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Spheres of Power

The rules here present a new way to create and run magic-users in your 5e fantasy games, but through it, tools for telling stories and building settings far beyond the scope of the core game.

Most of the rules for making a spherecasting magic-user are extremely similar to the rules you might already be familiar with for making a spellcaster: sphere DC and spell DC are calculated the same, choosing magic talents is very similar to choosing spells known, and using spell points is, in many ways, even simpler than using spell slots. These rules are balanced against the core magic system, so introducing spheres can be done easily; a character using spheres can sit alongside the rest of the party without issue, whether or not the rest of the party is also using spheres.

The differences between the two systems, however, open up a great many options for what and how magic is played, allowing for a virtually unfettered exploration of character concepts through the interaction of two systems: Casting Traditions, and the Spheres.

Casting Traditions are the “hows” and “whys” of magic. They determine how a magic-user creates magic, what the source of their power is, and what the scope of their capabilities are.

In most fantasy tabletop games, casting tradition is tied to class: the possible casting traditions are artificer, cleric, wizard, sorcerer, etc. However, these rules are opened so Game Masters (and with permission, even players) can adapt magic to fit their needs, rather than adapting their needs. If the Game Master wants to create a custom world where elemental-wielding martial artists do battle with magical pet summoners, and where super-powered heroes conflict with magical-breathing swordfighters, all of this can be done without any complex multiclassing or homebrewed subclasses.

The Spheres are how a magic-user determines what they can do. Instead of spells known, a spherecaster gains magic talents, which they can spend to either unlock a new sphere, or to gain a talent from a sphere they already possess. Spheres offer thematic abilities, while talents alter and augment those abilities in new and interesting ways. Thus, if a player wants to play a master of flame magic, instead of being limited to the progression of flame magic as detailed in spells (fire bolt as a cantrip, burning hands as a 1st level spell, flaming sphere as a 2nd level spell, fireball as a 3rd level spell, etc.), they can instead choose their progression and capabilities as they so choose (With the Nature and Destruction spheres they can immediately gain the ability to command and attack with fire, then as they gain levels they can spend talents as they choose to throw that fire as a fireball, wrap that fire around them as a shield, summon that fire as a wall, and so on, and so on).

The rest of this introduction details some of the different rules and terms required to understand in order to use Sphere of Power, as well as a walkthrough for how to build a spherecasting character. Most of these rules should be familiar to anyone who has played a core magic-user before, but are still presented below in order to be as explicit as possible.

Contents

Using a Magic Sphere

Each magic sphere has one or more basic abilities granted when you gain the sphere. Sphere abilities have the following parameters:

Casting Time: The required action needed to cast the magic sphere effect. Like the Cast a Spell action, each sphere effect has a casting time, which specifies whether the spherecaster must use an action, a bonus action, a reaction, minutes, or even hours to cast the spell. If a sphere effect takes more than one round to cast, you must spend your action each turn casting the effect and you must maintain your concentration while you do so. If your concentration is broken, the effect fails, but you don’t lose any spell points. If you want to try casting the effect again, you must start over.

Range: The target of a sphere effect must be within the effect’s range. Once an effect is cast, its effects aren’t limited by its range, unless the effect’s description says otherwise.

Duration: How long the effect lasts.

Target: This defines what can be targeted by the effect. Typical targets are you (the spherecaster), one or more creatures, one or more objects, or both creatures and objects. Further limitations may apply (allies, hostile creatures, etc.).

Cost: The number of spell points required to cast the effect, before any augments. You lose these spell points, and you cannot attempt to cast a sphere effect that requires more spell points than you possess.

Saving Throw: Some sphere abilities define the saving throw allowed by the effect. Creatures may always choose to fail their saving throw if they wish.

Augments applied to the effect may alter any of these parameters.

Spherecasting Terms

Augment

In many spheres, many granted abilities might be improved or altered through the caster spending additional spell points.

These modifications are referred to as augments. The cost of adding an augment is always added to any spell points required to use the ability itself. The choice to apply an augment must be made at the time the effect is cast, unless otherwise noted.

The number of spell points you can spend on a single sphere effect (including augments) cannot exceed your proficiency bonus, even if the augment is applied after the initial casting.

Concentration

Some sphere effects have a duration of “concentration”, and just as with spells, that concentration can be disrupted. Any factors that apply to spells with a duration of concentration also apply to sphere effects with a duration of concentration.

Many sphere effects with a duration of concentration also have an augment that allows the effect to persist without concentration.

Sphere effects that are changed from a duration of concentration to a different duration cannot be changed back.

Counter

Some sphere effects explicitly can counter each other (for example, the Dark and Light spheres). If a sphere effect says that it counters another sphere effect, applying it to a target under the countered effect acts as a dispel attempt (see the dispel ability of the Universal sphere).

Damage Die

Some classes, features, or sphere talents and abilities can change how much damage a weapon or sphere effect deals, decreasing or increasing its damage die size by one or more steps. This table should be used as a reference guide for such occasions when no such information is provided.

Damage Dice Progression
  • 1d2
  • 1d4
  • 1d6
  • 1d8
  • 1d10
  • 2d6 (or 1d12)
  • 2d8
  • 3d6
  • 3d8

Key Ability

A character’s magic tradition determines what ability score (usually Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) is used to determine the strength of their magic. This ability score is referred to as their key ability. The terms “key ability” and “spherecasting ability” are used interchangeably. Your key ability modifier (KAM) is used to determine many things, such as the Difficulty Class of your sphere abilities, as well as your total number of spell points. If a character has both a magic tradition and a martial tradition (See Spheres of Might), they may use their spherecasting ability as their key ability for both their magic and martial abilities, if it is higher.

The Multiple Traditions optional rule can allow for a character to have more than one key ability modifier. See Section 5 for further information.

Spellcasting Ability Checks

Sometimes, a spellcaster or spherecaster directly pits the raw power of their magic against that of another caster. At these times, the caster rolls a d20 + their spellcasting ability modifier against a set DC (usually the DC of the spell or sphere effect in question).

If the effect originates from a magic item rather than a caster, use Table: Item Magic Skill below to determine spellcasting ability modifier or DC based on the item’s rarity.

Artifact level items cannot normally be countered or suppressed without the aid of other artifact-level items or rare, powerful magic.

Table: Item Magic Skill
Rarity Spellcasting Ability Modifier DC
Common +2 12
Uncommon +3 14
Rare +4 16
Very Rare +5 18
Legendary +6 20

Spherecasting Class

Any class that grants the ability to cast sphere effects is a spherecasting class. Sometimes, such as when a magic tradition grants you bonus spell points, it is a character’s total levels in spellcasting classes that are important. This means that all of your levels from any spherecasting classes you possess are added together for this purpose.

Magic Talent

As a spherecaster gains levels, they gain magic talents. Magic talents may be spent to allow a caster to gain new powers and abilities. Whenever a spherecaster gains a magic talent, they may spend it in one of three ways: to gain a new base magic sphere, to gain a talent associated with a magic sphere they already possess, or to remove a variant they possess from a sphere (but retaining the bonus talents granted). The number of magic talents a spherecaster gains differs between classes, but all characters gain bonus magic talents as part of their casting tradition. Once a talent is spent, it cannot be changed unless retraining is allowed.

Some class features or other options grant you a bonus sphere or a particular bonus talent. If you ever gain a sphere or talent which you already possess, you can gain a different talent of your choice from the same sphere instead.

Advanced Talents: Basic talents may be taken by any spherecaster that possesses the sphere the talent belongs to, while advanced talents have prerequisites that the spherecaster must meet before taking them. Additionally, your Game Master’s permission is required to take advanced talents (see chapter 6: Worldbuilding).

