magical focus: Cold - major or minor?

I was wondering what y'all thought:

Is a magical focus in Cold a major or minor focus? Initially i thought it'd be minor since the rules mention that minor focuses should usually encompass an area of magic smaller than one technique and form combination. And that seemed to fit for PeIg, which can produce cold and create shadow and darkness... but then I wondered if creating ice with Cr(Re)Aq would apply, or snow with CrAu would also apply to that focus, which made me think it might be more than a minor focus.


HoH:S p28. Cold and darkness each qualify as a Minor Magical Focus.

So, minor it is.

You are answering your own question.

If "Cold" includes summoning and warding against magical snow storms (which may or may not be "cold" - that's a diff discussion), then it's Major (or much closer to that at the very least). If the "cold" Focus can manipulate magically created ice (CrAq, Rego Aq, Muto Aq, maybe some Terram), if it can master snow and hail that's fallen naturally - then it's certainly Major.

If it only includes PeIg, if it only drops the temperature of things, then it's Minor.

Any Focus is first defined by the Player - and then judged Minor/Major, and then things can get tweaked if it's too broad/narrow. It's not first loosely defined and then expanded after it's been approved. Ask your Player what they want, exactly and everything that they want, and then judge/tweak accordingly.

That's a mighty fine rule. Ask the player what they want it to do... in my mind, Cold as a Minor Focus has to do only with temperature. Ice forming, temperature drops, freezing spells. A spell to cause snow may/may not be affected.

Clearly, this one would not be assisted by the Minor Focus.

Nope, certainly not. However, anything to freeze something could apply. ReAq to freeze a pond, for example. And certainly PeIg to chill someone or something. it is debatable if a freezing hailstorm (CrAu) could get it or not. Probably not.


In AM terms, when I hear "cold", I don't automatically think ReAq. Could be, might not be - changing water to ice via Aquam is not the same as doing it through "cold". So you ask the Player what they want, what they are thinking, and judge accordingly.

Might or might not be what the SG is thinking.

I said that cold and freeze/ice are two differents but near Minor Focus. One cover any spell of Perdo Ignem, included when one causes that water become ice, but the ice covers Aquam on Ice theme: to become water, to create and so on, just like a concrete metal can be.
Ice/Cold like Major Focus? Maybe,then the effects to evade frostbite and coldest weather phenomenons enter.


Define within the troupe what the particular focus means and what sorts of things it can apply to. Remember to consider both things that that the character can do now, and might also be capable of doing in the future. Then judge as a troupe whether that is Major or Minor (or revise expectations).

The order argument a bunch of you are giving is all well and good if you're making a new focus. But we should all know this utterly fails when you're examining a focus in canon. That is because, without vision behind the scenes, the order is: the focus is first judged Minor/Major, then defined more clearly, and then tweaked if needed. It is first loosely defined and then expanded after it has been approved, the exact opposite to what a few of you have said.

This one (cold) is in canon as a Minor Virtue. So defining its breadth from there is not a bad strategy. Maybe as it is defined it is not want the player wants, in which case the troupe can make a new Focus based on what is defined.


Now, this post gets my vote :slight_smile:

Sorry, but that's utterly flawed. First the SG makes a M/m ruling, then it gets defined? pffft.

Without knowing how the Focus is defined, without knowing what the Player expects and making sure that's the same as what the SG expects, there is no way to judge it Minor/Major.

Most of what you are calling "canon" foci are simply broad and undefined general terms. We see the problem above - what is "cold" to some is not to others, or merely "could be". We've seen it very recently on these boards with "self transformation". So every focus for a new Character is - or could be - a "new focus", and only by defining it one way or another can the SG be sure.

An undefined Minor Virtue. If by "cold" you mean both reducing temperature and "banishing cold" (CrIg) and "wards against cold" (ReIg), and creating/manipulating/transforming/destroying/analyzing ice (5xTe+Aquam), and cold weather of any sort (5xTech+Aurum), and creatures of the snow and winter (5xTe+Animal), and so-called "cold/cooling" emotions (5xTe+Mentem) - then I suggest it's not minor. Because first it has to be defined, and only then can it be judged with any confidence.

If the book fully and completely defines a focus, then step 1 is already done, absolutely. But that's rare, and even rarer that a Player/Character wants exactly that, no more, no less.

Yet you agree with me:

So you agree that the canon Foci have been given Minor/Major Focus status while not having been clearly defined. Well, that's exactly what I said. I then said to use them as such you need to define what was intended, which is what you go on to point out. So except for saying my reasoning is "utterly flawed," you completely agree with it when you reason it out.


Yeah. One way to handle it when things like this appear is to go with changing it from just "Cold" to "Cold(inclusive)" and "Cold(limited)" where the former is Major and includes a bunch of indirect effects that COULD be argued for "Cold"... Or something in that direction depending on what the Focus discussed actually is.