Starting focused on swords!

A recent thread brought up a long-standing issue. A number of posters assume that a focus on a particular type of object affects every enchantment instilled in such an object. I do not think this is how a focus is meant to operate. As I see it, a focus in swords should only benefit effects involving swords regardless of the source of the effect: enchanting a mace to ward the wielder against swords would benefit from the focus, enchanting a sword to ward the wielder against maces would not. Some posters have objected that this would make a focus in swords far too narrow, but I disagree.

I believe one can make an interesting, powerful, versatile starting magus based on a focus in swords interpreted in the narrower sense above. I challenge you to be my champions: design such a magus. The focus is on ... the focus, so no need to list every single ability, flaw, combat total, and so on. Only list the character's "concept" and the relevant Arts and spells, unless some trait is crucial to making full use of them, whether it's a really high Finesse, a Virtue giving the magus control of a group of servitor entities etc. On the other hand, if the magus in question would rely heavily on some spontaneous effects, make sure you list those too. If you want to list "future stuff" that the magus will get to only with some experience under his belt, that's great too.

It looks like nobody else wants to take up this challenge, so I will try. I am not conceding the point about foci and items, I am just trying to make something to answer your challenge.

I have not laid out any spell levels, these are just some general ideas to see what people think.

Barus of House Flambeau
Minor Magical Focus (arrows)
Barus is a magical archer, he has Bows (9) and mid-ranged scores in Herbam, Terram, Ignem, Animal, Creo, Rego, Muto and Corpus. He travels with 2 other archers and a trained group of 5 swordsmen. He mixes mundane arrows with magical ones, and carries a range of materials with him to suit any occasion. He usually has several pouches of poisons and powdered toxins. Whether he is hunting bandits, faeries, magical animals or storming a fortified structure - he has a spell for every occasion.

Pluck a duck (PeAn)
R:Touch, D:Mom, T:Ind
Causes all of the feathers to fall off a bird

A good shaft (ReHe)
Requisites: Mu
Takes any large enough piece of wood and forms it into a standard sized arrow shaft. Requisite needed because the wood can be of any size and shape.

Make the arrow (ReTe)
Requisites: He, An
Uses Rego Craft Magic to form an arrow out of the necessary raw materials.

Create the animal Arrow (CrAn)
R:Touch, D:Diam, T:Ind
Creates an arrow made entirely of animal products

Create the fire arrow (CrIg)
R:Touch, D:Diameter, T:Ind
Requisites: Muto
Creates flames doing +10 damage in the shape of an arrow. This cannot be shot from a normal bow, it must be shot using magic, or a non-wooden bow. The fire does +10 fire damage to whatever it touches and starts mundane fires with combustible materials.

Loose the arrow (ReTe)
R:Touch, D:Momentary, T:Ind
Like "Wielding the invisible sling of Velano", this spell throws an arrow at a target as if it was shot from a shortbow by a man of strength +5

Rain of Arrows (CrHe)
Requisites: Te, Re
R:Voice, D:Diam, T:Group; +1 Size
The spell creates 100 arrows in front of you which fly up into the air and fall down in the target area.

What can you hear (InIm)
R:AC, D:Conc, T:Ind
A piece of wood is used as an Arcane Connection to an Arrow. The caster can hear anything said within range of the arrow.

What can you see (InIm)
R:AC, D:Conc, T:Ind
A piece of wood is used as an Arcane Connection to an Arrow. The caster can see anything within range of the arrow.

Personal Ward against arrows (ReHe)
Requisites (Co, An, Te, Aq, Ig)
R:Touch, D:Diam, T:Ind
All arrows bend around the person protected by this ward. Arrows do not approach closer than 2 feet.

Giant's Bow (CrHe)
Requisites: Re, Te
R:Touch, D:Diam, T:Ind; +2 size
Creates a single large arrow and hurls it at a target. The arrow masses 100 times more than a standard arrow and is ideal for breaking down fortifications.

Shriek of the Impending Shafts (InHe)
As the standard spell

Return the incoming arrows (ReHe)
R:Voice, D:Momentary, T:Group; +1 size
Upto 100 incoming arrows are turned around and sent back along their path at the same speed they were coming in.

Poison the air (MuHe)
Requisites: Auram
R:AC, D:Diameter, T:Ind
The arrow turns into a noxious gas

Become my arrow (MuAu)
Requisites: Aquam, Ignem, Animal, Terram
R:Voice, D:Diam, T:Ind
The object turns into a mundane arrow which can be shot from a bow. When the duration ends it returns to its original form. This spell is often used on a fires flames into an arrow, noxious smoke or poisonous liquids.

One with the arrow (MuCo)
Requisites: He, An, Te
R:Touch, D:Diameter, T:Ind
Turn a fully laden human warrior into an arrow. The arrow is usually shot over the walls of a fortress to enable sabotage.

There was a Magus specialising in Swords created as part of an advancing a Magus activity many months ago on the forums (apologies I can't find the thread on my phone). It had many fully spec'd spells based upon the focus, and advanced through many years.

Found it - do a search by:


That point of view of Minor Magical Focus: Swords limited to affecting swords, and not to put anything into swords, sounds legal to me since Minor Magical Focus are supossed to be as narrow as a Te + Fo combination, but I thought that it would cut down the abilities of Verditius sword makers... so there it goes, a Verditius Swordsmith.

The concept would be "the light-saber-maker", I guess... I only detailed his virtues and XPs spend until gauntled, assuming a later life period of 4 years between childhood and apprenticeship.

