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I am wondering if there is any spell, or other means, for a character to create a focus for them, as described in the PHB for 5e.

A druidic focus might be a sprig of mistletoe or holly, a wand or scepter made of yew or another special wood, a staff drawn whole out of a living tree, or a totem object incorporating feathers, fur, bones, and teeth from sacred animals. A druid can use such an object as a spellcasting focus.

My question pertains specifically to the "staff drawn whole out of a living tree". Are there any means, in 5e RAW or RAI, for a Druid to draw out a whole staff from a living tree? If so, what is this?

(edited to narrow the focus, removed mentions of "other systems\previous editions", instead opened a new question Here. Thanks T.J.L.)

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RAW?

Yes, it can be done... but no, not by a druid.

There is at least one method, Fabricate (PHB p239), that allows you to take raw material and turn it into a crafted object. Unfortunately, Druids can't actually do it - it's only on the Wizard spell list. Additionally, you need to be proficient with the appropriate tools to make something nice, but that's moot if the desire is to have a druid do it personally.

It's worth noting that "drawn whole out of a living tree" is ambiguous on the state of the tree after the staff is created it. If the intention is to have the work done by nobody but the druid, the statement "living tree" may well only require the tree to be alive when the process begins.

Other Methods?

There are no rules to support it, but it's entirely plausible that some sort of woodland creature could help - like a dryad or a treant. Either creature is strongly associated enough with trees that they might be able to alter one in such a way to remove a functional staff without harming the tree.

It's certainly a much better idea than druids having to pay a visit to wizards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Although that is a good idea, I see three problems with it... First and foremost, the spell says that you can't "create items that ordinarily require a high degree of craftsmanship, such as jewelry, Weapons, glass, or armor, unless you have proficiency with the type of artisan's tools used to craft such Objects". Second, the spell doesn't seem to work the same way as the wording on the focus. (ie. Fabricate turns the materials into whatever the caster wishes, but "draw" implies the rest of the tree is unscathed). Third, it sounds odd that the druid wouldn't be able to it themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – Joao Duarte Jun 26 '17 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer, though right, is incomplete and totally overkill. Druids would be extinct if they needed a lv 9 wizard to craft their foci. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jun 26 '17 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin I don't see what's incomplete about it, unless you've found some other rule that provides a method of doing it. The "extinct" part of your comment is similarly off-base. The "staff drawn whole out of a living tree" is the only example that doesn't work. It's the subject of the question, but seems odd at it's base. The whole point of the question is that oddness. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 26 '17 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoaoDuarte I added a reference for the tools, though it is not really required in the answer - it's part of the spell's requirements and clearly stated in the spell's description. Simply pointing out the spell and the reference should be enough. As for the oddness... yes... It is odd. Frankly, considering that Fabricate is designed to work with raw materials, I'm surprised it isn't on the Druid list. I went looking for the spell thinking it would be. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 26 '17 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin I understand your point, but as T.J.L. pointed out, all the other types of Foci could be easily created in-game. It's just this one type which seems to have no in-game means of being created in RAW. I assume it's a relic of a previous version, and something which no one noticed whilst editing. What I'm wondering now is if there's a previous edition Druid spell which does this : P \$\endgroup\$ – Joao Duarte Jun 26 '17 at 14:50
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Possibly...depending on how you are defining the word 'Drawn.'

Depending on how you interpret it, you might just need the right Artisan's Tools (proficiency with them would significantly help your chances of getting this right the first time).

Drawn can mean to simply be pulled out of something...which seems to be how you are interpreting it. In which case, yeah...you need magic of some sort to pull this off. But it doesn't make sense that only a Wizard could make a Druid's focus.

But, on the other hand, it can also be referring to a particular method of carving wood, specifically with a tool like a Draw Knife. In this case, wood is steadily peeled away from the final shape you are trying to create. So, to 'Draw' a staff could be interpreted as being a particular way that the staff is prepared.

In that case, a Druid's staff would be created by taking a living (probably fairly young) tree and gradually peeling off layers of it until you have carved the trunk down into being a staff. Then, and only then, do you sever it from the ground. Thus, you have a staff 'drawn whole out of a living tree.'

If that's the case, then making that staff is just a Crafting Check with Woodcarver's or Carpenter's Tools, made out in the forest. Or, possibly, the claws of the Druid while in animal form.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You include it in the last paragraph, but you may want to call it out more strongly that you need the tools AND proficiency in order to do this (or a DC check that's low enough :) ) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 26 '17 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is an interesting thought, I hadn't considered this method as a possible solution, but it does sound odd that they would use that specific wording to mean "carve a staff out of a living tree". It just seems a bit contrived. In any case, it does offer an alternative solution to an otherwise tricky problem! : P \$\endgroup\$ – Joao Duarte Jun 26 '17 at 14:23
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Easy! Break a branch off - welcome to the simplest staff!

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    \$\begingroup\$ actually find a somewhat straight and sturdy branch with about 5 ~8 feet length, and about 2 ~3 inches thickness. break it off. Bang! magic. +1 -- I dont understand how people could make this so complicated \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jun 26 '17 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I... I'm pretty sure that doesn't work. If anything, think about it this way: a quarterstaff could be described as what you just did. That costs 2sp. A Druidic Focus costs 1gp. Ergo, they can't be the same. And breaking a branch off isn't "drawing a staff whole out of a living tree". Still, appreciate the joke : P \$\endgroup\$ – Joao Duarte Jun 27 '17 at 8:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a reminder while a quarterstaff isn't a focus, a focus can be a quarterstaff. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim B Jun 27 '17 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoaoDuarte - Sure, it costs 1gp to purchase, but if you find a sprig of holly or mistletoe lying around, it's not suddenly going to not be a sprig of mistletoe or holly because you didn't pay for it. \$\endgroup\$ – William - Rem Jun 27 '17 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @William-Rem No, but maybe if you tried to buy a sprig of holly or mistletoe in a shop, it would come to about 1gp. We don't have the price for those particular items listed, but quarterstaff is definitely not a focus. As Jim B reiterated. \$\endgroup\$ – Joao Duarte Jun 28 '17 at 9:20
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A right size sapling would be a fine staff. I see no rules or requirement that there needs to be some role play element to acquire such item, but it could make interesting play.

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