Magic Tradition

A magic-user’s casting tradition is another term for the rules that bind the use of their power, as well as its source. Does their magic come from an allied deity? Inborn talent? Communion with spirits? Does their magic require chanting or gesturing, or perhaps rare materials and the drawing of diagrams?

These questions and more determine the caster’s tradition.

Note that in core 5th edition games a character’s class determines these answers (wizards study magical formulae, clerics commune with deities, etc.), but with Sphere of Power, class no longer determines the rules that bind a magic-user.

A casting tradition is made up of 4 parts: a key ability modifier, drawbacks, boons, and magic talents. Drawbacks determine the rules that bind a magic-user and determine where and how they can use magic. Boons are benefits, determining the special strengths of a casting tradition’s users. Finally, every casting tradition grants its users two magic talents to serve as the beginnings of their growth in magical power.

Spell Attacks and Saving Throws

Unless otherwise stated, whenever a magic sphere ability calls for a saving throw, the Difficulty Class (DC) for that saving throw is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your key ability modifier. If the targeted creature meets or exceeds this number with their saving throw, they often reduce or negate the effect. Additionally, whenever a magic sphere ability calls for an attack roll, your sphere attack modifier is equal to your proficiency bonus + your key ability modifier.

Spell Point

All spherecasters gain a spell point pool, which accumulates spell points as they gain levels. Spell points are a measure of a caster’s capability and are spent to increase the power of their magical abilities. The number of spell points you can spend on a single sphere effect (including augments) cannot exceed your proficiency bonus, even if the augment is applied after the initial casting. Your spell pool refreshes after a long rest.

A spherecaster‘s pool of spell points is defined in their class, but casting traditions can sometime increase the number of spell points you possess. If multiclassing is allowed, you add all your spell points together in a single pool unless using the multiple traditions variant rule, except you only gain additional spell points from your key ability modifier once. For example, if you have three incanter levels and two elementalist levels, your spell pool would be equal to 3 + 2 + your key ability modifier + any bonus spell points from your casting tradition from having 5 levels in spherecasting classes.

Sphere

A sphere is a group of abilities based on a theme. Each sphere grants one or more abilities to any caster who possesses it, and these abilities can be expanded upon with the talents in that sphere.

There are 20 magic spheres, including Alteration, Creation, Conjuration, Dark, Death, Destruction, Divination, Enhancement, Fate, Illusion, Light, Life, Mind, Nature, Protection, Telekinesis, Time, Universal, Warp, and Weather. The Universal sphere is distinct from the others in that it primarily consists of abilities that modify how a spherecaster interacts with other spheres, as well as handles dispelling other magic and wild magic.

Sphere Effect

A magic sphere effect is the equivalent of a spell and in most ways function the same. For the purposes of interacting with 5e rules, all sphere effects are generally treated as spells of a level equal to the number of spell points that have been spent on them (a sphere effect that is cast with a final spell point cost of 0 sp is considered a Cantrip).

Other Rules

Adding Ability Modifiers to Damage

Regardless of what feats, features, talents, or magic items you possess, you cannot add a spellcasting ability modifier or key ability modifier to the damage of spherecasting abilities more than once.

Bonus Action Casting Time

Some sphere effects have a casting time of a bonus action.

Just as with spells, after using a magic sphere effect with a casting time of a bonus action, you can’t use another spell or magic sphere effect during the same turn, except for a Cantrip or a sphere effect with a final spell point cost of 0 sp and a casting time of 1 action.

Curses

Some magic sphere talents or abilities are considered curses.

These talents and abilities have the [curse] descriptor by their name.

Doubling Proficiency Bonus

A proficiency bonus cannot be more than doubled. If a class, sphere, or other ability allows you to double a proficiency bonus (such as to a skill, similar to the expertise rogue or bard class feature), this cannot be doubled again, even if the character also has another ability that doubles a proficiency bonus, such as the expertise class feature.

Identifying a Magic Sphere Effect

Just as with spells, if a character wants to identify a magic sphere effect that someone else is casting or that was already cast, they can use their reaction to identify the magic sphere effect as it’s being cast, or they can use an action on their turn to identify a magic sphere ability by its effect after it is cast.

If the character perceives the casting, the magic sphere’s effect, or both, the character can make an Intelligence (Arcana) check with an action or reaction. The DC equals 15 + the number of spell points used. If the magic sphere effect is cast by a creature possessing a similar casting tradition as the character (or levels in a class with a strong association with the casting tradition), the check is made with advantage. For example, if a spherecaster possessing the Traditional Magic casting tradition uses a magic sphere ability, another wizard or a character with either the Traditional Magic or Magus casting tradition will have advantage on the check to identify the sphere effect.

Some casting traditions aren’t generally associated with any class, such as the Lycanthrope or Natural casting traditions. This Intelligence (Arcana) check represents the fact that identifying a sphere effect requires a quick mind and familiarity with the theory and practice of casting. This is true even for a character whose spellcasting ability is Wisdom or Charisma.

Being able to use magic sphere talents or abilities doesn’t by itself make you adept at deducing exactly what others are doing when they use their magic.

If the spherecaster has no drawbacks that would make casting perceptible at all (Focus Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting, etc.) and doesn’t produce an obvious effect such as a fireball, an observer might still observe and identify the effect being cast, but might require a Wisdom (Perception) check with a DC of 15 – the number of spell points to even tell magic is being cast and which person is producing the effect.

Multiclassing

The new classes presented in this book use their key ability as their multiclassing prerequisites, so multiclassing into or out of any of these classes requires a minimum score of 13 in your key ability (determined by your tradition).

Spell points and magic talents from multiple spherecasting classes stack, though you only gain additional spell points from your key ability modifier once.

How to Build a Character

These rules grant a greater degree of flexibility when bringing a character to life, but this means that character creation involves an increased number of choices. The following guide demonstrates how to build a character from concept to final creation, accounting for these additional choices.

The process for building a character is, roughly:

  1. Concept
  2. Casting tradition
  3. Race and class
  4. Attributes, background, proficiencies
  5. Talents and feats

Building Derwyrdd

Each step of building a character includes an example of that step, with a player named Simon building his character, Derwyrdd.

Concept

This is a concept-based magic system, meaning even more so than with core character creation, the first step to creating a spherecaster is simply to determine what sort of character you want to create. What is your idea for the character? Is your character a shapeshifter, a mystic martial artist, or perhaps a con artist? What can they do and how do they do it? Remember that the answer to these questions will be at least partially informed by the setting and your party members: in a setting where all magic is granted through service to ancient evils and casters are hunwted down by the local government, magical characters will live and play very differently from a setting where magic is free and easily available. Similarly, a magical guardian of a wilderness shrine will have a much harder time in a game where the players will be traveling all over the globe verses one that stays in the same town forever.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 1

Simon decides that he would like to create a fey-like spherecaster who manipulates the forest around him.

He wants to summon plants to do his bidding and do most of his fighting for him, but his party is also in need of a skilled healer, so he wants to fill that niche as well. He imagines a character who communes with nature like a druid, but isn’t interested in shapechanging, at least for the moment.

Instead, he sees his character summoning vines to fight for him, leaping from tree to tree in the heat of combat to strike enemies with a well-placed attack.

Now that you have a general concept, assuming your character will use magic, look at Section 2 for information about casting traditions. What is the source of your character’s magic? Where and how did they learn? Check with your Game Master to see what traditions are allowed, as casting traditions are tied to a game’s setting, and the setting might include a limited number of traditions or possibly custom traditions of the GM’s own creation.

