D&D 5E [Let's Read] Spheres of Power & Might for 5e

Libertad

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Chapter 1: Introduction

The concept of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards was widened during the advent of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition when the spellcasting restrictions of previous editions were removed. When Pathfinder became its spiritual successor, more than a few of their own designers refused to believe the evidence at the time, downplaying its potential problems by shifting the blame to players and GMs, making design decisions and errata that held martial characters to the bounds of “realistic physics,” and an active fanbase which cheered them on whenever they nerfed useful nonmagical features and feats deemed “overpowered.” In spite of many players insisting that there was no sign of imbalance, it was apparent to many people both in mechanics and actual play experience. Solutions for “fixing fighters” and noncasters were extremely popular, both in professional third party publishing sourcebooks and homebrew material.

Spheres of Might was one such attempt in the former category, and along with Path of War was one of the better-known sourcebooks catering to this demand. Path of War’s method was to make a pseudo-Vancian maneuver system of special moves which refreshed between encounters, albeit with a heavier emphasis on combat over general-purpose utility. Spheres of Might, on the other hand, focused on a more even mixture of combat and noncombat options for noncasters, focusing on more at-will abilities and special moves triggered by a binary feature known as martial focus which could refresh in the middle of an encounter by performing certain actions under the right conditions. Both books were popular by those who sought to bridge the caster/noncaster imbalance, although they did so in rather different ways.

With that history lesson out of the way, we’ll cover how Spheres of Might’s conversion went for 5th Edition. Much like Spheres of Power it makes use of Spheres arranged by themes and styles of fighting, with Key Ability Modifiers used for determining the Sphere DC of certain attacks and Martial Traditions to determine one’s starting spheres. Legendary Talents are identical in every way to Spheres of Power’s Advanced Talents besides the name, and an advantage of the system is that virtually every Sphere and talent can be taken at virtually any level with no prerequisites.

But there are some new terms. Instead of using Spell Points and Augmentation to split more limited-use features, Might makes use of Martial Focus. Anybody who possesses martial talents (as well as Spheres of Power’s Mageknight and Prodigy classes) can gain martial focus, and you either have it or you don’t. You can expend martial focus in order to use special abilities or enhance existing ones depending on the talent or class feature in question, and there exist various talents and features which let you regain it as a bonus action or reaction under certain circumstances. But on its own, martial focus can be expended to treat an STR/DEX/CON save roll as a natural 10, and it can be regained after a minute of rest or taking the Dodge action, and it can also be lost if you get KO’d or go to sleep/elven trance. Additionally, there are things known as Special Attacks which are alternative ways of performing an attack via the Attack action and replace an existing regular attack. You can only make one Special Attack per round if you have means of making extra attacks. Finally, there’s a new Fighting Style Option known as Martial Spheres Apprentice which grants a bonus martial talent and the ability to achieve martial focus if not already possessed. Finally, there are Class Options where those possessing a core class that is “martial” (barbarian, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, or rogue) can choose to forego taking a subclass, instead gaining 2 martial talents at any level they’d normally gain a subclass feature.

Finally we have a process on How to Build a Character, which details a sample step-by-step process of building PCs under Spheres of Might in a similar fashion to how Spheres of Power did it.

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Chapter 2: Martial Traditions

Martial Traditions are Spheres of Might’s answer to Casting Traditions. Martial Traditions represent various backgrounds of how a character came into a life of violence and/or self-defense. Every Martial Tradition derives from one of the PHB Backgrounds, each of which has three Traditions to choose from. A Tradition also has a Key Ability Modifier derived from one of the three mental ability scores (each Background having 3 Traditions of each score), as well as four bonus Talents the PC gains for free. Finally, a Martial Tradition has its own list of Starting Equipment which a PC can choose instead of their default Background if they so desire. Virtually every Tradition grants 1-2 talents from the Equipment sphere in determining major weapon/armor proficiencies, 1-2 other spheres which are unlocked at the base level, and in some cases have a Variable option where a character can choose a bonus talent in line with the Tradition’s themes or an additional Equipment talent.

There are also guidelines for designing one’s own Martial Tradition which follows the above guidelines. With 39 Martial Traditions spread across 13 Backgrounds, we aren’t exactly starved for choices: we have options ranging from iconic fantasy RPG concepts such as Knight (Noble) and Street Tough (Urchin) to less conventional options such as Witch (alchemy rather than magic, Hermit) and Ruin Delver (Sage).

Every Spheres of Might class starts out with a Martial Tradition by default, but the core “martial” classes save the Monk all have the option of starting play with a Tradition in exchange for trading in starting proficiencies: typically all martial weapons, medium armor, and shields, and in the Rogues’ case their “roguish weapons” plus 1-2 skills (or 1 skill and thieves’ tools) in place of a skill. As for why, Spheres of Might’s martial characters aren’t omniversal weapon and armor masters. Their Tradition determines their preferred weapons and armor, and Equipment sphere talents typically grant proficiency in 5-7 themed martial weapons per talent or one higher category of armor (along with shields if already proficient in light or medium armor). As the core rules have 24 martial weapons (14 are simple), most Martial Traditions aren’t exactly starved for choices. In my personal experience most players tend to stick with 1-2 weapons over the course of play (1 melee and 1 ranged or 2 melee and a backup ranged), so this isn’t as big of a penalty as it seems. As for why the Monk doesn’t get such a choice, their class features are already equivalent to a martial tradition and deeply tied into their class as they level up.

Martial Traditions are a bit simpler than Casting Traditions given the lack of Drawbacks, Boons, and thus Spell Points, but the granting of 4 bonus talents rather than 2 is meant to make up for this.

Chapter 3: Classes

With 7 classes and 31 subclasses (33 if we count variants), we have a lot of options for building our warriors of the Spheres. And like Spheres of Power they are more akin to generic “templates” in concept rather than baked-in roles. Every class allows the character to pick any 2-4 skills in which to be proficient rather than a specific list, and three of them allow the character to choose one uncommon save and one common save in which to be proficient. Each one is proficient in light armor and simple weapons by default, with further proficiencies determined by Martial Traditions and talents. Finally, each class save the Scholar gains Extra Attack given their “fighter” inclinations.

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The Alter Ego is our first class, a person who is not one but several people. Depending on the subclass this may be literal, such as two souls sharing the same body, or metaphorical such as a spy living a double life. As part of their core features they have two Personas (or 3 with Troubador subclass), which are broad literary archetypes that replicate the features of other (core) classes to a limited degree and grant a number of bonus talents that can only be accessed in that particular Persona. The Alter Ego can only be in one Persona at a time, and each Persona is treated as its own person for the purpose of alignment and divination spells. The subclasses further flavor the origin and nature of the multiple Personas, such as a Jekyll & Hyde style Chemist, a magical girl-style Empowered form, the otherworldly Possessed which can be an entirely different character mechanics-wise if so desired, a Troubadour who can act so well they have three Personas and can fool truth-compelling magic, and a Vigilante whose “civilian” persona can aid in skill checks and downtime activities for their crime-fighting identity.

Assessment: It may be easy to think of the Alter Ego as Spheres of Might’s “rogue class,” and it can definitely be built that way. However, the subclasses and Personas can grant them a variable range of party roles beyond what their talents can bring. The Mentor Persona and Empowered subclass can make the Alter Ego a limited caster (with both Vancian and spherecasting versions), while the Dragon and Hero Persona and Chemist subclass can make them a better straightforward warrior in the vein of the Barbarian or Fighter. The Antihero and Lover Personas and the Troubadour and Vigilante are closer to typical stealth/scout/skill using roles, while the Fool Persona and Possessed subclass are the odd ones out in having some rather broad features. Pathfinder’s Troubadour was very much in the vein of a bard, being a gish caster with stealth and social-themed skills and class features, but the 5th Edition version is a lot more broad than this.

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The Armiger is the opposite of a weapon specialist. They rely on a set of Customized Weapons which they can swiftly draw and use in rapid flourishes between attacks. Their core features revolve around maintaining 3-5 Customized Weapons based on level which grant them bonus talents as long as they’re wielded and can switch out these talents and what weapons are Customized every long rest. Their other features involve being able to draw and re-equip weapons faster and in between attacks, with higher-level features allowing them to do this better and switch out weapon talents more frequently. The Armiger’s three subclasses include a spellcasting Antiquarian (Vancian or spherecasting) which lets them place spell slots or magic talents into Customized Weapons, a mobile Commando who relies upon speed to impose negative statuses on foes and regaining martial focus when switching weapons after critting/killing/succeeding on contested ability checks, and a Polymath jack of all trades both in and out of combat who gains a variable Fighting Style, increased proficiency bonuses on non-proficient skills, and can change more weapon talents when using their higher-level Armiger class features.

Assessment: The Armiger is similar to the Vancian Wizard in that while it doesn’t have a lot of talents all at once, it has a potentially wide variety to choose from between long rests. The use of customized weapons to encourage the right tool for the job is a neat feature, and their limited ability to use different weapons between attacks allows for some nice combo potentials. However, their assortment of Customized Weapons will depend greatly on their existing proficiencies. Some Equipment talents grant proficiency in a narrow band of weapons which are functionally similar, while others have a more diverse assortment. As there are few restrictions as to what kinds of talents can be imposed via Customization, an Equipment talent granting proficiency in a weapon is entirely possible, although that’s kind of a waste just for one weapon unless one is two-weapon fighting.

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The Artisan specializes in knowing how to build and break things. They can substitute a d6-12 damage die with a weapon or improvised weapon based on level via Deadly Tools, gain double proficiency in any artisan and thieves’ tools in which they’re proficient, and at higher levels gain features such as crafting items faster and cheaper, expending martial focus to roll double the damage die with the Deadly Tools ability, and can dispel magic effects and curses on targets and ignore alignment/class/race restrictions when using magic items. They have four subclasses reflecting a certain type of trade, each granting a bonus tool proficiency and sphere talent: a Chef who can buff the party between rests with hearty foods and brewed potions; a Sapper whose traps are deadlier and can make temporary Glyphs of Warding; a Smith who can damage the equipment of enemies, imbue non-magical weapons and armor with enhancement bonuses during long rests, and grant 1-2 equipment-based buffs to party members between long rests; and a Technician who can craft advanced devices such as constructed drone companions, vehicles with variable movement speeds, and suits that can physically enhance the wearer.

Assessment: The Artisan is pushed into a skill-user role more by encouragement than by force, with a fair amount of utility and party aid abilities via the subclasses. Deadly Tools is rather useful for those who specialize in light weapons such as daggers, for right off the bat it gives them a better damage die. It’s also a class that can afford to neglect STR/DEX for physical attacks on account that the Equipment sphere’s Toolkit Training lets one use tools as improvised weapons and substitutes one’s Key Ability Modifier for attack and damage rolls. The subclasses vary a bit; the Chef gains a rather situational initial feature and an underwhelming capstone, while the Sapper (along with the Trap sphere in general) necessitates a certain play-style of cloak and dagger scouting and ambushes that other PCs may not care for. The Technician’s Inventions are a definite high point in part because they can be swapped out during a day of downtime rather than stuck as permanent choices. Additionally, it’s entirely possible for the Artisan to grant a “group flight” for small parties at 6th level by taking an Air Vehicle as 2 inventions (the subclass can choose to make additional inventions at a time or grant a single invention enhanced benefits if “taken multiple times”).

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The Commander occupies the “party buffer” role of classes. Its core features include spending a bonus action to let an ally make a weapon attack as a reaction, a limited-use d6-d12 Command die based on level that can be added to an ally’s d20 roll, and can spend an action to restore the martial focus of allies 1-3 times per short or long rest based on level. Each subclass grants a bonus sphere talent related to its theme: the Captain uses Commands that can subtract enemy damage and synergizes with the Guardian sphere’s patrol package; Drill Sergeant grants the ability to grant 1-3 known martial talents to allies between long rests and synergizes Commands with the Gladiator sphere’s boast and demoralize options; General grants persistent buffs and wider-ranging tactics talents from the Warleader sphere; and the Leadership sphere-friendly Politician lets one make money every day from connections and has the ability to call in NPC specialists 1-3 times per week to help out with specific tasks.

Assessment: The Commander cannot do many things on its own as a class, with the majority of features helping allies perform better. The subclasses more or less follow suit, with different types of aid based on the favored sphere. The General subclass is perhaps the most “physical” given that the Guardian sphere’s patrol package encourages opportunity attack and reach weapon-focused battlefield control builds. The Politician is the most open-ended but also situational on account of their Specialists and features which require some downtime and contact with civilization to make use of, as opposed to more immediate effects for dungeon-crawling parties.

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The Conscript is the broadest class in Spheres of Might. Whereas the other classes granted martial talents at a rate of ½ (Alter Ego, Armiger, Scholar, Striker)to ¾ (Artisan, Commander ) level progression, the Conscript is the only one that gains a martial talent every level. It doesn’t have many core features, going for broader-use things such as Second Wind like a Fighter or gaining temporary access to a bonus talent and an additional independent martial focus as 18th and 20th level abilities. The majority of class features are from one of seven subclasses: Brawler treats the character as being 1-2 size categories larger for grapple/shove/etc maneuvers, deals additional unarmed strike damage, and can wield heavier weapons in one hand; Fury is a discount Barbarian that has a slower-progression rage along with bonus movement speeds and immunity to being Frightened; Knave’s a discount Rogue with partial Sneak Attack and some other thief-like features; Marshal enhances the use of the Scout sphere’s scouting feature and grants 1-2 Favored Enemies as a Ranger; Mechanic focuses on the gear-based spheres (Alchemy, Tinkerer, Trap) and grants an additional amount of formula, poisons, and gadgets to be created between rests and lets the Conscript activate them and Trap sphere talents faster; Paragon grants a Fighting Style along with morale-boosting Warleader sphere features to allies; Sentinel focuses on the Guardian sphere such as halving the amount of damage unloaded from that sphere’s delayed damage pool or can challenge another creature if a challenged target is reduced to 0 HP; and Warrior is the most generic, allowing a “reckless attack” where the character gains advantage on all attack rolls but suffers advantage on all attacks directed towards them, along with later level features such as a once per long rest ability to survive a blow at 1 HP that would reduce them to 0 HP, can expend martial focus to ready an Action as a bonus Action, and can attack 3 times instead of twice when using Extra Attack.

Assessment: More than any other class in Spheres of Might, the Conscript will be defined mostly by their choice of sphere talents. The subclasses are a bit specific, usually enhancing a sphere or certain way of fighting. In the original Pathfinder version, the Conscript was very much a “build your own class” to the point that one possible build was just to have nothing but bonus feats and bonus talents while still being versatile and relevant unlike the poor Fighter. The 5e Conscript is a bit of a spiritual successor, albeit the Warrior subclass is the only option that can truly be “broad” in terms of its granted features.

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The Scholar is the mind-over-matter skill user of Spheres of Might. They have a pretty fragile d6 Hit Die (the other 6 classes are evenly split between d8 and d10) and are the only class without Extra Attack. Their core class features involve substituting their KAM for Strength for carrying capacity, can spend 5 GP on “generic equipment” for class features that help create particular items, gain Scout and a gear-based sphere (Alchemy, Tinkerer, orTrap) as bonus spheres, and the rest of their features are part of their subclass or Studies. Studies are chooseable abilities related to a field of knowledge that grant the Scholar certain persistent benefits, with more than a few granting a bonus talent from a sphere and/or proficiency (or double proficiency) in a skill or tool. There are 18 Studies to choose from and the Scholar can learn up to 10 (9 by level, 1 by subclass), and includes such options as Physics (gain Brute sphere and substitute KAM for Strength for sphere abilities), Meteorology (can craft a lightning rod quarterstaff can can shoot lightning and absorb lightning damage), Chemistry (create single-target flashbang grenades that can blind and deafen on a failed save), Aerodynamics and Marine Studies (gain Athletics sphere and can build gliders which can initially grant glide speed and flight at higher levels or underwater-breathing devices), and Arcane Studies (can cast Vancian spells as rituals like a Warlock’s Book of Ancient Secrets). The three subclasses are Archaeologist (jack of all trades, more skill proficiencies, 1 study of choice, can attune to more magic items), Natural Philosopher (can learn Material Impositions which enhance Chemistry’s flashbang grenades and allow one to gain near-supernatural abilities from certain physical substances), and Occultist (can learn more Vancian spells as rituals related to themed Esoteries).

Assessment: The Scholar’s low Hit Die and talent progression (with scant few bonus talents unlike the Alter Ego or Armiger) along with less direct Studies pushes the class strongly into an indirect fighter and skill-user role. In this role they are clearly the best, for they can gain proficiency and even double proficiency in a fair number of skills this way without the use of sphere talents. The Studies vary a bit in attractiveness: Linguist’s 4 bonus languages is boring and easily superseded by spherecasting and Vancian options that allow a magic-user to speak them all, while Chemistry’s flashbang grenades can be simulated by certain talents and only really shines if one particular subclass is taken. As for the subclasses, Archeologist feels a bit boring although their skill and magic item attunement bonuses have potential to be effective with the right builds (and a generous GM), with Natural Philosopher and Occultist possessing more immediately compelling abilities. Both of these subclasses have some pretty good choices, although in the case of Occultist the bulk of their abilities are going to be done either out of combat or cast before encounters in the case of long-duration spells.

