Spheres of Might (PFRPG) PDF

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Starfinder Compatible!!

There's so much more to martial combat than swinging a sword, and so much more to martial characters than waiting for the next fight.

Spheres of Might is a brand new approach to building martial characters in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. From the makers of Spheres of Power, Spheres of Might changes combat into a cinematic experience, replacing boring, repetitive combats with tactical decisions, dynamic exchanges, and a host of options that let martial characters be as fun to play outside of combat as they are inside.

Within this book, you'll find:

8 New Classes — including the armiger, the blacksmith, the commander, the conscript, the scholar, the sentinel, the striker, and the technician.

23 Combat Spheres — granting a host of new abilities based on concept, including alchemy, athletics, barrage, barroom, beastmastery, berserker, boxing, brute, dual wielding, duelist, equipment, fencing, gladiator, guardian, lancer, open hand, scoundrel, scout, shield, sniper, trap, warleader, and wrestler.

Full Archetype Support — both for new classes and old classes, giving a breadth of new options for creating and enjoying martial play.

Legendary Talents — for when games deserve to become truly epic, legendary talents allow games to reach beyond the gritty to truly mythical proportions, including leaping mountains, stealing skills, and bending armies of monsters to your will through sheer force of personality.

Non-Magic Support — with the help of the scholar's knowledge, the blacksmith's skills, and the technician's inventions, Spheres of Might gives a variety of options to facilitate games with little or no magic at all, greatly expanding the stories that can be told with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game without requiring extensive re-balancing.

GM Support — including monsters from CR 1-21, along with guidelines for making the most of cinematic combat and the Spheres of Might system in your games.

NPCs for every new class to spark ideas or drop into a game.

Starfinder Conversion — giving you the information needed to adapt the system to Starfinder rules.

And much, much more!

Product Availability

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

DDSSOME


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive rules-book clocks in at 238 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page forewords, 1 page blank,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 229 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by my patreons.

All right, we begin this massive beast of a tome with a brief piece of introductory prose to get you into the proper mindset, before explaining the basics of the system: Each character gets a series of talents, called combat talents. The number of these is defined by the class, though a feat exists that nets you an additional one. A combat talent may also be spent to gain access to a combat sphere, gaining that sphere’s base abilities and providing access to the sphere-specific talents. If a character would gain a sphere they already possess, you instead choose a talent. Saving throws, if any, are based on DC 10 + ½ BAB of the attacker + the relevant key ability modifier, here called “practitioner modifier.” If a character uses a talent, but has no class feature that defines a practitioner modifier, you default to Wisdom. Multiclass characters may use the higher of the two modifiers of their practitioner modifiers – this is important, since it retains multiclassing viability sans requiring a feat tax. Combat training nets you bonus talents that usually, but certainly not always, mirror the BAB-progression: Full BAB is equal to “Expert”, ¾ BAB-progression to “Adept” and ½ BAB-progression is equal to “Proficient.” This codifies talent-advancement in a way that is independent from the classes and easy to reference, while also providing an elegant balancing tool. Furthermore, characters may choose to exchange feat-progressions they’d gain to instead purchase Proficient or Adept combat talent progression – this, fyi, maintains compatibility with Spheres of Power.

And that’s already the basis of the system! Nope, I am not kidding! It’s that simple and elegant. That being said, there is more associated terminology that we need to define, some of which you’ll know from standard Pathfinder. It is a testament to the foresight exhibited by the authors that e.g. the Attack action as such is properly defined – something that regularly causes confusion on the various messageboards. This step is also important, since some combat talents and e.g. Vital Strike, both modifying an Attack action, can be applied to the same attack. This also properly mentions the interaction, or rather, lack thereof, with e.g. Cleave and similar Standard action-based attack forms. In short: Attack action =/= standard action. The definition here also makes clear that we can expect the book to reward flowing combat, i.e. fights that do not boil down to just trading full attacks and waiting who keels over first. “Special attack actions” should also be noted – they behave pretty much like attack actions, but only one per round may be executed. This is an important balancing caveat.

“Associated feats” denote feats whose effects can be duplicated by specific talents, which also means that the talents can act as prerequisite-substitutions for the associated feats. This is important once we get to the feat-groups that require a significant array of feats to qualify for and retains transparency in that regard without invalidating the feats themselves.

Now, the book does something really clever with action economy to combat the tendency to constantly just trade blows. The book takes a two-pronged approach here. The first would be the battered condition, which imposes a -2 penalty to CMD and also prevents you from executing AoOs. Furthermore, certain talents have different activation actions or effects versus battered targets. The condition may be removed simply enough – the Life sphere’s restore does the trick, as do effects like lesser restoration…and here, things become interesting: You can get rid of it via taking the total defense action. This obviously costs you precious actions, but it makes sense – when we picture being subjected to a battering down, like e.g. in the original Star Wars trilogy or similar media, it makes sense that you have to collect yourself. The second approach here would be the introduction of the martial focus. Any character with a combat talent or a feat granting access, gets the martial focus after a minute of rest or after taking the total defense action. HOWEVER, you may never regain the focus more than once per round. You may expend this focus as part of making a Fort- or Ref-save to have the result rolled treated as 13, and, analogue to psionics, there is a VAST amount of options that is based on expenditure of the focus. Once more, we have an action economy game here, and one that ties into the battered condition: Since you regain the focus as part of the same condition-removing action, this encourages you to actually alternate between combat strategies. Additionally, the base ability use allows you to be more reliably competent versus things that you should be capable of evading.

