Basic Mechanics; Destruction Sphere
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
Spheres of Power is a Pathfinder third-party supplement by Dropdead Studios that was released in 2014. My interest in this was piqued because I kept reading about it being talked up as a complete replacement for Pathfinder’s (and by extension 3rd Edition’s) entire magic system and comes off far better balanced as a result.
In short, it’s not as fiddly as Vancian casting since you don’t need to track spell slots and your spell abilities are more akin to class features, and it’s not as powerful as D&D’s traditional magic since the spells are more, shall we say, reined in and gamist rather than expressive of a fantasy world.
Before we get into the meat of the magic system, we first have to take down some basic mechanics:
- this is akin to the Base Attack Bonus, except for spellcasters.
Classes like Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics and Druids, which have “full spellcasting progression”, are classified as High Casters and gain 1 Caster Level per class level, ending at 20 by level 20.
Next is a Mid Caster, which gain Caster Levels at a third of the rate, ending at 15 by level 20. Of the core classes, only the Bard falls into this classification, although the custom classes specific to Spheres of Power have more examples.
Finally, we have Low Casters, which gain a Caster Level every other level, so they cap out at 10 by level 20. Examples of these are Paladins and Rangers.
The Caster Level comes into play when determining the stats of most spells, and like Base Attack Bonus, you sum up your Caster Level across all your classes while multiclassing. A level 6 High Caster has a Caster Level of 6, while a level 6 Low Caster has a Caster Level of 3, so a Wizard 6/Ranger 6 has a Caster Level of 9.
Casting Ability Modifier
- this is just a way of restating that your Intelligence or Wisdom or Charisma ability modifier is used to determine the stat of your spells. If you multi-class into classes that use different ability modifiers, such as a Wizard’s INT versus a Ranger’s WIS, you have to choose which one will apply and use that moving forward.
Saving Throw DC
- whenever a spell calls for a saving throw, its save DC is 10 + Caster Level / 2 + Casting Ability Modifier. If our Wizard 6 / Ranger 6 has 18/4 INT, the saving throw DC for any of their spells is 18.
- a caster has a number spell points equal to their Caster Level, plus their Casting Ability Modifier. Our Wizard 6 / Ranger 6 example would have 13 spell points. These spell points all recover after 8 hours of rest. This early on I’d like to point out that a caster is always going to be able to cast something that doesn’t require any spell points. While the spell points are a resource to be managed, they’re more like metamagic or a martial class’ limited-use abilities, but a caster is still going to have an “at-will” available to them.
- these are somewhat similar to Caster Feats and are the key mechanic for letting your customize your spellcasting beyond the most basic form. The first time you gain a level in a spellcasting class, you gain 2 Magic Talents. A Talent can be used to learn one of the 20 magic spheres, or to gain a talent within a sphere. High Casters gain additional talents faster than Low Casters, allowing them to have access to more spheres and be more powerful within those spheres.
To see how this all fits together, I’ll start with one of the more basic spheres.
When you learn this sphere, you gain the Destructive Blast spell-like ability. As a standard action, deliver a Destructive Blast as a melee touch attack or a ranged touch attack (with Close range). A Destructive Blast deals 1d6 force damage at level 1, and gains another 1d6 damage every other level, so a maximum of 10d6 at level 19.
This is something that the caster can always do, “all day”, since it costs no spell points.
The caster can then spend 1 spell point to increase the damage by 1 die per Caster Level. A level 1 Wizard (Caster Level 1) could spend one out of their starting five spell points to make their Destructive Blast deal 2d6 damage, while our example Wizard 6 / Ranger 6 (Caster Level 9) could increase the Blast from 5d6 to 14d6 damage.
Now, a level 1 Wizard got all that just by spending one Magic Talent to learn the Destruction sphere, but they still have one more Talent to spare. They can either learn another sphere, or they can learn a Talent inside the Destruction sphere.
These talents are classified into either Blast Shape or Blast Type talents. You can apply one of each to your Destructive Blast.
Acid Blast [Type] - you can choose to have your Destructive Blast deal acid damage. Any creature damaged in this way suffers 1 acid damage for every damage die of the Blast in the following round.
Air Blast [Type] - you can turn your Destructive Blast into a blast of air. This deals non-lethal damage. You may make a ranged Bull Rush at a target or targets affected by the Air Blast. The Combat Maneuver Bonus for the Bull Rush is equal to your Caster Level + Casting Modifier. If you knock the target into a solid object, they suffer 1d6 bludgeoning damage, +1d6 for every 5 feet they would have kept going past the object.
Crystal Blast [Type] - you can turn your Destructive Blast into an explosion of crystal. The Blast rolls d4 damage dice instead of d6 and deals piercing damage. The target must pass a Reflex save or be entangled and be unable to move. In addition, the affected area of the Blast becomes overgrown with crystal and starts counting as difficult terrain. Breaking free of the entangled condition is a move action and needs either a Strength check or an Escape Artist check against the Blast’s save DC. Or the target can try to destroy the crystal by attacking it - the crystal has 3 HP per Caster Level. This removes the Entangled condition and the difficult terrain. The crystal lasts for 1 minute.
Electric Blast [Type] - you can choose to have your Destructive Blast deal electric damage. Targets wearing metallic armor suffer a -3 penalty to AC and saving throws against an Electric Blast. The Blast can also ignite combustibles and melt metals with a low melting point.
Notice that none of these options I’ve mentioned so far cost spell points
Fire Blast [Type] - you can choose to have your Destructive Blast deal fire damage. Targets that take damage this way must make a Reflex save or catch fire. A burning target takes 1d6 per round until the flames are extinguished. A target may take a Reflex save per round to try to extinguish the flames. If the target uses a Full-Round Action to roll on the ground to try to put themselves out, they gain a +4 bonus to the saving throw.
Frost Blast [Type] - you can choose to have your Destructive Blast deal frost damage. Targets that take damage this way must make a Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round.
Greater Force Blast [Type] - when rolling Destructive Blast’s damage dice, all 1s and 2s count as 3s.
Nether Blast [Type] - you can choose to have your Destructive Blast deal negative energy damage. Targets that take damage this way must make a Will save or be shaken for 1 round.
Stone Blast - you can chose to have your Destructive Blast deal slashing and bludgeoning damage. This will make the Blast ignore spell resistance, spell turning, and allows it to penetrate a globe of invulnerability, anti-magic field, anti-magic circle, and is not treated as a spell or magical effect for targets that gain a bonus to saving throws against magic.
This one doesn’t sit quite well with me because like traditional D&D magic, it allows a caster to damage both of the Twin Emperors
Thunder Blast [Type] - you can chose to have your Destructive Blast deal sonic damage. Targets that take damage this way must make a Fortitude save or be deafened for 2d4 rounds.
Blast Trap [Shape] - you may place a Destructive Blast onto an adjacent, occupied square. Any creature that steps on it is affected by your Destructive Blast, and is allowed a Reflex save for half damage. The trap will last for 10 minutes per caster level. The trap’s Perception and Disable Device DC is equal to the saving throw DC. You may only have 1 trap active at a time, but you may take this talent multiple times to increase the number of traps you can have active by 1.
So an example of combining a Shape talent and a Type talent would be to plant a trap that deals Frost damage
Energy Sphere [Shape] - you may spend a spell point to turn your Destructive Blast into a non-instantaneous sphere that fills a 5-foot square anywhere within range, for 1 round per caster level. Any creature within this space is dealt damage as per your Destructive Blast, with a Reflex save to negate. The sphere has a flying speed of 20 feet + 5 per two caster levels. As a move action, you may direct this sphere to move to a new location and strike a new target.
That’s the first example of a talent requiring spell points to activate
Energy Wall [Shape] - you may spend a spell point to shape your Destructive Blast into either a wall that is 20 ft per caster level wide, or a hemisphere with a radius of 5 feet per 2 caster levels. This wall is 20 feet high and lasts 1 round per level. The wall does not block line of effect, nor line of sight, nor projectiles, nor thrown objects. Creatures that pass through the wall are dealt damage as per your Destructive Blast.
Energy Weapon [Shape] - you can choose the attach your Destructive Blast to a weapon by touching it. If you are wielding this weapon, you may immediately make an attack with it as a free action. The first target struck by the weapon is also affected by the Destructive Blast. If no target is struck within 1 round, the Blast dissipates harmlessly.
Explosive Orb [Shape] - you may spend a spell point to make the Destructive Blast into a burst effect centered anywhere within range. The burst has a radius of 10 feet + 5 feet per 5 caster levels. Affected creatures are allowed a Reflex save for half damage.
Guided Strike [Shape] - you may spend a spell point to add a +20 circumstance bonus to the Destructive Blast’s attack roll.
I'm summarizing here, but apart from the basic functionality, the talent descriptions also go into how the different Shapes and Types can interact, such as when you combine an Air Blast with a Guided Strike, you can choose the direction from which the Air Blast's Bull Rush is going to try and push the target, including straight up, or even straight down, which could then knock the target prone.
Rebuff [Shape] - you may use your Destructive Blast to shield a target within range from ranged weapons, area effects or even other Destructive Blasts for 1 round, giving them the benefit of evasion, a +2 cover bonus to AC, and a +1 cover bonus to Reflex saves. Multiply these bonuses by 2 at caster level 5, by 3 at caster level 10, by 4 at caster level 15, and by 5 at caster level 20. You may spend a spell point to perform the Rebuff as an immediate action, or to provide the benefit to all targets within a range of 10 feet + 5 feet per 5 caster levels, or spend two spell points to gain both.
