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Martial Traditions

In S.o.M., a character’s choice of background not only gives them its usual benefits, but also allows them a choice of starting martial talents, additional starting equipment, and which ability score becomes their key ability score.

These additional talents, additional equipment, and key ability score are known as the practitioner’s martial tradition.

As part of a character’s background, a martial tradition reflects a character’s past; it reflects what, where, and how that character learned the art of martial combat. In addition to the martial traditions detailed below, it is within the GM’s rights to create their own martial traditions or to declare that, in any particular game setting, certain martial traditions are tied to a particular military or culture and are only available to characters belonging to those groups. Indeed, backgrounds and martial traditions are a great way to customize a campaign setting and allow warriors from different cultures to truly feel unique from each other.

Not every character who selects a background gains a martial tradition; some classes grant a martial tradition as part of their proficiencies, while others may trade out many of their granted proficiencies at 1st level to gain a martial tradition.

With GM approval, homebrew classes may also trade their starting proficiencies for a martial tradition as long as their normal starting proficiencies include proficiency with all martial weapons, or whose starting proficiencies imply a strong martial background.

A character can only gain a martial tradition once, and once a character has gained a martial tradition, they do not gain additional proficiencies for multiclassing. Use the trade out guidelines below to determine what proficiencies are not granted when multiclassing. If a character has already gained proficiencies from a class listed below or that otherwise grants a potent group of starting proficiencies (such as proficiency with all martial weapons) this is considered their martial tradition.

Each martial tradition also grants starting equipment. This starting equipment may be selected in place of the starting equipment granted by a class when making a trade out for a martial tradition.

Each martial tradition is tied to a particular background; a character with that given background can select their martial tradition from among the options presented. There are, of course, many different backgrounds published in other books that are not listed below; with GM permission, a player using one of those or a custom background can choose a martial tradition presented below that best fits their background.

Note: The fighter and the paladin grant so many proficiencies that each class gains a bonus talent from the Equipment sphere when they make a trade out for a martial tradition.

They gain this bonus Equipment sphere talent even if they have already gained a martial tradition before multiclassing into their first fighter or paladin level.

Monk Practitioners: Because of the unique situation of the monk class, a monk does not qualify for a martial tradition despite being a martial class; indeed, its unarmored defense and martial arts class features are already the equivalent of a martial tradition and one that is necessary to use the monk’s class features as it gains levels. However, a monk may count the bonus action strike granted by the martial arts class feature or their flurry of blows as two-weapon fighting for purposes such as the Dual Wielding sphere.

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Martial Tradition Trade-out

Barbarian: You may choose to lose proficiency with martial weapons, medium armor, and shields to gain a martial tradition.

Fighter: You may choose to lose proficiency with martial weapons, medium and heavy armor, and shields to gain a martial tradition plus an additional Equipment sphere talent.

Paladin: You may choose to lose proficiency with martial weapons, medium and heavy armor, and shields to gain a martial tradition plus an additional Equipment sphere talent.

Ranger: You may choose to lose proficiency with martial weapons, medium armor, and shields to gain a martial tradition.

Rogue: You may choose to lose proficiency with hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords, and either thieves’ tools and one skill or two skills to gain a martial tradition.

Creating New Martial Tradition

Martial traditions are not merely a collection of talents; they are designed to enable character concepts. The martial traditions listed below cover many concepts, but there are many more possibilities than are presented below. If a game master (or a player with game master permission) wishes to create a unique martial tradition, they should use the following guidelines.

  1. Each martial tradition should include two Equipment talents, typically with at least one discipline, Armor Training, or Unarmored Training. These determine the weapons, armor, and other equipment a character has available to them (if any).
  2. Each martial tradition should include either an appropriate base sphere or the option to choose between 2 base spheres. The exact appropriateness of any given base sphere depends on the concept.
  3. Each tradition should also include one additional thematic talent. This could be a bonus talent in the sphere you gained as part of step 2, an additional base sphere, or perhaps an Equipment talent that is not a discipline but works with the character concept in some way.
  4. Each martial tradition should include starting equipment suitable to the talents granted.
  5. Each martial tradition should have a key ability modifier associated with it. Key ability modifiers should always be one of the mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma).