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The Striker is our final class, and it’s similar to Spheres of Might’s Prodigy in that it has an ability which can only trigger and be spent during combat. Strikers gain points of Tension whenever they damage a foe or take damage from a foe, and can spend Tension on Techniques such as gaining stackable bonuses to attack/saves/AC and being able to take certain actions as bonus actions. Higher-level class features grant them new ways to gain and spend Tension. There are 3 subclasses, one of which has a variant depending on whether Vancian magic or spherecasting is being used. The Boxer focuses on unarmed combat, gaining appropriate bonus Equipment talents (or bonus talents of their choice if they already have them) along with improved unarmed strike damage and some more defensive abilities at higher levels; the Bloodriser grants spellcasting (buffs and offensive magic up to 4th level in Vancian) and the ability to spend Tension in place of Spell Points (spherecasting) or to cast spells faster or via higher level slots (Vancian); and the Skirmishing Scout encourages the use of Stealth, such as being able to gain Tension for 1 minute outside of combat, along with higher level features such as bonus damage when making attacks while hidden, grant +10 to Stealth when spend 1 minute camouflaging themselves, and cannot be tracked via nonmagical means.

Assessment: The Striker is the most combat-focused of Spheres of Might’s base classes. With the exception of perhaps the Armiger,* all of the prior classes’ default features had options for non-combat and utility applications. The Striker’s subclasses can help a bit in this front, although even the Bloodriser and Skirmishing Scout’s features are meant either as a bonus for engaging in combat or to help prepare them for when the battle begins. On the other hand, the Striker is a very effective fighter. The requirements for gaining Tension are very easy to meet, and the bonuses to AC and non-skill related d20 rolls can help push them to the upper limits of bounded accuracy.

*and even then that depends on what talents they select for their weapons.


Thoughts So Far: I have overall positive feelings in regards to the initial chapters of Spheres of Might. My major concerns revolve around the restriction of Martial Traditions to Backgrounds. As Casting Traditions had no such limitations, it feels a bit restrictive even if most Martial Traditions are meant to combine thematically with their parent Background. The classes are quite open-ended, although I can’t help but feel that Alter Ego and Scholar will be a bit narrower in focus in regards to player imagination. I can imagine Armigers, Commanders, and Conscripts easily filling a variety of concepts and build ideas, although the “maintaining two identities” Alter Ego and “frail but brainy” Scholar push one’s mind to a more limited range of ideas. This isn’t a problem with the system so much as how players may approach building them.

I also like how while not their major features, virtually every class save the Conscript has some means of gaining magical aid. In the case of those who don’t have outright magical subclasses, the Artisan can make use of and even craft a limited subset of magical items, the Commander’s Politician subclass can call upon magic-using Specialists, and the Scholar’s Occultist subclass can make use of Rituals. While none of the spherecasting subclasses have Blended Training to the point that they can freely take magical talents with martial talent slots, a few choice bonus talents can still make them respectable gishes.

Join us next time as we cover the first couple of Spheres and stat Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher!
 

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Libertad

Hero
Chapter 4: Spheres, Part I

Note: I forgot to mention a specific bit of terminology. Those who make use of martial spheres are known as Practitioners, in much the same way that those making use of magic spheres are known as Spherecasters.

Unsurprisingly the longest chapter in the book, we’ll cover Might’s Spheres in four parts. There are 22 different Spheres covering a variety of fighting styles, tools, and non-magical skills, although 2 of them are special cases and will be reviewed out of order. The first is the Equipment sphere, which is the universal Sphere for determining armor/weapon proficiencies and has some talents designed for specific weapon usage. The other is the Leadership sphere, which grants the character NPC minions. It’s not suitable for all campaign styles and labeled an optional Sphere, and so will be covered last.

Like Power there are Spheres which have default abilities when unlocked, and others grant you a bonus talent when taken. However, what separates Might from Power is that about half of the Spheres (10 out of 22) grant proficiency in a skill, tool, or in one case weapon group when the base sphere is taken. And in the former two examples if you’re already proficient with the skill/tool then you either gain another proficiency (in the case of Alchemy or Athletics) or a bonus talent from the sphere to reward your focus. Furthermore there are many talents in those spheres and others which can grant you proficiency in such things or double proficiency if already proficient. What this means is that it’s relatively easy to create skill-monkey characters with the right spheres and talents even if your default class doesn’t grant many skills. This is in line with the original Pathfinder rules which gave you skill ranks for free when taking certain spheres and talents. Like Power there are basic talents that can be taken more or less prerequisite-free as well as Legendary Talents which are optional via GM discretion and have steeper (usually level-based) requirements. Talents are separated into parenthetical tags denoting whether or not they make use of a base sphere ability, and most have Variants which can grant a bonus talent in exchange for more restricted use of the default sphere abilities.

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The Equipment Sphere is the major determinant for our Sphere-user’s favored weapons and armor. It has no default sphere ability, instead granting a bonus talent of choice if taken by someone who didn’t have a Martial Tradition (otherwise the initial talents are pre-selected). (discipline) talents determine weapon proficiencies, while (other) talents cover armor proficiency* and miscellaneous abilities. Most (discipline) talents grant proficiency in 5-7 martial weapons, while a few grant less but have special abilities. For instance, Crossbow Expert grants proficiency in all crossbows but allows all wielded ranged weapons to ignore half and three-quarters cover, while Bombardier Training allows one to be proficient in alchemical items and can hit an adjacent target if the initial attack roll misses. Rock Toss is notable in that it allows you to throw heavy objects and even creatures in general as heavy-hitting thrown weapons, while Staff Mastery can turn quarterstaffs into Reach weapons and grants the two-weapon “d4 bludgeoning” attack of the Polearm Master feat. The weapon groups of (discipline) talents are such that taking two of them can be enough to grant a character more than enough diverse proficiency options to last them an entire campaign, although going for a “proficient in everything” build creates diminishing returns as there’s a bit of overlap in weapon types between several (discipline) talents.

*which seems counterintuitive.

Non-discipline talents don’t grant proficiency save in the case of Armor Training, but do other things. Einhandler lets one make an opportunity attack as a reaction vs a missed attack when fighting with finesse weapons one-handed and without a shield, while Mystic Fists treat unarmed strikes as magical and let them deal piercing or slashing damage in addition to bludgeoning. There’s a lot of useful talents here for those who wish to specialize in a certain weapon or armor and shield type. Legendary Talents grant proficiency in “advanced era” equipment, such as modern day firearms and grenades.

Combos: Crossbow Expert is a good choice for non-crossbow “sniper” type characters. Rock Toss combined with Throwing Mastery lets a thrown creature boomerang back towards the thrower, while the Telekinesis’ Dampening Field can negate damage done to the thrown creature. The Alteration sphere’s Size Change, the Brawler subclass, and Brute sphere’s Muscular Surge lets the Rock Tosser lift and throw creatures and objects of larger size categories. Staff Mastery goes well with the Dual-Wielding sphere given it’s considered two-weapon fighting, while Expert Reloading lets one use the Barrage sphere with Loading property weapons easily. Polearm Guard plus the Guardian sphere’s patrol package and Fencing sphere’s Lunge lets a character strike and even shut down movement from farther-away targets. Sling Combatant and Bombardier Training are ideal for Alchemy sphere abilities, while Throw Shield specifically calls out the Shield sphere. Whip Fiend can work well with the Athletics sphere’s Rope Swing talent.

Existing Comparisons: Quite a bit of these talents (and some talents in other spheres as well) derive partial benefits from quite a few feats. Crossbow Expert’s cover-ignoring attack comes from Sharpshooter, while Expert Reloading has a similar ability to the Crossbow Expert PHB feat but applies to Reload property weapons in general. This highlights a pretty nifty advantage of Spheres of Might; in traditional 5th Edition many characters are torn between the choices of taking a feat or an Ability Score Increase every 4 levels. By splitting like-minded feat benefits into individual talents, this eases the burden for martial characters while also having a faster sense of progression. This is similar to the original Pathfinder version, which made certain talents count as Associated Feats for the purposes of meeting prerequisites for other feats, Prestige Classes, and the like. As even Pathfinder talents were virtually prerequisite-less, this gave Sphere Practitioners a lot more freedom in character-building.

Just for fun: I decided to see how many talents it would take to gain near-universal weapon and armor proficiency to be closer to the “core martial” classes. Being a Githyanki with the Pikeman Martial Tradition starting out gives them proficiency in all armor and shields along with every non-whip reach weapon and “sword-suffix” weapons. Bruiser Training and Rogue Weapon Training make them proficient with every PHB weapon save the Longbow and Net, although at that point they aren’t really starved for choices. Spheres of Might also has four new weapons which are also covered in the Equipment sphere talents, so taking Custom Training (3 weapons of choice) 2 more times expands them to all manufactured weapons. For unarmed strikes and improvised weapons they’d need Unarmed Training and the Barroom sphere (detailed later).

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The Alchemy Sphere specializes in volatile mixtures, poisons, medicine, and chemical enhancements. The base sphere grants proficiency in alchemist supplies or a poisoner’s kit and lets one create a batch of formulae or poison every short rest whose number is based on one’s Proficiency Bonus + the number of talents possessed in the sphere. Talents who share the same name as an existing piece of equipment, such as alchemist’s fire, lets the character apply the talent’s benefits when using that item, and virtually every talent has a Potency option that makes its effects more powerful when martial focus is expended. (formula) talents include classic options such as Alchemist’s Fire and Holy Water, giving many options for various kinds of energy damage and negative conditions to impose on targets, along with more beneficial talents such as Salve which restores Hit Points or War Paint which grants advantage/resistance to various effects depending on the color of the paint. (poison) talents are self-explanatory and impose various negative conditions and even damage to targets that fail a Constitution saving throw. (other) talents are auxiliary benefits that can enhance and alter how formulas and poisons are used and applied, while Legendary Talents include more potent effects such as powerful explosives, being able to create Sovereign Glue or a Universal Solvent, poisons that can lower one’s Proficiency Bonus or petrify, and even a youth-granting elixir or philosopher’s stone which are incredibly costly to make (an exception to the otherwise “free” rules for alchemical creation if possessing the right tools).

Combos: Energy-damaging formulas applied to weapons don’t mention that they can’t stack with each other, so multiple characters with martial focus and the right Alchemy talents (as well as Enhancement’s Energy Weapon talent) can focus on a single weapon that deals several d6s of various energy damage. Performance Enhancer’s advantage-granting on certain ability checks can be combined nicely with abilities that focus on skill use, such as the Brute, Scout, and Wrestling spheres. The Alteration sphere’s Enhanced Poison talent can apply to (poison) sphere talents, while the Equipment sphere’s Poison Blowgun Expert can increase their DC to further guarantee their effectiveness. The Creation sphere's Alchemical Creation talentcan be used to make more formulas and poisons. Gaseous Application plus the Nature sphere’s Air Mastery talent lets a character relocate the gas to another square by breathing it in and releasing elsewhere, while the Barroom sphere’s Brutal Breaker base ability grants proficiency in alchemical weapons given their improvised weapon status, and that sphere’s (fragile) talents can grant further damage and debuff on top of the existing effects. The Barroom sphere’s Alchemical Dragon and the Tinkerer sphere’s Pressurized Liquid Applicator talents can turn alchemical items into AoE attacks. The Leadership sphere’s Alchemists (followers) talent allows one to craft and maintain 1 more formula/poison than normal.

Existing Comparisons: In terms of feats and subclasses, there aren’t many abilities which replicate Alchemy sphere talents. The closest is the Artificer Alchemist’s Experimental Elixir, which both has generally fewer uses in terms of refresh rate and a smaller number of potential effects. There is an Alchemist feat for Unearthed Arcana, but it doesn’t really map to any sphere talents save for proficiency-doubling for the appropriate tools.

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The Athletics Sphere focuses on mobility of all kinds. As a base sphere ability it grants proficiency in either Acrobatics or Athletics (or a bonus talent if proficient in both) and lets one regain martial focus when taking Dash or Disengage as an Action but not as a bonus action. The sphere has 3 (motion) talents which apply buffs or a debuff when the character moves a certain amount or through a hostile creature’s space, but the vast majority of talents are miscellaneous (other). Some interesting choices include Mighty Conditioning which lets one use STR or DEX for Acrobatics or Athletics and DEX for determining jump distance if so desired, Rope Swing which lets someone move through squares in midair and even stop in midair provided that there is something their rope/whip/tentacle/etc can latch onto, Tumbling Recovery which lets the character drop prone and move 10 feet to avoid hostile effects with advantage/disadvantage as appropriate, and Wall Stunt which lets one ascend vertical surfaces and even larger creatures as difficult terrain. Legendary Talents include such options as gaining fly, swim, and burrowing speeds, short-term speed boosts in exchange for a level of Exhaustion, and creating afterimages which can foil enemy attacks by having them target the duplicate.

Combos: Mighty Conditioning can make a DEX-focused shover/grappler build possible. The Alteration sphere’s Aberrant Body and the Tinkerer sphere’s Artillerist Gadgets grant a natural reach weapon and item respectively that can be used with Rope Swing. Capoeira Spin works well with removing the prone penalty from Tumbling Recovery, while Scale Foe calls out uses with the Beastmastery and Wrestling spheres. Sudden Flank’s granting of advantage goes well with the (exploit) talents and Fatal Thrust base ability of the Fencing sphere given the latter’s melee-based requirement. Rapid Motion, Swift Movement, and Speed Boost can stack with other movement-boosting effects to make a very speedy character, as well as take advantage of the “must move at least 40 feet” greater aspect of the Moving Target talent without spending one’s Action on movement. Shark Swim and Strong Lungs allows a character to hold their breath for hours, which can work nicely for storing gas-based attacks for a long time with the Nature sphere’s Air Mastery talent as mentioned before.

Existing Comparisons: Rapid Motion clearly has origins with the Rogue class’ Cunning Action and helps increase the mobility of sphere-users. Mighty Conditioning’s use of Dexterity to determine jump distance is similar to the Thief subclass’ Second-Story Work. The various Legendary Talents which grant variant movement speeds are similar to Spider Climb, Alter Self’s Aquatic Adaptation, and the at-will teleports of the Way of Shadow Monk and Shadow Magic Sorcerous Origin. In Spheres of Might’s case they are permanent effects and the teleportation requires using Dash and expending martial focus, so they’re a bit more powerful on account that they cannot be dispelled, don’t have a set duration, or must be used under a certain kind of illumination. In exchange, they require payment in talent slots which don’t grow on trees.

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The Barrage Sphere is a ranged combat exclusive sphere, focusing on firing off flurries of projectiles in comparison to the Sniper sphere’s range and accuracy. It grants no bonus proficiencies upon taking it, instead granting a Special Attack known as a Barrage where a character can make an additional ranged attack in addition to a normal attack as a bonus action that doesn’t apply one’s ability bonus to damage. Sort of like a ranged Two-Weapon Fighting in rules mechanics. (barrage) talents enhance or alter the Barrage in some way, such as intentionally missing the bonus action attack to gain advantage on the regular one, replacing the bonus attack with a melee attack or shove, the bonus attack striking the regular attack to turn up to 90 degrees mid-flight and strike around corners and behind cover, and so on. (other) talents include options such as recovering more spent ammunition from the battlefield after combat, regaining martial focus if hitting with at least two attacks when making a Barrage, and being able to make opportunity attacks with ranged weapons by treating them as a melee weapon with the Reach quality. The three Legendary Talents include attacking with a selective 30 foot AoE cone, never running out of non-magical ammo as long as you have 10 pieces of that particular ammunition, and using arrows and bolts to create staircases and platforms when shot into walls, large creatures, and the like.

Combos: Hammering Shots expends martial focus when making a Barrage to add one’s ability modifier to the bonus attack, but Blitz Focus lets one regain martial focus if at least two attacks hit when making a Barrage, meaning that one could effectively not use martial focus if two attacks hit that round. Mixed Barrage’s shove capability works well with the Brute sphere which is also focused on shoving. While the Sniper sphere’s Snipe Shot and related talents are a Special Attack and cannot be used with a Barrage, that sphere’s Deadly Aim ability applies to all ranged attack rolls which have advantage which means that it can work with Distracting Shot. Additionally the Fencing sphere’s (exploit) talents come into play when making an attack with advantage, and not just melee attacks. The Sniper sphere’s Trap Technician allows one to disable traps with ranged attacks, meaning that if done as part of a Barrage you can feasibly disable several traps at once if you’re ever in such a sticky situation. The Haste spell, the Time sphere’s Adjusted Frequency, and the Equipment sphere’s Splitshot can grant additional attacks, making it easier to regain martial focus via Blitz Focus and also get in more attacks. The Equipment sphere’s Point-Blank Shooting removes disadvantage on ranged attacks from being within 5 feet of a hostile creature, making it ideal for Mixed Barrage, and that same sphere’s Expert Reloading lets one use weapons with the Reload quality with the Barrage sphere. The Scout sphere’s Wind Reader is ideal for ranged weapon users in ignoring environment-based disadvantage. Using Cone of Death with thrown alchemical items can be a way of performing an AoE alchemical attack, albeit pricey unless one invests in the Alchemy sphere!

Existing Comparisons: The Ranger’s Hunter subclass has a Volley ability which is similar to the Barrage sphere’s Cone of Death, albeit it’s longer-range and hits all enemies within a 10 foot radius rather than a larger cone. The Arcane Archer’s Curving Shot sounds similar in the “bonus use to effectively gain advantage via reroll” although that class’ magical arrow shots can only be used twice per long rest rather than being effective at-will abilities (plus or minus martial focus).

