Focus was a faith magic spell that gathered devotional energy to power a semi-permanent divine effect.[1]


With this spell, the small amount of power generated by individual believers in a faith could be concentrated and used to augment and maintain a beneficial divine spell for a year. Focus took one day to cast and required at least two other priests of the same religion to assist the caster with the long ceremonies and complicated rituals. Many worshipers also had to be present (within 100 ft/30 m of the focus) to supply the devotional energy, so this spell was often part of holy day celebrations, weddings, dedications, annual festivals, and other special occasions. Because of the need for a steady supply of devotional energy, this spell was usually limited to locations such as sacred gardens or groves, temples, churches, monasteries, or seminaries where many faithful lived and worked or gathered regularly.[1]

There were three possible types of foci: a site, an item, or a living person, animal, or plant.[1]

Site foci 
A place such as a forest, field, garden, building, or room could be the target of this spell. Once cast, the effect was invisible, immobile, and intangible, but detect magic could be used to see any focus.[1]
Item foci 
An item of significance to the faith, usually large and immovable, like a statue, altar, well, or a tomb could be a focus, but it could also be a staff, sword, cup, reliquary, bathtub, etc.[1]
Living foci 
Rarely the chosen focus is a living plant, animal, or person, like a tree, a giant tortoise, or a faith healer. In addition to detect magic, a detect charm would indicate a person was enchanted but without revealing anything specific.[1]

At the end of the day-long ritual to cast focus, the head priest or priests had 10 minutes to cast the spell to be amplified upon the focus. A site, item, plant, or creature could not take on more than one focus, and a focus could not augment more than one spell. Spells that were known to work with focus included:[1]

Spell Site Focus Item Focus Living Focus
Antianimal shell
Antiplant shell
Control temperature, 10' radius
Control winds
Cure disease
Cure blindness or deafness
Detect poison
Detect lie
Detect magic
Dispel evil
Endure cold or heat
Know alignment
Negative plane protection
Protection from evil
Protection from lightning
Protection from fire
Purify food and drink
Remove fear
Remove curse
Repel insects
Resist fire or cold
Speak with animals
True seeing

The area of effect of the spell cast upon the focus was increased to a circle of radius 20 ft (6.1 m)[note 1] per level of the head priest. The duration was increased to one year or until the devotional energy dropped below a certain threshold, whichever came first. To maintain a focused effect required devotional energy the equivalent of 100 people meditating, praying, worshiping, studying, living, or working for the glory of their deity 10 hours a day. If the energy level fell below this threshold, the area of effect started to shrink and disappeared entirely after five days if not replenished. A lay person who was dedicated to the faith but not a priest, such as a scribe, scholar, teacher, or monk counted as two worshipers and a priest counted as ten. Any combination of clergy, devoted laity, and regular worshipers that added up to the required threshold was sufficient to keep the focus powered.[1]


Many verbal, somatic, and material components were required to cast focus and they varied by religion. These might include special vestments, burnt offerings, sacrifices, incense, dancing, songs, music, ritual combat, special foods, blessings, prayers, etc. The material components cost a minimum of 1,000 gp plus 100 gp per level of the spell being amplified and were given up, either as sacrifices to the deity, given to the poor, or otherwise spent.[1]



  1. The spell description in the Tome of Magic 2nd edition contradicts itself, saying "radius" but then giving an example using "diameter". See page 80.


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