Magical Focus: MIGHTY stuff?

Two related questions popped up in my saga.

Could there be a magical focus that covers all of the magic of a magus, provided it is sufficiently high level? If so, what would that level be, for a minor/major focus? In terms of balance, it seems to me that covering every ... meh, 20th magnitude or higher effect is sufficiently "narrow" in scope that it would not be out of place even for a minor focus. Sure, it covers every Form and Technique, but so does a minor focus in Certamen, which does not appear less often applicable. How about 15th magnitude or higher? Would 10th magnitude be too low for a major focus?

Could there be instead a magical focus that covered all magic targeting sufficiently "mighty" creatures/effects (this would be mostly Vim, but with a smattering of Mentem, Corpus, Animal, and perhaps Herbam)? And if so, again, what would be a reasonable threshold for a minor/major focus? For example, could a major focus cover all magic targeting, say, supernatural effects of 7th magnitude or above (warding from them, dispelling them etc.), and any being capable of producing them or with Might 35+?

I would simply say no, it is not allowed.


Fair enough, but would you care to elaborate on why? Is it an issue of balance? Of something else?
What would be the smallest possible change that would make you accept either or both of the above as a focus?

My criterion is that the magical focus needs to feel themed, in addition to being a fraction of an Art or combo. The foci you suggest don't really feel that way to me.

I could see a major magical focus in magic directly targeting creatures of Might; it's somewhat powerful and broad, but at least themed. But tacking on affecting their Powers seems overly broad.

And a focus in affecting powerful magic just feels wrong. It's too much of a game-system thing, rather than a magic thing. I could see a magical focus of affecting magic of a certain type, that happens to also be powerful; e.g. Binding magic, Faerie curses, or whatnot. But not magic in-general, that just happens to also be powerful.

Then again, I would never have approved Damage as a magical focus, so what do I know.


To begin with it is pretty much a focus in power gaming. The best books according to covenants (requiring a covenant boon to possess) are level 25, meaning they were written by someone with level 50 skill in an art. Level 20 is a relatively routine book level, which means an author with ability of 40, so level 90 spells should not be out of the question for a dedicated magus. Any actual use of these foci if they are going to be meaningfull would require someone to be able to cast powerfull enough spells to use the focus in multiple arts.
To me, the key thing is that it is ultimately a virtue that becomes a trump card- it isn't a focus because it applies to any combination of the arts- whatever the level you choose becomes easier to get to because one art is doubled- so if you chose level 90 then instead of that needing to be 50+40 that becomes 50+20+20, or 40+25+25, which should be something just about anyone can get to later in life. I would seriously have to consider removing someone from the game for asking, because I would consider it a harbinger of many headaches to come.

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I am not sure I follow you there. It seems to me you are saying that either the focus sees too little applicability (if the level is too high, because then you never use it), or sees too much applicability (if the level is too low, because then it applies to too many effects). Shouldn't there be some "middle point" between the two? Or am I reading you incorrectly?

In particular, let's take your example. 18th magnitude. You claim it's too broadly applicable, But really, how much 90th level magic would your magi cast, even if it were ... no harder than level 65-70 to pull off? I mean, it's still gigantic rituals, taking hours and costing tons of vis (and often risking catastrophic botches). Or gargantuan effects in magic items ... possibly, because there are not many effects of that magnitude that don't deserve a ritual for sheer "impressiveness" and hence can be "fitted" into an enchanted device.

because of the nature of a focus, it brings things within the focus into reach much more easily. With "power" as the focus, which is what this really is, it makes everything easier to reach. So no, there is no middle point- if the focus is worth taking it is abusive
in a way every focus is about powerful effects, so having a focus in "mighty effects" is saying you are taking a "focus" in everything.

Hmm. How about the following as (the effects covered by) a major focus?

  1. Every Vim effect above a certain magnitude, OR
  2. Every Vim effect with a target above a certain magnitude.

It seems to me a single Form is sufficiently thematic, if too broad, to be a major focus.
Now, imagine two brothers, Micros and Macros (from Thebes!).
Micros has a major focus that applies to "small potato" effects in that Form, those less than level X.
Macros has a major focus that applies to "impressive" effects in that Form, those above level X.
For some X, each focus is narrow enough to cover less than half of the Form, so it should be fair as a major Focus. Or not?

Exactly the same argument should apply if, instead Micros has a focus on "small" targets in the Form (say, Corpus of size less than X), and Macros has a focus on "big" targets in the Form (say, Corpus of size more than X). It might not be clear what the "right" X is, but isn't there some threshold between "big" and "small" which makes "big bodies" and "small bodies" both fair and thematic, just as much as "male bodies" and "female bodies"?

magic is not a ven diagram
a focus should be about the nature of the spell, not the magnitude
besides, how ridiculous is it to have a focus which boost spell casting but only for weak spells? It would be completely useless, which is why, conversely, a "focus" on big spells is abusive- it is a "limitation" that is already inherent to the design.

