A magical focus is a special one-use magic item used to impart a small bonus when casting spells.  A magical focus is typically a natural branch cut to 2-3 hands length and smoothed. A crystal is affixed to the tip.  Typically these wand-like implements are found in bundles of 3d4, wrapped in felt or velvet.

A whimsical boon, magic focus impact either the duration, damage, saving throw, or some other some other variable quality of the spell.  Typically, the focus allows for roughly a 10% benefit or +/-1.

Using a magic focus causes the crystal to burn out and become worthless.

Examples (from Swords & Wizardry)

  • ESP – the duration could be extended by 20 minutes or the range increased to 66 feet.
  • Magic Missile – damage is increased by +1 per missile
  • Fear – saving throws are made at -1
  • Locate Animal – duration is extended as if caster were one level higher
  • Contact Other Plane – chance of going insane is reduced by 5%

Magic focus cannot be used for healing or spiritual clerical spells.  Blade Barrier is fine, but Bless cannot benefit from a magic focus.

Other uses might include allowing the caster a saving throw to not loose the spell if damaged in combat (again, S&W, see p 41). Or even allowing Magic-Users to cast in melee.

I wanted to add a picture like from HERE but I could see how they might not be agreeable…Anyway, just a quick idea I had…