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If a concentration spell lasts for one minute (60 seconds, 10 rounds), when does one start counting down how much time it has left? Does the round you cast it in count towards how long it stays active?

First example, what if I use Aura of Vitality, which uses an action to cast then a bonus action can be taken to heal a target? The spell lasts for 1 minute, or 10 rounds. So on the turn I cast it I can use a bonus action to immediately use it, then do I get 9 more rounds or 10 more?

What about spells like Moonbeam, which don't take effect on your turn? Moonbeam activates when a creature enters it or starts its turn there. If you're first to go in a round then you'll get 10 uses out of it, but if you're last does that mean you only now get 9 uses out of it since it acts during an opponents turn?

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It lasts for 10 turns of the character who cast it, including the turn it was cast on, and expires just before the character takes their 11th turn ... assuming of course that the character's concentration doesn't get broken.

So you get the following setup in combat:

  1. Round 1: Character casts the spell, and it remains active for the remainder of this round
  2. Round 2: Spell still active
  3. Round 3: Spell still active
  4. Round 4: Spell still active
  5. Round 5: Spell still active
  6. Round 6: Spell still active
  7. Round 7: Spell still active
  8. Round 8: Spell still active
  9. Round 9: Spell still active
  10. Round 10: Spell still active
  11. Round 11: Spell fades as soon as the casting character's turn comes up

To address Moonbeam specifically:

Moonbeam creates an obstacle on the battlefield, and you can force one or more creatures start their turn in the first round by making it appear in their space.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Now I see my confusion. For some reason I was thinking that the spell would end purely based on the round, not based on the character's turn position. Guess that's my mistake. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobbito Apr 5 '18 at 0:43
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Some 1 round spells, e.g. Blade Ward, have "Until the end of your next turn". others, such as Ray of Frost, have "until the tart of your next turn". Some, such as Chill Touch, even have both!

That is, a 1 round spell, cast during your turn on round 1, generally lasts until your turn on round 2 (1+1=2), but whether the start or end varies.

However, for longer durations, such as 1 minute (10 rounds), the section on Duration (p. 203) does not specify a general rule.

A good rule of thumb for GMs to follow, for a spell that lasts 1 minute, is to get 10 turns worth of benefit from it.

So for Haste (following this rule of thumb), which gives you an extra action and extra movement, including on the turn you cast it, as well as an AC boost, A GM may allow it to last until the start of your 11th turn.

You get to take an extra action on turn 1, and turn 10, but not turn 11; the AC boost protects you after your action on turn 1, until after your action on turn 10, right up until you start turn 11 (but not during your turn 11).

In contrast, a GM might allow Bless to last until the end of your 11th turn, so you get 10 turns of benefit from it (rather than only 9)... Or they might decide, for simplicity, that long duration spells are always the start of turn 11.

In both cases, a spell with a duration of 10 rounds, cast on your turn in round 1, should last to your turn on round 11 (1+10=11), with the GM determining if it is the start or end of your turn 11.

Suggestions applying the rule of thumb to the two spells you mention:

For Aura of Vitality, as you could use it on the turn you cast it, I would allow it to last up until the start of your turn on round 11, although in practice it has no effect after your 10th bonus action during your turn on round 10.

For Moonbeam, it mentions using an action on each of your turns to move it; so I would allow 10 actions, until the end of your turn on round 11. The would allowing you to move it on your 11th turn, but doing so would be redundant as it would cease at the end of your 11th turn (just after you move it). It would potentially affect enemies 10 times: their first turn after you cast it (i.e. the rest of round 1, up until your turn in round 2), right up until your turn in round 11.

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Technically, it lasts until the end of the 10th round.

With actions that last more than one round[Citation needed], the description states

[...] until the end of your next turn.

So, following the flow of events, your action (on round 1) is to cast the spell. Your action is now over, and the countdown begins. For the next 10 rounds, you spend your action to maintain concentration1 on the spell, which then expires at the end of the round.


1. You can spend your action doing normal things, obviously, so long as you specify that you are maintaining concentration on the spell

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't necessarily need to spend your action to maintain concentration on a spell (see greater invisibility) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Apr 5 '18 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are only two things you can't do while maintining concentration: cast a second concentration spell (as this will break your concentration on the first spell), ready an action to use later in the round (as this requires concentration). You can do all of your other actions, including casting a non-concentration spell. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Apr 5 '18 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ben Your GM shouldn't be asking you to clarify that you maintain concentration (unless it is a houserule). Concentration doesn't end unless you end it. It's not that it ends unless you actively don't end it. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 5 '18 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is not RAW (afaik) that players must remember to specify that they are concentrating. Rather, doing anything that breaks concentration breaks it. The character should be assumed to always be maintaining their concentration unless they choose to break it (rare unless casting a spell, but sometimes useful). Otherwise it just feels like the DM is trying to trick you into ending your spells early because you forgot to follow their checklist. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Apr 5 '18 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ (1) There is no general rule that says end of your next turn; some 1 round spells are start of next turn, some end of next turn, some both (see Chill Touch)! (2) Not all 1 minute spells require concentration, e.g. Mirror Image. (3) You don't spend an action to maintain concentration (unless a specific spell requires it, such as Witch Bolt). (4) You first statement 'end of the 10th round' conflicts with your final statement 'the next 10 rounds'. For a 1 round duration, the next 1 round brings you to the 2nd round. The next 10 rounds brings you to the 11th round. \$\endgroup\$ – Sly Gryphon Sep 10 '18 at 6:48

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