Spheres of Power: Destruction Handbook Open Beta


Product Discussion

Liberty's Edge

(If this is on the wrong board, please let me know; I am not overly acquainted with the structure here.)

As some of you know, Drop Dead Studios is producing a series of expansions for the Spheres of Power alternate magic system, each expanding upon a single sphere. I am the author of the release focused on the very fun but often misunderstood Destruction sphere. I would like to borrow some processing cycles from the mighty groupmind here to find issues, solicit suggestions, and generally improve the product to make my first release as good as it can be.
Destruction Handbook

Hold nothing (pertinent) back. Thanks for all your help.

Known Issues:
Doomblade mechanics
Elemental Scion: streamlined method for accessing class abilities without spellpoint cost
Spellcrafting: DCs
Improved elemental blade feat: interplay with bound energy arsenal trick (too much damage?)
Bound Energy Arsenal Trick: interplay with improved elemental blade

Schedule: Original manuscript was to be due in March, but things have shifted a bit,m as expected given the number of people involved. As we want to release the best possible project, this will remain open for as long as it is needed.


I'll be happy to help as best I can. Do you want feedback done in-thread or over PM?

Liberty's Edge

Whack-a-Rogue wrote:
I'll be happy to help as best I can. Do you want feedback done in-thread or over PM?

In thread or comments on the doc are preferable. It should be comment enabled, unless the folder settings override the doc settings.

Looks like this should have been in the 3rd party subforum, my apologies. I have flagged it.


I am basically in love with this. I will try and look this over today, though it may be hard as I am at work, but I'll see what I can think of. I do have to say, I love the fact that the Blast can now be Snaked, and the ability to have the increased amounts for your 2nd and 3rd favored energies makes me quite happy. Being able to add your weapons enhancement bonuses to the blast is also a nice touch. My goal one day is to find a way to be able to full round multiple blasts. Then I will finally be the party artillery like I've always wanted.


I'm actually a little annoyed I found about this here and not through the Patreon. What gives?

Previously we received playtest info through there first so we could have first crack at looking and commenting on what was coming.


I'm going to throw out a guess and say that this is an early beta, still being worked on. The Patreon normally shows a preview of the NEXT book and asks for additional feedback - this is happening earlier in the process, and it's still likely to show up for Patreon backers (in a more revised form) at some point in the future.


I don't think this is at the playtest stage yet. The first two handbooks did that shortly before release. This one isn't supposed to come out until March-ish.

EDIT: Ninjad

Liberty's Edge

Aleron wrote:

I'm actually a little annoyed I found about this here and not through the Patreon. What gives?

Previously we received playtest info through there first so we could have first crack at looking and commenting on what was coming.

Hmm, I thought the patreon folks had been informed about this. I also thought patreon folk already had access to it, so I guess I am out of the loop with exactly how the patreon was working.

Anyhow, concerns have been raised about the rapidity of the releases and the absence of an open Beta, which is what we are trying to address. I will mention your concern to Adam.

To the others, glad you like it. I look forward to having it picked apart.

Dark Archive

I am glad to see that Drop Dead Studios will be expanding the Spheres of Power, something I have wanted ever since learning about it and purchasing the product myself.

I will take a look over it when I get off work.


Less "will be" and more "currently is". XD Two handbooks (Nature and Telekinesis) are already out, with more on the way.

Liberty's Edge

GM Rednal wrote:
Less "will be" and more "currently is". XD Two handbooks (Nature and Telekinesis) are already out, with more on the way.

Yes, I'm working on getting them added to my SoP handbook the Orrery. Geomancer's is pretty much done, just started TK.


If a message was sent out through the Patreon I totally missed it then. Either way started putting some comments in and will try do more a little later. Destruction was one my group and myself felt really did need some expansion and more 'cool stuff' to do.

Also glad to see some of the Irhardt stuff found its way in.


Drowning Blast seems a bit strong. One could just spam it and leave anyone with a weak will save unable to act for the duration of combat.

Liberty's Edge

Aleron wrote:

If a message was sent out through the Patreon I totally missed it then. Either way started putting some comments in and will try do more a little later. Destruction was one my group and myself felt really did need some expansion and more 'cool stuff' to do.

Also glad to see some of the Irhardt stuff found its way in.

I was originally going to reprint the WoP material for a chance for more people to see it, but I had concerns raised about some of the abilities being on the weak side. I liked all the names, though if there is going to be confusion I may need to change the ones that do different things now.

Insain Dragoon wrote:
Drowning Blast seems a bit strong. One could just spam it and leave anyone with a weak will save unable to act for the duration of combat.

