The Illuminator's Handbook (PFRPG) PDF

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The Illuminator’s Handbook is an expansion to the Light sphere from the Spheres of Power magic system. Inside these pages you’ll find new talent types including light archetypes, new talent types including lens and nimbus talents, new feats and magic items, and more to make light a valuable addition to any magician’s arsenal.

The Illuminator’s Handbook is book 6 in a multi-part series.

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An review of the revised edition


This installment of the Spheres of Power-expansions-series clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1/2 a page blank, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a brief introduction and explanation on how to use this book, we move on to new class options, the first of which would be the astrology hedgewitch tradition, which nets Knowledge (Geography), Knowledge (planes) and Perception as class skills and the Light sphere as a bonus magic talent. As a tradition power, these gals may project a so-called celestial aura as a swift action, which affects all allies (including the hedgewitch) within 30 ft. and lasts until dismissed - only one such aura may be projected at a given time and it increases the lighting levels up to normal. 4 types are included, of which you must choose 2. Moon nets an untyped (should probably be typed) bonus to Fort-saves and replenishing temporary hit points. Planet nets resistance to either fire or cold, with class levels added as scaling device. Star grants an untyped Perception bonus as well as a scaling initiative bonus (ouch) and Sun adds fire damage to weapon damage rolls, 1d4, +1d4 for every 5 class levels. Personally, I think that Moon, Star and Sun are significantly stronger than the other two options. The tradition secrets, 5 of which are presented, allow for the expansion of the aura radius or the ability to gain another aura. You can also gain an oracle revelation from the heavens mystery, modify the light-level of the aura...and the final one, the grand secret, lets you project two auras at once. The tradition mastery increases your character level by 5 for determining aura potency and lets you change auras as a swift action. A new hedgewitch secret lets you dabble in the tradition.

The pdf also contains archetypes, the first of which would be the glass-eye gunmage, who replaces Knowledge (local) with Knowledge (arcana) and Sleight of Hand with Spellcraft. He must also swap out two deeds of his choice, one at 1st and one at 3rd level. Instead of the first-level deed, he gains Lens Array, which nets a Perception bonus and allows for grit-expenditure to reroll Perception. The 3rd level deed lets him ignore penalties to Perception for being distracted or asleep and may expend 1 grit at the start of battle to not be treated as flat-footed. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the gunmage gains (lens) talents from the Light sphere, treating class levels as casting levels and using grit as a resource. EDIT: Big kudos to Amber Underwood and Drop Dead Studios - the previous issue in the lens-talents has been fixed, which means that the archetype works properly now! :D

The radiant paragon shifter replaces Handle Animal with bluff and gains the Light sphere at 1st level at full CL, as well as the Touch of Light drawback. This replaces animal empathy. The archetype also employs the new Bioluminescent Transformation feat at 3rd level, which adds glow to shapeshift, allowing for some combo potential. 8th level provides two unique traits to add to shapeshift - +1/2 caster level bonus to Stealth checks (untyped - meh) or demoralize as a swift action via sudden color-shifts. This replaces poison immunity.

The third archetype would be the sun warrior, based on the mageknight class, who replaces Handle Animal with Intimidate, uses Cha as casting ability modifier and is locked into the Light sphere at first level. The archetype also gains the Glory talent instead of gaining resist magic, and uses her class level as caster level "on" glows benefitting from Glory - which lets your glow shed low-range bright light for combo set-ups. This may be as well a place as any to note that the rules-language has some cosmetic deviations in the finer details - mostly nothing glaring, though. When the sun warrior would gain a mystic combat ability or bonus combat feat, the archetype may choose solar radiance abilities instead. 5 of these are presented and include for increased radius for Glory, selective light talent application when affecting equipment, more Light talents, lending the glow (not italicized here) affected by Glory to allies and free action Searing Light application ties in for a cool combo. By FAR the coolest archetype herein and the only one I really liked. It also lends itself very well for Dark Souls-esque characters: "Do you even praise the Sun, brah?" I'd enjoy playing this guy!