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The Barroom Sphere is a bit narrower in thematic focus than the previous spheres. It specializes in the use of improvised weapons and alcoholic beverages to apply various buffs and debuffs in combat. It has two base default abilities: Brutal Breaker makes one proficient with all improvised weapons and can grab and attack any such weapon as part of the same action, while Hard Drinker treats drinking any liquid including potions as interacting with an object and can grant the Drunk status for 1 minute whenever an alcoholic beverage is imbibed. Certain talents can trigger special abilities by expending this Drunk status, requiring one to get drunk again before performing similar abilities. However, a person can only consume a number of such beverages before suffering the poisoned condition (which can be altered via the Conscript’s Brawler subclass and the Iron Liver talent), which makes it limited-use.

(drunk) talents are mostly buff-related in nature, such as gaining temporary hit points, gaining +2 to STR, DEX, or CHA for a limited number of rounds, gain advantage when escaping grapples and restraints, vomiting to reroll a failed save against an ingested poison and turning an adjacent square into difficult terrain that can knock people prone who move through it, and dealing 1d6 unarmed damage if a lower damage die and expending Drunk status to auto-roll max damage with unarmed strikes.

The (fragile) talents specifically require use of fragile objects which are improvised weapons made of weak material, typically softer than iron unless one has the Steel Breaker Legendary Talent. They include wielding such objects as +1 AC shields and breaking the object as a reaction to turn a critical into a normal hit, breaking the weapon to deal bonus damage based on level, and imposing the Confused condition on a failed CON save. That last one, Concussion, has a bit of strangely-worded text:

A confused target can’t take reactions and must roll a d10 at the start of each of its turns to determine its behavior for that turn. You can expend your martial focus as a reaction to increase the result of the d10 rolled by your key ability modifier.

Increasing the result sounds good, right? Well a result of 1 is random movement, 2-6 can’t move or take any actions, 7-8 hits a random creature with a melee attack, and 10 or higher the creature can act normally. While I can see certain higher results being better than others, there’s not as much control given it’s a static number that only goes up, so a character with a +4 or +5 KAM may very well be less able to impose the “can’t take actions” penalty if doing so is more advantageous than a random weapon attack.

The (other) talents don’t fit anywhere else, such as being able to deal damage with any object including those that bear no resemblance to a standard weapon (1d6 or 1d8 instead of 1d4), being able to throw any weapon with a 40/120 foot short and long distance range, and being able to spend Hit Die to heal oneself when drinking an alcoholic beverage. We have a lot of Legendary Talents, such as being able to drink alchemical liquids and poisons and spit them out as a 15 foot AoE cone, break a fragile weapon as a reaction to automatically crit, expend Drunk status to gain resistance to bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage against one attack, and treat unarmed strikes and improvised weapons as +1 magical weapons.

There are a few talents which feel a bit...underpowered. Surprise grants advantage on an attack roll when attacking a target with a weapon they weren’t aware of (including improvised weapons that haven’t been used in a hostile manner), which honestly sounds like something you’d gain advantage for by default. Additionally, the Blazewater Legendary Talent allows one to spill alcohol on a weapon and light it on fire to deal +1d6 fire damage, which is the same as the use of the Alchemist’s Fire talent. Granted, that last one requires the expenditure of martial focus and a more expensive or limited-use item, but given the former’s 7th Level prerequisite I expected something more.

Combos: The Alchemy sphere’s Panacea, the Life sphere, and magic which can remove the Poisoned condition are good ways of mitigating the overuse of (drunk) talents. Drunken Boxer works great when combined with features and talents which increase one’s unarmed damage, such as the Equipment sphere’s Unarmed Training and Mystic Fists talents and the Alteration sphere’s Size Change. A Charisma-using spellcaster or practitioner can boost their spells and abilities via Miracle Drink. Improvised Shield specifically calls out use of the Shield sphere. As mentioned before, alchemical weapons count as improvised weapons and work well with this sphere. Bottle Rocket greatly extends the range on most thrown weapons and is a good choice for those using them with the Barrage and Sniper spheres. The Blazewater Legendary Talent should be able to stack with other +1d6 energy damage Alchemy talents and the Enhancement sphere’s Energy Weapon talent.

Existing Comparisons: The two things that most immediately spring to mind are the Tavern Brawler feat and the Way of the Drunken Master Monk subclass. In the case of the former the improvised weapon proficiency and unarmed strike damage increase is similar to the Barroom sphere and Equipment’s Unarmed Training talent, in line with the “2 talents equals 1 feat” balance. But the ability to grapple when attacking with an improvised weapon matches none of the existing Barroom talents. As for Drunken Master, very few of its class features map to Barroom either. This makes Barroom more or less its own thing as far as I can tell.

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The Beastmastery Sphere is one of this book’s minion-centric Spheres, the other being Leadership. It grants proficiency in Animal Handling (or 1 bonus sphere if already proficient) along with one of two packages. The Rider package and (ride) talents center around mounted combat, and its base ability allows the mount to gain an evasion-like effect (half/no damage on DEX save damaging effects). The Tamer package and (tamer) talents focus around training animals to be loyal and able to perform special tasks. Unlike Spheres of Power’s Conjuration or Death spheres which provide default stat block templates that are further customized by talents and leveling up, the beasts gained via the Tamer package are out and out Monster Manual creatures of the Beast type with a variable maximum Challenge Rating based on one’s character level. And the Broad Skills talent can let one domesticate any non-Humanoid creature provided it has a maximum unadjusted Intelligence of 4.

Needless to say, this is a Sphere with a lot of open-ended possibilities. Just look at this list and sort by Intelligence. Beasts overall stick to one role, that of physical melee attackers who may have a special sense type or alternative movement, but you may be able to get a Flailsnail with its AoE stun effect, a Beholder Zombie with its multiple eye rays, a Stone Defender bodyguard to remain by your side at all sides to grant you +5 AC as its reaction, or even a hydra or clay golem at the higher levels!

The (ride) talents include substituting your Animal Handling in place of your mount’s Acrobatics/Athletics, redirect attacks targeting the mount to hit you instead, have your mount do the Disengage action as a bonus action, or take temporary control of a creature you climb on by making it a mount if it fails a CHA save. (tamer) talents include granting yourself and your tamed creature the benefits of the Help action as joint bonus actions, boosting the other’s AC by 2 as a reaction while within each other’s reach, making an attack as a reaction if your tame beast succeeds on a grapple or shove, and you and your tamed creatures use the individual’s highest passive Perception for the whole group. Legendary Talents include short-term mind control to tame a creature by expending martial focus, the ability to summon all of one’s animal allies with a bonus action (they still have to get there normally), and the ability to speak with animals. The first mentioned ability is Beast Tamer, and there are 4 other Legendary Talents which have it as a prerequisite and build off of it, such as increasing its duration and range.

Combos: Acrobatic Mount mentions that it can be used with the Athletics sphere’s (motion) talents, while that same sphere’s Scale Foe can be used with Bronco Buster by substituting Strength (Animal Handling) for Strength (Athletics) checks. The Commander’s Drill Sergeant subclass can grant animal allies temporary sphere access, and Brute and Wrestling are highly appropriate for many animals and several Beastmastery talents make use of them in grappling or shoving enemies. Focusing Connection used on a mounted animal is an easy way to regain martial focus as long as you’re not dismounted. The Leadership sphere’s Rangers (followers) talent has those allies automatically capture a set number and CR of beasts each day which you can tame. The Scholar’s Zoology Study adds KAM to the Practitioner’s effective level for determining the CR of tamable beasts, making it useful for a 2-level dip for characters focusing on this sphere.

Existing Comparisons: The Conjure Animals spell is the closest approximation to this sphere, although given the Broad Skills talent other Conjure [Creature Type] spells can fit the bill. Generally speaking those spells have lower maximum Challenge Ratings save for the higher-level ones, and are Concentration spells with limited duration while Beastmastery’s tamed creatures are indefinite in duration barring the Beast Tamer Legendary Talent. The Mounted Combatant feat’s three features are available as individual talents, so that’s a pretty direct comparison.

Thoughts So Far: These six Spheres have a fair amount of variation between each other and a good assortment of offensive, defensive, and utility features. If anything Barrage stands out as being the only one with mostly attack-themed options. The Alchemy sphere has a lot of energy type damage and useful means of non-magical healing and debuffs, although it’s Elixir of Youth and Philosopher’s Stone talents felt too expensive and high level to be of use in most games. Athletics is a neat Sphere, granting many kinds of mobility rather than anything directly offensive. I really like Beastmastery, although I feel that certain monster combos are bound to be overpowered with anything that broad. If I had to pick a least favorite it’d be Barroom. The alcohol and drunk status stood out as being limited-use while also imposing a debilitating condition.

Join us next time as we cover the next 5 spheres and stat up Shovel Knight!

PS
I know you’re all still waiting on Geralt, but I promise to get around to him in my next post.
 
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Libertad

Hero
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Geralt of Rivia
Medium Humanoid (Witcher)
Prodigy 15; Battleborn (Spheres of Might)


Armor Class 17
Hit Points 123 (15d8+45)
Speed 30 ft.

STR 14 DEX 12 CON 16 INT 14 WIS 12 CHA 8 (27 Point Buy, +2 CON, +1 INT)

Saving Throws Dexterity +6, Intelligence +7
Skills Arcana +7, Athletics +7, Investigation +12, Nature +7, Perception +11, Stealth +6, Survival +6
Tools Alchemist’s Supplies (Prodigy class), Poisoner’s Kit (Witcher race), Smith’s Tools (Prodigy class), +1 Musical Instrument (Outlander background)
Senses passive Perception 21, Darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Common plus one other

Background: Outlander

Casting Tradition: Witcher Signs
Sphere DC
15; Spell Points 9
Bonus Magic Talents: Destruction, Protection
Boons: Metasphere Specialist; Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Somatic Casting 1; Variants: Protection: Limited Protection (Aegis only), Protected Soul
Destruction - Confining (blast type), Extra Blast Type (Bludgeoning, Kinetic, Warding), Fire (blast type), Frightful (blast type), Sculpt (blast shape) Slowing (blast type); +4 extra talents from Mind, Protection, and Time spheres
Mind - Confusion (charm), Enthrall (charm), Expanded Charm, Suggestion (charm) (+1 extra talent from Magical Expertise feat)
Protection - Obstruction (aegis), Punishment (aegis) (+2 extra talents from Variants)
Time - Adjusted Frequency (chronos), Time Freeze (chronos)
Universal - Glyph (metasphere), Mass (metasphere), Quicken (metasphere) (+3 extra talents from Boon and Magical Expertise feat)

Martial Tradition: Witcher Schooling
Key Ability Modifier:
Intelligence
Sphere DC 15
Bonus Martial Talents: Alchemy, Equipment (Armor Training), Fencing, Scout
Alchemy: - Alchemist’s Fire, Basic Poison (poison), Flash Powder (formula), Gaseous Application, Performance Enhancer (formula), Salve (formula), Specialized Venom (constructs, elementals, undead) (+4 extra talents from Intuitive Combatant feat, subclass, and tool proficiency)
Equipment: - Armor Training, Bombardier Training
Fencing: - Ankle Strike (exploit), Parry Anything, Parry and Riposte (+2 extra talents from Combat Training feat)
Scout: - Target Weakness (research), Track the Scene

This talent may be exchanged for another every short rest

Special Abilities

Alchemy:
Can create up to 12 formulas or poisons at a time every short or long rest in any combination, lasting for 1 day. Alchemist’s Fire (1d4/4d4 fire damage, set target on fire failed DEX save), Thunderstone (1d10/3d10 thunder and deafened for 1 minute/stunned for 1 round minute on failed CON save), Basic Poison (1d4/3d4 poison damage and the poisoned condition for 1 round on failed CON save), Performance Enhancer (gain advantage on STR/DEX/CON ability checks and saves for 1 minute but disadvantage on INT/WIS/CHA ability checks and saves), or Salve (target spends HD to heal themselves, adds +2 HP and/or +3d8). Alchemist’s Fire and Performance Enhancer may be exchanged for other talents one meets prerequisites for every short rest.

Ankle Strike (exploit): If feinted (melee attack w/ advantage) creature falls prone on failed DEX save.

Destruction Blast Rider Effects: bludgeoning damage, push target back 5 feet, Augment 1 SP up to 20 feet (bludgeoning, collide with object deals +1d6 bludgeoning +1d6 for every 10 feet they would’ve continued); fire damage, catch fire on failed DEX save, taking 3d8 fire damage per round, Augment 1 SP frightened until flames are extinguished (fire); psychic damage, frightened until start of your next turn on failed WIS save (frightful, Augment 1 SP to extend duration to 1 minute, new save each round); force damage, unable to move closer to caster until start of caster’s next turn (confining, Augment 1 SP take additional force damage equal to damage dice rolled if willingly move from current space); bludgeoning damage, gain resistance to first damage attack or effect of creature before start of your next turn (warding, Augment 1 SP to choose up to 5 damaged creatures); force damage, knocked prone on failed STR save (kinetic, Augment 1 SP creatures made prone cannot stand up unless make STR save as an action or bonus action); force damage, can only use action or bonus action for 1 round on its turn if fail WIS save (slowing, Augment 1 SP to stun instead).

Expertise: Investigation, Perception

Extra Attack: May attack three times instead of once when using the Attack action.

Fatal Thrust: Whenever attacking in melee with advantage can reroll one of the d20s used for advantage roll.

Flawless Sequence: Don’t lose link from sequence if failed to add a link since beginning of previous turn.

Focused Sequence: expend martial focus to increase sequence by 1 link.

Glyph: Augment 1 SP to bind magic sphere effect into a 5 foot cube that lasts for 1 hour or until triggered. Augment 1 SP to increase size to 20 foot cube, increase duration to 24 hours, or Augment 4 SP to last indefinitely but reduces max Spell Points by amount until triggered or dispelled.

Imbue Sequence: Gain mystic energy tied to one magic sphere. Defended (immediately gain benefit of one aegis), Destructive Edge (Destruction, add class level to 1 damage roll, damage matching a chosen blast type), Mind Breaker (creature subtracts 1d4 from WIS saves until end of next turn whenever damaged/shoved/grappled by prodigy), or Time Slip (+10 speed).

Inspired Hit: all weapon and spell attack rolls crit on 19-20.

Intuitive Combatant: Every long rest can replace one martial talent known with a different talent. But only talents gained via leveling up (see Talent Progression by Level below).

Mass: Augment 1 SP to decrease magic sphere ability with duration of at least 10 minutes by 2 steps to increase number of targets by 5, counts as a single effect for purposes of Concentration. Augment 2 SP to apply to magic sphere ability with instantaneous duration if willing targets,* or Augment 3 SP to target the unwilling instead.

*unlikely, most magic sphere effects known are self-targeting or offensive in nature.

Prodigious Skill: Spend Spell Point to treat a d20 ability check as a 15 instead of rolling.

Resilient Physique: Immune to all diseases and advantage on saving throws vs effects that inflict the poisoned condition and deal poison damage.

Sequence: Gain 6 max links. Gain links by doing special actions in combat. Can spend links to perform Finishers.

Track the Scene: advantage on ability checks to find and follow tracks, can determine general information when following tracks up to 14 hours old.

Unbroken Sequence: can prevent a sequence from ending for 1 round if it would end due to Conditions.


Actions

Aegis:
range self, concentration up to 1 hour. Gain resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage (Obstruction) or creature takes 3d4 psychic damage whenever damaging bearer of aegis (Punishment). Augment 2 SP to remove Concentration.

Alchemical Item: +6 to hit, range 2/60 ft., target 1 creature or 5 ft. cube if Gaseous Application. Auto-hits willing targets.

Alter Time: range 30 ft., target 1 creature. Can grant benefits of Haste (as spell) or Slow on failed WIS save (as spell) for 2 SP. Or can freeze time in a 20 foot cube for 1 SP.

Cantrips: can cast druidcraft, prestidigitation, or thaumaturgy.

Carpet Bomber Finisher: Throw one formula or poison per link in Sequence. Creature cannot be affected by more than one formula or poison from this ability.

Charm: range 30 ft., duration varies, target 1 creature (or 6 if Mass). Forces d10 table of random behavior for 1 round on failed WIS save (Confusion, Greater is 1 minute concentration), make target charmed for 1 minute concentration (Enthrall, Greater is 1 hour), or plant suggestion for very simple requests into targets mind for 8 hours or until action is completed (Greater can do basic and very simple requests). Augment 1 SP to use Greater Charm effect.

Destructive Blast: range self, 5-foot radius or 30-foot cone or 120-foot by 5-foot line, saving throw varies. Hit: 14 (3d8) variable damage type plus rider effect. Augment 1 SP to deal 39 (8d8) damage instead.

Feint: Can choose to use Help action on self. Next attack roll before end of next turn will have advantage.

Light Crossbow: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., 1 creature or object. Hit 5 (1d8+1) piercing damage. Crit on 19-20.

Longsword: +10 to hit, range 5 ft., 1 creature or object. Hit 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage if Ard’aenye is being used). Crit on 19-20.


Bonus Actions

Focused Sequence:
expend martial focus to cease concentration on a magic effect.

Quicken: Augment 1 SP to reduce casting time from 1 action to bonus action when targeting self or held object with magic sphere effect. Augment 2 SP (1 SP more) to do when targeting any single willing creature.*

*unlikely, most magic sphere effects known are self-targeting or offensive in nature.

Scout: Learn enemy Vulnerabilities, Resistances, & Immunities if within 120 ft. and succeed on DC 20 Investigation or Perception check.

Target Weakness: next attack made against scouted creature with weapon attack treats half total damage as type target is Vulnerable to. Expend martial focus to use without an action.


Reactions

Alter Time:
Can freeze time in 20 foot cube for 2 SP (including Augmented cost).