So not only did they come up with something so that the Destructive sphere isn’t pure damage, they chose to express it as a form of magical
. Quite cool.
Sculpt Blast [Shape] - you may spend a spell point to create a Destructive Blast as an area effect, affecting either a cone of 10 feet per caster level, or a line of 20 feet per caster level. Instead of an attack roll, creatures will have to make Reflex saves for half damage.
Extended Range - increase the range of your Destructive Blast from Close to Medium. You may take this talent an additional time to increase the range from Medium to Long. This is an untyped talent, so its effect always applies.
There are 19 more spheres to cover:
Which one would you like to see next?
Original SA post
By completely random roll, our next is Sphere is ...
When you learn this sphere, you learn the Shapeshift ability.
As a standard action, you can cast Shapeshift on yourself or on a touched creature, and the shifted form lasts as long as you concentrate.
If the target is unwilling, you need to spend a spell point to cast the Shapeshift, and the target can make a Fortitude save to negate.
You can spend a spell point to let the Shapeshift remain for 1 minute per caster level without Concentration.
The Shapeshift can be dismissed as a free action.
The Shapeshift is considered a polymorph effect. A target can only be affected by one Shapeshift at a time. If a caster attempts to place a second Shapeshift on a target, they must succeed at a magic skill check. If they succeed, the second Shapeshift is successfully placed on the target, dismissing the first.
Sidebar: Magic Skill Check
When shapeshifting a target, the caster must choose a Form and series of Traits for them.
constitute a creature’s basic physical makeup: Humanoid, Draconic, Animalistic, Avian, etc
are special characteristics or alterations such as natural attacks, creature size, monster special abilities, etc.
A caster can grant 1 trait + 1 per 5 caster levels.
Traits cannot be granted more than once unless specified.
When you place a Form on a target (again, including possibly yourself), the target’s physical form changes to that of the desired creature. The target gains the limbs of that form and loses their original limbs. The target loses any Ex or Su abilities that are dependent on the original form and gains any new ones that are part of the new form. If the target has or can gain traits via other sources, such as a Dragon Sorceror’s ability to grow claws, they can still do so. The target’s equipment melds into this new form, causing them to lose their armor and shield bonuses and preventing them from being able to pull items from their inventory. Any magical items cannot be activated, though passive effects remain.
You cannot use Shapeshifting to assume the form of a specific individual, but this does grant a +10 bonus to Disguise checks if you just need to look like another race, gender or species. The caster may want the target to cosmetically appear as any form they want, but if the traits are in conflict, such as having too many legs or being too large, the disguise might fail completely.
Lots of text and explanations, basically setting up the parameters for shapeshifting. I feel like there’s maybe not enough guidance on the implications of shifting yourself into a different form, although perhaps the base rules and statblocks can handle that?
This is a specific form of Shapeshifting that allows the caster to provide traits to a target without fundamentally changing their physical form. This blank form grants no bonus to Disguise checks, but allows existing abilities, equipment, natural attacks and other such aspects to be retained.
Basic Available Traits
You can add these traits to a Shapeshifted target as part of simply learning the Alteration sphere. The target must posses the appropriate limb, and cannot grant a natural attack to a limb if the target already has one associated with it.
* Darkvision 60 feet
* Low-light vision
* 2 claw attacks (primary attack, 1d4, requires arms)
* 1 bite attack (primary attack, 1d6, requires head)
* 1 gore attack (primary attack, 1d6, requires head)
* 2 slam attacks (primary attack 1d4, requires arms)
* 2 pincers (secondary attack, 1d6, requires arms)
* A change to the target’s cosmetic appearance. The examples cited include changing the target’s apparent age, making an elf into an orc, disguising a large dog as a small pony, changing a male into a female, and other such alterations. This grants the target a +10 bonus to Disguise checks. This particular trait can only be applied to the blank form, since a “normal” shapeshift carries with it a host of assumed physical changes anyway.
- you can apply the following traits to any form:
* An extra pair of arms
* A prehensile tail, which can be used to hold objects as if it were a hand, or retrieve objects from your inventory as a swift action
* Tail slap (secondary attack, 1d6, requires tail)
* Stinger (primary attack, 1d4, requires tail)
* An extra pair of legs. If this gives the target a second pair of legs, they get a +4 CMD bonus against trip attempts, and they gain all of the encumbrance and mount-related benefits of being a quadruped
* An extra head
- when shapeshifting a target, the target must pass a Will save or have their mind become bestial. Their INT drops to 2 and they are treated as an animal for the purposes tof Handle Animal and Diplomacy checks. They cannot cast spells nor Su nor Ex abilities, but they retain other class features such as BAB and other abilities.
This strikes me as a save-or-suck spell, but it would require a spell point since the target is unwilling, it’ll have to pass a Fort save just for the shapeshift itself, and then a Will save for this trait in particular.
- you may grant the Form of a land animal or magical beast with your Shapeshift. The form has a head and 4 legs with all the benefits of being a quadruped. The form has a move speed of 40 feet + 20 feet per 5 caster levels. The form has the Scent ability, a bite attack and a +2 natural AC bonus, +1 per 5 caster levels. Taking this talent also allows you to grant the the land speed, the Scent ability and 2 hoof attacks as traits to your other shapeshifts.
Okay, since Forms are tied to talents, I think what happens is that when you learn the Alteration sphere, you only know the Blank Form and that small set of traits, and then you need to spend talents to learn the other Forms. Which is good, because it obviates the need to refer to a Monster Manual and keeps the power of shapeshifting strictly within the terms defined in this particular book.
- you may grant the Form of a humanoid with your Shapeshift. The Form has 2 legs and 2 arms. The target can speak, with one language that you know. The target will have a land speed of 30 feet, and its Intelligence is increased 6 if it’s lower than 6. If you so choose, you can forego applying any other traits to this form, to allow the target to retain as many of its previous traits as possible.
- you may grant the Form of a swimming animal or magical beast with your Shapeshift. The form has a head, fins, but no arms nor legs. The target gains low-light vision and a swim speed of 20 feet + 20 feet per 5 caster levels. The target gains the Amphibious subtype and the ability to breathe underwater. The target gains a bite attack, Blindsense 30 feet while in water, and a+2 natural AC bonus, +1 per 5 caster levels. Taking this talent also allows you to grant the Amphibious subtype and ability to breathe underwater, the swim speed granted by this Form, and/or Blindsense 30 feet in water, as Traits.
- you may grant the Form of a flying animal or magical beast with your Shapeshift. The target gains a head, 2 legs and 2 wings. The target gains low-light vision, 2 talon attacks, and a +2 natural AC bonus, +1 per 5 caster levels. The target takes no falling damage and can glide. At caster level 5, the target gains a Fly speed of 30 feet + 20 feet per 5 caster levels. Taking this talent also allows you to grant 2 talon attacks, 2 wings and flight, and/or 2 wing attacks, as Traits.
Okay, so presumably a Wizard could still gain the ability to fly by level 5, although I couldn’t say if this would necessarily be as powerful as a Core Wizard in the context of everything else they can cast. A level 5 Wizard would have 8 Talent Points, so they could learn this Sphere, then the Avian Transformation Talent, then the Destruction sphere, and still have 5 Talent points left over. Take the Extended Range Destruction talent twice and still have 3 Talent points left. Use the Blank Form shapeshift, grant themselves the wings, then plink monsters from 600 feet away. And it’ll last as long as you can maintain Concentration.
- you can add the following Traits to your Forms:
* Lunge: choose one natural attack. As a full-attack action, you may make a single attack at double your normal recah with that weapon with a +4 attack bonus.
* Leaping Attack: as a standard action, you may jump, making a single attack at any point during the leap. You do not provoke an attack of opportunity for leaving a threatened square.
* Pounce: you may make a full-attack after a charge.
* Trample: as a full-round action, you may move up to your move speed, moving over and dealing slam damage to creatures smaller than yourself. Targets of a trample can make an attack of opportunity, but at a -4 penalty. Or they can make a Reflex save for half damage.
- you can add the following Traits to your Forms:
* Trip: choose one natural attack. You may attempt a trip as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opporunity when it hits.
* Ferocity: you may stay conscious and continue to fight when at negative HP, but lose 1 HP per round when you do so.
* You gain the ability to speak with animals and vermin.
* Rend: when you successfully strike a target with 2 or more claw attacks in the same round, you deal damage equal to an additional claw attack.
- you may grant the form of a dragon with your Shapeshift. The target gains a head, 4 legs (and is a quadruped), a tail, and a +2 natural AC bonus, +1 AC per 5 caster levels. The target also gains Darkvision 60 feet, a bite attack and a breath weapon. The breath weapon deals 1d8 damage per 2 caster levels in a 60 foot line or a 30 foot cone, and can deal fire/electricity/acid/cold damage as chosen at the time of the Shapeshift. The breath weapon allows a Reflex save for half damage and can be used once every 1d4 rounds. Taking this talent also allows you grant the breath weapon, or to double the size/range of an existing weapon, as a Trait.