Hmm, that had a spell point cost originally, but the idea was that d4 nonlethal with a save helps balance it. I am open to the argument that nauseated and stronger inherently need costs though.


Nauseated is definitely one of those debuffs that I would argue always needs a cost.

Liberty's Edge

You guys work fast. Replied to current comments on the doc. Some things will need further discussion.

Makes me wonder how I missed some on the things...


I don't mind giving them an upgrade, when I originally designed them it was being on the careful side for balancing purposes. That said, some stuff in the document is coming across as perhaps a bit too much on the powerful side (I don't mind the changes you did to the Irhardt ones and feel free to use the same names, I'll probably update my own with some of the changes you did).

Liberty's Edge

Aleron wrote:
I don't mind giving them an upgrade, when I originally designed them it was being on the careful side for balancing purposes. That said, some stuff in the document is coming across as perhaps a bit too much on the powerful side (I don't mind the changes you did to the Irhardt ones and feel free to use the same names, I'll probably update my own with some of the changes you did).

Okay, I'll add a note for all the Irhardt names to give credit. I thought that was an interesting setting that I may have to explore more if I ever have time to DM again.

As for power levels, before I started I had picked up the general impression that people found the destruction sphere weak and uninteresting, a perception I wanted to change. The tactics section at the end was a big part of the perception side of that effort.

As for drowning blast, I put the cost back in and bumped the die size back to d6. Also added a note to the adaptation section that conditions that deny a standard action should always incur a cost.


Sounds good and you have a point on destruction, my own group had the same impression. Perhaps the boosts and tricks are just what it needs. Eager to see the finished document and will keep giving it a look over when I can spare the time.


I've noticed several typos and need to find time to get in here to help out there, just been a busy work schedule.

I love the whole system by the way, and I'm excited for more. So far the greater snake feels very powerful, I feel like a move action to direct it would tone it down a tad.

I like that there's an option for make-your-own blast, since I've always hated needing metamagic to make an ice "fireball" in vancian casting.

Spiderman is now a thing with the whole tether chain, which is cool. I need to read them all again to figure out just *what* that whole chain does and where it all fits (talents vs feats vs class abilities with an archetype, kicking in at what level to allow each effect) but so far I'm liking how it works. I do notice you make a *touch attack* when you use it, which it seems would override normal ac attacks on a physical blast if that matters at all. It might be useful as a way to make physical attacks hit with better accuracy.

A single feat to use two separate spells at once is pretty good, if it wasn't limited to just that one (not even whole) sphere per feat and a full attack instead of standard I'd question how much it messed with action economy. As it stands I can still see some builds (Hungry Darkness on a Crystal Blast anyone?) making very strong use of it. Perhaps only one extra turn worth of use per fight... but when seconds count, it can be very strong.

Since crystal stops line of effect and line of sight, would that particular combo even release a dark field? I feel like the result would be a crystal statue filled with shadows and later the hones of my enemy standing in a crystal tomb. If the darkness effect is centered within the crystal that way, it shouldn't extend outwards, correct? Or would they be safe from the darkness and instead be a totem of crystal that radiated the darkness effect? The same applies to glow, or a number of AOE effects. Would it be different with an instantaneous effect such as Mass Enhancement, would that then affect all targets within the area, even if the primary target became encased in crystal? There's some effects to explain about this interaction for sure.

I'd love to see darkness as your next project by the way, if it hasn't been done already. (I've only gotten around to spheres of power recently and it's scheduled to replace all magic in my next campaign, barring major problems this will be a permanent switch)

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow for another round, possibly with reinforcements from a coplayer.

Having seen new comments, a minor edit...

I'd like to note that I feel destruction was quite powerful as it was... considering I only needed about 3 talents to make it max power for a given element. Sure it had little to no utility outside of debuffs, but if I took cold, a good shape, and force infusions it was a 4 talent total dip to get two good statuses and an aoe option. That left nearly all of my other talents for other spheres. Any high caster would be a fool not to dip into destruction for emergencies, if only a two talent dip for force damage on demand. There's basically no cost for it. Was I super excited to use it? No. But that's because I prefer flavor and weirdness over numerical power. But the major trouble with destruction was how few talents I needed to make it work: it was basically just "attached" to my build somewhere, grafted on like some epic version of improved grapple. Any combination of a few talents and feats and I could do my standard damage in addition to all my other cool effects. What reason did I really have to invest more than that?

So this book doesn't really need to increase power level I feel, so much as to give me reasons to feel like dropping more talents into Destruction isn't a waste of time. It needs to give me such unique options that I see Snake talent and say "that's too cool to pass up, I can hold back my fate talents another level for that.".