Characteristics: Int +3, Per 0, Pre -2, Com 0, Sta +1, Str +1, Dex +2, Qik -1
--A high Int is mandatory for lab totals, and he needed a decent Dex for Crafting totals.

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Affinity with Ability x 2 (Magic Theory, Craft: Swordsmithing), Affinity with Terram, Elemental Magic, Puissant Ability x 2 (Magic Theory, Craft: Swordsmithing), Puissant Art: Terram.
--The idea is that as he will only be able to affect swords and swords are Terram, it will be nice to be able to turn them into other things. Elemental Magic will let him invest any MuTe(Au), MuTe(Ig), MuTe(Aq) effect ignoring the requisite score, and thus focus his Arts into Terram.

Abilities at Gauntlet: Artes Liberales 1, Awareness (swords) 2, Bargain (swords) 2, Brawl (dagger) 1, Charm (potential buyers) 1, Code of Hermes 1, Craft: Swordsmith (long swords) 5 + 2, Dead Language: Latin 4, Folk Ken 1, Guile 1, Native Language 5, Magic Theory (enchanting swords) 4 + 2 [1], Organization Lore: Order of Hermes 1, Organization Lore: Verditius House (Initiations) 1, Parma Magica (terram) 1, Philosophiae (verditious runes) 3, Profession: Swordsmith (weapons maintenance) 1, Single Weapon (long sword)
--Pretty straight abilities. The +1 in single weapon is to test his own product. It's pretty low compared with any decent swordmaster out there, but with his own product on his hand that wouldn't be too much trouble.

Arts at Gauntlet: Cr 0, In 0, Mu 8, Pe 5, Re 6, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 1, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 10 + 3 [1], Vi 1

Later life: just after Gauntlet he should try to get the inner Verditius Misteries Items of Quality and Verditius Elder Runes, and Philosophy to raise his score to 3, thus being able due to his speciality to get the full +4 S&M bonus from swords, and then establish a neat lab somewhere (let's assume an Aura of +5), and work in the lab to install a Greater Item (a Forge, +3 bonus) with the Greater Focus flaw (+4 bonus, -1 to general quality), which would give him a +6 bonus for his swords. That could take a total of 3 years. After that he can start focusing on getting XPs in other Techniques and probably raise his Single Weapon if he gets into the kind of troubles you can cut and slash your way out.

Spells: 120 levels during apprenticeship, probably InVi spells to recognize and measure Vis, and Terram spells that can be helpful in the lab.

After that, let's say he can roll and make a pretty neat sword of Quality +3, turn into a Item of Quality, getting the +4 bonus to harm stuff.

Then he enchants it and embeds into it the Elder Runes of Muto and Terram, which will add +10 to any invested effect, but compensate even at this point. His Lab Total for MuTe with any elemental requisite would be:

Swords Muto Terram Lab Total: +3 Int + 7 Magic Theory + 5 Aura + (8 Muto x 1 + (1 Minor Magical Focus + 1 Verditius Elder Muto Rune)) + (13 Terram x 1 + (1 Verditus Terram Rune)) + 8 Craft: Swordsmith + 6 Lab Modifier = 79.

So first embeded effect: Blade of Zeus. MuTe(Au) 58: Turns the blade of a sword into a lightning wich does +25 damage to anything it hits. Being a lightning, it cannot be parried by other weapons, nor parry them (later embedded effects will probably deal with this inconvenience). The sword still needs to strike its target to deliver the damage. (Spell Base 10, +2 Affecting metal, +1 Conc. for a total Base Level of 25) + 5 Item maintains concentration + 5 24 uses per day + 14 for Penetration (+28) + (5 x 2 for Elder Runes adding difficulty) = 58, and he can invest this effect in 3 seasons of work. If he waits another handful of years improving his Muto and improving his lab he could try to get the penetration higher, in case a client wants to go dragon hunting.

some minor quibbles,
1: There are no Elder Runes for either Muto or Terram
2: due to a rune adding 5 levels to the effect, it is best not to use a rune unless your art is higher than 10, otherwise you get a penalty instead of a bonus.
3: [strike]Lab-total (as written) comes to 71[/strike] (Sorry, missed the MMF)
4: There is no mention of S&M bonus or philosophae

Hi Ouroboros,
I spotted a few minor mistakes in the effect, I believe that it comes to 59 instead of 58.

Base 25, +5 conc, +5 uses, +14 Pen, +10 Runes = 59

If we remove the runes, it comes down to 49

Assuming a lab-total of 65 (as listed, but add +7 S&M, -21 runes) this project takes 4 seasons. IF we reduce Pen by 1 level it can be done in 3 seasons.

Cool spell though, when someone is hit by the sword, do you think that the Item of Quality part of the sword does extra damage? Or would you rule that as it is no-longer a metal "sword", the only damage comes from the lightning?

You are absolutely right, these runes at this point would be more a burden than an improvement. Off with them, and penetration should go that point down. It would be still enough to affect quite a lot of things, and anyway he could then add another version of the same effect with one use per day, one round duration and 10 more points improving Penetration, to use against the big nasty things.

I wouldn't add the Item of Quality bonus, but I would add something like the extra effect of Incantation of Lightning of the target rolling Size 6+ or being blown away. Also consider that being a lightning it would be quite hard to parry (I mentioned it cannot be parried with another weapon, so it should ignore the target weapon defense bonus, but it could also ignore shields, or maybe it could only be dodged), and the damage would be like a weapon damage bonus modifier, so if it hits it will probably doing even more damage... and +25 damage is already a big enough bonus to deal with for the target.