See this is what I was talking about when I'm saying the magic is a lot more reined in. You still have all your stats, except you look like a Dragon and you have a determinate set of bonuses / special abilities, rather can casting True Polymorph on yourself and turning into a CR 20+ behemoth from the Monster Manual.
- you may grant the form of an elemental with your Shapeshift. An elemental’s body is mutable, so no additional limbs or natural attacks can be added via Traits. The target gains a 25% chance to avoid critical hits and precision damage, plus 25% per 5 caster levels to cap out at 100%. The target gains 2 slam attacks, +2 natural AC bonus, +1 AC per 5 caster levels and one of the following Trait packages:
* Earth: darkvision 60 feet, 30 feet burrow speed + 15 feet per 5 caster levels, and the Earth Glide ability. You gain a +2 STR bonus and Acid Resistance equal to caster level.
* Fire: darkvision 60 feet, +2 DEX bonus, the Burn special quality, and Fire Resistance equal to caster level.
* Air: flight speed of 30 feet, + 30 feet per 5 caster levels, the ability to create a Whirlwind (as an Air Elemental monster) and Electricity Resistance equal to caster level.
* Water: waterbreathing, 30 feet swim speed + 30 feet per 5 caster levels, +2 CON bonus, the ability to create a Vortex (as a Water Elemental monster) and Cold Resistance equal to caster level.
Taking this talent also allows you grant a Trait for Elemental Resistance to acid/fire/electricity/cold equal to caster level.
- you may grant the Rock Catching, and the Rock Throwing abilities to your Shapeshift, as Traits.
- increase the number of Traits you can apply with your Shapeshift by 1.
- you may spend a spell point to Shapeshift an additional 1 creature per 2 caster levels at the same time. Each target must be within range and gain the same Shapeshift Form and Traits.
This one is interesting because by as early as caster level 6 you can Shapeshift the entire 4-man party into having wings.
- you may grant the form of a plant creature with your Shapeshift. The Form has 2 tree limbs or vines that will act as its arms. The target wil have a move speed of 20 feet, 2 slam attacks and a +4 natural AC bonus, +1 AC per 5 caster levels. You can also grant a Trait that gives a +2 natural AC bonus, which stacks with other natural AC bonuses.
- you may cast Shapeshift within Close range instead of Touch. You may take this Talent additional times to increase the range to Medium, then finally to Long.
- as a Trait, you may change the target’s size. You may enlarge or reduce the target by 1 category, plus another category per 5 caster levels.
There’s a bunch of tables here to reflect the changes to attack rolls, AC, Fly checks, Stealth checks, STR, DEX and CON, though I assume that’s part of the normal procedure for changing in size.
Also, I can think of a lot of shenanigans that can be had with this ability.
- you may grant the form of a subterranean animal or magical beast with your Shapeshift. The form has a head, 4 legs, a 30 foot land speed, a 15 foot burrow speed + 15 per 5 caster levels. The target also gains Darkvision 60 feet, Tremorsense 20 feet, a bite attack and a +2 natural AC bonus, +1 per 5 caster levels. You can also grant the burrow speed, and/or the Tremorsense, as Traits.
- you may add the following Traits to your forms:
* A tentacle attack (secondary attack, 1d4)
* Grab: on a successful natural attack, you can make a free grapple check.
* Constrict: deal 1d6 damage + STR on every successful grapple check.
- you may add the following Traits to your forms:
* DR 5/bludgeoning or DR 5/slashing. This increases by 1 every 5 caster levels. At caster level 10, you can change this to DR/Silver or DR/Magic
* The subject counts as undead for the purposes of positive or negative energy effects
* A bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects, disease, poison, sleep and stunning. The bonus is equal to half caster level.
* At caster level 10, grant the Blood Drain special quality.
* At caster level 10, grant the Fear Aura special quality
* At caster level 15 and at the cost of a spell point, the target can be made incorporeal.
This feels a bit out of place against the more straight Druidic forms of transformation.
- you may grant the form of a spider, insect, or other such creature with your Shapeshift. The form has a head and either 6 or 8 legs, a bite attack, Darkvision 60 feet, a +2 natural AC bonus +1 per 5 caster levels, and a Climb speed of 30 feet + 20 per 5 caster levels. Taking this Talent also allows you to grant poison with natural attacks, or the Climb speed of the Form, or the Web special ability, as traits.
Overall, I like it. That Avian transformation is potentially bad, but it's difficult to visualize the kind of gamebreaking trouble you could get into if none of the original PF spells exist, either (besides being out of reach of melee-only monsters obviously). And even then you could share the wealth with everyone else.
Maybe there's also some kind of super-combo you can do with natural attacks and pounce and whatnot, but I'm no PF expert enough to pick that out off the cuff.
I do especially like how much simpler the Shapeshifting mechanic is, how it can be permanent from the word go, and how it can still be compatible with martial character with low spellcasting ability scores since it costs you nothing to transform yourself. After years of playing Diablo and WoW, the particular way 3.PF handled Shapeshifting always seemed weird to me since it was so rationed and needed so much effort.
Creation - 1
Conjuration - 1
Dark - 1
Divination - 1
Light - 1
Original SA post
Hey, Gradenko, question! Does Spheres of Power ever touch on the 'props' of magic use? Spell Components/Staffs/Wands/Spell Tomes for the arcane gentlemen, Holy Symbols for the divine casters, and bottles of Snake Oil for alchemists? Or is all of this assumed to be done away with and you just have your powers and your mana pool?
It does! There is a section called Casting Traditions that allows you to apply certain Drawbacks and Boons to how your campaign setting's magic, or even subsets of that magic, is used.
For example, it's suggested that Wizards have to use the
"Traditional Magic" Casting Tradition
. Traditional Magic is listed as the drawbacks of Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Material Casting, and Prepared Caster.
Verbal Casting means you must speak in a loud, clear voice to cast your spells, and all that that implies
Somatic Casting 1 means you need a free hand to cast spells and you cannot wear armor heavier than light armor without incurring a chance of spell failure. Somatic Casting 2 means you cannot wear any armor or shield at all without incurring a chance of spell failure.
Material Casting means there are material components to your spells, and the most handwavey you can get is that the player can set aside a portion of their money for materials, and they'll deduct from that pool at a rate of 1 sp per caster level spellcast.
Prepared Caster means that at the start of every day, you have to assign your spell points to certain spheres, and you cannot spend more than what you've assigned.
"Divine Petitioner" Casting Tradition
is the one recommended to be applied for Clerics, and that Tradition carries the properties of Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Prepared Caster, Aligned Combatant (Destruction), Aligned Protection (Protection)
Focus Casting means you need some object, such as a holy symbol, to cast your magic through
Aligned Combatant means that you need to select an alignment, and then your Destruction sphere spells cannot harm creatures of the same alignment, and deals double damage to creatures of the opposite alignment
Aligned Protection means that you need to select an alignment, and then your Protection sphere spells only provide protection against creatures of the opposite alignment
and finally it's recommended that porting over the Cleric to this book's spellcasting should include the Cleric getting either the Life or Death basic sphere for free
Other examples of Casting Traditions include
. Blood Magic, for example, requires Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting 2, and then also Draining Casting and Extended Casting as drawbacks, but gains Deathful Magic, Overcharge and Fortified Magic as boons
Draining Casting means you deal yourself non-lethal damage whenever you cast your spells
Extended Casting means the casting time for any spell goes up by 1 (swift become move, move becomes standard, standard becomes full-round, etc)
Deathful Magic as a boon increases your caster level whenever you're at 50% HP or less, and again when you're at 25% HP or less
Overcharge lets you boost your caster level at the cost of causing Fatigue/Exhaustion on yourself
Fortified Magic lets you use CON as your casting ability modifier.
Finally, there are drawbacks that you can apply to specific spheres. I already mentioned the Aligned Combatant/Protection ones, but there's also stuff like Alteration starting with the Animalistic Form and not having the Blank Form, so that all Shapeshifts will always cause a physical transformation.
In short, yes, there's a whole chapter that talks about how you can "dress up" the spellcasting of your campaign.
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
With another random roll, our next sphere is
(odd-looking icon, this one)
This is the summoner sphere.
The basic ability upon first learning this sphere is to summon a creature with a standard action. That creature is called a Companion.
Keeping the Companion present requires Concentration, but the caster can spend a spell point to let the Companion persist without Concentration for 1 minute per caster level.
The book lists "sympathetic angels or demons, elemental spirits, or primordial beings only given form after the contract is made. Thus, a companion could have the form of a knight in armor, a demonic dog, a flying anthropomorphic cat, or indeed virtually any other form." as examples of possible Companions.
Companions cannot and will not look exactly the same as another creature, so you cannot use it as a disguise.
Resummoning your Companion within the same day will not restore any of its hit points nor its resources/abilities. If they reach 0 HP, they disappear and cannot be resummoned until the next day. Companions can be healed, but they will only recover HP by themselves whenever the caster regains spell points.
Companions cannot be used to carry equipment/items, not can they use equipment beyond what they gain from various Conjuration talents.
The Companion's stats are defined in a table:
The caster can choose to make the Companion either a Biped, a Quadruped or Serpentine, which determines a couple of things like their base speed, natural AC, good/bad saving throws, basic attacks and ability scores.
The caster can also choose to make the Companion a Small sized creature instead of Medium, with all that that implies.
