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Are there any ways to maintain concentration on more than one spell at a time, or to interrupt and later resume concentration on a spell?

I do know the general rules says it can't be done, but the general rules also state that a specific rule beats a general rule.

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11 Answers 11

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No*.

Considering concentration, and limiting casters to one concentration spell at a time is considered a core balancing mechanic by 5e's designers. I don't believe they've published anything that allows for the casting of two concentration spells at a time.

If concentration is interrupted, the spell dissipates and cannot be resumed. At this time there are no options to make exceptions to this mechanic (I'm kind of hopeful there will continue to not be).

*The notable exception is Glyph of Warding and the pertinents are in the linked answer. Though I'll note that a full examination of the spell leads me to believe that trying to use this to break concentration would be a lot of work. Glyph takes an hour, consumes two slots of the given spell level (unless it's below 3rd and then it consumes a 3rd and the other), and once cast, the glyph can't be transported. So while this is a notable exception to concentration, it's not a particularly combat effective one.

(note, this question asks, essentially to prove a negative. There's no definitive proof that there's no way, except for the fact that no one has discovered one yet and it would be a huge deal if someone did. This answer also doesn't preclude the fact that there may, at some point in the future, be a class feature or feat that allows this, though again, this would seemingly be contrary to the design intent of the mechanic in the first place).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I could see an extremely powerful and rare magic item allowing it in the same way that a dancing sword has historically attacked without using the caster's action. \$\endgroup\$ – Aviose Sep 5 '14 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/113708/… ways to use glyph of warding \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Feb 24 '18 at 5:53
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Yes, it can be done! But you need assistance. Use the spell Glyph of Warding:

Glyph of Warding
You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or area.
...
When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph. If the spell has an area, it is centered on the creature.
...
If the spell requires concentration, it lasts until the end of its full duration

So you can cast glyph with another spell in it, and the glyph will provide the concentration for you. And since it's providing the concentration the spell won't be disrupted by damage, or the caster going unconscious.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sadly, the Glyph ends if moved more than ten feet, so any invisible fire-breathing flying wizardy killing machine you assemble won't be in a very convenient location. Darn. \$\endgroup\$ – Khuldraeseth na'Barya Jan 8 at 4:24
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In addition to the Glyph of Warding as briddums mentioned: With a sorcerer, you can use metamagic to do a Twinned Spell for a single target concentration spell (like Witch Bolt). It's still technically only a single spell that you're concentrating on (which may mean you don't consider this an answer that quite meets your question), but with two targets instead of the usual one, so it's very similar to concentrating on two instances of the same spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting use of an offensively oriented ability. I really like it. Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ – Andy Sep 7 '14 at 6:52
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Unearthed Arcana article Modern Magic has a 14th level wizard class feature:

Chained Device

By 14th level, you have learned to imprint vestiges of your consciousness on electronic devices with significant computing power. When you cast a concentration spell, you can use a device whose computing power is equal to or greater than a tablet computer to maintain concentration of the spell on your behalf. The device must be held or worn by you to maintain this effect. If the device is destroyed, taken from you, dropped, or turned off, the concentration ends. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

It is Unearthed Arcana (and therefore playtesting material), and it is for a modern setting, but I think this is the only incidence of a single character (no clones or dominated other creatures) maintaining concentration on 2 spell in 5th edition resources produced by Wizards of the Coast.

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Yes, there is a way.

Use wish, using it to cast glyph of warding in battle, bypassing the lengthy casting time.

You can use your find familiar spell to cast the glyph (or wish) from a distance since it is a touch spell.

The spell has to be level 3 or lower. (depending on how you read wish or use wish in your group.)

  • some say wish can use up to an ninth level version of the wished spell because wish is a level 9 spell emulating a different spell.
  • some say you can use it up to 8th level because wish lets you select only spells up to 8th level.
  • some say you would have to use the spell at its given level, without the ability to increase its potency even though you are expending a ninth level slot.

