Casting Traditions
Table of Contents

Casting traditions are a set of optional rules that allow players and GMs to customize magic itself to fit their needs. Rather than being forced to fit their ideas into the arcane/divine traditions of core Pathfinder, a GM can create her own traditions, adapting magic itself to fit the setting, whether it be creating a world where wizards must invoke animal spirits and collect souls to power their magic, a world where the black market regulates highly addictive and illegal spell components, or a world where elemental-based casters use martial art forms to control their power. Likewise, a player could customize their character in any number of ways, creating characters based off favorite books, games, television shows, or custom ideas without first worrying how those ideas will translate to a world that assumes only wizards, clerics, druids, etc.

In Spheres of Power, casters are not automatically assumed to have any limitations on where, when, or how they can use magic. Whereas the core Pathfinder magic system includes a divide between divine and arcane magic, no such distinction is assumed in SoP. Likewise, while arcane casters from the core Pathfinder system must chant, gesture, and provide material to cast spells and cannot use magic effectively while wearing armor, an SoP caster requires little more than a thought to create a magical effect, regardless of her situation. Casting traditions, then, are a way for players and GMs to re-introduce these requirements and distinctions, as well as create new ones to fit their world.

Using Casting Traditions

Casting traditions are comprised of general drawbacks, sphere-specific drawbacks, and boons. General drawbacks and boons must be selected when the caster gains their first level in a casting class, while sphere-specific drawbacks are gained when the character first gains the sphere they modify. Despite their mechanical implications, casting traditions is primarily a tool of story telling; thus, it is a GM’s tool first and a player’s tool second.

Casting traditions are designed to allow GMs free reign over the how’s and why’s of magic, allowing them to forge magic to fit their needs. This could range from carefully recreating the settings from the earlier days of the fantasy roleplaying game (Traditional Magic, Divine Petitioner, and Druidic traditions only), to creating an adventure dependent on a particular magical plot device (e.g., magic is the exclusive realm of cultists who use blood magic, the conjuration sphere, and the death sphere to terrorize the populous). Once a series of parameters have been selected, players may customize their characters as they see fit, developing unique character concepts and implementing them at the table.

In many ways, casting traditions are similar to magic items; they may be employed in strictly mechanical ways, but they are much more flavorful and fun when incorporated into the story. As always, the GM is allowed to disallow any casting tradition or casting tradition option if she feels they might upset the game or do not belong in a particular setting.

GMs should decide before the campaign begins what role casting traditions will play in his game. If the players and the GM do not want to worry about the why’s and how’s of magic, they may simply remove all casting traditions. Or, they may allow all casting traditions, allowing each player to decide the how’s and why’s on his own. Most often, however, the GM will want to explore casting traditions before the campaign begins, presenting them as dictated by the needs of the game.

Example: A GM is creating a campaign centered around the conflict between four groups of magic users; wizards, clerics, druids, and cultists. He determines that wizards will use the traditional magic casting tradition, clerics will use the divine petitioner casting tradition, druids will use the druidic casting tradition, and the cultists will use the blood magic casting tradition. Before the game begins, Jake informs his players that, unless they can provide a reasonable explanation for how their characters learned another kind of magic, they should limit their characters to one of these four traditions.

Players and GMs are encouraged to talk to each other about what role casting traditions will play in their game, and what their implications will be. After all, a monster responding to and exploiting the weaknesses of his enemy (silencing a verbal caster, disarming a focus caster, using magical signs to identify a caster’s abilities) is simply good tactics, as well as a response to the choice the player made as to how his caster would function in the world. Mechanically speaking, a caster taking both the Verbal Casting drawback and the Silent Spell metamagic feat, or the Somatic Casting drawback and either the Arcane Armor Training feat or the Still Spell metamagic feat is not a redundancy, but rather a good mechanical choice.

The following traditions are presented as a starting point for GMs and players. A GM or player may always create their own traditions by combining individual drawbacks and boons, which are presented in the following sections.

Suggested Traditions for Non-Spherecasting Classes
Spell List Traditions
Alchemist Artificery
Antipaladin Divine Crusader (antipaladin only)
Bard Bardic Magic, Fey Magic
Bloodrager Blood Magic, Sorcerous Blood
Cleric/Oracle Divine Petitioner, Inherent Divinity
Druid Druidic
Inquisitor Divine Petitioner, Monastic
Magus Wizardry, Dragon Magic
Medium Mind
Mesmerist Mind
Occultist Mind
Paladin Divine Crusader (paladin only)
Psychic Mind
Ranger Druidic
Shaman Mystic
Sorcerer/Wizard Blood Magic, Sorcerous Blood, Wizardry
Spiritualist Mind
Summoner Pact Magic
Witch Wizardry

Sample Casting Traditions

Wiki Note: Some traditions are marked as Arcane, Divine, or Psychic. Spheres of Power does not normally classify magic in these ways. However, some settings prefer to do so, and so some of these traditions have been classified as falling into one of these three categories of magic. GM's may choose to add classifications to traditions that do not have them marked here. Additionally, these classifications are relevant for Tradition Traits.

Addled [Core]

Hidden within the ramblings of the insane, one word is often repeated.. Some healers theorize that this word is the name of the hidden god of madness, gaining power from—and granting power to—those who surrender their minds to him. There must be some truth to this theory, because sometimes, when those with this word on their lips are displeased with their surroundings, they possess the ability to change them. An addled caster gains +1 spell point, +1 per 6 levels gained in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Wild Magic, Verbal Casting, Addictive Magic

Boons: Easy Focus

Apothecaries

Apothecaries are masters of tinctures and tonics, who are capable of turning mere bottles of water or pinches of salt into potions and magic powders. Unlike the academic alchemists of the larger cities, apothecaries usually set up shop in country towns, learning as much from experimentation and tradition as they do from their teachers. An Apothecary gains an additional spell point at first level, as well as an additional spell point for every 3 levels gained in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Material Casting, Special Delivery (requires Enhancement), Skillful Casting (Profession: Apothecary or Craft: Alchemy)

Boons: None

Artificery (arcane)

Artificers construct magical implements (known as an Artificer's Focus) to direct and control their magic. Each sphere they know requires a different focus, and foci can be created by spending 8 hours in a Magic Lab or Alchemist's Lab. While somewhat unstable, these items make directing power easy.

Drawbacks: Focus Casting (artificer's focus), Wild Magic

Boons: Easy Focus

Ascetics

This peculiar tradition consists of hermits and monks striving for the perfection of their own bodies. Introspective to the point of solipsism, ascetics focus on magic as a means of self-improvement.

Drawbacks: Consciousness Linked (requires Enhancement), Personal Magic (requires Enhancement)

Boon: Easy Focus

Bardic Magic (arcane)

It's often said there is power in music… and bardic magic proves this right. While rather physically demanding, those who have trained in bardic magic often have more power at their call than others.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting, Skilled Casting (any Perform skill)

Boons: none

Beast Charming

It’s often said that music can soothe the savage beasts of the world, but the knack for doing so is a difficult, and often dangerous, skill to develop. Many practitioners develop specialties that cause them to become more comfortable with certain kinds of animals, but whether they choose to catch rats, charm snakes, or divert locusts from crops the ability to pacify, guide, or otherwise enchant animals remains the same. Beast Charmers gain 1 additional spell point per every odd numbered level in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Perform (any)), Somatic Casting (2), Animal Shaman (Mind)

Boons: None

Blood Magic (arcane) [Core]

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

Bonneteur

This method of fast talking con artistry has been developed to the point where it is undeniably supernatural in nature. A tradition closely guarded by many thieves guilds until they can monopolize a region, it has nevertheless spilled out into the world. Only a small number of true magicians employ this style, but rogues, bards, and other dabblers in mental magic will often focus their studies on this magical tradition.

The fast-talking and wild gesticulating arm movements are similar enough to the actions of street hawkers that the magic can often go unnoticed by those who aren’t expecting it, and its effectiveness at the negotiating table makes the draining effect on the caster’s psyche worth the trouble. A Bonneteur gains 1 additional spell point per odd level in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting, Lost In Translation (Mind)

Boons: None

Cartomancy

Most commonly practiced by itinerant fortune-tellers, cartomancy is the art of divining by cards. Many casters extend this to manipulating the myths the cards symbolize to empower themselves and others.

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Focus Casting (a deck of cards), Skilled Casting (Profession (fortuneteller)), Limited Divination (sense) (Divination), Mythogogy (Fate), Neutrality (Fate)

Chaos Tapper

Eschewing the studied and tamed paths of magic, chaos tappers create powerful effects by simply pulling more power from their primal mystic source, boosting the effect but making the result unpredictable.

Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Variant Wild Magic

Boons: Wild Surge

Chi Tracer

A rarer discipline than the Monastic casting tradition, monks who train their minds as well as their body and spirit have a greater endurance for performing their techniques, though their feats of mentalism now require a knowledge of an enemies’ (or allies’) pressure points and chi lines, giving them the ability to deliver crippling nerve pinches (or helpful chiropractic alterations) to impart their charms. Chi Tracers gain 1 spell point + 1 per 3 levels in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Lycanthropic (Alteration), Meld into Dark (Dark), Deathful Touch (Death), Destructive Touch (Destruction), Bodily Enhancement (Enhancement), Personal Magics (Enhancement), Personal Fate (Fate), Personal Illusion (Illusion), Touch of Light (Light), Regenerate (Life), Tactile Charm (Mind), Nature Spirit (Nature), Limited Protection (Protection), Personal Time (Time), Solo Combatant (War), Personal Warp (Warp)

Boons: Easy Focus

Cholmic Traditionalist

A tradition that dates back to the long dead Cholmic civilization, the methods of their cultural magic have been lost to all but a few liches and fragments of old, rotten tomes. While the methods themselves are cursed by the very gods, that curse has also decayed over the years – while the magic would have originally hideously harmed the caster and the recipient, nowadays most of the curse decays into grey light and the noise of vast bells. Cholmic Traditionalists get an additional spell point, as well as an additional point for every 6 levels gained in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Narcotic Magic (requires Enhancement), Obvious Enhancement (requires Enhancement)

Boon: Overwhelming Power

Contaminated [Core]

Somewhere in the bowels of the criminal underworld, an alchemist cracked the code of magic and created Essence. This powerful, addictive powder would grant magical ability to anyone who consumed it. The crime lord who first distributed Essence sold it everywhere, eager to gain a dedicated following of addicted ‘wizards’, but he underestimated the power of the addiction— and of the addicted. The lab was destroyed as magic users descended on it to increase their supply and steal the secret of its creation. Now Essence can be found virtually anywhere people are rich enough—and foolish enough—to seek it out. A contaminated caster gains an additional spell point for every odd level gained in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Material Casting, Wild Magic

Boons: None

Divine Petitioner (divine) [Core]

A divine petitioner gains their magic through service and prayer to a divine source, such as a Deity. A divine petitioner must pray every day to regain their spell points, petitioning not only for their magic, but specifying how they intend to use it that day. Divine petitioners do everything in the name of their deity and find it difficult to even manifest their power unless they have their holy symbol in hand. A divine petitioner gains a bonus spell point at every odd level they gain in a spellcasting class.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Prepared Caster, Aligned Combatant (Destruction), Aligned Protection (Protection)

Boons: None

Dragon Magic (arcane)

Dragons are among the most powerfully magical creatures in the world - and it's no surprise that there are those who have turned to them for power.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Focused Casting

Boons: Bound Creature1
1 A user of dragon magic must choose a dragon as their bound creature.
Wiki Note: This tradition is intended for use with content from The Player's Guide to Skybourne that is outside the scope of this wiki. Those interested in the full version of dragon magic should pick up that book.

Dream Casting

Dream casters are aloof individuals often viewed as extremely odd by other types of magic users. Wielding strange implements and prone to torporic trances, dream casters typically draw their power from esoteric and poorly understood spheres such as Mind and Time. Walking the far borders of reality, dream casters are able to call upon amazing strength but do so at significant risk. A dream caster gains +1 spell point, +1 per three levels gained in casting classes.

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Magical Signs, Narcoleptic Casting

Boons: Overcharge

Druidic (divine) [Core]

A druid gains their magic through communion with nature and the spirits contained therein. While many casters band together for mutual study and protection, druids take this a step further, possessing their own secret language that identifies one druid to another. The hierarchy of the druids is a very sacred thing for them, and there are only so many high-level druids in the world at any one time. Indeed, a druid rising through the ranks often times must claim their new title by taking it from another druid through a demonstration of superior magic. A Druid gains +1 spell point, +1 per three levels gained in a spellcasting class.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Prepared Caster, Animal Shaman (Mind)

Boons: None

Fey Magic (arcane)

To the fey, magic is simply a part of life - and those who study their styles often find that their emotions are a problem, but magic is stronger and easier to control…

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Wild Magic, Emotional Casting

Boons: Easy Focus, Overcharge

Flame-Blooded [Core]

There exist those who bear in their blood a touch of pure fire. Details of their origin are spotty at best, but the tale is told of a tryst between a mortal woman and the elemental spirit of fire itself, granting the power of fire to all her descendants. The flame-blooded are often as brash and volatile as the element that powers their magic; to cross one is to invite a swift and deadly response.

Drawbacks: Energy Focus (fire blast, Destruction), Limited Warp (requires fire, Warp), Focused Weather (heat, Weather)

Boons: None

Gadgeteer

Not often thought of as a mentalist or magician, even amongst themselves, gadgeteers have a knack for constructs, magic devices, and machinery. Armed with a favored tool or set of tools (such as a specially designed burin or wrench), they tinker with clockwork and other bits of artifice to transform the world around themselves and bring mental might to bear on even creatures like golems. Teammates often dislike their transformative or enhancing magic due to suddenly having clockwork gears or strange gadgets incorporated into them, but apart from that they can bring great gifts to those they assist. A Gadgeteer gains an extra spell point for every level they gain in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Focus Casting (artisan tools), Magical Signs, Material Casting, Rigorous Concentration, Skilled Casting (Craft (mechanical)), Unnatural Transformation (Alteration, Gadgets and Gears), Elongated Summoning (Conjuration), Obvious Enhancements (Enhancement, Gadgets and Gears), Kindred Spirit (Mind, Constructs)

Boons: None

Hypnotism

Often unsettling and always mysterious, the art of hypnotism, sometimes called mesmerism, has its roots in the magic of the mind, but a flick of the wrist, sway of a pendulum, and penetrating stare of a master has allowed magicians of all stripes to unlock their truest potential. Wielding a specially prepared amulet, pocket watch, gemstone, or other lustrous item that can be held aloft or swayed with a practiced hand, hypnotists and those who use their methods to unlock magical power are often feared as insidious or enthralling masterminds, but can also be celebrated as entertainers and practitioners of skills that make the mysterious appear whimsical and mundane. A Hypnotist gains 1 bonus spell point + an extra spell point for every level in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Focus Casting, Skilled Casting (Profession (Hypnotist)), Somatic Casting

Boons: None

Inherent Divinity (divine)

For some, the source of divine power does not come from without, but from within. With nothing more than a word and their will, they can impose their desires on the world.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Emotional Casting

Boons: Easy Focus

Note: Every creature with inherent divinity expressed their divinity in a unique fashion, often associated with whatever domains they or their parent is associated with. A caster with this tradition can select and gain up to 2 sphere-specific drawbacks of their choice.

Lycanthrope [Core]

Curses are terrible things and lycanthropy more so than most. For some casters, however, lycanthropy is the beginning of a long journey to power. These souls not only learn to control their animalistic natures, but to expand them, pulling power from their curse and turning it into a source of magic. Practitioners of this magic should beware however; curses are not trivial things, and a lycanthrope’s magic is unpredictable at best. A lycanthrope gains an additional spell point at 1st level, plus one for every 6 levels gained in casting classes.

Drawbacks: Lycanthropic (Alteration), Wild Magic

Boons: None

Mind (psychic)

For some people, magic is an expression of their will, and a little mental focus is enough to call it into being.

Drawbacks: Emotional Casting, Rigorous Concentration

Boons: None

Note: If using Psionics from Dreamscarred Press, it is considered a part of this tradition.

Monastic (divine) [Core]

When the power of the spirit is properly cultivated through physical discipline and meditation, it can elevate itself to a form of magic. There are orders of monks who practice this form of magic, using their monastic traditions to guide their pursuit of magical awakening. Renowned for their versatility of power, casters of these monastic orders are often solitary, as the very source that gives them such great power also makes it difficult to manifest that power outside of their own bodies.

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Lycanthropic (Alteration), Meld into Dark (Dark), Deathful Touch (Death), Destructive Touch (Destruction), Bodily Enhancement (Enhancement), Personal Magics (Enhancement), Personal Fate (Fate), Personal Illusion (Illusion), Touch of Light (Light), Regenerate (Life), Nature Spirit (Nature), Protected Soul (Protection), Personal Time (Time), Solo Combatant (War), Personal Warp (Warp)

Boons: Easy Focus

Mysticism (divine)

Mysticism is less about strict hierarchies, and more about learning from the divine forces that empower them. As students of the magical arts, those who follow the path of the mystic tend to have very obvious displays of magic… but their power is unquestioned.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Magical Signs, Wild Magic

Boons: Empowered Abilities, Metamagic Expert

Nomad Shamans

Another oral tradition, the nomad shamans are members of nomadic tribes who have honed their connection to the natural world through ritual deprivation. Their long and harsh training is often necessary for the survival of their tribe, allowing their people to subsist in areas too harsh for normal survival.

Drawbacks: Bodily Enhancement (requires Enhancement), Magical Signs, Nature Spirit (requires Nature), Restricted Enhancement (Tribe members; requires Enhancement), Verbal Casting

Boons: Draw Magic

Pact Magic (arcane)

Pact Magic focuses on summoning beings to cast magic on the user's behalf. Having another entity managing the power makes it easy to control, but it can be hard to resist the pull they have over the caster…

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting

Boons: Easy Focus

Note: If using Pact Magic from Radiance House, that system would be considered a part of this tradition.

