Spheres of Power (PFRPG)

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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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4.80/5 (based on 13 ratings)

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Amazing Concept with Flaws

3/5

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

5/5

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

5/5

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

5/5

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.


5/5


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Sorry for the cross-post, but just thought I'd let anyone interested know that I have opened a PbP recruitment for a Spheres - friendly PbP game.

Check it out HERE


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My friend finally got to play a "real necromancer" and he's loving it. Spheres is the first magic system to make his character feel like a Necromancer from the start.


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It is pretty good at letting people play to their ideas - and doing so in a balanced manner, to boot. XD

Silver Crusade

My friend turned me onto this, I'm only at elementalist (although the armorist sadly ruined a class I wanted to make), but I can easily see how people are running this over traditional casting. I'll hopefully have a review up once I'm through with the entire book.

Sovereign Court

Adam, do you know if the Herolab files for SoP will be available for purchase for us poor souls that didn't get to back the kickstarter?


So a question, the Advanced magical training feat gives you in part:

Treat your levels in non-casting classes as low-casting
classes when determining your total caster level. If you do not
possess levels in a casting class, increase your spell point pool
to equal your casting ability modifier.

I'm presuming it specifically does not provide extra talents so someone dipping into this feat would have to use the extra talent's feat if they wanted to access anything beyond the sphere's basic talents.


@Gharlane: As far as I understand the system, you would not receive any talents as a result of taking this feat.


As I pointed out over on RPGnet this is a good game for E[level] because you can continue to expand your magic because you can get stuff via feats, whereas most systems have to stop.


Creation's repair ability and constructs, does it heal them? Specifically, if one of my players were to play a wyrwood, would he be able to heal himself with the creation sphere?


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Creation's repair ability and constructs, does it heal them? Specifically, if one of my players were to play a wyrwood, would he be able to heal himself with the creation sphere?

Normally no, because a construct is a creature, not an object (and also an animate target), but with Potent Alteration you could.


In the Armorist table on page 64, the Max Bonus column seems wrong.

According to the text wrote:
Summoned equipment gains a +1 enhancement bonus for every 3 armorist levels the creator possesses, to a maximum of +6 at 18th level.

Shouldn't the 1st and 2nd level Max Bonus be 0 (zero) instead of 1, and the 18th, 19th and 20th level should be 6 (six) instead of 5?

-- david


What do you think would be the best sphere for some sort of object reader? Enhancement would fit, but bestow intelligent specifically calls out "not knowing what happened before it became intelligent". Divination kind of sort of fits, but that's not really checking out the objects so much as standard divination stuff.

Any ideas?


Divination. The Diviner's Handbook (the Divination-focused supplement for Spheres of Power, currently available right here on Paizo.com) has Object Reading as a Basic Talent you can learn.

It also adds a bunch of other options for Divination, making the Sphere considerably more useful overall. XD


Well look at that. That came out between the last time I checked the site for a similar handbook and when I made this post. Thanks!


the new Hero lab files seem to be working pretty good.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Is Manipulate Undeath (ghost strike) the only way undead can heal when using Spheres of Power?


Hmm... it might be, actually, though there's a good chance that more options will appear in the upcoming supplement for the Death sphere.

(This is discounting class abilities, of course. Classes like the Soul Weaver have methods of healing undead.)


Justin Sluder wrote:
Is Manipulate Undeath (ghost strike) the only way undead can heal when using Spheres of Power?

Well, unless I am mistaken, undead can benefit from fast healing just as much as other creatures:

Undead Traits, bolded for your convenience wrote:
Cannot heal damage on its own if it has no Intelligence score, although it can be healed. Negative energy (such as an inflict spell) can heal undead creatures. The fast healing special quality works regardless of the creature's Intelligence score.

Thus, it should be possible to heal undead via any of the following:

Dark Sphere talent: Feed on Darkness
Life Sphere talent: Revitalize

If you have the Geomancer's Handbook you can combine:

Nature Sphere talent: Grant Spirit + Rejuvenation

It also may be possible to heal undead through the following ways (Because they do not explicitly positive or negative energy):

Protection Sphere talent: Healing Aegis

If you have the Geomancer's Handbook you might be able to combine:

Nature Sphere talent: Grant Spirit + Feed on Fire


Hi All,

I am trying to create a SoP character the would essentially mimic a sorcerer that specializes in enhancement, especially sleep and charm person.

