Spheres of Power: Expanded Options (PFRPG) PDF

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Spheres of Power: Expanded Options is the first supplemental product in the Spheres of Power line, giving players and GMs even more toys to play with for the Spheres magic system.

Inside this 29-page supplement, you'll find:

  • Favored Class Options for all Spheres of Power classes for both the core and several expanded races!
  • Conversion Archetypes for all non-alchemy casting classes from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player's Guide and Advanced Class Guide!
  • Multiple archetypes for all Spheres of Power classes, including the Lichling (soul weaver), the Warlock (incanter), the hypnotist (eliciter), the Geomancer (elementalist), and more!

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****( )

This is a solid addition to the Spheres of Power (SoP) system, but not quite as good as the core SoP book. Most of the Sphere class archetypes are good, though our group has house rules for some of them, most notably the Sphere Magus. (We let the Magus keep his Arcane Pool, and instead removed the bonus Spell Points.)

The archetypes for the SoP classes are a bit uneven, with some being well-balanced and interesting, while others are just weird.

Still, the PDF is well worth the price if you want to completely replace the magic system with SoP and still use the casting classes from the Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Class Guide and/or Ultimate Magic.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This expansion for Drop Dead Studios' Spheres of Power system clock in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let's take a look!

One rules component I failed to address in its omission in the original spheres of power-book, consciously so, mind you, would be favored class options: While the rules by now have become a staple for PFRPG-games, not all groups I know play with them and considering the sheer amount of material covered, I was not surprised to them relegated to the expansion material this way. Beyond brief conversion advice for the conversion of spells-known type favored class options, we not only cover the core races, but also aasimar, goblins, merfolk, orcs and tieflings - still leaving some room for further expansion, sure, but when you take a look at the favored class options, they are actually rather interesting from extended concentration-duration effects for incanters to +1/4 bound nexus and increased movement speeds, the favored class options herein struck me a reasonably balanced, did not contain blatant power creep and over all, can be considered to rank among the better such collections I've seen - kudos!

Now one very vocal requirement that most fans wanted pertained the conversion of the non-core classes to the spheres of power-system and this pdf happily obliges: Not only the Advanced Player's Guide (plus Magus!), but also the Advanced Class Guide is covered. (Though not sphere-based alchemy, should you have been looking for that...) Of particular interest for me here was the magus: His Spell Combat and spellstrikes have been expertly translated into the new system and expanded magic now nets you a base sphere/magic talent wild-card that duplicates in a rather neat manner the flexibility of the replaced knowledge pool, scaling up later, btw. More impressive, at least to me, was the elegant redesign of the orcale's bonus spell-granting curses and the redesign of the summoner: The latter codifies a companion as the eidolon; while still potentially problematic, the foundation of sphere-casting is ultimately more solid than that of the base class. The arcanist's interaction between spellpoints and the arcane reservoir is also rather well-crafted and quite a few exploits have been properly codified anew.

Obviously, there also are archetypes for the new Spheres of Power-centric classes: The Armorist Warleader replaces bound equipment with a full-scaling mount and gains Tactician at 5th level and improved versions at later levels. An okay take on the concept of a tactician-y armorist, though I maintain that there are better options for the latter component. Symbiotic Knights get a symbiote they can summon, which then acts as their armor - one that spontaneously upon summoning may change its properties, though at the cost of only being able to properly use the symbiote him/herself. Elementalists may elect to become elemental-themed warriors (all solid, all representing concepts I'm bored to death with by now), though I still cringe at "frost resistance" - the proper rules-language is "cold resistance," darn it! Geomancers are specialists in the nature sphere. Eliciters may opt to become IDs, who receive more emotions, or hynotists, who gain an investigator's inspiration pool at 1/2 class level + Int-mod with different skills improved as well as limited investigator talents. Both valid.