Runist [Core]

Runists study the first language—the language of creation itself. With this knowledge, they can create magical effects by writing out the appropriate runes—a time-consuming process, but a powerful one. Runists spend their lives mastering true names and meditating on the meaning of the runes, for once a runist has mastered a rune’s essence, they master that aspect of creation itself. A runist gains an extra spell point for every level gained in a casting class.

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Skilled Casting (Craft [Calligraphy])

Boons: None

Scion of the Crown

In a small Western kingdom, the princes and princesses are taught a unique casting tradition that draws on the symbolism of permanence through ponderous recitations of their family line back generations and straight-backed demonstrations of their authority. Throughout centuries of marriages, alliances, and usurpations, this tradition has spread throughout the land – however, competition with foreign traditions and the requirement of noble blood has left it as more of a curiosity than anything else.

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Focus Casting (a crown or coronet), Skillful Casting (Knowledge: Nobility), Verbal Casting

Boons: Careful Magic (Drawback), Magical Focus (Drawback)

Shadow-Wielder [Core]

While not exclusively the realm of assassins and thieves, it cannot be denied that shadow-wielding is a natural choice for those who work their crafts in the dark. Shadow-wielders are empowered by darkness, learning to bend shadowstuff into any form they desire, to use shadows to teleport, and numerous other abilities.

Drawbacks: Limited Creation (shadowstuff, Creation), Limited Warp (darkness, Warp)

Boons: None

Song-Wielder [Core]

Born of ancient royalty, a song-wielder makes magic through the power of their voice. It is an ancient art and difficult to master, but very rewarding. Because a song-wielder’s magic is tied to their voice, they grow in strength the longer they sing. Often, it is only when a song-wielder has sung himself hoarse that his true power manifests.

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Perform [Singing]), Verbal Casting

Boons: Empowered Abilities

Sorcerous Blood (arcane)

For some individuals, magic is truly in the blood, and all it takes to use is a flick of the wrist and a quick chant of arcane words.

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Verbal Casting

Boons: None

Sword-Bound [Core]

Sometimes, when a magic-user dies, a part of their spirit (called an echo) remains attached to the objects they wielded in life. This is the case with the some ancient houses, where the heir apparent inherits the house's sword on their 15th birthday. Not only does this ancient sword still cut as well as the day it was forged, but it also carries the echo of the family's founder, granting its owner access to the ancestor's famed magical power. Wielding the sword is exhausting, but it is a small price to pay to access its magic.

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Draining Casting

Boons: Fortified Casting

The Sustained

Practitioners within this tradition generally pursue magic as a way to bolster their own failing bodies. As such, they tend to need Enhancement magic to pursue a normal life, suffering from painful side effects and sickening withdrawal symptoms if they spend time without the power they have come to crave.

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Delinquent Enhancement (requires Enhancement), Enhancement Dependency (requires Enhancement)

Boons: Addictive Power (Drawback)

Traditional Magic (arcane) [Core]

Traditional magic is the study of the natural world, astronomy, alchemy, and ancient learning to create magic through a combination of gestures, words, and magical components. Traditional magic is based on performing specific rites and observing various taboos, meaning its practitioners must decide each morning what magic they will use that day so they may perform the appropriate rituals. Traditional magic is the realm of academics, making it a long and grueling course of study but granting wisdom and power in equal amounts. A practitioner of traditional magic gains an extra spell point every level they gain in a spellcasting class.

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Material Casting, Prepared Caster

Boons: None

Water-Magi [Core]

There exists an order of monks who pull power from an ancient pact formed with the spirit of the moon. These water-magi are born with the power to bend water to their will, pulling it as the moon pulls the tides. Through dedicated practice, they use their movements to control this liquid and bring its power to bear against their enemies.

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Limited Creation (ice, Creation), Energy Focus (ice blast, Destruction), Limited Telekinesis (water, Telekinesis), Focused Weather (precipitation, Weather)

Boons: Easy Focus

Wild Addict

Some chaos tappers (above) become addicted to the wild rush of power, to the detriment of their minds and bodies, becoming wild addicts. Wild addicts gain 1 bonus spell point every odd level.

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Magical Signs, Painful Magic, Variant Wild Magic

Boons: Wild Surge

Wizardry (arcane)

The ancient arts of wizardry involve a lot of studying - and it's even more obvious than traditional magic. However, in return for this, those who follow the path of Wizardry are much better at controlling their powers with metamagic.

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (2), Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Material Casting, Prepared Casting, Magic Signs

Boons: Metamagic Expert


Drawbacks

Drawbacks come in one of two forms: general and sphere-specific. General drawbacks must be selected as soon as the caster gains her first level in any spellcasting class. Sphere-Specific Drawbacks must be chosen as soon as the caster gains the drawback’s prerequisite sphere.

General Drawbacks

General drawbacks deal with the manner in which a caster uses their magic. Do they gesture? Must they speak in a resounding voice? Do they require a special magical focus or magical component?

General drawbacks grant the caster bonus spell points (although they may also grant boons, as detailed under Boons below), according to the following chart. Some drawbacks are especially powerful; these drawbacks count as two drawbacks when determining the number of bonus spell points gained. With GM permission a general drawback may be removed, but the caster must lose the bonus spell points or boons gained from that drawback.

Number of Drawbacks Bonus Spell Points
1 +1, +1 per 6 levels in casting classes
2 +1, +1 per 3 levels in casting classes
3 +1 per odd level in a casting class (1, 3, 5, etc.)
4 +1, +1 per 1.5 levels in a casting class (2, 3, 5, 6, etc.)
5 +1 per level in a casting class

Balancing Drawbacks

While some general drawbacks provide their own balancing mechanics (Extended Casting, Addictive Casting, Painful Casting, etc.), others depend on the situation around the caster in question (Verbal Casting, Material Casting, Focus Casting, etc.). GMs are encouraged to think about the implications of these drawbacks from both a storytelling and mechanical perspective when using them in a game. Material Casting, for example, leaves a lot of questions for the GM to determine, depending on the setting in question: Are materials expensive? Are they common? Will the player run out and need to spend time hunting for more? Even if the GM has not built this drawback into his world, it becomes a subject which both the player and the GM should discuss so they both understand the role the material will play during the game. Similarly, if a character takes Focus Casting, it means he now waves an item around to cast his magic; an action many enemies will notice and try to take advantage of. If this drawback has been incorporated into the world (for example, all magic-users must use a wand to cast spells), then disarming an opponent’s focus would become a common combat technique that may be employed and must be guarded against. In fact, if no enemy ever attempts to take the focus from the caster, it could be argued the player has gained all of the benefits of the drawback with none of the detriments.


List of General Drawbacks

Addictive Casting [Core]

Your magic is addictive. Whenever you spend one or more spell points, you must pass a Fortitude save against your addiction DC (Your addiction DC is 10, + 1 for each roll you have previously made. Thus, your first roll would be a DC 10, the second a DC 11, the third a DC 12, etc.). If you fail this save, you gain a minor addiction, suffering a -2 penalty to Constitution. Spending a spell point mitigates this penalty for 1 minute.

Each day you do not use a spell point, you may make a Fortitude save against your addiction DC to overcome your addiction. After making a save in this fashion, your addiction DC is reduced by 2. You must succeed at 2 consecutive saves to overcome your addiction. Unlike normal addictions, an addiction to magic cannot be cured with magic, although the Heal skill can be used to help overcome addictions similar to overcoming diseases.

If you already possess a minor addiction and fail your Fortitude save after spending spell points, you gain a moderate addiction. This gives you a -2 penalty to Constitution and Strength, and requires 3 saves to overcome. If you fail your save and already have a moderate addiction, you gain a severe addiction, suffering a -2 penalty to Dexterity, Constitution, Strength, Wisdom, and your primary casting attribute (if not Wisdom). If you overcome an addiction and later gain it again due to failing your Fortitude save, your addiction DC resets itself to its highest previous amount. This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Center of Power

You have an obvious physical feature which is the source of your magical power. Whenever you cast, any creature within 30 ft. of you can clearly see that your magic originates from your center of power. If a critical hit is confirmed on you, your center is disrupted, and you lose 1d4 spell points (if you have them) and are dazed for 1 round. A creature can target this with a called shot. The center of power is considered a tricky shot (-5).

At the GM’s discretion, certain kinds of physical restraint might also make spellcasting require a concentration check equal to 20 + the caster level of the ability, depending on the nature of the center of power and the restraint. An undesirable polymorph effect may also produce the same results.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Magical Signs drawback.

Coy Caster

Your magic is a fickle thing, or perhaps you’re simply possessed of performance anxiety. If you attempt to use magic while you know you’re being observed, you must make a concentration check (DC 15 + 1/2 the caster level) to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. If you believe you are hidden or alone, even if you’re not, you may use magic normally.

