Unified Traditions

Casting traditions are a great way to customize a caster’s history, style, and build. Martial traditions fulfill a similar role for martial characters. However, choosing one of each, particularly finding ones that combine well and aid in creating a unified character concept, can be a daunting task. To help with this process, we present to you a series of unified traditions, presented below.

Unified traditions are not a new concept, but are rather a series of pre-determined martial/casting tradition hybrids, which may be used completely as-is, or may be customized to suit a player’s needs. As unified traditions are player seeds, they not only include a martial tradition and casting tradition, but also include the caster’s two bonus magic talents. A character who gains a unified tradition can not gain a martial tradition, can only choose a new casting tradition when gaining their first level in a new casting class as described in Spheres of Power, and does not gain two bonus magic talents (since these are included in the unified tradition).

Some unified traditions include variant versions, where a multitude of talents are traded out to create a slightly different concept, not unlike how an archetype is a variant on a class. When selecting a variant for a unified tradition, the tradition’s usual talents are replaced by those detailed under the variant. Sections marked “variable” allow the character to select between different talents.

Creating or Modifying Unified Traditions

Just as with martial traditions, unified traditions are not simply collections of talents, but are designed to enable character concepts. The unified traditions listed below cover a great many concepts, but there are many more possibilities than are presented. If a game master (or a player with game master permission) wishes to create a unique unified tradition or modify a unified tradition to better suit their needs, they should use the following guidelines.

1. Each unified tradition should include at least one Equipment talent, typically a discipline talent, Armor Training, Unarmored Training, or Shield Training. These determine the weapons, armor, and other equipment a character has available to them (if any).

2. Each unified tradition should include no more than a single non-talent feat, if any.

3. Each unified tradition should include at least one appropriate base magic sphere and one appropriate base combat sphere, or the option to choose between 2 appropriate sets of base spheres. The exact appropriateness of any given sphere depends on the concept.

In addition, there are a few things that, unless the game master rules otherwise, should be avoided when creating a new unified tradition.

1. Over-specializing in a single sphere other than Equipment. A unified tradition determines a character’s starting tools and characteristics; not only does over-specializing produce a one-dimensional character that is often boring to play, but it can also produce characters with large weaknesses that are unable to contribute to the game outside of their single specialty.

2. Over-specializing in either offensive or defensive talents. This is similar to issue 1; over-specializing in any one direction produces unbalanced characters with glaring weaknesses that make them difficult to play and often leaves them unable to contribute.

As always, the above guidelines may be broken with GM permission. Unified traditions are a tool for enhancing the game, and are subservient to that goal.


Unified Traditions

Arcane Archer

Arcane archers learn to channel powerful destruction magic into their weapons, firing off devastating shots. These arcane archers find it difficult to cast at all without a weapon in their hands, even going so far as to inscribe runes onto their weapons and ammunition to prepare devastating attacks. Arcane archers usually specialize in either battlefield maneuvering or stealth tactics, but either way dispatch their enemies quickly with powerful magic-infused arrows. Arcane Archers gain +1 spell points, +1 per 3 levels in casting classes.

Martial Training:

  • Equipment: Archery Bash, Huntsman Training.
  • Variable: Arcane archers gain either the Athletics sphere ((run) package) or the Scout sphere as a bonus sphere.
  • Bonus Feat: Spell Attack

Magic Training: Destruction sphere, Energy Blade.

Drawbacks: Arcane archers inscribe their weapons with small magical glyphs to prepare them for use in battle. Arcane archers possess the Prepared Caster drawback, and must not only choose which sphere their spell points are assigned to, but also a weapon they are proficient with to contain those spell points; they must be wielding this chosen weapon in order to access the attached spell points. An arcane archer can prepare multiple weapons in this fashion, but each chosen weapon must have at least one spell point attached to it. In addition, an arcane archer possesses the Focus Casting drawback, treating any weapon that contains at least one of their spell points as their focus.

Boons: None

Bloody Rider

The bloody rider is a fearsome warrior who uses their own life-force to summon and ride a powerful magic beast. Striking out with fearsome edged and spiked weapons that leave bloody wounds, bloody riders are far from subtle and always leave a significant impression on those who witness them in action. A bloody rider gains +1 spell point, +1 for every 6 levels gained in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Orc Heritage
  • Beastmastery sphere (ride package), Armored Mount
  • Berserker sphere
  • Duelist sphere, Long Cuts

Bonus Magic Talents: Conjuration sphere

  • Variable: Bloody riders gain either Altered Size or Lingering Companion from the Conjuration sphere as a bonus talent. Medium or larger creatures must take Altered Size (Large).

