Spheres of Power; What's the Big Deal?


Product Discussion

1 to 50 of 58 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can someone explain to me like I'm the slow kid in math class what makes this system so good? I'm not going to use it in my current campaign, because it's been going to long to change to another system, but I might use it when I start another, if I like what I hear. Also, does it support Psionics? Because I have a player who loves playing Psionic characters.

Thanks in advance!


There's an opt rule to use SoP in PF? I never knew what it is, so I'm curious too.


It allows a character greater control of how to build and flavor their caster. For example, I used Spheres of Power to simulate magic in the Dark Souls games - something that would have been a lot more tedious under vanilla rules.

Also, a lot of people don't like the normal spells per day system.

It doesn't directly support DSP style psionics, but you can use the Occult classes with it.

Also, SoP and normal casting are technically compatible in the same universe. You could try out the mechanics without requiring everyone to hot swap characters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

And here I was hoping you'd be interested in the full rules to give my game a try when you start a new game Cal :P

That said, SoP is great because it takes casters and removes the worst aspects while allowing awesome specialized magic users.


So, is there a source for these rules? would not be fun if they mere in Ult.Magic and I had just missed them.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Klorox, Spheres of Power are a 3pp system developed by Drop Dead Studios.

LINK


It's 3rd party Klorox, published outside of Paizo.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Spheres of Power has a few useful things going for it.

1) Power growth is generally linear. Casting characters generally won't be insanely powerful compared to martial characters towards endgame, and there are options for martial characters to get useful magic without sacrificing much. It's comfortably balanced. All genuinely powerful abilities are locked as Advanced Talents, and are disallowed by default so the GM can easily avoid anything game-breaking.

2) Spheres of Power is intuitive. You learn the basic magic in one of its categories, and then you can learn more advanced stuff.

3) There are no real 15 Minute Adventuring Days in the system, since most Spheres have all-day casting options that are worth using but not overpowered. Anything stronger comes from your daily resource pool.

4) Spheres of Power encourages you to make the kind of caster you enjoy playing. There are no native components to spellcasting, but you can take optional drawbacks to customize your character in return for added spell points or spells known. It's very easy to mix-and-match them into a theme.

Basically, Spheres of Power is a magic system that asks you to say "It would be cool if I had a caster that could do this..." and goes from there. It's very easy to learn (the basic rules are just two pages long in the book), it has a comfortable balance of power, and in general it's a good replacement for Vancian. It even has Full BAB class options for people who want to be mostly martial, but with a few useful powers to augment their martial prowess.

It's not quite Psionics - it's definitely its own thing - but you could probably have both of them in the same world without too much trouble.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Others have pretty much covered it, but I'll echo it here:

Spheres of Power let's you play magic the way you want. In my current group, I'm an arcane style caster who:
-does not need somatic components
-can heal
-is an effective blaster
In PF, this slaughters 3 sacred cows. The inability of PF (and D&D) to simply let people play the character they want (for 'tradition' reasons) borders on the incompetent. Add to that the innate imbalance of Vancian casting (quadratic power levels, extreme versatility) and you're left wondering what the designers were thinking.


Thanks, folks!


want shadow clone jutsu from naruto its there or go wild and build sun wukong with unlimited blade works be my guest spheres of power literally allows anything you can thing as a sphere talent and its simple enough to get grasp with little reading


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Someone has written up an SRD for Spheres of Power if you want to read up on it before buying.

(NOTE: So far I've assumed this site is legal under the OGL.)


Unfortunately the system falls short in at least one way which makes it unusable for me. That is the way healing is handled, especially how many picks you need to cover the various problems...around 15 or so, and you have to buy the same effect several times to make it work. On the other side you can have a competent blaster with 4 picks. And I'm not even talking about the farce that clerics get less picks than wizards, which certainly helps them to stay humble (*sarcasm off*).

Anyway, the system isn't too bad, but it was written for "arcane" casters and to punish the healers (and the support to some extent...those "duration: concentration" buffs suck hard), so keep that in mind before using it.


@Silvercat: For what it's worth, they do have an OGL page on that site, and it's... pretty robust. XD It's also got this bit:

Quote:
This wiki hosts content that has been released under the Open Game License (Version 1.0a). Every effort has been made to avoid posting any material designated as the Product Identity of any publisher under the terms of this license, and to reference all sources that may have in any way contributed to this content. Please contact the administrator of this Wiki if you see any material that is in violation of the Open Game License - it will be dealt with as promptly as possible. Any part of this site NOT covered by the Open Game License (Version 1.0a) is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License (see the bottom of the page).