Parry & Riposte: Expend martial focus to make melee damage roll, subtract from result of attacker’s damage. May attack and add (exploit) talent if final result is 0 or less. Can also work on spells and ranged attacks.

Succor: If Punishment Aegis is up, can be dismissed to deal +3d6 psychic damage vs attacker.

Equipment

Aerondight (+3 silver longsword), Ard’aenye (treat as Flame Tongue longsword, +3 to attack and damage), Raven’s Armor (+3 Chain Shirt of Resistance [Poison]), light crossbow, alchemist’s supplies, poisoner’s kit, Roach (draft horse), Witcher’s Medallion (As Lantern of Tracking [see Rime of the Frostmaiden] save its creature type corresponds to all 10 types and never runs out of light)

Conversion Details: Yet another conversion from an earlier Pathfinder build! Technically speaking this is an “advanced Geralt” near the end of Witcher 3, where he has enough Ability Points to afford most choices on his Combat, Signs, and Alchemy skill trees as well as possessing his iconic alchemical recipes. As a result, his level and stat block are very high in comparison to other builds I’ve done. Lower-powered versions of Geralt not yet at the end of his career will likely have more focused builds with less talents, so I made sure that the only Legendary Talent I took was the Fencing sphere’s Parry Anything (5th level).

I chose Prodigy on account that it allows for free selection of both magical and martial sphere talents, and I needed a good amount of both for an authentic Geralt. In terms of his magical abilities I made a new Casting Tradition, detailed below. Geralt and most Witchers aren’t magical specialists, relying upon five simple Signs, or spells, that can be used quickly in combat. The Aard and Igni signs were easy to simulate via the Destruction sphere, particularly the Fire blast type and various movement and prone-inflicting blast types such as Kinetic and Confining. Yrden could be flavored as the Universal sphere’s Glyph talent combined with Destruction talents (particularly Slowing) and the Time sphere’s Time Freeze talent. Quen was the hardest to replicate on account that there’s no “auto-negate damage from the next hit” type of effects in Spheres of Power or default 5th Edition for that matter. Thus, I focused on two Protection talents that can reduce incoming damage and damage attacking enemies in turn to give the best equivalent effects. For Axii I relied upon a few Mind talents, ones which could manipulate targets for out of combat and utility use (Enthrall and Suggestion) and one which can turn enemies on each other (Confusion). For the Axii ability to stop a creature in its tracks, the Slowing blast type (which coincidentally was gained via the Time sphere) has an Augmented version that can stun targets.

For combat talents, I wanted medium armor proficiency to give Geralt a respectable AC, and also let him be good at throwing alchemical items to simulate his “bombs” so I chose the aptly-named Bombardier Training. Fencing was a good choice in that it gave good options for him to knock enemies prone non-magically via Ankle Strike and can parry enemy attacks via the Parry and Riposte and Parry Anything talents. Scout was my next choice as it granted the incredibly useful ability to learn of enemy weaknesses and resistances, a necessity for any Witcher worthy of the title. For the specific talents, Target Weakness and Track the Scene reflect abilities Geralt could do in the video games. For the Prodigy class’ Expertise feature I assigned the two skills to Investigation and Perception, reflecting Geralt’s keen senses and eye for detail.

Finally, Alchemy is Geralt’s most-invested sphere. Thanks to the Intuitive Combatant feat and the bonus talents from the Battleborn subclass, Geralt is by no means limited to the talents provided. Swapping out certain Alchemy talents for others he doesn’t currently know, such as Alchemist’s Fire for Flash Powder, represents him preparing different types of poisons, bombs, and concoctions during rest periods to fit the situation. He can even assign such talents to non-Alchemy sphere talents if so desired. In an odd way that’s in keeping with the video games, as there are special potions which can be purchased and drunk to retrain one’s skills.

But onto Alchemy proper, I focused on the talents in keeping with some of the more well-known alchemical items seen in the games. Salve represents the healing Swallow, while Alchemist’s Fire represents Dancing Star. The Basic Poison along with Specialized Venom represents various oils Geralt coats his blade with in order to better harm monsters.* Those aforementioned talents, combined with Gaseous Application can represent gas-based bombs such as Dragon’s Dream and Devil’s Puffball. Thunderstone represents the Samum bomb, and Performance Enhancer can represent various physically-minded decoctions that grant a persistent buff. Switching one’s Alchemy talents around can further simulate other choices, such as Alchemical Ice for Northern Wind, Flash Powder for Zerrikanian Sun, and even the Bomb Legendary Talent for Grapeshot!

*and Scout’s Track the Scene can be a good reflavoring of this as well.

But all of these options come at the expense of Ability Score Increases. Although partially made up for via some very powerful weapons and armor, Geralt’s highest ability score is his 16 Constitution, with Strength and Intelligence both 14. While his high level makes him rather powerful, he does punch a bit below his weight class in several areas.

Talent Progression by Level

Level 1 Prodigy: Alchemy (Basic Poison, Salve, +1 talent from tool proficiencies), Destruction ([confining], fire, sculpt, +1 talent from Protection sphere), Equipment (Armor Training), Fencing, Protection (Obstruction, Punishment, +2 talents from Variant), Scout (Target Weakness, +1 talent from skill proficiency), Universal (Glyph, Quicken, +2 talents from Boon);
Level 2: Alchemy (Alchemist’s Fire, +1 talent from subclass), Destruction (frightful, +1 from Mind sphere), Mind (Enthrall)
Level 3: Mind (Expanded Charm)
Level 4: Alchemy (Thunderstone, +1 talent from Intuitive Combatant feat), Destruction (slowing, +1 talent from Time sphere), Time (Adjusted Frequency)
Level 5: None
Level 6: Destruction (Extra Blast Type [Bludgeoning, Kinetic, Warding])
Level 7: Scout (Track the Scene)
Level 8: Fencing (Ankle Strike, Parry Anything, Parry and Riposte, +2 talents from Combat Training feat)
Level 9: None
Level 10: Alchemy (Performance Enhancer, +1 talent from subclass), Mind (Confusion)
Level 11: Alchemy (Specialized Venom [Constructs, Elementals, Undead])
Level 12: Alchemy (Gaseous Application), Mind (Suggestion, +1 talent from Magical Expertise feat), Universal (Mass, +1 talent from Magical Expertise feat)
Level 13: None
Level 14: Time (Time Freeze)
Level 15: Bombardier Training

Edit: As Geralt doesn't possess any of the Universal packages tied into the relevant Destruction blast types, he doesn't get a bonus blast type from that sphere.

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By Warrior of Zelda on Deviantart

New Race: Witcher

Ability Score Increase:
Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Age: Witchers are theoretically immortal, although their dangerous lifestyles means that virtually all of them die from violence or acts of nature within the first few centuries at most. They reach maturity in line with their original species before the Trial of the Grasses.

Alignment: Alignment is dumb and doesn’t map well onto the world of the Witcher.

Size: The majority of Witchers are transformed humans, with a few of elven origin and no known dwarves, halflings, or monsters. Your Size is Medium.

Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only in shades of gray.

Witcher School Training: You have proficiency with the longsword, rapier, scimitar, and shortsword.

Tool Proficiency: You gain proficiency with your choice of either alchemist’s supplies or poisoner’s kit.

Monster-Wise: You have proficiency in Arcana and Nature.

Resilient Physique: You are immune to all forms of disease and have advantage on saving throws versus effects that cause poison damage or the poisoned condition.

Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Casting Tradition: Witcher Signs
Key Ability Modifier:
Intelligence
Bonus Spell Points: None
Bonus Magic Talents: Choose two: Destruction, Mind, or Protection
Boons: Metasphere Specialist*; Drawbacks: Magical Signs, Somatic Casting 1; Variants: Limited Protection (Aegis only), Protected Soul

*Witchers typically take the Glyph and Quicken talents, the former to simulate Yrden and the latter to allow quick follow-up attacks after using a Sign.

Martial Tradition: Witcher Schooling
Key Ability Modifier:
Intelligence
Bonus Talents:

Equipment sphere:
Armor Training
Alchemy sphere
Scout sphere
Variable:
Witchers gain one talent in line with their school: the Berserker sphere (Bear), the Fencing sphere (Wolf), the Scoundrel sphere (Viper), Equipment’s Crossbow Expert (Bear or Viper), or Scout’s Heightened Awareness (Griffin).
 
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Libertad

Hero
Chapter 4: Spheres, Part 2

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The Berserker Sphere is our next combat-heavy sphere. Its two base abilities include Adrenaline where one suffers a -2 AC for a round in order to gain the benefits of a buff, and Batter which is a Special Attack made with a melee or thrown weapon which “batters” a target to make them vulnerable to other Berserker talents. The former ability involves making use of (adrenaline) talents such as reducing all incoming damage by one’s proficiency bonus, increasing one’s land speed by 5-20 feet depending on level, and expending martial focus to reroll a missed weapon attack roll. The latter ability makes use of (exertion) talents which apply a debuff to a target* such as -1d4 on all attack rolls, being unable to take bonus actions/reactions on a failed CON save or stunned if already battered. There’s a lot of other untyped talents, such as Brutal Strike which takes the -5 attack/+10 damage of Great Weapon Master but extends it to any melee/thrown weapon when battering a target, Bloody Counter where the character lets a melee attack auto-hit them in exchange for performing a counterattack along with an (exertion) talent, and Deathless which grants advantage on all death saves and helps them recover faster when stabilized at 0 HP. Legendary Talents include using a weapon attack to tear a fabric in space-time to perform long-range teleportation in exchange for an exhaustion level, severing a target’s limb if critting and expending martial focus, and the ability to raise surrounding terrain and create holes when using the Shatter Earth talent.

*Shatter Earth, which turns surrounding squares into difficult terrain by shattering the ground instead of hitting a creature.

There is one Legendary Talent that leaves things unclear rules-wise. Spell Sunder only has a 5th level prerequisite and allows one to temporarily dispel ongoing spell effects on a target when attacking them. But it briefly references the Brutal Strike talent as part of the required action. As that talent is not a prerequisite, it begs the question of whether or not it is necessary in the use of Spell Sunder.

Combos: The Fencing sphere’s Parry & Riposte can reduce an attack’s damage via your own weapon damage roll, so the +10 bonus from Brutal Strike can be very helpful for this if the GM rules that it can apply. Additionally, the -5 penalty can be further mitigated via the many ways of gaining advantage, and the Fencing sphere’s Fatal Thrust base ability can help even further in rerolling one of the advantage d20s. The Juggernaut (adrenaline) talent makes one immune to difficult terrain and movement-slowing effects, which lines up well with Athletics sphere talents that grant alternative movement speeds being treated as difficult terrain. Furthermore, Shatter Earth can affect stone or a softer material, while Athletics Terrain Glide can only move through dirt or loose soil; the former talent combined with Alter Terrain in making a 5 foot deep hole can thus bypass any hard surfaces in buildings and roads to tunnel underground if the climate allows for it. The Equipment sphere’s Throwing Mastery talent is useful in applying a boomerang effect to thrown weapon attacks so you don’t have to waste actions drawing new weapons after the throw. The Atavism Legendary Talent lets one be treated as their original creature type or Beast for beneficial effects such as Beast Bond. A fellow PC with the Beastmastery sphere’s Bronco Buster talent can treat the Berserker-user as a mount and let them gain the benefits of (ride) talents. A few Legendary Talents in the Wrestling sphere have the Shatter Earth talent as a prerequisite.

Existing Comparisons: The two benefits of Great Weapon Master exist as separate talents with wider applications beyond that feat’s Heavy quality prerequisite. The Mobile feat and Ranger’s Land Stride can allow one to move normally through difficult terrain, albeit under different circumstances than the Juggernaut talent. The Destruction sphere’s Slowing blast type talent has a similar action negation/stun effect as the Heavy Swing talent. The Great Destroyer talent’s double damage to and advantage on breaking objects is actually the same as the Siege Monster monster quality, although the talent’s advantage part is an added bonus. The Battlemaster Fighter’s Sweeping Attack is similar to Reaper’s Momentum in granting a cleavelike bonus attack on another target, although Battlemaster just does one additional attack while Reaper’s is potentially unlimited albeit at the cost of a hefty -5 penalty to all attack rolls.

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The Brute Sphere is the other “strong guy” offensive sphere, centering around the use of shove and overrun actions. It grants proficiency in the Athletics skill (or +1 talent if already proficient) and its base ability allows one to move a shoved target even further by a number of feet equal to the result they failed by and also suffering bludgeoning damage. (manhandle) talents are added effects on top of shoving, such as imposing disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks for 1 round on a failed CON save, reducing their movement speed to 0 on a failed DEX save, immediately making a second shove to push them even further, or being able to perform a follow-up disarm (and a Scoundrel’s trick talent if applicable) or grapple check. Untagged talents include being able to shove a creature into another target and make a free shove attempt to knock them prone, can shove a target as a bonus action whenever you damage them with a melee weapon, a temporary “surge of strength” which grants several possible benefits in exchange for later exhaustion, and dealing an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 5 feet a shoved target would otherwise move when they collide with a wall, large object, or other creature that halts their shoved movement. The Legendary Talents include a bunch of non-shoving related “super strength” effects, such clapping one’s hand to generate an AoE burst dealing thunder damage, stomping the ground to create an AoE effect to knock nearby targets prone, and a (manhandle) talent which can temporarily throw a target into the Ethereal Plane.

Combos: As shove and overrun attempts rely upon the Athletics skill, the Athletics sphere’s Mighty Conditioning allows one to substitute Dexterity for a Brute focused build. The Scholar’s Physics Study similarly lets them substitute their Key Ability Modifier for uses of shoving, grappling, and Brute sphere effects. The Perpetual Motion applying a second shove attempt combined with Hammer can add up to a lot of d6s when slamming a foe into a wall or similar solid structure. Muscular Surge’s effective size increase can work well with the grappling-focused Wrestling sphere, while the Conscript’s Brawler subclass can further enhance one’s effective size category. Get Over Here specifically calls out the use of various “tether” style abilities from Spheres of Power as well as Athletic’s Rope Swing talent in regards to applying shove attempts to tethered creatures. The Robbery (manhandle) talent lets one apply a Scoundrel sphere (trick) talent when stealing from a shoved target. The Dropkick talent’s jump-based movement can benefit from talents which increase movement and jump distance such as Athletic’s Polearm Vault and Brute’s own Muscular Surge. A huge amount of other spheres have talents that relate to shoving: Barrage’s Mixed Barrage, Beastmastery’s Mounted Maneuvers, Dual Wielding’s Combo Maneuvers and High-Low Combination, Equipment’s Versatile Shield, Gladiator’s Boast base ability and several talents (Exemplar, Cow Enemy, Daunting, Derision), Guardian’s Guardians Focus, Leadership’s Opportunistic Teamwork, Shield’s Smashing Counter, Warleader’s Deadly Herdsman, and Wrestling’s Ground Game.

Existing Comparisons: As far as I can tell the vast majority of the Brute sphere is original content, and from what I could find in the official rules the only subclasses and feats that make reference specifically to shoving in the triggering of special abilities is the PHB’s Shield Master whose equivalent was covered by Equipment’s Versatile Shield talent. The Battlemaster’s Pushing Attack sounds like it’d qualify as a similarity, but it’s not actually a shove in terms of game mechanics even though it performs pretty much the same result.

It’s not a 5e option, but back during 3rd Edition there was a popular Fighter subclass known as the Dungeoncrasher. Its major class feature gave some rather massive damage bonuses when the Fighter pushed foes into walls and other solid structures, and I see a lot of its inspiration in the Hammer talent.

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The Dual Wielding Sphere covers two-weapon fighting both melee and ranged. It grants three base abilities: can expend your martial focus to make an off-hand attack without needing to spend a bonus action, +1 to AC when wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand, and can draw or stow two one-handed weapons at once. Its (dual-wield) talents grant added effects to one’s offhand attack, such as substituting an attack for a grapple, shove, or Help action, not provoking opportunity attacks from damaged creatures for 1 turn, and making an additional attack provided that attack targets a different creature. Other talents include being able to have both wielded weapons deal the same damage die and type if so desired, able to two-weapon fighting with non-light weapons, and expending martial focus to shove a creature if both the main and offhand attacks hit. The two Legendary Talents include doing an AoE spin attack against all foes within 15 feet and the ability to wield a third weapon in a mouth or a third prehensile limb if possessed.

Combos: The Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style is great when paired with this sphere in granting bonus damage to the offhand attack, something the Dual Wielding sphere doesn’t grant oddly enough. Combo Maneuvers and High-Low Combination work well with the Brute sphere, while Perfect Set-Up is good for the Fencing sphere’s (feint) talents and Fatal Thrust ability given its granting of the Help action. Dancing Display’s negation of opportunity attacks is good when paired with Athletics’ Dizzying Tumble given it requires moving away from a hostile creature. The Shield sphere’s Guarded Stance treats a held weapon as a shield, allowing one to make use of that sphere’s core ability and talents when dual-wielding. Furthermore, Dual-Wielding’s Focusing Defense and Shield’s Reactive Defense both rely on taking the Dodge action, and the former’s AC bonus makes it more likely for the latter’s ability to trigger. A weapon benefiting from an unorthodox damage type via a magic property or spell enhancement can apply this benefit to another held weapon courtesy of Asynchronous Swing.