From here, we move on to basic talents, which include a minor errata for glow: When you create a glow you may cause it to shed bright light as part of the same action, but otherwise follow the normal rules for causing a glow to shed bright light. To give you a brief summary: (Lens) talents can be placed as a standard action on targets within glow, potentially requiring melee or ranged touch attacks to hit. Spell point expenditure can increase duration to 1 hour per CL. Among the (lens) talents, we can find Aiming Scope (here, proper bonus types are thankfully reinstated...) and the lenses include an option that nets you the option to Hide in Plain Sight - which is usually unlocked at a higher level - imho, this should have a minimum level requirement. Forcing rerolls from attackers and using lenses to ignore miss chances for living creatures is pretty potent - a reduction may have been more viable there. EDIT: Dim Lights only grants immunity to one's own lights to the target, but its wording could sue improvement - "You cause a target to suffer no ill effects from light." could be read as superseding/complementing the benefits of the talent.

(Nimbus) talents modify glow, but only one may b applied per glow. You may switch these as a free action, but they thankfully affect an area only once per round. These include the ability to make light-show style beams, selectively illuminate cubes or leave trails of light. There btw. also is an option to bypass the 1-nimbus restriction.

Beyond these subtypes, we also get quite an array of other talents - bending radiance, shedding black light, generate patterns that may cause targets to fall prone and we have dual application of light talents to glows. Very interesting would be Flash, which eliminates the end of turn only restriction imposed on the application of (light) talents. Having glow linger and controlling intensity as well as gaining artistic modifications of glows make for interesting, flavorful options. Nonlethal damage via glows also makes for a nice option.

The advanced magic chapter lets you generate motes of Dancing Lights glows, which is cool...but Diffuse Body is really intriguing. When you move while under the effects of Flicker, you actually move in two places - and only upon being attacked or targeted, you decide which location you are...basically Schrödinger's caster. Permanently imbuing objects with glow is nice, I guess. With another talent, you can turn a creature affected by Flicker into a being of pure light - very potent and thankfully locked behind an appropriate prereq-array...and the form may be further upgraded with vast movement superiority via Light Speed. Making the glow turn prismatic is similarly cool and Con-draining radiation light is cool. The chapter also contains two rituals - reflection/refraction, which alters objects and beacon pillar, creating a bauble you can crush to emit a beacon of light.

The feat-chapter includes Dual Sphere feats for Auroras and propulsion via beams, +2 MSB and MSD for Light sphere effects, doubled when trying to make an opposed check versus magical darkness; Firing light-based destructive blasts that are not hindered by windows, but by light-blocking things is nice. Creations of hard light, Photosynthesis. not a fan of addition of untyped damage to Searing Light, myself. 5 solid traits also are here and we get 3 sphere-specific drawbacks and 3 alternate racial traits. No complaints there.

The equipment section defines different light sources and types - motes, strobes, etc. -handy. Cool: radiant edge weapons project deadly light, slightly increasing their reach (Can I hear Burnt Ivory King?), but sans increasing the threatening range. Staves with sunset let glows linger slightly. There are 3 specific magic items, a veil that fortifies versus the dazzled condition, the brush that generates colorful ink and a nice miniature orrery. The pdf concludes with 6 radiant tattoos, which shed light and allows for hypnotizing targets while dancing, for doubling as a divine focus, etc. - no complaints here.


Editing and formatting are good for the most part - in fact, the material is generally very good, though the class section could use some refinement - it has a couple of minor hiccups. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series. EDIT: The previously migraine-inducing bright, yellow headers have been dimmed down. Thank the deities! Artwork is a blend of the nice cover and some okay stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Amber Underwood had a relatively challenging task here - the sphere is simply not as "sexy" as some of its brethren, though this book does a valiant job enhancing the Light-options. While I disagree with some of the design decisions, as a whole, this is a well-made supplement with some minor imperfections. EDIT: With the headers and the archetype-glitch fixed, this now is a proper addition to the series, worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Content shines bright; presentation needs to be dimmed


I'd like to preface this with a statement that I do not particularly enjoy Spheres of Power. I don't mind playing full casters of both spontaneous and prepared types, and most of my favorite classes are 6-level casters of some variety. As a result, Spheres of Power's biggest draw (providing an alternative magic system for players and campaigns to use) doesn't matter much to me at all. With that in mind, the rest of it still immediately drew me in, but I found myself dissatisfied with the system after tinkering with it for a while.