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

First, over-specializing in a single sphere other than Equipment.

A martial 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 create characters with large weaknesses that are unable to contribute to the game outside of their single specialty.

Second, 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 adapted with GM permission, and even some of the traditions listed below break one or more of these rules. As always, martial traditions are a tool for enhancing the game and are subservient to that goal.

Example

Tess wants to play a human that was raised by giants. In her mind, her character was adopted by hill giants and treated as one of their own, albeit a runt. She decides to go with the Outlander background, but finds none of the martial traditions quite match what she is looking for, so she asks the GM for permission to create her own.

As someone raised by hill giants, she imagines her character would be accustomed to throwing their weight around with the Brute sphere, and wants her character to have Rock Toss from the Equipment sphere since throwing rocks is a common hill giant combat action. Equipment isn’t a big deal for giants (except perhaps the choice of Armored or Unarmored Training), so she thinks leaving the choice of a second Equipment talent up to the player seems appropriate.

Tess also wants her character to take the Berserker sphere, but her Game Master tells her that her character’s martial tradition is looking a little too much like a very-specific combat build rather than a background, and wants her to pick a different base sphere. After thinking a bit, she chooses the Wrestling sphere; hill giants would wrestle a lot, and while she fully intends to take Berserker with her first new martial talent to help her with rock-tossing and club-smashing, the Wrestling sphere would give any character raised by giants a few more options in combat.

As hill giants are not known for either Intelligence or Wisdom but are known for being intimidating, she decides that Charisma makes the most sense as a key ability score.

Giant

You were raised by giants, and mimic their tactics in combat.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rock Toss
  • Brute sphere
  • Wrestling sphere
  • Variable: Giants gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a great club or (b) a quarterstaff
  • leather armor

Core Background Martial Tradition

Acolyte

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the acolyte background.

Evangelist

Evangelists are those tasked with spreading the word of the gods to the masses, offering teaching, guidance, and aid in the name of their cause. An evangelist might be the face of a congregation, a missionary, or a heretic that’s been outcast for sharing radical ideas, but wherever they go, they go in the name of their gods.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training
  • Guardian sphere
  • Warleader sphere
  • Variable: Evangelists gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • A shield
  • A quarterstaff
  • A healer’s kit
  • A priest’s pack
Healer

Healers may or may not have the benefit of magic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t strive to aid the populace through a caring manner and powerful alchemical medicines.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Bombardier Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Variable: Healers gain either the panacea or salve Alchemy talents.
  • Variable: Healers gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a priest’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
  • Leather armor
  • A sling and 20 sling bullets
  • A quarterstaff
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies
  • A healer’s kit
Shield of Faith

Shields of faith are the guards of priests, temples, and those whom the temples serve, whether as bodyguards or as the last line of defense along borders with dangerous, untamed lands. Some shields of faith couple their shields with weapons, but others will focus so exclusively on their shields that their shields become as much of a weapon as they are a tool of defense, using shields and fists to shove their enemies around the battlefield while protecting the innocent and their stalwart allies.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training, Versatile Shield
  • Shield sphere
  • Variable: Shields of faith gain either the Brute sphere or an additional Equipment talent.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a handaxe or (b) a spear
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • A shield
  • Two javelins
  • A priest’s pack

Charlatan

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the charlatan background.

Companion

Companions are often found in taverns where they ply drink, kind words, and pleasurable company to make others feel good. Whether companionship is simply a means to an end or is the end all on its own, companions use empathy to bring out the best in those around them.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Unarmored Training
  • Barroom sphere
  • Warleader sphere
  • Variable: Companions gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) two spears or (b) a handaxe
  • Two daggers
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • Clothes (fine)
  • (a) a diplomat’s pack or (b) an entertainer’s pack
Flamboyant Combatant

Flamboyant combatants might be skilled warriors in their own right, but they also know that good showmanship can convincingly sell rigged fights or intimidate an opponent into surrender before the battle even starts.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Duelist Training
  • Fencing sphere
  • Gladiator sphere
  • Variable: flamboyant combatants gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a rapier, (b) a longsword, or (c) a greatsword
  • Leather armor
  • Two daggers
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • An entertainer’s pack
Grifter

Grifters know how to choose their marks, understanding that choosing the wrong person to swindle can lead to a stay in jail at best or an untimely end at worst.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rogue Weapon Training
  • Scoundrel sphere
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Grifters gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a shortsword, (b) a rapier, or (c) a whip
  • Leather armor
  • (a) a shortbow and 20 arrows or (b) a hand crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Thieves’ tools
  • A diplomat’s pack

Criminal

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the criminal background.