Fey Disciples can become Seelie Disciples that replace darkvision with versatile performance and high-level fascinate/suggestion. Unseelie Disciples instead gain Sneak Attack and rogue talents. Hedgewitches can elect to become dragonblooded mortals, gaining natural attacks...with a cool-down breath weapon...which per se is mechanically a damn cool option. At the same time, the damage-output here is too much: Level times d6 with decreasing cool-down is truly nasty, particularly considering that the whole archetype only costs one tradition. The Triple Goddess archetype taps into the iconic notion of the norns, fates, etc., gaining per se damn cool fate/life/death abilities - though, on a formal level, you usually do not "pass" a save...but that gripe remains cosmetic.

The Incanter can become a warlock or reincarnated master - warlocks gaining a possession-form of okay buffs, while reincarnated masters work particularly well for exceedingly high lethality games/Dark Souls type of gameplay, including auto-reincarnation at 6th level. Warriors of Holy Light are a bit paladin-y mageknights, complete with good alignment-restriction and lay on hands...which imho is a missed chance: We see "cold, hard light"-type of evil options far too rarely. Conversely, the Underdark Champion unnecessarily locks the character into evil alignment with darkness-based smites and the like. Dragoons don't get FF IV's iconic jump, but at least receive a mount. Divine Lariats are the first archetype I really enjoyed: These guys are basically Wonder Woman, the class - sans the gender restrictions...and they make the lasso badass as a weapon. Kudos!

The Beastmind Shifter hones his mind, while the pack master gets animal companions...potentially more than one. Okay, I guess. Soul Weaver Lichlings duplicate some lich-y abilities like negative energy affinity and a touch of corruption. Dual Channelers replace bound nexus with better channeling...of both positive and negative energy and they also gain both access to blessings and blights...and overall, the archetype made me fear that it'd be OP in the hands of a halfway decent player...which it is. Wildcard-channel-energy-based feat additions (ignoring prereqs!) and the like just pile on to the already very strong archetype, rendering it imho BROKEN.

The Symbiat Snypase is a teleport-specialist and the Telekinetic Warrior is, surprise, also about telekinesis. Finally, Thaumaturge devourers get slightly higher forbidden lore backlash when not dropping foes below 0 hp...could be kitten'd...but honestly not worth the trouble. This one is pretty much the definition of a filler archetype. The Pactmage enters one pact of 3 provided and then gains celestial, infernal or aberrant blessings - which would be infinitely more compelling, had the book taken a cue from Covenant Magic or Pact Magic and either integrated them or devoted a similar amount of space to the concepts - as provided, this remains a bit barebones for the concept.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring issues. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard with some new artworks and some stock art you know from older publications blended.

The good things first: Adam Meyers, J Gray, James Mars, Michael Sayre and Douglas Schaub have crafted what I'd consider a must-have expansion for Spheres of Power - overall, the rules-language is sound and the favored class options plus conversion archetypes alone make this probably a no-brainer for any campaign using spheres of power. At the same time, this book disappointed me on a pretty high level with its archetypes. I get that some cookie-cutter-type engine tweaks regarding the archetypes may be required; the archetypes aren't bad.

But if I had to name one weakness of Spheres of Power, then that to me, the classes do not feel that distinct; their individual identities and class features, when divorced from the superb system, just are not that interesting. They are not bad, mind you - quite the contrary! But you won't see me convert any of them to a non-SoP-game, they just don't have enough unique tricks when separated from their system. The archetypes had a chance to change that and didn't...but, as a reviewer, I will not penalize this book for that - to do otherwise would be bad form.

I am, however, going to penalize it for the few instances of blatantly OP content and for the uninspired, utterly bland "I get a mount"-dragoon, the very definition of cookie-cutter-design. Thankfully, these do not represent the overall quality of an otherwise must-have book.

It is only due to these issues, not the lost chance mentioned above, that I arrive at a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


Community Manager

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Now available!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Awesome! More SoP goodness that everyone should add to their collection. (And which I may have written for....)


Any new spheres?

...either way, dot for later!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is this the book that backers of Drop Dead Studios SoP and Skyborne kick starters get?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Aleron wrote:

Any new spheres?

...either way, dot for later!

No new spheres, but there's sphere-casting archetypes for every Paizo casting class that didn't get one in the main SoP book, as well as numerous archetypes for all of the Spheres of Power classes. There's also favored class bonuses for all the core races, plus aasimar, tieflings, goblins, orcs, and merfolk.

