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Focus Items

While theoretically any item can function as a focus item, wizards tend to gravitate towards certain types of items to make into their focus items. There are a number of reasons for this. One is practicality: while one could make their dresser a focus item, it would be hard to carry around or wield. Similarly, very small focus items, especially ones that aren't worn somehow, have a tendency to get lost at inopportune times. Second is is image: wizards are expected to have a certain amount of dignity and gravitas. A shirt could serve as a focus item, but unless a wizard plans to wear the same rune encrusted shirt every day, it is hardly ideal--and perhaps more extreme, few wizards want to carry around a jester's cap, complete with bells.

However, there are also some metaphysical reasons. Certain items simply just work better as focus items. While there is some debate over just why this is the case, the fact remains that focus items that are metaphorically and conceptually linked with a particular school of magic are easier to make, and often more potent once made, then focus items unrelated to that school.

Despite this, there are some universal focus item--items that are tied very closely with the concept of 'wizardry,' regardless of school. Items such as the staff, rod, wand, and book serve as effective focus items for any school of magic. Whether these items were inherently good focus items, leading to them becoming iconic to wizards, or if they became good focus items due to the iconic nature is a matter for the scholars.

Finally, there is the concept of resonance. While any item metaphorically linked to a school serves as a good base for a focus item, items with a history of use in a manner linked with the school serve noticeably better than recently created and unused items. While any sword can serve as a focus for evocation, a sword that has been used in battle before is a better focus. Some superstition surrounds this effect. While evidence is somewhat scarce, many wizards believe that the fashion an item was used has an effect not only on the magic a focus item will produce, but also on the wielder itself. While a sword from a hero of the legion and a sword from a notorious bandit might have seen equal combat, most wizards would prefer to craft a focus item from the hero's sword, believing that the bandit's lawlessness and cruelty might affect not just their magic, but their character.

Each individual school has a wide variety of items conceptually linked to them. Below is a small sample.

Abjuration is the magic of protection and warding. Focus items for abjuration tend to be protective in nature. Folk charms to ward of spirits are common, as are small pieces of armor--a leather bracer, or a plate gauntlet. Other items may include small fragments from protective constructs. A rod for abjuration may include a stone fragment from a wall, while a bracelet may be made from a melted down lock.

Conjuration is the magic of summoning and creation. Focus items for conjuration are varied, but tend to involve the concepts of distance or trapping. A ring used as a focus might be set with gems from far corners of the world, while a bracelet might be woven from well used fishing line. Ceremonial implements of far away lands could easily serve as focus items for conjuration. Perhaps most potent and rare would be items forged from extra-planar materials.

Divination is the magic of seeing the unseen, be it the future or behind closed doors. Focus items for divination typically are tied either to sight or fortunetelling. Crystal balls are common focus items, as are tarot decks and other implements of augury. Conversely, mirrors, spyglasses and monocles tie into the concept of viewing and sight and thus can easily serve as focus items.

Enchantment is the magic of manipulating the mind, be it subtle or direct. Focus items for enchantment are generally items of real value. Gold rings, silk scarves and jeweled earrings are common items. Other focus items might have a more mundane take on enchanting, and feature items commonly associated with seduction or personal grooming. These items include mirrors, perfumes and other accessories.

Evocation is the magic of force and energy. Focus items for evocation are often weapons, but often include items tied to various forces. In popular conception, the gladius is the evocation implement of choice due to the high number of evokers who serve in the legion. However, a number of items beyond mere weapons serve as foci for evocation. Torches, conductive metals and crystal--all associated with energy, be it heat, electricity, or spiritual--are suitable focus items, as are gems commonly associated with elements, such as rubies and sapphires.

Illusion is the magic of deception. Focus items for illusion tend to appear much more valuable than they are. Fool's gold and cubic zirconium often feature into illusion focus items, as do counterfeits and forgeries, especially of coins. Other focus items are associated with legerdemain and mundane magic tricks, as well as with gambling. Dice, especially loaded ones, decks of playing cards, and elements of a magician's clothing can serve as focus items for illusion.

Necromancy is the magic of death and undeath. Focus items for necromancy generally are tied with death, dying, and the dead. Jewelry carved out of bone--or for the less tasteful, simply just bones--are common focus items. The tools of executioners--the headsman's axe, gallows rope and the like--are common elements, although often disguised or modified to be more tasteful. Other common themes are items associated with time passing, reaping, and the harvest. The hourglass, or at least a pouch of sand from one, and the scythe are somewhat more tasteful, if still imposing, focus items for necromancy.

Transmutation is the magic of change. Focus items for transmutation are often made of materials associated with changing state, or are themselves capable of change. Silk--woven from the cocoon of a metamorphosing silk worm--is a common material, as are metal objects, which are generally taken from solid to liquid to solid again in their forging. Wood and stone, which remain solid throughout the crafting process, are uncommon. Alchemical instruments or products are also common focus items for transmutation.