Originally posted January 2009

[info]dracorex‘s mention of running a homebrew Dresden Files game reminded me of the work I did a few years ago on one of my own (though I never got around to running it). Looking back over what I’d put together, a lot of it seemed to work perfectly well as piecemeal rules to graft onto any modern occult game. Thus, I post them here in the hopes that someone can make some use of them.

Tonight, Foci rules for generating a Dresden-style focus that assists a wizard by adding a bonus to spontaneous casting (evocation) rolls.

Overview

Foci are tools that allow a wizard to channel and control evocations more effectively.

  • Rating: the value that is added to a spellcasting roll (e.g., a rating 3 Focus adds +3 to spellcasting for effects that it’s useful for).
  • Scope: A total of several modifiers indicating how wide a range of situations the focus is useful for.
  • Permanence: A rating indicating how long a focus will last before requiring a ritual to recharge.

Rating

Foci rating cannot exceed the Wizardry rating of the creator (Arete for Mage, Sorcery for Buffy, etc.). The rating is added to the wizard’s spellcasting rolls for effects within the scope of the focus.

Scope

Foci have a minimum scope of 1.

  • -3 – Only works in the wizard’s home/sanctum
  • +0 – Works anywhere
  • +0 –Must be used by the creator
  • +1 –Can be used by other wizards
  • +2 –Can be used by anyone
  • +0 – Only focuses the wielder’s magic
  • +3 – Has an effect withits own power*
  • +1 – Effect triggers automatically under a defined circumstance
  • +1 –Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (e.g., blast fire)
  • +2 –Channels a broad aspect of a particular force (e.g., any fire evocation)
  • +3 –Channels all evocations
  • -1 – Is only usable once per day without reduced effect
  • -2 – Is only usable once per week without reduced effect
  • -3 – Is only usable once per month without reduced effect
  • +1 – Inconspicuous (bracelet or ring)
  • +0 –Concealable (rod)
  • -1 – Obvious (staff)

*Items with their own power have a wizardry score equal to their Rating.

Sample item scopes:

  • Harry’s blasting rod (scope 1): Works anywhere (0), Must be used by Harry (0), Only focuses the wielder’s magic (0), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (blast fire)(1), Concealable (0)
  • Harry’s staff (scope 2): Works anywhere (0), Must be used by Harry (0), Only focuses the wielder’s magic (0), Channels all evocations (3), Obvious (-1)
  • Harry’s Shield Bracelet (scope 2): Works anywhere (0), Must be used by Harry (0), Only focuses the wielder’s magic (0), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (kinetic shield)(1), Inconspicuous (1)
  • Harry’s Ring of Force (scope 2): Works anywhere (0), Must be used by Harry (0), Has an effect with its own power (3), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (kinetic punch)(1), Inconspicuous (1), Is only usable once per month without reduced effect (-3)
  • Harry’s Standard Wards (scope 1): Only works in the wizard’s home (-3), Must be used by the creator (0), Has an effect with its own power (3), Effect triggers automatically under a defined circumstance (1), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (redirective countermagic)(1), Obvious (-1)
  • Harry’s Emergency Wards (scope 3): Only works in the wizard’s home (-3), Must be used by the creator (0),
    Has an effect with its own power (3), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (reflective countermagic)(1), Channels a specific aspect of a particular force (kinetic locks)(1), Inconspicuous (candles)(1)

Permanence

  • -3 – Must be re-enchanted after one use*
  • -1 – Must be re-enchanted after a week(clock starts on first use*)
  • +0 – Must be re-enchanted after a month(clock starts on first use*)
  • +1 – Requires simple monthly maintenance
  • +3 – Requires yearly maintenance
  • +5 – Requires very rare maintenance
  • +7 – Effectively permanent

* This first use must be made within a year.

Acquiring a Focus

For purchase as an advantage

Multiply Rating by Scope and add the Permanence value to determine the cost in advantage points

For creation using thaumaturgy

The character rolls Enchantment Thaumaturgy skill against a difficulty of the intended focus Rating plus the Permanence rating.

Preparing the item takes one week per level of scope (reduce this by one day per week for every point of the roll achieved past the difficulty).

Each power roll takes one day per level of scope (the character can do other things during this process, but must devote a few hours a day, each day). If a scope 1 creation is successful on the first roll, only a few hours are usually consumed.

The difficulty of the power roll and the successes required are standard for a thaumaturgic casting. This includes the mandatory cost for high-rating items (but since the rolls are infrequent, these costs are easier to maintain). Once the casting is complete, the focus is ready.

A character who is fully dedicated to the work can make up to three enchantments simultaneously, but will have little time for anything else except sleeping and eating.

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