Some of the archetypes do stuff like putting a cool new twist on the core concept, like the Synapse, a Symbiat archetype that gains Warp abilities in place of Telekinesis and can eventually turn themselves into mental energy and teleport inside an opponent's mind to take control of them.


this spheres are a great idea at all, a good alternative for that crappy vancian magic. but now a wizard can cure, a cleric can fireball´em all, a paladin or bard could do both... so, perhaps they should need to make sphere options for every single casting class

Still, i prefeer this than vancian magic, highly recomended


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No new spheres or magic talents.

Instead, it begins with favored class options, discussing how to handle existing ones for classes converted to Spheres of Power that offer additional spells, then offers favored class bonuses for the Spheres of Power classes (armorist, elementalist, eliciter, fey adept, hedge witch, incanter, mageknight, shifter, soul weaver, symbiat, and thaumaturge) for the Core races, as well as aasimar, goblins, merfolk, orcs, and tieflings.

Then it goes into Spheres of Power conversion archetypes for the inquisitor, magus, oracle, summoner, and the witch, and the arcanist, bloodrager, hunter, shaman, skald, and warpriest. Oddly, the magus is listed as coming from the Advanced Player's Guide, but that's not a real issue.

Then it finishes off with Spheres of Power class archetypes. These archetypes are: Armorist (Warleader, Symbiotic Knight), Elementalist (Flame Warrior, Water Warrior, Wind Warrior, Earth Warrior, Geomancer), Eliciter (Id, Hypnotist), Fey Adept (Seelie Disciple, Unseelie Disciple), Hedgewitch (Dragonblooded Mortal, Triple Goddess), Incanter (Warlock, Reincarnated Master), Mageknight (Warrior of the Holy Light, Utterdark Champion, Dragoon, Divine Lariat), Shifter (Beastmind, Pack Master), Soul Weaver (Lichling, Dual Channeler), Symbiat (The Synapse, Telekinetic Warrior), Thaumaturge (Devourer, Pactmage). Some of these archetypes are original, others are adapted from existing classes or archetypes to allow sphere classes to play a similar role, and others do the usual thing of allowing you to pick up some class features from other classes.

I didn't find all of them exciting, but there were enough that I found interesting or useful to be generally satisfied with the purchase.


Interesting. I will likely pick this up when it becomes available on RPGNow.


@Mad Alchemist: It is the one backers of both will get free, but due to the simple man-power requirements for that, we won't be able to send those codes until tomorrow, but they should hopefully be sent out quickly in the morning.

@SilvercatMoonpaw: It should now be available on RPG Drivethru/RPGNow.


So no magus?


christos gurd wrote:
So no magus?

Magus is in there, according to Luthorne.


Ahhh good then


What would one need to do to break Magus back into separate pools for spell-points and Magus-class-points? Just in case it comes up in the future.


The reason we did the Magus the way we did was two-fold:

1. Especially at low-levels, spheres already give the Magus a significant power boost: because of the way his powers interacted with at-will sphere abilities, he ended up dual-wielding sword and sword-strike destructive blasts quite literally forever, and he ended up with two pools to work with when the poor Mageknight only had one to accomplish many of the same feats of power.

2. Aside from the weapon empowerment itself and certain Magus Arcana, most of the Magus' abilities dealt with swapping arcane points for spells, which meant depending on the trade ratio of arcane points for spell points, the two were virtually one pool anyway.

One could break the two pools apart, but it would mean recalculating 'trade-ins' for things like Spell Recall. I'd suggest Spell Recall becomes "Spend 3 arcane points in place of a spell point" and Improved Spell Recall becomes "Spend 2 arcane points in place of a spell point", but that hasn't really been tested so I can't vouch for it beyond sounds-good-off-the-top-of-my-head.


Okay, that sounds reasonable. I won't try to change it. Good thing I asked! Thank you!


