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If I were to multiclass Sorcerer 9 Bard 1, could I use an instrument (per Bard Level 1 feature) as my focus for spells that appear on both class spell lists?

For example, Polymorph, Confusion, and Hypnotic Pattern all appear on both lists. Can I use an instrument focus for these if I know them as Sorcerer spells?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted


Under the rules for the spellcasting class feature of multiclass characters, this is explicitly covered (PHB, p. 164; emphases mine):

Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your classes, and you use the spellcasting ability of that class when you cast the spell. Similarly, a spellcasting focus, such as a holy symbol, can be used only for the spells from the class associated with that focus.

But note that a multiclass spellcaster can use a component pouch to cast spells from all their classes:

A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus ... in place of the [material] components specified for a spell.

(PHB p. 203)

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You may want to add that a component pouch can be used by any caster, thus avoiding the issue altogether. – Derek Stucki Feb 1 at 18:50
Good point! Done. – Mark Cogan Feb 1 at 18:56
True but then you'd have to manage your reagents then wouldn't you? Unless of course the DM calls the components pouch the equivalent of a focus and doesn't require it to be replenished. – Escoce Feb 1 at 20:17
@Escoce 5e doesn't include "reagents" and there's no rule requiring component pouches to be replenished. – Mark Cogan Feb 1 at 20:29
@MarkCogan PHB PG 203 "if a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide there component for each casting of the spell." Therefore many components do not need to be replenished, but some do. – Escoce Feb 1 at 20:39

No, you cannot. The Bard's spellcasting focus feature says you can use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus for your Bard spells. This does not extend to spells that you may cast that are granted to you by other classes. This means that you could only use the instrument for spells that are on your spells known list from your bard levels.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use a musical instrument (see chapter 5, “Equipment”) as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells. (D&D 5e SRD, published under OGL)

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Right.. so what makes a spell a bard spell vs sorcerer spell. With scrolls, it just has to be on your class list. – Trance Kat Feb 1 at 16:06
Clarified my answer to address that issue. – LegendaryDude Feb 1 at 16:06
Scrolls aren't relevant here. This is regarding spells that you know and that you can cast. "Your bard spells" is a distinctly different wording than "spells on your class list." "Your bard spells" in this case are spells that you know that come from your bard levels, not all spells on the bard list. – LegendaryDude Feb 1 at 16:11
See Mark Cogan's answer above for the relevant rule in the PHB regarding "your [class] spells." – LegendaryDude Feb 1 at 16:19

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