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Old 09-23-2017, 01:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default foci in MtA

Since my first regular session of Mage: The Ascension is eight days from now, I've been doing NPC writeups. And I find that it's a little tricky coming up with plausible sets of foci.

On one hand, you can try to come up with foci that fit the Spheres: hourglasses or pocket watches or electronic oscillators or your own pulse for Time, for example; herbs or beer or animal organs for Life, and so on.

On the other hand, doing it that way can produce awfully incoherent lists. You can end up looking like the White Knight's horse, carrying all sort of miscellaneous clutter that you're going to want when you work magic. And the association with the Sphere may not also give you a plausible association with the idea of magic (or of "advanced science").

It really seems as if there ought to be a coherent style of working magic for a character, and the foci ought to be objects that make sense in that style. And ideally they ought also to be objects that fit into the practical task you're going to want to perform.

So, for example, I was building an Order of Hermes character who belongs to House Fortunae. And some things work pretty straightforwardly for that: numbers and numerology for Entropy, for one, or counting for Time, or gemstones for Prime. But I had trouble with Mind as something that could fit into either the high formal style of the OoH or the numerical style of Fortunae. I thought of using coins as a focusócoins embody value, and offering someone value gives you insight into their motivesóbut this seems more like a Syndicate technique than OoH's elaborate ceremonies; and I'm not seeing "I hold up/throw down/fiddle with a gold coin" as having the right look and feel for mind magic, somehow. Nor as fitting in with the other foci I was coming up with for this character's magical style.

Have you played M:tA, or GURPS M:tA, or any system that used foci in casting spells? How did you deal with these things?
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
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