Drawbacks: Bloody Riders have the Bloody Slasher and Offensive Rider martial drawbacks, as well as the Draining Casting magic drawback.

Boons: None

Crusader

A crusader is a champion of a divine cause, sacrificing everything, including their own lives, to see it done. Among the righteous, crusaders are the greatest of the great, serving as living embodiments of all that is just. Among the wicked, crusaders are the dark hand of a dark god, reveling in death and destruction for its own sake. Crusaders are part of the divine petitioner casting tradition, and gain a bonus spell point at every odd level they gain in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Knightly Training, Armor Training
  • Duelist Sphere
  • Beastmastery sphere (ride) package

Bonus Magic Talents: Protection sphere, Healing Aegis, Guardian

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

Boons: None

Variant: Guardian

Guardians do not charge into battle, instead preferring to stand as an unbreakable wall between their enemies and their allies.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Knightly Training, Armor Training, Shield Training
  • Shield sphere

Bonus Magic Talents: Protection sphere Healing Aegis, Guardian

Death Knight

Death knights command undead forces, often leading them from the front lines. While a death knight’s allies might be undead, a death knight still knows how to make the most of them, protecting his charges until they can tear down his enemies.

Martial Training:

  • Equipment: Armor Training, Knightly Training.
  • Bonus Feat: Spell Attack
  • Variable: Death knights gain either the Guardian sphere or Shield Training from the Equipment sphere.

Magic Training: Death sphere, Cryptic Strike.

Drawbacks: Death knights are fueled by necromancy, commanding tortured souls through their voice which manifest around him as sickly green light and shrieking sounds. Death knights possess the Magical Signs and Verbal Casting drawbacks.

Boons: The closer a death knight is to death himself, the easier his necromancy is to invoke. Death knights possess the Deathful Magic boon.

Packmother

A packmother is a druid who learned the ways of magic through an adopted animal family. From this family, the caster learns the intricacies of nature. From the caster, the animals gain power beyond their own. Packmothers are considered part of the druidic tradition, and as such learn Druidic as a bonus language and gain +1 spell point, +1 per three levels gained in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Beastmastery sphere ((handle animal) package, Animal Companion
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Packmothers gain either Staff Mastery or Huntsman Training from the Equipment sphere.

Bonus Magic Talents: Alteration sphere, plus one Alteration talent that grants a form that best matches the packmother’s animal companion.

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

Boons: None

Reaper

Reapers are powerful and terrible tribal warriors who spill the blood of their enemies, then use that blood for magic rituals. Reapers use their own physical strength to fuel their magic, empowering themselves and disempowering their enemies with equal proficiency. While reapers can cut down scores of lesser creatures with ease, they excel at taking down enormous foes that few other fighters would dare to approach.

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Tribal Training
  • Berserker sphere
  • Duelist sphere
  • Bonus Feat: Bloodmonger

Bonus Magic Talents: Enhancement sphere, Cripple

Drawbacks: Reapers fuel their magic through their own life force and emotions, using howls of rage the way a wizard might use arcane chants. Reapers possess the Draining Casting and Verbal Casting drawbacks.

Boons: Reapers are empowered by their blood and physical fortitude; the stronger their bodies are, the more powerful their magic becomes. Reapers gain the Fortified Magic boon.

Rover

A rover is a traveler for travel’s sake, often collecting songs and stories along the way which they perform for money as they move from town to town. While some locals mistrust all travelers as potential thieves, a rover is a welcome addition to any adventuring party where the rover’s quick wits and commanding presence oftens spurs their allies on to even greater heights. A rover gains +1 spell point, +1 per six levels gained in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Dancer Training
  • Gladiator sphere
  • Warleader sphere
  • Bonus Feat: Mystic Focus

Bonus Magic Talents: Rovers may select any 2 bonus magic talents they desire.

Drawbacks: Rovers wield ritualistic performance the way a wizard wields arcane formulae, invoking magic through music and dance in place of symbols and chants. Rovers possess the Verbal Casting and Somatic Casting drawbacks, as well as the Skilled Casting drawback, usable with any Perform skill.

Boons: While a rover’s full-body magic requires significant training, it has the benefit of allowing the rover to multitask, as the same dance steps used to invoke magic can also be used to dodge or attack. Rovers gain Easy Focus.