So it certainly seems like they're trying to follow the terms of the OGL.

@Vatras: Well, covering rare problems are what potions and other consumables are for, I think. XD You don't necessarily have to learn every one of them. I usually go for a healing minion myself - two talents in Conjuration can get you a minion that can learn all the healing for you.

Also, support casters should generally grab the Easy Focus boon so they can maintain a buff as a move action while using their Standard for something else. o wo/


Vatras wrote:
Unfortunately the system falls short in at least one way which makes it unusable for me. That is the way healing is handled, especially how many picks you need to cover the various problems...around 15 or so, and you have to buy the same effect several times to make it work.

A failure of the design philosophy: magic types under this system are supposed to be more reliable but less varied. Trouble being healing has very little variety to begin with, so anything more slices it into too-small pieces.

Vatras wrote:
And I'm not even talking about the farce that clerics get less picks than wizards, which certainly helps them to stay humble (*sarcasm off*).

Fleeing too far in the opposite direction from CoDzilla.

Vatras wrote:
Anyway, the system isn't too bad, but it was written for "arcane" casters and to punish the healers (and the support to some extent...those "duration: concentration" buffs suck hard), so keep that in mind before using it.

There's probably a certain school of thought that hates how Pathfinder assumes everyone buffs up all the time. Unfortunately Pathfinder assumes everyone buffs up all the time, so fleeing from it doesn't work.

But it should be noted you can cause a spell to continue without Concentration by spending a Spell Point.


DungeonmasterCal wrote:

Can someone explain to me like I'm the slow kid in math class what makes this system so good? I'm not going to use it in my current campaign, because it's been going to long to change to another system, but I might use it when I start another, if I like what I hear. Also, does it support Psionics? Because I have a player who loves playing Psionic characters.

Thanks in advance!

SoP is 1. more balanced than normal casting, since almost every option can be picked immediately, as you level you simply increase your number of options or how useful a particular sphere is in different situations.

2. It let's you customize the kind of magic you perform very well with consequences and rewards. A blood mage who has to sacrifice some blood to cast could require a fort save to not get sickened or take non-lethal damage every time they cast, however they can cast in full-plate and entirely mentally, and still gain some bonus Sphere points.

3. spheres get better by CL, so you can still have 1/2 casters and 3/4 casters who can do well in casting, even though it isn't their main focus. durations are fixed. For instance a Incanter focusing on the Alteration sphere could transform into a powerful monster(but only 1/2 BAB), while a armorist could transform into a less deadly monster but with full BAB and probably melee stats.

Vatras wrote:

Unfortunately the system falls short in at least one way which makes it unusable for me. That is the way healing is handled, especially how many picks you need to cover the various problems...around 15 or so, and you have to buy the same effect several times to make it work. On the other side you can have a competent blaster with 4 picks. And I'm not even talking about the farce that clerics get less picks than wizards, which certainly helps them to stay humble (*sarcasm off*).

Anyway, the system isn't too bad, but it was written for "arcane" casters and to punish the healers (and the support to some extent...those "duration: concentration" buffs suck hard), so keep that in mind before using it.

Well, the Idea of spheres it to make it so magic can't do everything unless you're really really high level. also, everything can have a spell point used to increase the duration without concentration.

also, the Sphere cleric is supposed to be the Incanter, who can gain domain powers. Also the cleric SoP archetype get's this

Quote:
Necromantic Focus: A sphere cleric who chooses to channel positive energy at 1st level gains the Life sphere as a bonus magic talent. A sphere cleric who chooses to channel negative energy gains the Death sphere as a bonus magic talent. They gain an additional talent from this sphere at every odd level beyond 1st. This replaces spontaneous casting.

So they gain the same number of spheres, they simply have less choice in the matter.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

Someone has written up an SRD for Spheres of Power if you want to read up on it before buying.

(NOTE: So far I've assumed this site is legal under the OGL.)

Awesome! Thanks!

Dark Archive

After seeing it, kind of don't care for it. Other people's cup of tea.

