Champions of the Spheres (PFRPG) PDF

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Spheres of Power changed the way casters worked. Spheres of Might did the same for martial combatants. In Champions of the Spheres, both of the ‘Spheres' systems are married together into a unified whole to provide players with a plethora of options to craft a multitude of characters to fit whatever concept they want to roll!

Within Champions of the Spheres you'll find:

  • 3 New Classes: The Prodigy, who can do just about anything he puts his mind to, the Sage, who mixes ki powers and magic prowess to great accomplishment, and the Troubadour, who can change his face, and his powers, to whatever the situation requires.
  • Player Options: New archetypes, new feats, and other class options to better mix the Spheres of Might and Spheres of Power systems.
  • Unified Traditions: Unified Traditions mix casting traditions and martial traditions into a single whole, reducing character creation time and better generating a complete character concept for players both new and old.

Come take a look and unlock the secrets of the Champions of the Spheres!

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*****

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter that funded this book (as well as Spheres of Might) and paid for this product.

All right, here we are - the gish book. This has been on people's radar ever since Spheres of Might was announced, and it serves as a unifying tome for creating characters that use both systems. After a brief introduction describing some new terms, we get right into the new classes.

The Prodigy is a mid-BAB, mid-Casting character with good Reflex and Will saves, as well as 20 magic talents (+2 magic talents) as they level. Prodigies are built around the Sequence ability, which involves performing a certain number of actions to unlock a useful Finisher. Finishers vary widely, from resolving a blow as a touch attack, getting a bunch of extra attacks, or even regaining Martial Focus. This is important - it helps the Prodigy work with a variety of playstyles. Prodigies also get unique options based on the spheres they know.

The Sage isn't actually a caster. They can get magic sphere abilities, but they never actually get the Casting ability. (This has interesting rule interactions, especially for feats.) Instead, they're closer to being a more magical form of the monk - they get a scaling touch attack they can use as an attack action, a bonus to AC when unarmored and unencumbered, and a selection of styles and techniques powered by a Ki pool. Personally, I'm quite fond of the Enhancer package - you can use it to buff physical ability scores for yourself or your allies, at no cost (for a short time) or at a mild cost (for a somewhat longer duration). A class option allows the same bonus to apply to mental scores as well, albeit only for the Sage. Otherwise, they're a low-BAB, low-talent class with all good saves, though they do get a style talent (either combat or magic) every odd level, bringing them up to 20 talents total. (They do not get the two bonus magic talents, because they are not actually casters.)

The Troubadour is a mid-BAB, low-caster and low-martial proficiency class. They don't get very many magic talents, but make up for it with Personas, which are a sort of supercharged version of the Vigilante's disguise. Personas also come with 'tropes', unique abilities based on stories and concepts. Flavor note: Some of these are 'common' tropes, such as the Lover persona having a 'Diva' trait. However, you should NOT feel bound by the suggested names or ideas in the book. If you have a different concept, by all means, rename the ability and roll with it.

Following the classes, we get Archetypes. These include options for a variety of classes - mostly Spherecasters and Practitioners, but we also get Magus and Summoner options. All things considered, the Mystic archetype for the Magus is probably the most "generic" option in the book. It doesn't just have combat and magic talents, it combines them in an effective way. (The Martial Mageknight is a close second for generic magical warrior builds. Given it was already very Magus-like to begin with, this shouldn't be a surprise.)

There is no generic gish class in the style of the Incanter and the Conscript, which are largely build-your-own classes. Personally, I think that's probably for the best. It's harder than it seems to make a truly balanced generic class using both systems, in part because both Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might are so flexible.

Follow this, we get to the Class Options, which synchronize well with the new archetypes. Most of it comes down to "Pick a Combat/Magic Talent" or "Pick a Gish feat" (these are new), but we do get some animal companion options to go with these.

The Player Options follow after. The feats mainly focus on the new "Gish" category, which are specifically designed to integrate the two systems better. For example, the Dispelling Attack feat allows you to expend martial focus as a swift action to use Counterspell (i.e. Spheres' Dispel Magic power) on a foe you damaged.