One special note is that the Companion can learn any feat that it's eligible for given its stats, but Spheres of Power includes a feat called Basic Magic Training that lets any character with no spellcaster levels to learn a single sphere and gain one spell point.
The Companion is specifically disallowed from learning the Conjuration sphere itself, lest it cause turtles all the way down.
Continuing with the Alteration theme, it's good that this summoning sphere is again just limited to stats and parameters here in this specific book, so that you don't run into the 3.5 problem of having to thumb through the Monster Manual to get the stats for your summoned Elk or whatever.
Some talents are classified as Form talents, of which the caster will automatically learn two of their choice as soon as they select this sphere.
Additional Limbs [Form]
- the Companion gains one of the following: a head, 2 arms, 2 legs, a tail. This does not grant them any additional attacks in and of themselves, but the book mentions that you can leverage these limbs to get extra attacks from the Alteration sphere.
Aligned Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains one end of an alignment spectrum that the caster belongs to, and then can use the Smite class feature as a Paladin against targets of an opposite alignment.
Altered Size [Form]
- the Companion's size can be changed by one more category larger or smaller, with all that that implies.
Animal Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains extra land speed and the Scent ability
Armored Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains a +2 armor bonus, plus more as it levels, and the Companion can be visually described as being more heavily armored.
Avian Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains wings and flight speed. Alternatively, you can declare that the flight is gained through magical means, which lets you skip the wings and have Perfect maneuverability, but will make the flight property vulnerable to anti-magic effects.
Battle Creature [Form]
- the Companion is a warrior; it has proficiency with simple weapons and has 2 masterwork weapons that it can wield when it is summoned. The weapons gain a +1 bonus per 3 Hit Dice, up to a maximum of 5. If this form is taken a second time, the Companion gains proficiency with martial weapons, can then be summoned with martial weapons, and is considered an nth level Fighter per Hit Dice for the purposes of feat prerequisites.
- the Companion gains one natural attack out of a list of 11, provided they have the limbs that can support it. This talent can be taken multiple times to gain more natural attacks.
Boon Companion [Form]
- the Companion's abilities and Hit Dice are computed as if your caster level was 5 higher, up to a maximum of being equal to your character level.
Draconic Creature [Form]
- the Companion is draconic in nature; it gains a breath weapon.
Earth Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains Burrow speed and Tremorsense.
Elemental Creature [Form]
- the Companion deals an additional 1d3 damage with all of its natural attacks. The damage can be cold, fire, acid or electricity. The damage die becomes larger per 5 Hit Dice.
- you can summon an additional Companion, but you cannot summon the same Companion twice. You may take this talent multiple times.
I should note at this point that there's a part of the description of the sphere that describes Companions as creatures that you "make a contract with", so you're not just summoning any random angel, or displacer beast, etc., but rather one specific angel or one specific beast, hence the limitation on why Companions are individually identified and cannot be summoned twice
Fortified Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains a scaling CON bonus
- spending a spell point now allows the Companion to persist without Concentration for 10 minutes per caster level.
Lingering Companion [Form]
- spending a spell point now allows the Companion to persist without Concentration for 1 hour per caster level. If you also have Greater Summoning, then spending a spell point means the Companion does not need Concentration to persist at all as long as you spend a spell point.
- you gain a telepathic link with your Companion and can communicate with them over any distance, so long as they're on the same plane.
Magic Attacks [Form]
- the Companion's natural attacks are considered magical weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. At 7 Hit Dice they count as cold iron, and at 14 Hit Dice they count as adamantine.
Magical Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains extra Charisma, a spell point pool, a caster level equal to half its Hit Dice, and its feats can instead be used to learn Magic Talents. The Companion can never learn the Conjuration sphere.
Monstrous Attacks [Form]
- the Companion can add one of the following additional effects to its natural attacks: trip, grab, pull, lunge, constrict, poison. This talent can be taken multiple times.
Natural Aspect [Form]
- the Companion gains one of the following special monster qualities: pounce, leaping attack, rend, trample, rock catching, rock throwing, Fast Healing 1. This talent can be taken multiple times.
And just for consistency the book says you can use the descriptions of these special qualities from the Alteration section, instead of having to look them up elsewhere.
Powerful Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains a scaling STR bonus
Quick Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains a scaling DEX bonus
At this point though I'm beginning to think you're going to need to maintain a separate character sheet just to keep all the Companion stats in order, although I suppose that's part of the reason why the book tries to make it a point that the Companion is always one specific individual.
- you can summon a Companion within Close range, instead of just on an adjacent square.
- the Companion gains a scaling Resistance against either fire, acid, cold, electricity or sonic damage. This talent can be taken multiple times, applying to a different damage type each time.
Roguish Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains Sneak Attack and its feats can instead be used to learn Rogue Talents, including Advanced Talents at 10 Hit Dice.
Shadow Creature [Form]
- the Companion is made of shadow; it gains Darkvision, low-light vision, and a bonus to Stealth checks. It takes half damage from attacks and magic from corporeal targets, but also only deals half damage to the same. Incorporeal creatures take and deal full damage to the Companion.
Shield Bearer [Form]
- the Companion is proficient with shields and can be summoned bearing a shield. This can also be a tower shield if you spend the Companion's feats to gain Tower Shield Proficiency. The shield is masterwork and gains a scaling enhancement bonus with the Companion's Hit Dice.
Skillful Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains 3 INT, 1 more skill point per Hit Dice, and 3 new class skills.
- the Companion gains Disguise as a class skill and can make Disguise checks as a spell-like ability.
Undead Creature [Form]
- the Companion is considered an Undead for the purposes of interacting with negative/positive energy and spell targeting. The Companion gains Channel Resistance and a save bonus against disease, exhaustion, fatigue, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning. If you take this talent a second time, the Companion gains immunity to those effects and no longer needs to breathe.
Water Creature [Form]
- the Companion gains swim speed, the ability to breathe underwater and Blindsense while in water.
Willful Companion [Form]
- the Companion gains a scaling WIS bonus, and can roll-twice-take-better on Will saves.
Much like Alteration, this is a self-contained and streamlined spell/effect list. There's a LOT of flavor that you could get from this: Rangers can use it to play Beastmaster, Wizards can summon their familiars, Druids can play up the nature-summoning aspect of that character, you might even have Death Knights with an Undead squire, or a Necromancer with an Abomination or a Vampire with their Igor buddy. Also of note is that you're probably going to need to sink enough of your Magic Talents into the Forms that you can't one-and-done this like traditional 3.x summoning spells.
Creation - 1
Dark - 1
Divination - 1
Light - 1
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
When you learn the Creation sphere, you learn the following abilities:
You repair a damaged object, restoring 1d4 + half caster level of the item's HP, and removing the Broken condition if you get the item back to at least half of its max HP.
You deal 1d4 + half caster level damage to an item, bypassing all hardness and inflicting Broken on it if it gets below half its max HP.
Spend a spell point to create a non-magical object out of vegetable matter (wood, hemp, cotton, etc), either in your hand or in an adjacent square. At first you can only create Small objects, but as your caster level increases you can create larger objects.
Object Size Table
You can't create items that need mixing/alchemy, have special properties or items that you don't know about.
The items require Concentration to maintain, and will last 1 minute per caster level without Concentration.
An Appraise check will reveal the item as magically manufactured, as will Detect Magic, although the items themselves are mundane.
An item composed of complex parts, such as crossbows or anything mechanical, will need a Craft check. If you fail, the item you create will materialize already broken and unusable.
You cannot create an object directly onto a target, such as creating manacles that are already on a target's wrists.
There's another table that provides the Hardness stats of various substances, and how to calculate an item's HP based on its substance + its thickness.
The falling damage column of the table is included because
you can attack a target by dropping an object on it
: it's a ranged touch attack with a 20-foot range increment. If the object is made of stone or harder, the damage is doubled. If the object is made of cloth or water or other 'soft' substance, it deals half damage.
- spend a spell point to change an object's substance from one to another. This effect will last for 1 round per caster level.
- your created objects can now materialize anywhere within Close range of you. You can take this talent multiple time to further increase the range to Medium, and then again to Long.
It’s worth noting that the book also states that objects that fall more than 150 feet will deal double damage, so you could take this talent twice to increase your creation range to Medium, then by caster level 5 you can materialize objects 150 feet up in the air. By that time you can make large-sized objects which would deal 2d6 damage. You’d double the damage from the object being made from a hard material like stone, then also double the damage from having it fall 150 feet.
- you can create multiple objects at once. They must be of the same general type, and the total size cannot exceed your normal maximum creation size.
- instead of just working with vegetable matter, you can now work with any material with a hardness of 5 or less, plus stone. At caster level 5, you can now also work with basic metals. At caster level 10, you can now work with precious metals. At caster level 15, you can now work with gems and specialty metals like cold iron and mithril.
- your created items can be more intricate, and you can add your caster level to the Craft checks made when making complex items, as well as to the DC of Appraise checks when trying to detect your created items as fakes. Detecting the lingering magic aura from your created items will now also require a skill check, instead of just being latent after using Detect Magic.
- you may spend a spell point to reshape an object’s material with a touch. You can only affect materials that you can create, so you need the Expanded Materials talent to be able to work with stone, metal, etc. You can only make crude, broad changes, so forging armor is not possible, and reshaping an object with/to have moving parts will have a 30% chance of producing a broken item. The advantage though is that there is no duration to the change, it does not require concentration to maintain, and the change cannot be dispelled.
