Spheres of power, Spellcrafting and class concept creation confusions

Advice and Rules Questions

Hello everyone,

I didn't know where to put this as it isn't really a core rules question and it is pertaining to create a concept to realization through either custom classes or archetype with spellcrafting involved.

So here goes.

I was seeking to join a game online and came across a variant of magic rules called Spheres of Power that a GM was using. While not giving it much thought until the idea sprung into my head, I decided I just had to bring to life a class I played from a different online game into Pathfinder as a character and class concept.

This class is the Dark Knight from FFXI: link

I tried to think of ways of incorporate this from the standard take levels in this and that to emulate it but then decided to try making an archetype with the requirement of research and design via spellcrafting new spells.

Reading up on Spheres of power and its form of spellcrafting, I got lost on the base variables of how to put together a new spell. I'm worried about balance and that I may have gotten it wrong on the creation but I'll post the spells for clarification.

Spheres of power Spellcrafting

Siphon Strength:
Based on spell Absorb Str

Name: Siphon Strength
Sphere: Death
Cost: 1 spell points
Casting Time: full-round action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft per 2 caster levels)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 1 round/caster level
Saving Throw: Will half; Spell Resistance yes
Prerequisite(s): Death Sphere (Weakening, Curse)
Crafting Time: 2 days (DC 15)
Effect: The target takes 1d4 amount of penalty involving melee or ranged attacks associated with physical force on their damage rolls while you gain this amount on your Melee damage rolls. A successful Will save halves this penalty.

Spellcraft engineering:
complexity base: 2 (2 standalone talents)
medium to close range: -1 complexity (Base ability Ghost strike @medium range)
1 round per caster level (Weaken talent) vs. permanent duration (Curse talent): reduce spell cost by 1
1 SP Cost (Curse) + 1 SP Cost (Weaken's special partial saving throw clause) = 2 Spell point cost

Total Complexity: 1
SP Cost: 1
1 time increase (Standard action to full-round)

Based on Tractor spell

Name: Tractor
Sphere: Telekinesis
Cost: 3 spell points
Casting Time: full-round action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft per 2 caster levels)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 1 round/caster level or until creature leaves max range
Saving Throw: Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
Prerequisite(s): Telekinesis (Gravity Well, Sustained Force)
Crafting Time: 2 days (DC 15)
Effect: The target comes under the effects of a constant force of being pulled in towards the caster to keep it within a distance of 5 ft. of the caster. At initial casting the target is moved 10 ft. towards the caster of this spell. Every round thereafter, the target is moved by half this distance at the start of its turn and then the other half at the end of its turn. The targets movement (including from this spell) provokes attacks of opportunity. While under the effect of this spell, the target's land and fly speed is reduced a step when determining actions. A creature attempting to run that normally runs x3 its speed can only go x2. A Creature that is flying or has a fly speed with maneuverability of Average is reduced to poor.

Spellcraft engineering:
2x Standalone talents = +2 complexity as base
base spell point cost: 1 (Using sustained force with gravity well)
reduce duration from 1 minute to 1 round/caster level: +1 SP cost (Sustained Force's duration reduced)

Complexity: 2
SP cost: 3
1 time increase (Standard to full-round action)


Name: Drain
Sphere: Death
Cost: 2 spell points
Casting Time: 1 round action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft per 2 caster levels)
Target: 1 living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance yes
Prerequisite(s): Death (Vampiric Strike)
Crafting Time: days (DC
Effect: You must succeed on a ranged touch attack. Your attack deals 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels. You gain hit points equal to the damage you deal. You can't gain more than the subject's current hit points + the subject's Constitution score (which is enough to kill the subject).

1 standalone talent: +1 complexity
Remove saving throw: complexity +1 for outside scope of original intent of sphere's abilities
Vampiric strike's SP cost: +1 base SP cost
Complex changes from temp hp to actual hp: +1 complexity for outside scope of original intent of sphere's abilities

Complexity base: 3
SP Cost: 2
2 time increase (Standard action to one round action)

These are the spells I worked on through the system but I'm not entirely sure I did it right as I have shown in the spoiler. Did I do it correctly? Or did I miss read a step? I'd much appreciate if someone could assist in going by this step by step.