We also get some Favored Class Bonuses, but the more exciting bit is the Unified Traditions, which are the last bit of content in this book. These are a replacement for not just martial and casting traditions, but also the two talents characters normally get for taking their first spherecasting level. (Also, yes, this means Sages can't take them.) As with other pre-written traditions, these are largely suggestions, and rules for making and/or modifying traditions in a balanced way are included. The examples include things like Arcane Archers, Crusaders, Death Knights, Reapers, Spellswords, and Traveling Sages.

Overall, this is a fun and exciting release that blends two solid systems together. I'm sure some will be disappointed at the lack of a build-your-own option, but really, some of the archetypes are pretty generic. If your table uses Spheres of Power and Spheres of might, and some people want to use both, this is the book you want to get.


well any one asked true red mage

*****

troubadour the master of stage that bard envies, prodigy the true red mage. and sage the class to create your inner saiyan. this book is must have for any serious pathfinder fan out there and thrust me your money is well spend.


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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Now Available!

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Awesome.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And we got it out while it's still November!

Shadow Lodge

Cutting is a bit close, weren't you?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragonborn3 wrote:
Cutting is a bit close, weren't you?

You have no idea. We also got the errata wrapped up and pushed out for Spheres of Might the other day so we could get the print proof ordered. While all of us were also working on other, non Spheres of Might Kickstarter related books. It was a hectic month to cap off a hectic year. BUT!!! We ended up with some awesome products and got them into everyone's hands on or ahead of schedule, which we count as a personal and professional victory given how often Kickstarter books get bogged down or delayed. All of the designers and artists involved really brought their A-game and helped carry Spheres of Might and Champions of the Spheres over the finish line.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm concerned that there is no sidebar in the Troubadour's section regarding eternal feminine that Adam Meyers said would be present in the final release. We had discussed at length the links between concepts such as eternal feminine and gender essentialism, and I was assured that Rachel Meyers would explain that the Lover trope and its related abilities are not meant to invoke essentialist philosophy. With the presence of the problematic class features in the final release, and the lack of any discussion of the matter, Spheres of Might invokes trans-exclusionary themes that I really don't want my name associated with as a trans freelancer.

I sincerely hope that you can ensure either the inclusion of such a sidebar or a removal of the problematic themes before this book goes to print, Adam.

-Siobhan Bjorknas

Shadow Lodge

Ssalarn wrote:
We also got the errata wrapped up and pushed out for Spheres of Might the other day so we could get the print proof ordered.

Can we expect a updated pdf soon? :) I need to see if the people typo got through :p


I know the updated PDF for Spheres of Might is already available on OBS - I'm not sure if Paizo's gotten an updated version yet.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragonborn3 wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
We also got the errata wrapped up and pushed out for Spheres of Might the other day so we could get the print proof ordered.
Can we expect a updated pdf soon? :) I need to see if the people typo got through :p

I know all the OBS sites already have the update (as GM Rednal mentioned), but Paizo usually does take an extra day or two for updates and such to post. I'll double-check with Adam, but I'm pretty sure he said that he pushed it to all the sites, so if you don't see an updated version, you should see one soon.


So what is the Prodigy like?


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It's fairly... distinct. XD They're built around a Sequence mechanic, which starts with an Opener (attack a foe, heal an ally, etc.), goes through link components (impaling a creature with the Lancer sphere, moving up to an enemy, etc.), and closes off with a finisher (ending the sequence and providing a useful effect, like resolving an attack as a touch attack). Knowledge of different spheres grants unique options to integrate into a sequence.

Given the breadth of options, it's quite flexible, but you need to really know your choices and have a sense for what you want to do. I can see people making reference cards or something when playing the Prodigy.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

StSword wrote:
So what is the Prodigy like?