It looks like the Mind Sphere, Command (charm), Sleep (charm) and Group Charm would do what I am trying to build.

This would be Class Level 3. Chlorvians are a race of humanoid plants known for their diplomatic grace and easy charm (Legendary Planet Players Guide) +2 con & cha, -2 str.

I am thinking an Eliciter would probably be best.

Any Suggestions?

thanks, -- david


@DM papa.drb

Maybe the weather sphere so you can end bad weather effects to make people in a better mood to talk with you or even just RP (this rain is interrupting my photosyntesis, im gonna get rid of it)

Maybe the Divination sphere so you can divine some info about the person your talking to before attempting the diplomacy to get a leg up

Maybe Enhancement to buff up your charisma both for spellcasting and diplomacy?


DM Papa.DRB wrote:

Hi All,

I am trying to create a SoP character the would essentially mimic a sorcerer that specializes in enhancement, especially sleep and charm person.

It looks like the Mind Sphere, Command (charm), Sleep (charm) and Group Charm would do what I am trying to build.

This would be Class Level 3. Chlorvians are a race of humanoid plants known for their diplomatic grace and easy charm (Legendary Planet Players Guide) +2 con & cha, -2 str.

I am thinking an Eliciter would probably be best.

Any Suggestions?

thanks, -- david

In one of the games I am playing in, we have an Eliciter who specializes in the Mind Sphere. She is awesome. But it kind of boils down to whatever you prefer. I personally would recommend that you play a Spiritualism Hedgewitch / Eliciter.

Level Progression
Level 1: Eliciter 1
Level 2: Hedgewitch 1 (Just a one level dip)
Level 3: Eliciter 2

Talents
Eliciter 1 (bonus)[/1] - Mind sphere
[i]1st level in Sphere caster class
- Command (charm), Sleep (charm)
Eliciter 2 (caster level increase) - Group Charm.

Key Class Abilities

Emotions (Eliciter): I would start off choosing emotions that doesnt require a touch attack (such as Joy or Rage), because eliciters are not built for melee. As you gain more levels in Eliciter and gain more emotions, your ability to make consistent melee touch attacks should be easier, and you can expand on other emotions.

Channel Spirit Allies (Hedgewitch - Spiritualism Tradition Power): 3/day as a standard action choose any Sphere or Talent you do not possess, but meet the prerequisites for. Gain that Sphere or Talent for 1 minute. Use this ability to acquire charms which you dont have but may need, or use it for temporary access to a sphere you dont have but need. Is the battle over, but party members are badly injured, and the cleric is out of spell points? Well gain the Life sphere. Is there a chasm that you have to jump over but dont want to risk failing the check? Warp sphere says hi. Going against things immune to your sphere? Gain the Destruction sphere and blast your enemies so you can still contribute. However, I would try to avoid using it for other spheres if it would cause you to outshine others who specialize in that sphere.

It should be a very fun build and would allow you to specialize in the Mind sphere without feeling left out in specific instances.


I picked this up today...began reading through it.
In a nutshell, how would I replace the magic from an existing class, or class abilities that grant magic related things (like swift casts and such)?


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kryzbyn wrote:

I picked this up today...began reading through it.

In a nutshell, how would I replace the magic from an existing class, or class abilities that grant magic related things (like swift casts and such)?

There are archetypes here for the Core classes with magic that do most of that for you; Spheres of Power: Expanded Options has many of the others, though not the Occult classes. Not sure which class abilities you're referring to specifically, though.


Warpriest came to mind with it's fervor ability. I picked up the Expanded Options book too, so I'll read through that before asking anymore questions :P


Kryzbyn wrote:
Warpriest came to mind with it's fervor ability. I picked up the Expanded Options book too, so I'll read through that before asking anymore questions :P

If one isnt listed then compare its spellcasting with ones that are and choose appropriately.

As a general guide, if its full BaB its Half Caster, 3/4 BaB is 3/4 Caster, and 1/2 BaB is Full caster. If it is specifically meant to be a caster, it probably gets at least 1 talent per level, with more based on how many relevant class features it (doesnt) have. Less features/more features rendered useless by sphere casting = more spellpoints or talents. Classes with a lot of features and 3/4 or 1/2 Casters get less talents.

Any class feature that can be replicated with a sphere magic power likely should give the sphere and some bonus talents for it free (such as summoners eidelon)

And lastly, if the class has a big class feature that gives it a bunch of extra spells, replace that with a free sphere and possibly +1 caster level in it.

