Major vs Minor Magical Focus

Armaments: Major or Minor magical focus?

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Would make it more specific
  • Wouldn't allow it

0 voters

Ok, hypothetically speaking:

Say a PC wants to have a Magical Focus in "Armaments" meaning hand-held weapons and armor. Would you say Major or Minor? Or would you not allow it, or have it be more specific?

Edited to add: I'm specifically thinking about effects that make a weapon or armor a better weapon or armor. (Flaming swords, Armor that turns opponents weapons into dust etc)

Minor if it's only spell casting and invention.
Major if it's also investing effects in those.

I Disagree.

Investing "Kill tree at sight" (PeHe) into a shield should NEVER EVER benefit from a focus.
Otherwise, every enchantment benefits from the focus.

I say it's minor, but only if the spell/enchantment is about armor/shields/helmets.

like a weightless armor

JeanMichelle, that is against RAW since "swords" or "wands", minor focus, cover enchantement in sword of any kind.

We should probably get clarification from David about "Swords" and "Wooden Wands" once and for all to settle that issue. "Wood" is minor, and "Wooden Wands" is far, far more restrictive. I think there may be a weapon example more broad than "Swords," but I'm not sure where.


Three words: Hughes of Flambeau...
His Minor Focus by his Valkyria Mythic Blood is just that...

Did we get a clarification from David on that at some point? I still only recall the long debate.


I know it's not RAW. But I think that the wood focus is one that is easily abused (especially by a Verditius).
It's one of the very few flaws of this game.

Ah, thanks. I thought it was somewhere in MoH. So we have "Arms and Armour" as minor vs. the much more restricted "Swords" as minor.

Overall, I agree with ExarKun.


Not that I recall. We really should pester him about it :slight_smile:

For my 2 cents, I would say that a focus on "battle" magics (spontaneous or formulaic effects) or lab/rituals/enchantments that affect the efficacy of weapons or armor as weapons or armor would constitute a minor focus. Switching either "or" to an "and" would be a major focus, and I would not allow a general focus on both weapons and armor. So a minor focus on "battle" magics effecting weapons might allow you to turn a sword to rust, or cause a sword to become flaming, but it would not allow you to turn a sword into a giant pit, a ball of flame, or make it possess its wielder to do your bidding, as those effects do not involve modifying the efficacy of the weapon as it is used as a weapon, but rather make it do something different entirely.

That'd be my ruling anyway, apriori. In practice, I'd talk with the player and see what he was trying to achieve.

Beyond the above arguments, since the word "armaments" is completely undefined, I'd disallow it until it's clear what is meant, and what is expected and intended by the Player.

I think it's absolutely appropriate for a SG to ask, point blank, "What do you see your character doing w/ this Focus?" Then gauge that against the guidelines.

The original poster specified that he meant "hand-held weapons and armor"; adding that he was "specifically thinking about effects that make a weapon or armor a better weapon or armor. (Flaming swords, Armor that turns opponents weapons into dust etc)".

I'd say that's a minor focus. I'd keep it a narrow focus even if it was not limited to improving armors and weapons, but also allowed creating them, destroying them, controlling them, turning other stuff into them etc. While it's spread over a large number of Arts, it also comprises a fairly narrow range of effects that affect mostly combat, and in a way that's somewhat suboptimal for a wizard.

Yeah, but even within that there is a huge variation in scope possible, from less than Minor to easily bigger than Major.

(A bit off-topic - Also I don't think this is legal by Hermetic magic. It's a "quasi-ward", an effect that later effects something else (an undefined/un-sensed Target at the time of Casting). Only "Magical Wards" (p 114) can do something like that*, and then only w/ Rego and only as barriers against that Form.

(* and a couple inexplicable legacy spell effects, iirc...)

It's a classic effect, I won't argue against that - it's just not covered in the RAW.)

I'm not sure that I understand your reasoning here.

What is wrong with an effect like...

Arms to Dust
PeTe 20, unlimited uses
R: Touch, D:Momentary, T:Individual
This effect, which is activated when a metal weapon hits the armour, turns that metal weapon into dust.
(Base 3, +2 Affect Metal, +1 Touch; +10 unlimited uses)

it should be that hard to enchant an armor that releases a touch-range PeTe effect on any metal object striking it (hard).
Items can affect phenomenae other than themselves (eg. Wand of Abysmal Flame and family) and can trigger off significant enviromental changes (I'd call being struck hard by a metallic object good enough).

The time of casting is "when struck", since the item "casts" the effect. Otherwise how'd you gain enchant effects that affect anything but the enchanted item itself?

EDIT: I see that Richard Love agree with me - and posted faster :wink:

On turning weapons to dust.

I might require a linked InTe effect rather then allow "being struck by metal" to be an environmental trigger. (Admittedly I might be too strict on environmental triggers.) Otherwise the effect is sound.

Original question.
Ol Hughes from MoH has an Arms and Armor focus, but it doesn't seem to help him enchant said arms and armor faster if the effects don't affect the items themselves.

My own rule with magical foci is the more specific the focus the broader I allow it to apply. So someone from the Confraternity of Roland who's focus only includes swords could apply it to any effect they choose to invest in a sword.

Serf's Parma, but...
IIRC the rulebook says environmental triggers are the kinds of things that spell durations are based on (sunrise, sunset, diameter, astrological conjunction, etc.). You can also get away with a lot of triggering conditions being gesture-based (I gesture with the sword by swinging it). Outside of these, I'd personally require In* magics to do the detection. Being hit would definitely by an InTe-requiring effect for my sagas.

And yes, the aforementioned sword would use up a use-per-day each time you swung it. Even if you miss. Even if you are just swinging it around for practice.

I agree that being struck by metal is not an environmental trigger as it is not a "major magical feature of the environment." (I wouldn't allow diameter, either, since I can't answer a question about when the next diameter starts.) So I would require InXx as well.

However, you could do it without InXx more easily. Just make being struck the trigger. That means it will cast the effect on everything striking it, it just won't work a lot of the time.


Yeah. I wouldn't allow "being struck by a metal weapon" to be an environment trigger; it's not the right sort of thing.

But that wasn't the intent, which is why it wasn't costed as an environmental trigger.

I meant that the ordinary activation sequence was "being struck by a metal weapon". I consider that fine for an activation sequence without additional InTe effects to detect this, after all if a wand can be activated by gesturing and saying a command word (without Intellego detection effects required) then it seems that "being struck by a metal weapon" would be fine too. But YSMMV. And, as callen says, "being struck" is a viable alternative activation sequence too.