It uses both magic and martial talents and can tie them together into combos that enable powerful finishing techniques. It's designed to really capitalize on the mobility offered by SoM and casting in general while making it pretty easy to build up the links you need for a finishing technique.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Prodigy sounds like it needs theme music.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragonborn3 wrote:
Prodigy sounds like it needs theme music.

I can't remember if Stack actually did it or not, but we definitely joked about how the Alteration sphere should give you a finisher where you turn into a giant animal and dish out a massive natural attack as a finisher.

*Video features clips from Mortal Kombat and may not be appropriate for all audiences.*

Shadow Lodge

..why is that not a thing?


GM Rednal wrote:

It's fairly... distinct. XD They're built around a Sequence mechanic, which starts with an Opener (attack a foe, heal an ally, etc.), goes through link components (impaling a creature with the Lancer sphere, moving up to an enemy, etc.), and closes off with a finisher (ending the sequence and providing a useful effect, like resolving an attack as a touch attack). Knowledge of different spheres grants unique options to integrate into a sequence.

Given the breadth of options, it's quite flexible, but you need to really know your choices and have a sense for what you want to do. I can see people making reference cards or something when playing the Prodigy.

Yeah. It's a really neat class, but I'd say it's not a class for a beginner. It does require some consideration and planning, although it definately rewards the player with a very flavorful experience that is far different from most other classes. It's also very, very flexible, which can make it useful if say, you have a small party.


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Really looking forward to making a sage (love making monk characters), and troubadour will work perfectly for my setting's reinterpretation of yazata.

Dark Archive

I have a problem to understand how a character qualifies for a Unified Tradition. So far, i had understood the following:

*Casting Tradition: Whenever you gain the first level on a Sphere Casting Class (or archetype that grants sphere casting) you can select a Casting Tradition.

*Martial Traditions: At character creation, select a Martial Tradition if your class grants it, or trade your starting proficiencies (other than simple weapons, light armor and bucklers) to gain one.

Unified Tradition: Here the lines blurs a little bit. Which classes are allowed to take a unified tradition: Sphere casters, Combat Practitioners or a classes that deal with both elements?


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I'm pretty sure unified traditions can only be taken by characters who would otherwise need to choose both a martial and a casting tradition.


It sounds like Unified needs to be a caster, but only needs to have enough proficiencies to trade away to make up for Martial. So you don't need to be a Combat Practitioner. (And you don't need a class to be a caster either, seeing as how you only have to take Basic Magical Training and Advanced Magical Training.)


What I would like to know is if the Sage class qualifies to take a Unified Tradition.


Looking it over... no. Sages do not get the two bonus magical talents that Spherecasters normally get, and Unified Traditions include those.

Speaking of the Sage, their table should have the Combat Training class feature at 1st level.

Shadow Lodge

Speaking of Sages... man, it's really, really close to being able to represent Gon from Hunter X Hunter but I don't see an option for the Ki to deal Bludgeoning or Slashing at melee. So close to his signature move!


Why is it Sages can modify their Ki blasts by (blast type) talents, but not (blast shape) talents? That seems like a real shame, and such an obvious thing, it's prolly not allowed due to balance reasons, right? I'm asking just to be sure, because unless someone points out to me why that'd be a bad idea, i'd allow people to use (blast shape) talents with Ki blasts.

Shadow Lodge

Well, just glancing at it, Energey Nova, Sphere, Strike, and Tether all seem like amazing choices for the 'against shape' talents. Mutable Blast is just... nasty. Those are just some that don't require spell point.

It also helps differentiate them from regular spherecasters.


I suppose, but there's so many iconic tricks that cant be done normally :/ I guess any changes to ki blast shape are done through esoteries, which is a shame. Those are far from exhaustive. Something like the Mutable Blast talent would be nice. But anyway, ye, i can understand the restriction. Ki blasts are simply better than regular destructive blasts.

Shadow Lodge

See my above minor complaint about a lack of bludgeoning. Though I can use Air Blast I suppose. It's fitting enough.


