Let's say a player's wizard character has lost their eye in some event and replaced it with a glass eye. Would they be able to use that glass eye for an Arcane focus while it is in their head?


Maybe. But not likely RAW.

An Arcane Focus is (PHB, 151):

An arcane focus is a special item—an orb, a crystal, a rod, a specially constructed staff, a wand-like length of wood, or some similar item— designed to channel the power of arcane spells.

A DM may allow a glass eye if it was originally made to be an Arcane Focus to work (an orb is basically an eye), but I don't think I'd allow any glass eye to be a focus.

And PHB (203)

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access these components, but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

The latter quote is an explanation of how to access the component pouch/focus, but I don't think is is prescriptive in that you must use a hand. Just that if you have to use your hand, it must be free to work like that.

Slippery Slope?

Beware the fact that usually the Arcane Focus is something held in the players hand. By removing the need to hold it, you are making it much easier to do things that might have been problematic before. Feats like Warcaster are ways to mitigate holding something in both hands (dual-wielding or shield) and still allow for Somatic components (but it doesn't resolve the Material.) If the player has no need to use a hand for material components (by use of a glass eye), then it bypasses that potential restriction.

Actual Gameplay

In a current game, I've got a Paladin and my DM allowed me to tattoo my holy symbol as well as put it on my armor. This bypassed the need for material components when casting and I don't think it's made a huge impact on gameplay.

In the glass-eye case - make it a bit of a quest to find someone to make the glass eye arcane focus. That gives it some flavor, creates some tension and game around trying to find that person, and still eventually allows them to get what they're looking for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would just mention that in editions prior to 5e (and I believe 5e as well), paladins and clerics were allowed to place holy symbols on their shields, so your example not entirely without precedent. \$\endgroup\$ – sharur Feb 23 '18 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, @sharur, even in 5e Holy Symbols maybe worn or on the shield. That is a benefit to their class. Similarly, I believe the Eldritch Knight archetype of fighter can use their weapon as a focus at a certain level. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Feb 24 '18 at 4:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich: Eldritch Knights don't seem to get a feature that lets them use their weapon (or anything else) as a spellcasting focus. They're stuck with component pouches, barring something like a Ruby of the War Mage. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 24 '19 at 1:34

A glass eye is fine

The rules specifically allow an orb to be a focus and one of the right size could be used as a glass eye. The rules do not limit where you can store your focus so in your eye socket is fine too.

However, you would still need a hand free to access it when you cast a spell that needed it.



All spellcasting focuses require the use of a free hand to manipulate it, unless you have a feature indicating otherwise. See the following rules from the PHB/SRD in the Spellcasting chapter.

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components--or to hold a spellcasting focus...

The best you could achieve without special features is to pull the eye out, use it in your hand as a spellcasting focus, and then reinsert the eye (or I suppose just fondle the eye while it's still in the socket). However, that's only if the DM even allows the eye to count as an arcane focus. Since that's not part of its item description, it would be up to the DM to rule on the availability of that option.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't even necessarily have to remove the eye, if the issue is just a matter of having to touch it for an extended period of time. On the other hand, you'll look pretty silly poking your eye to cast a spell. \$\endgroup\$ – JAB Feb 23 '18 at 23:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, and noted. I added a parenthetical that I think handles that case, hehe. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Feb 23 '18 at 23:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JAB depends. For flavor, if player is okay with it, I would offer "when you cover your real eye with your hand in a certain way, the focus becomes active and you can see out of the glass eye. It also lets you see the magical energy of the world better and that is what lets you cast". You end up with the same mechanic (need a free hand) while justifying the player's choice of focus. \$\endgroup\$ – Patrice Feb 24 '18 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @patrice That's a really cool use of thematically reskinning a pretty boring game mechanic. I might have to steal that for use in one of my campaigns. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Feb 24 '18 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder glad you like it. It's all yours I am more used to 'lax' game mechanics (Nobilis or Steve Jackson's In Nomine, for instance) so i often go for those 'non-impacting reskins'. It gives the character a super nice flavor (especially if the eye removal becomes a kind of sacrifice to a god or a demon or something), without even changing how it mechanics work, and lets the player be something else than 'generic caster number 3' :p \$\endgroup\$ – Patrice Feb 24 '18 at 16:42

A player that conceives of and takes the time to specifically design and craft (or have crafted) a glass eye for this purpose, should be given some consideration for creatively addressing what is otherwise an obstacle. It can provide significant story and character enhancement as well.

For example, instead of just saying "no" you might introduce a stylized "drawback":

"Over a period of several weeks, you finally manage to create a unique and powerful artifact. This glass eye can be used as an Arcane Focus without being held in the hand -- as long as it remains in place in your eye socket for 24 hours beforehand so as to remain attuned to your essence.

"However, it also constantly glows with an otherworldy energy that makes you extremely noticeable, day or night!"

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    \$\begingroup\$ An similar idea you could add: It is possible to come up with a homebrew and more mundane drawback due to only having one real eye, which might offset the benefit of not needing a free hand. E.g. -1 to Perception checks and Ranged attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Feb 24 '18 at 10:45

I think a specially designed glass eye would work.
If there were an issue with trying to have a weapon or something in both hands it could be resolved with the statement of the somatic components still needing your entire hand to function and for non somatic spells poking or placing your hand over the glass eye for a moment could be a solution.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already. Note that answers should be supported by evidence or experience. In this case, you should address whether this is first possible by the rules (even if just by summarizing what the other answers say) before suggesting whether it's reasonable to allow as a house-rule or how such houserules might work. If you do suggest houserules, you should explain how those houserules have worked in your own experience to support your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 19 '19 at 5:28

if you google Arcane Focus this comes up."An arcane focus is a special item–an orb, a crystal, a rod, a specially constructed staff, a wand-like length of wood, or some similar item–designed to channel the power of arcane spells. A sorcerer, warlock, or wizard can use such an item as a spellcasting focus" so if its a Crystal eye and your playing 5th edition then i would say yes. you can use a fake eye if its a Crystal eye.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not just any crystal eye will do. It needs to have been designed to channel arcane power. This should increase its cost over a mundane crystal eye, but ultimately falls to the DM to allow (it's not a standard item for purchase) or forbid. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Feb 23 '18 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ i think if the dm's good he'll let you do it. but maybe that would have an effect on your perception or give you a disadvantage on initiative. if you've lost your eye there's probably some way of getting it back or getting a replacement. perhaps by a wish spell. if you still have your eye i would not suggest ripping it out for this because it will most likely give you a disadvantage. \$\endgroup\$ – Brother Brick Feb 23 '18 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ In general, I find that I do not suggest ripping your eye out for almost any reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 23 '18 at 20:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Just so you know, when we write answers here we like them to be backed up by rules text and citations. If you could expand your answer and reference the rules (maybe see if there are any restrictions in the books about what can be a focus) and edit those in, your answer will be much better. Once you reach 20 rep feel free to join us in Role-playing Games Chat! :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 23 '18 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ On the other hand, if you're an orc, and a devout worshipper of Gruumsh, you're probably already ripped your left eye out, so you might as well. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Phil Boncer Feb 23 '18 at 23:23

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