Diagram Magic

In order to perform any magical effect, either you or your target must be entirely contained within the boundaries of a special diagram. Creating this diagram requires a full-round action for every 5 ft. square contained within the diagram. Once the circle has been drawn, make a spellcraft check as part of the full-round action to draw the final part of the circle against DC 15 + the maximum caster level of any effect to be performed within the circle to determine if it was done correctly. You may take 10 on this check even if in combat or stressed. You can increase the speed at which you draw the diagram but at greater risk of making a mistake. For every step by which you reduce the time required to draw the diagram, increase the spellcraft DC by +5 to a maximum of +20 to draw the circle as a free action, but doing so prevents you from taking 10 on the check.

The diagram need not be drawn with any special materials, and can be done with sprinkled salt, paint, blood, or anything else that may be on hand so long as it is clearly visible. If the diagram is disrupted (any amount of damage dealt to the surface it is carved upon, or sufficient force from water, wind, or any other effect that might disperse the material the diagram was created with) then any magic previously cast stays in effect, but no further spells may be used until a new circle is drawn. Spells and effects created by magic within the diagram and summoned creatures never disrupt it even if they would otherwise.

This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Draining Casting [Core]

Using magic saps your lifeforce. Using any sphere ability deals you 1 point of nonlethal damage which cannot be healed through any means except rest. This increases to 2 points at 5th caster level, 3 points at 10th caster level, 4 points at 15th caster level, and 5 points at 20th caster level. Creatures immune to nonlethal damage cannot gain this drawback.

Emotional Casting

Your magic requires heightened emotional states of mind to use. When subject to a non-harmless magical effect that invokes an emotion (such as fear effects, spells with the (emotion) descriptor, or charms such as Fear or Hostility) you are unable to use magic.

Extended Casting [Core]

Your magic takes longer to use than normal. When using an ability gained from a sphere or talent, increase the casting time by one step: swift actions become move actions, move actions become standard actions, standard actions become full-round actions, full-round actions take 1 full round to complete, and 1-round actions take 1 minute to compete. This drawback counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Focus Casting [Core]

Your magic requires you to use an item such as a wand, holy symbol, ring, or staff to create magic. Using magic without your focus requires you to make a concentration check (DC 20 + 1/2 the caster level) to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. If a focus is lost, stolen, or broken, the caster must create a new focus by securing the necessary item and spending 8 hours bonding with it. At the GM’s discretion, however, another caster’s focus may be used instead.

Galvanized

Your magic was forged by war, and is integrated with your fighting abilities. To use or concentrate on your abilities, you must wielding a martial or exotic weapon with at least some metal components (even some metal decorations on a wooden weapon are sufficient). You must be able to attack with the weapon, and have proficiency with it. The weapon itself has no special properties, but can not have the broken condition.

Being disarmed, or having the weapon sundered counters any sphere abilities you are casting or maintaining. If a polymorph spell causes the weapon to become part of your body you lose your abilities, unless you can still attack with the weapon somehow. You can still switch between weapons while maintaining sphere abilities.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Focus Casting drawback.

Magical Signs [Core]

Your magic is accompanied by a tell-tale sign; for example, your body glows brightly, the sound of tortured souls shriek as you cast, feelings of a deep chill affect all creatures within 30 ft. All nearby creatures know when you are using magic, as well as the nature of the magic used.

Material Casting [Core]

Your magic requires the expenditure of specific materials: precious metals, rare components, etc. The exact nature of this material should be worked out with the GM, but as a rule of thumb, this should cost a silver piece worth of materials per caster level per ability used.

Material Casting Designer’s Note: The negligible cost of most material components in the core Pathfinder magic system is different from the material casting drawback. While some Pathfinder GMs require players to shop for material components and fight villains who’ll sunder the PC’s spell pouch, others simply ignore all but the most costly materials, playing as if material components didn’t exist. GMs should decide the role materials will play in their worlds before allowing this drawback; the materials needn’t cost a silver piece per caster level as recommended, but a player shouldn’t be allowed to take this drawback, only to counter it with a one-time purchase of a 5 gp component pouch.

Mental Focus

Your magic requires you to have a focus that is not always possible to achieve. You normally have focus, but lose it whenever you fail a save versus mind-affecting magic, have a critical hit confirmed on you, or a condition causes you to lose the ability to concentrate (such as being nauseated or helpless or failing an enforced concentration check such as from being entangled). Using magic without your mental focus requires you to make a concentration check (DC 20 + 1/2 caster level) to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. If focus is lost, the caster can refocus by meditating as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Narcoleptic Casting

Your magic has a pacifying effect that can lull you to sleep. At the end of any round in which you spend 1 or more spell points (or the equivalent for characters that qualify for a casting tradition but spend an alternate resource such as ki in place of spell points) you must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw with a DC of 10 + 1/2 your total levels in casting classes (minimum DC 11) or fall asleep standing up for 1 round. Sleeping creatures are helpless. Slapping or wounding awakens an affected creature, but normal noise does not. Awakening a creature without dealing damage is a standard action (an application of the aid another action). Creatures immune to sleep cannot gain this drawback; if a creature later becomes immune to sleep after gaining this drawback, they may immediately retrain it for another drawback or lose it, recalculating their spell points as appropriate.

This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained

Painful Magic [Core]

Your magic consumes you the more you rely on it. You must pass a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the ability’s Caster Level) whenever you use magic, or be sickened for 1 round. If you use magic while sickened, you must pass a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the ability’s Caster Level) or be nauseated for 1 round.

Prepared Caster [Core]

You must prepare your magic beforehand to use it. After resting to regain spell points, you must assign each of your spell points to a sphere you possess. You cannot spend more spell points in a given sphere in a day than you have assigned to that sphere.

Rigorous Concentration

Your magic requires intense amounts of concentration to use. When making a concentration check (such as to cast defensively or while taking damage), the DC increases by +10. You may increase the casting time by one step to take extra time focusing and negate this penalty.

Skilled Casting [Core]

You must create your magic through singing, drawing, or some other activity. Your magic is tied to a particular Perform, Profession, or Craft skill (although with GM permission another skill may be substituted). You must succeed at a skill check to use any sphere ability. The DC of this skill check is 15 + the ability’s caster level. For every 2 points by which this skill check falls short of this DC, the ability manifests at -1 caster level. If this reduces the ability to a caster level below 0, the manifested ability fails and any spell points used are lost.

A caster with Skilled Casting must be able to perform their skill to use their magic, which is similar to but not the same as possessing other drawbacks. For example, a caster who must draw to create magic must have at least one hand free, although unless he also possesses Somatic Casting he may do so while wearing heavy armor without a chance of arcane spell failure. Likewise, a caster who uses music to create magic must be able to speak, but unless he also possesses Verbal Casting he can do so quietly and not break stealth.

Somatic Casting [Core]

You must gesture to cast spells—a process that requires you to have at least 1 hand unoccupied. When using magic, you cannot wear armor heavier than light without incurring a chance of arcane spell failure. You may select this drawback twice. If taken a second time, you cannot wear any armor or use a shield without incurring a chance of arcane spell failure.

Strenuous

Your magic takes a physical or mental toll on you that limits how quickly and easily you can use it. You can not spend more than 1 spell point from your spell pool per round, and never as part of an immediate action. You can still use an ability that requires multiple spell points by voluntarily increasing the casting time to a number of rounds equal to the cost in spell points.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Extended Casting drawback.

Terrain Casting [Apoc]

Your magic draws upon the primal energy and nutrients of the terrain. Whenever you use a sphere talent or ability you must either spend an additional spell point or increase your casting time by one step, else your magic drains and corrupts your space and all adjacent squares. Terrain that has been blighted in such a manner prevents those who possess the Terrain Casting drawback from using sphere talents or abilities as if it were a dead magic zone. Areas that have had its nutrients drained are affected in different ways depending upon location (water may turn brackish or stagnant, while soil may become barren or salted); regardless of location, blighted areas will generally heal naturally after a year.

Verbal Casting [Core]

You must speak in a loud, clear voice to cast spells. Using magic alerts all nearby hearing creatures to your presence and location, effectively breaking stealth. You cannot cast in an area of magical silence, or in any other situation where you are unable to speak clearly.

Wild Magic [Core]

Your magic is not entirely stable and can result in a variety of unwanted effects. Whenever you spend a spell point, there is a 10% chance an unexpected event happens alongside your magic. Roll as if you had activated a rod of wonder. Add that effect to those you produce with your magic. At the GM’s discretion, wild magic tables, or even tables of his own creation, may be added to the possible effects your magic can create.

Wild Magic, Variant

You have a base wild magic chance of 10%. This wild magic chance does not stack with wild magic chance from other sources. You may not possess both this drawback and the Wild Magic general drawback found in Spheres of Power.

Wiki Note: The Variant Wild Magic is the one fully integrated with Spheres of Power's Wild Magic system.