- you increase the amount of damage dealt by your Destroy ability to 1d6+caster level.
- you increase the amount of damage healed by your Repair ability to 1d6+caster level.
- you may spend an additional spell point when creating an item to double the maximum size that you’re allowed to create.
- you may spend an additional spell point when creating an item to make it last for 1 hour per caster level without concentration.
- you can use your Repair and Destroy abilities against magical objects, items currently being used/worn, or animated objects such as golems. If used against a worn object, this is treated as a Sunder attack. If used against an unwilling animated object, this is treated as a touch attack, with a Fort save allowed to either negate the Repair or halve the damage from the Destroy.
TBQH I don’t really get this school. It seems like a replacement for the standard item creation rules, but it’s so limited and so niche.
Creation - 1
Dark - 1
Divination - 1
Light - 1
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
When you learn the Dark sphere, you learn the following abilities:
as a standard action, create a sphere of darkness with a radius of up to 10 feet + 5 feet per 2 caster levels, centered anywhere within Medium range of you.
You must concentrate within Medium range of the sphere to maintain it, but you can spend 1 spell point to make it last 1 minute per caster level without concentration.
Inside the darkness created by the sphere, bright light (including daylight) becomes dim light and imposes a 20% miss chance to attacks. Normal light and dim light become absolute darkness. Sources of normal light will only cast dim light and only within a 5-foot radius, while sources of dim light will not do anything anymore. You cannot resist the effects of this darkness, but Darkvision can let you see through the darkness.
: As a standard action, grant yourself or a touched target the benefit of a [Meld] talent, which confers some benefit as it interacts with the sphere of darkness.
are classified as either [Meld] or [Darkness]. A sphere of darkness can only gain the benefit of one [Darkness] talent at a time.
- you may spend a spell point to grant your target immunity to all of the negative effects of your sphere of darkness. The target still cannot see within the darkness, unless they have Darkvision, but if they do have Darkvision this meld will let them see through even Pure Darkness. This effect lasts for 1 hour per caster level.
Dark Slaughter [Meld]
- you may spend a spell point to grant your target additional damage when making attacks. If the meld target attacks a creature that is being flanked, or is denied its DEX bonus to AC, or cannot see the meld target, the attack deals an additional 1d6 precision damage which stacks with Sneak Attack. This effect lasts for 1 hour per caster level.
Nothing in here about how the attacker needs to be within the sphere of darkness to gain the ability, though I imagine "cannot see the meld target" already involves that. And the precision damage doesn't scale.
- you may spend a spell point to grant your target Darkvision 60 feet. If the target already has Darkvision, its range increases by 30 feet. You can take this talent multiple times to increase by granted Darkvision by another 30 feet per time taken. This effect lasts for 1 hour per caster level.
Disorienting Darkness [Darkness]
- your sphere of darkness can disorient creatures: when a creature enters the sphere, they must make a Will save. If they fail, they must roll a d8 to determine the direction of their next move action; a 1 means they go off in their intended direction, and 2-8 diverge from the intended direction in a clockwise manner. The creature does not know that it's heading in the wrong direction until it leaves the sphere.
Fearful Darkness [Darkness]
- as soon as a creature enters the sphere, they must make a Will save. If they fail, they become Shaken. If they succeed but remain within the sphere, they must make another Will save at the end of every turn they spend within the sphere. The Shaken effect goes away once they leave the sphere.
Feed on Darkness [Meld]
- you may spend a spell point to grant a target Fast Healing 1 for 1 minute per caster level. The healing only works while the target is inside your sphere of darkness.
- you may spend a spell point to double the radius of your sphere of darkness as you're creating it.
Hide in Darkness [Meld]
- you may spend a spell point to grant your target the ability to make Stealth checks to hide even while being observed while inside your sphere of darkness. This effect lasts for 1 hour per caster level.
So yeah this is the tie-in to Dark Slaughter
Hungry Darkness [Darkness]
- as soon as a creature enters the sphere, they must make a Fort save. If they fail, they take 1 CON damage. If they remain within the sphere, they must make another Fort save at the end of every turn they spend within the sphere.
- When you cease concentrating on a darkness effect, you may choose to have the darkness remain for two rounds before dissipating
Basically letting you retain the darkness for 2 rounds without concentration, but also without having to spend a spell point.
Looming Darkness [Darkness]
- creatures that enter the sphere must pass a Will save or suffer a -1 penalty to all saving throws so long as they remain within this area of darkness. This penalty increases by 1 per 5 caster levels. If any creature enters this area of darkness, they must immediately save or suffer this penalty.
Pure Darkness [Darkness]
- You may create a darkness effect that negates low-light vision. Darkvision is reduced to 5 ft. In addition, all other senses (blindsight, scent, etc.) are reduced by half.
This would seem to be a critical talent to take considering how many races in PF have Darkvision, although at the same time it's in conflict with a lot of the other debuffing Darkness talents.
- You may use [Meld] talents on yourself as a swift action instead of a standard action.
Silent Darkness [Darkness]
- you may create an area of darkness that dims sound as well as light. All Perception checks made to hear noises originating from within the area of your darkness suffer a penalty equal to your caster level.
But it doesn't silence casters? Lame
Snagging Darkness [Darkness]
- creatures that enter the sphere must pass a Reflex save or become entangled. Creatures who succeed at this save but remain in the darkness must save again at the end of your subsequent turns. If any creature enters this area of darkness, they must immediately save or suffer the effects. An ensnared creature can attempt to escape its entanglement by making a Strength or Escape Artist check as a move action, with a DC equal to the Reflex save DC.
Step Through Darkness [Meld]
- you may spend a spell point to grant the target the ability to step into one patch of darkness and emerge in another. As a move
action, the target may teleport up to 30 ft. This lasts for 1 hour per caster level. Both the location they are in and the location they are teleporting to must be within an area of your darkness.
This is very cool and somewhat evocative of the Thief games where you need to dart from shadow to shadow.
Thick Darkness [Darkness]
- your sphere of darkness counts as difficult terrain. Creatures move at half speed through your darkness, cannot run or charge, and cannot make 5-ft steps.
Wall of Darkness
- rather than create a sphere of darkness, you may arrange your darkness as up to three 10-ft cubes, +1 cube per caster level. These cubes must be arranged contiguously, but otherwise may assume any shape. You must be able to perceive all areas your darkness will inhabit.
All in all, another utility-ish school. I can imagine a gish or partial-caster build taking this to be a sort of Hunter in the Night that makes their own night.
Creation - 1
Dark - 1
Divination - 1
Light - 1
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
I should get back to this! So far we had already covered:
And by completely random roll, our next Sphere is going to be:
The basic ability of this Sphere is the
, which is a standard action to affect a single creature with an effect depending on which ...
you use with it.
You start with the
word, which costs 1 spell point to use and lasts for 1 minute per caster level. You pick an end of the alignment spectrum: Good/Evil or Lawful/Chaotic, that you belong to. The target creature gets a +1 bonus (of either Sacred or Profane type) to attack rolls, AC, and saving throws against an opponent of the opposite alignment. The target also gains immunity to any mind-affecting spell or sphere effect, if the effect was cast by an opponent of the opposite alignment. If it's already affected by such a thing, the Word-ed creature can make an immediate saving throw against it; on a success, the effect gets suppressed for the duration of the Word.
The other ability of this Sphere is
, which creates an effect in a 20-foot radius aura that moves with you.
You start with the
effect for your Consecration, which grants a +1 Luck bonus to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks and saving throws for as long as you concentrate, and then you can spend a spell point to make it last for 1 round per caster level without concentration.
Talents for this sphere can modify the Word and Consecration, or add different words for more effects:
is a Word that lets you spend a spell point as an immediate action to let an ally roll twice and take the better result on an attack roll, skill check, ability check or saving throw.
is a Word that lets you magically close and/or lock doors, gates, chest, windows, or any other shuttering object. The DC to unlock and force open the portal is increased by 10.
Interestingly, this doesn't cost any spell points to use, although at the same time the portal is still "normally" open-able, just at a higher DC.
is the opposite of Bless: you spend a spell point to make an enemy roll twice and use the lower result
is a Consecration that lets your aura inflict one of six random effects against creatures of an opposite alignment to one of yours:
Blind 1 round
Deaf 2d4 rounds
Staggered 1d4 rounds
Sickened 1d4 rounds
Dazed 1 round
Shaken 1d4 rounds
With a Fort save to negate. The game notes that this will still affect Undead, even if they're normally supposed to be immune. You can use this even if you're True Neutral, at which point it'll affect anyone that's at both of the alignment extremes, such as Lawful Good.
lets you spend an additional spell point so that your Word will affect an additional 1 creature per 2 caster levels.
is a Word to set a target creature free from physical bondage and lets them move and attack normally. You can also maintain this Word with concentration, which renders the creature immune to the effects of paralysis, slow, entanglement, etc. All combat maneuver checks to grapple the target automatically fail, and the creature automatically succeeds on any combat maneuver checks or Escape Artist checks to escape a pre-existing grapple or pin.
