When casting Goodberry spell with a Component Pouch it is assumed that the pouch has a sprig of mistletoe to be used in the spellcasting as the material component.

Can a druid simply take this sprig of mistletoe and use it as a Druidic Focus?

The issue is about the decision making for starter equipment, if the pouch already includes a Druidic Focus you can take that out and use. Why even start with a different focus.

What good would it do?

One thing I came up with is a sprig of mistletoe is easier to hide in a pinch and even easier to camouflage as harmless in case of a pat down.

I know the Druid could simply start with a Focus anyways, but saying if they started with a pouch and then changed their mind. Maybe even use the pouch mainly after removing the mistletoe. Potentially making 'smart' enemies trying to get the pouch away from you just to grab the mistletoe and go on like nothing changed.

If you need an 'in-game' situation:

Druid loses his focus. Party Wizard gives his Component Pouch to the Druid and the Druid grabs the sprig of mistletoe since he can cast Goodberry with a Component Pouch. Most sensible way to continue is to note the pouch is missing a sprig of mistletoe and move on, Wizard can't cast any spells that require sprig of mistletoe as a material component, Druid gets a free focus.


4 Answers 4


A sprig of mistletoe is a sprig of mistletoe

The druid requires a sprig of mistletoe to cast his spells, which is defined in the equipment section as costing 1 gp. It's not defined anywhere as a specially blessed sprig of mistletoe or anything. You can, rules-as-written, use any sprig of mistletoe as your spellcasting focus (unless the DM rules that it must be specially harvested mistletoe or the like).

Being a sprig of mistletoe, it also meets the prerequisite for the material component for goodberry. Note that spell components are not consumed unless the spell says so.

However, there's no reason a wizard's spell component pouch would automatically contain every possible spell component for spells the wizard doesn't have, such as a sprig of mistletoe for the druid.

Rules-as-written, in chapter 10 it states that a spell component pouch can be used in place of the actual material components when casting a spell. This means the druid can technically borrow the wizard's pouch and use it in place of his mistletoe. But there's nothing in the rules which says you can take components out separately. You cast with a focus, a material component, or a component pouch, but no rule says you can divide a pouch up among the party and still have it act as a pouch.

On the other hand, as per chapter 5, a component pouch is nothing more than an empty belt pouch "to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells". The wizard's spell component pouch is nothing more than a belt pouch he uses to keep his spell components for his spells, not every possible spell component. From the realism standpoint, then, you can't take his mistletoe unless one of his spells requires mistletoe.

In short, all mistletoe is mistletoe, but you can't take one from your wizard's spell component pouch because if you're being realistic, he doesn't have any mistletoe, and if you are being rules-strict, you can't separate mistletoe from the pouch.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If a sprig of mistletoe that is usable as a druidic focus costs 1 gp, then it cannot be assumed to be contained in a component pouch, since it has a specific listed cost. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's debatable, perhaps, since the description of the component pouch says "except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in the spell's description)". It has a cost in the equipment chapter but it isn't indicated in the spell's description. A similar situation occurs with chain lightning, which requires a piece of amber which has no listed cost even though amber is a considered a semi-precious gemstone. (It's something of a niche issue though; we're quibbling over a 1 gp item that literally grows on trees.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, you're right that the interpretation is more ambiguous than I thought at first. However, given that, as you say, sprigs of mistletoe literally grow on trees, it seems to me that the main reason to give the druidic focus a trivial but nonzero listed cost is to specifically exclude it from being included in a component pouch. But that's ultimately just speculation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe the listed cost in the spell means the material is consumed, and that's what the part about cost is talking about. Though I can not check any of the related spells right now. That would mean chain lightning requires an amber but doesn't consume it when cast. \$\endgroup\$
    – FenrirG
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, in D&D 5th edition, a material component is only consumed if the spell specifically says it consumes it, regardless of price. (PHB p.203). This is different to 3rd edition where a material component is consumed but a material focus is not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:38

I think they should be considered different

In this case, I would argue that the Druidic Focus "Sprig of Mistletoe" is special in some way, and is different from the mundane Sprig of Mistletoe presumed to be within a Component Pouch, for the same reason that a Druidic Focus or Arcane Focus "Staff" is not the same as a mundane quarterstaff.

