Dresden Files: New York
Focus and Enchanted Items
Spellcasters get a number of “slots” to be used on various items. A spell caster can increase that number via character advancement taking the refinement power.There are three basic kinds of magical items: focus items, enchanted items, potions. Each slot can be traded in to receive a number of slots of another kind of item.
1 Focus item slot = 2 Enchanted item slots = 4 potion slots
Focus items enhance a wizard’s spellcasting in a particular fashion by providing a bonus to one part of the spellcasting effort.
A single focus item slot can create either:
An evocation focus that provides +1 bonus to a single element in one of four categories:
- Offensive power (Conviction)
- Offensive control (Discipline)
- Defensive power (Conviction)
- Defensive control (Discipline)
Or a thaumaturgy focus that provides a +1 bonus to a specific theme or function of thaumaturgy that applies either caster’s “no-prep” complexity (Lore) for preparing rituals or Caster’s control (Discipline) rolls for funneling power into the spell.
The type of bonus is determined and locked down at the time the item is created.
Subsequent focus item slots allow you to create entirely new focus items or increase effects provided by adding another single element effected by the item, another single category of bonus that the item applies or and addtional +1 to the bonus the item grants
All bonuses granted by a single focus item must be equal across all it’s categories and elements it effects. Meaning that adding Offensive Power to a focus item that grants +2 Fire Offensive Control would cost 2 additonal slots.
The total number of slots a focus item uses is equal to the number of elements or types multiplied by the total of the bonuses. So an item that offered +1 offensive power and +1 offensive control to fire and earth evocations would take up 4 slots.
No focus item may provide a bonuses greater than your Lore.
If you are willing to lock the item down to only ever being useful for one specific spell— such as an established evocation rote or a divination spell that always looks for the same thing—then you get a single free “slot upgrade” to add an extra +1 bonus.
You can’t benefit from the same type of bonus (e.g., a control bonus) from two or more items at the same time—so if you had two items, one with a +2 control bonus and another with a +1 control bonus, the total effect is a +2 to control.
Enchanted items are intended to hold a single, pre-generated effect that is stored until released, after which the energy in the item must be recharged.
When you create an enchanted item, you must specify the effect that the item performs. Nearly any effect within the range of thaumaturgy or evocation is allowed. The object begins with the following to two limitations:
The effect has a strength equal to your Lore, it may only be used once per game session.
You may increase the number of uses per session by one by reducing the base strength of the item by one. When doing this, the base strength of the item may not go below 1. The strength of an enchanted item may be reduced by one to make it usable by someone other than the caster.
Using an enchanted item may require some kind of skill roll, particularly if it needs to be targeted as an attack. Defensive items (ones that provide armor or a block, for example) often consume a use at the time of defense and don’t require a separate action to activate.
If an enchanted item runs out of uses in a session and is wielded by a practitioner, they may make additional uses anyway by taking one point of mental stress per use.
Subsequent enchanted item slots allow you to:
- Create a new enchanted item with a new effect
- Add +1 to the strength of the default effect on an existing enchanted item
- Add 2 to the uses per session for an existing enchanted item
Regardless, an item’s casting strength after all bonuses are totaled should never exceed two times the crafter’s Lore rating—at least not without a very good rationale and a ton of baggage.
Potions are very similar to enchanted items in terms of function but are both more limited and more flexible.
At the beginning of each session, you may declare what potions you have on hand to fill your potions slots, or otherwise leave them open. If you have an open slot and a successful Lore roll or a fate point to spend, you may later declare that you coincidentally have an appropriate potion. A given potion can only be used once, period, but it doesn’t face a surcharge for being usable by someone else.
The effect strength of a potion is equal to the wizard’s Lore. Multiple slots devoted to potions allow the wizard to either:
- Have more potions or,
- Add +1 to the strength of any potion
The effect strength of the potion may be boosted on the fly or at the time it is created with the invocation of aspects. Each invocation allows the potion’s strength to be increased by 2.
Power is hard to squirrel away without it being noticed. This is particularly true where items are concerned, both in terms of their physical and supernatural dimensions. First, the physical. Use this chart as a guideline, counting up the number of slots spent on a single item.
|Focus Item Slots||Enchanted Item Slots||No smaller than|
|1-2||1-4||Ring (ear or finger)|
|3-4||5-8||Fist or rod|
|5-6||9-12||Basketball or staff|
The size of an item will play into how hard it is to physically detect. Fortunately, even when a magic item is physically obvious, it’s not always obvious what it’s for. A beat cop might not look at a staff as much more than a funky walking-stick, even though such a thing is as lethal as a machine-gun in the hands of the right wizard.
Those who are in the know (generally, those with actual occult training) can use their Lore skill to pick up on the presence of an item of magical potency, getting a +1 to the roll for every two enchantment slots or one focus slot spent in the item’s construction.
This isn’t the same as knowing what the staff does, mind you—it only identifies it as an item of supernatural power. Few supernatural types take kindly to someone walking into their establishment while loaded down with big, nasty enchanted and focus items—the same as anyone wouldn’t react well to someone showing up toting two assault rifles and a bandoleer of grenades. This is why many wizards go for multiple small items, rather than a single, multi-functional whopper of a thing (this also helps spread out the risk of loss).