This modification of basic combat strategies are absolutely amazing, but the book does not stop there, not by a long shot. We also get rules-clarifications for e.g. double-barreled weapons and e.g. improvised weapon damage by size. Similarly, unarmed damage now scales independent of class, which is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned. The number of talents the character has governs the damage inflicted.

Now, the book does not just leave you in the dark regarding actual expressions of martial arts in the game world. You do not have to read and digest the whole book to start using it: Instead, we begin with a massive chapter of martial traditions, some of which are gained as part of the proficiencies of a class. This codifies basically a talent array for you, not unlike e.g. combat styles of the ranger class. One could also see them as thematic suggestions and the book provides notes on designing your own martial traditions. This section, beyond codifying mini-talent-trees, can also be seen as a perfect guideline for your own tinkering. Want to have a shield master? Check the tradition. Steppe rider? Suitable talents noted. I love this.

Now, the book contains no less than 8 new classes. If I analyze these in the level of depth that I usually go for, then this review will become a bloated 30-plus-pages monstrosity, so I’ll be a bit briefer than usual. The first class would be the Armiger, who gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves, proficient talent progression and may choose a mental attribute as practitioner modifier. This would also be a good time to note that classes here grant e.g. a martial tradition when taken at 1st level – this provides access, obviously, but also prevents multiclass-cheesing. The armiger is obviously inspired by games like the latest Final Fantasy, centering around the idea of customized weapons, each of which grants a sphere and talent – basically, you have combat modes hard-coded into the class, and no, you can’t cheese that with dual-wielding. Only one customized weapon grants its benefits at a given time – though TWFing with them, obviously, is still possible. The class also gains options to cycle through these special weapons, which also improve. The low general progression regarding talents is offset by the modes, making this an inspired class. I really, really adore it.

The blacksmith get d10 HD, 4 + Int skills,full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves as well as Expert martial progression, with Constitution as governing practitioner modifier. The blacksmith is obviously somewhat equipment-themed and can provide benefits to allies by finetuning their equipment, basically providing 24-hour buffs. They also are sunder/anti-construct specialists, gaining scaling bonus damage and later learning to damage natural armor/weapons. The class also has some serious crafting prowess going on and the class receives an array of smithing insights that can provide e.g. Gunsmithing, damage objects to hurt their wielders, etc. He can also learn to reforge items, which is pretty cool.

The commander gets d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves and Adept martial progression, with Int or Cha as governing practitioner modifiers. Now, there are a couple of really good, commander-style classes out there. As far as favorites are concerned, Amora Game’s battle lord from Liber Influxus Communis, and, obviously, Dreamscarred Press’ Tactician come to mind. Where the former is a leader from the front, the latter is a coordinator defined by a psionic network and psionics. The commander is, chassis-wise, closer to the latter. The commander actually has next to no overlap with both: While tangible and potent benefits for allies are the bread and butter of these fellows, we also have terrain-specific tricks and logistics specialties – these provide really uncommon and intriguing benefits that focus on adventuring beyond combat. This class is fantastic. Love it to bits.

The conscript gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves as well as Expert martial progression, governed by one of the mental attributes. This is basically the “build your own” SoM-class type class. From dual identity to banner to studied target, it allows you to customize options galore and also comes with sphere specializations, basically bloodline/domain-ish linear ability progressions that kick in at 3rd, 8th and 20th level. This is the class for the folks who want a certain skillset be viable sans requiring a ton of multiclassing shenanigans.

The scholar gets ½ BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves, d6 HD, 8 + Int skills per level and proficient martial progression governed by Intelligence. Beyond being capable of providing some healing, we get flashbangs, DaVinci-style gliders, etc. – this is basically the Renaissance ideal of the universal scholar, embodied as a class. Super helpful, versatile, interesting – and perfectly capable of working in even no/low-magic games. That is not to say that this fellow is not viable in your regular fantasy setting though! I really love how the system allows you to play a really smart, versatile non-magical scholar. Another huge winner.

The sentinel gets d12 HD, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, 4 + Int skills per level, as well as expert martial progression, using Wisdom as governing practitioner modifier. The class, unsurprisingly, is the tank of the roster, and is an actually viable defensive base class. It is pretty technical in comparison, but comes out rather nicely. I am not a fan of the decision to be able to use Wisdom bonus instead of Dexterity to govern the one, at least pro forma, bad save of the class, but the capping of class level here prevents low level characters with universally good saves. Otherwise, the focus on challenges, ability to lock down targets etc, is nice., and stalwart, one of my least favorite abilities in all of Pathfinder (evasion for Fort AND Will) is relegated to 9th level. So yeah, I enjoy the class more than I figured I would!

The striker gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, good Fort- and Ref-saves, full BAB-progression as well as Expert martial progression governed by Constitution. The class is something of a monk-ish specialist, but that, at least in theory, sounds less interesting in the system, with monk-ish powers not more broadly available. Well, instead of just slapping several talents on the class, the striker takes a different approach: It is, in essence, a mana-bar martial. Let me explain: The striker has a resource called “tension” that increases upon taking damage, upon successfully hitting creatures, and upon moving a lot. This builds and may be expended to generate special effects, with the class gaining striker arts, which can provide unique effects or expand the ways in which you can spend the resource. And no, you can’t hoard it out of combat, and it doesn’t have a dumb per-combat mechanic. The playing experience here is really interesting and fun – but from all the classes, this is one that has the most expansion potential. Basically, you have a cool resource-management game in addition to the spheres-engine, making this a surprisingly strategic class to play.