Liberty's Edge

Vatras wrote:

Unfortunately the system falls short in at least one way which makes it unusable for me. That is the way healing is handled, especially how many picks you need to cover the various problems...around 15 or so, and you have to buy the same effect several times to make it work. On the other side you can have a competent blaster with 4 picks. And I'm not even talking about the farce that clerics get less picks than wizards, which certainly helps them to stay humble (*sarcasm off*).

Anyway, the system isn't too bad, but it was written for "arcane" casters and to punish the healers (and the support to some extent...those "duration: concentration" buffs suck hard), so keep that in mind before using it.

It's true there is not equivalent to the cleric 'Heal' spell - SoP makes in combat healing more expensive. But 15? For that huge an investment you can restore everything and heal 5 hit points per caster level.

As for clerics vs wizards, the way I see it:

Wizards get:
-30 talents,
-arcane bond (worth a feat)
-arcane school (worth 2 feats)
-Scribe Scroll
-4 meta-magic/item creation feats,
-sphere specialization (worth about 7 feats)
for a total of about 45 feats.

Clerics get:
-10 Life or Death talents,
-10 miscellaneous talents,
-5 domain talents,
-cleric BAB (worth 5 feats),
-channel energy (worth 5 feats),
-2 domains (worth 4 feats),
-d8 hit dice (worth a feat),
-good fort saves (worth 2 feats),
-better proficiencies (2 armor, shield, and one martial weapon) (worth about 4 feats)
for a total of about 46 feats.

Although wizards have a better skill list, so they don't really come off as being that different.


Incidentally, the Wiki has a few sample characters built around different themes. o wo/ You might want to check those out to see how it all comes together.


A J Gibson wrote:

Wizards get:

-30 talents,
-arcane bond (worth a feat)
-arcane school (worth 2 feats)

-Scribe Scroll
-4 meta-magic/item creation feats,
-sphere specialization (worth about 7 feats)
for a total of about 45 feats.

Sphere Wizards do not get Arcane Bond/School. Sphere Specialization replaces it.

Wizards are actually a poor man's Incanter: the Incenter can get everything they can get and has more options.

Liberty's Edge

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
A J Gibson wrote:

Wizards get:

-30 talents,
-arcane bond (worth a feat)
-arcane school (worth 2 feats)

-Scribe Scroll
-4 meta-magic/item creation feats,
-sphere specialization (worth about 7 feats)
for a total of about 45 feats.

Sphere Wizards do not get Arcane Bond/School. Sphere Specialization replaces it.

Wizards are actually a poor man's Incanter: the Incenter can get everything they can get and has more options.

I stand corrected.

Some of my estimates of value are probably off (is a cleric domain really worth 2 feats?), but they get a lot of nice stuff. It's why I put the Iron Mage in the War handbook.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Fleeing too far in the opposite direction from CoDzilla.

Which is funny, because clerics are drastically weaker than wizards in Pathfinder. Still top-tier, of course, but only by comparison to the rest. I put them a bit below druids for their s!@&ty skill versatility.


I'll work up something a little long to read based on the Rise of the Runelords campaign I am playing in. All PCs use Spheres of Power, most NPCs use the normal magic system.

Party Comp:
Harrower Witch
Bloodrager
Soulweaver
Slayer

Nearing the end of Book 5. Back later, hopefully I can enlighten anyone that wants to hear about the system from a user.


Vatras wrote:

Unfortunately the system falls short in at least one way which makes it unusable for me. That is the way healing is handled, especially how many picks you need to cover the various problems...around 15 or so, and you have to buy the same effect several times to make it work. On the other side you can have a competent blaster with 4 picks. And I'm not even talking about the farce that clerics get less picks than wizards, which certainly helps them to stay humble (*sarcasm off*).

Anyway, the system isn't too bad, but it was written for "arcane" casters and to punish the healers (and the support to some extent...those "duration: concentration" buffs suck hard), so keep that in mind before using it.

It's actually more like 7 than 15, going by the wikidot. Still pretty steep if you want the complete set of status removers, but quite doable, and I feel like you don't need all seven of them depending on what the campaign's like. A Healing-domain sphere cleric, which I assume you would be if you're playing a dedicated "healer," has 4 of the 7 talents by 5th level with zero investment of feats or other talents gained from leveling up, so it's pretty trivial for someone that wants to heal damage and conditions to have a very effective toolbox without going far out of their way (Not to mention they might well be healing more like 4 or 5d8+CL [x1.5 at 6th level or higher] with their cures on top of being able to Restore a number of nasty conditions). It's harder for classes like the bard to spec into healing, I will grant that, but the sphere system does let the bard do a whole lot of things it can't normally do so it's a tradeoff.

