I see that, for example:

A cleric or paladin can use a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus, as described in chapter 10. To use the symbol in this way, the caster must hold it in hand, wear it visibly, or bear it on a shield.

Further, I see that the standard arcane focuses -- orbs, crystals, rods, etc. -- all have to be held in the hand. That makes sense to me.

What I'm not sure about is, for example, the Hat of Wizardry or the Dark Shard Amulet from XGTE. Both specify they can be used as a spellcasting focus (for wizards and warlocks respectively), but it does not make sense to me that e.g. a wizard would be required to hold their Hat of Wizardry in their hand to use it as a spellcasting focus, instead of wearing it. I can imagine a warlock having to grip their Dark Shard Amulet with a free hand, but that still seems like a bit of a stretch, especially when combined with somatic components.

Can these specific foci be used without holding them in hand?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe you have to tip the Hat of Wizardry like a fedora to use its power ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Mar 15 '19 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlakeSteel I believe you're thinking of the Mask of M'lady. \$\endgroup\$ – AAlig Mar 18 '19 at 15:35

The Hat of Wizardry says:

This antiquated, cone-shaped hat is adorned with gold crescent moons and stars. While you are wearing it, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can use the hat as a spellcasting focus for your wizard spells.

  • You can try to cast a cantrip that you don’t know. [...]

The text seems pretty clear to me - while you're wearing it, you can use it as a focus. Holy symbols for clerics and paladins work the same way (they only need to be worn, not held), so it is not unprecedented. It has a specific verbiage that overrides the general rules.

Furthermore, it seems relatively well balanced: It consumes a precious attunement slot and only works for wizard spells. If the character is multi-classed, they'll still need a different focus, even for classes that can use a more general arcane focus. Sure, it has a second property, but it's only once per long rest.

The Dark Shard Amulet has functionally similar text, except aimed at warlocks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying you don't need a free hand to touch the focus? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 15 '19 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that the shield holy symbol for cleric and Paladin are "wielded" more than "worn" but maybe that's getting too far in to the weeds. To use the symbol in this way, the caster must hold it in hand, wear it visibly, or bear it on a shield. Your description likely covers it. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 18 '19 at 13:54

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