Finally, there would be the technician, who receives d8 HD, 6 + Int mod skills per day, good Ref- and Will-saves, 3/4 BAB-progression as well as adept martial progression governed by Intelligence. This class takes up no less than 18 pages, and it is a BEAST. This is, in essence, the practical inventor to the scholar’s more theoretic approach; the sapper, the golemsmith, the pulp fantasy exploring inventor. It is the most complex class herein and the one that requires the most amount of system mastery, but it rewards you for allowing for an impressive amount of different concepts being realized even before you begin diving into the depths of the spheres system.

Now, the book also contains a ton of archetypes for your perusal: Alchemist, antipaladin, brawler, cavalier, fighter, gunslinger, hunter, investigator, magus, monk, paladin, ranger, ninja, rogue, samurai, slayer, swashbuckler, thaumaturge and even the vigilante get their due here, and that is before we take a look at the archetypes for the new classes, some of which made me smile from ear to ear. Battlefield armigers, for example, modify their chassis to instead make an improbable weapon, like an axe-bladed crossbow or the like. The iron chef blacksmith is a neat take on the battle cook, while the techsmith provides the means to poach in the technician’s playground, while doctor or slime savant scholars make for meaningful tweaks of the base engine of the class. Some of these tie in with the spheres system to a rather impressive degree, with e.g. the adamant guardian changing the focus of the sentinel from challenges to patrols, while another interacts with the berserker sphere. There also would be basically a true neutral paladin-ish variant here. Striker can opt for blackpowder or mutation specialties, and expert shadowed fists, scouts and grappling specialists are covered here as well. Technicians may elect for the mad scientist archetype (yes, you can make shrink rays…), and a suit pilot and basically a mythbuster can also be found here.

The whole classes/archetypes-chapter has been a huge surprise for me. You see, as much as I like Spheres of Power, I’m not the biggest fan of its classes. To me, they always felt like vessels to conduct the sphere-engine, not like truly distinct concepts that would make me go for them on virtue of their own engines. This book does not suffer from this limitation. I absolutely would love to play, in slightly varying degrees, all the classes introduced within this book. There are a TON of amazing concepts here and the engines presented for the classes are actually compelling and interesting BEFORE you start adding the sphere-engine! Furthermore, the classes herein allow you to do unique things that set them apart before diving into sphere-selection. That is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned. Add to that the fact that the classes actually manage to present compelling engines that reward versatile playstyles even before the main meat of the system is in place, and we have what must be called a resounding success.

Part II of my review can be found here!


Finally -


Using a friends PDF of this atm (waiting for print to be available). Read it cover to cover. The Legendary talents are the funnest part of this book and some of the Martial spheres are a bit weak IMO but overall lot of flavor and good design. Easily a 5 star product, on par /w Ultimate Psionics as far as content quality and a big step up in overall quality from DDS other titles. Waiting for handbooks now :)


5/5

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter for this project and followed it since the beginning and participated in the playtesting of this material.

One thing that I would like to say upfront is that if you are ONLY planning to purchase this product in hopes that it will make martials on-par with Tier 1 classes (such as the Wizard, Cleric, and Druid), DON'T. Even if your game has replaced core vancian spellcasting with spherecasting, Spheres of Power is still without a doubt superior to martials using Spheres of Might. It has been discussed at length that it wasn't the mission of Spheres of Might to fix martials in that regard.

What I will say this product does do, is allow you to build martials who are defined not so much by their class, but how you build them, and it all starts with Martial Traditions.

In Core pathfinder, all too often you will find GM's and Players who are under the false impression that in-order to play a specific character concept, you must have levels in a base class or prestige class which matches the name. For example, if you want to play a ninja, you must have levels in the ninja class; if you want to play a samurai, you must have levels in the samurai class; if you want to play a druid, you must have levels in the druid class, etc.

Spheres of Power (the older companion product), throws this notion out the window with the use of Casting Traditions. With casting traditions you can play any spherecasting class and just choose the relevant casting tradition. For example, you could be an Armorist with the druidic casting tradition, a Hedgewitch with the druidic casting tradition, or an Incanter with the druidic casting tradition; it makes no difference.

Spheres of Might, does the same thing for martial characters with the use of Martial Traditions. Which allows you to define your character even further by defining just how your character was trained. Where you a knight? A thief? A gladiator? There are martial traditions for these and 30+ more, while also including guidelines to creating your own. And that is just the beginning.

After picking your martial tradition (which determines bonus starting proficiencies and starting combat spheres), you can further build, define, and expand your character even further by picking up spheres and talents from a list of 20+ combat spheres which cover aspects such as Alchemy, Beastmastery, Dual Wielding, Sniping, and Scouting (just to name a few).

Spheres of Might also includes Legendary Talents (which like Advanced Talents from Spheres of Power) must be approved individually by a GM. Personally, for a number of legendary talents, I feel they were locked behind a specific level unnecessarily. Most notably legendary talents such as Sever, which allows for the amputation of limbs (but is locked behind a BAB prerequisite of +11). The problem I see with this is that it infers that soldiers in war do not experience limb loss unless fighting something with 11 or more HD. It also infers that a medieval surgeons cannot amputate limbs before 11th level. Ofcourse the authors have repeatively given their explanation for such saying that it is because they don't want players to lose limbs before magic is available which can restore the condition (which I feel is a weak argument, seeing that death is a condition that players face at 1st level without affordable means or restoring that condition). However, these small gripes are not ones that I consider strong enough to reduce my rating of this product significantly.