Finally, Dual Wielding is great for builds reliant upon making many attacks. The base ability lets one make an off-hand attack via no action by expending martial focus. The Greater Focus feat and the Conscript’s Master of Combat class feature grant additional independently-maintained martial focuses, while Extra Attack, Action Surge (from either the Fighter or the Alter Ego’s Hero Persona), a Haste effect from the spell of the same name or the Time sphere’s Adjusted Frequency, and the bonus action attack from Barrage’s Barrage ability, the Equipment sphere’s Hand Crossbow Mastery, a Scimitar of Speed magic item, or even just a regular two-weapon fighting offhand attack (on top of the expended martial focus’ no-actions) can add up to a lot of attacks per round.

Existing Comparisons: Two of Dual Wielding’s base abilities and one talent copied the Dual Wielder feat benefits from the Player’s Handbook. Besides that, there’s not many other official feats, subclasses, and spells that specifically make reference to offhand attacks that I know of. The Dancing Display opportunity attack-negating talent is similar to the Swashbuckler Rogue’s Fancy Footwork class feature, although that feature merely involves making a melee attack with no other bells or whistles.

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The Fencing Sphere focuses on nimble maneuvers to set up enemies for debilitating strikes. Its core abilities include Fatal Thrust which allows one to reroll one of the d20 rolls for melee attacks made with advantage, and Feint where you can choose to grant the Help action to yourself and thus gain advantage on the next attack roll made. Using Help in giving someone (including yourself) an attack roll advantage is called a “feint” which (exploit) talents require but apply only to your own attacks. However, these talents don’t require that they be made with melee attacks; only Fatal Thrust specifically calls this out, so you can totally “Help yourself” when using a ranged weapon and apply an (exploit).

(exploit) talents center around various debuffs, such as making the target lose the ability to make opportunity attacks for 1 round, falling prone on a failed DEX save, moving them 5 feet to a different space within reach, or expending martial focus to blind an opponent for 1 minute or until they spend an Action to unblind themselves. Untagged talents include being able to feint as a bonus action, a “blade bind” which grapples the target but allows them to also break free if they drop the held weapon beyond the usual means of countering grapples, expending martial focus to parry a melee attack by reducing its damage by an amount equal to your weapon damage roll, and treating one’s melee reach as 5 feet more but suffering -2 penalty on attacks vs adjacent targets. Legendary Talents include the ability to parry ranged and spell attacks, an (exploit) that can temporarily increase a target’s exhaustion level and stack with itself, a “vacuum cut” which increases a melee attack’s reach by 30 feet, and a more advanced “vacuum slice” that instead targets all opponents in a 30 foot line.

Combos: Expert Feint reducing a feint to a bonus action is helpful for Conscript Knaves and Rogues given it grants them an easy means of applying Sneak Attack. The Conscript Warrior’s Reckless attack grants advantage on attacks and thus opens up the use of (exploit) talents. The attack penalties for Berserker’s Brutal Strike and Sniper’s Deadly Shot talents can be mitigated via Feints and Fatal Thrust in the case of Brutal Strike. The opportunity attack negation by Distracting Blades works similarly to Dual-Wielding’s Dancing Display in regards to using abilities such as Athletic’s Dizzying Tumble. The movement reduction on Leg Slash can combine nicely with similar effects such as Alchemy’s Alchemical Ice and Paralytic Venom, Barrage’s Suppressing Fire, Berserker’s Leg-Smasher and Sever, Dual-Wielding’s Dizzying Combination, and the Time sphere’s Adjusted Frequency or Destruction’s Slowing blast type. Lunge’s reach increase goes nicely with Equipment’s Polearm Guard and the Guardian sphere’s Patrol package in regards to triggering opportunity attacks from farther away along with some close-range battlefield control. Berserker’s Brutal Strike damage bonus can be helpful if allowed to be added to Parry and Riposte: the latter talent doesn’t require an attack roll, so while +10 damage reduction may seem a bit powerful it can only apply to a target that’s been battered if ruled in such a way. Traitorous Blade’s bonus action attack with a disarmed weapon can synergize with Dual Wielding if made as an offhand attack. Bind Weapon’s grappling effect can synergize with the Wrestling sphere, particularly (slam) talents. Dual-Wielding’s Perfect Set-Up lets one use the Help action in place of an off-hand attack and can be used for opening up an (exploit) use.

Existing Comparisons: Fencing’s Footwork talent is similar to Athletics’ Tumbling Recovery, although the former can only be triggered on a reaction while the latter can trigger on a bonus action but requires one to drop prone in order to use. The few talents that involve disarming a target are similar to the Battlemaster’s Disarming Attack maneuver, although that one merely disarms and adds bonus damage, while Fencing’s talents do other things instead of damage such as a blade bind grapple or catching and then attacking with that weapon. The Battlemaster’s Feinting Attack and Lunging Attack also do similar things to Fencing sphere abilities, although the former maneuver only works on creatures within 5 feet and the latter only applies to one attack made that turn.

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The Gladiator Sphere makes use of psychological tricks in demoralizing one’s foes and instilling confidence in oneself and one’s allies. The default abilities are Boast and Demoralize. The former triggers as a reaction whenever the character crits, KOs, or grapples/shoves a hostile creature, and comes with a base (boast) ability that grants oneself advantage on their next attack roll or contested ability check. The latter is an action that imposes the Frightened condition on a target within 30 feet who fails a CHA save or a bonus action if martial focus is expended. (boast) talents provide new boasts the character can make, such as forcing a foe to choose a new target or waste a hostile action on a failed WIS save until the start of your next turn, allowing nearby allies to hide even when observed by calling attention to yourself, and letting nearby allies make new saving throws against ongoing effects. (demoralize) talents allow for new uses and additions to the base ability, such as performing as a bonus action with no martial focus expending when damaging/grappling/shoving an enemy, using it as a reaction when critting/KOing a foe, and targeting additional foes at once. (fear) are talents which apply only to targets already Frightened of the character, granting advantage on attack rolls or provoking opportunity attacks when the Frightend target fails an attack/grapple/shove attempt. There’s many untagged talents, such as new means of performing boasts and doubling the range of Boast and Demoralize. Legendary Talents include Frightening hostile opponents within 30 feet if they fail a WIS save (no action required), automatically critting vs frightened enemies with a CR less than one’s proficiency bonus, and expending martial focus to ignore a target’s immunity to the frightened condition (albeit they save with advantage).

Combos: As many talents rely upon shoves and grapples, Gladiator goes well with talents from the Brute and Wrestling spheres. Alchemy’s Frightening Hallucinogen, Barroom’s Menacing Belch, Retribution’s Terrifying Hook and Violent Pressure, Warleader sphere’s Frightful Roar, and Wrestling’s Grandstanding Slam provide other means of applying the Frightened condition and thus (fear) talent effects. For Spheres of Power, Conjuration’s Frightful Presence, Dark’s Fearful Darkness, Death’s Frightful reanimate talent, Destruction’s Fire and Frightful blast type talents, Illusion’s Illusionary Obstruction, and Mind’s Fear talents also grant the Frightened condition. The Distracting Display Boast is useful for Sneak Attackers, possessors of the Scout sphere, and others who require hiding from one’s opponents in order to maximize their potential. Two or more characters with the Menace talent and/or the Destruction sphere’s Confining blast type can more effectively box in a target and/or force them into an ideal direction of movement.

Existing Comparisons: The Battlemaster’s Menacing Attack is similar in imposing the Frightened condition on a target via a damaging attack, although Gladiator provides a wider means of doing so. The Berserker Barbarian’s Intimidating Presence can also do this, having very similar wording to the Demoralize ability albeit Gladiator doesn’t end if line of sight or distance limits are broken a successful save doesn’t negate further uses of Demoralize to that same creature. There are other frighten effects such as the Archfey Warlock’s Fey Presence or the Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer’s capstone ability, but those are usually rest-based and target an AoE effect for targets (which the Aura of Fear Legendary Talent can also do and at a lower level than the Sorcerer). The reaction-based boasts have some rather open-ended buffs which make it hard to directly trace specific official spells and features for them.

Thoughts So Far: The Berserker sphere feels a bit like a Barbarian But Not Quite in its focus on powerful strikes and direct offense. It is a bit of a heavy talent investment for the offensive side of things, as the only talent granted for free is an (adrenaline) one rather than the more offensive (exertion) choices. There’s a few talents which grant a boon when a target’s reduced to 0 HP, particularly the martial focus restoration one, which in comparison to similar choices in other spheres is going to be relatively rarer unless you’re fighting low-HP mooks a lot, while the -5 attack talents are risky propositions unless you have means of gaining easy advantage. Additionally Shatter Earth seems a popular prerequisite for other Legendary Talents, but given that it doesn’t trigger when hitting a foe and its affected squares are rather few it doesn’t really feel worth using when there are spells which can cover a wider AoE like Destruction’s Physical blast type combined with the right blast shape talents. It’s for these reasons that Berserker ranks relatively low for me.

I like Brute more in the fact that it has a good amount of debuff and battlefield control options for brawny fighter types, and the super-strength Legendary Talents are pretty cool. It has a lot of synergy with other spheres given how common the shove maneuver is in Spheres of Might, and I can see a lot of characters taking Follow-Through to knock around enemies when attacking them. I’m a bit mum on Dual-Wielding: the major focus on offhand weapon attacks is a bit unfortunate when such attacks don’t add ability modifiers to damage, so I feel that most people taking this sphere are going to select classes granting access to the Two-Weapon Fighting Style in order to make up for this which is rather limiting for the otherwise open-ended Spheres system. Fencing has a surprising amount of applicability to builds besides finesseable quick fighters as one would presume, which makes me rate it highly. Gladiator is another one that rates rather low for me. The triggers for Boast means that one needs to specialize in shoves and grapples to make it occur more often unless one invests in talent taxes that also allow one to boast when succeeding on saving throws or when an attack/grapple/shove misses the character. While the (boast) talents include various useful effects, it does push one into making use of Brute and/or Wrestling sphere talents to be useful. As for Demoralize, while there’s a Legendary Talent which bypasses this, the Frightened condition is one of the more common ones for monsters to be immune to, on par with Charmed and only less common than Poisoned. On the other hand, while one of its talents grants proficiency (or double proficiency if already proficient) in Intimidate, I do like how the (demoralize) and (fear) talents mean that a character doesn’t need the Intimidate skill or even a high Charisma to instill fear and dread in their opponents.
 

Libertad

Hero
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Shovel Knight
Medium Human (Variant)
Conscript 9; Paragon


Armor Class 20 (18 when using adrenaline talents)
Hit Points 76 (9d10+18)
Speed 30 ft. (+10 ft. w/ martial focus)

STR 18 DEX 10 CON 14 INT 10 WIS 10 CHA 14 (27 point buy: +1 STR Variant Human, +1 CHA Variant Human, +2 STR Combat Dabbler feat x2)

Saving Throws Charisma +6, Dexterity +4
Skills Acrobatics +12, Athletics +8, History +4, Perception +4 (Variant Human), Persuasion +6
Tools Joustus (card game), Mason’s Tools
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Common plus 2 languages of choice

Background: Noble

Feats: Combat Dabbler x2 (+2 STR), Combat Training

Martial Tradition: Knight
Sphere DC 14
Athletics - Air Stunt, Mighty Conditioning, Mobility, Rapid Motion, Sudden Flank, Swift Movement, Training (Acrobatics), Wall Stunt, Whirlwind Flip
Berserker - Alter Terrain, Juggernaut (adrenaline), Ruinous Tread, Shatter Earth (exertion)
Equipment - Armor Training x2, Knightly Training (discipline)
Warleader

Special Abilities

Adrenaline (Juggernaut): Take -2 AC to not be affected by difficult terrain and cannot have movement speed reduced until the start of next turn.

Air Stunt: Can “run” up walls, two size category larger creatures, and air, treating movement as difficult terrain.

Exertion (Shatter Earth): Can spend an attack as part of Attack action and expend martial focus to turn all spaces within 5 feet, a 10 foot cone, or 15 foot line into difficult terrain, those passing through fall prone on failed STR or DEX save. May also create 5 foot deep holes in the ground of affected squares and also choose to raise terrain by 5 feet in squares adjacent to affected squares.

Extra Attack: May attack twice instead of once whenever taking the Attack action.

Fighting Style - Defense: +1 AC when wearing armor.

Mobility: Opportunity attacks have disadvantage when leaving hostile creature’s reach.

Ruinous Tread: May choose to make squares difficult terrain whenever leaving them.

Sudden Flank: gain advantage on next attack before end of your next turn against creature that you successfully tumbled past.

Swift Movement: All movement speeds +10 ft. when have martial focus.

Whirlwind Flip: Regain martial focus when succeeding on tumble (action or bonus action) vs hostile creature.

Actions

Shovel: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., 1 creature or object. Hit: 8 or 9 (1d6+5 or 1d8+5 if two-handed) piercing damage.

Throwing Anchor: +8 to hit, range 20/60 ft., 1 creature or object. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) bludgeoning damage.

Shout (Fierce Shout): Can affect self and all allies within 10 feet to gain +4 damage on first attack made within 1 round.

Bonus Actions

Rapid Motion: Dash as bonus action.

Rousing Leadership: Perform shout as a bonus action whenever reduce enemy to 0 HP.

Second Wind: Can regain 1d10+9 hit points once per short or long rest.

Tactics (Aggressive Flanking): all allies within 20 feet who can see and hear gain +2 on attack rolls vs hostile creature if at least 2 allies are within its reach. Takes bonus action to maintain each round.

Equipment

+1 full plate, +1 shovel (reflavored spear), 10 throwing anchors (reflavored light hammers), Phase Locket (reflavored Cloak of Etherealness but lasts for 2 rounds), Wand of Fireballs

Conversion Details: As my first purely martial build, Shovel Knight’s end result was pretty fun to stat up: a full-plate wearing Strength-focused mobile fighter jumping and tumbling through enemy spaces and breaking up the ground to create holes and difficult terrain. I chose to give him the Knight Martial Tradition as it was most in keeping with his theme, even if the Warleader sphere ends up going to waste. For class I chose Conscript due to the unparalleled talent progression, and the Paragon subclass with the Defense Fighting Style to shore up his Armor Class and also due to its “inspirational figure” flavor text. I extensively focused on both Athletics and Berserker, choosing talents which play well off of each other. Shovel Knight’s keymark ability doesn’t actually make him jump as per the 5e rules: rather he makes use of the Air Stunt talent to vertically move through the air. Combined with Swift Movement to increase his base speed, Rapid Motion to let him Dash as a bonus action, and the Berserker sphere’s Juggernaut talent to ignore treating air as difficult terrain, Shovel Knight can cover great distances despite not technically flying. He can still fall if ending his turn in mid-air, in keeping with the platforming theme with is why I didn’t choose the Sparrow’s Path talent.

But beyond just clearing vast aerial distance, the Athletics sphere also helps simulate Shovel Knight’s signature attack of using his shovel as a pogo stick to strike and bounce off of enemies before landing to strike again. Air Stunt covers the aerial movement, but Mobility makes it hard for opponents to strike when Shovel Knight leaves their reach,* while Sudden Flank and Whirlwind Flip grant him benefits when he successfully tumbles through their squares. Thanks to Mighty Conditioning he doesn’t need a high Dexterity score to tumble, substituting Strength instead.

*and when rolling with disadvantage against an 18 or 20 AC means that even the strongest opponents risk missing him.

For his signature digging ability, Shovel Knight makes use of the Berserker sphere’s Shatter Earth talent enhanced by Alter Terrain to create holes in the ground and dig up surrounding dirt. Ruinous Tread allows squares he moves through to count as difficult terrain, which will not negatively impact him if he makes use of Juggernaut. Although the text implies that Ruinous Tread only works on solid ground, the rules wording implies that it can affect squares in midair, which if interpreted as such can make it harder for foes to give chase when he bounces away with Air Stunt.

Talent Progression by Level

Level 1: Athletics (Rapid Motion, Sudden Flank, Swift Movement, +3 talents from Combat Training feat and skill proficiency), Equipment (Armor Training x2, Knightly Training), Warleader
Level 2: Athletics (Wall Stunt)
Level 3: Berserker (Juggernaut)
Level 4: Athletics (Mighty Conditioning, +1 extra talent from Combat Dabbler feat), Berserker (Shatter Earth)
Level 5: Athletics (Air Stunt)
Level 6: Athletics (Mobility)
Level 7: Berserker (Alter Terrain)
Level 8: Athletics (Whirlwind Flip, +1 extra talent from Combat Dabbler feat), Berserker (Ruinous Tread)
Level 9: Athletics (Training - Acrobatics)
 

Libertad

Hero
Chapter 4: Spheres, Part 3

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The Guardian Sphere allows a character to serve a “tank” role by occupying the enemies’ attention. It has three default abilities, with the first automatic and only one of the other two being chosen:* a Delayed Damage Pool where the character can temporarily absorb all damage done to them for one turn before suffering it on the next turn, a Challenge which imposes disadvantage on a target’s attack rolls when they perform offensive actions that don’t include the character as a target, and Patrol which sets up a zone where the character gains bonus opportunity attacks and movement which is triggered when someone moves into/out of/through the zone. (challenge) talents influence the ability of the same name, such as imposing disadvantage on concentration saves on a challenged foe within reach or can end a challenge early to turn a challenged target’s critical hit into a normal one. (resilience) tags include increasing the amount of hit points that are stored in a Delayed Damage Pool as well as negating Conditions and hostile magical effects by turning them into HP damage that is then stored in the pool. (zone) talents give new features to one’s patrol, such as allies gaining +1 AC while within the zone, making opportunity attacks whenever an enemy makes an attack against anyone within the zone, and reducing enemy movement to 0 if they are damaged from your opportunity attack. There’s a few untagged talents, such as Defend Other which allows one to spend a reaction to redirect enemy attacks towards yourself and additional ways of regaining martial focus via Challenges and Patrols. Legendary Talents include options such as forming a bodyguard-style bond with a creature to know of their location and teleport to their location, forcing challenged creatures to succeed on a Wisdom save to voluntarily move away from the character, and dealing radiant or necrotic damage to a challenged target when they attack people other than you.

