Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)/Concentration

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Concentration is a purely mental skill. Those trained in it can ignore distractions and focus on a complicated task and perfectly memorize complicated things. Those with a great deal of skill in concentration can even focus their way past spell effects that would paralyze or alter their minds.

Key Attribute: Wisdom

Untrained Uses[edit]

None. Sorry, you actually can’t do this stuff without a bit of training.

Rank 1 Uses[edit]

Split Focus[edit]

It’s tough to focus on two things at once, and if you're not careful, your lack of attention can cause you to perform poorly at a task. You know how to split your focus without either task suffering, and can better deal with or even ignore distractions while you work. Generally, a distraction will be listed as a modifier on a different skill check, like Perception. If you would be subject to the distracted or extremely distracted penalty, you may make a DC 15 concentration check to reduce or eliminate the penalty. This check is a free action, and is made immediately before you would make the check for your other action.

Base DC: Varies, see above
Check Result:

  • DC+5 and above: You successfully manage both the extreme distraction and the task at hand. You suffer no penalties for being either distracted or extremely distracted.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You're pretty good at focusing on your task, but some distractions may still get through. You suffer no penalty for being distracted, and only suffer a -5 penalty for being extremely distracted.
  • DC-1 and below: You fail to block out your distractions, and suffer the penalties as normal.

Rank 4 Uses[edit]

Get Out of my Head![edit]

When someone else gets a hold in your mind, it can be difficult to block their influence. You can focus your mind on the task of fighting them off, and push back or eliminate any lingering effects from a failed Will save. This includes almost all charm and compulsion effects (like Charm Person or Suggestion), mental confusion effects, mental paralysis effects like Hold Person, and other status effect-inducing effects. It also includes persistent damage over time effects that do not allow additional saves, but it does not include instantaneous damage effects. If a spell contains both an instantaneous damage effect and a duration based status effect, only the status effect may be fought with this ability. If you fail a save against such an effect you suffer the full effect immediately, but may fight the duration based portion on subsequent turns.

The DC for this check is the save DC + the spell level. You may only fight one effect per round with this ability and may not use this ability in any round that you also fight an effect with the Endurance or Escape Artistry abilities. Fighting an effect in this way is a free action. You may not attempt this check before the start of your turn after failing the save against the effect. If an effect grants a new save every round, you may not make this check in any round that you also make a save against the effect. The check results below indicate how you respond to the mental effect.

Base DC: Spell save DC + the spell level
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: You shrug off the effect as if you had made your saving throw, suffering all effects normally associated with a successful saving throw. You no longer need to make these checks, as there is nothing left to fight against from this effect.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: You are able to act normally this round, as you fight your debilitating condition back for now. You suffer damage from persistent effects this round as if you had made a successful save. You gain a +3 cumulative bonus to any future checks to resist the effect. If your total check bonus reaches +5, you immediately shrug off the effect as if you had made your initial saving throw, and may no longer make checks against the effect.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You are able to take a standard action normally this round, as you work to keep your debilitating condition in check. You take only half damage from a persistent effect this round, or the amount you would suffer on a successful save, whichever is greater. You gain a +2 cumulative bonus to any future checks to resist the effect. If your total check bonus reaches +5, you immediately shrug off the effect as if you had made your initial saving throw, and may no make checks against the effect.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: You force yourself to get a swift action off normally this round, though you are gradually losing to your debilitating condition. You suffer a -2 cumulative penalty to any future checks to resist the effect. If your total penalty reaches -5, you immediately suffer the full effects of the spell or ability and may no longer make checks to resist it.
  • DC-6 to DC-10: You are unable to rally yourself to take any action free of the effect this round, instead suffering fully under your debilitating condition. You suffer a -3 cumulative penalty to any future checks to resist the effect. If your total penalty reaches -5, you immediately suffer the full effects of the spell or ability and may no longer make checks to resist it.
  • DC-11 and below: You immediately succumb to the effect, as if your total penalty had reached -5. You may not make additional checks to resist it.
"Secondary Save" Skill Abilities
These abilities occupy a somewhat weird place in the revised skill abilities, and it's worth looking at why these are here and a bit of the intent behind them. They primarily serve to reduce the finality of failing a saving throw to a "save or die" or "save or suck" spell. The ability to fight a spell that is taking hold of you is a well supported fantasy trope that has not previously been seen in this game. These skill abilities are a compelling narrative addition that also keeps players engaged at the table since they can still take actions, albeit limited ones, that they would otherwise be denied. If you would prefer a mix of final and fightable effects in your games, however, you can remove the secondary save checks for any spell that requires both an attack roll and a saving throw, as the two-step activation of those spells removes the need for the additional step added here. It is a loss for the narratives in the game and somewhat complicated, but it's fair enough to work out alright.