Nonetheless, one of my playgroups does use Spheres of Power in their games, and after taking part a bit in the Illuminator's Handbook's playtest, I felt an obligation to pick up the book and see what I like in it. So let's get down to business. I'm going to review the content page-by-page, so for a much shorter summary, scroll to the bottom.

This PDF is 24 pages long. After the front and back cover, title page, introduction and table of contents, and OGL page, it has a total of 16 pages of game content, and one page of a rather neat introductory story. Page 3 (page 4 of the PDF) has a short scene of fiction including some characters that I don't recognize, but found myself interested in knowing more about. Though it's not particularly important to the content of the book itself, I greatly enjoy touches like this; fluff blurbs and quotes, small stories, and the like show that the writers cared about what they were doing. There continued to be small quotes tied to the Light sphere and its thematics scattered across the sections as headers. I quite liked them.

In any case, the actual game rules. There are five different sections of the book (labeled 2 through 6, for some reason)—Class Options, Player Options, Basic Magic, Advanced Magic, and Equipment.

Section 2: Class Options
The first option in this section is a hedgewitch tradition called Astrology. This gives them the Light sphere as a bonus talent and the ability to project 30-foot auras that buff their allies; they start with two auras of the four available and can pick up the other two by spending a Secret each on them. Moon gives allies a scaling bonus on Fortitude saves (+1 at 1st, +5 at 20th) and some negligible temporary hit points, Planet gives people resistance to fire or cold (chosen when you project the aura) equal to 5 + your hedgewitch level, which starts out pretty good (immunity to nonmagical fire) and keeps scaling well, for a worthwhile defense against elemental attacks of those types. Star gives allies a scaling bonus to Perception and initiative checks (same bonus (same as the Fort save bonus), and Sun gives allies a scaling +1d4 to +5d4 fire damage on all weapon damage rolls. You can pick up the ability to project two auras at once as a Grant Secret.

Overall, I think that the best two auras for the Astrology tradition are Planet and Star, the former because it's a useful defense and the latter because going first is amazing. At low levels, Sun's damage boost is worthwhile, but it'll stop being as useful as you level up because it scales so slowly and is fire damage (it gets incrementally better the more full attackers you have in the party though). Moon is good but not good enough for me to want to pick it as one of my starting two. Personally speaking, the most interesting thing to me in the tradition is the Wax and Wane Hedgewitch secret, which lets you brighten or dim the light of your aura as a free action. Mostly? I want to use this as a signal beacon. Level 2 hedgewitches could be pretty interested in seafaring campaigns because of their ability to blink 30-foot auras of bright light into being whenever they want. Morse code anyone?

The second class option in this PDF is a gunslinger archetype called the Glass-Eye Gunmage. I like the this archetype, but it (and the new type of talent introduced in this book) have an awkward problem: since the Glass-Eye Gunmage never gets access to the light sphere itself, it does not have the Glow ability, and thus the Lens ability has no range and cannot function. My guess is that the intent of the ability is for the Lens' range to be identical to their Glow as if they had one, but the Glass-Eye Gunmage just gets some talents, not the basic parts of the sphere itself. However, it's quite good at those talents, treating their gunsligner level as a full caster level and letting them spend grit points instead of spell points. The two deeds they get are likewise useful; at level 1 they get the ability to reroll Perception checks (does this let them reroll hidden Perception checks rolled by the DM? Seems like soemthing that might be awkward to adjudicate at the table) and at level 3 they get a worse version of Uncanny Dodge that makes them not flat-footed at the start of combat. Still useful though. This archetype is a lot more interesting than the baseline gunslinger. It's also compatible with Bolt Ace, which is nice.

The third class option is called the Radiant Protean, and is an archetype for the shifter class from Spheres of Power. Their gimmick is that they're bioluminescent, which is pretty neat. They gain the Light sphere with full CL, but also get the Touch of Light drawback keeping them from using it at range. They also get a couple new things for their Shapeshift effects, and the Bioluminescent Transformation feat as a bonus feat, letting them apply Glow effects to someone for free when they shapeshift someone. I'm not too familiar with the shifter class, but this seems like it could do some interesting things with the action economy thanks to doubling-up Shapeshifts and Glow effects.