Feel free to speak to your GM about working with you to create a custom tradition if preferred.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 2

Simon’s table is allowing any casting tradition. Simon looks through the available casting traditions and really likes Druidic, Fey Magic, and Ley-Line Tapper, but settles on Fey Magic; his character’s power come from having a fey-like nature, and possibly fey ancestry, rather than the worship of nature or the tapping into the land. He notes down that he gets no bonus spell points from his casting tradition, that his key ability score is Charisma, and also notes his drawbacks and boons. Lastly, he makes a note of the variable magic talents that he could choose from: Two from Dark, Illusion, Mind, Nature, or Weather. He will get back to those later.

Race and Class

Now that you have a concept in mind and know their casting tradition, character creation now follows the format typical for a core 5e game. What race is your character? What class best fits your concept? Note that class does not determine concept, so feel free to explore your options to determine which class features seem the most appealing to you. This book contains new classes and adaptations for existing classes, both of which can be found in Chapter 3.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 3

Since he wants his character to draw power from a fey-like nature, Simon decides to make his character an elf, noting down his starting languages and abilities on his character sheet. Simon knows that he could very well simply use the druid class with the druid spherecaster variant, but he doesn’t find some of the class’s features appealing, so instead he looks at the classes and subclasses here.

Simon thinks both the elementalist and incanter could be a great choice, but Simon ends up choosing the elementalist, because the path of the geomancer fits perfectly with his character concept. He makes Derwyrdd an elementalist and notes the class’s proficiencies and 1st-level class features on his character sheet; Including the Weave Energy feature that grants Derwyrdd the Destruction sphere as a bonus sphere.

As a 1st-level elementalist, Derwyrdd has 1 Hit Die—a d8— and starts with hit points equal to 8 + his Constitution modifier.

Derwyrdd also starts with a number of spell points equal to 1 + his key ability modifier (Charisma).

Simon notes this, and will record the final number after he determines Derwyrdd’s Constitution and Charisma scores. Simon also notes that the proficiency bonus for a 1st-level character, which is +2.

Attributes, Background, Proficiencies

Now is the perfect time to determine the final details of your character, such as where they’re from, what they look like, and what they can do. Generate and distribute your attributes per the method you are using in your game and determine your character’s background, just as detailed in the core game. Where is your character from? What are they skilled at?

At this point you should also choose your character’s proficiencies, which are determined both by your background and your class. If you are also using the book Spheres of Might, this is an appropriate place to choose your starting martial tradition as well, if they have one.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 4

Simon decides to use the standard set of scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) for Derwyrdd’s abilities. Since he’s first and foremost a spherecaster, he puts his highest score 15, in Charisma (his key ability score). His next highest, 14 goes in Dexterity.

Derwyrdd wants to have a decent Wisdom and Constitution, so he allocates the next two highest there. After applying his racial benefits (increasing Derwyrdd’s Dexterity by 2 and Wisdom by 1), Derwyrdd’s ability scores and modifiers look like this: Strength 8 (-1), Dexterity 16 (+3), Constitution 12 (+1), Intelligence 10 (+0), Wisdom 14 (+2), Charisma 15 (+2).

Simon fills in Derwyrdd’s final hit points: 8 + Con (+1) = 9 hit points; spell points: 1 + Cha (+2) = 3 spell points; and sphere DC: 8 + prof bonus (+2) + Cha (+2) = save DC 12. Simon then fills in some of Derwyrdd’s basic details: his name, his sex (male), his height and weight, his alignment (chaotic neutral).

Simon decides that Derwyrdd lives in the woods, so either Hermit and Outlander are fitting backgrounds, eventually settling on Hermit. He notes the proficiencies and special features this background gives him.

For personality traits, Simon decides that Derwyrdd could be described as ‘utterly serene’. Derwyrdd believes in the ideal of ‘live and let live’ with strong bonds to an organization of isolated and wandering healers. Simon writes down the starting equipment from the elementalist class, his casting tradition, and his background. His starting equipment includes: a rapier, a shortbow (and 20 arrows), an explorer’s pack, dagger, a scroll case stuffed full of notes from studies and prayer, a winter blanket, a common set of clothes, an herbalism kit, and 5 gp.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 4 (optional)

Simon also owns Spheres of Might and decides to trade out the elementalist’s armor proficiency, martial weapon proficiencies, and Unarmored Defense feature for a martial tradition.

Because Simon already liked the Hermit background, he decides on keeping it and chooses a martial tradition tied to that background, settling on the Witch martial tradition.

Simon updates his character sheet to include the new starting equipment from his martial tradition and writes down that Derwyrdd has the following martial sphere talents and abilities:

Alchemy sphere. – Talents (formulae) Salve formulae, (30 ft.), DC 12, 3 formulae

Beastmastery sphere. – Packages tame; Talents none

  • tame, DC 12; CR 0 beast

Equipment sphere. – Talents (discipline) Bombardier Training, (other) Unarmored Training

  • Bombardier Training; Treat alchemical weapons (acid flasks, alchemist’s fire, etc.) as simple weapons.
  • Unarmored Training; AC = 10 + Dex mod (+3) + Cha mod (+2)

Talents and Feats

Finally, note the talents granted by your tradition and class, and make any choices required. Similarly, if your race grans you a bonus feat, this is the time to choose which one you desire.

Now review the character and evaluate the result. You may want to go back and tweak things or even start over with a different concept, possibly inspired by options you found during the creation process.

Building Derwyrdd, Step 5

From steps 2 and 3, Simon knows that Derwyrdd has the Destruction sphere from the elementalist class, as well as two talents that must be purchased from his casting tradition.

Because Derwyrdd is supposed to be a plantomancer, he looks through the Dark, Illusion, Mind, Nature, and Weather spheres (the spheres that his casting tradition grants him two talents from) to see what is appropriate for his concept and finds the Nature sphere with its plant package. Simon uses one talent to purchase the Nature sphere (plant package), and the second talent to purchase Create Nature. Simon then looks over the Destruction sphere and notes that because he possesses the Nature sphere, he gains the Bramble Blast (blast type).

Simon writes down that Derwyrdd has the following magic sphere talents and abilities:

Destruction sphere. – Talents (blast type) Bramble Blast

  • destructive blast, (self), DC 10 + Cha mod, 1d8, instantaneous
  • Blast Shapes (Shaped); 0 sp 5-ft. radius; 1sp 30-ft. cone or 120-ft. line
  • Blast Types (Bramble, Poison); piercing (Dex save vs. grappled) or poison (poisoned until start of next turn)

Nature Sphere – Packages plant; Talents (geomancy)

Create Nature

  • geomancy, (30 ft.), DC 10 + Cha mod, instantaneous or concentration (1 minute w/ 1 sp)
  • Plant (Entangle, Harvest, Pummel)
  • Create Nature; create one Large-sized tree or field of plants in 10-ft. square, 1 spoki

Using Casting Traditions

Casting traditions are comprised of a key ability, drawbacks, boons, and magic talents, including any sphere-specific variants. Drawbacks and boons are obtained when the spherecaster gains their first level in a spherecasting class, while sphere-specific variants are only applied when you gain the sphere in question. Despite their mechanical implications, casting traditions are primarily a tool for storytelling and worldbuilding; thus, they are a Game Master tool first and a player’s tool second.

Casting traditions are designed to allow GMs free reign over the how’s and why’s of magic, allowing them to forge magic to fit the needs of their world and their players, rather than be confined to the how’s and why’s of the usual game. While this can be used to recreate the feel of traditional games (such as through traditions like Traditional Magic, Divine Petitioner, and Druidic), it can also be used to create more outlandish games and custom worlds.

If the players and the GM do not want to worry about the why’s and how’s of magic, they may simply remove all casting traditions, giving all magic users the ‘natural’ tradition by default. Or, they may allow any casting tradition contained within this book. Most often, however, the GM will want to explore casting traditions before the campaign begins, deciding what is or is not appropriate for the needs of the game.

