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A cleric can present their holy symbol to substitute the material part of a spell.

When a spell requires concentration (e.g bless), must the cleric keep the holy symbol presented throughout the spell duration?

This seems appropriate thematically; but is it required mechanically?

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It's not required

The rules on concentration can be found on page 203 of Player's Handbook. Concentration is only specified to end in these four ways:

  • Ending concentration voluntarily
  • Casting another spell that requires concentration, including spells with a longer casting time than a single action or reaction (per page 202) or maintaining a readied spell (per page 193)
  • Taking damage and failing the saving throw to maintain concentration
  • Becoming incapacitated or killed

There is no mention of one having to maintain any of the components, including the material ones, of the spell to maintain concentration.

Item descriptions are found on page 151. Under Holy Symbol, it is simply stated that the item can be used as a spellcasting focus, without special rules regarding concentration.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just for completeness' sake: Concentration is specified to end in the 4 ways found in PHB:203 + the way found in PHB:202 (casting spells with a longer casting time than 1 Action or Bonus Action) + the way found in PHB:193 (Readying a Spell), but none of them say "when you stop presenting your holy symbol or lose your focus or components". \$\endgroup\$ – nwp Jul 25 '17 at 10:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nwp Thanks, I'll look into that and incorporate it into my answer \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jul 25 '17 at 10:16

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