Spheres of Might also offers a wide range of new base classes (and archetypes) which utilize Spheres of Might to its fullest potential, all of which I feel are fun alternatives to a number of Paizo Classes. For example, the Scholar class could easily fill the role of a number of classes (alchemist, bard, cleric, or wizard); whereas the rogue class could easily be replaced by the new Conscript, Striker, or Technician class (depending upon the type of rogue built).

For GM's Spheres of Might includes an array of pre-statted monsters ranging from CR 1-20, aswell as fast and easy guidelines for giving Martial Traditions to monsters.

Personally, I feel that Spheres of Might shines the most when combined with Spheres of Power, as they compliment each other nicely by lowering the power of casters, while raising the utility of martials; and while Spherecasters are without a doubt still superior to Spheremartials, this product does allow a martial to more fully enjoy his contribution to the game table.


Plenty of neat options for a different kind of Martial character

4/5

This book offers Martial Options for players that want less full attack and more Action Movie/Anime/Video game imagery. If you play a martial to optimize your DPR and make all the full attacks, then at the very least, the Spheres of Might provide utility, movement, and defenses, as well as something more meaningful than just regular attacks when you can't full attack.

If you want to play like the book wants you to play, with less full attacking and using all your actions to do different things, then you'll probably enjoy this, and they have some fun creative classes to take advantage of the system, as well as some archetypes and easy conversion system for the first party classes.

effects scale well, so your debuffs and bonuses can stay relevant in to the late game.

Very notably, the Guardian Sphere does a decent job of letting people play tanks.

While most of the content seems relatively balanced, there's some things that leave me scratching my head, like the sentinel class gaining evasion across all 3 saves.

All in all, I like this book and the direction it goes, but I'd like it a lot more if there were more options competative with full attacks.


Return of the (Sphere) King

5/5

So I've been following this since the playtest, and I gotta say, it's every bit as good as I expected. I was hoping for combat to get fixed, but with spheres of might, we've got so many options and ways to do that with tons of utility that you won't see in core. The math on it is also solid, making it play well at just about any table, as well as being super newbie friendly. This is my new combat system along with spheres of power, and I could honestly just see using these two books for any game I run.


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Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Coffee Demon wrote:
I hope it's not nagging if I ask again about news on a print version?

I'll bump Adam and ask, see if I can get an updated ETA.


Weird question: I am thinking of running an online game using the Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might rulesets. I know that some virtual tabletops like roll20 and d20pro support d20 game systems, but are the spheres rules so *different* from standard d20 that the game system support isn't really going to work?


No, they are not. Most effects are straightforward numbers (AC bonus, damage, buffs) or fairly straightforward effects (light a fire, create an object). You may have to fiddle with things a little, and possibly use custom fields to keep track of things, but it should be easy enough.

Shadow Lodge

Would the Combat Specialization(Equipment) feat and, to a lesser extent, Mastered Talent(Finesse Fighting) increase the bonus from taking Finesse Fighting twice?

I think so, but I prefer to double check.


GM Rednal wrote:
No, they are not. Most effects are straightforward numbers (AC bonus, damage, buffs) or fairly straightforward effects (light a fire, create an object). You may have to fiddle with things a little, and possibly use custom fields to keep track of things, but it should be easy enough.

Thanks for the confirmation!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragonborn3 wrote:

Would the Combat Specialization(Equipment) feat and, to a lesser extent, Mastered Talent(Finesse Fighting) increase the bonus from taking Finesse Fighting twice?

I think so, but I prefer to double check.

Yes. Since those abilities treat your base attack bonus as being higher than it actually it is for related talents, you would use that increased BAB to calculate your bonus damage from taking Finesse Fighting twice.

Shadow Lodge

Awesome. That can help my ideas for a Sage a lot.


Ssalarn wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
I hope it's not nagging if I ask again about news on a print version?
I'll bump Adam and ask, see if I can get an updated ETA.

If (and only if) DDS has atm liquidity problems, maybe they ought to release SOM thru POD in OBS so that cash helps fund the kickstarter print run.

Yeah, I ask because I want to physically buy this book and was not part of the kickstarter.


Ssalarn wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
I hope it's not nagging if I ask again about news on a print version?
I'll bump Adam and ask, see if I can get an updated ETA.

Just thought I'd ask again, since it's been a few weeks.

Thanks!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Coffee Demon wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:
I hope it's not nagging if I ask again about news on a print version?
I'll bump Adam and ask, see if I can get an updated ETA.

Just thought I'd ask again, since it's been a few weeks.

Thanks!

Here's Adam's Kickstarter update from 2/10/18.

The relevant information if you're not able to view it-

"We'll need to wait 1-3 weeks to get the proof copies back from them, and then we can start sending people out their books immediately."

I believe there will be a POD option through DriveThruRPG once the proofs are approved, for anyone who didn't order a physical copy through the Kickstarter, but I'm currently waiting for confirmation on that from Adam.


Cool thanks. Once that POD option is up, I guess someone will post here?

(One of my players wants to play a Scholar, but I don't allow classes / archetypes that I don't own in printed form. I can't deal with PDF's.) :)


Well, I suppose there's always printing off a few pages from a copy you own while you wait on the hardcopy...?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Coffee Demon wrote:

Cool thanks. Once that POD option is up, I guess someone will post here?

(One of my players wants to play a Scholar, but I don't allow classes / archetypes that I don't own in printed form. I can't deal with PDF's.) :)

Adam verified that the POD option will be available through DriveThruRPG once the proofs are approved. I'll try and pop in here with a link as soon as learn that they're available (assuming Adam or someone else doesn't beat me to it).