*with a talent granting use of both default abilities

Combos: The Conscript’s Sentinel subclass is specifically meant to enhance Guardian sphere abilities, and its ability to halve the damage dealt from the emptying of a Delayed Damage Pool really increases a character’s staying power. As the size of a Patrol is based on reach, abilities and talents which increase reach are highly useful, such as the Fencing sphere’s Lunge, the Light sphere’s Encompassing Light, the Alteration sphere’s Size Change, and so on. Additionally, as movement from triggered opportunity attacks cannot exceed your regular movement you can make that round, talents and abilities which increase your speed such as the Athletics sphere’s Swift Movement and the Enhancement sphere’s Speed Control are useful. The Stand Still talent’s speed reduction effect combined with the Alchemy sphere’s Paralytic Venom can be a quick way to impose the paralyzed condition upon a target. The Barrage sphere’s Vigilant Sharpshooter allows one to treat a ranged weapon as a melee weapon with the Reach quality and make opportunity attacks with it, allowing it to be used to make patrol attacks. The Destruction sphere’s Blade blast shape can instill blast types into a weapon and can thus be used with a patrol attack, allowing for some neat battlefield control possibilities such as the Bludgeoning and Teleporting blast types.

Existing Comparisons: The Sentinel feat from the Player’s Handbook is a clear inspiration for the Guardian sphere, particularly the effect of stopping enemy movement via an opportunity attack. The Oath of the Crown Paladin’s ability to take damage intended for a nearby target is reminiscent of the Defend Other talent, albeit that one’s ability to be combined with movement from a Patrol makes it have a greater potential “reach.” The mechanics of the Challenge ability are reminiscent of the Battle Master Fighter’s Goading Attack maneuver, although that one requires the Fighter to first hit the opponent, has a shorter default duration, and doesn’t grant the marked target advantage on rolls against the character. Another difference is that Challenge occurs when the target fails a Charisma saving throw, making it less dependent on a foe’s Armor Class and more dependent on their force of personality to resist the bait. Another comparison can be made to the Swashbuckler Rogue’s Panache ability, although that one also prevents the “challenged” creature from making opportunity attacks to others and can be ended sooner via other conditions.

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The Retribution Sphere focuses on prepared counterattacks. Its default ability is Counterstrike, a Special Attack where one attack can be readied to trigger based on 1-4 potential hostile actions* rather than an entire Action if one possesses Extra Attack. The Counterstrike deals additional damage equal to one’s proficiency bonus, and if it successfully hits then the character regains the use of their Reaction if it was already spent. This is pretty good for potential action economy combos; additionally, a character doesn’t have to potentially waste their entire round setting themselves up for an attack that never comes via the usual means of Readying an action, and a successful counter rewards them by making it not even cost an action but instead a single attack. (counter) talents specifically enhance one’s counterstrike by imposing negative effects beyond damage such as halving their movement, launching them into the air via uppercut, or making them unable to speak or use mouth-related abilities like breath weapons. Untagged talents include being able to move half one’s speed before making a counterstrike, can make an additional melee attack on top of the readying action which deals no damage but forces a struck opponent to stay within the character’s reach, and choosing to intercept attacks which can be negated via rolling higher on the contested attack roll. There’s only 2 Legendary Talents; the first one lets one jump after an uppercutted enemy to make an additional attack against them in midair, and the second one prevents a target who has been countered from performing the same action that triggered the counterstrike on a failed CHA save.

*based on level.

Combos: As discussed in prior Spheres, abilities which enhance one’s movement can let someone move faster when using Raging Bull (bonus movement before a counter) and cover more ground. Abilities and talents which can force an opponent to act a certain way (such as running away via the Frightened Condition) can be applied as a Counterstrike trigger for a better set-up. Launching Uppercut has some utility uses for willing targets launched. Intercepting Strike mentions that one cannot intercept spell attacks or massive ranged weapons “unless you are using such a massive weapon yourself somehow.” The Equipment sphere’s Rock Toss talent, Conscript’s Brawler subclass, the Alteration sphere’s Size Change, and the Telekinesis sphere’s Dancing Weapon an/or Orbit talents can feasibly allow a character to wield such massive weapons.

Existing Comparisons: While there are various Reaction abilities that can counter/parry/etc, the concept of setting up a “counterattack” in exchange for increased boons or choosing a single attack to “ready” while otherwise acting normally in a combat round don’t have any official equivalents of which I am aware.

As a means of self-comparison, this Sphere was originally known as Boxing in the Pathfinder version of Spheres of Might and thus could only be used with unarmed, natural, and light melee weapons. While there is a Variant in the 5e version that restricts its use to unarmed attacks, Retribution opens it up by making it a general “counterattack” sphere independent of weapon type.

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The Scoundrel Sphere subscribes to the school of hard knocks style, focusing on unbalancing and disorienting opponents to better set them up for attacks. While previous Spheres had various effects that imposed disadvantageous conditions upon foes, Scoundrel makes it the default. It grants Sleight of Hand (or 1 bonus talent if already have it) as a free proficiency as well as a (trick) talent but has no default abilities. The Scoundrel sphere’s talents instead enhance existing actions as well as a new one in this book that any character can use: Dirty Tricks, which are Sleight of Hand checks that can impose a negative effect for 1 round to 1 minute depending on the effect unless undone earlier via the target spending an action. (trick) talents apply to Dirty Trick or Steal attempts, such as also being able to make a single attack against the target, able to use Dirty Tricks up to 10 feet away, and switching a stolen object on a target’s person with something else (including volatile alchemical items that can be rigged to explode). Untagged talents include making a disarm attempt as a reaction to disarm a foe of an attempted attack with that weapon, gaining the benefits of partial cover as long as an ally’s adjacent to you, and being able to redirect enemy opportunity attacks to another target via a Dirty Trick attempt. Legendary Talents allow the Scoundrel to steal increasingly implausible things, such as armor or worn clothing, a target’s skill proficiency, and even their heart which gives them the charmed condition in regards to you!

Combos: The Switcheroo talent already mentions its use with Alchemy sphere talents, although the Tinkerer sphere’s Artillerist Gadgets also qualifies given it allows for the creation of an explosive detonator. The Conscript’s Knave subclass can add Sneak Attack damage when the character successfully uses a Dirty Trick or Steal attempt on a target. If a Rogue has access to the Twist the Knife or Quick Thievery talents then they can easily set up a target for being Sneak Attacked via an initial Dirty Trick. The Alchemy sphere’s Contact Poison Delivery mentions its use via Dirty Trick and Steal actions, as does Brute’s Robbery talent. Filthy Distraction’s imposition of disadvantage on Perception checks works nicely with Scout’s Fast Stealth, where one can perform a Dirty Trick or Steal as an action and then Hide as a bonus action. Improved Grifting lets one add double proficiency to Sleight of Hand checks, which works well with the Trap sphere’s Sneaky Trapper in better hiding temporary traps. The Leadership sphere’s Friends in Low Places mentions that followers can Help in aiding rolls with Sleight of Hand in “a large enough place.” While this may not have immediate combat purposes, if followers are turned into a Sidekick via that sphere’s Squad Legendary Talent then it’s more feasible that they should be able to do so.

Existing Comparisons: The Steal Identity Legendary Talent is similar to the Assassin Rogue's Imposter class feature, although the talent has a shorter onset time and an explicit duration. The Misdirected Attack talent is similar to the Mastermind Rogue’s Misdirection ability, although they both have different qualifications for triggering.

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The Scout Sphere is another “Rogue-friendly” sphere, although this one involves more reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering. It grants Stealth as a bonus skill (or +1 talent if already proficient), and its default ability allows the character to learn a target’s Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and Immunities to damage types and conditions via a successful DC 20 Investigation or Perception check. Creatures who have been successfully rolled against are considered “scouted,” and (research) talents grant the character additional benefits against them such as critting on a 19-20, having +2 AC vs their attacks, and expending one’s martial focus as a bonus action to scrounge up materials which treat half the damage of their next attack as being of a type the scouted creature is Vulnerable towards (basically 1.5 times the damage such an attack would normally do). The untagged talents include things such as gaining proficiency/double proficiency in Disguise Kits, Investigation, Perception, or Stealth, being able to Hide as a bonus action, gaining advantage on all WIS saves and Investigation checks vs Illusion spells and Illusion sphere abilities, and ignoring disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks imposed by weather and similar environmental effects. There’s a few Legendary Talents which allow one to multi-target creatures via a single scouting roll, being able to read the mind of a scouted creature, and being able to scout creatures even if they’re not present as long as their tracks are analyzed.

Combos: The Divination sphere’s Discern Individual specifically calls out granting advantage on rolls for the Scout sphere’s primary ability, while the Enhancement sphere’s Mental Enhancement talent and Alchemy’s War Paint (yellow paint) provide other means of granting advantage on such rolls. The Empirical Tracker Legendary Talent combined with the Leadership sphere’s Detectives followers talent or the Team Lookout sidekick talent can easily be justified in the use of granting advantage on the scouting roll if such characters are present.

Existing Comparisons: There’s some conceptual similarities with the Ranger, most notably the Monster Slayer subclass which has a feature that can do the same thing as scouting although it doesn’t require a roll, cannot get past anti-divination measures, and can only be used a limited number of times per long rest. Whereas the Scout sphere’s only limitation is on rolls for individual targets. The Track the Scene talent grants advantage on rolls to track creatures and learn general details about them this way, closer to the general Ranger.

The Recall Lore Augmentations of various (divine) talents in the Divination sphere accomplish similar things to the Scout’s primary feature, albeit are limited to certain creature types in line with the talent and focus on Arcana/Nature/Religion rather than the broader Investigation/Perception skills. The talents which grant limited detection of magical auras, scrying, and tremorsense/blindsight also borrow some inspiration from that sphere as well as more general divination magic.

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The Shield Sphere is a defensive-minded one, requiring the use of a shield in order to use or a talent to substitute a weapon as a pseudo-shield. Oddly it doesn’t grant proficiency in shields by default, as one needs the Equipment sphere’s Armor Training to do that! The sphere’s default feature allows one to spend a reaction to gain +2 AC vs an incoming attack, and (deflect) talents allow the character to perform additional effects against these triggered attacks such as shoving or disarming the attacker or breaking the shield to turn a critical hit into a normal hit. Untagged talents include expending martial focus to apply the AC bonus vs all valid triggering attacks for the round rather than just one, granting the AC bonus to allies within one’s natural reach, and can substitute one’s AC with a rolled attack roll result rather than gaining the +2 bonus. There’s only two Legendary Talents which are short and sweet: one allows the character to apply the AC bonus to spell attacks,* while the other grants the character a bonus on all saves equal to their shield’s AC bonus but can’t stack with saving throw bonuses that “allow you to add an ability modifier to saving throws, such as the paladin’s aura of protection.” Which seems to be a rather specific kind of bonus, but I’m not complaining.

*which is odd, as the default sphere ability didn’t specify certain attack types or preconditions besides attacks “you are aware of.”

Combos: The Guarded Stance talent lets one treat a held weapon as a shield for the purpose of the default sphere ability, which lets it be more easily used with shieldless options such as the Dual-Wielding sphere and the Duelist Fighting Style. The Equipment sphere’s Throw Shield talent specifically calls out the use of the Shield sphere’s Cover Ally talent, and its range can be extended even further via the Far-sight Scope application of the Tinkerer sphere’s Ranged Weapon Improvement talent and/or the Barroom sphere’s Bottle Rocket talent. The Equipment sphere’s Versatile Shield talent or the Tinkerer sphere’s Integrated Weapon talent allows one to wield a shield and a two-handed weapon at the same time and can thus benefit from this sphere. Catch Blade and Smashing Counter (deflect) talents allow one to disarm or shove attackers, which goes well with the Brute sphere and a few Fencing sphere talents. The Barroom sphere’s Improvised Shield can turn a weapon into a temporary shield. The Gladiator sphere’s Deafening Clangor Legendary Talent specifically requires possessing the Shield sphere as a prerequisite. The Trap sphere’s Trapped Shield talent lets one place traps directly onto a wielded shield.

Existing Comparisons: There are two talents which are similar to benefits of the Shield Master feat from the PHB. The Protection Fighting Style is similar conceptually to Cover Ally, although the former has a greater effect (disadvantage on attack roll vs +2 AC) whereas Cover Ally can include a higher potential reach than the 5 feet of the Fighting Style option.

Thoughts So Far: Of the five spheres in this post, I’m most fond of Guardian. Dungeons & Dragons has had a rather troubled history when it comes to simulating “tank” concepts. While the Fighter could theoretically fill this role by physically interposing themselves between monsters and the rest of the party, there are many means of overcoming mere space and distance. Guardian goes for battlefield control options in extending one’s movement and reach, while also imposing a “bad things will happen to you if you attack anyone else” debuff that inconveniences opponents who choose to ignore the Guardian.

Retribution seems like a cool concept, but the low amount of triggers and the wide amount of actions that can be taken requires a bit of guesswork on the player’s part unless party members use abilities that manipulate enemy actions to some extent. On the one hand, the acceptable triggers are pretty broad, so I may be better able to gauge its usefulness with some actual play experience (none of the PCs in my Spheres games have this sphere).

I like both Scoundrel and Scout. The former adds a universal Dirty Trick rule to the game that’s broad in its usefulness, while the sphere’s various means of confounding enemies and even stealing items in the middle of combat allow for some clever play. Scout’s base feature is useful in that it grants a useful feature in determining enemy weaknesses and resistances, and it has a decent amount of skill-granting/doubling talents. I do feel that the Track the Scene talent is a bit limited in being restricted to a target’s physical tracks and not more general “crime scene evidence” stuff. And barring the advantage on tracking rolls the rest of the talent feels like something someone can do on a good enough skill check result.

I don’t have any strong feelings on Shield. This is more due to my personal preference in not tending to play sword and board style characters, and its “ally defense” talents feel inferior to Guardian’s even though I realize that making them on par may steal a bit of that sphere’s thunder.

I am currently unsure of who my next converted character should be. In my previous entries I did my best to do characters whose powers and abilities were in line with one or more of the spheres reviewed in the prior post. I was considering Ezio from Assassin’s Creed given that Scoundrel and Scout (along with Athletics for parkouring) seem right up his alley given my experience with Assassin’s Creed Origins. But Ezio’s story spans a trilogy of games which I haven’t played, so I’d be treading in unknown waters. But I’ll be more than happy to hear advice from fans of the character if such spheres are indeed relevant for one of the most dateable men in video games!

Alternatively I’m considering Corvo from Dishonored, a character from a franchise that I have played. Although an authentic conversion may require some multiclassing with Soul Weaver given that one of his powers (Possession) can only really be simulated by the Wraith subclass rather than sphere talents.

Join us next time as we review all but one of the rest of the spheres and convert an undetermined character!
 

Libertad

Hero
Chapter 4: Spheres, Part 4

While I planned to intersperse this and the last post with another character conversion, the current one is taking some time on my part so I decided to release the final part of Chapter 4 early.

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The Sniper Sphere is the other big ranged combat sphere, focusing on range and accuracy. Its default ability is Deadly Aim, where you can reroll one of the d20s of ranged attack rolls made with advantage. You can make a Special Attack known as a snipe shot which (snipe) talents can modify, including options such as pushing a target 5 feet and knocking them prone if they hit a solid surface, grappling a foe until they take an action to remove the weapon/ammunition if they fail a DEX save, and piercing through a target and hitting another target behind them (and a potential third target after that). The untagged talents include taking a -5 penalty on the ranged attack roll of a snipe shot to deal +10 damage on a hit, ignoring disadvantage on attack rolls when attacking at long range, and expending martial focus to disable a trap with a ranged attack roll. The Legendary Talents include causing a target reduced to 0 HP to explode in a shower of blinding gore, firing a “phasic shot” that ignores cover and effects that hinder ranged abilities, and can attack targets up to 1 mile away albeit with disadvantage.

Combos: The Glue and Solvent Legendary Talent of the Alchemy sphere can be an effective option when combined with ammo and a talent that imposes a penalty on a target unless they remove the struck ammunition, effectively becoming a permanent duration debuff. The Bouncing Shot talent and Star Scraper Legendary Talent can be further enhanced with means of locating one’s target if they’re not within line of sight, such as via the Divination sphere’s Scrying Advanced Talent, the Light sphere’s Periscope talent, and Scout’s True Sight Legendary Talent. The Far Shot talent removing disadvantage on long range attack rolls is very useful for extending the effective range of weapons, and the Barroom sphere’s Bottle Rocket talent for thrown weapons and the Tinkerer sphere’s Ranged Weapon Improvement can stack nicely with this. The Scout sphere’s Wind Reader lets one ignore disadvantage from weather sources, which is situational but can be useful depending on the campaign and environment.

Existing Comparisons: The -5 attack/+10 damage is similar to one of the Sharpshooter feat abilities, as is the talent ignoring disadvantage on long range rolls. The Weapon Shot talent’s ability to disarm a held item is similar to the Battlemaster Fighter’s Disarming Attack, although the Maneuver requires an STR save while the Sniper talent forces a DEX save. The Intercepting Shot talent is a ranged attack version of Retribution’s Intercepting Strike.