For more information on using casting traditions to build unique worlds, see chapter 6.

What is in a Casting Tradition?

A casting tradition contains a description of the tradition, the key ability modifier of that tradition, drawbacks, boons, and two magic spheres or talents. It may also include a number of sphere-specific variants.

The key ability modifier determines what attribute is used for your sphere DCs, spell points, spell attack rolls, and other effects. If a tradition lists a choice of attributes, this choice is made when the tradition is gained and may not be changed later.

Casting Traditions

Drawbacks apply limitations and restrictions to how you can cast, granting a combination of bonus spell points or boons in exchange.

Boons give bonuses under particular circumstances. Drawbacks and boons are described in more detail in their sections below.

Some traditions also specify that their practitioners must take specific sphere variants. These variants are listed with the required sphere in parenthesis. No bonus from such a variant is granted until the base sphere is gained.

Each casting tradition also grants its users two magical spheres or talents. Depending on the tradition, this could be two predetermined spheres or talents, or might grant a choice of spheres from a short list.

Some traditions also include granted items. These items are needed to fulfill certain drawback requirements, such as a focus or an instrument that you must play. These items are gained at 1st level in addition to your normal starting equipment.

Table: Suggested Traditions for Core Classes
Class Similar Traditions
Artificer Artificery
Bard Bardic Magic
Cleric Divine Petitioner
Druid Druidic
Paladin Divine Petitioner (Divine Crusader)
Ranger Druidic (Ranger)
Sorcerer Sorcerous Blood
Warlock Pact Magic
Wizard Traditional Magic

Creating New Casting Traditions

Casting traditions are designed to enable character concepts and to allow magic in the game world to feel unique. The casting traditions listed below cover a great many themes, but no listing could exhaustively cover all the possibilities for every player and setting. If a Game Master (or a player with Game Master permission) wishes to create a unique casting tradition, they should review the following notes and recommendations.

1. Casting traditions should have a key ability modifier suitable to the theme of the tradition. Broader concepts may allow for a choice, but this is not required.

2. Traditions that are focused on a particular theme should grant 2 talents from appropriate spheres. Many traditions listed below reflect broad concepts, so allow a high degree of choice, but when tailoring a tradition to a setting it is often appropriate to grant narrower selections and even to bar some spheres entirely.

3. Pick a number of relevant drawbacks. These determine the limitations of the tradition’s magic, as well as many details of how the magic is produced.

4. A tradition grants bonus spell points depending on the number of drawbacks taken. Alternatively, a tradition may grant boons; one boon for two drawbacks. Drawbacks used to gain a boon do not grant bonus spell points. Boons and drawbacks should make sense for the tradition; a custom tradition is not intended to be an exercise in optimizing a particular character build.

5. Each casting tradition should include any starting equipment required to use the tradition, such as a musical instrument or artisan’s tools for skilled casting or a focus for focused casting.

Table: Drawbacks and Spell Points
Number of Drawbacks Bonus Spell Points
1 +1, +1 per 6 levels in casting classes
2 +1, +1 per 3 levels in casting classes
3 +1 per odd level in a casting class (1, 3, 5, etc.)
4 +1, +1 per 1.5 levels in a casting class (2, 3, 5, 6, etc.)
5 +1 per level in a casting class

Sample Casting Traditions

Addled

Hidden within the ramblings of the mad, one word is often repeated. Some healers theorize that this word is the name of the hidden god of madness, gaining power from—and granting power to—those who surrender their minds to him. There must be some truth to this theory, because sometimes, when those with this word on their lips are displeased with their surroundings, they manifest the ability to magically change them.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 3 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Mind, Illusion

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Verbal Casting, Wild Magic

Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus

Granted Items: None

Artificery

Artificers can produce magical effects through their tools, crafting forces of magic as easily as they might craft wood, cloth, or iron.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Creation, Enhancement

Drawbacks: Focus Casting (thieves tools or any artisan’s tool), Skilled Casting (thieves tools or any artisan’s tool)

Variants: None

Boons: Aptitude

Special: If using Spheres of Might, any time you would gain a magic talent, you can instead gain a martial talent from the Tinker sphere.

Granted Items: Choose one from thieves’ tools or any one artisan’s tool.

Subtradition: Alchemy

Alchemists are artificers who distill their magic into brews or concoctions, which often require preparation beforehand.

While an alchemist’s work is often expensive, a skilled alchemist can support their allies in many unique ways.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Alteration, Destruction, Enhancement, Life

Drawbacks: Focus Casting (alchemist’s supplies), Material Casting, Prepared Caster, Skilled Casting (alchemist’s supplies)

Variants: None

Boons: Aptitude, Physical Magic

Special: If using Spheres of Might, any time you would gain a magic talent, you can instead gain a martial talent from the Alchemy sphere.

Granted Items: Alchemist’s supplies.

Bardic Magic

It’s often said there is power in music, and bardic magic proves this theory correct. While many musicians might use song to charm their listeners, practitioners of bardic magic might, quite literally, move mountains with their songs.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per odd level in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Dark, Divination, Enhancement, Illusion, Light, Mind

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Performance), Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: One musical instrument worth less than 20 gp

Subtradition: Beast Charming

Music can soothe the savage beasts of the world, but the knack for doing so is a difficult and often dangerous skill to develop. For those who succeed, they find in animals a true, trusting source of companions.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per odd level in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Mind sphere, any one other sphere.

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Performance), Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: Animal Shaman (requires Mind)

Boons: None

Granted Items: One musical Instrument worth less than 20 gp

Subtradition: Song-Wielder

Wish for it, sing for it, and it is yours. Born of an ancient magical lineage, song-wielders possess an inborn power to make magic through their voice, changing reality through sounds and expressions that only they truly understand.

Because a song-wielder’s magic is tied to their voice, they grow in strength the longer they sing. Often, it is only when a song-wielder has sung themselves hoarse that their true power manifests.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Performance), Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Empowered Abilities

Granted Items: None

Blood Magic

One of the most dangerous forms of magic, blood magic promises great power to its practitioners, but with a price.

Blood magic is difficult, lengthy, complicated, and draining, but for its practitioners the promise of insurmountable power is worth the mere price of their life force. Blood mages are constantly performing a dangerous dance, for the closer they are to death’s door, the greater their power becomes.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Intelligence (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose any two

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Extended Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Deathful Magic, Fortified Casting, Overcharge

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Demonology

Unsurprisingly, the demonology casting tradition is found almost exclusively among demonologists, evil outsiders, and fiend-worshiping spherecasters.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Charisma (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Mental Focus

Variants: None

Boons: Fortified Casting

Granted Items: None

Chaos Tapper

Chaos tappers channel the pure, unadulterated power of chaos through their bodies. A dangerous and often forbidden practice, chaos tapping is both painful and addictive, but it is also extremely powerful.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per odd level in spellcasting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Universal (Wild magic package), one other sphere of your choice.