An interesting physics interaction is that this will even allow a creature to move normally through water, although the game helpfully notes that waterbreathing is not included with the effect. Personally, this triggered fond memories of my Paladin's Blessing of Freedom allowing a Warrior to fuck up lots of people in Battlegrounds.
lets you spend a spell point when casting a Consecration to increase its radius to 40 feet.
also causes your Serendipity Consecration to grant a -1 Luck penalty to enemy rolls.
is a Word that causes a target to suffer an additional half-your-level amount of damage (minimum 1) whenever they take damage.
is a Consecration with a specific enough effect that I'll just quote the book directly:
When you create this consecration, you must declare a course of action that is at most one sentence long and whether this action is to be avoided or emulated. Example judgments include “No one can attack”, “everyone must trade fairly”, etc. If your judgment would cause a creature to attack itself or perform another obviously suicidal action, they are immune to that judgment. For as long as you maintain this consecration, all creatures within this area must obey this judgement. Each individual creature is allowed a Will save to negate this requirement and allow itself to act normally. If a creature succeeds at their saving throw, they become immune to that judgment for the rest of its duration. You must always follow your own judgment.
is a Word that causes a target to make a Will save and on a failure cause non-lethal damage with all of its weapon attacks for 1 round per caster level.
is the opposite of Close, except instead of automatically opening a portal, you're still making a normal Disable Device or Strength check with a +10 bonus.
is a Word that causes [1d4 + half-your-level] in non-lethal damage, no save. You can spend a spell point to cause the target to suffer this damage each round for a number of rounds equal to your caster level. Further, the target suffers a -4 penalty to all mental skill checks and must pass a magic skill check in order to use a sphere effect or spell.
is a Word that prevents your target from speaking deliberate or intentional lies, with a Will save to negate. A target always knows if this Word is being cast on them and the caster always knows if the target made the saving throw. An affected target may still be evasive, refuse to answer or word their responses carefully.
That last clause sticks out to me as a recipe for arguments over whether or not what the target was saying was just "wording their responses carefully".
is a Consecration that with a very specific effect: if any creature within the Consecration aura makes an attack roll, initiative roll, skill check, ability check or saving throw,
and the roll is exactly 10 on a d20
(and Take 10 does not apply), then the creature will receive either a +4 bonus or a -4 penalty, caster's choice. The +4 modifier increases by 1 for every 2 caster levels.
This effect has a lot of flavor, but the math doesn't hold up: if you took a d20 and replaced the 10 with a 14, the average roll increases from 10.50 to
. A level 20 caster is going to replace the 10 with a 24, and that increases the average roll from 10.50 to
. Except a +1 bonus to a d20 increases the average roll to
anyway! And you already have a flat +1 bonus available from the basic Serendipity Consecration! (assuming you still have room to stack a Luck bonus) Unless I'm misreading the text, it seems like this effect wasn't well thought out.
Besides that Tug Fate and the Truth effects, this reads like a very versatile Sphere. The name Fate implies some sort of probability-bending or Oracle-esque kind of magic, but you just as easily refluff this into your bog-standard Divine Cleric power, or a chrono-manipulation, or any number of buffer/debuffer types.
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
Our next Sphere is
The basic ability of this Sphere is
, which is a Standard Action to cast an enhancing effect on a target creature or object. If the target is unwilling, it's allowed a Will save to negate the effect. Enhance needs concentration to maintain, but you can spend a spell point to make the effect persist without concentration for 1 minute per caster level
(you may be noticing a pattern here)
When you first learn this Sphere, you start with the
Enhancement, which lets you grant a +1 enhancement bonus to a weapon, suit of armor or shield. The bonus increases by +1 for every 5 caster levels, capping out at +5 at level 20. This enhancement bonus does not stack with any existing enhancement bonus, of course.
Other Talents in this Sphere are:
is an Enhancement that lets you instill movement and a semblance of life into an inanimate object. The object will only follow simple one-word commands. If you use this against an enemy's weapon, they have to make a Reflex save or lose their Standard Action as they fight the object for control. If you use this against an enemy's armor, they become Entangled and they have to make a Reflex save or also be Staggered.
is an Enhancement that lets you grant temporary intelligence to an animal, plant or object. The target gains 3d6 INT, CHA and WIS, and can speak and understand any languages you do. The target will be friendly to you, although it is under any compulsion to obey any of your commands. As well, the target's "consciousness" does not cover anything that had happened prior to this effect, so you can't use this on a tree and ask it about who climbed it a few hours ago.
Kind of an odd start for a theme. Disney's Fantasia: The RPG.
is an Enhancement that causes the target to take a -1 penalty to all of its d20 rolls, increasing by one every 5 caster levels.
is an Enhancement that lets you grant the Keen property to a weapon, and also a +1 bonus to crit confirmation rolls for every 3 caster levels, topping out at +6 at caster level 18
That's more like it. Getting some more in-combat-useful effects now.
lets you spend a spell point to make an Enhancement persist for 10 minutes per caster level without concentration, rather than 1 minute per.
is an Enhancement that lets you grant the Corrosive, Flaming, Frost, or Shock properties, and also lets the weapon cause +1 damage per 2 caster levels.
increases the effect of Enhance Equipment by +1. This means that effect can go as high as +6 at max level.
While I know that enhancement bonuses normally only go up to +5, so that this breaks that, I don't know that it's all that valuable/useful especially if you're only going to get it at the very last level.
is an Enhancement that either makes a target object as hard as adamantine, or gives a creature DR/adamantine, with a DR amount equal to half your caster level (minimum 1)
is an Enhancement that will let you make targets weigh less, or even float. There's a table of how powerful this spell gets per caster level, but basically at caster level 5 you can make Medium-sized targets weightless, you can make Large-sized targets weigh half as much, and then Tiny and Small targets can be made to float at 20 feet per round. The effects escalate all the way up to making everything up to Gargantuan size able to float at caster level 20. Unwilling targets can make Will saves for every round that they're made to float, but they may suffer falling damage from a drop.
lets your Enhancements persist for 2 rounds after you stop concentrating, even if you don't spend a spell point.
lets you spend a spell point to Enhance one additional target per 2 caster levels (minimum 1 additional).
I like the possibilities of this plus the weapon enhancement talents to let you outfit an entire group with Keen and an elemental damage property in one go.
is an Enhancement that lets you grant a +2 bonus to INT, WIS or CHA, increasing to +4 at caster level 7 and +6 at caster level 14.
is like the above, except for STR, DEX or CON.
increases the range category of your Enhancement from Close to Medium, or an additional category per further time you take this talent.
is an Enhancement that lets you make a target either deaf, or blind, or lose one of their special sense abilities like Tremorsense or Blindsense.
Despite the name, you don't gain the ability for yourself.
is an Enhancement that lets a target weapon's attacks ignore an amount of DR equal to your caster level, though it only works against DR with some kind of bypass category.
The various weapon and bonus enhancements are rather cool, and I can see this being taken by partial-casters to buff their physical attacks, but the animated object effects seem a little out of place unless you were roleplaying Pygmalion and Galatea.
Enhancement addendum - animated objects
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
Enhancement addendum - animated objects
I neglected to mention in my previous post that the Animate Object Enhancement actually grants stats to such objects.
At caster level 1, you can only animate Tiny-sized objects. They have 1d10 HP and can have a maximum of 1 Construction Point. The example of a Tiny object is a candelabra.
At caster level 5, you can animate Medium-sized objects. They have 3d10+20 HP and can have a maximum of 2 Construction Points. The example of a Medium object is a cage, bigger than a Small-sized chair, smaller than a Large-sized statue.
At caster level 20 you can animate Colossal-sized objects, such as ships, and they'll have 13d10+80 HP with 6 Construction Points.
For the purposes of this discussion, I'll lay out the statblock of an animated Medium-sized object:
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision;
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 natural)
hp 36 (3d10+20)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will -4
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +5 (1d6+3)
Str 14, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 15
Construction Points are then things that grant the animated object additional abilities. The game implies that the GM can decide to grant some of these abilities "for free" based on things like what the object is made from or what the object actually is, and then the caster can spend their allotted Construction Points to add even more features.
Going through the list, they're mostly very similar to the Alteration talents, which I'm told also closely resembles the Eidolon rules, so mostly imagine those:
Additional Natural Attack
Finally, there are Flaws:
Brittle means the object is vulnerable to cold.
Cloth means the object's hardness is 0.
Clunky means the object is always Staggered.
Flammable means the object is vulnerable to fire.
Slower means the object loses 10 feet off of one of its movement modes.
Again, the GM can say that an animated object has one of these Flaws as a function of the object itself, and in exchange the object gains an additional Construction Point.
The hit rates of these slam attacks against same-level, Warrior-type monsters will range between 30% to 45%, but I think it might be a problem that even if a Huge animated item is capable of hitting a CR 11 threat a little less than half the time, it might be challenging to come up with more and more objects and justifications for it fitting into your current surroundings regularly.
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
By request, our next Sphere is:
The basic ability is
, which is a standard action to control all weather within Medium range of you, or to the limits of an enclosed space, whichever is smaller.
Weather in this case means the wind, temperature or precipitation level.
As always, this effect requires concentration to maintain, but a spell point can be spent to let it persist without concentration for 1 minute per caster level. If you're maintaining the effect via concentration, the area affected moves with you like an aura, but remains in place if you make it persist via spell point.