Edit again, final thought...

If I use snake (attacks multiple squares, not people) or chain (attacks multiple people, full attack rolls on each) with an AOE like Darkness fused into it, where does the darkness AOE from? All affected squares? It would increase my area substantially. Would it count as different, overlapping areas and force multiple saves vs my black tentacles or grapple? I hope not or this gets really wrecked. I don't feel the increased area is too good to make work, but it might need to be looked into. Either way clarification should be made that it's still only one bubble of darkness if it isn't just "from the square of a chosen target affected".

Liberty's Edge

Greater energy snake has gotten a number of comments, so will receive further editing for both clarification and to trim back its power.

The adaption section is something I am proud of, even if it needs some fine-tuning (I have more sympathy for those tasked with assigning race point and the like now).

The tether adept feat is mechanically largely taken from the lashing spinneretts veil from the forthcoming akashic mysteries from DSP. Ssalarn gave me the okay and credits will be included in the OGL. As a note, physical damage destructive blasts target touch AC anyhow, unlike the kineticist.

The admixture line was basically targeted to be spontaneous spellcrafting and should track relatively close with 1 and 2 complexity spellcrafts. You basically are paying a feat to spontaneously spellcraft a limited set of abilities. It may be my favorite idea from the book.

As for admixture and AOEs,darkness specifically calls out that the darkness is centered on an affected square, though I can emphasize that it is only on one square, you do not get to increase your darkness's area. Crystal blast does not stop line of sight/effect; the target is hindered and stuck to the floor but not completely encased unless using the cocoon advanced talent. Light targets a single creature, though I suppose using the cocoon advanced talent would block the light from escaping, good catch. I don't see a problem with it. As for mass enhancement and others,: first, you have to have the multitarget talent for the sphere to apply the additional effect to more than one target. If you have the multitarget talent and pay the SP to use it as normal, you can choose any number of targets you damage up to that cap to receive the additional effect. I do see where further clarification is needed though, especially for shapes with duration like energy sphere and wall. The need to spend SP or concentrate on many of the effects keeps it in check, but there are probably a few corner cases it works oddly.

Every sphere is getting a release (telekinetics and nature are already out). Darkness is being worked on, though I haven't seen an alpha yet. I have a couple side releases planned that I will certainly drop by here when they are ready to be seen, which won' be until well into next year.

Silver Crusade

I don't know if this has been brought up yet, but as far as the Destructive Blade, I was wondering if it could be made as a touch attack (I saw somewhere that it was considered a normal attack). On one hand, I understand why not (as with a full BAB it could get ridiculous), but at the same time, I would consider it similar to the Kineticist ability, which has it vs touch ac (if it's an elemental blast).

If it's a bit too much, it could be ruled to a d4 damage, or that it's a d4 for a pure element weapon, and a d6 if used 's a weapon..

As it stands (while I love the theme of generating your own weapon), it'd be more worthwhile to simply do magus for a couple levels.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Danials wrote:

I don't know if this has been brought up yet, but as far as the Destructive Blade, I was wondering if it could be made as a touch attack (I saw somewhere that it was considered a normal attack). On one hand, I understand why not (as with a full BAB it could get ridiculous), but at the same time, I would consider it similar to the Kineticist ability, which has it vs touch ac (if it's an elemental blast).

If it's a bit too much, it could be ruled to a d4 damage, or that it's a d4 for a pure element weapon, and a d6 if used 's a weapon..

As it stands (while I love the theme of generating your own weapon), it'd be more worthwhile to simply do magus for a couple levels.

Take a look at the re-design that I put up this morning and tell me what you think.

Silver Crusade

So, I'm kinda biased, because blasters/gishes are my jam, but I'm digging the redux. And not just from a personal standpoint - this lets a high - dex character to stay pretty shoulder-to-shoulder with martial classes, without having to carry half their weight in weapons.

Silver Crusade

Read through the document again. I was wondering if there was any chance of the Destructive Blade from the Doom blade archetype being available as a talent or feat for other classes.

I did like the Hedgewitch archetype. It makes for a good speed build. Are there plans for unique Secrets for it?

Liberty's Edge

Steve Danials wrote:

Read through the document again. I was wondering if there was any chance of the Destructive Blade from the Doom blade archetype being available as a talent or feat for other classes.

I did like the Hedgewitch archetype. It makes for a good speed build. Are there plans for unique Secrets for it?

Hmm, good questions. As for opening up destructive blade, not sure. I kind of like it being special for the archetype, but if I could get the cost right it could be an option.

I haven't thought up any unique secrets, but it's a good idea. I'll see if I can conjure anything; if you have suggestions drop them here or on the doc. Thanks.


Figure I may as well ask this here to get more ideas on the concept. There is a third party feat with Spell Focus (Evocation) as a prerequisite. The feat states that "Spells and supernatural abilities you cast or use with the chosen descriptor inflict +1 damage per die rolled." Now, technically, Destruction Blast is not a spell. Nor, as far as I can see, is it considered Su. I had asked in a different thread, and they had said that, as SoP is a different casting style, in a way, that they think applying that affect would be fine. Im curious what others would think about that.


Spheres of Power is basically meant to be a replacement of normal spellcasting, and by necessity relies on many of the same rules. If you don't assume that abilities in spheres are basically equivalent to spells, you actually run into problems figuring out how they work.

So... yeah. Treat it as spells for the majority of purposes, I'd say, just keep in mind that they are a bit different in the end, so you may want to exercise some personal judgment.

For a feat like you described, I wouldn't see any problem at all.


It's never explicitly said, but they generally behave as spell-like. XD I'd rule it that way.


There are conversion charts which show what kind of magic is in which sphere effects, with DM discretion of course. You could also rule it as being in a specific sphere, rather than school, which tones it down from 1/8th of all spells to 1/20th but makes it very simple to swap.

Nevermind, just realized what you asked. I'd rule them as spells, for simplicities sake.

Liberty's Edge

I probably would allow that feat, but any time you want to take something like that from normal casting and apply it to Spheres it is largely a DM call. That would basically give +25 damage (minimum, assuming full caster with +5 staff, no other traits, feats, items, etc) per blast for one damage type.


Ooh! How did I not notice this earlier? I am quite keen on Spheres of Power and happy to see it getting more support.


Thanks, all, for the opinions on it. I know, in the end, its a GM call, but I wanted to see if other people thought it seemed acceptable. I dont think the GM's I normally play with will care about that extra static damage. Time for me to build an Elementalist and a punch Magus using the SoP Magus conversion.

Silver Crusade

Stack wrote:
Steve Danials wrote:

Read through the document again. I was wondering if there was any chance of the Destructive Blade from the Doom blade archetype being available as a talent or feat for other classes.

I did like the Hedgewitch archetype. It makes for a good speed build. Are there plans for unique Secrets for it?

Hmm, good questions. As for opening up destructive blade, not sure. I kind of like it being special for the archetype, but if I could get the cost right it could be an option.

I haven't thought up any unique secrets, but it's a good idea. I'll see if I can conjure anything; if you have suggestions drop them here or on the doc. Thanks.

With Secrets for the archetype, would a ki pool (fully powered, or just as the Rogue Talent), and /or monk class features work out? Or bonus style feats?

Liberty's Edge

I added a secret to take un-monk ki abilities, but I admit I am not well antiquated with the un-monk so this requires further review. Style feats is a great idea, I'll get that in when I get a chance.

edit - Style Secret: You gain a style feat for which you qualify. You may treat your entropic sage levels as monk levels and use it in place of your BAB for the purpose of qualifying for style feats.

Liberty's Edge

It seems that the schedule has to be shuffled for next months release. The destruction handbook is to be moved up. I apologize for the necessity and the short notice. There is still time for suggestions and comments for the next few days, until Christmas. You all have been a huge help and the comments and ideas I have received have made this a better product.

If there are serious concerns, I can push to hold the release off to have time to address them.

Silver Crusade

Not a concern, just a question. I was wondering what happened to the Snake blast form? I honestly got a kick out of it as a "bunker buster" form.


Good to see some more free from 3pp and congrats on the scheduling forward push too. ;)


Just saw the Blaster Armorist archetype, and oh my, do I enjoy that very much. That will probably end up being the go to archetype for me if I want to just deal damage from a range, and the visual for it is great. Time for me to build a certain nuclear crow from a certain bullet hell game....

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sorry for neglecting this thread for a bit.

The snake form was partially inspired by the fire snake maneuver from Tome of Battle, though its current form has evolved significantly since then. The original idea was a selective AOE, but the selective blast talent made it somewhat redundant, leading to its current form as a feat improving energy sphere.

The blaster was something that I wanted to do, but couldn't really figure out how until several other things dropped into place. It shouldn't have been that hard, in retrospect, but in my defense this is something I do on lunch break rather than as a job. Look for arsenal tricks granting it blast shapes soon.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Open beta has been held open longer than expected, but official close will be Monday morning.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stack wrote:
Open beta has been held open longer than expected, but official close will be Monday morning.