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Magical Signs, Painful Magic, Wild Magic

Variants: None

Boons: Wild Surge

Granted Items: None

Contaminated

Somewhere in the bowels of the criminal underworld, an alchemist cracked the code of magic and created Essence. This powerful, addictive powder grants magical ability to anyone who consumes it, and can be found readily available in most black markets for anyone rich enough—and foolish enough—to seek it out.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 3 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Alteration, Enhancement, Destruction, Telekinesis, Time, Warp

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting, Material Casting, Wild Magic

Variants: None

Boons: Overcharge

Granted Items: None

Diagram Alchemy

Diagram alchemists do not mix chemicals and potions, but instead use diagrams drawn on the ground to empower their technique of changing one form of matter into another.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Creation sphere, Enhancement sphere

Drawbacks: Diagram Magic

Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus

Granted Items: None

Divine Petitioner

A divine petitioner gains their magic through service and prayer to a divine source, such as a deity. A divine petitioner must pray every day to regain their spell points, petitioning not only for their magic, but specifying how they intend to use it that day. Divine petitioners do everything in the name of their deity and find it difficult to even manifest their power unless they have their holy symbol in hand.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per odd level in casting classes

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Two talents associated with the chosen deity

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Prepared Caster, Verbal Casting

Variant: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: 1 wooden holy symbol

Subtradition: Divine Crusader

A divine Crusader doesn’t devote themselves to a single divine entity, but instead to a divine cause, championing and embodying something greater than themselves.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per odd level in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Div- ination, Life, or Protection

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Prepared Caster, Verbal Casting

Variant: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: 1 wooden holy symbol

Druidic

A druid gains their magic through communion with nature and the spirits contained therein. While many casters band together for mutual study and protection, druids take this a step further, possessing their own secret language that identifies one druid to another. The hierarchy of the druids is a very sacred thing for them, and there are only so many high-level druids in the world at any one time. Indeed, a druid rising through the ranks often must claim their new title by taking it from another druid through a demonstration of superior magic.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 3 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Alteration, Conjuration, Life, Mind, Nature, or Weather

Drawbacks: Prepared Caster, Verbal Casting

Variants: Animal Shaman (Mind)

Boons: None

Special: You gain Druidic as a bonus language

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Blighter

Drawing power from the destruction of life, blighters are twisted spherecasters who reduce the land around them to a desiccated echo of its former virility.

Be they worshipers of blight gods or thieves of natural magics, blighters are a hazard to living things wherever they tread.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Death, Nature or Weather

Drawbacks:Terrain Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Terrain Defiler

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Ranger

Rangers draw their power less with direct communication with nature and more from the experience and wisdom gained from living and surviving in its domains.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose 2: Enhancement, Life, Nature or Weather

Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Herbalism kit, Nature, or Survival), Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Aptitude

Granted Items: None

Fey Magic

To the fey, magic is simply a part of life — as easy as moving an arm or getting angry. For the others who attempt to replicate this style of magic, they find that dance-like movement and heightened emotions are a prerequisite to unlocking their power.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Dark, Illusion, Mind, Nature, or Weather

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

Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus, Overcharge

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Ley-line Tapper

Ley-line Tappers draw their power from the innate mystic potential of the leylines connected to notable natural locations. Doing so takes great effort, but once the power is drawn, it is in some measure self-sustaining.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 6 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Nature, any other one

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Nature Warden

Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus

Granted Items: None

Lycanthrope

Curses are terrible things and lycanthropy more so than most. For some spherecasters, however, lycanthropy is the beginning of a long journey to power. These souls not only learn to control their animalistic natures, but to expand them, pulling power from their curse and turning it into a source of magic. Practitioners of this magic should beware however; curses are not trivial things, and a lycanthrope’s magic is unpredictable at best.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 6 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Alteration, one Alteration (form) talent

Drawbacks: Wild Magic

Variants: Lycanthropic (Alteration)

Boons: None

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: True Shapeshifter

True shapeshifters generally do not use magic to change their form, but rather supplement their natural shapeshifting with magic. To them, changing form is as natural as waking up in the morning.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: None

Drawbacks: None

Variants: Lycanthropic (Alteration)

Boons: None

Granted Items: None

Special: Instead of bonus magic talents, you gain the Transformation feat.

Kineticist

No one chooses to be a kineticist, it is something that is either thrust upon them by a traumatic experience or fate.

Regardless of how they gained their power, all kineticists possess the ability to harness and channel destructive energy from within.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two from the Destruction sphere

Drawbacks: Charge Magic, Draining Casting, Magical Signs

Variants: None

Boons: Fortified Casting, Overcharge

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Air-Rider

For the air-rider, manipulating the wind around them is as easy as breathing. Unlike other subtraditions under kineticist, the air-rider generally doesn’t have flashy or particularly obvious magical effects that accompany their use of elemental manipulation, and instead requires a focused and still mind to use properly.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Charisma (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two from Nature (air geomancy)

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Mental Focus

Variants: None

Boons: Fortified Casting

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Earth-Bound

Earth-bound spherecasters can channel primal energy attuned with earth, sand, and stone. While their magic isn’t usually as flashy as the flame-blooded or water-magi, it is obvious to onlookers when they manipulate the terrain around them.

Bonus Spell Points: +1, +1 per 6 levels (1, 6, 12, etc.)

Key Ability: Constitution or Wisdom (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Destruction, Nature (earth geomancy)

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Magical Signs, Somatic

Casting Variants: Nature Bound (Destruction)

Boons: Fortified Casting

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Flame-Blooded

There exist those who bear in their blood a touch of pure fire. Details of their origin are spotty at best, but the tale is told of a tryst between a mortal woman and the elemental spirit of fire itself, granting the power of fire to all her descendants.

The flame-blooded are often as brash and volatile as the element that powers their magic; to cross one is to invite a swift and deadly response.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Intelligence (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Destruction, Nature (fire geomancy)

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Magical Signs, Somatic Casting (2)

Variants: Nature Bound (Destruction), Limited Warp (requires fire, Warp), Focused Weather (heat, Weather)

Boons: Fortified Casting, Overcharge

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Water-Magi

There exists an order of monks who pull power from an ancient pact formed with the spirit of the moon. These water-magi are born with the power to bend water to their will, pulling it as the moon pulls the tides. Through dedicated practice, they use their movements to control this liquid and bring its power to bear against their enemies.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Wisdom (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Nature (water geomancy), Telekinesis

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Magical Signs, Somatic Casting (2)

Variants: Limited Creation (ice, Creation), Nature Bound (Destruction), Limited Telekinesis (water, Telekinesis), Focused Weather (precipitation, Weather)

Boons: Easy Focus, Fortified Casting

Granted Items: None

Mysticism

Mysticism is less about strict hierarchies and more about learning from the divine forces that empower the world. As students of the magical arts, those who follow the path of the mystic tend to have very obvious displays of magic as they channel the might of various spirits and deities.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Wisdom

Bonus Magic Talents: Fate sphere, any other one.

Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Empowered Abilities

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Monastic

When the power of the spirit is properly cultivated through physical discipline and meditation, it can elevate itself to a form of magic. There are orders of monks who practice this form of magic, using their monastic traditions to guide their pursuit of magical awakening. Renowned for their versatility of power, casters of these monastic orders are often solitary, as the very source that gives them such great power also makes it difficult to manifest that power outside of their own bodies.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Constitution or Wisdom (whichever is higher)

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Magical Signs, Point-Blank Effects, Somatic Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Fortified Casting, Metasphere Specialist

Granted Items: None

Natural

Natural spherecasters have inborn magical ability. This is the default tradition for spherecasters with no distinct tradition and for creatures that lack culture or intellect but remain capable of intuitive magic use.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: None

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: None

Pact Magic

Pact Magic focuses on forming a pact with an otherworldly patron, then summoning that patron’s servants to cast magic on the user’s behalf. Having another entity managing the power makes it easy to control, but it can be hard to resist the pull that entity has over the spherecaster’s mind.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Conjuration, any other sphere suitable to the chosen patron

Drawbacks: Addictive Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus

Granted Items: None

Psychic

For some people, magic is an expression of their will, and a little mental focus is enough to call it into being.

Bonus Spell Points: +1, +1 per 3 levels in casting classes.

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Mind, Telekinesis

Drawbacks: Emotional Casting, Rigorous Concentration

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: None

Runist

Runists study the first language—the language of creation itself. With this knowledge they can create magical effects by writing out the appropriate runes—a time-consuming process, but a powerful one. Runists spend their lives mastering true names and meditating on the meaning of the runes, for once a runist has mastered a rune’s essence they master that aspect of creation itself.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per level in casting classes

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two.

Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Skilled Casting (Calligrapher’s supplies), Somatic Casting (2)

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: Calligrapher’s supplies

Sorcerous Blood

For some individuals, magic is truly in the blood, and all it takes to use is a flick of the wrist and a quick chant of arcane words. Whether their magic comes from a magical ancestor such as a dragon or phoenix, being touched by wild magic, or from another source, magic comes naturally to them.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 + 1 per 3 levels in casting classes

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two suitable to the spherecaster’s heritage

Drawbacks: Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Inherent Divinity

For sorcerers with inherent divinity, the magic in their blood comes from having divine ancestry. For these individuals gestures and arcane chanting are meaningless; all they need to do is simply impress their will onto the world and speak their needs, and the world itself will listen.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Two talents associated with the deity from their ancestry

Drawbacks: Emotional Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: Boons: Easy Focus

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Wild-Born

A wild-born is someone who was raised by magical creatures: the adopted children of dragons, fey beings, or other creatures of natural inborn magic. A wild-born often has a talent for magical abilities similar to their parent’s magic or develops a connection with a magical sibling, drawing their power through this familial bond.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Verbal Casting

Variants: None

Boons: Bound Creature

Granted Items: None

Subtradition: Wild Magic

Eschewing the studied and tamed paths of magic, possessers of wild magic create powerful effects by simply pulling more power from their souls, boosting the effect but making the result unpredictable.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Charisma

Bonus Magic Talents: Universal (Wild Magic package), one other sphere of your choice.

Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Wild Magic

Variants: None

Boons: Wild Surge

Granted Items: None

Traditional Magic

Traditional magic is the study of the natural world, including astronomy, alchemy, and ancient learning, to create magic through a combination of gestures, words, and magical components. Traditional magic is based on performing specific rites and observing various taboos, meaning its practitioners must decide each morning what magic they will use that day so they may perform the appropriate rituals. Traditional magic is the realm of academics, making it a long and grueling course of study but granting both wisdom and power in equal amounts.

Bonus Spell Points: 1 per level in casting classes

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

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

Variants: None

Boons: None

Granted Items: Pouch with 10 gp worth of material components

Subtradition: Magus

Sometimes, such as with the magus, a practitioner of traditional magic focuses on its application in combat to such an extent that they can maintain the appropriate gestures even when wearing armor, and can maintain their power even after casting themselves to exhaustion.

Bonus Spell Points: 1, +1 per 6 levels in casting classes (1, 6, 12, etc.)

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Material Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal

Casting Variants: None

Boons: Empowered Abilities

Granted Items: Pouch with 10 gp worth of material components

Subtradition: Occultist

Instead of relying upon esoteric material components, occultists focus their magic through an implement or relic, usually a wand. Like traditional casters, their magic also necessitates meticulous gesticulation, usually requiring full range of motion, as well as verbal components such as a brief but precise arcane phrase related to the desired magical effect.

Bonus Spell Points: None

Key Ability: Intelligence

Bonus Magic Talents: Any two

Drawbacks: Focus Casting, Somatic Casting (2), Verbal

Casting Variants: None

Boons: Easy Focus, Empowered Abilities

Granted Items: A spellcasting focus

Drawbacks

As detailed earlier in this chapter, drawbacks deal with the manner in which a spherecaster uses their magic. Do they gesture? Must they speak in a resounding voice? Do they require a special magical focus or magical component? Some drawbacks are especially powerful; these drawbacks count as two drawbacks when determining the number of boons or bonus spell points gained. With GM permission a drawback may be removed from a tradition, but this might require special training, a quest, or some instance of breakthrough or epiphany, and the spherecaster must lose the bonus spell points or boons gained from that drawback.

Balancing Drawbacks

While some drawbacks provide penalties directly to the caster (Extended Casting, Addictive Casting, Painful Casting, etc.), others depend on the circumstances and situation around the spherecaster, such as Verbal Casting, Material Casting, Focus Casting, etc.

These drawbacks do not penalize the caster, but instead introduce situations where they cannot effectively use magic (when silenced, empy-handed, etc.) Some of these drawbacks raise questions about the setting that a Game Master might need to answer.

Material Casting, for example, raises a lot of questions: Are materials expensive? Are they common? Will the player run out and need to spend time hunting for more? These are questions that the player and Game Master should both know the answers to, as it might affect player action throughout the game, not to mention how the world might react to the player as they use and replenish their magic.

Other drawbacks might greatly affect the actions of both players and NPCs in combat. For example, if a character takes Focus Casting, it means they now wave an item around to cast magic; this is an action many enemies will notice and try to take advantage of. If this drawback has been incorporated into the world itself (for example, all magic-users must use a wand to cast spells), then disarming an opponent’s focus would become a common combat technique that may be employed and must be guarded against. In fact, if no enemy ever attempts to destroy or take the focus from the spherecaster, it could be argued the player has gained all of the benefits of the drawback with none of the actual costs.

By discussing drawbacks with the Game Master and how they affect the setting, players can create interesting stories, memorable combats, and interesting tactics as they exploit their enemies’ weaknesses while creating backup plans for their own. All Game Masters are encouraged to discuss these issues with their players so everyone knows what to expect from their particular campaign.

List of Drawbacks

Addictive Casting

Your magic is addictive. Whenever you spend one or more spell points, you must pass a Constitution saving throw against your addiction DC (Your addiction DC is 8, + 1 for each roll you have previously made.

Thus, your first roll would be a DC 8, the second a DC 9, the third a DC 10, etc.).

If you fail this save, you become Mana Addicted. While Mana Addicted, any time you have not spent a spell point within the last minute, you suffer a -1 penalty to your proficiency bonus until you spend a spell point. If you are already Mana Addicted and fail your saving throw from using spell points, the Mana Addicted penalty to proficiency increases by 1 (minimum proficiency bonus 0).

If you complete a long rest after having gone a full day without spending any spell points, you can make a Constitution saving throw against your addiction DC. If successful, your addiction DC is reduced by 2. If you succeed on 2 consecutive saves in this way, you are also no longer Mana Addicted. Addiction to magic cannot be cured through magic, but a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) can be used to give you advantage on these saving throws. This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points or boons gained.

Center of Power

You have an obvious physical feature which is the source of your magical power. Whenever you cast, any creature that is observing you can clearly tell that your magic originates from your center of power. If a critical hit is made on you, your center is disrupted, and you lose 1d4 spell points (if you have them), are unable to cast spells or use any magical sphere effects for 1 round, and automatically lose concentration. A creature can target the center of power by choosing to take disadvantage on their attack roll; if successful, you are affected as if they had made a critical hit (though no additional damage is dealt).

You cannot have both this and the Focus Casting drawback.

Charge Magic

Your magic often requires time to recharge between castings (Recharge 6). When you spend 1 or more spell points on an ability, you cannot spend any additional spell points until your magic recharges. At the start of each of your turns, roll a d6. If the roll is one of the numbers in the recharge notation, you regain the use of spell points. You also recharge when you finish a short or long rest. Your recharge value improves at 5th level (Recharge 5-6), 11th level (Recharge 4-6), and 17th level (Recharge 3-6). This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Coy Caster

Your magic is a fickle thing, or perhaps you’re simply possessed of performance anxiety. Whenever you attempt to use magic while you know you’re being observed, you must make a key ability check (DC 10 + twice the number of spell points used) to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens.

Diagram Magic

In order to perform any magical effect, either you or your target must be entirely contained within the boundaries of a special diagram. Creating this diagram requires an action for every 5-foot square contained within the diagram. If either you or your target are within a functional circle, you can cast normally.

