you still have to concentrate. The scroll is not going to make any concentration checks, is it?

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