The final class option is the the mageknight, one of my favorite classes from Spheres of Power: the Sun Warrior archetype. These are Charisma-based casters that get the Glory talent for free, and count their full mageknight level as their caster level for it and any glow effects you attach to it. This is huge, letting you keep up with the people who went all-in on spherecasting. They get some other neat tricks with the Light sphere that they can take instead of mystic combat abilities or bonus feats, such as increasing the radius of their Glory, letting them selectively apply their light to people, and applying the Searing Light talent to their Glory as a free action for some extra AoE damage. Overall, this is a good archetype. The fact that they can get full CL for the Light sphere is wonderful.

Section 3: Player Options
Surprisingly, section 3 is not Player Options. Section 3 is actually Basic Magic.

Section 3: Basic Magic
The Basic Magic chapter opens with a cool in-universe except from a character's journal describing light mages, and then goes on to first introduce a piece of errata ('Glow effects can be created as bright light,' basically), then gives us two new types of talents: Lens talents and Nimbus talents.

Lens talents are light-bending laser beams of different sorts. They require melee or ranged touch attacks (or just work, on allies), last for as long as you concentrate, and can be made to last 1 hour per level by spending a spell point. Nimbus talents alter how the area of a Glow effect works, and can be swapped between freely on your abilities. Both types of talents are free unless something makes you spend spell points on them.

I'm not going to go fully in-depth on the new talents, but some standouts in this section were Bend Radiance (freely poke holes in the area of your Glow effects to not affect creatures), Chameleon (a lens effect that gives them Hide in Plain Sight, effectively), Dim Light (a lens effect that makes the target outright immune to light effects; I'm not sure if there's any way for a Light spherecaster to get around this easily, but it's pretty amazing), Dual Light (lets you apply two Light talents to your Glow), Irradiance (penalizes someone you put it on, or if you use a spell point, hits everything in the area with a save-or-nauseate that still sickens them if they pass the save), Lure Light (mind control people to move towards your light source), Style (lets you freely change how your lights look, making complex "paint" effects and the like. Not strong in combat, but exceedingly awesome), and Visual Overload (save-or-stagger followed by a save-or-daze on a target you made Glow).

Overall, the Basic Magic section has a lot of really cool stuff in it. The nimbus talents give a decent variety of alternate area shapes for your light, and there's a couple strong buffs and debuffs.

Section 4: Advanced Magic
The Player Options chapter got hit by soemone using the Chameleon lens effect. The Advanced Magic chapter, on the other hand, shines brightly. It's full of unique things. Opens with an account of a battle where a mage hit everyone with a massive laser, then moves on to interesting advanced talents like Everglow (makes non-bright light effects permanent), Incarnate Glow (turns someone into a light-based lifeform with a worse version of incorporeality), and Light Speed (lets someone you used Incarnate Glow on move at the speed of light for a brief moment, running 100 miles per caster level in one round). The chapter also had some rituals for people to use, Beacon Pillar (makes a consumable that makes a massive column of bright light that can be seen for miles) and Reflection/Refraction (changes how something reflects light).

I want to play someone with Beacon Pillar. That thing is awesome.

Section 5: Player Options
Theeeeere we go. The Player Options chapter has feats, traits, some drawbacks for the Light sphere, and some racial traits. In the feats, the standouts are Bioluminescent Transformation (lets you apply a Glow for free when you Shapeshift something), Searing Brilliance (makes Searing Light's damage untyped; incredible for Sun Warrior mageknights). There's also a small pile of feats that let you cross over a sphere's effects into Light, like Hard Light (use Creation to make things out of light) and Destructive Radiance (shoot destructive blasts as lasers). The traits in this chapter are fairly neat, and include stuff like knowing the time of day (Daysense) and or emitting light (Aura, Minor Bioluminescence).