Burglar

Burglars avoid fair fights whenever possible. Their favorite tactic is to take their opponents unaware, but barring that, a dirty trick or a well-placed feint will let them end the fight quickly so they can retreat back into the shadows.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rogue Weapon Training
  • Trap sphere
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Burglars gain either the Fencing sphere or the Scoundrel sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a shortsword or (b) a rapier
  • Leather armor
  • A hand crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Thieves’ tools
  • A burglar’s pack
Drunken Brawler

Only a “tradition” in the vaguest sense of the word, drunken brawlers tend to learn their arts at the hands of other drunken brawlers, usually through an alcohol-induced fog while their “teacher” attempts to put them through a bar. Or a door. Or a wall.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Unarmed Training
  • Barroom sphere
  • Wrestling sphere
  • Variable: Drunken brawlers gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Leather armor
  • A light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Four flasks or tankards of alcohol
  • An explorer’s pack
Guild Trained

While many thieves learn their trades on the streets, some are lucky enough to find teachers through local criminal guilds. Whether their skills are assembled through observing more experienced thieves and thugs or beaten into them by uncaring assassins who value the guild’s reputation more than its members’ well-being, the guild trained who survive their training are invariably deadly, fast, and cunning.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rogue Weapon Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Scoundrel sphere
  • Variable: Guild trained combatants gain an additional talent from the Equipment spheres.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a shortsword or (b) a rapier
  • Leather armor
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies or (b) a poisoner’s kit
  • A burglar’s pack

Entertainer

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the entertainer background.

Animal Trainer

Animal trainers fight alongside tamed beasts, wielding the tools used to capture and train their pets in battle.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Bounty Hunter’s Tools
  • Beastmastery sphere (tamer) package
  • Variable: Animal trainers gain two talents of their choice, one from the Beastmastery sphere and one from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a lasso or (b) a whip
  • (a) two nets or (b) two bolas
  • Leather armor
  • One dog or cat
  • An entertainer’s pack
Gladiator

Trained in the tradition of pure physical prowess, gladiators are known for their ability to overpower lesser combatants, imposing their will upon lesser warriors. A gladiator could be a professional wrestler using aerial maneuvers to please the crowd, or perhaps a slave battling for their lives in an arena, but all of them specialize in putting on shows worthy of an emperor.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Athletics sphere
  • Gladiator sphere
  • Variable: Gladiators gain either the Armor Training or Unarmored Training from the Equipment sphere.
  • Variable: Gladiators gain either Gladiator Training from the Equipment sphere or the Wrestling sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a trident and net or (b) two handaxes
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) clothes (costume), (b) leather armor, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • An explorer’s pack
Performer

Acrobats and actors, dancers and singers; a performer learns to turn their body into an instrument. While a performer needn’t be primarily a combatant, every performer knows how to command a stage and escape danger if the crowd turns against them.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Athletics sphere
  • Dual Wielding sphere
  • Variable: Performers gain either Unarmored Training from the Equipment sphere or a talent of their choice from the Athletics sphere.
  • Variable: Performers gain either the Barroom sphere or a discipline talent from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Four daggers
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) leather armor or (b) clothes (costume)
  • An entertainer’s pack

Folk Hero

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the folk hero background.

Highlander

Sometimes a folk hero is found in the highlands; a cold, wet, and mountainous terrain. Well adapted to the climate, they make for decent adventurers, being trained by their clan in a variety of weapons which they often dual wield or use paired with a targe (shield).