Effects that target an area may be centered within a circle even if the spherecaster is not within the circle. Otherwise, using magic without a diagram requires you to make a key ability check with a DC of 10 + twice the number of spell points used or lose the action and any spell points spent. If you are not in a functional circle and casting an effect that targets an area or multiple creatures, you must still make the casting ability check; if you fail, any spaces or creatures outside the circle are unaffected. If maintaining an effect through concentration and you begin your turn with neither you nor your target within the diagram, you must pass the key ability check or your concentration breaks.

The diagram need not be drawn with any special materials, and can be done with sprinkled salt, paint, blood, or anything else that may be on hand so long as it is clearly visible. If the diagram is disrupted (such as someone spending an action to disrupt the diagram, or through sufficient force from water, wind, etc.) then the diagram is destroyed. This counts as 2 drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Draining Casting

Using magic saps your lifeforce. You suffer one damage and your maximum hit points are reduced by 1 for every spell point you spend in any fashion. This reduction lasts until you complete a long rest. At 11th level, the damage and hp reduction increases to 2.

Emotional Casting

Your magic requires heightened emotional states of mind to use. When subject to the charmed or frightened conditions, or other effects that result in a heightened emotional state (such as the hostility (charm) of the Mind sphere or the rage spell), you are unable to cast or concentrate on any magic sphere effect.

Extended Casting

Your magic takes longer to use than normal. When using a magic sphere ability that takes an action to use, you cannot move before or after casting it and cannot use a bonus action that round. Sphere effects that require a bonus action instead cost an action, and effects that require a reaction consume your bonus action for next turn. Effects with longer casting times are increased by one step (1 minute becomes 10 minutes, 10 minutes becomes 1 hour, 1 hour becomes 1 day, and times greater than 1 day are doubled). This counts as two drawbacks when determining the number of spell points gained.

Focus Casting

Your magic requires you to use an item such as a wand, holy symbol, ring, or staff to create magic. Using sphere talents or abilities without your focus requires you to make a key ability check with a DC of 10 + twice the number of spell points used to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. If a focus is lost, stolen, or broken, you must create a new focus by securing the necessary item. If you are polymorphed and your focus is absorbed into your body, you instead function as having the Center of Power drawback.

You cannot have both this and the Center of Power drawback.

Magical Signs

Your magic is accompanied by a tell-tale sign; for example, your body glows brightly, the sound of tortured souls shriek as you cast, or some other manifestation affects all creatures within 30 feet. Nearby creatures know when you are using magic, as well as the nature of the magic used (the sphere and any talents applied).

You cannot have both this and the Witch-Marked drawback.

Material Casting

Your magic requires the expenditure of specific materials: precious metals, rare components, etc. The exact nature of this material should be worked out with the GM. Using a sphere ability that costs 0 spell points requires having a component pouch readily available. Sphere abilities costing 1 or more spell points require expending materials worth 1 gold piece per spell point.

Marking Magic

A mark appears on any creature or object that you target with a sphere effect. This mark may appear as a painted glyph, a strip of rune-inscribed paper, or almost any similar manifestation, and always appears on a body part or portion of the object where it is easily visible. The mark can be easily removed; it can be rubbed away as an action (which requires an attack roll made with advantage if the creature is not willing), or fades away after being exposed to water or another solvent for one minute. Once the mark has been removed, the effect ends immediately.

Mental Focus

Your magic requires you to have a focus that is not always possible to achieve. You normally have focus, but lose it whenever you gain the charmed, frightened, incapacitated, or stunned conditions, have a critical hit made against you, or you fail a saving throw to maintain concentration. Using magic without your mental focus requires you to make a key ability saving throw with a DC of 10 + twice the number of spell points used to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. If focus is lost, the spherecaster can refocus by meditating as an action. Doing so provokes opportunity attacks from hostile creatures.

You cannot have both this and the Emotional Casting drawback.

Nature Warden

You are mystically bonded to a single notable location such as a cave, large tree, spring, or prominent stone and draw your magic from it. You must remain within a number of miles equal to your level to use your magic normally. Using magic outside this area requires you to make a saving throw with your key ability with a DC of 10 + twice the number of spell points used to produce the desired effect. Failure means time (and any spell points) are spent, but no effect happens. You can bond to a new site of the same general type with an 8 hour ritual.

Painful Magic

Your magic consumes you the more you rely on it. You must pass a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10 + twice the number of spell points used whenever you use magic, or be poisoned for 1 round. If you use magic while poisoned, you must pass the saving throw or be incapacitated for 1 round.

The poisoned condition imposed by this drawback bypasses any immunity to the poisoned condition you possess.

Point-Blank Effects

Magic sphere effects you cast cannot be cast at a range greater than touch, even if you possess the Reaching (metasphere) talent. If the magic sphere effect would have you make a ranged spell attack roll, you can make a melee spell attack roll instead.

Prepared Caster

You must prepare your magic beforehand in order to use it.

After completing a long rest and regaining spell points, you must assign each of your spell points to a sphere you possess.

You cannot spend more spell points in a given sphere in a day than you have assigned to that sphere. You can assign spell points to the Universal sphere even if you do not possess this sphere, and draw from that sphere to power class features and feats that require spell points. If your spell points are drained or otherwise lost other than by casting, you can choose which sphere to draw the spell points from.

Rigorous Concentration

Your magic requires intense amounts of concentration to use. Concentrating on a sphere effect requires you to spend a bonus action each round. This drawback may be applied a second time; doing so requires you to spend an action each round to concentrate.

Skilled Casting

You must create your magic through singing, drawing, or some other activity. Choose a skill or tool proficiency. You must succeed at a check using that skill or tool to use any sphere ability. The DC of this check is 10 + twice the number of spell points used. If you fail this check, the casting is treated as if your proficiency bonus was 1 lower, or 2 lower if you fail your check by 4 or more. If this would drop your effective proficiency bonus below the number of spell points spent on the sphere ability, the casting fails completely, wasting any actions and spell points used.

A spherecaster with Skilled Casting needn’t ‘perform’ their skill in order to use magic, unless they possess other drawbacks that would mimic it. For example, a spherecaster with Skilled Casting (medicine), Somatic Casting, and Focus Casting might need to be holding a healer’s kit and have their hands free to actually practice medicine to enact their magic. A caster with just Skilled Casting (medicine), however, wouldn’t require a healer’s kit or their hands free, but their magic would still require an expert knowledge of medicine to use and apply.

Somatic Casting

You must gesture to cast spells—a process that requires you to have at least 1 hand unoccupied. If you possess Focus Casting, holding a focus in your hand does not count as that hand being ‘unoccupied’.

You may select this drawback twice. If taken a second time, you use your entire body to cast your magic. You cannot cast while wearing any armor, using any shield, or while grappled or restrained.

Terrain Casting

Your magic draws upon the primal energy and nutrients of the terrain. Whenever you use a sphere ability, you must either spend an additional spell point or increase your casting time by one step (see the Extended Casting drawback), else your magic drains and corrupts the terrain around you, creating blighted terrain; additional castings increase the severity of already existing blighted terrain by 1. Casters inside blighted terrain who possess the Terrain Casting drawback are treated as having a penalty to their proficiency bonus equal to twice the blighted terrain severity; If the penalty would reduce their effective proficiency bonus below 0, they cannot use any magical sphere talents or abilities (regardless of spell point cost).

Blighted terrain is affected in different ways depending upon location (water may turn brackish or stagnant, while soil may become barren or salted, air may become putrid); regardless of location, blighted areas will generally heal naturally over time, based upon the severity of the blight.