Spellsword

Spellswords blend magic and martial skill together, wielding both in a single fighting style not unlike how other warriors might blend sword and shield. Spellswords usually fight with a weapon in one hand, but keep the other hand free to fulfill somatic requirements for their spells, letting them stay versatile and ready in any situation. Spellswords are considered part of the traditional magic tradition, but through careful study learn to wield this magic in light armor without trouble, as well as how to empower their attacks for single, deadly strikes. However, such training decreases the time they can dedicate to simply increasing their power. Spellswords do not gain any bonus spell points.

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Duelist Training, Balanced Defense
  • Variable: Spellswords gain either Duelist’s Grip or Finesse Fighting from the Equipment sphere.
  • Bonus Feat: Spell Attack

Bonus Magic Talents: Destruction sphere, Energy Blade

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting, Material Casting, Prepared Caster

Boons: Metamagic Expert, Overcharge

Street Mage

For a street mage, convincing someone you have power is just as important as actually having power. Con artists and thieves, street mages are casters who use tricks both magical and mundane to stay one step ahead of the law and whatever other forces might want them dead. Street mages study traditional magic and are considered part of that tradition, but their knowledge is half-trained at best and filled with shortcuts.

However, what tricks they do know are often rigorously practiced until they can be performed as easily as breathing. Street mages gain no bonus spell points.

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rogue Weapon Training
  • Fencing Sphere
  • Scoundrel Sphere
  • Variable: Street mages gain either the Alchemy sphere ((poison) package) or the Scout sphere.

Bonus Magic Talents: Illusion sphere, Invisibility

Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting

Boons: Easy Focus

Strider

A strider guards the settlements at the edge of the frontier, learning as much from civilized company as from animals and nature. Striders are masters of stealth and hunting, using fancy shooting and animal allies to bring down their targets. Striders are part of the druidic casting tradition, and as such gain +1 spell point, +1 per three levels gained in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Huntsman Training
  • Scout sphere
  • Beastmastery sphere (handle animal) package
  • Variable: Striders gain either the Sniper sphere or the Barrage sphere.

Bonus Magic Talents: Nature sphere (plantlife package), Barkskin

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

Boons: None.

Variant: Stalker

Stalkers forgo animal companions and fancy shooting to instead take their targets down through clever traps and magic.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Huntsman Training
  • Scout sphere
  • Trap sphere
  • Bonus Feat: Spell Trap

Bonus Magic Talents: Nature sphere (plantlife package), Grow Plants

  • Boons: None.

Traveling Sage

While many sages prefer stuffy libraries, others travel the world, wishing to see its many wonders in person. While many of these sages are accomplished wizards or alchemists, they also often carry swords or reinforced staves so they are never caught unprepared, whatever life may throw at them. Traveling sages are considered part of the traditional magic casting tradition, and gain an additional spell point every level they gain in a casting class.

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Unarmored Training
  • Alchemy sphere (formulae) package
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Traveling sages gain either Staff Mastery or a single (discipline) talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Bonus Magic Talents: Traveling sages may select any 2 bonus magic talents they desire.

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

Boons: None

Ulfhednar

Ulfhednar, or “wolf warriors” are wild berserkers who seek out brutal and intense combat, abandoning reason in favor of adopting a wild and uncontrollable combat style. The ulfhednar channel their great ferocity into furs and totems that allow them to take on the forms and powers of mighty animals. An ulfhednar gains +1 spell point, +1 for every 6 levels gained in a casting class.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Berserker sphere, Bloody Counter
  • Brute sphere
  • Variant: Ulfhednars gain either Huntsman Training or Unarmed Training from the Equipment sphere.

Bonus Magic Talents: Alteration sphere, Animalistic Transformation, Bestial Spirit.

Drawbacks: Ulfhednar gain the Focus Casting general drawback and choose either a cloak made out of animal skin or a totem (use the cost and other statistics of a wooden holy symbol) as their focus. In addition, ulfhednar have the Lycanthropic drawback.

Boons: None

Wild Sidhe

Wild sidhe are isolated alchemists and nature priests, often found guarding leylines from unsuspecting travelers. As opposed to druids who gain their magic from reverence for nature, wild sidhe gain their magic from their participating in fey revelry, tapping into the power they protect and its connections to the hidden world. Because of the close connection between leylines and fey woods, wild sidhe gain aklo, sylvan, or treant as a bonus language, not unlike how druids begin knowing druidic. Wild sidhe are considered part of the fey magic casting tradition.

Bonus Combat Talents:

  • Equipment: Tribal Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Barroom sphere
  • Variable: One additional talent from the Alchemy, Barroom, or Equipment spheres.

Bonus Magic Talents: Nature sphere (any package) and their choice of either the Illusion or Mind spheres.

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

Boons: Easy Focus, Overcharge


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