I also did like how Revitalize could let you implement a short-break mechanic by giving people fast healing instead of cures. Two spell points and a five-minute breather to restore 50 HP to everyone in the party, (or up to 100, if you took Greater Healing ONCE) can be very economical compared to the good old CLW Wand of vancian yore.


Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a bunch of reviews about it on the products page but if you want a nutshell version;

Spheres of Power has some of the benefits of a generic power system such as being inherently modifiable to suit an individual setting and it also encompasses quite a few tropes, of magic and magic-like things to the extent that I think it's much more reaching than most of the Pathfinder hardcovers in much fewer words.

It also advances in feat-like steps which makes it more in line and more balanced with spell-less classes that rely on combat feats and classes that advance with talent pools. Meanwhile the fact that it is based on mostly at-will abilities causes another good balancing point and makes the classes less vulnerable at low levels or when they're out of real spells.


So does Spheres of Power totally eliminate Vancian casting and somatic components?


Kiiiiiind of.

It's designed to be used either entirely on its own or alongside Vancian casting. So there are no 'spell slots', for example, but there are specific Rituals that can be learned to replicate Vancian spells. This is kind of meant to be a stand-in for the rare but useful spells that don't need to be Magic Talents (Spheres' spells) all on their own, but may still have a place in the game world.

By default, no Spherecaster has any components at all. Those are optional drawbacks, with benefits if you take them.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
So does Spheres of Power totally eliminate Vancian casting and somatic components?

Vancian casting, yes. You don't fire-and-forget with spells and you don't have spell slots. Your spheres and talents are all available to you at all times, but it runs on a mana pool system, so your spell points rather than spells-per-day determine how long you can do the more advanced stuff before falling back on the basic abilities of each sphere.

Components, it depends. Sphere-casters have what's called a "casting tradition," designed at character creation, where they can give their magic a certain style by taking drawbacks and boons, or taking drawbacks but getting more spell points. Verbal and Somatic components are both drawbacks; if you take Verbal, that works as normal, if you take Somatic once, you can cast only in light armor, if you take Somatic twice, you can't cast in armor at all. Prepared Casting is also a drawback, although in the sphere system that means you need to designate a certain number of your spell points for each sphere you have at the beginning of the adventuring day.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Experiences using Spheres of Power: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition
Intro to Spheres of Power:

One of the first things to learn in Spheres of Power is caster level vs. levels in casting class. You can have multiple levels in Low, Mid, and High Caster classes and they will each contribute to your Caster Level. Your Caster Level in turn affects Save DCs, MSB and MSD (think CMB and CMD), and Range. The other is that in order to use an ability from a Sphere of Magic you must spend Magic Talents. It takes one Magic Talent to purchase the base Sphere and then another talent for every Talent in that sphere. This forces casters to specialize rather than grabbing the best spells of any type per level.

Also, if you want a spell to last more than one round, you are almost guaranteed to either spend a Standard action to Concentrate or spend a SP to let it last for a round per caster level. This stops the casters from accomplishing nearly so much ridiculous stuff without spending a ton of resources.

Remember, Spheres of Power isn’t about making casters nearly as powerful as they used to be (e.g. Wish and similar spells are not present at all by default). At its heart, SoP is about making magic more accessible to everyone and providing all-day uses at the cost of power. Powerful effects can still be achieved but you will need to invest Talents (Feat Equivalents) and Spell Points to really do something cool.

Let’s take the normal Fireball, perhaps the most iconic 3rd level evocation spell. To achieve this same effect a caster would need to have a Caster Level of 15 (15 levels in full casters, no half measures here), have selected the Explosive Orb, Sculpt Blast, Fire Blast Magic Talents as well as the Calamity Advanced Talent. Not only this but a caster would need to spend about 3 SP just to use it once, which might seem inconsequential for a very focused caster, but if you need to spread the SP as a Prepared Caster between 5 schools, this gets tricky.