Thats a general guide.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kryzbyn wrote:
Warpriest came to mind with it's fervor ability. I picked up the Expanded Options book too, so I'll read through that before asking anymore questions :P

I'd guess it probably works in a similar way, allowing you to spend fervor to use a sphere ability on yourself only as a swift action. Very handy for Protection, I'll wager, as well as Light, Alteration, and other such.


Whatever happened to the Bestiary?


Thank you Baval and Grovestrider. -- david


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Whatever happened to the Bestiary?

Adam Meyers is working on it. From what I understand it will be released along with an adventure called, Wizard's Academy. So far, I have seen two parts of the bestiary including various conversions of classic celestials and fiends.

So dont worry, it has not been abandoned. Until then, each sphere handbook also includes a small handful of monsters with sphere abilities.


Grovestrider wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Whatever happened to the Bestiary?

Adam Meyers is working on it. From what I understand it will be released along with an adventure called, Wizard's Academy. So far, I have seen two parts of the bestiary including various conversions of classic celestials and fiends.

So dont worry, it has not been abandoned. Until then, each sphere handbook also includes a small handful of monsters with sphere abilities.

Thank you. I know developers don't like to be bugged about these sorts of things, but in this case Drop Dead Studios has been producing things since and I was wondering if that meant plans had changed.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Minor note: The Awaken talent for Enhancement and the Bestow Life advanced talent mention giving the magical creature type; however, that's not a creature type, so I presume magical beast is what was intended?


Yep, that's supposed to be magical beast.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fubbles the Baby Cow wrote:
Adam, do you know if the Herolab files for SoP will be available for purchase for us poor souls that didn't get to back the kickstarter?

Yeah, this is pretty important for me as well. Do we have an ETA on the herolab files being available to people who did not get to back the kickstarter?


Well, given that they're already out, I'm gonna guess the answer is "right now"...


Now that this has been out a while has anyone had experience with how Destruction sphere attacks fare at high level? I hear people complain about the disparity between regular AC and touch AC in the core game, is it any worse using Spheres of Power?


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Now that this has been out a while has anyone had experience with how Destruction sphere attacks fare at high level? I hear people complain about the disparity between regular AC and touch AC in the core game, is it any worse using Spheres of Power?

I would love to help you out, but the highest level I have had experience with (who had the Destruction sphere) was 10th level (and I dont think that is considered "high level").

The party consisted of the following:

Graves, a Psyforensic Investigator (sphere-based investigator archetype found in the Diviner's Handbook) who specialized both in the Destruction and Divination spheres. His attacks at lower levels (1-3) where not very accurate, and did moderate damage. His attacks later in the game (levels 4-6) were a bit more accurate (about 50/50), and again did moderate damage. At the end of the game (levels 7-10) graves did much less damage than other players but his attacks almost always hit (even if the creatures hit werent always affected by the destructive blast's rider effects).

Keiva, a Shifter who specialized completely in the Alteration sphere. At Lower levels (1-3) her attacks were not very reliable at hitting (I think this was mostly due to the dice hating her though), But because of her massive hp and damage reduction (from undead traits), she was a very decent tank. Later on (levels 4-6), she became able to combine far more traits to her dragon form, such as size change. With the boost to Strength and Constitution she became a more competent tank. By the end of the game (levels 7-10) Keiva as a Huge Undead Dragon was dishing out so much damage (and due to her backlash damage build) would deal even more damage whenever she herself was hit. She probably was dishing out in average 2-4 times as much damage as Graves was.

Kake, a Hedgewitch (with Spiritualism Tradition) who focused primarily in the Conjuration sphere (but due to her hedgewitch tradition could do just about anything she wanted). While she probably did the least amount of damage in the party, her ability to completely grab any sphere or talent made her probably one of the most key members to the party.

LT "Rot-cod" Notsaw, a Sphere Archaeologist Bard/Empyreal Guardian Warlord (from DSP's Path of War) was my character whose spheres he specialized in were Life and War and whose martial disciplines were Golden Lion and Silver Crane. Because the campaign was focused around slaughtering undead and evil outsiders, I probably tied with the most damage with Keiva (the Shifter with Alteration sphere specialization). But when it came down to encounters without undead or outsiders, I was left in the dust and mostly buffed and healed the party.

