Talent Crystals
Treasures of the Spheres
Talent crystals are spherical gems roughly the size of a clenched fist. As a standard action, a creature can crush a talent crystal in order to permanently learn a specific talent, feat, or set of talents and/or feats that work together.

Talent crystals must be used in the way described in their entry; for example, the fireball crystal cannot be used to create a basic, non-fire destructive blast. Talents learned this way require the same actions as normal (typically a standard action for magic talents, and either specific actions or making an attack action for combat talents).

The power of these talents (including their caster level and save DC) is determined by the talent crystal when it is created, and they do not interact with any other talents the user has (although they can benefit from items or feats, such as metamagic feats or implements). Talent crystals usually (but not always) have an effective ability modifier of +4, increasing by +1 per 2 caster levels. If an effect requires a magic skill check against the MSD of the effect, its MSD is equal to 11 + the caster level of the crystal. Talent crystals that grant martial talents function similarly, but have an effective base attack bonus or effective skill ranks instead of an effective caster level. Talent crystals cannot be used to meet caster level, base attack bonus, or skill rank prerequisites for any purpose, but the talents provided by a talent crystal can be used to meet prerequisites for crafting (though not other purposes).

Talent crystals are extraordinarily rare items and are almost never sold on the open market because of their ability to circumvent the normal methods of acquiring power. Similarly, they cannot be crafted by ordinary methods, and on many worlds the method of creating them has long since been lost. Nevertheless, they are greatly prized-for what apprentice would not want to instantly gain magical power far beyond their meager skill?

On the rare occasions they are sold, talent crystals usually cost 10,000 gp per talent contained.

Talent crystals come in three grades. Regular talent crystals simply teach specific combinations of talents at a set power level, and the user must spend spell points on them as normal. Greater versions of each talent crystal also exist, and these permit at-will use of their talents with no spell point cost. Grand talent crystals teach all talents in a sphere and allow for their use at no spell point cost. Many sages have made it their life’s work to craft even one such wonder, only to fail in the end, for the secrets of the spheres are not obtained so easily.

Regular and greater talent crystals are minor artifacts. Grand talent crystals are major artifacts. Talent crystals can only be destroyed by using them.

This book cannot add every type of talent crystal that could exist, so treat the following items as samples and templates for making your own.

Talent Crystals In Your World

Talent crystals are similar to rituals in that they are meant to be a way for GMs to add campaign-specific abilities or effects to a game, wholly separate from a character’s normal talents or abilities. You can also think of them as a way to grant specific spell-like abilities, albeit ones that always have a set caster level rather than varying with the user’s level or ability scores. Remember that talent crystals do not necessarily need to be focused on caster characters, either; a talent crystal with a strike talent, like the time splitter crystal, can be a great reward for a martial character! Players cannot obtain talent crystals normally, so their availability is set entirely by the GM.

For example, a PC might make a contract with a planar entity in order to be able to summon a certain type of minion for as long as they live. In that case, they might get a talent crystal that gives them a Conjuration companion with a specific set of traits. The power comes from the bargain itself, so they do not really know the power so much as they know how to activate it. Alternatively, a grand talent crystal could be an end-game reward that caps a character’s personal journey, granting them true access and mastery for a given sphere.

Similarly, an NPC might gain power far beyond their intended abilities, becoming much more dangerous as a result. Imagine a hot-headed young orc who gains the ability to throw CL 10th fireballs at-will, or a necromancer who can raise all the dead. Talent crystals can be the cause of a plot, rather than the reward, so do not be afraid to get creative!

If you want to make talent crystals more common in your world, consider allowing organizations access to knowledge for making specific, thematically-appropriate crystals. For example, perhaps a police force knows how to make CL 10th magic breaker crystals, making them extraordinarily effective at suppressing magic on the targets they hunt. Just remember not to drop a stash of these anywhere the players can reach!

Sample Talent Crystals

The following are samples of talent crystals you could add to your world.

Armored Warrior’s Crystal [TS]

BAB 1; Sphere Equipment
Effect: You gain proficiency with light, medium, and heavy armor. You also gain proficiency with all shields, including tower shields, and are proficient in all shield bashes.

Aura of Good Crystal [TS]

CL 5th; Sphere Fate; SP Cost 0; Save Fort DC 18 negates
Effect: You may fill a 25-foot radius with an influence of good, as the effects of the Divine Force (consecration) of the Fate sphere.

