• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E Making Spell Foci more interesting

BookTenTiger

He / Him
What are some house rules I could introduce to make a choice of Spell Focus more interesting?

I like the idea of a spellcaster making the choice to use a Crystal, Orb, Rod, Wand, or Staff based on more than flavor. But what would be some interesting ways incentivize players into choosing different Spell Foci?

(I'm focusing on Arcane Spell Foci right now, but feel free to come up with ideas for Druidic or Divine spell foci as well.)

One idea I had is to make different Spell Foci better for casting certain schools of spells. For example, it would make sense for Orbs to be better at Divination, wands at Evocation, etc (just based on fantasy tropes).

Mechanically, that might mean a simple +1 to Spell Attacks and DC's, but that seems too powerful. What about a chance to regain a spent spell slot when it's in the focus's spell school? Something like:

When you use an Orb as a spell focus to cast a Divination spell, there is a 10% chance the spell does not use up a spell slot.

Another idea would be to allow spellcasters to change spells using their Spell Focus. For example, there could be Wands of different materials that allow a spellcaster to replace the damage types in their spells. Something like:

When using a wand of Arcanic Material, you may replace the damage type of a spell cast with the wand's damage type.

Demon Horn - Fire
Yeti Bone - Cold
Celestial Feather - Radiant

And so on.

What are some of your ideas? This is just a brainstorm thread, I'd love to read some new thoughts!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I've had in mind for a while now to make cantrips more like weapons. Spellcaster gain proficiency in a various Implements (their cantrips known) and have to use them to cast the cantrip, giving at-will magic a light action cost for juggling implements and making it easier to disarm spellcaster and force them to spend slots.

For a less mechanical, more flavorful idea, make your spellcaster roll X number of time of the Trinkets page of the PHB to see what is their personal implements.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I've had in mind for a while now to make cantrips more like weapons. Spellcaster gain proficiency in a various Implements (their cantrips known) and have to use them to cast the cantrip, giving at-will magic a light action cost for juggling implements and making it easier to disarm spellcaster and force them to spend slots.

For a less mechanical, more flavorful idea, make your spellcaster roll X number of time of the Trinkets page of the PHB to see what is their personal implements.
So each Cantrip would be aligned with a different Implement?
 


Normally I really resist these types of changes, but...
One idea I had is to make different Spell Foci better for casting certain schools of spells. For example, it would make sense for Orbs to be better at Divination, wands at Evocation, etc (just based on fantasy tropes).
I kind of like this idea.
Increasing the DC of a spell is a good idea, but do you decrease the DC of one of the opposite schools? So orbs are +1 for divination, but -1 for transmutation? Have to be careful that the opposing schools are meaningful. i.e. make sure the penalty is meaningful to the type of caster.

Now, what about the tools of the other classes? If you change this for arcane casters, shouldn't you do something similar for other class tools? Would their be different types of longswords? Or shortbows? If you give meaningful choices to casters, do you need to give meaningful choices to melees?
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Normally I really resist these types of changes, but...

I kind of like this idea.
Increasing the DC of a spell is a good idea, but do you decrease the DC of one of the opposite schools? So orbs are +1 for divination, but -1 for transmutation? Have to be careful that the opposing schools are meaningful. i.e. make sure the penalty is meaningful to the type of caster.

Now, what about the tools of the other classes? If you change this for arcane casters, shouldn't you do something similar for other class tools? Would their be different types of longswords? Or shortbows? If you give meaningful choices to casters, do you need to give meaningful choices to melees?
Interesting ideas to make spell foci "unaligned" with certain schools!

This thread came about after I was noodling around with new, more interesting weapon ideas, so yes!
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Thinking further, one way to approach this would be to universalize the kinds of options Spell Foci give for each type of spellcaster. For each, there's one focus that can recharge a spell slot, one that can be attached to a shield, and one that can replace a damage type.

Arcane Spell Focus
Crystal - A crystal can be attached to a shield.
Orb - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with an orb does not use up a spell slot.
Rod / Staff / Wand - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.

Holy Symbol
Emblem - An emblem can be attached to a shield.
Reliquary - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with a reliquary does not use up a spell slot.
Amulet - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.

Druidic Focus
Sprig of Mistletoe - A sprig of mistletoe can be attached to a shield.
Totem - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with a totem does not use up a spell slot.
Wooden Staff / Yew Wand - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.


To add to this, maybe the basic spell foci in the Equipment list don't have these effects... Maybe these spell foci cost 100 gp or are hard to find? It would provide more things to spend gold on!
 

Thinking further, one way to approach this would be to universalize the kinds of options Spell Foci give for each type of spellcaster. For each, there's one focus that can recharge a spell slot, one that can be attached to a shield, and one that can replace a damage type.

Arcane Spell Focus
Crystal - A crystal can be attached to a shield.
Orb - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with an orb does not use up a spell slot.
Rod / Staff / Wand - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.

Holy Symbol
Emblem - An emblem can be attached to a shield.
Reliquary - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with a reliquary does not use up a spell slot.
Amulet - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.

Druidic Focus
Sprig of Mistletoe - A sprig of mistletoe can be attached to a shield.
Totem - There is a 10% chance a spell cast with a totem does not use up a spell slot.
Wooden Staff / Yew Wand - When made up of different materials, can replace the damage types of spells.


To add to this, maybe the basic spell foci in the Equipment list don't have these effects... Maybe these spell foci cost 100 gp or are hard to find? It would provide more things to spend gold on!
I would switch sprig of mistletoe and totem for the druidic foci. It just makes more sense to me. But, then again, there ain't no other me but me.
 


aco175

Legend
I always liked to have special components that allow you to not need normal components. A demon horn allows you to cast fireball for example. Making a wand with this might be something. Of course, components tend to become meaningless for most groups so you may need something more.

Most of my ideas are magic items and not just for base foci and small benefits.
 

Remove ads

Top