There's three Light sphere-specific drawbacks, Lens Focus (you can't make Glow effects, and can only make Lens stuff), Nimbus Focus (you pick a single Nimbus talent to get for free, and all of your Glows use that shape forever), and Roving Glow (you can't put Glows on creatures or objects, and get Dancing Lights for free). The race traits are essentially getting the Light sphere for free on Gnomes, Aasimars, or Ifrits, in exchange for their racial SLAs. Useful for Light mages and others who don't like the limited spell-likes that those races get.

Section 6: Equipment
My favorite chapter. Opens with a section about the magic weapons that glow 30% of the time, and unique effects you can apply to those items (like having the light follow you in a trail, work like a strobe light, or glow when orcs are near). It's an awesome, fluffy, and interesting addition to the book, and I'm glad that Amber Underwood decided to spend the page space on it.

In the rest of the magic items stuff, we've got two weapon special abilities (Radiant Edge, a +2 ability that increases your reach by 5 feet on your turn, and Sunset, a +1 ability for Light spherestaves that lets it carry your bright light effects for one round after you stop concentrating). In the wondrous items, there's a relatively cheap magic item that gives +2 on saves against light effects and turns off the light sensitivity ability, which is nice, and then two incredibly fluffy items: the Gleam Brush, a 200gp paintbrush that paints in endless glowing ink, and the Miniature Orrery, a magical compass that glows in the dark and tells the time.

This PDF's final material is a set of magic tattoos created using light magic. They glow from under the skin, and do not take up item slots. There's one that lets people hypnotize those watching them dance, one that counts as a holy symbol and grants allies a +1 morale bonus on saves, one that makes it harder to lie to you while they're within the light of its glow, one that works like a lantern and lets you toggle its light, one that makes you better at Intimidating and lets you demoralize people at range, and one that makes you better at Diplomacy. A couple of these are far better than others (especially the Icon Tattoo, which is 10,000gp to give your party +1 on saves), but they're all fairly useful.

Overall, I really enjoyed the content of this book, barring a couple mechanical snags like the gunslinger archetype's rules hole.

On the other hand, there's a couple things I really did not enjoy.

Always the elephant in the room when it comes to Spheres of Power products, was... Well. The art exists. I will grant it that. Overall, it's some very low-quality stock art, though there were several pieces in the book that weren't bad at all. I like the piece on the cover (which also shows up on page 9, or 10 in the PDF), and the art on pages 15 and 16 were also quite nice. 3/7 isn't that terrible as far as Spheres of Power products go, so I guess there's that. From a personal standpoint, seeing less Blackmon and more Brett Neufeld and Jack Holliday as far as stock art goes would make Drop Dead Studios' books a lot more palatable to read.

This book's layout is okay. Two columns, decent formatting. There were some questionable decisions made though, such as using an eye-searing yellow font for ability titles and headers, when the page background is a bright off-white parchment. In some cases I had to copy out a line from the PDF and paste it into the notepad document I'm writing this review in so I could actually see what it was meant to say.

Spacing for indents is about twice what it needs to be in this PDF, the sidebars are extremely jarring (they look like someone made them using Wordart from Microsoft Word), and overall, the choices made about tying the layout to the topic of the book means that it is an extremely bright and hard to look at PDF. There's not enough contrast in the pages and border, and honestly I'd have preferred reading the material on a web page like d20pfsrd instead of a PDF, because it's just... Not nice to look at, at all.

Minor Nitpicks
Hyphens are not em dashes. The font used makes hyphens look very thin compared to the length you want for something replacing a colon or comma in a sentence. In some contexts it can look okay, and in some contexts no one cares (or should care) about the proper use of dashes, but in a professional, published work, I feel like properly using the right type of dashes in the right contexts goes along with everything else relating to proper grammar and wording.

On that note: wording. There's some stylistic choices made that I found ever-so-slightly jarring when reading the PDF, such as the use of second person pronouns in class features instead of third, or incorrectly using "bonus to" when normally it's "bonus on." Those aren't big deals though.

I liked this book. As far as Spheres of Powers go, I actually enjoyed the abilities therein and could see myself using them in a game, which is rare for me when looking through Spheres products. In particular, I'd like to play a Sun Warrior mageknight, and I want to customize weapons with special glow effects. There were a couple minor quibbles in the rules (Lens effects being broken by RAW for the gunslinger archetype, one of the defensive talents seeming way too strong for a no-cost Lens effect), but Amber Underwood has done good work, and this was well worth purchasing.

