This expansion book for Spheres of Power clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by one of my readers.
So, while the default pathfinder magic item creation rules work without a big snag in conjunction with Spheres of Power, this pdf does endeavor to provide a more sphere-centric approach to the subject matter. Thus, we begin with the basic assumptions: To create a magic item, a caster must possess the appropriate item creation feat, the base spheres associated with the item, and a caster level with that sphere equal to or greater than the item’s CL. Charms, implements and magical arms and armor instead use the crafter’s MSB. Temporary increases to CL do not qualify, and item creation requires half the price in base materials. The crafter also requires a fairly comfortable, quiet place to work and a day’s work is classified as the standard 8 hours, which gets 1K gp worth of price done. At the very least, crafting must be done in 4-hour increments. Scrolls, potions, etc. only take 2 hours to make if their base price is below 250 gp. After the crafting period, an appropriate skill-check (usually Spellcraft) must be made to determine whether the item has been made correctly. Cooperative crafting is also noted.
The pdf then proceeds to present talent-based item crafting. Such items have a base cost determined by multiplying caster level times complexity times base cost. The complexity rating is determined by the number of benefits the item has, with range, unique changes, etc. accounted for. After this, we have a breakdown of the individual spheres, with blood and fallen fey included alongside the original sphere-array. Mixed and multiple effects, permanency and the like may also be found, and items that don’t need to be worn or held obviously are more expensive. The pdf then presents an array of new crafting feats for use with spheres of power, thankfully including a table that lists the approximation of the core crafting feats for a relatively painless implementation of other materials. Kudos: This does account for the peculiarities of automatic bonus progression, should you be using them in conjunction with implements. The presentation structure of e.g. charms and the like and general pricing make this section a surprisingly helpful and concise one. I know that I did not have to engage in page-flipping or the like, and the general baseline formulae struck me as sound, with bonus types and maximum bonuses noted properly. While I do not yet have the long-term experience of tinkering with these, a few cursory tests with the baselines provided made the system’s results come out within the parameters I consider to be desirable. The book also does cover a ton of special weapon, armor, etc. properties by bonuses and provides corresponding spheres.
The book also presents an assortment of new magic item special abilities that include making shields apply their bonus versus ranged touch attacks (at +1, a welcome boost for shields), and armor that, at +4, can maintain concentration for you or implements that help you aim your sphere effects. Implements capable of absorbing e.g. wands are interesting, though they should probably note what happens if the implement is destroyed while the wand’s absorbed – does it rematerialize, or is it gone for good? Weapons that may be attuned to those they damage, a siege weapon enhancement that makes them more potent versus rigging et al….some nice ones here.
The book presents an assortment of 7 new feats that allows for the application of armorist special abilities via arcane pool, divine bond, etc., better splash weaponry save DCs, adding casting ability modifier to the item save DC (thankfully locked behind 10th level), and limited wand recharging is also presented. As far as items are concerned, we get bracers and bucklers capable of holding wands and an assortment of cool poisons, including one item that comes with an alternate alchemist’s recipe. Ammunition to deliver vials and poisons and a selection of ritual books can also be found within.
From enchanted dancing scarves to acorns that generate the Nature sphere’s branch-pummeling, the pdf includes several specific items, including crystal grenades that encase the target in, bingo, crystal, and an elixir that allows for a VERY limited renewal of spell points. Thankfully, this one is subject to serious limitations. Elixirs for removing enchantments and oils to store sphere abilities are included. There are quite a few interesting shields and staves to be found, and from a herald’s blade to bonded notebooks, there are a ton of items in this book, which range from combat-centric to being focused on utility. Divine symbols (with a Skybourne focus) may also be found here. Really cool: There is, for example, a seal that grows in power with the TPA a character has with a given cult. This may be a small thing, but it’s something I’d like to see expanded further, considering how it makes organization membership more enticing and is a field that hasn’t really been covered. As a minor nitpick – this section misses a few italicizations.
If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you’ll know that I’ve always adored Purple Duck Games’ legendary items and similar takes on scaling magic items: This book also provides a couple of these, like the Nature sphere-associated Aegis of Sakura, made from greenwood leaf, the swordcane pistol horror’s ruin for the discerning, monster-hunting gentleman, or bandoliers of grenades or medic satchels for more militaristic characters. The latter is btw. great in that it gets rid of some of the detailed tracking required. Intelligent item powers are also noted, and the book closes strongly with 2 minor, and two major artifacts – the latter including a divine notebook for the powers of (flawed) creation and the blade Finis, which is basically the evil-destroying sudden-death godmode blade that can and will annihilate evil. Okay, it also burns through wielders fast, but hey, nobody’s perfect!
Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level, and pretty good on a formal one; I noticed primarily formal snafus. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with a blend of original and stock artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Adam Meyers, Andrew Stoeckle, Andrew J. Gibson, Derfael Oliveira, John Little and Johannes Luber have delivered a pretty impressive item book for the Spheres of Power-system. The crafting tools presented are solid, the items more often than not interesting, and the baselines provided most assuredly should make this worthwhile for anyone using the system. All in all, this is a well-wrought addition to the Spheres of Power framework, and as such, receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up.
You can get this cool item/crafting supplement here on OBS!
You can directly support Drop Dead Studios here on patreon!
You can get on board of the Ultimate Spheres of Power kickstarter here!