Witchmarked

Some aspect of your characteristics is a dead giveaway about your magical nature. This could be any purely cosmetic modification or sensation that is hard to hide such as a vestigial tail (or tails), glowing eyes, an aura visible to the naked eye or the stench of death clinging to you. The intensity of this trait grows proportional to your power. You take your caster level as a circumstance penalty to Disguise checks. Anyone who sees you and/or beats your Disguise check is able to identify you as magical and may make a Knowledge (arcana) check DC: 20 - your caster level (minimum DC 0) to learn your caster level and what base magic spheres you possess.

You may not take this drawback if you also have the Magical Signs drawback.


Sphere-Specific Drawbacks

Rather than grant bonus spell points, sphere-specific drawbacks grant the target an extra magic talent in their prerequisite sphere. A creature does not gain this bonus magic talent until they gain the sphere-specific drawback’s prerequisite sphere. A sphere-specific drawback may be removed by spending a magic talent, in essence ‘paying back’ the talent gained from the drawback. All sphere-specific drawbacks require their base sphere.


Alteration

Beast Soul [Core]

You cannot bestow the Blank Form. You must select a talent that grants a form with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Flesh Warper

You may not target yourself with shapeshift. You may not select this drawback if you possess the Lycanthropic drawback. You may not select the Lycanthropic drawback, once you have selected Flesh Warper.

Lycanthropic [Core]

You can only target yourself with your shapeshift ability. You cannot gain the Mass Alteration nor Ranged Alteration talents.

Rebound

If an unwilling creature succeeds on a save to resist your shapeshift effect, you must save against the same effect at the same DC. On a failed save, you receive all the traits and forms you would have granted the target. This effect lasts for 1d4 rounds. You may not select this drawback if you possess the Lycanthropic drawback. You may not select the Lycanthropic drawback, once you have selected Rebound.

Unnatural Transformation

Creatures under the effect of your shapeshift bear irrepressible signs (coloration, visual aura, glowing sigil or similar) of their true identity. Your shapeshift never grants a bonus to Disguise checks due to the obviously unnatural nature of the transformation. When struck by a silver weapon a creature under the effect of your shapeshift must make a Will save with a DC equal to the damage dealt or have the shapeshift end immediately.


Conjuration

Caller

You do not gain the summon ability of the Conjuration sphere. You must select the Summoning advanced talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback. This drawback may not be selected if the Summoning advanced talent is not permitted in your campaign. You may not possess this drawback if you possess any drawback that affects the summon ability or companions granted by it.

Consistent Companions

Choose a companion archetype. Your Conjuration sphere companions all possess this archetype. All your companions must possess the same free (form) talent (if any). When applying a form talent to a companion, all of your other companions must have identical form talents before you add a new form talent to any companion. Each companion must possess the same feats and skill ranks at a given number of Hit Dice (if possible given their current talents). You must take Extra Companion with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Constant Link

Maintaining your companion’s presence requires concentration. You may not spend a spell point to continue the duration of summon without concentration nor take any talents that would allow you to maintain the summon without concentration. You may not possess both this and the Solitary Summons drawback.

Divided Soul

Your Conjuration sphere companions share a single pool of Hit Dice. The Hit Dice of all your companions combined is equal to your caster level (with a minimum of 1 Hit Die per companion). When you gain a caster level, you may choose which companion gains the additional Hit Die, but no single companion can have Hit Dice exceeding 2/3 your caster level. If this calculation would result in companion’s with less than 1 Hit Die, each companion instead has 1 Hit Die, but has their hit points reduced by half and take a -1 penalty on all d20 rolls. Calculate the companion’s Hit Dice prior to applying the effects of any companion template. You must take Extra Companion with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Elongated Summoning [Core]

Summoning a creature requires 1 minute of concentrated effort, rather than only a standard action.

Figment Companion

Your companions are only semi-real projections. The first time each round a creature is affected by an effect originating from your companions, such as attacks or sphere effects, it may make a Will save versus your Conjuration sphere DC to negate the effect and any others originating from your companion before the start of the creature’s next turn. Succeeding on this save grants a +2 bonus on future saves made against that same companion for the next 24 hours. (As usual, this bonus does not stack with itself.)

Material Weakness

Choose cold iron, silver, or wood (or another special material with GM’s explicit approval). When struck by a weapon primarily composed of the chosen material, your companion must make a Will save with a DC equal to the damage dealt or be dismissed from the plane. The companion may not be summoned again for 1 hour.

Object Bound

Choose an object for each companion you possess (for example: a small oil lamp, a ring, or a sword). Such objects count as magic items of the Conjuration sphere using your caster level for the item’s caster level, though you may still enchant them with other effects normally. If enchanted separately, the other effects on the item may be suppressed using dispel effects separately from the magic property granted by this drawback, using the caster level of those enchantments for determining the MSD of those effects.

You must drop or throw this object as part of casting summon. This does not affect the casting time, though additional actions may be required to draw the object.

If this object is broken or destroyed, you cannot summon the corresponding companion. While the companion is present, the object is visible on the companion and may be targeted with the sunder maneuver, dispel effects, and other effects that can target attended magical items. While part of the companion, the object emits a sign that draws attention to itself, usually glowing. If the object is broken, destroyed, or has its magic suppressed, the companion immediately disappears and may not be summoned again until the object is repaired or replaced.

Attuning a new object requires a 24 hour ritual. Any damage dealt to the object is also dealt to the companion without being further affected by damage reduction, immunity, resistance, or vulnerability.

You may choose to have a single item for any or all of your companions, but no more than one companion can be summoned using a single item simultaneously.

Solitary Summons

You may only have a single Conjuration companion summoned at any time. Summoning another immediately dismisses any already summoned. You must take Extra Companion with the bonus talent gained from this drawback. No companion you possess may have more than twice the number of (form) talents than any other companion you possess. You may not possess both this and the constant link drawback.


Creation

Fission

You cannot use the alter ability. If you use the create ability of the Creation sphere, you do so by splitting off part of your body: this inflicts 1d4 points of damage + 1d4 per size category of the object above Small to be created. This damage cannot be healed as long as the object exists. However, you may reabsorb the created object by touching it as a free action, causing you to heal damage equal to that expended to create it. If the object has the broken condition when it is reabsorbed you only gain 1/2 the hp back. If the object is destroyed you cannot reabsorb it but may heal normally. You may dismiss any object created in this way regardless of distance. Doing so does not restore the hit points lost but allows you to recover normally as if the object was destroyed. This drawback grants two bonus talents instead of one. Buying this drawback off with only one talent grants you the alter ability, but a second talent must be spent to remove the rest. You cannot gain both the Fission and the Limited Creation drawbacks.

Gas Mage

You may only create or alter gaseous objects but not liquids, solids, plasmas, or any other state of matter. You gain Expanded Materials: Gaseous Generation as the bonus talent for this sphere-specific drawback. You lose the ability to create or alter vegetable matter and cannot select Expanded Materials: Classic Substances.

Limited Creation [Core]

Choose either alter or create. You cannot use this ability, nor take talents which augment this ability. You may still gain Expanded Materials if you choose not to be able to create objects.

Material Focus [Core]

You may only create or alter objects of a single, special substance such as ice, cloth, bones, etc. You may choose iron or stone as your material, in which case you do not gain an extra magic talent from this drawback. You cannot take the Expanded Materials talent. You may choose shadowstuff as your material (you still receive the additional talent with this choice). Shadowstuff has hardness 5 and 10 hp per inch.

Material Mimic

In order to create or alter objects you must be in physical contact with another object that is composed of the material that will result from the effect and no more than three size categories smaller (e.g. to create a Medium iron object, you would need to be touching another iron object of Diminutive size or larger). If you possess Change Material then this restricts the materials you can change the targeted object into. If you possess the Fleshcraft advanced talent then you may not use your own body to produce fleshy objects, though you may use other creatures.

Water Wizard

You may only create or alter water, ice, and steam. You lose the ability to create or alter vegetable matter and instead can create or alter water in its solid, liquid, or gaseous forms. You cannot take Expanded Materials: (Any). This does not grant a bonus talent.


Dark

Black Spot [Apoc]

Your area of darkness is only a 5-ft. radius, and cannot be increased in any way. You cannot select talents that change the area of your darkness (such as Greater Darkness, Shifting Shadows, or Wall of Darkness). You must select a (darkness) talent as your bonus talent for this drawback. You cannot gain this drawback if you possess other drawbacks that would remove your ability to create darkness, such as the Meld into Dark or Penumbra drawbacks.

Cloaking Darkness

You’re adept at turning a target’s own shadow against them, but your ability to craft areas of darkness from nothing is lacking. You may use (shadow) talents at long range, but you cannot form and maintain areas of darkness or blot unless you’re standing within their area of effect.

Crepuscular

Your magic draws on the interplay of darkness and light and the contrast of shadows rather than pure blackness. You may not use Dark sphere talents when you are positioned within lighting conditions of darkness or bright light, even if they were created by your own magic.