So in ranking of damage we had by level 10:
Keiva - A Shifter with specialization in the Alteration sphere
Notsaw - A Bard/Warlord whose damage with Silver Crane is mostly a result of it being a heavy undead/evil outsider campaign
Graves - An investigator with the destruction and divination spheres, whose damage was usually piddly (moderate at best).
Kake - A Spiritualism Hedgewitch who if she ever wanted to, could simply grab the destruction sphere and deal comparable damage to that of Graves.

I hope this helps.


Grovestrider wrote:
At the end of the game (levels 7-10) graves did much less damage than other players but his attacks almost always hit (even if the creatures hit werent always affected by the destructive blast's rider effects).

Okay, this sounds fair. I don't have much experience with what the damage amounts are like at high levels so I wasn't sure if the scaling on Destruction made it extra-potent. "Guaranteed hit of small pings" sounds like a reasonable strength.


Eh, 1d6 per two levels really isn't that much, and even 1d6 per-level is only in line with many spells. (And you'll note that "Blasting" is often considered the least effective use of spells.)

Of course, you can do a bit better if you specialize in Destruction, which makes sense. XD In particular, Energy Blade (Talent) + Melee Blaster (Feat) + Improved Energy Blade (Feat) on a 3/4ths BAB character is pretty potent. If anybody on your group really *wants* to do better with Destruction, I encourage picking up The Destroyer's Handbook.


It's only because some people I've read online are skeptical about touch attacks (in the case I remember it was about firearms) that I wanted to get some opinions.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, the main thing about firearms is that they get iterative attacks, which Destruction does not. You can boost damage in various ways to be a bit more respectable if you're a specialist, but still, you're not going to be unloading iterative touch attacks on people.

Unrelatedly, another one for the errata...on pg. 79, for the Black Magic tradition it reads, "Tradition Grand Secrets: A hedgewitch with the black magic tradition adds the following secrets to those she may select:" I presume that it should read (like all the others, "Tradition Grand Secrets: A hedgewitch with the black magic tradition may select one of the following whenever they gain a grand secret:"

I doubt any GM would allow it when it's clearly an error, but as-written you can start snagging major hexes right off the bat. And while the hedgewitch is pretty amazing, I think it's clear they're not supposed to be quite that amazing.


Firearms and Destructive Blasts are totally different situations. XD In general, Touch AC is typically meant for characters that have a low rate of attacks (as characters using Destructive Blasts do - usually just one blast per-turn, versus the full attacks some other classes can get). It should be fine.


Any chance that all the additional material for Spheres of Power will be collected in one softcover book?


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Coffee Demon wrote:
Any chance that all the additional material for Spheres of Power will be collected in one softcover book?

Adam Meyers has said that such is planned, although it is not set in stone (He is working on several different things at the moment).

What I personally want to see is an 'ULTIMATE SPHERES OF POWER' hard-cover book which will be a compilation of all the books (SoP, SoP:E, WoP, Handbooks) + errata. Oh and with GOOD ART this time, none of that deviant art s@*!.


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For a full compilation of the Spheres of Power material, like something similar to Ultimate Psionics, I would definitely contribute to that.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Indeed, I'd love for them to finish a Handbook for every sphere, and maybe a few other things they're already working on piecemeal, like alternate racial traits for all the spell-like abilities various races get naturally, though admittedly that's easy enough to do yourself...but yeah, if they ever Kickstart Spheres of Power Unleashed or Ultimate Spheres of Power, I'm definitely on board.


Agreed. This was the result of a kickstarter which I participated in, but I did not go for the full print option and lament that now. If it is done again with all the expanded content, I would go big on it next time.


How easy is it to merge Spheres of Power into an existing campaign?


Converting characters isn't too bad, it might just take a bit for players to make their choices on which Spheres and Talents they want. Converting monsters and encounters over can take a little experimentation.

Of course, if all you want to do is take some stuff of SoP and put it in the game, it won't be too bad after you are familiar with the abilities.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
How easy is it to merge Spheres of Power into an existing campaign?

They're designed to merge, and there's a guideline in the "Player's Guide to Skybourne" book about how to mix traditions for the various classes and things like that, as well as feats to allow a spherecaster to use a few spells per day, if that's what you're looking for.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Anyone who's been using Spheres of Power imagine using your spheres abilities as super-powers for your character? Because Vigilantes of Skybourne is currently in open playtest and features, amongst other thing, sphere-based super-powers vigilantes can take as talents. So, feel free to check that out.

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