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The Tinkerer Sphere grants knowledge of how to build advanced technology. The flavor can vary, from steampunk to magitech to futuristic technology depending on the setting, with a few suggestions. This sphere is like Alchemy in that it grants you a number of items you can build every short or long rest, but unlike Alchemy most are persistent objects rather than consumables. The sphere’s default feature grants proficiency with tinker’s tools and one (gadget) talent of choice (and an additional talent if already proficient). This sphere is notable in its tags: (gadget) signifies any sort of device built with this sphere, while (accessory) is something which can be added onto an existing piece of equipment in order to enhance it. Virtually every talent has the (gadget) tag, and many of those talents also have (accessory), making a good amount of talents dual-tagged.

Most Tinkerer talents provide a list of potential pieces of equipment rather than just one ability, and include options such as footwear which can grant alternate movement speeds, handheld detonators which can explode based on a time-based trigger, a pseudo-hookshot which can grab and retrieve objects from a distance and also allow reel the character in to a hooked surface, walkie-talkie like devices that allow for long-distance communication, goggles which can grant alternative visual senses and advantage on rolls for certain visual activities, accessories for one’s weapons which can alter the damage type, remove disadvantageous qualities such as Heavy or Loading, or treating them as magical for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance. The Legendary Talents mostly cover devices from Renaissance to Futuristic eras, and if not playing in a campaign of that style then certain Tinkerer talents are required as prerequisites in order for the character to properly discover/invent the desired Legendary Talent. It goes without saying, but the weapons of more advanced eras are explicitly better than earlier-era ones, barring cases such as the relatively short ranges of Renaissance firearms or where a laser gun’s energy damage type may be disadvantageous in comparison to physical damage types. Modern Firearms have better range and deal more damage than Renaissance Firearms, while Futuristic Firearms can deal a whopping 3d6/3d8/6d8 damage per shot depending on the weapon. But melee-lovers can rejoice, for we also have options like stun batons and gravity hammers which have their own special abilities on top of straight damage!

Combos: The nature of the Tinkerer sphere means that it’s best taken in conjunction with other builds rather than focusing on the sphere in and of itself. But for a few specific examples: the Trap sphere’s snare ability mentions that consumable items from the Tinkerer (as well as Alchemy) spheres can be used for it, while the Detonator application of the Artillerist Gadgets talent can be used with poisons and alchemical items. Integrated Weapon is good for taking advantage of the Shield sphere given it can combine a weapon and object in a way that both items can be used at once, Ranged Weapon Improvement can get rid of the Loading property of weapons to let them be used with the Barrage sphere more easily, the Suit Improvement’s Camouflage application is good for users of the Scout sphere and stealthy characters in general for hiding, Ranged Weapon Improvement’s Far Sight Scope used on a shield with the Equipment sphere’s Throw Shield and the Shield sphere’s Cover Ally talent can apply the +2 AC and (deflect) talents to allies up to 40 feet away, or 80 feet with the Barroom sphere’s Bottle Rocket talent. Weapon Damage Pack is a great way to take advantage of enemy Vulnerabilities and Resistances by altering a weapon’s damage type. The Artillerist Gadgets Detonator application along with the Scoundrel’s Switcheroo talent can put the detonator on a person and set it to explode at a later time. The Detonator can also be activated or deactivated at will via the Remote Control talent. A Prosthetic’s granting of advantage on ability checks related to the replaced limb is useful for the Athletics, Brute and Wrestling spheres as well as any class feature or talent that covers the use of skills involving physical activities. The Rucksack’s Turtle Shell application combined with the Athletics sphere’s Capoeira Spin and Tumbling Recovery removes many negative conditions of being prone. Pressurized Liquid Applicator specifically calls out the device as being compatible with alchemical weapons and thus talents from the Alchemy sphere.

Existing Comparisons: As far as I can tell, the majority of these talents are original in the applications of what they can do. However, the Legendary Talents granting one the ability to build advanced era equipment more or less copied the rules for Firearms and Explosives from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, albeit the Modern and Futuristic Melee Weaponry options are original.

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The Trap Sphere is an unconventional sphere in that its best applications are not performed in the middle of combat. It grants proficiency in thieves’ tools (or +1 talent if already proficient) and allows a character to spend 1 minute creating a trap (or an action by expending martial focus) which has a trigger zone of 1-4 5-foot cubes based on level. By default the sphere grants knowledge of how to build dart traps which deal damage to whoever triggers it, and snares which can be a tripwire that renders the victim prone or an activation trap which triggers some kind of consumable item. Said items can include items built from the Alchemy and Tinkerer spheres as well as magic items. (dart) talents grant new and improved modifications to dart traps such as creating a restraining net, dealing more damage, altering the damage type, or rendering it nonlethal. (snare) talents grant new types of snares, such as a blinding flash, a loud discernable noise for alarms, a choking noose, or the creation of difficult terrain. (trigger) talents can change how the trap is triggered, including aerial opponents, remote-control, and allies never trigger it unless they choose to. There’s quite a bit of untagged talents such as making a reaction attack against someone who triggers one of your traps, expending martial focus to place a trap on a ranged weapon to be launched from a distance, expending martial focus to place a trap in a square you move over when taking the Disengage action, and expending martial focus to place a trap onto a shield which is triggered when someone misses the shield-wielder in melee. There’s only two Legendary Talents: one treats damage dealt by a trap as magical for overcoming damage resistance and immunities, while the other allows for the creation of a dart that emits an antimagic field on a struck target or area.

As you can tell, quite a bit of talents require expending martial focus, and using traps in battle more or less requires this. Due to this the Trap sphere is unorthodox in that it requires a certain playstyle most advantageous to PCs who have more freedom to choose their battles and where they take place.

Combos: The default snare ability already specifies its use with Alchemy and Tinkerer sphere items. Using Illusion spells and sphere effects to better disguise the location of one’s traps is a good idea, while the Light sphere’s Hypnotic Light talent can be used to lure enemies into triggering a trap. The Aimed Shot talent allows one to use Sniper sphere (snipe) talents with the triggering dart. The Magic Trigger talent can conceivably be used to trigger magic sphere effects via instilled objects if the Physical Magic boon for Casting Traditions is taken. The Scoundrel sphere’s Improved Grifting adds double proficiency to Sleight of Hand checks, letting one better hide traps via the Sneaky Trapper talent. Trapped Shield calls out the use of the Shield sphere and its (deflect) talents. This is a more theoretical option depending on GM leeway, but combining Thaumic Sink’s antimagic dart with the Alchemy sphere’s Glue and Solvent talent can be a good way of more reliably sticking the antimagic field onto a target. However, as sovereign glue is a magic item this may be subject to GM fiat. The bond itself can only be broken via a list of 3 ways, which doesn’t include an antimagic field as an option, so YMMV.

Existing Comparisons: Where else can one compare this sphere than to traps in the official rules? One thing notable about the Trap sphere is that its maximum potential damage is quite limited in comparison to the official ones unless combined with some damaging magic items/spells. Another notable thing is that the various DCs for spotting and disarming traps depend on the character’s sphere DC, and attack rolls made with traps use the character’s proficiency bonus + Key Ability Modifier. The Trap sphere doesn’t have traps roll on their own initiative nor do they cost money to set up. The Falling Net is similar to the Net talent, although the official one has more wording in its rules while the sphere talent is comparatively vague. For example, Falling Net has a set amount of damage, while the talent merely mentions “destroying the trap via damage” as a way to get out.


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The Warleader Sphere makes use of speeches and tactics to enhance the fighting prowess of one’s companions. It’s different from Leadership in that Warleader focuses on buffing the companions one has, while Leadership grants the character new NPC minions. Oddly enough Warleader grants no training in any skill proficiencies, and its two default abilities include tactics which are activated and maintained every round as a bonus action, and shouts which can benefit the character as well as allies via an immediate or short-duration effect. Tactics require allies to be within 20 feet of the Warleader upon initial activation, and shouts 10 feet. (shout) talents grant ways of using shout that require expending martial focus save for one exception, such as restoring the martial focus of allies, allowing affected allies to make a new saving throw vs a negative effect, and advantage on saves vs charmed and frightened condition effects for 1 minute. (tactic) talents grant new forms of using tactics, such as allowing allies to perform the Help action on each other as a reaction, using a reaction to let an ally ignore one source of disadvantage on a roll, and gaining +2 bonus on saving throws vs certain kinds of negative effects. Untagged talents include things such as increasing the AoE of shouts and tactics, choosing to increase one’s exhaustion level for 1 minute in order to shout without expending martial focus, and allowing allies benefitting from one’s shout or tactics to grant martial focus to the Warleader by spending an action. The Legendary Talents include some rather cool things, such as a shout that revives a recently-dead creature, a tactic that grants temporary hit points to an ally who would be reduced to 0 HP, and a shout that is an AoE attack that deals thunder damage and can push over and deafen targets.

Combos: Like Tinkerer, Warleader is primarily an “enhance existing capabilities” sphere, rendering the discussion of combos a bit open-ended in this regard. Healing magic and the Life sphere’s Greater Restore can be a good means of countering Roaring Reservoir’s exhaustion-inducing effect, although its 1 minute duration means that expending a Spell Point or spell slot is costlier than usual. The Verbal Commands talent combined with long-distance communication such as the Tinkerer sphere’s Communication Devices and the Mind sphere’s Project Thoughts can allow one to issue tactics to characters from far away. Frightful Roar’s imposition of the Frightened condition can work well with the Gladiator sphere’s (fear) talent benefits. Deadly Herdsman’s granting of shove as a bonus action works well for users of the Brute and Gladiator spheres. The Master’s Aura Legendary Talent works well with the Wrestling sphere by effectively charming those you grapple, and can further benefit via the Prodigy class’ Imbue Sequence with the Mind sphere by reducing a grappled target’s saving throw result.

Existing Comparisons: The Glamour Bard’s Mantle of Inspiration and the Rally Battlemaster maneuver do similar things as the Rousing Claxon talent in granting temporary hit points. Harangue’s allowance in rerolling a failed saving throw is similar to the Bannaret/Purple Dragon Knight Fighter’s Bulwalk feature, albeit the talent can be multitarget. The Courier’s Dash talent’s speed boost increase is similar to the Oath of Glory Paladin’s Aura of Alacrity, although the talent can have a longer duration if bonus actions are maintained. The Preparation talent grants a bonus to allies equal to the character’s proficiency bonus, and one of the rare ones that requires targets to refresh on a long rest in order to benefit again. The Oath of the Watchers Paladin has an aura that grants the same bonus, albeit it’s effectively unlimited-use.

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The Wrestling Sphere focuses on grappling. It has no default effect, instead granting 1 (slam) talent upon unlocking. (slam) talents can be applied as a bonus action when initiating a grapple or starting one’s turn grappling a creature, and our options include ending the grapple to throw the target 10 feet away, forcing a target to suffocate and fall to 0 HP after being grappled for a number of rounds equal to their CON modifier, and picking up the target and swinging them around as a melee weapon that deals damage to both the grappled target and those hit by them. Untyped talents include such options as shoving a grappled target as a bonus action or as a reaction if a target grapples you, grappling a target as a bonus action if you deal damage to them with a weapon, and imposing the restrained condition on a grappled target and being able to restrain them with ropes/manacles/cuffs if you restrain them for 1 round. The Legendary Talents include ending the grapple by slamming a target through the earth, removing a non-vital limb, and treating a grapple check as the result for a dispel magic effect.

Combos: Athletics’ Mighty Conditioning allows a Dexterity-based grappler to be a reality. Athletics’ Training talent and Brute’s Greater Brute can grant proficiency/double proficiency on Athletics, which is vital for grappling. The Piledriver talent has to be used with an unarmed strike, so talents such as Unarmed Training and Mystic Fists are nigh-essential. Pummeler grants advantage on attack rolls against targets one grapples, which goes nicely with the Fencing sphere’s Fatal Thrust, while that sphere’s Bind Weapon talent can initiate a pseudo-grapple via a disarm attempt. The Gladiator sphere’s default abilities can be activated more frequently via shoves and grapples and is more effective when paired with this sphere and/or Brute. Brute’s Muscular Surge allows you to be treated as one size larger for determining who you can grapple, and the Conscript’s Brawler subclass has similar stackable features. Ground Game’s granting of a shove as a bonus action while grappling can work with the Brute sphere’s various talents. Talents that help maintain grapples can be combined with effects that deal additional damage from close contact such as the Destruction sphere’s Aura blast shape. Athletics’ Scale Foe has uses for those who possess the Wrestling sphere. As mentioned under Beastmastery, the granting of Wrestling sphere talents to animal companions via the Drill Sergeant Commander class can be useful, particularly for ones with very high Strength scores and natural attack damage. The Conjuration sphere’s Undead talent and summoned companions with the Ravenous Creature talent have special attacks which are initiated via a grapple and can similarly benefit from such talents. The Earth-Shattering Slam and Tombstone Burial Legendary Talents have Shatter Earth from the Berserker sphere as a prerequisite. Targets picked up via the Living Weapon talent can be turned into thrown weapons as per the Equipment sphere’s Rock Toss talent. The Alteration sphere has many great choices for grapplers: the shock trait from the Aquan talent says that the ability can be used as a reaction on a successful grapple, the Serpentine talent grants new attacks when grappling, the Tendril trait of the Aberrant Body talent allows one to make grapples at a distance, the Stinging Tail trait of Additional Limbs can be used in a grapple as a bonus action, and the Prickly talent’s Spines trait deal additional piercing damage against those who attempt to grapple you.

Existing Comparisons: Two talents simulate the benefits of the Grappler feat from the PHB. The Pin talent is similar to imposing the restrained condition, but also has the added benefit of being able to apply rope, manacles, and other binding items during the grapple to keep them restrained even when it ends.

Thoughts So Far: The final five spheres have an interesting mix of abilities. Sniper is a very strong option given the effectiveness of ranged combat, and the debuffs one can impose via targeted shots with the right talents are a cool touch. Tinkerer is a bit mixed in that there are several talents and gadgets which can be very useful for all manner of builds and parties, although a few are rather situational. I can see the Weapon Damage Pack being popular, while Communications Gadgets can make sending a rogue/familiar/etc to scout the dungeon a less risky proposition. Trap rates rather low for me: as mentioned before, it’s most effective for a certain play-stye and is best used with other talents for the most versatility, and I would’ve liked to see more complicated traps being built via Legendary Talents. Darts and snares are functional, but it would’ve been cool to have things like rolling boulders, spiked pits, pendulum scythes, and the like. Warleader has a good assortment of group-based buffs, and being able to give and receive martial focus between the character and allies allows for some great set-ups. Frightful Roar is a bit underpowered given that it needs to be taken twice in order to act as a long-term fear debuff, and the shouts in general requiring martial focus means that they either require some generous allies to give it back to you via the Focusing Tactics talent or to take a talent yourself that can restore it via a bonus action or reaction. Finally, Wrestling has a lot of good options for grapplers, although the Choke Hold talent’s “reduce to 0 HP” after a set duration seems potentially powerful. However, it’s most effective against low Constitution enemies; those with bonuses of +3 or more can last quite a while over the span of a typical 5e combat. Given that the grappler is forcing themselves to maintain a grapple and giving up a bonus action each round on that enemy only, and that it can’t be used on creatures that don’t need to breathe, those things act as a limiter.

Join us next time as we finish up this book with the Leadership sphere, new equipment, and some more character conversions!
 

Libertad

Hero
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Chapter 5: Additional Rules & the Leadership Sphere

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I covered the Leadership Sphere out of alphabetical order for a few reasons. First, it is “optional” in the sense that GM permission is required to take it up and above such permission when using 3rd party products. Second is the fact that while it can technically be taken at any level, it has a sense of renown in the way that being a minimum of 5th level is suggested as a rule for GMs to include.* Thirdly, much like Beastmastery the Leadership sphere and its talents cannot be taken temporarily or by NPC allies such as animal companions and summoned creatures. Fourthly, for campaigns that place emphasis on warfare, domain building, and similar ventures, the entire party can have a “Leadership pool” where they all contribute talents and make use of followers and sidekicks as a group, and can also gain talents “for free” without needing to wait to level up if they spend enough money and complete quests that grow their power and influence.

*This kind of screws over the Commander’s Politician subclass, which gets a Leadership sphere talent as a bonus at 2nd level.

The Leadership sphere grants Persuasion as a bonus skill (or +1 talent if already possessed) and centers first and foremost around recruiting loyal companions. The companions are divided into two types, both with their own packages and talent tags, and any costs for food, living standards, and basic equipment is abstracted and already presumed to be taken care of. Sidekicks are characters with special skills and training setting them above the common clay, and apply special sidekick classes on top of an NPC/monster stat block of CR ½ or less. Their total number of levels is half that of the Leadership PC’s rounded down, or ¾ or equal if the Greater Recruitment talent is taken once or twice.

Followers are noncombatant characters forming into 1-4 groups of 20 based on level. Individual followers are treated as Commoners or collectively as the Troop template applied to the Commoner stat block, and depending on their talents can perform specialized tasks that can aid the character. (followers) talents are varying kinds of specialized skills they can perform as a group, usually granting them additional proficiencies and the ability to provide the Help action to characters using such checks. For example, the Healers talent traits them in Medicine, lets the followers supply free healer’s kits (that can’t be stockpiled or sold), and those spending Hit Die to heal in their presence roll one die type higher (max d12). Priests and Scholars have ritual books allowing them to cast low-level cleric and wizard ritual spells, while Rangers allow the party to move at normal speed over difficult terrain and can find and capture animals up to a certain CR automatically. The Soldiers talent allows followers to fight in combat as (rather weak) combatants, but can be taken multiple times to grant followers martial talents.