I give it four out of five stars in this review. The content is good, but the layout and presentation ranges from eye-searingly-bad to merely okay.


Disclaimer: I am a Patreon backer for the campaign creating these supplements and paid the full price for this product.

The Illuminator's Handbook is the sixth entry in the line of Handbook line expanding the options for the Spheres of Power system. We open with the Class Options section, which offers one Hedgewitch Tradition and three new archetypes.

The Astrology Tradition is pretty bad for stealth, because its core feature revolves around emitting auras of light. All of the celestial auras have a radius of 30 feet, apply only to allies, and are activated as a swift action, allowing the character to apply one of four scaling effects as long as the character is conscious, although they're limited to just two choices unless they use a Tradition Secret to learn more. The four auras are Moon (an untyped bonus to fortitude saves and a pool of temporary hit points that refreshes each round - fairly useful), Planet (resistance to cold or fire damage), Star (bonus to perception and initiative - but you're glowing, so don't expect stealth to work very well), and Sun (1d4 fire damage to weapon damage rolls, with an additional dice every 5 hedgewitch levels). It's a very solid tradition overall, and for those who aren't familiar with the way the class works, Traditions are not Archetypes. They're closer to Wizard Schools than anything else, so you don't really have to give anything up in order to take advantage of this option.

Next up, we have three entries that are archetypes. The Glass-Eye Gunmage is an archetype for the Gunslinger that focuses on the "Lens" talents in the Light Sphere. These are a new type of talent that I'll go over more later, but the basic idea is that they bend and alter the properties of light. The Glass-Eye Gunmage can get these talents by swapping out Deeds of their choice at the appropriate levels, and it's a very nice concept.
The Radiant Protean is an archetype for the Shifter, focusing on adding various kinds of glows. Notably, it offers traits to allow for demoralizing foes as a swift action (Intimidate-based builds can get a great deal of use from this), as well as a bonus to stealth checks. Finally, the Sun Warrior is an archetype for the Mageknight, with its main feature being the Solar Radiance abilities that can be taken instead of a mystic combat or bonus combat feat. These include options like shedding bright light in an expanded area and dealing fire damage to creatures that surround you (the Flickering Glory ability can help you not hit your allies - take that early).

All in all, it's a solid collection of class options - and it's followed up by the most important part of the book, the Basic Magic section. It opens with a bit of errata (improving the way that Glow talents work) and descriptions of two new types of Light Talents - Lens and Nimbus. A Lens ability works to alter light, and is represented by abilities like Aiming Scope (treating creatures as one or more range increments closer for ranged attack penalties and such) and Dim Light (rendering a creature immune to your glows - not those of enemies, though). Nimbus talents change the shape of your Glows, allowing for things like the Beam talent (which lets you shoot it in a long line instead of a circle) and Weird Radiance (a build-it-yourself shape).

Other talents include options like Disorienting Patterns (which makes an area into difficult terrain for creatures that use sight), Flash (applying effects at any point in your turn, rather than at the end), and Irradiance (which allows you to impose the Sicken or Nauseated condition on targets). It's a great expansion of options for characters that plan to specialize in Light - not much in the way of direct damage, but for inflicting conditions and controlling the battlefield, this Sphere just got measurably better.

Following the Basic Magic section, we have the new Advanced Magic bits. As always, the Advanced Talents are available with GM permission only because they're more powerful than most options. The choices here include powers like Constellation (which allows you to create motes instead of a static glow, and these can be directed to various places around the battlefield for maximum control), Diffuse Body (Move to two different places at once, and decide which one you actually went to later), and Everglow (Make some Glows permanent, albeit with restrictions). If you missed the old prism spells, that's been rectified with the Prismatic Radiance talent, which is abnormally expensive at three spell points but allows glows to unleash random, potent effects each round.

