Spheres Apocrypha: Dark Talents
This installment of the Spheres Apocrypha-series clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin with 7 new basic talents:
-Dampen Light: 1 minute per caster level variant of darkness that doesn’t require concentration to maintain; dims light by one step and can allow for (meld) talents to work, but not (darkness) talents. Effects that interact with darkness can apply to a Dampen Light area. May be taken twice for the option to move light levels by two steps. Interesting one.
-Dappled Shadows: Reduce darkness radius in 5 ft. increments to create a second sphere with a radius equal to the subtracted amount. You may do this multiple times to create multiple areas. Okay, so is each area the size of the subtracted total, or do the areas have to be paid for individually? I assume the latter due to a lack of other limitations, but it would have behooved the talent to specify that. The Wall of Darkness’ cubes may also be affected thus, eliminating the need to place them contiguously. Okay, how does that interact with Clinging Darkness? Does that allow for multiple targets? How does it interact with Rolling Blackout? Do all darkness effects move in the same direction? Can they be individually steered? I assume that these additional spheres are still treated as the original darkness, but rules-language could be clearer there.
-Dual Darkness: Spend a spell point to add two (darkness) talents to a single darkness. Get interaction with midnight right.
-Ranged Darkness: Increases range to Long.
-Shadowing Darkness: Make darkness cling to a target for one round after leaving your darkness, including effects; any light level but bright light is treated as total darkness, bright light as dim light while the effect clings to the target. If you spend a spell point when creating the area, the effects linger for +1 round per 2 caster levels, though a creature can attempt a Ref-save at the end of the turn to end it. Slightly odd mechanically: RAW, if the target is forcibly moved from the darkness, it gets no save from the talent, while with spell points, it does. This could be slightly more precise, but I’m nitpicking here.
-Shifting Shadows: As a free action at the start of your turn or when beginning your turn, you can remove 5-ft. squares (1 + another one per 2 caster levels) from the area to add them to another contiguous area of darkness. Has a limit of how many you can modify per turn.
-Umbral Burst: Spend a spell point to create darkness as a swift action. It only lasts for a round, but may not be maintained or extended. Nice one!
The pdf also sports 3 advanced talents:
-Eternal Darkness: 2 spell points, makes darkness permanent. It’s unmoving though. Problem: Works with Shifting Shadows, which RAW allows you to slowly move your permanent darkness effects around, a couple of squares at a time. The problem here is Shifting Shadows not specifying that the darkness reverts to its original shape.
-Pitch Black: Pure Darkness no longer counts against the number of (darkness) talents that may be applied to darkness. Additionally, lets you spend an additional spell point to make even bright light become darkness and limit other forms of sight.
-Vanish in Shadow: Lets the target benefit from Hide in Darkness meld, even when the target is in an area of darkness or dim light that you did not create. For +1 spell point, those affected by the meld also require Perception to be noticed by targets with blindsight and similar sensory effects.
The pdf also includes two sphere-specific drawbacks:
-Black Spot: Shrinks area of your darkness to 5 ft.; it can’t be changed in any way.
-Penumbra: You can’t use darkness or Darkness talents; instead, you are locked into Dampen Light as bonus talent.
Editing and formatting on a formal level is very good. On a rules-language level, there are some minor hiccups in the details, but nothing game-breaking. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf has a solid stock artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need any at this length.
Amber Underwood’s dark talents are solid; while I was slightly saddened to see no new shadow or blot talents within, we do get a couple of nice ones. At the low price point, I will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get this little pdf here on OBS!
Missed the big Dark Sphere expansion? You can find The Nyctomancer’s Handbook here!
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