How To Build A Practitioner

Looking for help building your first martial practitioner with Spheres of Might? You're in the right place. This page will walk you through the process of creating a character, including the process of selecting a concept and working to flesh it out. Note that this page assumes you know how to create characters under the normal rules of Pathfinder. If you've never made a character before, ask your GM or a more experienced player to guide you through the process.

Step One: Read the Using Spheres of Might Page

This page introduces the Spheres of Might system and covers important things like definitions, save DC's, and how you can spend the combat talents you get.

The most important things from this page are the explanations of Attack Actions and Special Attack Actions. Spheres of Might largely avoids the full attacks encouraged by the normal Pathfinder rules (where characters can make multiple attacks as they increase in level, taking both their standard and move actions to perform). Instead, many of the spheres promote the use of the Attack Action (a standard action attack that you can apply effects to) or a Special Attack Action (a special, specific type of Attack Action), giving characters more flexibility to move around the battlefield. Many spheres require you to make an attack action instead of a full attack in order to gain their benefits.

Be sure to doublecheck your character against this page when you're done. This will help you ensure you have the right numbers on your character sheet.

Step Two: Pick a Class and Theme

Before you start making a character, you need to figure out what kind of character you want to play. Spheres of Might is a flexible system and supports a wide variety of concepts, from unarmed warriors who shatter foes with a single punch to weapon masters who switch tools between every attack. If you don't have a good theme in mind, it will be much harder to create an effective character. As part of this, you may end up selecting one of the martial traditions (or making your own), which essentially describes your character's initial martial training.

If you need inspiration, try looking at movies, television shows, artwork, or video games.

If you'd like to stick with Paizo's classes, archetypes exist to convert many of them to martial practitioners. In addition, characters can trade their normal feat progression for a line of combat talents. (This is how you could make a Spheres of Might-using Fighter without taking an archetype.)

If you'd like to use one of the new classes, here's a brief description of each, sorted by progression. Remember that Experts have full progression, Adepts have middle progression, and Proficients have low progression for talents. A character's base attack bonus usually matches their talent progression, but there are exceptions to this (specifically the Armiger class and potentially anyone who traded feats for talent progression). "Practitioner Modifier" refers to the stat that determines saving throw difficulties. Some classes offer a choice or tell you to use the highest of specific scores. If a class doesn't specify a practitioner modifier, it defaults to Wisdom.

Experts Description Practitioner Modifier
Blacksmith Blacksmiths are expert practitioners who excel in the use and maintenance of gear. In addition to providing daily benefits for the party, blacksmiths can also create mundane and magical equipment for people to use. This is a good class to play if you like making your own tools to see you through your encounters. Constitution
Conscript Much like the Incanter in Spheres of Power, Conscripts are essentially a toolkit for building your own class rather than a distinct class of their own. In addition to getting more combat talents than anyone else, Conscripts get plenty of bonus feats that can be spent on even more talents, combat feats, and teamwork feats. They can trade some (or all) of these feats to specialize in a sphere or pick up new abilities. Any Mental Score
Sentinel Sentinels are heavy-duty defenders who use the Guardian sphere to issue challenges and protect their allies. In addition to being experts with medium and heavy armor, Sentinels can rapidly gain temporary hit points and eventually learn to avoid many effects their foes might try to inflict on them. This is a good choice to play if you want the toughest tank you can get. Wisdom
Striker The Striker is a lightly-armored warrior who uses the Boxing, Brute, or Open Hand sphere to engage their foes. Strikers use a Tension mechanic to build up points that they can spend on a variety of helpful effects. At higher levels, their Striker Arts can teach them new ways to use Tension or make them more tougher to bring down. This is a good class to play if you enjoy managing a resource and expending it in brilliant combos. Constitution
Adepts Description Practitioner Modifier
Commander Commanders are natural masters of the Warleader sphere. In addition to allowing their Shouts and Tactics to last longer, Commanders can provide additional benefits to allies who are making use of them. This class is most appropriate for groups who enjoy strategy and working together, since much of the Commander's power relies on their allies' willingness to cooperate. Higher of Intelligence or Charisma
Technician Technicians are adept practitioners who excel at dealing with traps. In addition, they gain a variety of Technical Insights and Inventions they can use to cobble together a solution for a problem. This is a good class to play if you like coming up with crazy ideas, then making them work better than they had any right to. Intelligence
Proficients Description Practitioner Modifier
Armiger The Armiger is a Proficient class with Full BAB. In addition to their permanent talents, Armigers bond with customized weapons that grant them additional talents while wielding that weapon, allowing them to rapidly change their entire combat style. This is a good choice if you're looking for flexibility with your character. Any Mental Score
Scholar Scholars have low BAB and low talent progression, but make up for it with intelligence and planning. They are naturally proficient with the Alchemy and Scout spheres, and can use both their Scholar's Knacks and their Material Impositions to create useful effects. This is a good class to play if you want to interact with the game world more than directly attacking your foes. Intelligence

Step Three: Decide Which Spheres To Use

Broadly speaking, the martial spheres are divided into several overarching categories. Most characters will pick their initial spheres when they select something from the Martial Traditions available in their game, since these are a hybrid of weapon/armor proficiencies and basic combat talents. Note that while these categories are general, some creative character builds may tweak and adjust them. For example, while the Boxing sphere is generally 'unarmed', it can work with any light weapon.

