Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Spell Foci

by David Paige

I just wanted to share a little game rule that my camp came up with a long time ago: Magic Foci. This was partially to explain why in books and films that Wizards only needed their Wands and/or Staffs. You never see Gandalf pulling guano out of a pocket to cast a spell!

Basically, it is a way for a Wizard to prepare and "imprint" an item so that the Wizard does not have to have the Material component for spell casting. This foci can be anything, but is typically a wand or staff. Here is the ceremony spell:

Empower Foci (Alteration)
Range: 0
components: V,S,M
Duration: Permanent
Casting Time: 1 hr/spell level + spell casting time
Area of Effect: foci item
Saving Throw: None

This spell imprints a spell on the foci. material component is the Foci and whatever material component the spell needs and 500 gp/spell level in various material. Once the spell is finished, the foci takes the place of the material component for the spell. Also, the foci is not consumed by the spell. Certain spells still need certain components to function (ie. Clone spells still need a sample of the clone-ie to work), the DM is final judge in these cases. One benefit of the Foci is that it speeds up spell casting a bit, due to the lack of needing to manipulate material components. A spell that uses a foci is -1 on it's casting time (ie. A spell that takes 6 segments to cast normally, only takes 5 segments with a foci)

Anything can be a foci for spell casting. Some PC use already established wands (ie. Wand of Lightning Bolts) to use as their foci. The Wand will still function as a wand (in our case, Wand of Lightning Bolts) as well as a spell foci. Even if the item has been "decharged" of it's original function, it still acts as a spell foci.

Foci become more durable than the material they are made from. Despite the material the foci is made of, the foci gets to save as if it were made of Stone, for damage purposes. This is an alteration of the Empower Spell, so if the foci was made of something stronger than Stone, the Foci still saves as if it was Stone. The foci is still it's original material (metal is still magnetic, glass is still and insulator, etc), it's durability is now altered by magic.

If a foci is destroyed, the magic is lost, even if the foci is repaired. The wizard must start over again "imprinting" the foci. Depending on how much magic has been imprinted, the DM may give a destroyed foci an explosive quality. If a foci has "a lot" of spells imprinted, the foci will release a 2d6 fireball in a 5' radius upon its destruction. Save for half damage.

1st level spells do not need to be imprinted individually on a foci. The Wizard just needs to cast Empower once using 500gp of material to conduct the spell. This first casting needs to happen before any other spell levels can be imprinted on the foci. After that first casting, any first level spell can be cast from the foci. Any spell above 1st needs to be cast individually on the foci.