I also don't know if you could call them balanced and would like some insight on them.

While doing all these spells, I was working on this one but didn't continue further.

Siphon Agility:
Based on Absorb Agility and not yet finished.

Name: Siphon Agility
Sphere: Death
Cost: xx spell points
Casting Time: full-round action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft per 2 caster levels)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 1 minute/caster level
Saving Throw: Will partial; Spell Resistance yes
Prerequisite(s): Death (Weaken?)
Crafting Time: days
Effect: The target takes 1d4 amount of penalty to AC bonus while the caster gains this amount, and a will save reduces this by half. In addition (will save negates this portion) roll a 1d100 on each attack done to the target if it is a melee or ranged attack involving physical force. On a 1% chance of success, the attack becomes a critical that is considered confirmed. If the attack roll is a critical threat and becomes critical confirmed, instead increase the critical damage modifier of the attack by +1 (weapon of x2 becomes x3, x3 becomes x4 etc).

The class archetype I was working on was based on the bloodrager as I thought it was pretty close but you tell me.

Arcane Knight:

Arcane Knights excel at heavy physical damage, when combined with debilitating magical attacks to hamper and weaken an enemy. Arcane Knights are granted access to a unique line of spells that temporarily siphon, or take away an ability from an enemy through enfeeblement and add it to their own to use against them.

Arcane Knights understand the intricacies of the arcana arts as its destructive nature is often abused from the necromantic conjuration of undead by using the energies of the living, to procurement of animated cursed objects that run rampant and are most often even sentient with egos.

Many that choose the path as an Arcane Knight are viewed as evil for using such magic arts, but weld it in order to restore balance to the twisted disruption of energies abused of those in the past.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An Arcane Knight gains proficiency in heavy armor. Arcane Knights can cast bloodrager spells and sphere abilities without incurring an arcane spell failure chance (except tower shields) even if he possesses the Somatic Casting drawback.
- This replaces the bloodrager’s armor proficiency.

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, an Arcane knight can choose to take either his bloodline power or one combat feat. If the Arcane knight chooses a combat feat in this manner, his Arcane knight level counts as his fighter level - 3 when determining any prerequisites. Any other prerequisites for a feat must be met before an arcane knight can choose it.
- This ability alters the bloodline class feature.

Bloodrage: The Arcane knight's source of internal power grants him the ability to bloodrage. At 1st level, an Arcane knight can bloodrage for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Constitution modifier. At each level after 1st, he can bloodrage for 2 additional rounds per day. Temporary increases to Constitution (such as those gained from bloodraging or spells like bear’s endurance) don’t increase the total number of rounds that a bloodrager can bloodrage per day. The total number of rounds of bloodrage per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours need not be consecutive.

An Arcane knight can enter a bloodrage as a free action. While in a bloodrage, an Arcane knight gains a +4 morale bonus to his Strength. In addition, he takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. While bloodraging, an Arcane knight can still use Intelligence-, Dexterity-, and Charisma-based skills and can use abilities that require patience or concentration.

An Arcane knight can end his bloodrage as a free action. When the bloodrage ends, he’s fatigued for a number of rounds equal to twice the number of rounds spent in the bloodrage. An Arcane knight cannot enter a new bloodrage while fatigued or exhausted, but can otherwise enter bloodrage multiple times during a single encounter or combat. If an Arcane Knight falls unconscious, his bloodrage immediately ends, placing him in peril of death.

Bloodrage counts as the barbarian’s rage class feature for the purpose of feat prerequisites, feat abilities, magic item abilities, and spell effects.
- This ability alters bloodrage.

Heavy Armsman: Arcane Knights gain the Berserker Sphere and Beat down talent, but cannot use the Berserking ability even by taking a drawback. Arcane Knights use Charisma as their practitioner modifier.
- This replaces fast movement

Armored Swiftness (Ex): At 2nd level, an Arcane Knight moves faster in medium and heavy armor. When wearing medium or heavy armor, a Arcane Knight can move 5 feet faster than normal in that armor, to a maximum of his unencumbered speed.

