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What's a spell focus and how does it work? Is it anything like an implement?

I've read somewhere you can use it instead of a Material Component when casting a spell. Does it mean I don't need the material components if I have a spell focus and that's it?

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Each spellcasting class has a Spellcasting Focus section under Spellcasting heading which indicates what type of focus can be used by that class. For example, a Bard can use a musical instrument (PHB 53), a Cleric can use a holy symbol (PHB 58), and a Druid can use a druidic focus (PHB 66).

Chapter 5 lists the costs of various spellcasting foci (PHB 150) under Arcane focus, Druidic focus, Holy symbol, etc. There are also a brief descriptions on the page following the list (PHB 151).

The Material section under the Components heading of Chapter 10 (PHB 203) indicates that a spellcasting focus can be used in place of material components for a spell if there is no cost indicated in the spell description and the material components are not consumed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, some classes do not have a section Spellcasting Focus in their class description. I guess that means these classes may not make use of a focus to substitute material components. \$\endgroup\$ – ammut Dec 17 '15 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rayb, what you don't explain is: *Where a material component is needed, and a Spell Focus can be used, is the Spell Focus consumed as some material components are? \$\endgroup\$ – javafueled Apr 10 '17 at 1:02
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For classes able to use a spellcasting focus:

  1. If no cost is specified for the component and the component is not
    specified as consumed, then a focus can be used and is not consumed.
  2. No focus is allowed if either a cost or consumption of the component is specified.

A thorough discussion of the rules involved can be found at: Are normal spell components consumed by the spell?

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