Mage Foci

Rules from the main rulebook

  • Unneeded foci: If your Arete is high enough, then you may no longer need a focus for one or more spheres. If you use it anyway, you get -1 difficulty. Most mages can discard one sphere per dot of Arete above 1. Technomancers (Sons of Ether, Virtual Adepts, and some Orphans) can discard one sphere at Arete 5, and two more spheres per additional dot. Technocrats don't get to discard anything. Also, this is per-sphere, not per-focus (in case you use the same focus for multiple spheres).
  • Unique foci: Pretty much anything can be unique, by declaring it as such: "this particular rock", as opposed to "any rock". You get -1 difficulty when using it. However, if you lose it, then you can't use the sphere until you recover it or re-adjust to a new focus (the latter costs 2*N XP, where N is the number of dots you currently have in the sphere).

Rules from The Book of Shadows

  • Quality foci: You can get -1 difficulty for taking lots of time and trouble to put together a really impressive and stylish instance of your focus. Compare the Dreamspeaker who picks up a pigeon feather in Central Park to the Dreamspeaker who climbs a mountain to acquire an eagle feather.
  • Dual unique / non-unique foci: If you have a unique focus, you can pay the XP cost for re-alignment to pick up an additional non-unique focus for the same sphere. You can then use either one, and get the bonus if you use the unique one.

House rules

  • When re-aligning after the loss of a unique focus, you may choose whether the new focus becomes unique or non-unique.
  • When casting an effect that involves multiple spheres, the sphere with the most conservative bonus is the one that matters.

Joe Hermetic has a unique focus for Matter, an unneeded focus for Forces, and a normal focus for Correspondence.

  • If he casts a Matter 1 Forces 1 effect, using both foci, then he gets -1 difficulty.
  • If he casts Matter 1 Forces 1 Corr 1, then he doesn't (because Corr offers no bonus).
  • When you gain Arete and choosing a new focus to discard, you cannot choose a unique focus unless that's all you have left.
  • Unique and quality bonuses are not cumulative with each other, but either of them is cumulative with the unneeded bonus.
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