Meld into Dark [Core]

You cannot create darkness, and you may only target yourself when granting a (meld) talent. You may only select (meld) talents and Quick Meld from the Darkness sphere. However, you may also use (meld) talents in all dim light and darkness, not just areas of your darkness.

Penumbra [Apoc]

You cannot create darkness, and cannot select (darkness) talents. You must select the Dampen Light talent as your bonus talent for this drawback. You cannot gain this drawback if you possess other drawbacks that would alter or remove your ability to create darkness, such as the Black Spot or Meld into Dark drawbacks.

Photophobic Casting

Your magic draws on the darkness, to the point that the light evaporates away your power. You suffer a -1 penalty to your caster level when attempting to cast in normal light, and -2 when attempting to cast in bright light, to a minimum of 1. The location of the caster is used to determine the light level for this drawback. (Shadow) talents, such as Shadowed Mein and Lightless Penumbra, which do not impact the ambient light level of an area, do not prevent this caster level penalty.

Shadow Dependance

Rather than summon darkness from nothing, you draw upon your own shadow to produce your magic. You stretch and manipulate your shadow to create areas of darkness or blot, and may only have one active at any given time. When your darkness or blot is active you do not cast a shadow and can’t use or be the target of abilities or talents that depend on possessing a shadow. You may otherwise use (shadow) and (meld) talents normally. You may not take the Meld into Dark drawback if you take Shadow Dependence.


Death

Deathful Touch [Core]

You may use ghost strike as a melee touch attack, but not as a ranged touch attack. You can only make melee attack with the Cryptic Strike talent. You cannot gain this drawback if you have selected ghost strike with the Necromantic Limit drawback.

Necromantic Limit [Core]

Choose either ghost strike or reanimate. You cannot use this ability, nor take talents which augment this ability.


Destruction

Aligned Combatant [Core]

Choose an end of the alignment spectrum that you possess (good, evil, lawful, or chaotic). Your destructive blast deals no damage to creatures who possess this alignment and full damage to creatures of the opposite alignment (evil for good, lawful for chaotic, etc.). Neutral creatures (those who possess neither your selected alignment nor its opposite) suffer half damage from your destructive blast.

Destructive Touch [Core]

You may only make melee touch attacks with your destructive blast. It cannot be used as a ray attack. You may not select the Explosive Orb, Extended Range, or Guided Strike talents. If using the Energy Wall or Energy Sphere talent, the ability must begin in a square that is adjacent to you. If using the Rebuff talent, you can only protect yourself or an adjacent target with that ability.

Energy Focus [Core]

You may only make a destructive blast of a single energy type. You may not gain any blast type talents, except with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Shape Focus

You may only make a destructive blast of a single shape. You may not gain any shape type talents, except with the bonus talent gained from this drawback. If your chosen shape is the default blast shape, you may choose any non-shape destruction talent as your bonus talent.


Divination

Limited Divination [Core]

Choose either sense or divine. You cannot use this ability, nor take talents which augment this ability.

Limited Penetration

When using divination talents or abilities to divine you can only penetrate solid objects made primarily out of one material category of your choice. Categories may include: earth (dirt and stone), flesh (living and dead), metal (ore and forged), or vegetable (plant-life and wood). You must select a (divine) talent with the bonus talent granted by this drawback.

Hidden Magic [Core]

You do not gain the base divine ability to detect magic, nor the base sense ability to decipher magical text. You may still gain other senses through magic talents and gain the ability to detect other things (undead, charms, etc.) through the divine ability.

Shaped Divination

When using divination talents or abilities, you can only divine targets inside a cone rather than a sphere centered upon yourself. You may take this drawback a second time, limiting your ability to only divine targets inside a line instead of a cone. This drawback does in no other way change the range at which you may divine targets. In regards to this drawback, your divination shape (be it cone or line) remains fixed pointing in one direction, however, once each round as a free action you may change the direction of the shape. You must select (divine) talent(s) with the bonus talent(s) granted by this drawback.


Enhancement

Bodily Enhancement [Core]

You cannot enhance equipment and objects with your enhancements, only creatures. You must choose an (enhance) talent with the bonus talent gained by this drawback.

Consciousness Linked

Your enhancements are linked to you even after you spend a spell point to have them continue without concentration. If you fall asleep, are stunned, or fall unconscious, all of your enhancements immediately end.

Constructor

You cannot use any effect of the Enhancement sphere that does not create a creature or mind. You must use the bonus magic talent from this drawback to select either Animate Object or Bestow Intelligence; you cannot take this drawback if you possess any other drawback that only affects effects of the Enhancement sphere that this drawback prevents you from taking.

Delinquent Enhancements

You cannot concentrate on abilities from the Enhancement sphere. In other words, you must spend a spell point or have them end after one round (unless this is otherwise extended by abilities such as the Lingering Enhancement talent).

Enhancement Dependency

Your body has become dependent on enhancement magic. You suffer a -2 penalty to Fortitude saves as long as you are not under the effects of an enhancement.

Marking Enhancements

A mark appears on any creature or object you enhance. This mark always appears on a body part or portion of the object where it is easily visible. The mark can be easily removed; it can be rubbed away as a Standard action (which requires a touch attack and provokes an attack of opportunity if the creature is not willing), or fades away after being exposed to water or another solvent for one minute. Once the mark has been removed, the enhancement ends prematurely.

Narcotic Magic

You find your magic to be intoxicating; you suffer a -2 penalty to Will saves as long as you are under the effects of one of your own enhancements, or are in physical contact with an object you’ve enhanced. You must choose an (enhance) talent that can affect creatures as your bonus talent.

Obvious Enhancements

Your enhancements are incredibly obvious to anyone paying attention. This can be due to anything from small sparks of magic jumping from the nostrils of an enhanced creature to an odd greasy sheen that coats anything you enhance. Regardless, any creature within 30 ft. knows that the creature or object is enhanced, and is considered to have automatically succeeded on a Spellcraft check to determine its effects.

Personal Magics [Core]

You may only target yourself and your own equipment with your enhance ability. You cannot take the Ranged Enhancement talent, and any magic (except for the Bestow Intelligence, Lighten, and Animate Object talents) bestowed on an object ceases to function when wielded by another creature.

Restricted Enhancement

You may only enhance a specific category of creatures, drawn from the ranger’s favored enemy list, chosen upon taking this drawback. If your GM approves, you may instead select a category that is roughly as narrow as a ranger’s favored enemy, such as “members of my own tribe”. You must already possess the Bodily Enhancement drawback to select this one.

Special Delivery

Whenever you use an enhancement that targets a creature, you create a number of lozenges equal to the number of targets in the palm of your hand or in a container you are touching. Any valid creature may consume a lozenge to receive the effects of the enhancement, which uses the same action as drinking a potion. Time spent in pill form counts towards the enhancement’s duration; a pill created due to Special Delivery possess an aura as if it were the original target of the effect.


Fate

Mythogogy

You may not create word or consecration effects. You may only select (motif) talents and talents that augment (motif) effects, and must select a (motif) talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback. You must already possess the Neutrality drawback to select this one. You cannot gain this drawback if you also have the Sanctified Body or Tongue of Ages drawbacks.

Neutrality [Core]

You lack a strong connection to any alignment type. You cannot use the hallow word.

Personal Fate [Core]

You may only target yourself with your words.

Reverberations

Your (word) talents emit a susurrating voice announcing the name of the word to all creatures within 15 ft. of the target when it is used and for its duration. Their effects are suppressed in a region of magical silence. You must select a (word) talent with the bonus talent granted by this drawback.

Sanctified Body

Your (consecration) talents affect only you, and you may not select Greater Consecration. You cannot gain this drawback if you also have the Mythogogy or Tongue of Ages drawbacks.

Tongue of Ages

You may not create consecration or motif effects. You may only select (word) talents and talents that augment (word) effects. You cannot gain this drawback if you also have the Sanctified Body or Mythogogy drawbacks.


Illusion

Disappearance

You cannot create illusions or tricks, except to make things disappear, fade or be suppressed. You must select Blur, Invisibility, Muffle or Silence talent as your bonus talent granted by this drawback

Limited Sensation

You may not take additional (sensory) talents from the Illusion sphere. Your illusions lose the [Sight] descriptor granted by the base Illusion sphere. You must take a (sensory) talent as the bonus talent granted by this drawback. If you select Illusionary Touch as the bonus talent granted by this drawback you are not prohibited from taking it a second time.

Tricksters Grudge

Your illusions only work on one specific type of creature. When you select this drawback you must select a creature type. If you select humanoid or outsider you must also select a subtype. All other creature types automatically disbelieve your illusions and any non-shadow effects that would persist even if disbelieved have no effect on them.

Obscura Mage

You may not create figments with your illusions or select (figment) only talents. You also cannot use tricks that target an area. You must select a (glamer) talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Personal Illusion

Your illusions are directly connected to your body. The range of your figments and tricks that target an area is reduced to 0 ft, you may only target squares that you currently occupy and must spend an immediate action any time your location changes to direct all figments and tricks you are currently maintaining to move with you.