Spell Glyph reads:

...Spell Glyph: You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area. The spell being stored has no immediate effect when cast in this way. When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it Targets the creature that triggered the glyph. If the spell affects an area, the area is centered on that creature. If the spell summons hostile creatures or creates harmful Objects or traps, they appear as close as possible to the intruder and Attack it. If the spell requires Concentration, it lasts until the end of its full Duration. ...

Not the best way to use a once per day wish. But there's the creativity in it :)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you use Wish to cast Glyph would the Glyph be active or would you have to cast a second spell to make it active? \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Feb 24 '18 at 6:10
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The third-party Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting book by Matt Mercer and James Haeck includes the Dual-Focused feat (p. 108).

The feat allows a caster to maintain two concentration spells, but it requires the caster to make a Constitution saving throw (DC = 8 + both spells' levels combined) at the end of each turn on which they do so to maintain concentration on both spells; on a failure, the caster loses concentration on both spells.

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Multiple ways, but none without setbacks.

Glyph of Warding - Takes 1 hour to cast and two spell slots, but with enough time to prepare, it can break encounters. At level 20, my players used it to chain cast True Polymorphs on themselves, really amazing.

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or area. [...] If the spell requires concentration, it lasts until the end of its full duration

Twinned Spell - You can dupe a single-target spell when you cast it. Basically, you can Suggest two enemies to run away as far as they can.

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn't have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip).

Wish - Use it to cast Glyph of Warding. Major difference here is simply bypassing the 1 hour cast time.

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly Components.

Simulacrum - Have a clone of yourself doing spells alongside you! You can even give it Magical Items so that you don't worry about spell slot regeneration.

The simulacrum is friendly to you and creatures you designate. It obeys your spoken commands, moving and acting in accordance with your wishes and acting on Your Turn in Combat. The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other Abilities, nor can it regain expended Spell Slots.

Other answers have mentioned having NPCs (either hired, or dominated), and they cast spells as well. It is an option, yes, but they won't have the same spells you have, so maybe not applicable.

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Have more minds. You generally do this by having access to externalized casting ability, the most likely sources of which are: your familiar (gained via find familiar spell and granted spellcasting ability somehow), a dominated NPC caster, a dominated generic NPC with some way of shifting the responsibility for maintenance of a spell, an allied NPC with the same method of shifting maintenance, an allied caster, sentient magic items, and weird psionic stuff.

The one thing all these methods other than dominating an NPC caster have in common is that they require significant GM buy-in and (currently) significant additional homebrewed material (though the presented options are all mileau-appropriate in a variety of settings). Most of these are likely to be the kinds of things a GM gives antagonists or cool NPCs rather than the kinds of things you are likely to be able to talk the GM into giving your PC.

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The Mystic Unearthed Arcana class has a feature where it can gain a special pool of points, and if using them on multiple Concentration effects can maintain all of them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't let you concentrate on two spells simultaneously, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Apr 21 '17 at 6:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the closest I've seen, concentrating on multiple Mystic Spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Alsend Drake Apr 21 '17 at 17:17
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Yes!

You just need to get to level 26 and get True Polymorph casted on you to turn you into Niv-Mizzet's form Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica!

That character has the trait "Locus of the Firemind", which lets you concentrate on two different spells at once, (and have advantage on concentration checks).

So you need to become an ancient dragon who is also 20th-level wizard equivalent.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify what you mean by level 26? 20 is the normal maximum in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ – Tiggerous Mar 16 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Niv-Mizzet is a CR 26 creature. So you'd need to get your character to level 26. Probably with some muli classing and GMs discretion. 20 levels in wizard, 6 levels in fighter or whatever. \$\endgroup\$ – Overthinks Mar 16 at 21:13
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There's a way to concentrate on 2 spells at once. Not two different spells but two of the same spell. Sorcerers can use the metamagic twinning spell to target 2 different creatures with the same concentration spell, as long as that spell is single target.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Twinned Spell doesn't actually create two spells, it just alters the effect of the same single spell. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '15 at 17:12

protected by doppelgreener Feb 24 '18 at 9:11

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