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Gallowglass Training
  • Fencing sphere
  • Variable: Dual Wielding sphere or Shield sphere
  • Variable: Scout sphere or Warleader sphere

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a longsword or (b) a longbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) a broadsword (shortsword) or (b) a targe (shield)
  • a dirk (dagger)
  • Studded leather armor
  • An explorer’s pack
Militia

Militias often rise in communities without the benefit of a formal military, where peasants of all stripes might have to take up arms in defense of their homes one day. While few militiamen have the benefits of formal war training, many are skilled at hunting, tracking, and handling animals, which can be quite handy in times of war.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Pikeman Training or Huntsman Training
  • Beastmastery sphere (tamer) package
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Militia members gain an Equipment talent of their choice.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a pike or (b) a longbow and 20 arrows
  • A handaxe
  • Leather armor
  • A donkey
  • A pack saddle
  • An explorer’s pack
Stone Thrower

In some parts of the world, the sling is a frequently-used hunting tool and the weapon of choice among the working poor. As any skilled stone thrower knows, a well-placed stone can sometimes bring down the biggest foes.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Sling Combatant
  • Barrage sphere
  • Sniper sphere
  • Variable: Stone throwers gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A handaxe
  • Two daggers
  • A sling and 20 sling bullets
  • Leather armor
  • An explorer’s pack

Guild Artisan

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the guild artisan background.

Craftsman

Craftsmen know how to use the tools of war because they often have a hand in creating them.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training x2
  • Shield sphere
  • Variable: Craftsmen gain one talent of their choice.

Starting Equipment:

  • Any set of artisan’s tools
  • Two spears
  • A shield
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail
  • An explorer’s pack
Inventor

Cautious and clever, inventors are the ones who create wondrous items, increasing the prestige of their guild or even starting entirely new industries. While the uninitiated might confuse these creations for magic, the inventor knows magic cannot compare to the creations born from their minds.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Toolkit Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Tinkerer sphere
  • Trap sphere

Starting Equipment:

  • Any set of artisan’s tools
  • Leather armor
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies or (b) a poisoner’s kit
  • Thieves’ tools
  • A scholar’s pack
Traveling Merchant

Some people travel for adventure, and others for profit. A traveling merchant must have a keen eye and a sharp nose and know how to defend themselves on the road, because while others might simply seek fun, the traveling merchant seeks bargains and rare goods that can be sold for incredible profits.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Staff Mastery
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Traveling merchants gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Leather armor
  • A light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • A quarterstaff
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies or (b) a poisoner’s kit
  • (a) an explorer’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack

Hermit

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the hermit background.

Ascetic

Those who would seek enlightenment through contemplation hone their bodies and minds alike. Ascetics learn truths in every new combat technique and find greater mysteries as they stretch their boundaries.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Unarmed Training, Unarmored Training
  • Dual Wielding sphere
  • Variable: Ascetics gain either the Athletics sphere or the Brute sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • A quarterstaff
  • 10 darts
  • Calligrapher’s supplies
  • (a) an explorer’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
Weapon Master

Most warriors learn the art of combat to pursue a goal, such as serving in the army or protecting themselves while traveling.

For the weapon master, mastery of combat is its own reward, taking on a meditative and even scholastic quality as they seek greater levels of understanding through the study of their weapon.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Fencing sphere
  • Retribution sphere
  • Variable: Weapon masters gain either Armor Training or Unarmored Training from the Equipment sphere.
  • Variable: Weapon masters gain one (discipline) talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a longsword, (b) a glaive, or (c) a greatsword
  • A shortsword
  • A longbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) clothes (traveler’s), (b) leather armor, or (c) chain shirt (if proficient)
  • An explorer’s pack
Witch

While not necessarily a magic-user, some researchers find their eccentric ways and alchemical experiments make them unwelcome in society, finding greater freedom to pursue their power far away, with nothing but their pets for company.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Bombardier Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Beastmastery sphere
  • Variable: Witches gain one additional talent from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A sling and 20 sling bullets
  • Leather armor
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies or (b) a poisoner’s kit
  • A scholar’s pack

Noble

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the noble background.