Shadow Lodge

So here's a funny thing I noticed looking at scholar. With Small and Large Animal Training you can have an animal companion with a familiar archetype and a animal companion archetype.

If poison is a "special ability" you can even have a spider familiar turn into something with a bite attack and people that don't understand why your wolf's bite attack is venomous.

This is great.


Been looking at the Berserker sphere, and in particular Advancing Carnage, when a thought occured to me.

If I activate the Advancing Carnage on a Brutal Strike, are all the following attacks also brutal strikes, or just that initial attack?

Edit: And tossing in another question that occured to me. If you strike the ground via Shatter Earth and have Shrapnel, what size category does the ground count as for the Shrapnel's area of effect?


Hmm...... reading closely, I think I'd have to say "no" to that first one. Brutal Strike is a special attack action, which is a type of standard action. The additional strikes made with Advancing Carnage are free actions, so I don't think they qualify for anything that requires an attack action/special attack action. If you could make attack actions with your additional strikes, you could stack a lot of rider effects onto a lot of foes in one round, and that feels a little too strong.

Also: The Runic Knight archetype for the Magus gets to make free attacks with their Advanced Spellstrike ability, and that specifically says to treat it like an attack action. Advancing Carnage does not have that text. Since some free attacks get treated like attack actions and others don't, the implication is that there's definitely a difference there.

For Shatter Earth + Shrapnel, I would treat the ground as Large, which is the closest match to the number of squares normally damaged by that talent.

Shadow Lodge

Why was the Adroit Warden archetype for Sentinels removed in the update? I quite liked the archetype.

Silver Crusade

Dragonborn3 wrote:
Why was the Adroit Warden archetype for Sentinels removed in the update? I quite liked the archetype.

This is because it was actually absorbed into the base class. There were some complaints about the sentinel needing heavy armor to function, so instead, the adroit warden was absorbed into the base class to make it armor agnostic.


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

So now that I'm about to be on the player side of the screen again for the first time in forever I've begun looking at options and things again and I've got a couple questions about the Attack Action. If multiple things affect the Attack Action they stack, except when they don't. Is that the gist of it?
For instance I can combine Blooded Strike and Fatal Thrust. If I were to Full Attack I wouldn't get the benefit of either am I correct in that?
Following from combining Attack Action things could I combine Dual Attack with Advancing Carnage and get 2 attacks on every target I "cleave" to? What about Mobile Striker and Dual Attack? I guess I'm confused about how many things you can stack onto an Attack Action if they don't specifically contradict each other.

Paizo Employee

Robert Jordan wrote:
So now that I'm about to be on the player side of the screen again for the first time in forever I've begun looking at options and things again and I've got a couple questions about the Attack Action. If multiple things affect the Attack Action they stack, except when they don't. Is that the gist of it?

More or less, yeah. Basically, anything that rides on an attack action is generally fair game, though talents called out as "special attack actions" are mutually exclusive.

Quote:


For instance I can combine Blooded Strike and Fatal Thrust. If I were to Full Attack I wouldn't get the benefit of either am I correct in that?

Attack actions are the default action you take when you make an attack as a standard action, so they are incompatible with full attacks.

Quote:


Following from combining Attack Action things could I combine Dual Attack with Advancing Carnage and get 2 attacks on every target I "cleave" to? What about Mobile Striker and Dual Attack? I guess I'm confused about how many things you can stack onto an Attack Action if they don't specifically contradict each other.

Only the first attack made with Advancing Carnage is an attack action. So you could Dual Attack into Advancing Carnage, making a main hand and off-hand attack, but would only make 1 attack on subsequent AC attacks since you are no longer using the attack action.


I'm now reading the Sphere Bestiary, and it keeps mentioning a talent called Bestial Training. Trouble is I can't find that talent anywhere. Am I just missing it?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's an editing hiccup. It used to be a talent for the Open Hand Sphere. Now, however, the only thing that should have Bestial Training is the iron dragon, which uses it to get Unarmed Training from the Equipment Sphere.

Paizo Employee

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Thank you Endzeitgeist for the massive review!


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Part II of my massive review:

Now, approximately 60 pages are devoted to the respective spheres. I cannot go into in-depth analysis regarding all of them here, but to give you an idea of the different spheres: Alchemy, athletics barrage, barroom, beastmastery, berserker, boxing, brute, dual wielding, duelist, equipment, fencing, gladiator, guardian, lancer, open hand, scoundrel, scout, shield, sniper, trap, warleader and wrestling would be the spheres. Alchemy nets you options to improve classic items, fused grenades, condition-healing, stimpacks, etc. Athletics sports concise rules for climbing around on big foes, wall run, etc. Barroom covers your improvised weaponry and drunken master tricks. Berserker, much like in the Fate/Stay-series, is about staying power and destroying stuff. Boxing features a nice counter-mechanic. Brute nets you Hulk-like stomps, topple foes, etc. and gets manhandle options to add further debuffs. The duelist sphere has a well-designed bind weapon-mechanic and can generate nasty bleeding. The equipment sphere sports the item-specific tricks. Now, I am not the biggest fan of the Fencing sphere’s Parry and Riposte, as it is based on an opposed attack roll, but its use of martial focus prevents the mechanic from bogging down gameplay.