Spheres of Power also makes Multi-Classing for casters basically painless. My witch, for example, leveled up to level 12 and then swapped to Incanter for more talents. I retained a full Caster Level, and gained Magic Talents like crazy. Really, my hexes only stopped increasing in DC. That is it. I didn’t get stuck with two classes with tons of 1st and 2nd level spells; my talents kept progressing, my SP pool kept growing, and my DCs kept increasing.

On the other side of it all are the non-casters. After two feats, Basic Magical Training and Advanced Magical Training, you can gain a small SP pool, all non-casting class levels count as Low Caster, and are eligible for a Tradition if the GM allows, which could further boost your SP. Remember, even with no SP, you can use most magic abilities from spheres. You will just need to concentrate or deal with a lower power level.

Remember all those fancy wondrous items that recharge spell slots, give you more spell knowledge, that stuff. Forget it all. It is specifically spelled out in the book that such items will throw things off balance.

My favorite part of Spheres of Power, on the GM side, is the Traditions. Traditions help add flavor to the world and specific types of casting. Every Tradition has certain drawbacks; these drawbacks in turn grant either special boons or additional SP, both incredibly valuable.

My favorite part of Spheres of Power on the player side is the customizability of the system. Do you want to turn into a Dragon to beat the ever loving stuffing out of enemies, go Shifter; Life-draining Greatsword wielding beat stick (hat-tip to Grond), Mageknight with some Death Sphere; maybe you want to be Erza from Fairy-Tail, Armorist has it covered. How about a max level pirate-themed game? You could go for Weather talents and create Hurricanes or Telekinesis to pick up that annoying Galleon. OK, done going crazy.

When it comes to healing, two things should be known. Using the revised magic item creation rules, potions could be purchased to remove all those different status effects you can get stuck with without having to have a party member sink six talents to get all the random stuff. Now, if a PC does want to go Life Sphere crazy, they can effectively heal in combat faster than damage can fly out so long as the PC has a decent AC, our Soulweaver for example has a static modifier of +40 some to a normal cure.

OK, time for actual experiences.

The Party:
Harrower Witch: I picked the Portents patron to really nail the Fortune-Teller feel. Being able to toss cards to give my normal touch spells some range just turned into an amazing benefit at the cost of a swift action. I initially went Fate and Divination, but I quickly diversified for two reasons, organic feel for character leveling and help accommodate for different challenges. I have since put points into Divination, Fate, Destruction, Time Warp, Protection, and Creation. This makes being a Prepared Caster an exercise in planning.

Bloodrager: Alteration (get big, fly, etc.) Enhancement (enhancement bonuses, DR pen) Destruction (ranged attack in emergencies)

Soulweaver: Life (Healing, Status Removal) Death (Undead Horde), a little bit of Alteration.

Slayer: Actually doesn’t use any magic, he uses Path of War maneuvers a little though. Great switch hitter, lousy spell caster.

(SPOILERS AHEAD, SERIOUSLY, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)

Book 1: Fate Sphere: Divine Force was great for debuffing groups of piddling little goblins. Time: Haste definitely helped melee kill more enemies than normal. Death Sphere didn’t get too much use but the occasional zombie goblin did find traps for us. I think we all laughed for a few minutes straight as the GM tried to describe the skeleton goblin crawling into the ‘lavatory’ to retrieve the treasure, and pulling the treasure chest back out while covered in enough manure to make him look like a normal dung covered goblin. Good times. We quickly realized that the Life Sphere could definitely hold its own with a little investment and undead create great blockers, even for ranged attacks. Using Pain with Echoing Words from the Fate Sphere also let me throw around enough non-lethal damage to save us from a TPK against Nualia, and also stopped Lyrie from using a wand during the fight.

Book 2: The undead at the start of this didn’t prove too bad for out melee since they passed a ton of Fort saves. Nothing really remarkable occurred in the other locations before Magnimar, but the Warp Sphere and Hallow in the Fate sphere stopped the Bloodrager from killing me. Remember, Echoing Words and Hallow BEFORE you bump into Dominate effects. We stumbled into a huge fight against the cultists and prevailed. Undead are great to fight against those crazy Skinsaw guys, especially since DR against slashing and they don’t get that buff against undead targets make them great targets. The GM did turn these guys into Sphere Casters and they leveraged level damaging melee attacks against us. Their leader also summoned a pair of snakes, but we managed to kill them all with area undead creation, melee with an almost-Haste, and a lot of use of Cackle and Fortune Hexes.