After this, we've got a pair of new Rituals - Beacon Pillar is great for letting others know where you are, while Reflection/Refraction allows you to change the visual properties of an object... and do things like, say, creating a small peephole for yourself. Smart characters can get a LOT of versatility out of that, though the 10 minute casting time means you're not going to be doing it in combat, and it has no effect on Invisibility.

From here, the book dives into the new Player Options, starting with feats. We're introduced to a new category of feat - Dual Sphere Feats, which allow you to apply the effects of two different spheres at once. For example, the Aurora feat allows you to apply a Glow while simultaneously using Telekinesis to lift the target (and given Light's emphasis on debuffs, conditions, and battlefield control, that can be quite potent). Other options include Destructive Radiance (which switches from line of effect to line of sight for your ability to target foes - situational at best), Hard Light (allowing you to use the Creation sphere to make things out of light), and more.

The section has a few new traits (allowing options like shining as a torch or creating hypnotic patterns in your skin), some additional Sphere-specific drawbacks , and even alternate racial traits for gnomes, aasimar, and ifrit.

From here, the book heads into new equipment, and begins by describing eight different ways that items can generate light. The main focus here is what shape the light is in and what the conditions for lighting up are, and these effects can be applied to any magical item when they're being created. There are also two new magic item properties - Radiant Edge (which uses light to expand the reach of attacks during your turn, as a +2 bonus) and Sunset (Staves of the Light sphere only, allowing glow effects to persist for a bit without concentration, as a +1 bonus). We also get a few magic items (the Dimlight Veil grants immunity to dazzled and light sensitivity, while the Miniature Orrery helps with directions, not getting lost, and figuring out where the heck you are (useful if you've been teleported a long ways - at only 1000 GP, it's easily affordable at higher levels, when that might actually be useful).

Finally, the book gives us the options for Radiant Tattoos, slotless and weightless magical effects a character can wear (although they can't have more than 3 of them). I quite like these, and effects like the Icon Tattoo can be a thematically fun choice for characters that need a divine focus to cast.

In brief, The Illuminator's Handbook is a solid expansion for the Light Sphere, helping to expand on its theme and characteristics in new, interesting ways. Illusionists, in particular, are going to like a lot of what they see here. If you want to light up the battlefield, this is the Handbook you want to get. As expected, it's a solid 5/5 stars.

Community Manager

Now available!

I finally got my copy, so my review is up for those curious about the contents. ^^

The short version: This handbook improves the options of the Light Sphere for battlefield control and buffing/debuffing characters. Illusionists in particular will like what they see, but as usual, many different concepts can be supported by these options.

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Light Attuned alternate racial trait for aasimar says it replaces fire affinity, which aasimar don't have; is it supposed to be celestial resistance, or perhaps skilled?

Thanks for the review, Rednal!

Luthorne - it looks like that was a mistake that somehow slipped in during layout. An aasimar with Light Attuned should replace their darkvision and spell-like ability racial traits.

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
AmberVael wrote:
Luthorne - it looks like that was a mistake that somehow slipped in during layout. An aasimar with Light Attuned should replace their darkvision and spell-like ability racial traits.

Ah, okay, thanks! Yeah, I figured it snuck in from the ifrit, but just wasn't sure what it was actually replacing.

A great review by Forrestfire. It's nice to see art and layout being critiqued as well as the content, and the review in question does not scrimp on analysing the content...

Would it be possible to get a version of this where the colored font isn't as bright? It can get a little hard to see against the light colors of the background.

Why is the cover at the back of the PDF?

Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

I feel like I should note that this product was just updated to reduce some of the, uh, brightness involved. (At least, it was where I got my copy. Not sure about here on, but probably...?)

Updated my review in all the usual places to reflect that this is no longer headache-inducing.

Modified my review to reflect that the archetype now works!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

With the lens focus flaw you lose the base ability of the light sphere. Do you get 2 lens talents? One from selecting the light sphere and one from the flaw's bonus talent?

Robert Jordan wrote:
With the lens focus flaw you lose the base ability of the light sphere. Do you get 2 lens talents? One from selecting the light sphere and one from the flaw's bonus talent?

You do not normally gain a lens talent from selecting the light sphere. Selecting the lens focus drawback allows you to start with a single lens talent instead of the normal glow.

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