Any Good Modular Magic Systems?


Product Discussion


Just curious more than anything. Are there any solid / good modular magic spell systems out there? What I mean by this, is something akin to the Wordcasting system from Paizo, just more fleshed out, flavorful, a bit easier to understand and effective for characters. Allowing one to essentially make their own spells up on the fly by switching out "parts" of the spells and mixing and matching.

Not even sure my DM would be down with me using a character another different 3pp system going on (currently using the radiance house occultist) and thus us both having to learn them... but... I like the idea of it and am curious who's done it and who you think has done it best.

So how about it? Anything worth looking at?


Sphere casting (from Spheres of Power) could be considered a bit simplified (expanded?) version of wordcasting. Give it a google.


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Two of the three magic systems (ethermagic, musical composition) in Strange Magic do exactly this.

Also, apparently this create-a-character thread here has been going on for months without me knowing it and it's just about the best preview of my work that there is. Dig around and see if there's something you like. Modularity is my calling card!


Interjection Games wrote:
Also, apparently this create-a-character thread here has been going on for months without me knowing it and it's just about the best preview of my work that there is. Dig around and see if there's something you like. Modularity is my calling card!

Nonsense! There's still only five of the 17 of your classes I own. But I do have a character planned for almost everyone already.

Here are the samples of the Ethermancer and the Cantor, both available from Strange Magic and currently being played at my table.


Interesting. I'm liking the look of the musical composition magic. Do they have access to battlefield control effects? Also, why the use of d3s instead of say d4s or d6s?

The Ragi wrote:
Nonsense! There's still only five of the 17 of your classes I own. But I do have a character planned for almost everyone already.

Any chance we'll see a true namer sample? While I understand it's not modular as I've asked, it does sound quite intriguing.


Third Mind wrote:

Interesting. I'm liking the look of the musical composition magic. Do they have access to battlefield control effects? Also, why the use of d3s instead of say d4s or d6s?

The Ragi wrote:
Nonsense! There's still only five of the 17 of your classes I own. But I do have a character planned for almost everyone already.
Any chance we'll see a true namer sample? While I understand it's not modular as I've asked, it does sound quite intriguing.

Composition magic uses a bunch of d3s because musical composition classes like to do up layered effects and tiny buffs spiral out of control as a result. As a cantor or maestro, you will be casting spells or shooting crossbows in addition to your music. As a breakdancer, your music powers a maneuvers pool. As a harmonicist, you fire up multiple performances at once. In other words, I put modular in your modular so you can modular while you modular.

As a side note, given their bad BAB and their bard-like progression, maestros and cantors are very dippable. A level of gunslinger can really give you something to do with your extra actions.

As for battlefield control, their powers are styled after the classes from which they're adapted. Maestros have plenty of illusion and enchantment-like effects, while the cantor has some divination tricks, enough healing to be a primary healer, and one or two huge necromantic nukes. The harmonicist has sonic tricks. Stuns, dazes, spectral fat ladies who sing as an outro. It's in there.

Hmm, I got a sample for that in book form, actually. Bear in mind that this is old and I found bugs when I updated it. Each class in Strange Magic is a smaller book that was expanded, so this is the preview of the first version, not to be confused with the three smaller books that are the thirds of Strange Magic broken up for those who only wanted one of them (Yes, the sales strategy for SM is as modular as the contents). If I remember its contents correctly, this'll let you play the truenamer to level 3, no strings attached. Enjoy!


I bought Strange Magic, and can confirm it's interesting and fun. You don't use that book because "I wanna play music", you use it because you say something like "I wanna play a Breakdancer and it's gonna be awesome". (Probably best for open-minded groups, that one. Fun class, but not exactly what people think of as traditional fantasy material. XD)

Spheres is also a good choice. In that system, for example, the 'Destruction' sphere (your basic offense) lets you choose both the area (touch, cone, line, etc.) and the effect of your attack. The supplement even has a build-your-own-effect system so you can make pretty much exactly the type of attack you want. XD Vines growing from the ground to entangle people? Yes. A blast of sound so terrible it makes your foe's ears bleed? Yup. A bludgeoning blast that Bull Rushes your target around? Easy.

Spheres is very good at letting you create the kind of caster you want to play. It's basically a toolkit of parts that are easy to assemble, and having purchased both of these products (yes, real money and everything), I think I've discovered that I enjoy systems that support my ideas and let me play what I WANT to play. Modular is fun. XD


GM Rednal wrote:

I bought Strange Magic, and can confirm it's interesting and fun. You don't use that book because "I wanna play music", you use it because you say something like "I wanna play a Breakdancer and it's gonna be awesome". (Probably best for open-minded groups, that one. Fun class, but not exactly what people think of as traditional fantasy material. XD)

Spheres is also a good choice. In that system, for example, the 'Destruction' sphere (your basic offense) lets you choose both the area (touch, cone, line, etc.) and the effect of your attack. The supplement even has a build-your-own-effect system so you can make pretty much exactly the type of attack you want. XD Vines growing from the ground to entangle people? Yes. A blast of sound so terrible it makes your foe's ears bleed? Yup. A bludgeoning blast that Bull Rushes your target around? Easy.

