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There are many spells that have a duration of "concentration", sometimes with a max duration. I understand concentration checks and interruptions, but I can't find specific rules on maintaining a concentration based spell.

For example (because I happen to be looking at it) Precipitate:

Duration: concentration, up to 1 round/level (D)

Some specific questions I have:

  • What action am I allowed while I am concentrating? Can I move? Attack? Cast another spell?

  • Can I decide to stop concentrating at any time?

  • Do the effects end immediately on me ending my concentration (either through interruptions or voluntarily)?

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2 Answers 2

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PFSRD > Magic > Duration > Concentration

Concentration

The spell lasts as long as you concentrate on it. Concentrating to maintain a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Anything that could break your concentration when casting a spell can also break your concentration while you're maintaining one, causing the spell to end. See concentration.

You can’t cast a spell while concentrating on another one. Some spells last for a short time after you cease concentrating.

Thus,

  • What action am I allowed while I am concentrating? Can I move? Attack? Cast another spell?

It takes your standard action. You can use your other actions as you please, to move or attack (e.g. an attack of opportunity), so long as they don’t require a standard action. The only special exception is spellcasting; you can’t do that even if it’s a swift-action spell.

  • Can I decide to stop concentrating at any time?

Somewhat vaguely defined. Certainly, on your turn you can choose not to spend your standard action to concentrate and thus the spell immediately ends. And someone else can forcibly end your concentration outside your turn, by forcing a Concentration check that you fail. Thus, I feel that it would be unreasonable to deny you the ability to end concentration at any time you like.

  • Do the effects end immediately on me ending my concentration (either through interruptions or voluntarily)?

Depends on the spell. Precipitate, yes. Other spells have durations like “Concentration + one round,” and those would linger for the indicated amount of time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ On the last bullet point, be especially careful with summon swarm, the swarm is not under your control and persists for two rounds after you stop concentrating. I have accidentally eaten my allies with it. It was hilarious, but perhaps not tactically optimal. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2015 at 1:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 One of the very, very few cases where a warlock is superior to a wizard: the invocation version is Least (i.e. available from 1st, instead of 3rd), and has a duration of merely Concentration, meaning it goes away exactly when you want it to. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 12, 2015 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ceasing to concentrate is formally a free action (see table), and thus may only be (actively) performed on your turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – alttag
    Mar 23, 2016 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, @alttag, i think ceasing concentration is not a free action, but an inmediate action or a not an action instead. If that's the case, then you can perform them at any moment. Otherwise, you can just use an inmediate action or not an action - stop thinking, wondering what's your cat doing at home, forget what you are doing, look to that fly in the wall - that will force a concentration check and you voluntarily fail it to end the concentration outside your turn... \$\endgroup\$
    – cablop
    Dec 19, 2017 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its in the rules on the official prd link he provided. You can only ceace concentration voluntarily on your turn, as a free action. Turns are simultaneously, even though we solve them by turns, so while you are casting a spell, someone is running, a monster is attacking, the cleric is healing, etc. All within the same 6 seconds. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Feb 8, 2018 at 10:05
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As mentioned above, You can move, you can attack, but you can not cast a new spell.

Normally a spell with a (D) requires an action, and since actions (with the exception of speech as a free action or IMMEDIATE actions) can only be performed on your turn would suggest you have to wait until your turn.

HOWEVER, since dismissing a spell that you yourself are concentrating on to maintain, does NOT require an action (read further down for more details on that), it indicates that it does NOT require your turn to dismiss a concentration(D) spell.

Conversely, swinging again to the other side, the specific entry on (D) states "ON your turn". I would honestly present all of these points to the GM and have a house ruling on it.

Personally, I would rule that you could dismiss a spell with verbal components (a quick sentence=free action even out of turn) at any time, and spells that require somatic components (a quick gesture=free action on your turn) for you to wait until your turn. That way, the complexity of the spell determines how easy and quick it is to dismiss.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Concentration (D) isn't a thing that I'm aware of, but if it does exist it would be Concentration + (rounds) (D) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Aug 28, 2019 at 14:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Aug 28, 2019 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ A good chunk at the end of your answer is trying to address another answer which has now been deleted. (This is one of the several reasons we shouldn't treat this like a traditional forum and respond to other answers in our anwsers.) You should probably just edit that out, or at least rephrase it so it reads clearly without being a reply (to deleted content). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Dec 2, 2019 at 23:51

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