- This ability replaces uncanny dodge.

Arcane Strike: You gain the Arcane Strike feat, and treat your Arcane knight level as your caster level when determining its effects.
- This replaces Blood Sanctuary.

Casting: At 4th level, the Arcane Knight may combine spheres and talents to create magical effects. The Arcane Knight is considered a Mid-Caster and uses Charisma as her casting ability modifier. Although an Arcane Knight does not gain casting until 4th level, they still count all of their class levels when determining their caster level. (Note: All casters gain 2 bonus talents and may select a casting tradition the first time they gain the casting class feature.)
- This replaces the spells class feature, the Eschew Materials feat, and all bloodline spells.

Spell Pool: At 4th level, the Arcane Knight gains a small reservoir of energy he can call on to create truly wondrous effects, called a spell pool. This pool contains a number of spell points equal to his class level + his Charisma modifier. This pool replenishes once per day after roughly 8 hours of rest.

Magic Talents: An Arcane Knight gains one magic talent at 4th level and every 2 levels thereafter.

Armor Training (Ex): At 5th level, an arcane knight learns to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. Whenever he is wearing armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a maximum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every 4 levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), these bonuses increase by 1, to a maximum 4-point reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus. This ability stacks with the fighter class feature of the same name.
- This ability replaces improved uncanny dodge.

Souleater: At 5th level as a free action, the Arcane Knight can access a surge of enpowerment deep with arcanic energy at the price of his own life force. You take –2 to hp on each successful melee attack to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls.
At 10th, 15th and 20th level, the penalty to hp increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +1.
An Arcane knight can end his Souleater ability as a free action.

- This ability replaces greater bloodrage and mighty bloodrage.

Enfeeblement arts: At 7th level, an Arcane knight gains a +1 to Caster level for the purposes of spell resistance and DC's to spells and sphere abilities associated to his casting. Every 3 levels thereafter (10th, 13th, 16th and 19th), these bonuses increase by +1.
- This ability replaces damage reduction.

I was strongly considering just adding a clause in the archetype that makes it a 3/4 bab class but I wanted to hear feedback.

A few things I wanted to emphasize on was being able to get spells and sphere abilities to stick, debuffing creatures making it easier for the party as the theme. If it was a low casting class I don't think it could pull it off.

The arcane strike ability I feel could be dealt away with as I wanted to add the ability of Arcane Circle. Basically to grant teammates in an aura centered from the user a bonus to their saves...but a Paladin does that for specifics such as fear but does it in a 10 ft. radius if I remember. Not to mention that those are morale bonuses from the paladin and don't stack well from other sources.

I'm really torn on this for these two separate issues.

It makes me almost think I should just stay to core and just work with the original research and design method of creating new spells instead of trying to do it via Spheres of Power (and Might).

Does anyone have any advice on this quandary?

I'd greatly appreciate any help you could offer.

- Khell

Paizo Employee

In some ways you may be overthinking things, though that's going to depend a lot on how specific you're trying to get. Spheres of Power spellcrafting is more intended to allow you to emulate specific spells that aren't easily covered by a simple collection of talents. You might look at some of the spheres archetypes (particularly those from Champions of the Spheres which blend martial and magical prowess), rather than trying to recreate the character from scratch. If you used an existing archetype that already covers the basics like the mystic and then grab the right talents, you can get where you're going a lot more efficiently. Gravity Well plus Sustained Force from the Telekinesis sphere gets you the Tractor ability you were trying to spellcraft, the Vampiric Strike Death talent is almost exactly what you were trying to make with Drain, Weakening is very close to the Siphon Strength power you were creating (and though it doesn't give the damage boost, you could use the mystic's Advanced Spellstrike to add it onto an attack and get very close to the same effect, particularly if you grabbed a Spheres of Might talent like Fatal Strike from the Fencing sphere to combine it with a damage enhancing attack), etc. If you don't like using a magus chassis, there's also some bloodrager archetypes (like the spheres bloodrager and stormlord) that also do a lot of the work for you and still use the base class you wanted.

Basically, you may be taking the long way around to get to a concept you can already cover with the materials that are already out there.

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