There are four types of foci: Rings, talismans, potions, and culinary ashe. Rings are by far the most flexible type. A ring contains only generic energy which can be used to fuel a variety of different metamagic applications. Talismans are more restricted, as their energy is focused to provide only a single type of benefit. Potions and culinary ashe are even more inflexible, as the energy they contain may only be used for a single purpose and each potion or culinary ashe can only be used a single time.
Using a Focus
A focus is, in the most general terms, a receptacle of magical energy. Using a focus is a simple matter of releasing the energy it contains, then harnessing that energy for use in spellcasting. When handled properly, this energy is used to power metamagic feats, relieving the spellcaster from the need to expend spell slots for these augmented powers. Unfortunately, using an expendable focus is not always a sure thing and can lead to some unexpected results for the careless or novice user.
Using a Ring
In order to use the energy contained within an expendable focus ring, it must be worn while the command word is spoken. activating a ring focus is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The energy, once released, must be used to augment a spell cast in the next round in order to avoid losing the power and possibly starting a manafire (see below). A ring may be used until the energy it contains is completely expended, at which point the ring crumbles to dust immediately.
Using a Talisman
The talisman is a simple magical item, typically worn on a chain around the caster's neck. The talisman is activated by wearing it and speaking a command word. Activating a talisman is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. as with a ring, the energy released from a talisman must be used during the following round to augment a spell in order to avoid losing the energy and starting a manafire. A talisman can only be used until the energy it contains is completely expended, at which point it crumbles to dust immediately.
Using a Potion or Culinary Ashe
The expendable focus potions or culinary ashe are good only for a single use - drinking them is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Once the potion is imbibed, the caster must use the energy released to augment a spell in the following round. Failure to release this energy may cause serious energy to the individual who consumed the potion or culinary ashe.
Using Multiple Expendable Foci
Because each focus can only contain a certain amount of magical energy, there are times when it is beneficial to release power from more than one item. The limitation is the time factor - releasing energy from a focus is a standard action, which severely limits the number of levels that can be released each round.
The benefit of an expendable focus is the nature of the energy it contains. Unlike a scroll, potion, or most other magic items, the expendable focus is a simple repository for magical energy. This energy is measured in levels, and the number of levels of energy contained within an expendable focus determines its usefulness.
When energy is released from an expendable focus, it suffuses the air around the caster (or the caster herself in the case of a potion or culinary ashe) with magical energy. This power is very unstable and, unless used quickly, has the potential to react violently with the mundane atmosphere. Such unfortunate happenings are dubbed manafire, and are often quite deadly.
Creating an Expendable Focus
An expendable focus is much simpler to create than a standard magic item. It does not create an effect, but simply stores energy that can be used by spellcasters in very specific ways. Unlike a magical sword of suit of armor, the expendable focus can be created with few tools and requires more time and effort than material components.
Creating an Expendable Ring Focus
As the most flexible type of expendable focus, rings require more preparation time and a greater investment of materials than the other types. To create an expendable ring focus, the crafter must have the Forge Ring feat and must follow the steps below.
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Creating an Expendable Talisman Focus
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Creating an Expendable Potion or Culinary Ashe Focus
Potions and culinary ashe are the lest expensive, easiest to create foci, because they are so limited in scope. The creator must have the Brew Potion or Culinary Ashe feat. Creating an expendable potion or culinary ashe focus works the same as creating an expendable ring focus, with the following exceptions:
- The raw materials needed for creating this type of focus is readily available - it is the spellcaster's blood that provides the magical spark necessary to store the energy within the potion. The materials do have a cost, however, and a crafter must spend 10 shillings per level of energy the potion or culinary ashe will contain to acquire these components.
- A potion or culinary ashe can only fuel one metamagic enhancement, decided upon at the time of its creation. The creator must be able to use the metamagic at the time the potion or culinary ashe is created. In addition, the potion or culinary ashe may only hold enough energy to fuel the chosen feat a single time. Because the amount of energy required to power a metamagic effect is partly dependent upon the level of the spell the feat affects, the creator must determine at the time the potion or culinary ashe is made what level of spells it will be used to augment
- The time needed to treat the potion is equal to one hour for every three levels of stored energy.
In general, an expendable focus is only useful for the mage that creates it. Other casters cannot release the energy it contains unless special measures are taken.
- The cost of the focus it tripled, as more exotic materials and more elaborate preparations are required.
- The focus must be created in a magical workshop. While a normal expendable focus can be created with nothing more than a fire and a handful of easily obtainable items, an expendable focus that can be used by others requires a great deal more care to create.
- Instead of sacrificing his blood, the creator must instead sacrifice 50 experience points for every level of energy contained within the focus.
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