SG: Option: Magical Things
Many types of supernatural beings are capable of powerful magic. Often, these beings like to further enhance their spell power by using tools to help them focus their ability.
A prepared spellslinger, fae sorcerer, or vampire witch can ready tools to grant them advantages when using their particular brands of magic. For example, a spellslinger might have a Fire Wand. When using Fire Magic, she can invoke it for a bonus to the dice roll. Also, a GM can allow the same spellslinger to “charge up” the wand by taking some time to prepare the wand. This grants it one free invocation of the wand’s aspect. This technique can work similarly for a vampire’s own brand of Vampire Witchcraft, and for a fae using one of her magical skills.
These are aspects, just like any other a character may have. It does require the character to devote an aspect slot to it. However, remember that in Shadowgate, while characters start with just five aspects, they can gain up to seven aspects after character creation. One or both of these extra slots can be devoted to describing a magical focus.
Magical Foci Examples
Fire Wand - Invoke this focus for a bonus on Fire Magic skills a spellslinger possesses.
Crimson Goblet - Invoke this focus when using Blood Magic (a form of vampire witchcraft). This is invoked when invoking the power summoned by Blood Magic so that it boosts the final spell roll, not the roll to raise power. In game terms, the goblet gets fed blood from raising power, usually the vampire’s own mystically powerful blood, and then it boosts the vampire’s own power when the magic is unleashed.
Fae-spun Armor - This is a very specific type of fae clothing spun with defensive magics using plants from the Fae Realm. It can be invoked for defensive uses of Elements magic to turn away attacks or absorb a couple shifts of stress.
These items are more powerful than magical foci. They’ve been around for a long time and have been exposed to magic for so long, they’ve developed a personality of their own, and likely can cause their own magical effects. An artifact is an item with a will of its own.
These are built in Fate like any npc might be. They have aspects and at least one magical skill. Anyone can use an artifact, but it only works if the artifact chooses to work with the character. Sometimes, an artifact is so powerful it essentially controls its bearer! Artifacts usually have some method of mental communication with one person so long as it is in contact with someone.
Artifacts can be purchased like a personal ally — you devote one of your character’s aspect slots to it. As for a Focus above, it can be one of your “extra” slots you have after character creation. Artifacts are capable of teamwork such that if the wielder and the artifact have the same skill, the wielder can get a +1 bonus from the artifact’s help, or vice versa, depending on who is really doing the magic.
Normally, a servant or sidekick purchased via an aspect must be at least 2 steps lower than the character in terms of peak skill. So, if your character has a peak skill of Superb (+5), your servant would not have a skill higher than Good (+3). However, an artifact is not limited in this way. It can, in fact, have a peak skill even higher than your own character’s peak skill. But beware! Such artifacts always have minds of their own and the issue of who is controlling whom is likely to come up often. Such is the price of power. GM’s should compel a character’s artifact aspect whenever she feels the story calls for it.
Diadem of the Eye - This circlet has a ruby set in it designed to rest in the middle of the wearer’s forehead. It has the aspects of Commander of the Fallen, Proud Tool of Righteous Justice, and Dazzling Glory. It possesses the spellslinger skill of Mind magic at Great (+4), Provoke at Good (+3), and Will at Fair (+2). It has 2 Physical Stress boxes and 3 Mental Stress boxes. It will encourage a wielder to mete out justice and take command in any situation where the wronged are being routed by oppressors. It’s sense of self-preservation will cause it to submit after taking a single consequence.
Next: Appendix: Dials