In addition to their basic talents, each sphere has a number of Legendary Talents. These are not like the Advanced Talents from Spheres of Power, which can provide game-changing effects and require specific GM permission to take. Instead, Legendary Talents represent more mystical techniques (as opposed to the basic talents, all of which are mundane in nature). Your GM may freely allow them, deny access to them, or impose special limits (like requiring 5+ talents in a sphere before you can take a Legendary Talent from it), depending mostly on the flavor of their game world and how magical they want martial combatants to be. In general, Legendary Talents are balanced for the levels they can be acquired at, and should not significantly disrupt a game if chosen.

A well-balanced practitioner will typically have some offense, some defense, some utility, and some expertise with their gear. It may take several levels for a character's build to really get going. Remember, Spheres of Might is a flexible system, and there are creative ways of achieving good balance with a character - for example, reducing an enemy's accuracy can be just as helpful for defense as improving your AC.

Here are the major sphere categories:

Item Spheres

The Alchemy sphere allows you to create items using formulae or poison your opponent with a variety of toxins. Toxins can inflict effects like shaken, sickened, apply penalties to skill rolls, or even boost physical or mental scores for a time.

The Barroom sphere focuses on improvised weapons, and allows you to gain a variety of benefits from being drunk.

The Equipment sphere is somewhat unique because most practitioners will end up with something from this sphere. It has no innate effects - when you first pick it, you also pick a talent from it. Equipment talents are divided between Disciplines (gear proficiency, often with additional effects) and ways of interacting with or making better use of your gear.

The Trap sphere is exactly what it sounds like. In addition to making characters good at making and disarming traps, this sphere allows you to create Dart traps (which can strike one creature in a line for damage or certain loaded ammunition) and Snares (which target the first creature to enter a square it's placed in).

Offensive Spheres

Offensive spheres focus on dealing damage to foes. Many of the offensive spheres have benefits that trigger when you land a blow using the attack action, allowing you to quickly stack a number of effects onto a foe.

The Berserker sphere focuses on delivering heavy blows to foes. In addition, users of this sphere can reduce their AC to gain temporary hit points, making it an excellent choice for characters whose AC is pretty high and want to get that extra cushion.

The Dual Wielding sphere revolves around the use of two (or more) weapons at once. Successfully striking with both your main and off-hand weapon can inflict a variety of penalties on foes.

The Duelist sphere helps you disarm and inflict bleeding damage on foes. Successfully doing either of these can provide additional benefits for you (or penalties for your foe).

The Fencing sphere emphasizes the use of the feint ability to make your foes more vulnerable to being hit. It's often followed up by an attack action to take advantage of the target's weakness.

The Lancer sphere allows you to impale foes on your weapon, trapping them in place and allowing you to strike them more easily afterwards. Despite the name and common imagery, you don't actually need a lance or other long weapon to use this sphere.

Ranged Offensive Spheres

These spheres focus specifically on damaging foes at range, rather than in melee like most of the other spheres. Note that many of the normal offensive spheres have effects that can be applied to ranged attacks as well - they just don't exclusively focus on range the way these spheres do.

The Barrage sphere focuses on making rapid ranged attacks, even from up close to foes.

The Sniper sphere focuses on making single attacks, usually from long-range.

Defensive Spheres

Defensive spheres, naturally enough, focus on protecting yourself and/or your companions. Note that defense-improving options are not limited to these spheres - options in other spheres can and do provide defensive benefits, but the spheres themselves don't focus on it in the way these do. The Berserker sphere is partially defensive.

The Guardian sphere focuses on challenging foes (with penalties for attacking people besides you) and creating zones that you can patrol to make safer for you and your allies.

The Shield sphere focuses on using shields. This typically requires an actual shield, but anything used as a specific type of shield (such as that provided by a Ring of Force Shield) will likely play nice here. Your GM may allow other shield-like options to benefit from this sphere.

Unarmed Spheres

Unarmed spheres focus on making unarmed strikes in various ways. Characters gain a bonus to their unarmed damage based on the number of talents they have from these (and only these) spheres.

The Boxing sphere focuses on Counter Punches, allowing you to strike foes before they strike you.

The Brute sphere focuses on shoving opponents and battering them down. In addition, it can help with the Bull Rush, Drag, Reposition, and Overrun combat maneuvers, allowing practitioners to apply useful effects to each maneuver.

The Open Hand sphere focuses on making opponents fall prone, then taking advantage of them once they're on the ground.

The Wrestling sphere focuses on grappling foes and slamming them to inflict a variety of negative effects, up to and including using them as a weapon.