Gladiators are specialists of boasting and demoralizing targets, the former allowing for actually tangible benefits. Guardian has two packages – challenge and patrol, the former of allows you to kite, while the latter lets you set up a defensive perimeter of sorts. I really enjoy this sphere. Lancer also is really cool, providing concise mechanics for the impalement of targets, making spear-wielders etc. more interesting and viable. Open palm and scoundrel are pretty self-explanatory, while the scout sphere focuses on keen perception, taking abilities usually relegated to rangers and characters that fit the ranged specialist or detective trope and makes them more universally viable. The shield sphere allows you to spend AoOs to increase AC and makes the often maligned item class more viable. Huge plus there. The Sniper sphere is something I have NEVER seen before for Pathfinder: It is a BALANCED, yet potent option for the sharpshooter concept. Thanks to essentially bonus damage for single shots, trick shots and the like, it is actually very well made. It even has a viable, powerful, yet balanced variant on the headshot-concept. The trap and wrestling spheres and warleader spheres do what you’d expect them to. It should also be noted that some sphere nets you 5 ranks in an associated skill, with progressive levels providing further boosts at higher levels. Snipers can shoot into melee sans penalty, etc. – you get the idea. The chapter, as a whole, is inspired. I do not envy the designers that will work on e.g. expansions to impaling options, for example, as the engine is VERY concise and could break if handled without due care, but as a whole, this chapter must be, once more, considered to be a resounding success of epic proportions.

Now, this would be as well a place as any to comment a bit on the design paradigms employed and what they mean for you: Spheres of Might did not attempt to offset caster/martial disparity. This feat is only possible by making martials ridiculously powerful and allowing them to basically behave like casters. And if you do want full-blown responses for every eventuality, why not play a caster in the first place? I believe, firmly, that playing a caster and a martial character can and should be somewhat different playing experience. The central issue with martials lies in a plethora of design decisions of the core game. Low skills per level meant less out-of-combat usefulness, which hampers roleplaying. Spheres of Might addresses that and fixes it. More importantly, though, the system’s focus on iterative attacks makes single target damage seem like the end-all raison d’être for martials. There’s a reason so many threads focus on improving AC, damage output, accuracy, and the like. The issue at the root of a lot of player-frustration with regular martial characters does imho not lie in their potency, but rather in the playing experience itself. It simply isn’t that interesting to walk up to a foe, roll X standard attack rolls for as much damage as possible, rinse and repeat. GMs will need, in such cases, to focus on mobility of foes or start a numbers-race that isn’t fun for anyone. And yes, you can accumulate a variety of different options for martial characters, but it takes time, feat-investment, etc. In short, you’ll still be doing your specialized routine. Very well, granted, but the experience can still be somewhat stale. This issue can be further exacerbated by certain classes having what conceivably should be general notions, hardbaked into the chassis, making some martial classes always exceed others in their available options for certain ability-trees.

Spheres of Might changes that. In other terms, the central design paradigm employed here is one that focuses, with tremendous success, on breadth rather than depth. Instead of adding a fireball’s worth of bonus damage to your attack to make up for the “lost” full attack, the system focuses on giving you MORE options to choose from. Yes, damage-enhancers are a choice, but they are not your only recourse to contribute to a combat situation in a meaningful manner. You can buff. You can debuff. And the very core of the system already rewards variance, doing different things each round. Do you expend your focus and execute talent xyz? Or do you get rid of that battered condition first? Do you focus on damage, generate a set-up, debuff a foe? The system makes different attacks MATTER. They are no longer just vehicles to transport more or less static damage values. Playing a martial character suddenly involves strategy. Choices beyond making a certain build. This has a rather remarkable effect: Suddenly, low-magic games, ones with a more pulp-like aesthetic, perhaps even ones sans magic whatsoever, feel more interesting for the players. As an added benefit, this takes one of the toughest challenges a Pathfinder-GM faces off the shoulders of the GM. You are no longer solely in charge of making the battlefield dynamic, of making combats require more than “I hit as fast and hard as I can.”

This changes the playing experience all on its own and supports a rather impressive array of playstyles that are simply less rewarding without this system.

But what if you actually *do* want high fantasy, potentially perhaps more significant boons that those assumed by your average Pathfinder adventure? Well, that’s where the book thankfully takes a cue from Spheres of Power: The high-powered, truly potent and more fantastic options are found in their own chapter, codified as legendary talents, organized by sphere. Here, you can, for example, find double jumps à la Devil may Cry, leaving speedster-style afterimages, the rules to make a philosopher’s stone via alchemy, execute Final Fantasy-style dragoon leaps, infinite ammo, generate a staircase of arrows/bolts, fire-breathe alcohol, instantly call animal allies to your side, rip open space and time, generate cyclone cut dual-wield effects, etc., generate vacuum with your strikes – you get the idea. Basically, this chapter includes the more over-the-top, fantastic options. The decision to distinctly set these apart if one of my favorite components in Spheres of Power, and I am glad it was retained here. So yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too. We also get a couple of new feats (and ones referenced, meaning you won’t have to skip books – kudos!) as well as an assortment of new traits and a ton of favored class options. These deserve special mention, for they seem to follow the design paradigm that class/race combos that are slightly less optimal should gain slightly better FCOs. I like that. The book also contains new drawbacks and sphere-specific drawbacks, which can further help customizing martial traditions and differentiate between schools. The equipment section includes some stuff that made my southern German heart swell – I know I need a battle stein! And yes, 10-foot-pole as codified as weapons. Never leave home without it! A few weapon mods and magic components can also be found here.

Now, the book does not leave the GM sitting alone in front of the book. Advice on running cinematic combat, martial monster tactics and talents and traditions – all concisely explained. The book also contains a massive bestiary (CR 1 – 21) of sample monsters modified to use the system and furthermore features an NPC-codex.