Book 3: Enter the big enemies, big enemies mean big bloody skeleton undead minions. I have a new terrified respect for a Soul Weaver ordering the bloody skeleton ogre into melee with an Ogre Hook. This is also when the Warp Sphere and Divination Sphere started to shine. I could Warp melee into flanks, myself out of trouble, and also divine in a large enough area to find enemies before they find us. Protection was also picked up around now; it made a handy damage soak against ranged attackers. We did wander into another meat grinder of a melee against all of Hook Mountain. An enlarged Bloodrager, Slayer shooting the rock throwing giant, Soul Weaver that created undead as they died and I tried to keep up good hexes and protection shields. It was rough, but we managed.

Book 4: The siege on Sandpoint was fun. Protection walls forced a dragon to crash to the ground. Giants had to batter them down since a Nat 20 Strength check wasn’t strong enough to burst through. Undead minions and a flying huge Bloodrager are lots of run.

So, Advanced Magic Talents are fun. I picked up Scry and Teleport around this level. I forgot to question the giants about how to get to Jorgenfist quickly, so I tried scrying Mokmurian. He failed his save on a roll of a 2, and I was able to get a good enough idea of the area to Teleport in. As soon as we arrived he went out and we searched for a bit before the horde of giants descended on us. We decided to port back out before they arrived. Took the long way back, killed a Taiga giant, which became the most terrifying undead minion to date, and ported back in again after all access looks like it was covered. This time the boss was out so we snuck around… well, killed stuff as we tried to sneak around. To fast forward, the fight against Mokmurian really showed the difference between spell systems.

I spent almost all of my swift actions and standard actions dispelling and counterspelling the Disintegrates and Cloudkills/Fog Clouds. Invisibility is amazingly powerful, especially since there isn’t a great way to purge or see it without multiple Divination Talents. Disintegrate eventually nuked me, killing me instantly since the GM rolled a little high for damage. Finding him took quite a while and he only died since he flubbed a Defensive Casting roll. Either way, it took the party weeks to make it back to get me Reincarnated (The GM wanted to throw me a bone and mess with me, Lizardfolk Witch now. Roll with the punches)

Book 5: The crazy spells going out from some of the casters here have helped us realize that Spheres of Power is about creating interesting effects and utilizing the built in counters. The spells in the game are about I-Win buttons and Save-or-Die. Rarely can a Spheres spell trivialize an encounter, but an Echoing Word Hallow did prevent a room of succubi from doing anything at all… the GM just waived the fight.

The GM asked if I could do anything like a Disintegrate or a Ray of Enfeeblement. I could do something close to Disintegrate, but it would take about ¼ of my SP for a day and I would need a few more talents. Forget a Ray of Enfeeblement.

Also, when two tough enemies pop up at once, using an Eject from Time Sphere can help even the odds and Warping people stuck in very dangerous grapples are life savers.

EDIT: Gah, I forgot to mention Psionics. There isn't any conversion guide out there for it, but I have thought about how to convert each class to a Sphere Caster using the conversions of the CRB/APG/ACG classes done in Spheres of Power and SoP: Expanded.


Wraithguard wrote:
Let’s take the normal Fireball, perhaps the most iconic 3rd level evocation spell. To achieve this same effect a caster would need to have a Caster Level of 15 (15 levels in full casters, no half measures here), have selected the Explosive Orb, Sculpt Blast, Fire Blast Magic Talents as well as the Calamity Advanced Talent. Not only this but a caster would need to spend about 3 SP just to use it once, which might seem inconsequential for a very focused caster, but if you need to spread the SP as a Prepared Caster between 5 schools, this gets tricky.

Not sure what you mean here. You only need Explosive Orb to turn your destructive blast into a fireball-like burst, and Fire Blast to change the damage type to fire. Sculpt Blast changes your destructive blast into either a line or a cone, and Calamity is for making very large AoE effects. You can throw a fireball in SoP with only a single caster level, two talents, and a single spell point (two if you want the extra damage).


Let me see...

Yup, I stand corrected, at Caster Level 10 Explosive Orb will get the same AoE that a Fireball does, thus negating the need for Sculpt and Calamity.

When it comes to spending the point for the damage, it comes naturally in the normal system so I account for that in the Spheres of Power.