Berserker’s Crystal [TS]

BAB 8; Sphere Berserker
Effect: You may use the berserking ability of the Berserker sphere with an effective base attack bonus of 8 for determining its effects. You may also make a brutal strike with the effects of the Bone-Breaker (exertion) talent using the same effective base attack bonus, inflicting a -3 penalty on their attack and damage rolls for as long as they are battered by your brutal strike and dealing 16 additional damage if you choose to expend your martial focus while making the brutal strike.

Cantrips Crystal [TS]

CL 1st; Sphere All; SP Cost 0
Effect: You gain the CantripsUSoP feat. This is the only talent crystal in relatively common circulation, much-prized for its ability to grant even the most magically-inept individual some basic magical ability.

Deadly Draining Crystal [TS]

CL 20th; Sphere Death; SP Cost 2; Save Fort DC 34 negates permanent negative levels
Effect: You may inflict 1d6 negative levels (or other effects, as the drain ghost strike) on all creatures within a 75- foot cone.

Fireball Crystal [TS]

CL 10th; Sphere Destruction; SP Cost 2; Save Reflex DC 24 halves
Effect: You may deal 10d8 fire damage in up to a 20-foot radius burst, centered within 50 feet.

Grand Healer Crystal [TS]

CL 20th; Sphere Life; SP Cost 0; Save DC 34 (when needed)
Effect: You gain access to all Life talents available within your setting and may use them at no spell point cost.

Intimidation Crystal [TS]

CL 20th; Sphere Enhancement; SP Cost 1
Effect: You may gain a +10 enhancement bonus to Intimidate for 20 minutes. You may dismiss this effect at any time to end it early.

Magic Breaker Crystal [TS]

CL 20th; Sphere Life, SP Cost 2
Effect: You may make a Clarified Strike with the effects of the Break Enchantment talent (rolling 1d20+20 for your magic skill check against the MSD of each effect).

Martial Tradition Crystal [TS]

BAB 10; Sphere Equipment
Effect: You gain all talents and/or feats of a specific martial tradition, chosen when this talent crystal is created. Treat your base attack bonus as 10 for the purpose of any talent effects dependent on level (such as increases to your armor class from the Unarmored Training talent). This does not affect non-talent effects, such as your base attack bonus when using weapons this crystal gave you proficiency in.

Time Splitter Crystal [TS]

CL 10th; Sphere Time; SP Cost 1; Save Will DC 24 negates
Effect: You may make a Time Strike with the effects of the Broken Time (time) talent, inflicting a -5 penalty on the target’s attack rolls and skill checks for up to 10 rounds.

Wall Crystal [TS]

CL 5th; Sphere Protection; SP Cost 1
Effect: You may create a flat, wall-like barrier (as the ward, with the Greater Barrier talent) that covers up to five 10-foot squares, starting adjacent to you and extending up to 35 feet away. This barrier has 50 hit points and a Break DC of 27.

Proxy Talent Crystals [3PP]

Proxy Talent Crystals are a special variety of talent crystal which can only be used by characters with the Card Casting drawback. Unlike normal talent crystals, proxy talent crystals grant the characters full use of any feats or talents contained within the talent crystal, but only allow for the use of these feats or talents as part of magic effect cards that the character plays. Some proxy talent crystals also grant drawbacks, which they impose on any creature who gains talents from the crystal unless the creature spends talents to buy off the drawback.

On the rare occasions they are sold, talent crystals usually cost 12,000 gp per talent or feat contained, reducing the price by 6,000 for each drawback which is also granted. Some merchants have found it particularly profitable to sell random packs of 10-15 talent crystals rather than selling each crystal individually.

Proxy Talent Crystals are an excellent resource for expanding a character’s options in a game where Card Casting is prominent, allowing characters to build more diverse and complicated decks even when they have limited feats and talents.

Source: Card Casting 2

Sample Proxy Talent Crystals

Resurgent Necromancer’s Crown

Talents Granted: Death Sphere (Mass Death Magic, Necromantic Limit (reanimate) Drawback)
Feats Granted: Card Shark
Deck Manipulations Granted: Life Draw, Recollection

Summon Duelist’s Pyramid

Talents Granted: Conjuration Sphere (Extra Companion x2), Mana Sphere (Essentialize, Conservationist Drawback)
Feats Granted: Tribute of Essence

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