There are 7 grades of Wind:
1 - Light
2 - Moderate
3 - Strong
4 - Severe
5 - Windstorm
6 - Hurricane
7 - Tornado
And then 7 grades of Precipitation:
1 - None
2 - Mist
3 - Light/Fog
4 - Moderate
5 - Heavy
6 - Flash Flood
7 - Great Flood
And then 13 grades of Temperature:
7 - Killing (cold)
6 - Arctic
5 - Extreme (cold)
4 - Severe (cold)
3 - Cold
2 - Chilled
1 - Cool
2 - Warm
3 - Hot
4 - Severe (heat)
5 - Extreme (heat)
6 - Burning (heat)
7 - Boiling (heat)
Your normal day of no wind, no rain and temperate climate is assumed to be Light Wind, No Precipitation and Cool Temperature.
At caster level 1, you can adjust the weather conditions by 2 grades away from normal conditions, so you can turn a normal day into Strong Winds, Light/Fog Precipitation and either Cold or Hot Temperature. The exception is if the current conditions are beyond your reach. That is, a level 1 caster cannot change the Temperature if it's Severe.
Any changes you make will occur at the rate of 1 grade per round. If you stop maintaining the effect, the weather normalizes at the rate of 1 grade round as well.
At caster level 7, you can adjust conditions up to 3 grades away.
At caster level 14, you can adjust conditions up to 4 grades away.
If two casters are both trying to manipulate the weather at the same time, they have to make skill checks against each other on each of their rounds to try and wrest control away from the weather - success means you turn it one grade towards your final preferred grade.
See the Pathfinder Core rulebook for more details on weather and environmental effects. Depending on the terrain, a GM could rule additional effects happen; rain can cause rivers or enclosed spaces to flood, cold can create ice sheets on flat terrain, etc. Generally, weather conditions from different categories stack. (Thus, if Wind, Cold, and Precipitation were all increased to Severity level 5, the area would be under the effects of the appropriate Wind, Cold, and Snow effects, all at the same time.)
The game notes that you cannot change the direction of the wind, only overpower it. If the wind is blowing north, you need to create a stronger wind that's blowing south to have a southerly wind.
Light Wind, 0-10 mph winds
- does effectively nothing mechanically
Moderate Wind, 11-20 mph winds
- 50% chance of extinguishing small, unprotected flames like candles
Strong Wind, 21-30 mph winds
- unprotected flames are automatically extinguished, and ranged attack rolls and Perception checks take a -2 penalty. Tiny-sized creatures need to make a DC 10 Strength check or a DC 20 Fly check to move against the direction of the wind.
Severe Wind, 31-50 mph winds
- even protected flames flutter erratically and have a 50% chance of being extinguished. The ranged attack and Perception penalty increases to -4. Small-sized creatures need to make the movement check, and Tiny-sized creatures on the ground need to make a DC 15 Strength check or else be knocked prone, get pushed back 1d4 x 10 feet and take 1d4 non-lethal damage per 10 feet pushed back. Tiny-sized flying creatures need to make a DC 25 Fly check or be blown back 2d6 x 10 feet and take 2d6 non-lethal damage.
Windstorm, 51-74 mph winds
- 75% chance of extinguishing protected flames, can start blowing off branches and bringing down smaller trees. Ranged attacks are impossible, and siege engines have a -4 penalty to attack rolls. Perception checks have a -8 penalty. Medium-sized creatures need to take the movement check. Small and smaller creatures need to make the knockdown check.
Hurricane, 75-174 mph winds
- all flames are extinguished. Siege engines have a -8 penalty to attack rolls. Perception checks are impossible. Large creatures need to take the movement check. Medium and smaller creatures need to make the knockdown check.
Tornado, 175-300 mph winds
- Even siege engine attacks are impossible. The game notes though that this is a wind-state that's impossible to create magically. Huge creatures need to take the movement check. Large and smaller creatures need to make the knockdown check. Any creature that comes into contact with the actual tornado funnel is whirled around for 1d10 rounds, taking 6d6 damage per round before being expelled and possibly taking falling damage as well. The funnel itself can move at the rate 250 feet per round.
- if Severe Winds are blowing in a desert, it can create a duststorm, which obscures vision and deals 1d3 points of non-lethal damage to anyone exposed to it, in addition to all the normal effects of the wind effect. The game also says that a duststorm is a choking/drowning hazard, per the core rules' definition of it.
We're only a third into the section and haven't even started on the talents yet. This smacks of being a powerful Sphere even from just these wind effects, but it's also a very dry write-up because it's basically rewriting and defining physics.
Cool and Chilled don't have any mechanical effects, but anything colder than that is going to require Fort saves lest they take non-lethal damage. Taking any non-lethal damage from the cold means becoming Fatigued from frostbite, and one cannot recover from the Fatigue nor the damage until they've warmed up. If a character takes as much non-lethal damage as their total HP, any further damage is lethal damage.
Having cold-weather gear will let you treat the cold as one grade less severe, and the Survival skill can be used gain bonuses to the Fort saves
(no exact elaboration provided)
Cold, below 40 F
A large fire can be used to create an area of warmth in a cold environment.
- Fort saves every hour, DC 15+1 per previous check made. Take 1d6 points of non-lethal damage on failure.
Severe (cold), below 0 F
- as with Cold, but Fort saves every 10 minutes
Extreme (cold), below -20 F
- as with Severe, but also take 1d6 (lethal) cold damage every minute, no save.
Arctic, below -60 F
- as with Extreme, but Fort save and cold damage every round
Killing (cold), below 120 F
- as with Arctic, but cold damage is increased to 3d6 per round. Being encased in ice further increases this to 10d6 damage per round.
Cool and Warm don't have any mechanical effects, but anything warmer is going to require Fort saves lest they take non-lethal damage. Same as cold, except this time it's heatstroke that caused Fatigue instead of frostbite, and again the damage and Fatigue won't go away unless the character gets into shade, or gets doused in water, etc. If a character takes as much non-lethal damage as their total HP, any further damage is lethal damage.
Wearing heavy clothes and/or armor will cause a -4 penalty to the saves against heat. The Survival skill can be used gain bonuses to the Fort saves.
Hot, above 90 F
A large fire can be used to create an area of warmth in a cold environment.
- Fort saves every hour, DC 15+1 per previous check made. Take 1d4 points of non-lethal damage on failure.
This is actually less damaging than the cold equivalent, since that one was 1d6 on failure, unless one or either was a typo.
Severe (heat), above 110 F
- as with Hot, but Fort saves every 10 minutes
Extreme (heat), above 140 F
- as with Severe, but Fort saves every 5 minutes, and also take 1d6 (lethal) fire damage every minute, no save.
Again a change from the cold equivalent, which didn't make the Fort save oftener at this stage.
Burning, above 180 F
- as with Extreme, but Fort save and fire damage every round.
There's actually a typo here, as the temperature was listed as "above minus 180 F"
Boiling, above 212 F
- as with Burning, but fire damage is increased to 3d6 per round. Being immersed in boiling liquids increases this to 10d6 damage per round.
Because the first grade away from Cool does nothing, it's harder to escalate the effect than with wind, but at the same time you can hit the extreme ends of the scale magically, and hoo-boy it looks like the effects are pretty bad.
The ugly part is how the small differences between hot and cold are easy to trip over.
This combines with the Temperature and Wind effects, and is convoluted enough that I'm just going to show you the table:
grants concealment between creatures that are 100 feet away or farther from each other.
obscures all sight beyond 5 feet, including Darkvision
and stronger imposes the same effects to fires, ranged attacks and Perception checks as
or its equivalent strength. In addition, visibility is cut in half and Perception checks take a further -4 penalty.
causes ground to count as difficult terrain. It requires 24 hours of Light Frost for this to happen, or 8 hours of Snow, or 1 hour of Heavy Snow, or immediately under Blizzard.
If there's twice as much snowfall as in the previous durations, the ground becomes heavy snow and requires 4 squares of movement to enter,
basically double-difficult terrain.
conditions will obscure sight like Fog does
conditions, you'll start to get lightning strikes every minute in random squares, causing 4d8 electricity damage (Reflex save for half). Every further severity level, the damage increases by another 2d8.
Blah. I didn't really like this part. A table cross-referencing another table is going to be an ass to look-up in game.
- when creating weather that's Precipitation 4 and Hot 4, or more, you can choose to make the rain boiling, dealing 1d6 damage per severity level (so minimum 4d6) per round to all creatures within the area.
Holy damn this sounds friggin' cool.
- increase the maximum Cold severity you can create by 1. Also, you can create an area, of up to 80 feet in diameter, in the center of your weather system where the temperature is normal.
- when controlling weather, you can reduce the area to a minimum radius of 25 feet and can locate it anywhere within Medium range of you.
I'd say this is a critical talent, since friendly fire is the biggest problem of all the stuff we've been discussing so far.
- your range for controlling weather is increased to Long, including for Focused Weather if you also have it.
- when controlling weather, you can spend a spell point to manipulate two categories at the same time, or two spell points to manipulate three at the same time.
- same as Cold Lord, except for heat.
- when you spend a spell point to make your weather effect persist without concentration, it lasts for 1 hour per caster level instead of 1 minute per.
- same as Cold/Heat Lord, except for Precipitation.
- when you control weather, you can spend an extra spell point to increase the maximum severity you can achieve, up to a maximum of 7.