Cunning Leader

The battlefield is an ever-shifting place, causing chaos and anarchy to reign supreme. Only a cunning leader is able to properly navigate the terrain, commanding their troops while controlling the flow of combat in a way unique to them.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training
  • Guardian sphere
  • Warleader sphere
  • Variable: Cunning leaders gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a mace or (b) a spear
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts, (b) three javelins, or (c) a shortbow and 20 arrows
  • A scholar’s pack
Knight

Training in the knightly arts includes learning how to wear and maneuver in heavy armor and how to wield weapons suitable for frontline combat. In addition, most knights are trained in horsemanship and the art of leadership.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training (x2) Knightly Training
  • Variable: Knights gain either the Beastmastery sphere (ride) package or the Warleader sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a longsword or (b) a greatsword
  • (a) a lance or (b) a morningstar
  • A shield
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail
  • Spurs
  • An explorer’s pack
Noble Duelist

In matters of the court, even the most diplomatic of courtiers must know how to accept and win a duel.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Duelist Training
  • Fencing sphere
  • Guardian sphere (challenge package)
  • Variable: Noble duelists gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a rapier, (b) a longsword, or (c) a greatsword
  • A shortsword
  • Leather armor
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • A diplomat’s pack

Outlander

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the outlander background.

Canny Hunter

Woodsmen and foresters, canny hunters, are skilled marksmen and trackers, capable of spotting a creature’s weaknesses and felling them with a single well-placed shot.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Huntsman Training
  • Scout sphere
  • Sniper sphere
  • Beastmastery sphere

Starting Equipment:

  • A longbow and 20 arrows
  • Two handaxes
  • Leather armor
  • An explorer’s pack
Primitive

Whether they were raised by animals or simply enjoy the freedom of the wilderness, primitives care little for society’s ways, often finding them ludicrous before the simplicity of wild life.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Berserker sphere
  • Athletics sphere
  • Scout sphere
  • Variable: Primitives gain either a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere or the Beastmastery sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A greatclub
  • (a) two hand axes or (b) two spears
  • Leather armor
  • A dagger
  • (a) a tiny cat or (b) a tiny dog
  • An explorer’s pack
Steppe Rider

Training on the harsh steppes breeds talented warriors.

Whether fierce raiders or guarded nomads, steppe riders are trained in horseback archery, relying on precision and mobility in place of bulky armor or heavy melee weapons.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Outrider Training
  • Beastmastery sphere (ride) package
  • Barrage sphere
  • Variable: Steppe riders gain a talent from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A handaxe
  • Two daggers
  • A longbow and 20 arrows
  • Leather armor
  • An explorer’s pack

Sage

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the sage background.

Machinist

A machinist is knowledgeable at the working of machines and other complex systems. While not all machinists will go adventuring, those who do find their knowledge can be remarkably valuable to their allies.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Crossbow Expert
  • Variable: Machinists gain either the Tinkerer sphere or the Trap sphere.
  • Variable: Machinists gain either the Barrage sphere or the Sniper sphere.
  • Variable: Machinists gain either the Point-Blank Shooting or Expert Reloading talents from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a heavy crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) a hand crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Thieves’ tools
  • Leather armor
  • A scholar’s pack
Ruin Delver

Ruin delving requires quick wits and even quicker reflexes.

With a backpack full of gear and a half-baked plan, ruin delvers live by the seat of their pants as they explore the leavings of past civilizations, looking for what knowledge and artifacts they can recover.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rogue Weapon Training
  • Athletics sphere, Rope Swing
  • Variable: Ruin delvers gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A whip
  • (a) a rapier or (b) a shortsword
  • A hand crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Leather armor
  • A climber’s kit
  • A dungeoneer’s pack
Staff Master

Sages who travel often learn to make greater use of their walking sticks than a soldier might of their sword.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Staff Mastery, Unarmored Training
  • Alchemy sphere
  • Variable: Staff masters gain either the Fencing sphere or the Berserker sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A quarterstaff
  • A light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • (a) alchemist’s supplies or (b) a poisoner’s kit
  • A scholar’s pack

Sailor

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the sailor background.

Petty Officer

There are many jobs needed to make a ship run, from the ship’s cook to its carpenter, doctor, quartermaster, or boatswain.