A J Gibson wrote:
I stand corrected.

I did try to update arcane bond and school abilities to be compatible. As it turns out most school abilities don't need to be changed: only the ones listed there interact with the default magic system or the default spell schools.

Otherwise just use the Incanter.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
So does Spheres of Power totally eliminate Vancian casting and somatic components?

it creates more of system like panache or grit, where you have a pool of abilities using a resource, and the abilities are based on talents that are more or less equal in power to feats(well more like barbarian rage powers or stuff like that).

You can "choose"(gm is final arbiter in what casting traditions exist) to include somatic components in your repertoire to gain additional points to use on your abilities. Somatic comes in 2 forms, light armor and no armor, no armor counts as 2 drawbacks for the accumulation of extra points for your pool or for choosing a boon.

verbal casting is 1 point. Magical signs (if your magic displays itself visually and clearly) is also 1 point.

beyond that there's a few different ones like addictive casting, where you can get addicted to using you magic and only overcome the penalties when you cast, or one where you have to make a fort save or else get sickened for a round and such. here's an example of blood magic casting tradition

Blood Magic (arcane) wrote:


One of the most dangerous forms of magic, blood magic, promises great power to its practitioners, but with a price. Blood magic is difficult, lengthy, complicated, and draining, but for its practitioners the promise of insurmountable power is worth the mere price of their life force. Blood mages are constantly performing a dangerous dance, for the closer they are to death’s door, the greater their power.
Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Extended Casting
Boons: Deathful Magic, Overcharge, Fortified Magic

it takes 1 step longer to cast your spells and requires no armor and verbal components to cast without failure rates. draining means it applies fatigue to you as well. Deathful means your CL raises as you lose HP and overcharge let's you make a CL check to increase CL by 2 or lose the spell. Fortified means you're using your con mod as your casting stat.

boons require 2 drawbacks, so this casting doesn't give any additional points. extended and somatic 2 count as 2 drawbacks for boons and such.


Johnnycat93 wrote:

It allows a character greater control of how to build and flavor their caster. For example, I used Spheres of Power to simulate magic in the Dark Souls games - something that would have been a lot more tedious under vanilla rules.

Also, a lot of people don't like the normal spells per day system.

It doesn't directly support DSP style psionics, but you can use the Occult classes with it.

Also, SoP and normal casting are technically compatible in the same universe. You could try out the mechanics without requiring everyone to hot swap characters.

Could I ask what you mean by that? I'm rather curious. The dark souls thing I mean


Been awhile since this thread was posted in... XD

Anyway, it sounds to me like they were trying to simulate a certain "feel" of magic, which Spheres of Power is pretty good at doing with its optional (but recommended) Casting Tradition rules.


I just decided to bring this thread back just because I want to know about the dark souls sacting thing Rednal


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd mention that now that sphere's of might is out, you can pretty much create any fantasy style character you want. the two systems come about as close as pathfinder/3.5 systems can to a truly flexible system without being a Hero or M&M style point-buy system.


FYI, in regards to the Spheres of Power Wiki:
They are totally within their rights to do it so long as they don't violate whatever is defined as product identity.
Our Gonzo stuff is up there and we are actually pumped to see it!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

There is a lot you can do in the sphere system and it is very open to creativity. Been experiemnting with Sphere Drawbacks lately to create some interesting casting traditions.

Water mage who can store equipment in puddles of water (Warp; Limited Drawback, can only use bodies of water as a medium. Storage Space as bonus talent)

Flesh mage who can grab people and mold them like clay. Both as offense (Alteration; Flesh warper drawback (Twisted Transformation as bonus talent)) and Healing (Life; Unnatural remedy drawback (Esoteric Healing as bonus talent))


Not to commit Thread Necromancy but I heard about people saying the Cleric gets screwed by this system, and I'd just say that even thought they get more talents than I originally thought they do, the ruling was probably based on the Thaumaturge, because in the Spheres system generally BaB and CL are inverse of each other.