- when controlling weather that would result in snow, you can choose to turn the snow in hail, which causes 1 bludgeoning damage per severity level per round to all creatures in the area.
- when controlling weather that would result in storms, you can control where the lightning bolts strike. If you take this talent twice, you can increase the frequency of the lightning strikes to once per round.
Holy shit, this officially makes this Sphere the metal-est
- same as Cold/Heat Lord, except for Wind. You can also make the wind turn direction up to 90 degrees away. The game implies that you can use this to exert some control over a tornado, but you cannot precisely control its movements. The area of normal weather that you can create inside your area of effect can be made into an "eye of the storm", as in it's a windwall that requires the movement/knockdown check to pass through. You can also make the winds swirl in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction around you.
This is the longest Sphere so far that I've had to write-up, but it's also thematically strong and potentially mechanically strong as well. There's also just a lot of rules involved, and it sort of puts the GM on the spot as far as having to come up with weather conditions for wherever the party is adventuring through since some of the things that a Weather-mancer can pull off at low levels involves manipulating weather conditions that aren't starting from severity 1.
That said, this reads well - it's evocative of a powerful mage, but without being universalist.
Original SA post
Spheres of Power
By random roll, our next Sphere is:
The basic ability for this Sphere is
, which is a standard action to various terrain and nature-related effects. Geomancing can be either Instantaneous or Concentration, depending on the specific type of effect being created.
When this Sphere is first learned, the caster must choose between different Nature packages: Plantlife, Water, Earth and Fire, which is a broad category of the effects that can be produced.
is an Instantaneous ability that causes grass, weeds, vines and other underbrush to grow rapidly and wrap themselves around all targets in an area with a radius equal to 5 feet + 5 feet/caster level, centered within a Close range of the caster. I recognize the entire paragraph as being a restatement of the Entangle spell's effect, which makes sense since this is supposed to be a complete replacement for a spell system so they can't just say "it's the Entangle spell", but I can, so ... it's the Entangle spell
is an Instantaneous ability that costs 1 spell point to use, and basically replicates the Cleric's Create Food spell: one fruit tree per caster level (or plant, or food crop) instantly produces enough edible food to feed 3 medium-sized creatures or 1 horse for a day.
is a Concentration ability that lets you cause a tree branch to come alive and start making Slam attacks against an enemy you designate, that it can reach. Making it switch targets costs a Move action. Tree branches cannot flank. The tree branch has a STR score equal to 10 + caster level, and a BAB equal to caster level.
At level 1, you can animate Medium-sized branches with 1d6 damage dice and a 5 foot reach
At level 5, Large-sized branches with 1d8 damage dice and a 10 foot reach
At level 10, Huge-sized branches with 2d6 damage dice and a 15 foot reach
At level 15, Gargantuan-sized branches with 3d6 damage dice and a 20 foot reach
At level 20, Colossal-sized branches with 4d6 damage dice and a 30 foot reach
The game helpfully notes that
can be turned into pummeling branches for the purposes of reaching your desired branch size.
This is a very cool ability, as it lets you make The Whomping Willow, but there's that weaselly potential for you to be denied its use if there are no trees around.
is a Concentration ability that lets you create a spinning vortex in any body of liquid that sucks creatures and objects to its center. It's 5 feet wide at the base, 10 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels high, and is half as wide at the top as it is high. Any creature entering the vortex's area must pass a Reflex save or suffer 1d8 + half-caster-level bludgeoning damage. If they're smaller than the vortex, then they need to pass a second Reflex save or be pulled into the middle of the vortex. If you're in the middle of the vortex, you take the bludgeoning damage every round with no save, and you need to pass a Reflex save or be unable to move. Even if you succeed, you can only move at half your swim speed. The vortex can be commanded to move at 30 feet per round. The caster can spend a spell point to let the vortex persist without concentration, but the caster will need to spend Move Actions to change the vortex's direction of movement.
Another iconic and flavorful ability, but even more limited than tree-bashing unless you're playing in an aquatic adventure.
is a Concentration ability that lets you create a field of fog with a 10 foot + 5-feet-per-5-caster-levels radius, centered within Close range. It's the standard fog environmental rules. You can spend a spell point to maintain this effect without Concentration, but it will be dispersed by Moderate Winds in 4 rounds. You can't use this ability at all under Strong Winds.
is an instantaneous ability that lets you spend a spell point to flash-freeze a body of water. The size of the water you can freeze is 1 inch thick, 5 by 5 feet square per caster level. Alternatively, you can coat a wet Medium-sized creature with 1 inch of ice per caster level. Increasing the frozen area further or increasing the size of the creature frozen will further reduce the ice's thickness (a Colossal creature is "worth" 16 Medium creatures). Creatures are allowed a Reflex save to avoid being frozen. Once frozen, they suffer all the effects of "being encased in ice" under the environmental rules, plus 1 point of cold damage per round per inch of ice. They can try to escape the ice with a Strength check or Escape Artist check, DC 15 + 1 per inch of ice. Alternatively, a creature on the outside can attack the ice to break it, with 3 HP per inch of ice. On a successful escape, the target is still entangled for 1 round.
Yet another powerful effect, but you'd have to combo this with the Weather Sphere to get the targets wet in the first place.
is a Concentration ability that lets you create shifting sands that swallow targets. The area-of-effect is 5 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. It functions the same as Entangle, but on a failed check to escape/break free they cannot move at all, and the DC of every succeeding check increases by 1. If a target is prone while they're in this area and they fail the check, they start suffocating until make a check (or die first).
is an instantaneous ability that lets you spend a spell point to send a tremor through the ground. The area-of-effect is 5 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. Every target within the area will take a Trip check, using your caster level and casting ability modifier for the Combat Maneuver Bonus.
This is a natural combo with Bury, though the spell point cost means you can't do it all the time, and if I'm not mistaken the whole CMB/CMD system makes Tripping much harder to do than in 3.5e
is a Concentration ability that lets you kick up an area of sand or loose dirt. The area-of-effect is 10 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. Everyone within this area has Concealment (20% miss chance), and if a creature inside the area attacks a creature outside the area, the defender is considered to have Concealment.
is either an instantaneous or Concentration ability. As an instantaneous ability, it works similar to the Freeze ability of Water, except you cause the lava to harden into obsidian. The obsidian is harder and has more HP than ice, but does not deal damage to creatures trapped in it.
As a Concentration ability, it works identically to the Vortex ability of Water, except it can only target lava.
This is getting ridiculous. How often are you going to get to use this ability if it can only target lava?!
is a Concentration ability that lets you create a Diminutive-sized magical fire that burns without fuel. The size increases by one category per give caster levels, and can be used to ignite flammable objects to create normal, fuel-sustained fires. If a target is within the area of this fire, they take damage according to normal on-fire rules.
is a Concentration ability that lets you increase or decrease the size of normal non-magical fires.
There are also rules for when two casters are trying to use this on the same fire, and that you can manipulate the fires on creatures that are on fire.
I'm just going to heavily abbreviate this section otherwise I'm never going to finish it.
lets you spend a spell point to get an animal treat you as a friend. It won't work on animals already overtly hostile to you.
lets you spend a spell point to create water. You can even combo this with a Water geomancing ability and have it execute within the same action.
lets you take a second Geomancing category
Feed on Fire
lets you spend a spell point to gain Fire Resistance equal to your caster level, and lets you heal HP equal to half of the pre-DR fire damage you take.
h lets you spend a spell point to raise or lower terrain.
lets you turn your Create Fire ability into fists of fire that deals extra fire damage on hit and lets you be counted as armed while making unarmed strikes. You can also turn the fire into a mantle around yourself, dealing damage to any creature adjacent to you.
increases your Geomancing range.
lets you spend a spell point to spontaneously grow plants in an area, either for its own sake or to allow you to use your plant-based Geomancing abilities. Like Create Water, you can even combo this with the plant Geomancing ability that needs it within the same action.
lets you spend move actions to move around fires that you've used Affect Fire on.
Speak with Animals
lets you spend a spell point to be able to talk to animals. Their attitude towards you does not change though, so the game says that sometimes animals might be too aloof to want to answer you, or too dumb to be useful.
Speak with Plants
is the same, except for plants, and plants will have more limited information to provide because they're plants.
Speak with Stone
lets you spend a spell point to be able to tell who else has touched a rock, or passed by a rock, or has used a rock, by touching it.
allows you to convert your Entangle ability to a thorns ability that deals damage to anyone that enters or stays in the plant-infested area, instead of being slowed.
lets your entangle and thorns spells to grow vertically up, such that they will work against flying creatures.
lets you spend a spell point to be able to walk on water.
lets you spend a spell point to cause large waves of water to attempt to Bull Rush targets.
lets you create a Vortex, as in the water spell, but this time made out of sand.
I found this particular spell school really frustrating to write through and about. So much of it is super-specific and limited for the sake of theme, and while I understand the need for it, the rules are so staid and perfunctory that by the end I could barely muster enthusiasm for the ability to summon a big fuck-off whirlpool.
Especially when it would require you to have a fight in water anyway. The talents do seem to be able to allow you a measure of flexibility as far as generating plants and water spontaneously, but then it costs you talents and spell points just to be able to do your thing if the terrain isn't cooperative.
Maybe the next spell school will be easier to write about.