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If you want to lay a conan- or Soloman Kane style "limited magic" campaign, using the Scholar "caller" archtype and the knacks found later in the book-- everyone else has to use the dabbler and ritual feats, which pretty well defines most of the wizards we find in the more pulp settings-- not that powerful compared to your normal pathfinder setting, but since a wizard is quite literally a one in a million find, they are very powerful compared to most of the people they face.


You know, looking it over, I'm rather surprised that the Sage's Physical Perfection option doesn't have a level requirement. That seems... reaaaaaaaaaally good for something you could get as early as 2nd level. At least there's no Extra Esotery feat to let you buy it that way. XD

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

GM Rednal wrote:
You know, looking it over, I'm rather surprised that the Sage's Physical Perfection option doesn't have a level requirement. That seems... reaaaaaaaaaally good for something you could get as early as 2nd level. At least there's no Extra Esotery feat to let you buy it that way. XD

So, that is actually a huge issue caused by one tiny formatting error. Devastation Wave, Heart Stopper, Physical Perfection, and Spider's Web are all supposed to be options for the level 20 Signature Move. It looks like Signature Move was italicized and indented instead of bolded though, so the signature moves ended up bleeding into the list of regular esoteries. I've brought Adam's attention to the issue so he can fix it.


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Okay, THAT makes more sense. XD

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

GM Rednal wrote:
Okay, THAT makes more sense. XD

Just wanted to pop in and let you know, we've got the update all queued up, but a catastrophic failure of DDS' primary layout computer has delayed the Champions update and a few other products. Adam is running a massive mega bundle sale on the Open Gaming Store site that we're hoping will help finance the replacement of the defunct machine, so if you're interested in picking up the entire DDS back-catalog for only $30, now's your chance! Even if you already own some of these entries it's still a pretty screaming deal. The bundle doesn't include Spheres of Might or Champions of the Spheres, but it does include Spheres of Power, all of the Skybourne books published so far, and DDS' stand-alone classes like the Luchador, Artisan, and War Dancer.


So, due to my own personal annoyance with the lack of a good Martial Tradition for a Ki Blasting Sage, I cobbled together this:

Ki Blaster martial tradition
Bonus Talents:
Equipment: Unarmed Training.
Equipment: Critical Genius (Ki Blast).
Sniper sphere.
Variable: Ki blasters gain one additional talent of their choice from the Sniper sphere.

I'm now wondering if this would be too specialized, or if you can even take Critical Genius with the Ki Blast.


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You're really close. Getting technical, I don't think you're actually "Proficient" with your Ki Blast - at least, I haven't seen any text specifying that. (You can totally apply things like Weapon Focus and Improved Critical to Rays, though. I'm just going with the narrow reading here.)

How. Ev. Er.

Martial traditions generally permit trading up to one talent for a feat. The Ki Blast does say it counts as the Destructive Blast, and guess what? The Deadly Targeting feat improves a Destructive Blast's crit range to 19-20.

So, I'm not sure your tradition is technically legal - but there's something very similar that should work with no problem. Alas, you don't get the extra damage from Critical Genius, but there are plenty of ways to improve a Destructive Blast's power. XD Long-term, it's not a big loss.

...

That said, your tradition does feel over-specialized in offense. I think it would be appropriate to turn the variable Sniper feat into something defensive or utility-oriented.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've had a chance to read through this a time or two now and I have to say that all three classes in here are very cool.

The Troubadour might take a little bit of note keeping* and the Sage a little bit of planning, but the Prodigy is not for the inexperienced.

This is not a bad thing though; I actually like the existence of classes that require a bit experience to pull off.

*:
I made my own set of character sheets awhile ago that, little did I know, one of my friends spent quite awhile trying to find them online. We both had a good laugh when I told him it was my own making and he mentioned his browsing for them.


Any character examples? Why isn't the Pathfinder site filthy with builds like my other favorite rpg Mutants and masterminds? At least for a test drive.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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doc chaos wrote:
Any character examples? Why isn't the Pathfinder site filthy with builds like my other favorite rpg Mutants and masterminds? At least for a test drive.