To use tricks that target unwilling creatures or objects you must first make a successful melee touch attack. The duration of tricks targeting creatures or objects immediately ends the round you are no longer maintaining physical contact with the target.

If you have the mass glamers talent you may use glamers on other creatures and objects so long as the glamer is also applied to yourself. The range of glamers used in this way becomes touch and to maintain a glamer on another creature you must remain in physical contact with that creature.

Sense Shaper

You may not create glamers with your illusions or select (glamer) only talents. You also cannot use tricks with duration that target creatures. You must select a (figment) talent with the bonus talent granted from this drawback.

Theme Fixation

Your may only create figments and glamers within a specific and narrow theme such as dragons, cubes, insects, cards, weapons, hands, etc.

The exact nature of this concept should be worked out with the GM, but as a rule of thumb, this should consist of a consistent singular theme. Be sure to specify how your illusions appear and behave when made as a figment and a glamer, such as whether the glamer appears enveloping the target as an aura or having multiple small copies of the theme flying around the target.

With GM permission your figments and glamers may have different individual concepts that work together to create a singular theme, however the two concepts should be related to and dependent on each other in some way. For example, glamers that can only create a dragon enveloping the target and figments that can only appear as flames that must originate from the mouth of a dragon glamer. The GM is the final arbiter on whether the two concepts may be considered a singular theme.

You must take either Artisan Figments, Artisan Glamers or a (sensory) talent as the bonus talent granted by this drawback.


Life

Glorious

You are not a healer, you are a soldier, and life can’t be given before it is taken. You cannot use your Life sphere abilities without successfully attacking a worthy enemy first. You gain the Taste of Victory talent as your bonus talent for this drawback, but you can only use your Life abilities when Taste of Victory is triggered.

Limited Restoration [Core]

Choose either restore or cure/invigorate. You cannot use this ability or abilities, nor take talents that only augment those listed abilities.

Medicinal

Your Life sphere abilities cannot be used directly on a creature. Instead, you have the ability to imbue a liquid with your Life sphere abilities. You must select the Water of Life talent with the bonus talent granted by this drawback, and you can only use your Life sphere abilities to imbue fluids, and not directly on creatures. You cannot gain the Ranged Healing talent. You can not take this drawback if you have the Glorious or Sympathetic drawback.

Regenerate [Core]

You may only target yourself with your Life sphere abilities.

Slow Recovery

You lack the ability to cause rapid healing; you can only cure by granting fast healing. You may still restore or invigorate creatures normally. You must use the talent gained from this drawback to buy the Revitalize talent.

Sympathetic

You may only restore others by taking their afflictions unto yourself. You must select the Empathic Healing talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback and can only use the restore sphere ability with the Empathic Healing talent.

Unnatural Remedy

Your healing magic may be cold, eerie, harsh, or pervasive. Whenever you use a Life sphere ability on a target, they reflexively resist (even while unconscious), and must make a Will saving throw against the effect as if they were an unwilling target.

You may not take this drawback if you have the Regenerate drawback.


Light

Lens Focus

You cannot create glow effects. You may only select (lens) talents and talents that augment (lens) effects, and must select a (lens) talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Nimbus Focus

You may only cause your glows to shed light in a specific shape. You may not gain any (nimbus) talents, except with the bonus talent gained from this drawback, and must always apply its effects to light shed by your glows.

Nyctophobic Casting

The night is dark and full of terrors, not the least of which is your inability to properly mold magical energies within it. You suffer a -1 penalty to your caster level when attempting to cast in dim light, and -2 when attempting to cast in area of darkness, to a minimum of 1. The location of the caster is used to determine the light level for this drawback.

Roving Glow

You cannot place glow effects on objects or creatures. You must select the Dancing Lights talent with the bonus talent gained from this drawback.

Touch of Light [Core]

You cannot cause objects to glow as a ranged touch attack. You cannot take Ranged Light. If you use the Area Glow talent, you must center the effect on yourself.


Mind

Animal Shaman [Core]

You may affect animals and vermin with your charm effects, but not any other creature type. This does not grant a bonus talent.

Blatant Side-Effects

Your mind-affecting magic acts more like a hammer than a scalpel, and produces odd, unintended changes in your target, effectively giving your mind-affecting effects a signature, recognizable trait. Deadpan speech patterns accompanied by an echo and a change in vocabulary, strange glowing halos, curious tremors in the earth whenever the target draws near, the temporary growth of horns or antlers, or even inexplicably vibrant, sometimes swirling, eyes are just some of the traces that your magical mind-affecting effects might leave on their targets.

These side effects vanish without a trace when a target is no longer under the effect of one of your mind-affecting effects, making it incredibly obvious when you are influencing someone’s mind and when you are not. Whatever the nature of the signs, a person speaking to or observing a target so affected will recognize the creature’s signs with a DC 10 Perception check, and may know (either through personal history or a DC 10 Spellcraft check) that the target is under mental control. In addition, a DC 15 Sense Motive check will suggest mental coercion and allow someone to detect the enchantment at work, as will a DC 5 Sense Motive check for incredibly blatant mind-affecting effects (such as the Enthrall or Mind Control talents or the Dominate Person spell).

Empath [Core]

You cannot plant suggestions into a target’s mind, as the Mind sphere base suggestion charm. You must select a (mind) talent with the bonus talent granted by this drawback.

Kindred Knack

You may not affect creatures of your own creature type, and the Expanded Charm talent does not allow you to affect creatures of your own creature type. The bonus magical talent gained from this drawback must be Recondite Stimuli, allowing you to affect creatures from one of the following types: constructs, vermin, undead, or both plants and oozes.

Lost In Translation

The targets of your (charm) talents must share a language with you in order for the charms to take effect, and the language must be properly spoken to them as part of the casting. Creatures incapable of hearing you cannot be affected by your (charm) talents.

Tactile Charm

The range of your (charm) talents decreases from close to touch.


Nature

Limited Nature [Apoc]

Whenever you would gain a geomancing package, you gain only a single base ability of that package. For example, if you have the plantlife package, you gain only entangle, growth, or pummel. You cannot take this drawback if you took the Nature Spirit drawback.

Nature Spirit [Core]

You cannot use geomancing powers, only (spirit) talents. You cannot gain talents that augment the geomancing power, but you may select any (spirit) talent, even if it would normally require a geomancing package you do not possess. You must select a (spirit) talent with the bonus talent granted by this drawback.


Protection

Absorbing

Your aegises work by absorbing attacks and energy rather than deflecting it away. You do not gain the Deflection aegis. You must use the talent gained with this drawback to acquire an (aegis) talent.

You can not take this drawback if you have the Limited Protection (aegis) drawback.

Aligned Protection [Core]

Choose an end of the alignment spectrum that you possess (good, evil, lawful, or chaotic). Your wards and aegis only provide protection against creatures of the opposite alignment (evil for good, lawful for chaotic, etc.). Creatures who possess your selected alignment or are neutral (those who possess neither your selected alignment nor its opposite) are not stopped by your barriers, hindered by your wards, and your aegis provides no protection against attacks that originate from those creatures.

Circle of Symbols

Your wards consist of circles of glowing symbols and runes with no true physicality. You do not gain the barrier ward. You must use the bonus talent gained from this drawback to select a (ward) talent.

You can not take this drawback if you have the Limited Protection (ward) drawback.

Crystalline

Your aegis abilities create a physical lattice of crystal around the creature bearing the aegis. It can not be removed without destroying it, and any part that is broken off disappears. A Spellcraft check against a DC equal to 15 + 1/2 your caster level can identify what the lattice is. This requires some means of perceiving magic (such as the Divination sphere’s divine ability).

The lattice can be sundered as if it were a piece of armor. It has a hardness equal to 5 + 1 for every 4 caster levels, and hit points equal to 4 + your caster level. In addition, it provides no defense from touch attacks by incorporeal creatures or light-based attacks. You must use the talent gained with this drawback to acquire an (aegis) talent. You can not take this drawback if you have the Limited Protection (aegis) drawback.

Limited Protection [Core]

Choose either ward or aegis. You cannot use this ability, nor gain talents that augment it.

Luminous

Your Protection sphere abilities take on the form of an aura or field of light. The light is not powerful enough to be used as a light source, but makes the presence of the protection ability obvious to anyone within 30 feet. Creature’s wearing an aegis you created can not benefit from stealth, invisibility, or concealment. Effects that dispel light (such as Dark effects) dispel your Protection sphere abilities as well.

Protected Soul [Core]

You cannot target other creatures with your aegis, only yourself. You cannot select this drawback if you choose aegis as your lost ability with the Limited Protection drawback.

Second Skin

Your aegis not only surrounds creatures, it enchants their skin directly. You may only apply an aegis to a creature who is wearing no armor. You must use the bonus talent gained from this drawback to buy an (aegis) talent. You may not take this drawback if you have the Protected Soul drawback.