Oh, and that’s not all. The final chapter provides a surprisingly tight conversion appendix for Starfinder, which is a definite plus. At the same time, applying the concise conversion notes will take time. Furthermore, while Starfinder is similar to Pathfinder, it is still its own beast, and frankly, I found myself wishing we’d get a full-blown version of the book dedicated exclusively to Starfinder. The conversion guidelines are better than I anticipated, but ultimately, they represent a graft for a system for which this wasn’t necessarily intended.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, while not perfect, are pretty damn close. The proof-readers did a very good job here, particularly considering the massive crunch-density of this ginormous tome. Layout adheres to a solid two-column full-color standard and the interior artwork is significantly better than in any other Drop Dead Studios book I’ve read so far. The pdf version comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. I do not (YET!) own the print version, so I can’t comment on its merits or lack thereof.

The team of primary authors Adam Meyers, Andrew Stoeckle, Michael Sayre and N. Jolly, with contributions by Amber Underwood and Siobhan Bjorknas, have provided an impressive…

…ah, who am I kidding?? This is a frickin’ masterpiece, pure and simple! Yes, I am not a fan of every single design decision herein, but I adore A LOT about this book. As in 99.999% of it.

As in: O M G, this is amazing. Spheres of Might is a jack-of-all-trades in that it allows for a wide array of different character concepts, but more than that, it actually enhances the experience of playing non-casters by making them significantly more rewarding. The classes are more inspiring than the vast majority of stand-alone classes you can purchase. The very engine this champions enhance the game all on its own, and the design of these martial spheres deserves lavish praise. More than even spellcasting, this completely tweaks, redefines and imho improves a central aspect of the game we all know and love.

Spheres of Might is one of the most inspired, well-crafted books of crunch I have ever read. It is not only well-made, it truly inspired whole settings, while campaign-ideas. Every single aspect of this book, every chapter, sports some truly remarkable ideas and gems. This surpasses Spheres of Power, a book I absolutely love.

The final verdict, hence, should not surprise anyone: This is 5 stars, gets my seal of approval, and is a hot contender for the number one spot of my Top Ten of 2017. Furthermore, this tome represents such an impressive improvement regarding versatility and playing experience quality, that it receives my EZG Essentials-tag – this book should be on the shelf of any self-respecting pathfinder GM.

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

Endzeitgeist out.


I'm just now getting to the Sentinel archetypes, and upon reading the description of the Darkness Defender being a "combat masochist" I have to ask:

Is this based off a main character in a certain fantasy comedy anime of the "normal Japanese male transported to a fantasy world" genre?

Silver Crusade

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SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

I'm just now getting to the Sentinel archetypes, and upon reading the description of the Darkness Defender being a "combat masochist" I have to ask:

Is this based off a main character in a certain fantasy comedy anime of the "normal Japanese male transported to a fantasy world" genre?

Yes.

Yes it is.


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Putting stuff together for the Campaign I'm going to start in a week or two.

Hound Archon + 1 level of Sentinel (Bushido Warrior tradition)

Duelist (Draw Cut and Whilwind Draw)
Guardian (Cold Iron Call)

Gonna be a scary intimidating wall in front of my players.

Paizo Employee

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Greylurker wrote:

Putting stuff together for the Campaign I'm going to start in a week or two.

Hound Archon + 1 level of Sentinel (Bushido Warrior tradition)

Duelist (Draw Cut and Whilwind Draw)
Guardian (Cold Iron Call)

Gonna be a scary intimidating wall in front of my players.

And you get to open up with that big "OMG, what did he just do why are we all bleeding, gah!" attack, which is a great way to set the tone for an evening :)


Question about the Iron Chef Archtype for the Blacksmith

Do they still use Profession (Blacksmith) for the Skilled Craftsman ability or do they get to use Profession (Cook) instead, and does the ability change in any other way for them


Archetypes only provide the changes listed in their description. As a GM, I might accept that change (I mean, honestly, it's really not a big deal either way), but as-written, they don't use Profession (Cook).

Paizo Employee

Greylurker wrote:

Question about the Iron Chef Archtype for the Blacksmith

Do they still use Profession (Blacksmith) for the Skilled Craftsman ability or do they get to use Profession (Cook) instead, and does the ability change in any other way for them

RAW Answer: The archetype only changes what it says it changes.

Longer answer: You may have noticed that Spheres of Might is actually a fair bit bigger than Spheres of Power. Part of that is because we repeatedly pushed for more space to make sure we could include everything for the ideas that we either thought were absolutely necessary, or which were so cool we really didn't want to leave them out. Iron Chef is a pretty massive archetype and takes up as much space as any two (and in some cases 3) archetypes for the Paizo core and base classes, so there came a point when I had to start looking at what the archetype absolutely needed, and what could be trimmed to make space. So all of the necessary recipe stuff stayed, but any little mechanics that weren't essential needed to be trimmed for space. What the archetype ended up as was essentially a talented handyman who's also a badass cook.

If you wanted to downplay the "iron" angle and play up the "chef" angle, it would be absolutely reasonable to sub in Profession (cook) for Skilled Craftsman, and I might even go a step farther and swap out the weapons, armor, and shield crafting mentioned in the ability for wondrous items and potions. You could, if you were already going to do that, then also swap out his bonus feats so that he gets Brew Potion at 3rd with the option to use his Profession (cook) checks to replace the spell prereqs using the standard crafting modification of +5 to the DC, and shift Craft Wondrous Items up into the 5th level slot.