I believe, though I'm waiting for confirmation from Adam on this, that there were some sample characters that were supposed to be included in the .pdf but got overlooked, and that Adam is adding those back in an upcoming update.

Is there a class you're particularly interested in? I primarily worked on the Sage, unified traditions with Adam, and several of the archetypes, but I also helped with the Prodigy a bit and am very familiar with it, so I could probably whip up an example character for pretty much anything except the Troubadour, which I just never had the time to really dig into. I've probably still got the Tsunade and Master Roshi builds I was using during playtesting for the Sage around here somewhere...


@ssalarn can you build dancing mage with prodigy using dual wielding sais.


Not so much a certain character, but a "G.I. Joe" version of the class. A build made to show why the class is needed. A five round playthrough with various threats and different terrain would show what characters can do.
For example, I had the hunter iconic,Adowyn(4thlvl) fight three hobgoblins from the prd. Nice and efficient. Wolf sneaks,attack, hunter buffs, provides covering fire. Got the concept. And the dice weren't cooperating much!
Thanks for commenting.

Shadow Lodge

I wish Martial animal companions could take other archetypes too :/

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragonborn3 wrote:
I wish Martial animal companions could take other archetypes too :/

The biggest thing is that the martial animal companions get a really solid exchange on their talents as is. We literally couldn't take away any less and maintain a reasonably balanced archetype. You can still bring your companion's Int up to 3 and buy up Extra Combat Talent feats on any archetype though, so there are options out there for applying martial talents to other archetyped companions.

Shadow Lodge

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I know, and I understand why it's like that. It's just weird that none of the archetypes for Animal Companions stack with any others(that I can tell).

Still, Martial Giant Weasel with Wrestling/Duelist and the Exanguinate feat... >.>


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Been using Troubador + homebrew race to represent an outsider subtype of personifications of narrative. Being able to use both the spheres systems in a single character really helps with statting up NPCs with a good mix of toughness that outsiders are meant to have, along with the weird varied magical powers they might possess.

Dark Archive

AlephOzone wrote:
Why is it Sages can modify their Ki blasts by (blast type) talents, but not (blast shape) talents? That seems like a real shame, and such an obvious thing, it's prolly not allowed due to balance reasons, right? I'm asking just to be sure, because unless someone points out to me why that'd be a bad idea, i'd allow people to use (blast shape) talents with Ki blasts.

I may have had something to do with that when I posted a build for a Destruction-focused Sage that could use Barrage's Spinning Shot with Destruction's Explosive Orb. It was pretty ridiculous.

Shadow Lodge

I can only imagine!

Dark Archive

Unfortunately I deleted the sheets a while back, but iirc I maxed out Wisdom and took Extra Ki a bunch of times so I could blast to my heart's content. With Wisdom 22 and 4 feats spent on Extra Ki I had a huge pool of 22 points by Level 8 which I would then use to toss out three 15' radius 8d6 blasts per turn for insane damage, and that combo would've worked five times a day. Don't even think about what pairing that guy with a Ki Channel cleric could do to a day's combats.

Dark Archive

Though after another read it looks like that's still possible - in fact despite removing the Blast Shape talents as legal options there's now an Esotery which does the same thing.

Shadow Lodge

Which Esoteries in particular? I know there is one for Lines and one for Cones.

Sage, Infuser: How long does the grapple last? Can they maintain it? Is it still a reflex save to try and break free?


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Since there's no text I can see saying otherwise...

1) It lasts as long as a normal grapple (as long as it's maintained, or until it's changed to pinned, or until it's broken out of).

2) Yes, they can maintain it.

3) The Sage can optionally require a reflex save whenever they could use a combat maneuver. It's their choice, not the target's.

Shadow Lodge

I play with people that will argue Brawlers get to use gauntlets for unarmed strikes, so it's best to have stuff like nailed down ahead of time.

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