For "Very High" balance games where you are expected to fall down to a bad roll once in a while, this ability (as well as those in Endurance and Escape Artistry), may not be appropriate. These games tend to also have much harder counters and stronger immunities than are presumed in this work, along with a higher prevalence of options to resolve the things that get through, so it works out ok. For games like this, you can go ahead and substitute the following ability if you prefer, though it drastically reduces the value of the skill:

Get Out of My Head: You may add the higher of your Wisdom or Charisma modifier to your Will saving throws. You may change which bonus is applied at any time, with no action required.

Manage Interruption[edit]

It's tough to disarm a trap while you’re trying to not be molested by plants, or cast a spell while you’re being stabbed in the side. These sorts of interruptions can ruin your attempts, but if you focus hard enough, you can work around them or block them out entirely. As a free action, you may attempt a concentration check to mitigate or ignore the effects of interruptions that occur during an interruptable action.

The DC for this check depends on the triggering event. If you take damage during an interruptable action from an instantaneous source, like being stabbed or hit with an instantaneous spell, the DC is equal to 15 + 1 per 3 points of damage suffered from instantaneous sources during the time you were focused on the action this round. Damage taken from continuous sources, like swimming in lava or breathing an acid fog, is not added to this total, since resisting continuous damage effects is a function of the Endurance skill. If you are being grappled, the DC is equal to the highest of your opponents' grapple checks. Damage and grappling are checked separately, however, so if you are grappled and stabbed, you should have a low expectation of being able to maintain an interruptable action.

Base DC: Varies, see above
Check Result:

  • DC+0 and above: You successfully work through the interruption, and may proceed without penalty.
  • DC-1 and below: You partially succeed at working through the interruption, and maintain some measure of composure. If youe action was an attack roll or skill check, you suffer a −3 penalty to your final result. If you were casting a spell or similar ability, you suffer a −2 penalty to the save DC and your caster level.
  • DC-6 and below: You fail to block the interruption, and also fail to maintain your composure. This ruins whatever action you were in the middle of, and probably wastes the attempt as well.

Photographic Memorization[edit]

Once you’ve seen something, you can pretty easily recall it. You can attempt to memorize a written string of numbers, a long passage of verse, a street scene, or some other particularly difficult piece of information. While you can memorize magical writing or similarly exotic scripts with this ability, you never gain the ability to understand or translate them if you did not have it at the time you memorized it. The DC for this check is 20, though non-static magical work or extraordinarily complicated work may have a DC as high as 30, and the check requires one full minute of concentration. Each successful check allows you to memorize a single page of text (up to 800 words), numbers, diagrams, or sigils (even if you don’t recognize their meaning). If a document is longer than one page, you can make additional checks for each additional page.

Once memorized, you retain this information indefinitely; however, you can recall it only with another successful check as a swift action. Once recalled you have access to it for 1 minute and can read it, describe it, attempt to analyze it, or even put it to paper or canvas as long as you have the proper implements at hand. You can not properly recreate a magical or exotic image that you did not understand, however. Your lack of understanding will make you unable to get or properly utilize some of the proper implements. You’ll know the recreation is wrong though, and can express that to others, so they’ll be able to treat any recreation as an approximation or degraded source. These recreations are not generally useful. This is why most people don’t memorize things they don’t comprehend, since it’s rarely useful to anybody. That doesn’t stop you from doing it if you want to, though.

Base DC: 20, though it may rise to 30 for exceedingly complicated scenes, images, or texts.
Check Result:

  • DC+0 and above: You successfully memorize the image, storing it away for later recall. If you were attempting to recall it, you do that instead, and have access to the image for one minute before you have to make an additional check.
  • DC-1 and below: You fail to store the image, and you know it, so you probably try again if you have the time. If you were attempting to recall it, you fail to do so this round, but can try again next round time permitting.

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