Shadow Lodge

Trying to make a themed build and saw the Tiefling and Aasimar striker FCBs. Is there a reason they are so weak? Elemental resistance and immunity are common defenses, and when even a first level Tiefling commoner could take no damage from your fire... it seems less than useful.

There is the Halfling bonus(+1/4 damage) and that is nice because it benefits from Drill Knuckle(the dwarf FCB is pretty decent too). Given that the fire damage(Tiefling) or cold damage(Aasimar) don't benefit from Drill Knuckle, would +1/2 be more acceptable?


If I had to guess, the Tiefling FCB there is meant to work together with the Devil's Strikes legendary talent from the Open Hand sphere, making them the most effective at that particular power.

Shadow Lodge

Maybe, but even then that doesn't seem right to me. It seems... off, if an FCB was made weak so a Lagendary Talent would be better for one race than others. That also doesn't address the Aasimar's FCB.

Paizo Employee

I didn't actually write the striker FCBs (I believe Ehn did pretty much all of the striker-specific mechanics), but I know that in general there was some consideration given to FCBs and avoiding having them escalate one race significantly above another and considering the general power of the race itself alongside the other races who gain FCBs for a given class. It's possible that since both aasimar and tiefling are already swinging above the core races (like the halfling) in terms of overall power, their FCBs were intentionally left a bit more niche and thematic.

Shadow Lodge

Alright, that I can understand. At really low levels an extra point at level two is pretty significant. Though I still think it could scale better an still be less useful than just extra weapon damage.

I'll see how it goes if I ever play one or run a game with a PC in it that is one.

Silver Crusade

Ssalarn wrote:
I didn't actually write the striker FCBs (I believe Ehn did pretty much all of the striker-specific mechanics), but I know that in general there was some consideration given to FCBs and avoiding having them escalate one race significantly above another and considering the general power of the race itself alongside the other races who gain FCBs for a given class. It's possible that since both aasimar and tiefling are already swinging above the core races (like the halfling) in terms of overall power, their FCBs were intentionally left a bit more niche and thematic.

Yeah, that was my idea here. Most of the time, when FCBs come into play, you see certain races taking center stage (human [descended] characters being sorcerers, half elf summoners, etc), so rather than give a reason to do that, I wanted to give stronger FCBs to races that were at the largest disadvantage there. Tiefling/Aasimar are silly strong, so their FCBs didn't need to be.

Shadow Lodge

On the flip side, resistance 5 negates it completely, and even resistance 2(some traits give that out) means the character has to be lv12 to do that creature 1 point of damage. Without something like Drill Knuckle helping out either I just don't see the point, especially when put up against stronger race choices like dwarf or human or half-Orc.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
Coffee Demon wrote:

Cool thanks. Once that POD option is up, I guess someone will post here?

(One of my players wants to play a Scholar, but I don't allow classes / archetypes that I don't own in printed form. I can't deal with PDF's.) :)

Adam verified that the POD option will be available through DriveThruRPG once the proofs are approved. I'll try and pop in here with a link as soon as learn that they're available (assuming Adam or someone else doesn't beat me to it).

Because I haven't seen a post already saying this, the POD appears to be available now.

Shadow Lodge

Are spheres and talents considered class features? I'm asking because I'm trying to see how high I can get Damage Reduction on a Darkness Defender Sentinel and the feats, Stalwart and Improved Stalwart, only work with class features.

Silver Crusade

Dragonborn3 wrote:
Are spheres and talents considered class features? I'm asking because I'm trying to see how high I can get Damage Reduction on a Darkness Defender Sentinel and the feats, Stalwart and Improved Stalwart, only work with class features.

The damage reduction from the Reckless Defense class feature is treated as a class feature despite it being tied to the use of a sphere. Because of this, it would stack with Stalwart and Improved Stalwart. Normally though, talents are not treated as class features, even if they would be given as class features.

Shadow Lodge

Thank you. Looks like I can change the feats up quite a bit. For a Lv10 Sentinal, qualifying for Stalwart is... feat consuming.


Any word on the Hero Lab files?


They're being developed as we speak, but I don't know when they will become available; the guy who does our hero lab files does them out of house, but I'll shoot him an email and ask about an ETA.


Had an idea for an new Martial Sphere

Teamwork Sphere. Using inspiration from teamwork feats and Team Attack combos from RPG Video games.

Base sphere abilities:

Teamwork Strike: a special attack action that can contain 1 (Trigger) talent. Trigger Talents are used to allow one of your allies to do something
and
Follow up: If an ally uses Teamwork Strike and you are NOT the target of a Trigger effect, you may spend an attack of opportunity to use Follow up. Follow up allows you to make a roll to hit the target of the Teamwork Strike and con contain 1 (Combo) talent. Combo Talents enhance the Teamwork Strike of your ally.

a sample Trigger could be: The designated Ally can Move up to half their move, without triggering an attack of opportunity, so long as they remain inside your threatened area. Or designated ally makes an attack of opportunity.

a sample Combo could be, the damage of your attack is added to the damage of the Teamwork strike instead of being considered a separate attack

As an advanced Combo Talent, Requiring: Destruction and Energy Blade from Spheres of Power; Instead of attacking with your Follow up you enchant your Ally's Teamwork strike with your Destruction magic. This works like Energy Blade but with your ally's weapon instead of your own.


So Rumor is that the Hero Lab files have been handed off to Drop Dead and may become available in the next few weeks.

If true my Wallet is ready

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