Blighted Terrain

SeverityBlighted TerrainAreaBlighted TerrainDuration130 ft. radius1 year2120 ft. radius10 years3500 ft. radius100 years41 mile radius1,000 years

You cannot have both this and the Extended Casting drawback.

Verbal Casting

You must speak in a loud, clear voice to cast spells. Using magic alerts all hearing creatures within 60 feet to your presence and location, effectively breaking stealth. You cannot cast in an area of magical silence, or in any other situation where you are unable to speak clearly, and if you are deafened you have disadvantage on spell attack rolls and other targets have advantage on saving throws against your magic.

Wild Magic

You have a base wild magic chance of 10%. This wild magic chance does not stack with wild magic chance from other sources. See the Wild Magic section in Chapter 5: Optional Rules for the use of wild magic chance.

Witch-Marked

Some aspect of your characteristics is a dead giveaway about your magical nature. This could be any purely cosmetic feature that is hard to hide such as a vestigial tail (or tails), glowing eyes, an aura visible to the naked eye, or the stench of death always clinging to you. The intensity of this trait grows proportional to your power. Anyone who sees you can make an Intelligence (Arcana) check against a DC of 20 – 2x your proficiency bonus to learn your casting tradition and what spheres you possess. You also take your proficiency bonus as a penalty to any checks made to disguise your witch-mark, and using magic clearly reveals your witch-mark, breaking the disguise.

You cannot have both this and the Magical Signs drawback.

Boons

Boons are the opposite of drawbacks: instead of adding limitations and requirements to a spherecaster’s magic, they add bonuses and benefits. A spherecaster must possess 2 drawbacks for each boon gained. Drawbacks used to purchase boons in this way are not counted toward bonus spell points.

Note: Some boons allow you to treat your proficiency bonus as if it were higher under certain conditions. The total of these bonuses cannot exceed half your normal proficiency bonus for any given sphere effect. These bonuses are applied when the effect is cast and are fixed for the duration of the effect.

Aptitude

You have a virtuosity in the trade associated with your magic. You gain proficiency in the skill or tool tied to your Skilled Casting drawback. If you already are proficient with the skill, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any check you make that uses the chosen proficiency. This does not stack with expertise (or other similar features).

A spherecaster must possess the skilled casting drawback to gain this boon.

Bound Creature

Your magic is tied to a magical creature, who shares essence and power with you. You gain the ability to cast find familiar as a ritual, if you aren’t able to do so already. You do not require a ritual book to cast this spell as a ritual. When you cast find familiar as a ritual, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: crawling claw, imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite (additional special forms may be chosen with express GM permission). You do not suffer a chance of failure from the Focus Casting drawback so long as you are on the same plane and within 300 feet of your familiar, and your familiar is conscious.

A spherecaster must possess the focus casting drawback to gain this boon.

Deathful Magic

The closer you are to death, the more powerful your magic. When you are at half hit points or less, you treat your proficiency bonus as 1 higher for the purpose of casting your sphere effects.

Easy Focus

You have advantage on saving throws made to maintain concentration.

Empowered Abilities

Your magic grows in strength the more you use it. If your current number of spell points is 0, you treat your proficiency bonus as 1 higher for the purpose of casting your sphere effects.

Fortified Casting

You can use your Constitution as your key ability if it is higher than your usual key ability.

A spherecaster must possess the Draining Casting drawback to gain this boon.

Overcharge

You can overcharge your magic, giving yourself great power at the cost of your own strength. As part of casting, you treat your proficiency bonus as 1 higher for the next sphere effect you cast before the start of your next turn. Doing so increases your exhaustion level by 1. Creatures immune to exhaustion cannot benefit from this boon.

Overwhelming Power

Creatures under the effects of at least 1 of your magical sphere abilities suffer a -1 penalty to their saves against your other magical sphere abilities. This penalty increases to -2 if they are under the effects of at least 3 of your magical sphere abilities.

Metasphere Specialist

In addition to the bonus talents granted by your casting tradition, you also gain the the Metasphere package from the Universal sphere, and one additional (metasphere) talent of your choice.

Physical Magic

Once your magical materials are prepared, you can give them out to others. When you create a sphere effect that costs at least 1 spell point (but not more spell points than 1/2 your proficiency bonus) and a duration other than concentration, you can delay its effects. The sphere effect is placed into an object of your creation (a vial of liquid, a crystal, a dust, etc.), referred to hereafter as an ‘instilled object’. Creating an instilled object takes the same amount of time as it would to cast the sphere effect. The cost of the object this is instilled is considered negligible, being paid for through your Material Casting drawback.

You can target food but not an already-magical item, such as a potion. A creature can activate the instilled object as an action, activating its power and choosing its targets if it is a ranged effect.

If unused, instilled objects lose their magic and become inert after you take a long rest. You cannot place multiple effects in a single object, nor create multiple instilled objects with a single casting, even if augmented with the Mass (metasphere) talent from the Universal sphere.

A spherecaster must possess the Material Casting drawback to gain this boon.

Ritualist

You have learned a number of spells that you can cast as rituals. These spells are written in a ritual book, which you must have in hand while casting one of them. You acquire a ritual book holding two 1st-level spells of your choice. Choose a spellcasting class that has access to 9th level spells. You must choose your spells from that class’s spell list, and the spells you choose must have the ritual tag. You use your key ability modifier as your spellcasting ability for these spells. If you come across a spell in written form, such as a magical spell scroll or a wizard’s spellbook, you might be able to add it to your ritual book. The spell must be on the chosen class’s spell list, the spell’s level can be no higher than half your level (rounded up), and it must have the ritual tag. The process of copying the spell into your ritual book takes 2 hours per level of the spell, and costs 50 gp per level. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.

A spherecaster must possess the Prepared Caster drawback to gain this boon.

Spellbook

You can attune to a ritual book or spellbook as if it were a magic item. Once per long rest you can cast a spell or ritual from the attuned item by expending a number of spell points equal to half the spell’s level, rounded up. You cannot cast a spell or a ritual in this fashion with a spell level greater than your proficiency bonus. Rituals that you cast using this boon are done so as spells, and do not take 10 minutes longer to cast than normal. You can cast from an attuned ritual book or spellbook an additional time per long rest at 5th level (twice), 11th level (thrice), and 17th level (four times).

A spherecaster must possess the Prepared Caster drawback to gain this boon.

Terrain Defiler

Whenever you increase the terrain blighted severity, you treat your proficiency bonus as 1 higher for that sphere effect.

A spherecaster must possess the Terrain Casting drawback to gain this boon.

Wild Surge

As part of casting, you treat your proficiency bonus as 1 higher for the next sphere effect you cast before the start of your next turn by increasing your wild magic chance by 100% for the same period.

A spherecaster must possess the Wild Magic drawback to gain this boon.

Variant Rule

Multiple Traditions

Just like a core character might multiclass cleric and wizard, a spherecaster can possess multiple casting traditions if they so desire. To do so, they must first multiclass two different casting classes. When gaining a level in this second casting class, the spherecaster may apply that level to a new tradition.

They gain a second casting tradition, a second key ability modifier, and a second set of talents, which includes both the talents granted by this second tradition as well as any magic talents granted by the second class. Both traditions do, however, draw from the same pool of spell points. Levels gained in the first casting class adds talents to your first casting tradition, while levels gained in the second casting class adds talents to your second casting tradition. Whenever you create a magic effect, you must choose which casting tradition to use. You only can use the drawbacks, boons, and magic talents associated with that particular tradition. Class features only apply to the casting tradition associated with that class, and bonus spell points granted by a casting tradition can only be used with magic effects generated from that tradition as well.

If you gain levels in a third or fourth casting class, you may select a third or fourth casting tradition as well, following the same rules above.