If you have a Druid Focus within the Component Pouch without having paid the cost of the Druid Focus, you're essentially getting both option a) and b) of that particular choice of the druid's starting equipment for free. This surely was not the intent, so it follows that a Druid Focus "Sprig of Mistletoe" cannot be presumed to be in a Component Pouch by default.

But RAW they would appear to be the same

Unfortunately, this is common sense (to me, at least), but doesn't seem to have RAW support:

From PHB pg. 152:

Arcane Focus. An arcane focus is a special item - an orb, a crystal, a rod, a specially constructed staff, [...]

So that's Arcane Focus staff justified (as an example of the staff counter-example I presented above), but...

Druidic Focus. A druidic focus might be a sprig of mistletoe or holly, a wand, [etc, etc]

Nothing about the Sprig of Mistletoe in the Druidic Focus description calls it out as being special. So we're left with either strictly following RAW in the absense of anything specific about this and saying that you can pull a free Druidic Focus out of you Component Pouch, or going with a common sense ruling and say that there's a difference between a Druidic Focus sprig and a mundane sprig.

For completeness, here's the text for Component Pouch (also pg. 152):

Component Pouch. A component pouch is a small, watertight leather pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell's description).

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    \$\begingroup\$ A spring of mistletoe usable as a druidic focus has a listed cost of 1 gp, as pointed out by another answer. This makes it ineligible to be included in a component pouch based on the description you quoted. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson I saw your comment against the Quadratic Wizard's answer and considered updating my answer with that information, but then I thought that there's still no way to know if this is the price of a "special Druidic Focus" sprig or a normal sprig. There's also Quadratic Wizard's counter argument in his comment about how it's not listed as a priced item in the spell description of Goodberry (again, referring to his counter example of Chain Lightning). I'm not sure if that means the fact that it's listed under the equipment table as having a price counts as a component with a cost or not \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson I also only just paid attention to the timestamps and noticed that you posted your comment on my answer before Quadratic Wizard's response and your response to that response, so I think I'm joining an already-resolved debate here :P \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:58

If Historical/Lore information is desired (i.e. Role-playing fluff from previous editions), AD&D had the following:

"A druid typically requires a material component to cast their spells, and this component is presumed to be greater mistletoe, which is mistletoe harvested on Midsummer's Eve, cut with a gold or silver sickle, and caught in a bowl before it touched ground.

Druids have been known to make due with lesser components, which can affect the potency of their spells.

Lesser Mistletoe is not harvested according to the rituals outlined above..."

Given how ubiquitous regular mistletoe is, it would seem odd to me for vendors to sell it for 1 gp.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer because this is also the plot to Asterix and the Golden Sickle. The druid Getafix breaks the golden sickle he needs to harvest mistletoe and sends Asterix and Obelix with a bag of gold coins to buy a new one. When asked what he does with the money, the sickle maker reveals that he just melts down the coins to make more golden sickles. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 18:41

Just let it roll. Druids are supposed to get their foci easily.

Druidic Focus. 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.

For a druid, they can get a new foci if any of the below happens (not an exaustive list):

  • There is a mistletoe or holly plant nearby. Grab a sprig.
  • There is a yew or other "special wood" nearby. vague definition on what is a special wood (maybe like these ones???) Break a twig, make a wand.
  • There is a not-dead tree with somewhat straight and long branches. Break one branch of suitable size and thickness, get a staff.
  • There is a "sacred animal" again very vague. wiki!! . Get feathers or suitable body parts, make a totem. May or may not involve slaughter.
  • Wild shape into a sacred animal (go for a bird if you can). Pluck a feather or some body part, change back.

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