Utility Spheres

Utility spheres cover skills and a variety of useful effects. Few characters will specialize exclusively in these - more often, these are a supplement to battle talents and help a character expand their out-of-combat options.

The Athletics sphere covers movement, allowing for things like improved use of normal movement and making an attack action in the middle of movement instead of at one of the ends.

The Beastmastery sphere deals with animals and the handling thereof. A taming ability is provided for classes that don't have animal companions.

The Gladiator sphere is more martially-focused than most of the utility spheres, and covers both boasting about your accomplishments (providing a benefit for you and/or your allies) and demoralizing your foes (to inflict penalties on them).

The Scoundrel sphere emphasizes the use of Sleight of Hand, as well as the Steal and Dirty Trick combat maneuvers.

The Scout sphere helps you locate hazards, identify the weaknesses of foes, and use stealth to avoid problems.

The Warleader sphere focuses on taking control of the battlefield through tactics (which benefit allies) and shouts (which affect creatures in an area).

Step Four: Select Some Drawbacks (Optional)

Much like Spheres of Power, Spheres of Might allows you to take drawbacks in return for additional talents in a given sphere. Drawbacks are typically real penalties - like the loss of effects you could normally inflict - but can help further customize a character and match a particular theme.

Step Five: Fill Out Your Character Sheet

Once you've done all of the above, it's time to fill out your character sheet. Do this in the following order:

  • Race
  • Ability Scores
  • Combat Talents
  • Feats
  • Skill Points
  • Values (Saving Throws, Attack Modifiers, etc.)

You'll note that combat talents come fairly early in the process. This is because some combat talents provide the effects of feats or grant you skill points, so they should be selected before you pick anything for those categories.

By the time you're done, your character should look similar to one of our sample characters. [Coming Soon]

Other Notes

Basic Sphere Effects

Each sphere (except Equipment) gives you one or more effects when you first select it. If you're looking for a quick dip into a new Sphere, these are the benefits you'd get.

  • Alchemy: Ranks in Craft (Alchemy) = to HD.
  • Athletics: Ranks in Climb, Fly, Acrobatics, or Swim = to HD, and regain Martial Focus whenever you Withdraw.
  • Barrage: +1 to Attack/Damage with Ranged Weapons in 30 feet, and a Special Attack Action to make multiple ranged attacks.
  • Barroom: No penalties with improvised weapons, quickly drink potions and alcohol, and set the Drunk status on yourself.
  • Beastmastery: Choice of ranks in Handle Animal or Ride = to HD, plus taming creatures or improving your mount's defenses.
  • Berserker: Reduce AC by 2 to gain Temporary HP for a round, and a Special Attack Action to inflict the Battered condition on foes.
  • Boxing: Deal lethal damage with unarmed strikes and set up a counterattack to interrupt foes trying to attack you.
  • Brute: Deal lethal damage with unarmed strikes and gain a melee touch attack to inflict minor damage and the Battered condition.
  • Dual Wielding: Make an attack with an off-hand weapon as part of an attack action.
  • Dueling: Inflict bleed damage on foes when they're struck by an attack action or disarm attempt, and does not provoke AoO's when using a combat maneuver on a bleeding target.
  • Equipment: No special benefits. You do, however, immediately choose a talent from the sphere when you get it.
  • Fencing: Ranks in Bluff = to HD, and deal precision damage to foes vulnerable to it.
  • Gladiator: Ranks in Intimidate = to HD, improve your accuracy when you land a good blow, and an option to demoralize all foes close to you.
  • Guardian: Gain a pool that can delay some (or all) of the damage you receive until the end of your turn, and choice of challenging foes or creating a large range that you can threaten.
  • Lancer: Impale foes as part of an attack action, preventing them from moving and making them more vulnerable to followups.
  • Open Hand: Deal lethal damage with unarmed strikes and trip foes, without provoking an AoO, as a move action.
  • Scoundrel: Ranks in Sleight of Hand = to HD, bonuses to Dirty Trick, Steal, and Sleight of Hand, and a melee touch attack that inflicts Battered and reduces a foe's Perception.
  • Scout: Ranks in Stealth = to HD, and ability to use Perception to identify a foe's traits (at a -5 penalty).
  • Shield: When using a shield, spend Attacks of Opportunity to increase defense against attacks.
  • Sniper: Shoot at foes engaged in melee without taking a penalty, and a Special Attack Action allowing you to make a single high-damage ranged attack.
  • Trap: Ranks in Craft (Traps) = to HD, and the ability to create temporary snare and dart traps.
  • Warleader: Ranks in Diplomacy = to HD, and abilities that allow you to help allies flank creatures and allow your party to deal more damage.
  • Wrestling: Deal lethal damage with unarmed strikes and gain a melee touch attack you can perform as a swift action to grapple foes.

Damage Progression

Many Practitioners will want to pick up the Vital Strike line of feats in order to do the appropriate amount of damage. Typically, averaging 1/4 to 1/2 of a same-CR foe's HP per-round is appropriate - anything above this is excessive, while anything below is too little for a combat-focused character.


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