Full Caster, Half BaB
Mid Caster, Mid BaB
Low Caster, Full BaB

The Thaumaturge is the only Base class that breaks this rule (not counting the specialist classes and archetypes like Elementalist and Shifter)

Full Caster, Mid BaB, But loses talent choices for that right. but Thaumaturges gain extra versatility to make up for it through Invocations (one of which can actually just buy talents for a limited time, and then they can choose to use that one an infinite number of times to have any one spell they could ever want on standby when it's needed)

Cleric gets Full Caster, Mid BaB, But loses Talent Choices for that right, but gets Necromantic Focus to get extra Life or Death talents depending on their choice of alignment/deity. Admittedly I do think that they get a little teeny bit screwed over just because if you wanted to be a dedicated healer there are some better choices (namely Soul Weaver which is designed specifically for this)


My feeling is that the most screwed core class was Wizard: anything they could do an Incanter could do, and then the Incanter could do more. Sphere Wizards just didn't get enough to distinguish them from being an Incater with less choices, barring perhaps Arcane Discoveries (which you could just give to the Incanter because they cost the same as bonus feats). This got better once Ecclectic Researcher and Cosmic Sage were introduced.

Cleric, at least, had Mid-BAB and armor/shields.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

My feeling is that the most screwed core class was Wizard: anything they could do an Incanter could do, and then the Incanter could do more. Sphere Wizards just didn't get enough to distinguish them from being an Incater with less choices, barring perhaps Arcane Discoveries (which you could just give to the Incanter because they cost the same as bonus feats). This got better once Ecclectic Researcher and Cosmic Sage were introduced.

Cleric, at least, had Mid-BAB and armor/shields.

Also Thread Necromancy part 2 by asking...

Can you combine Sphere wizard with other archetypes? like give up your magic school and some of your extra talents to use the gunmage abilities?


Warriorking9001 wrote:
Can you combine Sphere wizard with other archetypes? like give up your magic school and some of your extra talents to use the gunmage abilities?

Are you talking about the Spellslinger?

It mostly looks okay, except I'm not sure if you can use Mage Bullets because I don't know if the wizards Cantrips count as a separate ability from their spells (which the Sphere Wizard loses).

You can certainly use any archetype abilities that replace arcane bond and arcane school since Sphere Specialization is equivalent to those.


Sphere Archetypes follow the normal rule - you can take any combination of archetypes as long as they don't modify or replace the same thing. Also, do you need to play a Sphere Wizard for what you want? There may be another way to accomplish it.


GM Rednal wrote:
Sphere Archetypes follow the normal rule - you can take any combination of archetypes as long as they don't modify or replace the same thing. Also, do you need to play a Sphere Wizard for what you want? There may be another way to accomplish it.

Well I somewhat just think that.. well I was trying to figure out potentially good uses of the abilities of the sphere wizard that might make a reason for it existing, and I thought that what might be better for a gun wizard than at-will destruction powers


Warriorking9001 wrote:
.. well I was trying to figure out potentially good uses of the abilities of the sphere wizard that might make a reason for it existing..

Problem is the wizard's main feature is Arcane Schools, which don't fit thematically with Spheres of Power (functionally most of the powers don't require Vancian casting to be useful). Take that away and there really isn't a point in the wizard being a unique class (remember that the Incanter can gain Arcane Bond by taking the Arcane sorcer Bloodline).

And that said all you need to do to do to make the wizard irrelevant even if they retained Arcane Schools would be to give the Incanter an option to give up bonus feats to gain an Arcane School the same way they can gain Bloodlines and Domains.

Seriously the modularity of the Incanter makes it a generally better choice than wizard, sorcerer, and sometimes cleric (the latter does get better armor, shields, and maybe a martial or exotic weapon).


Yeah, the Sphere Wizard is very... limited... when the Incanter is in the picture.

The Cosmic Sage Wizard, on the other hand, is a little more viable.


GM Rednal wrote:
Yeah, the Sphere Wizard is very... limited... when the Incanter is in the picture.

The Incanter is flat-out better than the Sphere Wizard to the point of which I would ban the Sphere Wizard for being confusingly unnecessary.

GM Rednal wrote:
The Cosmic Sage Wizard, on the other hand, is a little more viable.

Yeah, Cosmic Sage is a better Sphere Wizard.

Though I think the Eclectic Researcher is even better.


I can't wrap my head around Spheres rules and I like what I have rules wise. Don't want to slap another system on top of it.

And every SoP caster I've had the "Pleasure" of seeing in action completely dominated the game so why let that in?

1 to 50 of 58 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Third-Party Pathfinder RPG Products / Product Discussion / Spheres of Power; What's the Big Deal? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.