The easy way to determine if a proposed character choice is too powerful is to ask yourself, “If this option existed, would I ever not take it?”

The answer is no. If I can take MMF: spells of level 20+, I will assign that to every magus I make in perpetuity, and I’ll be better at magic than every magus without it. Because the only spells it doesn’t apply to... are spells I don’t need it for. A limitation that doesn’t actually limit you is no limitation at all.

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Diedne magic does that for sponting, no?

Another vote for "No" here.

That is a quite good example because it's not the same at all, the differerence being that you can actually turn these two examples into thematic translations; change "size more than X" to and "Giants", and it would made a perfect Minor Magical Focus. They would also would cover things beyond Corpus! You can't do that for "Form spells above X level", as you wouldn't do "Form spells of even level" (and I should stop looking for examples because now I'm finding myself thinking "but I'd allow "Form spells of PRIME level" :joy:).

Not ridiculous at all, because of the penetration boost. An Intangible Tunnel assassin would love that focus way too much.

And Chthonic Magic does it for everything. Still they are different things, having their own drawbacks (and Diedne Magic being not so good at all).

There is a minor magical focus for "Legendary Creatures" that shows up in Birna's descendants.

Would a focus in Rotes be allowed? I'm not saying it's the best use of a focus, but is it reasonable?

There was a discussion of a magus with the Savant flaw from Grogs a while back. That, plus Notatus' obsession with a number, led me to wonder if a Magical Focus in a number would be workable (for a Numerologist?), say Magical Focus (Five). Would it be applicable to level 5 spells? Level 55 spells? Fifth magnitude spells? Group spells that target 5 Individuals?

A storyguide needs boss creatures for dramatic reasons. So instead of having a Might 35 boss, the storyguide sends a Might 50 boss, ruining the enjoyment for all the other players.

Never forget that it is the storyguide who tells a tale that plays to your character's strength, which is fun, or pokes at the character's weaknesses, which is fun, too (think of Spock - he's at his most adorable when pure logic doesn't solve the case)

I'd say yes to the Rotes one, because they aren't exactly groundbreaking, and also to number 5 (I'd prefer 7 or 13 but ok, 5), as a color can be a focus (...if only for Imaginem based focus). I'd definetively not use it to boost level 5 spells (or V magintude spells), because I think the spell level is actually a convention (what if you count in base 7?, something more on the side of the players than the characters. Spells of 5 targets, spells that create pentagonal shapes or dodecahedrons would be covered for such a focus.

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I agree with spells of level 20+.

But note that in the original example it was spells of level 100+ (20th magnitude). I would never take such a focus for a PC of mine, even as a minor focus, unless there was some really strong saga theme built around it (e.g. the characters have to research and cast some mighty ritual to save to the world bla bla).
15th magnitude? Perhaps, as a minor focus. I would not be able to do much with it, but if I specialize e.g. via Mercurian Magic in some kind of really Big Rituals ... well level 75 does see some use. Etc.

By the same token, "Cantrips" -- let's say any effect of 2nd magnitude (level 10) or less as Major Magical Focus would be a lot of fun to play, powerful but not quite overpowered. And I think it would be thematic too: an unassuming magus who always deals with "small potato" magics is almost a trope.

Doesn't this same argument disqualify Legendary Creatures as "bosses" if any player has Legendary Cretatures as a focus? I don't think I am quite convinced.

So let me understand:

  1. you would allow as a major focus something like "big beasts" (all animals above a certain size threshold) and "small beasts" (all animals below a certain size threshold).
  2. you would not allow as a major focus something like "minor animal magics" (all animal effects below a certain magnitude) because you do not consider it thematic. Similarly you would not allow as a major focus "cantrips" (say, all effects of level 5 or less, just to be on the safe side in terms of power) because you do not consider it thematic.


Hmmm, something get lost in the transition from Co to An: Giants is something concrete and thematic, while "big animals" starts to be quite blurry. Still I think I would allow it, but I'd spend quite a lot of time arguing with the player why not resorting to Legendary Beasts or a specific beast or animal (or animal kind) as the corebook suggest as foci for Animal.

And as for cantrips as any spell of level X or less, I already exposed my main concern above. Have you ever seen an Intangible Tunnel assassin in game? When a magus systematically use 1st and 2nd magnitude spells as his main form of attack Penetration already gets quite high quite easily. If you also give that character the possibility of focus every spell he is going to use, he is going to be just too much.