Enchantment Focuses

With a discussion going on in another thread about magical foci and things like Minor Magical Focus: Wooden Wands, I started thinking about what I would and wouldn't allow in my games.

The best idea I've been able to come up with is to use the shape and material bonus tables to decide what enchantments benefit. That means, for example, that the minor magical focus of 'wooden wands' would work with any spells involving wands, and with any enchantments on wands that include the shape and material bonuses for wood and for wands. Thus, any spell that did one of the following would get the bonus, provided it was enchanted into a wooden wand:

Affect living wood
Affect dead wood
Repel things
Project bolt or other missile
Control things at a distance
Destroy things at a distance

This also provides a reason to pick even more specific focuses. For example, someone could take a minor magical focus: white poplar wands, which would limit what they could enchant with the focus, but would also provide a benefit to enchantments on the wand that involve Divination.

Any opinions on this idea? I think this is how I'm going to do it in my games.

I like the Shape and Material Bonus option.
While still greater than a normal focus (after all, "dead wood" is probably a focus in itself), it makes more sense and restrains the problem, at least until someone comes up with something like this:

Minor Magical Focus: Jade.
As a normal focus, this helps in transforming ennemies to jade statues, creating jade creatures and items, walls of jade, throwing streams of jade needles... No problem here.
But then, it applies to any jade-based enchantment concerning Aquam.

Still, this is way better than allowing one to benefit from the focus on everything you want to enchant in a jade item

This is a great idea, we came up to something really similar with our troupe and even if it doesn't came up as a problem frequently, when we used this hous-rule i came up well. It gives good guidelines most of the time.

If you see enchanting any magical effects on the given focus as a problem (as I see it) this is one of the best method dealing with it.

That is the problem, some of the form and effect bonuses relate to the function of the item, other relates to the mystical symbolism. My advice is that the storyguide or troupe should agree before on the possible applications of the focus. And i'd drop the direct form bonuses altogether, like the Jade +4 Aquam or Amber +3 Corpus. Keep in mind that the focus is the (focus choosen), it's closely related functions and not any mystical relations it can have.

If you want to provide more power to magi you can simply give a free major magical focus to each.

The classic rule is more balanced than this with shape bonuses. This encourages magic item foci overly. And some things have only a few bonuses while wands cover the whole Re and Pe area and others.

well, only at ranges Voice or higher. Touch and personal are not "control/destroy things at a distance" :wink:


I'm not particularly upset by these even in the Minor Magical Focus range. It only helps with items, and only with items that do something thematically linked to the type of item.

I might, however, make it two kinds of foci.

You could take Minor Magical Focus: Wooden Wands, which would let you cast spells that create or control wooden wands, or whatever, along the normal magical focus rules.

You could instead take Minor Magical Focus: Enchanting Wooden Wands, which would give you a bonus to enchantments on wooden wands provided the enchantments are in line with the shape and material bonus for them.

This deals with the jade issue; you'd either have Minor Magical Focus: Jade, which would enhance anything you did that targeted, created, or affected jade. Or Minor Magical Focus: Enchanting Jade, which would be limited only to enhancing lab totals for enchanting jade items with aquam effects.

While yes, that latter's pretty broad, it's limited to enchantments only. It somewhat lessens the gap between verditii and other magi, but I think House Verditius still comes out ahead of the rest. Tremere is a bit weakened by it in comparison - they'll lack the strong focused enchanters of other houses, and the powerful generalist enchanters and extremely strong focused enchanters of House Verditius, but then, if you read the writeup of House Tremere in True Lineages, their weaker magic is a thematic part of their house that they make up for with teamwork.

At least in my case, this is a situation where thematics make up for a somewhat undercosted ability (getting a focus in a wide range of enchantments for a minor virtue), much in the same way that you get virtue points for taking Personality Flaws that describe the character you were going to play anyway, and for taking beneficial Story Flaws like magical animal companion or faerie friend.

The only problem was, being able to enchant anything in a wooden wand or whatever was a bit much. Limiting it to effects that are appropriate for wands (which the shape and material table covers well) makes it even more thematic, and tones the power down just a little. If someone wants to make a magus with Minor Magical Focus: Enchanting Wooden Wands, and so carries around twenty wands with different spells (which project, control, repel, or destroy things) at all times, I'm all for it. The image is kind of neat, and would really drive home the theme of the character.

Similarly, a magus that uses bits of amber, wands with amber tips, amber amulets, etc. for various Corpus effects would be cool enough that I see no problem in allowing that at as a Minor Virtue.

I'm gonna go for it. Thanks a lot, this is a pretty good idea :smiley:

Hi all

For me the answer is quite clear :
Minor magical focus virtue description :
You cannot be focused on laboratory activities.
So a minor magical focus on wooden wand will give you a bonus for your casting total as well as un your Lab total to cast or enchant spells used to manipulate create destroy modify any wooden wand.
Never a minor magical focus on wooden wand will enhance your lab total to invest a fireball spell in a wooden wand.

Look, we're not debating the rules as written here.
As written, here's what the rules mean, though:

Major Magical Focus specifies you can't be focused in lab activities
Minor Magical Focus specifies you can't just pick an individual lab activity (like inventing spells, or creating charged items)

And that's fair. Those aren't even especially thematic things, and a bit too broad.


In the writeup for House Verditius, in Mystery Cults, there are at least two cofraternities that focus on specific items; one that enchants wooden wands, one that enchants swords. Each has an initiation that provides a minor magical focus in that object. The wooden wands one, in particular, is pretty much useless by your interpretation.

My goal is to allow a variant of Minor Magical Focus that allows such things to work. So yes, I realize it contradicts a certain reading of the rules on magical foci (though you could argue that by not allowing laboratory activities it means things like 'investing lesser devices' not 'enchanting swords with effects sympathetically related to swords'.)

I suddenly feel very stupid, looking at the name of this topic. Should be 'foci', not 'focuses'. :stuck_out_tongue: