Part II of my review:
The pdf contains 18 basic magic talents, not counting aforementioned updates, and we’ve covered a few of them already, so let’s see what the rest does! Let’s start with the untagged talents, shall we? Here, we have Imbue Teleport, which is a gamechanger – instead of instantly having the effects of teleport when touching a target, the target gets the ability to teleport themselves once, using the caster’s stats to determine variables – the target may only teleport themselves, and an imbued teleport only works for 1 hour per caster level, or until used. A single caster may only have one such imbued teleport in effect at a given time, plus another one at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. This is a great talent in every way – for specific campaigns. It allows for basically low-level contingency, and makes heists, security, kidnappings and the like all more complex and pretty hardcore, courtesy of the lack of minimum levels required. It is not broken per se, but it does radically alter some assumptions on how a given fantasy world operates, ones that are usually restricted to high-level wizard options, so implementing this talent should be carefully considered by the GM. Isoport lets you manipulate orientation and velocity of targets affected by teleport, allowing you to turn charges or running beings, cancel falling, etc. – this typically requires, obviously, a readied action; as swift action, you may alter targets thus without using teleport, and you may spend a spell point to use this talent as an immediate action; with Unwilling Teleport, you can affect unwilling targets as well.
Ranged Bend extends the range in which targets may be affected by (space) talents from touch to close range, with each additional taking of the talent increasing range by 1 step. Recall lets you increase casting time of teleport by one step before applying it to have the target, sans action, decide to return to the recall point, provided it is within medium range. This lasts for 1 round per caster level or until used. This RAW can be used with imbue Teleport, which is very potent; I’d strongly advise in favor of requiring at least some action (immediate or swift) to enable the recall. Segmented Warp lets you split a teleport in two for a spell point, with only one action between them, and the second teleport may not require an action to cast, but does provoke an AoO. The split teleports share the original’s maximum distance, which may be freely distributed between the two. See, this one? This is cool. Warping Strike lets you make a single weapon attack as a standard action, and if the target is damaged, you may apply a (space) talent or teleport as part of the same action. This may be used in conjunction with Spell Attack and, if available, with Unwilling teleport to affect unwilling targets. The talent should specify that it can only apply teleport or (space) talents that did not have their casting increased beyond a standard action to avoid obvious loopholes.
Beyond those we’ve already mentioned, we also have a selection of (space) talents here: Avert makes attackers require to have to make a Will-save or miss, requiring usually a readied action, or it can be used as an immediate action for 1 spell point; very cool angle: When using total defense, you can do that sans paying a spell point. Nice! Create Gap lets you create temporary holes in structures and accounts for targets potentially falling through, Again, awesome. Dimension Pierce lets you designate targets as capable of interacting with incorporeal and ethereal targets, and Distort Size allows you to modify the space occupied by a creature, which is an incredibly cool rules operation that I haven’t seen before. Flex Space allows you to create special difficult terrain, which even allows you to further enhance the costs of difficult terrain, which once more, is a genuinely exciting trick! Kudos! Fluctuate lets you keep teleporting the target short distances for a spell point, and may make this a duration effect. Looped Space manages to actually depict the notion of targets in a looped space moving according to the paradigms your whims have set for the space, as if trapping them in a möbius strip. Warp Link lets you establish a link to a target, knowing distance and the like. Since this doesn’t teleport, Unwilling Teleport is not required. Mostly interesting for hunter-style characters and those using Teleport Beacons. Wormhole, finally, creates basically a portal.
The book contains 5 advanced talents – these include Enduring Portal (self-explanatory); Mass Teleport also does pretty much what it says on the tin, and the same goes for Teleport Structure, though the latter btw. also works for vehicles. Store Structure nets you basically the amped up version of Extradimensional Storage, allowing you to ignore weight etc. for spell points. Warp Manipulator lets you create a dimensional anchor as a failsafe for teleportation effects as an immediate action, and also redirect it. Classic! These are all well-situated in the advanced talent chapter. The pdf also features two incantations – the 6th level The River Returns lets rivers be linked – and the concept is actually glorious. I can picture a whole, unique campaign setting inspired by this incantation! The Motion Archival is a 4th level incantation puts an object or creature in th Ancestral Repository, to be looked after by the place’s guardians – basically a cool take on exile/dealing with villains-. Once more, awesome!