Crewmen with such skills are important aboard any ship as they can mean the difference between safely arriving at one’s destination and eternity on the ocean’s floor.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training, Armor Expert
  • Warleader sphere
  • Variable: Petty officers gain either the Alchemy sphere, the Tinkerer sphere, or a talent from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts, (b) three javelins, or (c) a shortbow and 20 arrows
  • Two daggers
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • A shield
  • A spear
  • A diplomat’s pack
Pirate

Pirates learn to fight on the decks of ships, where one must be both fast and light to avoid being shot or drowned, and where a good bluff can bring an enemy down without the need for a single shot.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Pirate Training, Unarmored Training
  • Fencing sphere
  • Variable: Pirates gain either the Athletics sphere or the Gladiator sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a shortsword or (b) a rapier
  • 2 daggers
  • A shortbow and 20 arrows
  • A flask or tankard of alcohol
  • An explorer’s pack
Rager

Fueled by anger and grog, ragers can be found in the many taverns where sailors and locals congregate, tempers run high, and people can escape on a ship if the law gets involved.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Scoundrel sphere
  • Barroom sphere
  • Berserker sphere
  • Variable: Ragers gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Leather armor
  • (a) three handaxes or (b) three javelins
  • Two flagons of ale
  • A dungeoneer’s pack

Soldier

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the soldier background.

Man at Arms

A man at arms specializes in using thick armor, a great variety of weapons, and sometimes even a combat-trained mount to bring down foes. While generals are often pulled from the nobility, it often falls to the man at arms to lead the troops on the ground.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Bruiser Training, Armor Training
  • Berserker sphere
  • Variable: Men at arms gain either the Warleader sphere or the Beastmastery sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a battleaxe and a shield or (b) a greataxe
  • A mace
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) two handaxes
  • An explorer’s pack
Phalanx Soldier

The phalanx is a group of soldiers who combine spears and shields to create an impenetrable wall of death. Even when not flanked by their brothers-in-arms, a phalanx soldier is still a deadly force on any battlefield.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training, Versatile Shield
  • Shield sphere
  • Variable: Phalanx soldiers gain a talent of their choice from the Equipment or Shield sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Two spears
  • A shield
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) two javelins
  • Leather armor
  • An explorer’s pack
Pikeman

Grunt soldiers in most armies, pikemen are soldiers who specialize in using polearms to take down enemy cavalry and to keep enemies at a safe distance.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training, Pikeman Training, Polearm

    Guard

  • Guardian sphere

Starting Equipment:

  • (a) a pike, (b) a glaive, or (c) a halberd.
  • A heavy crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Two daggers
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • An explorer’s pack

Urchin

The following martial traditions can be taken by a character with the urchin background.

Roof Runner

Roof runners treat the world as their gymnasium, practicing wild acrobatics, running on, and leaping from surfaces most wouldn’t consider even climbing.

Key Ability Modifier: Wisdom

Bonus Talents:

  • Athletics sphere, Training, Wall Stunt
  • Variable: Roof runners gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Four daggers
  • Leather armor
  • (a) a burglar’s pack or (b) an entertainer’s pack
Street Tough

Street toughs specialize in using their bulk to intimidate their opponents and grind them into dust.

Key Ability Modifier: Charisma

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Armor Training
  • Brute sphere
  • Gladiator sphere
  • Variable: Street toughs gain a bonus talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • A shield
  • A spear
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) two handaxes
  • (a) leather armor, (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • A dungeoneering pack
Thrower

Many urchins learn early the power of a thrown stone and capitalize on the power of thrown objects as they grow up, throwing everything from small stones and blades to whatever they can get their hands on.

Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence

Bonus Talents:

  • Equipment: Rock Toss
  • Dual Wielding sphere
  • Sniper sphere
  • Variable: Throwers gain one talent of their choice from the Equipment sphere.

Starting Equipment:

  • Two handaxes
  • Two light hammers
  • Two daggers
  • Leather armor
  • An entertainer’s pack
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Spheres of Might, Copyright 2021, Drop Dead Studios, Authors: Adam Meyers, Derfael Oliveira, Andrew Stoeckle