AdamMeyers wrote:

The reason we did the Magus the way we did was two-fold:

1. Especially at low-levels, spheres already give the Magus a significant power boost: because of the way his powers interacted with at-will sphere abilities, he ended up dual-wielding sword and sword-strike destructive blasts quite literally forever, and he ended up with two pools to work with when the poor Mageknight only had one to accomplish many of the same feats of power.

2. Aside from the weapon empowerment itself and certain Magus Arcana, most of the Magus' abilities dealt with swapping arcane points for spells, which meant depending on the trade ratio of arcane points for spell points, the two were virtually one pool anyway.

One could break the two pools apart, but it would mean recalculating 'trade-ins' for things like Spell Recall. I'd suggest Spell Recall becomes "Spend 3 arcane points in place of a spell point" and Improved Spell Recall becomes "Spend 2 arcane points in place of a spell point", but that hasn't really been tested so I can't vouch for it beyond sounds-good-off-the-top-of-my-head.

I just found it interesting that the Magus failed to get an arcane pool while the Hedgewitch does.


What can I say? I like the hedgewitch.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

dot


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Just so you all know, we've started the process for writing the next big series of Spheres of Power expansions, and it's the sort of thing we need your help with.

We have hired a lot of freelancers to do a series of Handbooks expanding each of the 20 spheres, which at a rate of one handbook per month, is a project we're fully-intending to take almost two years to finish. To get this off the ground and to help us pay for such a elongated investment, we've also started a Patreon. Backers will get playtesting documents, input on the artwork and potential chapter-starting stories, and of course copies of everything before anyone else.

Drop Dead Studios Patreon

I have loved the support Spheres of Power has been getting, and with this I hope to be able to bring more content to people at a much, much faster rate. Thanks to everyone who checks it out.


Greetings, I apologize if this is considered an intrusion or bad form. I am starting up a Play by Post that is only for Spheres of Power classes (for now), and wanted it make sure that the folks that most likely own the product and/or who may be interested in a Play by Post know about the recruitment thread.

Spheres of Power Recruitment Thread HERE


Just got this book, and I have a question about the magus conversion. How does the Arcane Potency ability work? Does it just give you bonus spell points equal to half your level on top of your base spell points equal to level + INT?


Looks fairly straightforward to me. You add 1/2 your Magus level to your existing Spell Points (which are calculated as normal).


It was the fact that it adds your level twice, even if the second time is only half level, that got me confused.


Quick question-- the companion used by the summoner--does it get evolutions or is it restricted to the form talents granted by the sphere's of power system?


You pick a companion gained from the Conjuration Sphere and designate it as your Eidolon. It gets Form Talents, not Evolutions.


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.


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As one of the writers, thank you!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Was looking through this recently, and I noticed under the Sphere Summoner...

Spoiler:
Recommended Casting Tradition: The classic feel of the witch can be recreated through taking the traditional magic casting tradition.

Which is all well and good, but I feel like the Sphere Summoner doesn't necessarily want to recreate the classic feel of the witch...? I presume an error? I would guess Somatic and Verbal...?

Also for the Sphere Arcanist, now that I look, it says...

Spoiler:
Recommended Casting Tradition: The classic feel of the hunter can be recreated through taking the traditional magic casting tradition.

For that one, though, since the Hunter's actually reads differently, I presume just the name is wrong and the listed tradition itself is correct?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Herolab files for this have been released


Don't know where else to put this, but:

The Sphere Summoner only says to designate one companion as an Eidolon. Does that mean said companion can be summoned and lasts as an Eidolon does (i.e. it doesn't cost a spell point and the Eidolon lasts until dead or countered)? Or does this mean that the Eidolon functions as a normal Conjuration companion except you can gain (form)s from it at later levels?


It functions as a normal Conjuration companion, aside from the things that are Eidolon-specific.


Am looking into playing a Sphere Bloodrager, but I've noticed that the class comes out two talents worse off than other low-progression classes; is this intentional? (bloodrager gets 11, mageknight gets 13 for example)


Casters in Spheres of Power generally have similar, but not identical, numbers of Talents known for each type of caster. I believe this is indeed intentional, and probably based on the other abilities the class gets.

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