Spheres of Power (PFRPG)

***** (based on 13 ratings)
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Spheres of Power is a completely new magic system for the Pathfinder RPG and other D20 systems, built from the ground up to provide an easy and intuitive approach to concept-based magic. Spheres of Power lets you adapt magic to fit your needs rather than forcing games to adapt to the magic, and contains everything players and GMs need to bring a multiplicity of concepts to life through a system of at-will abilities, talent-based magic, and a ki-like system of Spell Points.

Included in this book you will find:

  • 20 Magic Spheres—including alteration, creation, conjuration, dark, death, destruction, divination, enhancement, fate, illusion, life, light, mind, nature, protection, telekinesis, time, war, warp, and weather.
  • 11 New Base Classes—including the thaumaturge, the elementalist, the mageknight, the armorist, the occultist, the eliciter, the soul weaver, the fey adept, the symbiat, the hedgewitch, the shifter.
  • Advanced Magic—including rituals, spellcrafting, advanced talents, and incantations. These systems may be implemented in part or en masse to grant a gaming table complete control over how magic interacts with their setting.
  • Casting Traditions—allowing both players and GMs to customize not only their characters, but even the entire concept of magic itself.
  • Magic Item Creation Rules—adapting the entirety of magic item creation to the new system.
  • NPCs for every new base class to spark ideas or drop into a game.
  • Guilds and Organizations to sprinkle throughout your world.
  • Sample Worlds, ready to play or to provide guidelines for adapting Spheres of Power to a variety of different world and game ideas.
  • And much, much more!

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Product Reviews (13)
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***** (based on 13 ratings)

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Amazing Concept with Flaws

***( )( )

First off, I want to lead with the fact I'm basing this on the hardcopy. Some of these issues may be changed in the PDF, but at the time of writing at least some of my issues have been corrected, but not all. First I'll address something that annoyed me, but which didn't factor into my rating.

The fiction in each chapter follows a series of characters who are jerks at best, and often evil. I'll be honest, if I'd looked at the fiction before the rules, I wouldn't have even bothered buying the book. My recommendation is to ignore the fiction.

Pros: The system is designed so that when you use magic, you use everything at full-power unless you choose to scale it back. This is awesome in that low-end powers really never go out of style. While the infinite nature of most abilities is somewhat worrying, most of the game-changing powers are gated behind Spell Points, which you'll always want, or advanced talents which the GM can restrict access to. Even without advanced talents, you can build entire characters around a single sphere and have a broad range of satisfying options, though I personally find that I always want more.

This book also contains rules for customizing requirements for different casting traditions, allowing you to inject a sort of artificial magical divide without having something as sharp as Arcane/Divine/Psychic, and uses an example that shows how to create elemental martial artists in style. The Spellcrafting system isn't well explained, but allows you to create new and unique spells sanely with your GM's permission, and both the Rituals and Incantations were a delight to read.

In the Magic Items section, the Staves and Wands are great, actually giving a reason for a mage to have a staff or wand more often. The rest of the chapter will be in Cons, which... yeah.

Cons: So, the editing of the hardcopy was not nearly as good as the concepts as a whole. Every couple of pages I noticed an extremely jarring typo, just often enough I couldn't forget about them (Ligh sphere instead of Light, DR?bludgeoning) which I believe are corrected in the PDF. The Elementalist having Frost Resistance has not been, however. I also find the classes to be... problematic. It really will depend on the group, but personally I've never had a problem with a fighter getting utterly overshadowed, but the Armorist rather thoroughly stomps the fighter, IMO. Your mileage may vary. These cost a star, and if it weren't for the magic items, the product would be 4 stars for me.

Magic Items: This is the train wreck of the book. They reiterate much of the crafting rules from the Core Rules, which is annoying but understandable, then add their own twist on them which is poorly explained, then mangle the crafting feats. Why does a door that magically locks itself need to be made with Craft Rod? Why does Craft Wondrous Item only create charged or use-per-day items? Why are all worn items like a Cloak of Resistance created with Forge Ring? The authors obviously wanted to change how item creation feats worked, but refused to change the names. Considering everything else they did, they should have just created new item creation feats and been done with it, rather than trying to redefine the definitions of the existing feats. And most disappointing of all? The one question I had, of how much an item that added to a caster's spell points would cost, isn't answered anywhere.

Summary: I love the concept, and the rules as a whole work quite well, though some abilities will require a fair amount of GM adjudication, which isn't necessarily good. However, I'm extremely wary of the classes, and the magic item section is largely a disaster.

Required Reading


If you get no other third party materials, get this book. It manages to both close the power gap between martial and magical characters while making mages feel even more like mages.

Flexible magic system that allows casters to be casters


I never liked the "Vancian" magic system, but I do like a lot of other things about Pathfinder. My gaming group is now using this for all our campaigns.

Casting done cool


Picked this up on a whim and it just...it works. Like the freedom of casting this gives without overpowering the player is great, and really helps solves issues with casters. Kinda wish it was easier to incorporate into alchemist and stuff, but that's a minor concern, it's an awesome book and deserves your attention.


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