Spheres is very good at letting you create the kind of caster you want to play. It's basically a toolkit of parts that are easy to assemble, and having purchased both of these products (yes, real money and everything), I think I've discovered that I enjoy systems that support my ideas and let me play what I WANT to play. Modular is fun. XD

Interesting. Seems like Spheres may be exactly what I'm looking for then. Composition magic sounds fun, but I'm looking less for a full support type and more for a full caster style.

Interjection Games wrote:
Hmm, I got a sample for that in book form, actually. Bear in mind that this is old and I found bugs when I updated it. Each class in Strange Magic is a smaller book that was expanded, so this is the preview of the first version, not to be confused with the three smaller books that are the thirds of Strange Magic broken up for those who only wanted one of them (Yes, the sales strategy for SM is as modular as the contents). If I remember its contents correctly, this'll let you play the truenamer to level 3, no strings attached. Enjoy!

Sweet. Thanks! I will definitely check it out when I can. I love the lore and stories behind true name magic, so I'm looking forward to it.


Third Mind wrote:
Interesting. Seems like Spheres may be exactly what I'm looking for then.

There's a free preview that shows off two of the spheres of magic and one of the classes.


Third Mind wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:

I bought Strange Magic, and can confirm it's interesting and fun. You don't use that book because "I wanna play music", you use it because you say something like "I wanna play a Breakdancer and it's gonna be awesome". (Probably best for open-minded groups, that one. Fun class, but not exactly what people think of as traditional fantasy material. XD)

Spheres is also a good choice. In that system, for example, the 'Destruction' sphere (your basic offense) lets you choose both the area (touch, cone, line, etc.) and the effect of your attack. The supplement even has a build-your-own-effect system so you can make pretty much exactly the type of attack you want. XD Vines growing from the ground to entangle people? Yes. A blast of sound so terrible it makes your foe's ears bleed? Yup. A bludgeoning blast that Bull Rushes your target around? Easy.

Spheres is very good at letting you create the kind of caster you want to play. It's basically a toolkit of parts that are easy to assemble, and having purchased both of these products (yes, real money and everything), I think I've discovered that I enjoy systems that support my ideas and let me play what I WANT to play. Modular is fun. XD

Interesting. Seems like Spheres may be exactly what I'm looking for then. Composition magic sounds fun, but I'm looking less for a full support type and more for a full caster style.

Interjection Games wrote:
Hmm, I got a sample for that in book form, actually. Bear in mind that this is old and I found bugs when I updated it. Each class in Strange Magic is a smaller book that was expanded, so this is the preview of the first version, not to be confused with the three smaller books that are the thirds of Strange Magic broken up for those who only wanted one of them (Yes, the sales strategy for SM is as modular as the contents). If I remember its contents correctly, this'll let you play the truenamer to level 3, no strings attached. Enjoy!
Sweet. Thanks! I will definitely check it out when...

Aye, composition leans toward support in the maestro and cantor, but the same abilities go fairly offensive in the breakdancer and harmonicist because of the way the classes use the powers.

Ethermagic is more-or-less pure offense, with your first hard crowd control showing up at high level. Until then, it's all soft control, different geometries, and so on.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Third Mind wrote:
Interesting. Seems like Spheres may be exactly what I'm looking for then.
There's a free preview that shows off two of the spheres of magic and one of the classes.

Nice. I shall check it out.

Interjection Games wrote:

Aye, composition leans toward support in the maestro and cantor, but the same abilities go fairly offensive in the breakdancer and harmonicist because of the way the classes use the powers.

Ethermagic is more-or-less pure offense, with your first hard crowd control showing up at high level. Until then, it's all soft control, different geometries, and so on.

I like a lot of what I've seen and the harmonicist sounds interesting for sure. I'm definitely considering this book and / or the spheres of power that I'm looking over now.

Thanks everyone.


I do greatly recommend Ethermagic, its very fun. Do note though that it uses a regenerating mana system, so your casters will be casting all day. Your opinion on that may vary.

I do also recomend Spheres of Power, but maybe not for what youre looking for. The destruction sphere is modular like the old 3.5 Warlocks blasts, but the other spheres are less modular and more a talent system, where you can invest in permanent boosts or new ways to use your existing abilities.


It depends on the Sphere, really, and the Handbooks they're putting out are really helping to increase the number of options (and combinations) available.

One other note: Spherecasting also has a Spellcrafting system where you can combine powers for more complex effects. You can do some interesting things with that...

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