Shielding

Your aegis takes the form of an energy shield that you use to intercept attacks. You can not create any aegis that protects a creature from the environment (such as Breathless), and creatures lose the benefit of your aegis against attacks that would bypass a shield or when they are flat-footed.

You must use the bonus talent gained from this drawback to take the Shared Aegis talent.


Telekinesis

Limited Telekinesis [Core]

You may only use your telekinesis on one type of material (water, metal, stone, etc.) chosen when you gain this drawback.


Time

Accelerator

You cannot use the slow alter time effect. You must select a (time) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Decelerator

You cannot use the haste alter time effect. You must select a (time) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Personal Time [Core]

You may only target yourself when using alter time abilities that target creatures. You cannot gain the Ranged Time or Group Time talents.


War

Battle Manipulation [Core]

You cannot create totems, but you may still use (rally) talents. You may target a creature with your (rally) talents, treating all creatures within 30 ft of you as if they were within the area of one of your totems. You must select a (rally) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Inspirational Caster

You must create your magic by giving a powerful speech, striking an intimidating pose, or similarly imposing your will. You must succeed at a Diplomacy or Intimidate skill check to use any War sphere talent or ability. The DC of this skill check is 10 + the caster level of the ability +1 for every 5 ft away the target location (for a ranged totem) or the farthest target you want to affect (for a mandate or rally) is. Failing this skill check causes the ability to fail, and any spell points to be used are lost.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Skilled Casting drawback as part of your tradition.

Personal Conflict

You can only create totems attached to creatures. You must use the talent gained from this drawback to purchase the Totemic Aura or Totemic Presence talent. Turning any totem you create into a fixed totem (such as through the use of the Redeployment talent) dispels it. You can create mandates and rallies normally.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Battle Manipulation drawback.

Small Unit Strategist

You do not gain Totem of War. You must select a (mandate) talent or a (momentum) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Battle Manipulation drawback, or any drawback that causes you to lose Totem of War.

Solo Combatant [Core]

You cannot target other creatures with your (rally) talents, only yourself. You must select a (rally) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Squadron Elite

Your War magic only works for those in your squadron. Creatures outside your squadron can not benefit from your totems, be rallied, use momentum, or be in mandates. When you take this drawback, you do not gain an additional talent. Instead, you gain the Squadron Commander feat.

You can not take this drawback if you took the Battle Manipulation drawback.


Warp

Bender [Core]

You cannot teleport, you may only bend space. You must select a (space) talent with the bonus talent gained through this drawback.

Limited Warp [Core]

You may only teleport when within an area that meets a specific condition and can only choose a destination that also matches that condition. Choose one of the following conditions or speak with your GM about finding another appropriate one: you can only teleport to and from areas of dim light or darkness; you can only teleport to and from a body of water; you can only teleport to and from fire; you can only teleport to and from a living tree. You cannot gain this drawback if you possess the Bender drawback.

Personal Warp [Core]

You may only target yourself with your teleport ability. You cannot gain the Unwilling Teleport or Group Teleport talents. You cannot gain this drawback if you possess the Bender drawback.


Weather

Focused Weather [Core]

You may only affect one weather category: Wind, Precipitation, Cold, or Heat. If you choose cold you may lower the severity of heat but cannot increase it. If you choose heat you may lower the severity of cold but cannot increase it. You cannot take talents that alter an aspect of the weather you cannot affect.


Boons

Boons are the opposite of drawbacks: instead of adding limitations and requirements to a caster’s magic, they add bonuses and benefits. A caster must possess 2 general drawbacks for each boon gained. Drawbacks used to purchase boons in this way are not counted toward bonus spell points.

Bound Creature

Your magic is tied to a magical creature, who shares essence and power with you.

You gain the Conjuration sphere (or the Extra Companion talent if you already possess the Conjuration sphere), and a companion who serves as the source of your power. Unlike a normal companion, this companion is not an extraplanar, and you may choose upon gaining the companion what creature type it possesses (although it does not gain the immunities or other qualities of its creature type). Your companion’s first (form) talent should reflect its creature type. This bound creature cannot be summoned or dismissed, and costs no spell points to use. You do not suffer a chance of failure from the Focused Casting drawback so long as your bound creature is on the same plane as you and is within Long range (400 ft + 40 ft per caster level). If your bound creature dies, you suffer a chance of spell failure as outlined in the Focused Casting drawback until you gain another bound creature. You cannot bond with a new creature for 30 days or until you gain another level, whichever comes first. The new bound creature must be the same creature type as your previous bound creature.

A caster must possess the focus drawback to select this boon. You may gain a dragon companion as outlined in the Halfling Dragonrider racial archetype (see The Player's Guide to Skybourne, by Drop Dead Studios), but this boon instead costs 4 drawbacks.

Deathful Magic [Core]

The closer you are to death, the more powerful your magic. When you are at half hit points or less, you gain a +1 temporary bonus to your caster level. When you are at 1/4th your total hit points or less, this temporary bonus increases to +2.

Draw Magic

You gain a +1 bonus to your caster level whenever at least 3 creatures under the effects of your sphere abilities are within 30 ft. of you. This bonus increases to +2 if there are at least 6 such creatures within 30 ft.

Easy Focus [Core]

When maintaining a sphere ability through concentration, you only need to spend a move action to maintain concentration instead of a standard action. This does not decrease the sphere ability’s casting time, only the action used to maintain concentration.

Embodiment

You have come to mentally embody some substance in spirit. Select some substance to which you have a mental or philosophical kinship, and magic that can only affect certain substances or work through certain substances can still affect you if you wish to be so affected. This doesn’t allow you to use talents or abilities that only affect items of a particular nature on yourself, but allows you to use abilities that could reasonably apply to you apart from a material limitation. For instance, you couldn’t use the Nature sphere to use Towering Growth on yourself via Embodiment (trees), but you could use Limited Telekinesis (Ice) to move yourself. Similarly, having Embodiment (trees) would allow another with Limited Warp (trees) to teleport to your location if you knew they wished to and allowed it to happen.

Empowered Abilities [Core]

Your magic grows in strength the more you use it. If your current number of spell points is half your total spell points or less, you gain a temporary +1 bonus to your caster level. If your current number of spell points is 0, the temporary bonus to your caster level becomes +2.

Fortified Casting [Core]

You may use your Constitution as your casting ability modifier if it is higher than your usual casting ability modifier. You must possess the Draining Casting drawback to select this boon.

Metamagic Expert [Core]

Whenever you augment a sphere ability with a metamagic feat, that sphere ability manifests at +1 caster level.

Overcharge [Core]

You may overcharge your magic, giving yourself great power at the cost of your own strength. Whenever you use a sphere ability, you may give yourself a +2 bonus to your caster level for that ability, but you become fatigued afterward. If you are already fatigued, you become exhausted. If you are exhausted, you collapse to the ground unconscious for 1d4 rounds. Creatures immune to fatigue cannot benefit from this boon.

Overwhelming Power

Creatures under the effects of at least 1 of your sphere abilities suffer a -1 penalty to their saves against your other sphere abilities. This penalty increases to -2 if they are under the effects of at least 3 of your sphere abilities.

Virtuoso

Your magic is blended into your performance making it more difficult to identify. Whenever you make a Skilled Casting check, onlookers make their Spellcraft check against your result or against the typical DC (whichever is higher) to identify the sphere talent or ability. In addition, if they fail their check by 5 or more, they interpret your casting as nonmagical activity.

In addition, if you purchase this boon with either somatic casting or verbal casting in addition to Skilled Casting, you do not automatically alert nearby creatures to the casting of your sphere talents or abilities by those drawbacks alone. Creatures specifically observing you for the purpose of detecting spellcasting are still entitled to their Spellcraft check as written above. You must possess the Skilled Casting drawback to select this boon.

Wild Surge

As a free action, you may gain a +2 bonus to caster level to the next sphere effect you cast before the start of your next turn by increasing your wild magic chance by 100% for the same period.

Wild Will

Choose an environment from the ranger’s favored terrain list. Animals, vermin, and magical beasts commonly found in your selected environment are especially susceptible to your magic; your talents are treated as 2 caster levels higher when affecting these creatures. Vermin common to these environments are treated as animals with an Intelligence score of 1 for the purposes of affecting them with your mind-affecting talents.

This boon may be taken multiple times, each time using a different environmental setting.


Multiple Traditions

If a player or GM wishes a player to follow two traditions (similar to creating a wizard/cleric in traditional Pathfinder), they may do so. When gaining a level in a casting class beyond their 1st, the caster may apply that casting level to a new tradition. They gain an entirely separate set of spheres, talents, caster level, spell points, drawbacks, and boons, which are determined similarly to but completely separate from the first set. When creating a magical effect, they must choose which of these traditions (and its associated spheres, talents, spell points, etc.) they will use; they cannot use aspects of one tradition to empower the other.

Whenever the caster gains a level in a casting class, they must decide which of their traditions that casting class level will be applied to for gaining spell points, casting level, and talents.


Spheres of Power by Drop Dead Studios
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