The pdf also features 12 feats. Companion Teleport lets you teleport familiars, companions, etc. along, and no, it can’t be cheesed with ranged Teleport. Cosmologist lets you add traits to the Create Demiplane, even if you don’t meet the sphere-prerequisites. Dimensional Archer and Dimensional Athlete would be two (Champion) feats – the former lets you fire shots that have a chance of preventing teleport, an effect to combine reload and teleport, and a means to have your ammunition bypass cover, but not concealment, by bending space – the two special shots cost a spell point. Like it! The second feats lets you apply (motion) talents to teleports – and thankfully, it does get right that teleportation should be treated as its own mode of movement. It’s already potent enough. Divining Beacon (Dual Sphere) makes your Teleport Beacons also grant you some idea and act as potential scrying sensors for divine. Flash Warp (Dual Sphere) provides glow and teleport synergy, and Stasis Storage, the final (Dual Sphere) feat lets you send your Extradimensional Storage beyond time – this can save creatures, maintain the existence of things falling apart, etc. World In Miniature is another feat building on the Extradimensional… talents, with 6 different types of possible world, based on geomancing. Pretty sure that this should be (Dual Sphere) as well, and the “Benefit”-line’s header isn’t bolded. Speaking of which – also pretty sure that Extradimensional Shadow should be a (Dual Sphere) feat – it blends Dark and Warp, fusing Shadow Stash and Extradimensional Storage, which can result in some seriously cool tricks. Jump Scare lets you Intimidate after teleports. Skillful Disappearance is pretty cool and has a couple of additional benefits if you have sufficient ranks in various skills, allowing you to synergize Disguise, Stealth and Intimidate etc. with your teleports. Like it.
The book also contains 5 nice magic traits, and 4 sphere-specific drawbacks – liked them all. 5 alternate racial traits are provided (aasimar, changeling, dwarf, fetchling, tiefling). Beyond the previously mentioned one, we have another new magic weapon property, phasic, priced at +2, which allows your weapon to bypass a single object’s cover, with parameters and sight-interaction duly notes. Well-priced. 8 specific magic items are provided. Bottomless Flasks can hold up to 20 gallons; dashing cloaks have charges that allow you to teleport – the cost for using it is contingent on the activation action. Keyhome can be used to lock up an extradimensional space. Patch Hole is basically a portable Create gap. Pockets of holding can hold small amounts of objects. Storage spheres come in 7 categories – they can hold vehicles or structures, and the larger the target is, the better/more expensive the sphere must be. Like it! Twin caskets are great for smugglers, allowing for contents to be switched. Finally, waystones act pretty much as what you’d think – Warp-users can invest spell points in them to return there.
Editing and formatting on a formal level, are good, but not perfect – I noticed a couple of hiccups particularly among the formatting components. On a rules-language level, the pdf generally manages to reach pretty impressive heights, but also, alas, has a few of components that need either a whack with the nerf-bat and a few instances where minor clarifications would be in order. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with interior artwork featuring mostly stock art with a few pieces I hadn’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Amber Underwood has managed to write a furious finale for the Spheres of Power-Expansion Handbooks. The Warp sphere isn’t easy to write for, and probably only rivaled by Time and Illusion in complexity, and what has come out of the design here? It is AWESOME. This is easily my favorite crunch-book penned by Amber Underwood so far, featuring a wide array of options that genuinely manage to be NOVEL. I know, after all this time? It’s one huge feat! Moreover, the supplement has succeeded in providing several compelling options that open up whole new vistas of storytelling, that could inspire whole civilizations and settings! While full implementation of the content herein requires an experienced GM (or prior vetting of content), I can’t help but be utterly enamored by this one. Were it not for the glitches (which don’t break the content), this’d be one of the best Spheres-handbooks released so far. Even with the minor hiccups within, this should be considered to be a must-own for all fans of Spheres of Power. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars,, rounded down – but this still does receive my seal of approval for its amazing design paradigms and daring to go beyond the usual.