Great work! Just a couple thoughts:

1. Searing Blast: I was a little confused by this talent. Isn't taking this strictly worse than taking the Greater Blast Talent? The Greater Blast Talent increases damage by one die for *all* blasts, while this just seems to increase the damage die for your fire blasts... Am I missing something?

2. Greater Blast: Currently this is something you can take multiple times. FWIW, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be allowing this. Given the various ways in which players can go nova with things (e.g., with maximize, empower, quicken, a spell point to make it one damage die per lvl, and so on), shifting from a d6 to (say) a d12 might be potentially game-breaking. (I'm also not sure what the cap is here. Can you go to d20s? d100s? And what exactly is the progression?)

3. Advanced Talents: It doesn't seem like the "advanced talent" presented here are playing the same roles as the advanced talents presented in SoP.

In the original SoP book, the label "advanced talent" designated a talent that is potentially game-breaking, and/or is the kind of thing that can radically alter the feel or dynamics of the game (e.g., long-distance teleportation, resurrection, permanent polymorph, planar binding-like effects, magic-jar-like effects, and so on).

I.e., p.115: "Advanced Talents are magic talents that greatly alter what a sphere can do. With advanced talents, a Warp caster could traverse the world, a Creation caster could permanently turn enemies to stone, or a Life caster could raise his allies from the dead."

I love this, because it allows me, as DM, to just forbid the advanced talents, and only allow these kinds of effects to occur as rituals or incantations with expensive material components. And because the original SoP had a good feel for what kinds of magical effects tended to be game-breaking, I didn't have to go through and make a case-by-case judgment as to what to allow and what to forbid--I could safely forbid them all, and not worry about it.

In this book, "advanced talent" seems to be used in a different way. It seems to be used to designate that a talent has more prerequisites, such as a level or alignment requirement, than typical talents. This fits awkwardly with the earlier usage in a couple of respects:

  • (a) The advanced talents in the original SoP didn't necessarily have any more prerequisite requirements than ordinary talents. For example, the Summoning advanced talent requires the Summoning sphere and being a 1st lvl caster. That's no more of a prerequisite than, say, the Earth Creature (form) talent, which isn't an advanced talent. The reason, I take it, that Summoning is an advanced talent wasn't because it had higher prerequisites, it was because allowing Planar-Binding-like abilities is potentially game-breaking.
  • (b) Few of the "advanced talents" described in this volume seem to be potentially game-breaking or game-altering in the way that the advanced talents described in the initial SoP are. And many of these effects (like Penetrating Blast, Energy Cloud and Disintegrate) are things I would think most DMs would be fine with allowing players to have access to, since they don't seem to change the rules of the game in any substantial way.
  • (c) And if we're taking "advanced talents" to mean "talents with pre-requisites", then the follow-up talents introduced earlier could be thought of as "advanced talents", since they require the pre-requisite of having chosen another talent ahead of time...

TLDR: One of the things I liked best about SoP was the easy "no advanced talents" ban it allowed me to employ without having to go through a bunch of options one-by-one to determine whether they're game breaking or not. It would be great to continue to be able to do that. So perhaps some of the things currently described as "advanced talents" that don't "greatly alter what a sphere can do" could be classified as regular talents with a lvl prerequisite instead of advanced talents?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

1. Great blast is +1 die, not die size.

2. Each time you take greater blast is effectively +3.5 damage (4.5 if using a d8 blast). A cap is planned, working out the numbers on it.

3. Advanced talents pretty much cover things that could be annoying or problematic. Bypassing immunity is a fundamental alteration to how a fairly important ability works, hence penetrating blast being advanced. Eliminating large blocks of matter (disintegrate) can be obnoxious, potentially. Empowering damage against certain alignment while bypassing resistances and adding new damage types to the game was a significant enough change that it seemed best to set is as advanced as well. Energy cloud has a large enough area and long enough duration, while also being mobile, that the level of damage it can deal to a setting (disintegrate + energy cloud inside the castle) should be placed under advanced as well.

Playtest is closed. Thank you all, I have had huge amounts of help and the final product is much improved for having done this.


If you hit multiple targets with the Energy Snake feat does it gain multiple squares of effect? Example if there were 4 goblins and I hit one goblin, then two, would I then be hitting 3 or 4 on the following?

Liberty's Edge

Master of Chaos wrote:
If you hit multiple targets with the Energy Snake feat does it gain multiple squares of effect? Example if there were 4 goblins and I hit one goblin, then two, would I then be hitting 3 or 4 on the following?

The increase happens for every target damaged, no cap on number of targets damaged per round.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Third-Party Pathfinder RPG Products / Product Discussion / Spheres of Power: Destruction Handbook Open Beta All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Product Discussion