Shadows with Tales to Tell - The Grim Islands
Spheres of Power
Summary of Contents
Spheres of Power provides a fully reworked magic system for use within this campaign. The vancian casting system, which regularly separates spells into tiered levels and uses per day, is replaced by one which uses spell points and talents. This system is far more free-form, allowing characters to use magic in ways that was previously impossible. That being the case, it is impossible for me to list everything done by the book on this page. Instead I will note only the things which need to be altered or removed for this system to work with the campaign.
Sphere and Talent Changes
Many spheres and talents needed tweaked to reduce their world-breaking components, or to limit some of the combinations that presented themselves as immediately overpowered. To balance this, advanced talents will be given out as rewards for certain actions, where some advanced talents will simply not be offered as rewards (effectively banning them from the game). Likewise, basic talents that pose too much of a problem will either be tweaked slightly or changed into advanced talents, with exceptionally bad offenders being banned entirely. The following list details specific changes that happen to the basic talents.
- Animal Mind (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Summon (Sphere Ability) — Concentrating to summon a companion no longer costs a spell-point, but summoning companions with a duration now costs one spell point extra for each companion you currently have active; this is in addition to all other costs associated with extending the summon’s duration. If you gain access to an animal companion or familiar, you gain the ability to summon and dismiss said creature. These creatures gain the benefits of the Greater Summoning and Lingering Companion talents. Though they do not automatically regenerate when spell points refresh, animal companions and familiars automatically stabilize and dismiss themselves when brought below zero hit points.
- Aligned Creature (Talent) — This talent now uses elemental affinity in place of alignment.
- Create (Sphere Ability) — Instead of vegetable matter, creation now produces a substance called eternium. Eternium is an opaque crystalline material that is made of solidified magic. Eternium is not particularly conductive or flammable, has no flavor, and has a slight aura of creation. Eternium can mimic silk and wood for the purpose of hardness and hit points, but it otherwise functions as inanimate crystal. Eternium has a slight tint of color corresponding to the affinity of the caster who created it.
- Expanded Materials (Talent) — Vegetable matter is added to the list of materials that can be used by taking this talent, though the type of vegetable matter is nonspecific, meaning it cannot be used to create specific herbs, spices, or wood types. Vegetable matter created through this talent carries no nutritional benefits, though could hypothetically be eaten.
- Larger Creation (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Reanimate (Sphere Ability) — The total hit dice limit for reanimated creatures is also shared with the new limit on animated objects.
- Drain (Talent) — This talent now grants a Fortitude saving throw. If the target succeeds this saving throw, the duration becomes 10 min per caster level, rather than 1 hour per caster level.
- Greater Reanimate (Talent) — This talent may only be taken twice, and does not affect the maximum amount of animated objects a player may control.
Killing Curse (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Divine (Sphere Ability) — You may no longer divine alignments by having the fate sphere, instead allowing you to divine for people’s affinities and for paragons.
- Detect Scrying (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Divine Future (Talent) — This talent now grants its bonus on any d20 roll made by the player, including defense and severity checks.
- Divine Information (Talent) — This talent no longer allows you to reroll a failed check. Instead, it allows you to add its insight bonus to a knowledge check you have not made yet, or to make a knowledge check untrained. An additional spell point may be spent in order to make an untrained knowledge check with the insight bonus.
- Logos (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- See Hazard (Talent) — Instead of offering a free perception check, this talent now grants a +4 competence bonus to perception.
- Animate Object (Talent) — You may have a total number of animated objects active at any one time whose combined Hit Dice does not exceed twice your caster level. If you attempt to animate an object that would push your total beyond this limit, your animated objects cease to be animated sequentially from oldest to newest until the Hit Dice total is low enough to permit the new animated object. The total hit dice limit for animated objects is shared with the limit on reanimated creatures.
- Harden (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Versatile Weapon (Talent) — This talent only allows you to ignore Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing, and Magic DR. In addition, a weapon with this enhancement may strike incorporeal creatures without penalty.
- Word (Sphere Ability) — Hallow applies as usual, using affinities in place of alignments.
- Bless/Curse (Talents) — These talents cannot be used in this campaign. A new word, Choice, replaces the two lost talents. When you or one of your allies makes a d20 roll, you may spend a spell point as an immediate action to allow them to make the roll twice and take whichever result they desire. You must use this word before the roll in question is made.
- Divine Force (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent. This talent affects all enemies, including those that would normally be immune to its affects (such as constructs and undead).
- Invigorate (Sphere Ability) — This ability now only grants temporary hit points equal to half your caster level + your casting ability modifier.
- Cure (Sphere Ability) — This ability cannot be used to remove debilitating conditions that would normally be removed through hit point healing, such as bleed effects and certain called shots or critical hits. This ability can still heal the damage done by such effects.
- Restore (Sphere Ability) — This ability now grants the ability to remove debilitating conditions that would regularly require hit point healing, such as bleed effects and certain called shots or critical hits. This ability does not heal the damage done by such effects.
- Greater Invigorate (Talent) — This talent now allows you to grant temporary hit points equal to your full caster level + your casting ability modifier.
- Greater Healing (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Revitalize (Talent) — Rather than increasing the fast healing amount based on the number of times someone has taken the Greater Healing talent, the amount is now equal to the number of dice that would have been rolled using a cure spell.
- Area Glow (Talent) — This talent now grants a reflex save to negate the effect.
- Encompassing Light (Talent) — As an additional note, this talent does not give any of the bonuses or penalties for increased size, such as increased strength or lowered dexterity.
- Geomancing (Sphere Ability) — Growth is removed from the plantlife package, and instead replaced with the Thorns talent.
- Animal Friend (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Grow Plants (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Towering Growth (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Repel Alignment (Talent) — This talent uses affinities in place of alignment; you still may not choose an affinity or co-affinity you possess.
- Age (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Repetition (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Steal Time (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Absorb (Talent) — The ally taking the damage must be willing.
- Safety (Talent) — This talent no longer negates a critical hit, but instead reduces the severity of the critical hit by one step.
- Totem of Allegiance/Enemies (Talent) — These talents use affinity in place of alignment.
- Distant Teleport (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Teleport Beacon (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Control Weather (Sphere Ability) — At first level, you may create weather of severity 1, increasing a step in severity for every 2 caster levels (to a maximum of 4 at 7’th level). This otherwise functions as usual.
- Greater Size (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Lengthen Weather (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent.
- Severe Weather (Talent) — Changed to an advanced talent. This now allows you to create severity 5 weather at 14’th caster level.