Sidekicks already get a whole stat block and class, so the talents part of this package grant them advantageous abilities and moves when used with the Leadership PC. Such (sidekick) talents include the PC and sidekick sharing the highest Perception check result when within 30 feet of each other, triggering an opportunity attack when the other succeeds on a disarm/grapple/shove, and gaining non-stackable +1 AC or to weapon attack rolls when within 5 feet of each other. Legendary Talents include such options as being able to gain additional sidekicks albeit having to split their total effective levels between each other, followers gaining flight speed from magic/flying mounts/etc, expending martial focus to impose the Charmed condition a non-hostile being, and applying undead abilities and immunities to sidekicks. One very notable talent turns a single troop of followers into a sidekick whose level progression is slower and uses one of 3 stat block templates based on the class in question, but gains 3 Hit Dice for every level they gain and have the increased damage of a troop template.

Squad is a bit unclear on one aspect. As it is a follower troop becoming a sidekick, do all the proficiencies gained from (followers) talents carry over?

Combos: The Alchemists and Artificers follower talents grant one additional use of Alchemy formulae and Tinkerer sphere gadgets for party members. Followers with the Friends in Low Places talent who become a Troop can use the Help action on Sleight of Hand checks, good for those with the Scoundrel sphere and the Sneaky Trapper talent. The free granting of healer’s kits from the Healers talent works nicely with a Scholar that took the Medicine study or any character with the Healer feat. If one has access to Vancian spells with the ritual tags, they can be taught and transcribed into the ritual books of followers with the Priests and Scholars talents provided that the spells are 1st level or lower, while the PC can also learn such spells from their ritual books. The Rangers talent’s ability to automatically capture beasts is an easy way to gain animals to tame via the Beastmastery sphere. The Opening Maneuver and Opportunistic Teamwork sidekick talents work well if the PC and/or sidekick make use of the Brute, Gladiator, or Wrestling spheres. Sidekicks turned into undead via Master of the Dead can avoid friendly fire from the cone-based AoE Greater Ghost Strike talent from the Death sphere given that ability doesn’t affect undead creatures barring a few talent exceptions. An Artisan of at least 9th level with the Smith subclass and Mystic Craftsman can have their followers craft magic arms and armor. Sidekick troops gained via the Squad template are ideal for builds focusing on reach and Guardian (zone) talents given the large amount of squares they can affect in close combat, and their advantage on Strength checks makes them ideal users of the Brute and Wrestling spheres and other abilities that make use of the Athletics skill. Additionally, the increased weapon damage dice and die size from the troop template can make for some large dice pools when used with certain damaging Alchemy sphere talents or Advanced Era weapons courtesy of Tinkerer.

Depending on GM leniency, certain stat blocks are very effective to have as sidekicks. The Thug has a good amount of hit points and advantage on attack rolls when fighting side-by-side with allies. Pixies are frail but come with a lot of powerful spells and effectively-persistent invisibility. Svirfneblin have some useful spells and a good long-duration means of poisoning weaker foes. Lizardfolk are one of the stronger fractional CR humanoid options. Although limited in daylight operations, shadows have a lot of resistances and immunities and can soften up melee-reliant enemies. Sprites have a potential save-or-suck poison with their arrows as well as persistent invisibility. Grimlocks aren’t very strong in terms of statistics, but their 30 foot blindsight grants them a lot of potential utility and scouting options.

Existing Comparisons: The concept of sidekick classes comes from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, as does the “add the class onto an NPC/monster stat block of CR ½ or less,” although the particular classes in Spheres of Power & Might are their own original creations. However, sidekicks gaining 1 level for every 2 the PCs gain without a talent tax is a new addition, whereas in Tasha’s they gained levels at the same rate as PCs. Followers don’t have any concrete equivalents in the official 5th Edition rules.

However, the Leadership sphere draws most of its influence from earlier Editions of Dungeons & Dragons. 3rd Edition had a controversial feat of the same name that gave the PC a sidekick known as a cohort and a variable number of low-level followers, while in AD&D PCs who reached a certain level could automatically attract loyal followers with skill sets in line with their class.

Sidekicks are being reviewed slightly out of order because they tie into one of the Leadership sphere packages. If you recall I talked about the Spherecaster sidekick class back in Spheres of Power, but besides its existence there wasn’t much in the way of discussing how it interacted with the rest of the system. Or how it can be of use to players besides the assumed use with the rules of the same name in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Well Spheres of Might has answered that question, and to help encourage Leadership-eager PCs we have 3 new Sidekick classes!

Each class follows typical rules for existing classes in terms of Proficiency Bonuses, Ability Score Increases, and martial talent progression (1 at every even-numbered level). However, their Hit Die is the same as the original monster/NPC type as the stat block to which the class is being added, gaining 1 Hit Die per level. They also don’t have free selection of martial traditions: each Sidekick class can only choose martial traditions related to one of two Key Ability Modifiers. Explorers cannot choose Wisdom-based Traditions, Students can’t choose Charisma, and Veterans can’t choose Intelligence. They also gain proficiency in one additional saving throw rather than the default two and their additional skill proficiencies are pre-defined save one free choice by the player. Explorers gain pseudo-Ranger movement and survival based abilities, Students gain Evasion and various skill-boosting features like a Bard’s Jack of All Trades, and Veterans gain quick reflex-style stuff such as advantage on initiative rolls and on Dexterity saving throws vs effects that they can see.

The classes are obviously lackluster in comparison to the other sphere-using classes; they’re the kind of things you’d choose for an NPC companion and not a PC of your own.

We have fewer Feats for Spheres of Might than we do its magical sister sourcebook; 4 instead of 8, but they are more or less universally useful for a wide variety of builds. Combat Dabbler gives 1 bonus martial talent and +1 to an ability score of choice (unlike Power’s Extra Magic Talent which only increases the Key Ability Modifier), while Intuitive Combatant also grants 1 bonus martial talent but lets the character replace 1 martial talent with another every long rest. Combat Training grants two martial talents, while Great Focus allows the character to maintain and expend a second independent martial focus (or 3 if a 20th level Conscript). While I’ve used the talent-granting feats for the majority of my builds, I can see Great Focus being a worthy choice for those who take spheres that have a lot of expending talent options such as Alchemy.


This tiny chapter covers new equipment introduced in this book: 4 martial weapons and 9 alchemical items, to be specific. The weapons all have a particular theme in mind: the two new melee weapons include a garotte, a finessable weapon that can be used while grappling to choke a target, and a lasso is a thrown weapon that deals no damage but can impose the restrained condition as long as you continue to hold onto it. The two ranged weapons include a bola which deals 1 plus Dexterity modifier damage and knocks a target prone on a failed DEX save and they stay prone until their bonds are cut, and a net crossbow which can be loaded with a bola or net to shoot at a far greater distance.

Besides the rapier, the garrote is the only 1d8 finessable weapon type in the game when using Spheres of Might.* And given how I outlined earlier how one can use the Athletics sphere to make a Dexterity-based grappler a viable build, the garrote is great for this purpose.

*And the Sling Combatant talent gives you the only finessable bludgeoning weapon, and Staff Mastery makes the quarterstaff and polearms finesseable as well. Lot of DEX-friendly options here!

The new alchemical items are normal versions of the Alchemy sphere talents of the same name. Quite a few of them are actually 3rd Edition D&D items that never made the transition to 5th such as tanglefoot bags and thunderstones. Others look entirely new, such as smelling salts and itching powder. We have three pseudo-alchemist fire items that deal energy damage and can impose negative conditions on a target (or in the case of Bottled Lightning, easier to hit metal targets). Four items deal no damage but impose some negative condition or reduce a target’s speed to 0 in the case of the Tanglefoot Bag. And the final two are the visibility-limiting Smoke Bomb and Smelling Salts which can wake up an unconscious target but makes it impossible for them to smell for 1 minute.

Thoughts So Far: I can understand why the Leadership sphere would be a restricted option, but I’m glad that it exists and can make for some interesting campaigns. The balance of the talents are a bit questionable; a few are meant to explicitly aid other sphere types and in some cases class features, but others hew closer to the situational side of things. For example, the bonus languages of Linguists can be easily superseded by language-speaking spells, while Managers lets followers operate businesses in the PCs’ absence which isn’t going to be of use in most murderhobo/traveling campaigns. I already talked about the questionable balance between different NPC/Monster stat blocks even of a fractional CR. A 1st-level party gaining an NPC Thug with a (rather limited) 1st-level class is an incredibly powerful sidekick.

I don’t have much strong feelings on the new equipment, but I am a bit pleased to see some earlier edition alchemist-themed items showing up in 5th Edition again.

Our book ends with three Appendices, collecting information from the rest of the book as well as default rules. One appendix has a selection of combat actions both new and existing along with parenthetical suggestions of what spheres are useful for them, while another appendix compiles all of the new and existing Conditions. The third appendix contains creature statistics, three sample CR ⅛ humanoids to be used with the Sidekick classes, and 4 Troops stat blocks for Commoners and the 3 Sidekick classes present in this book (but no Spherecaster oddly enough).

Final Thoughts: I like Spheres of Might, and feel that it grants a lot of interesting options for PCs who feel that noncasters in the base system are too one-note and lacking in customization. There are a lot of play-styles and concepts for martial/roguish characters here that can’t be done easily or at all in default 5th Edition, and even classes with poor talent progression still have a genuine sense of progress where they can do new things as they level up instead of the same thing but better if so desired. While feats are still very useful, the fact that so many talents do similar things as existing PHB ones can better free up PCs from the dilemma of boring yet practical Ability Score Increases vs foregoing that boost in lieu of new things to do. I also like how there’s a lot of options that are effective for skills and noncombat functions such as the Leadership and Tinkerer spheres, so your fighter-types can also excel in certain actions off the battlefield with little investment.

However, I don’t like it as much as Spheres of Power. While I do respect how both books are generous with granting “at-will options,” Spheres of Might’s use of martial focus as Power’s Spell Point/Augmentation equivalent made many options feel comparatively conservative. Even within the Sphere system itself there are cases where something that is a regular option in Power is a Legendary Talent in Might. Compare the Nature sphere’s Forge Earth with Berserker’s Alter Terrain: the former can work at range rather than melee and affect a wider possible AoE, all without the use of Augmented Spell Points. While it costs a Spell Point to activate, the Divination sphere’s Blindfolded Oracle has a larger Blindsight range than Scout’s Sight Beyond Sight, which is at-will but costs a bonus action plus the expenditure of martial focus for a mere 10 feet. There’s also the fact that many spheres encourage a “chaining up” of effects moreso than in Power. The Athletics sphere on its own grants a skill proficiency and new means of restoring martial focus, which doesn’t have as much oomph to it as Fencing’s Fatal Thrust or Retribution’s Counterstrike defaults. The Trap sphere expects to be used in conjunction with other spheres unless one’s a fan of darts. It’s still possible to make effective builds without a heavy investment in talents, but it is a marked difference from Spheres of Power which has more spheres and talents that can be functionally useful in isolation.

But overall, the “Spheres of” books rate pretty high and make for a fun alternative for building PCs. I don’t know what product I’m going to review after this one. I’m leaning towards the Eat the Rich! Series, although part of me also wants to try branching out beyond 5th Edition and setting books if only to make things interesting. I should have an answer around early September.

But before I do that, I’m going to make 2 more converted characters in my next posts!
 
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Libertad

Hero
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Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Medium Humanoid (Variant Human)
Conscript 17; Knave

Armor Class 18
Hit Points 106 (17d10)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.

STR 10 DEX 16 CON 10 INT 14 WIS 10 CHA 14 (27 point buy, +1 DEX variant human, +1 INT variant human)

Saving Throws Dexterity +9, Intelligence +8
Skills Acrobatics +9 (Variant Human), Athletics +6, History +8, Insight +6, Perception +12, Persuasion +14, Sleight of Hand +15, Stealth +9
Tools Alchemist’s Supplies, Poisoner’s Kit, Thieves’ Tools, Tinker’s Tools
Senses passive Perception 22, blindsense 10 ft.
Languages Italian, Turkish

Background: Noble

Guild Trained
Sphere DC 16
Key Ability Modifier: Intelligence
Alchemy - Bomb (formula), Confusing Hallucinogen (poison), Paralytic Venom (poison)
Athletics - Spider’s Touch
Equipment - Bruiser Training (discipline), Renaissance Voyager (discipline), Point-Blank Shooting, Poison Blowgun Specialist, Rogue Weapon Training (discipline), Unarmed Training (discipline)
Leadership - Friends in Low Places, Improved Leadership, Soldiers
Retribution
Scoundrel
- Improved Grifting, Switcheroo (trick), Twist the Knife (trick)
Scout - Analytical Gaze, Deadly Strike, Empirical Tracker, Fast Stealth, Great Senses (Perception), Inimical Gaze, Track the Scene
Tinkerer - Suit Improvement
Trap

Special Abilities:

Alchemy:
Can craft 9 doses of formula or poison per short or long rest. Each bomb counts as 2 doses. Confusing Hallucinogen imposes random actions as Confusion on failed CON save, Paralytic Venom decreases movements by 10 ft. per failed save. Bombs deal 3d6 fire damage or 6d6 of martial focus is expended.

Athletics: Regain martial focus when use Dash or Disengage as an action, also climb speed equal to base land speed.

Blindsense: aware of any hidden or invisible creature within 10 ft. if able to hear.

Evasion: when have to DEX save vs damaging effect, success is no damage, failure half.

Extra Attack: Attack twice instead of once whenever take Attack action.

Followers: Has 80 followers which count as 4 troops of Commoners. Proficient in Intimidate, Sleight of Hand, simple weapons and light armor, can use Help action for skills, and can help find fences, buy/sell stolen items, and bribe officials to overlook crimes.

Point-Blank Shooting: Suffer no disadvantage on ranged attacks made within 5 ft.

Poison Blowgun Specialist: increase save DC of any poison by proficiency bonus when using blowgun with poison. If already adding proficiency, add double proficiency by expending martial focus.

Retribution: Can give up one attack from Attack action to ready as an attack, deal +6 damage if it hits based on 4 potential triggers.

Sneak Attack: deal +4d6 damage to creature hit with attack when have advantage on the roll, or after successful use of dirty trick or steal attempt.

Switcheroo: If successfully steal from a target, can replace the stolen item with another item. If the item is volatile or Alchemy sphere formula, it can be rigged to explode at the end of turn.

Tinkerer: Can maintain up to 7 gadgets every short or long rest. Choices include air bladder (1 hour of breathable air), camouflage (lightly obscured for 1 minute, can hide even if observed), parachute (activate while falling as reaction, take no falling damage and fall 60 feet per round), or slick materials (advantage on Acrobatics to resist or escape a grapple).

Track the Scene + Empirical Tracker: Advantage on checks to find and follow tracks, learn general information when following tracks up to 17 hours old. Can scout a creature by targeting the tracks.

Trap: Set temporary traps that cover up to 4 5-foot cube spaces. Trap can either be a dart (+8 to hit, 4d6 piercing damage) or a Snare that is a tripwire knocking targets prone on a failed save or activates an item such as a consumable Alchemy sphere item.

Actions

+3 Dagger of Venom:
+12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature or object. Hit: 8 (1d4+6) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) poison damage and gain poisoned condition if fail DC 15 CON save. Special: +8/17 damage if scouted and first attack vs surprised creature, +15 (4d6) if Sneak Attack applies, +6 if successful Counterstrike.

+1 Light Crossbow: +10 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one creature or object. Hit: 7 (1d8+4) piercing damage. Special: +8/17 damage if scouted and first attack vs surprised creature, +15 (4d6) if Sneak Attack applies.

+2 Blowgun: +11 to hit, range 25/100 ft., one creature or object. Hit: 4 piercing damage. Special: +8/17 damage if scouted and first attack vs surprised creature, +15 (4d6) if Sneak Attack applies.

Dirty Trick: Roll Sleight of hand vs target’s Athletics or Acrobatics. If successful can deafen for 1 minute, knock prone, halve movement speed for 1 minute, grapple or blind for one round. Can make a single attack against a target as well.

Scout: Roll Investigation or Perception against target within 120 feet vs DC 20. If successful, learn Vulnerabilities, Resistances, Immunities, and apply (research) talent effects against them for 24 hours or until the next long rest. If fail, cannot scout that target for 24 hours. Can expend martial focus to scout all creatures within 60 ft. or gain advantage or +5 bonus on skill check.

Bonus Actions

Fast Stealth:
take the Hide action.

Second Wind: regain 1d10+17 hit points once per short or long rest.

Reactions

Parachute:
Fall 60 feet per round and take no falling damage when landing.

Equipment

+3 Glamoured Studded Leather, +1 Light Crossbow, +2 Blowgun, +3 Dagger of Venom, Alchemist's Supplies, Poisoner’s Kit, Thieves’ Tools, Tinker’s Kit

Special Thanks: To Ablative and Aêtava of Discord for their invaluable advice and knowledge of the series for building the Spheres version of Ezio.

Conversion Details: As I never played the Ezio-based Assassin’s Creed games, I relied upon outside help and YouTube clips to get a sense of the man’s capabilities. Like Geralt I had to make him high level to reflect his many skills and talents. I had to break the rules a bit in regards to his Martial Tradition given that he grew up as part of the nobility in Renaissance Italy. Guild Trained seemed the most appropriate Tradition for the Assassin Brotherhood, given their use of bombs, poisons, and general skullduggery.

This stat block reflects Ezio when he becomes a high-ranking assassin where he’s training and ordering new recruits and agents for the Brotherhood, which is represented by his Leadership talents in the upper levels. He doesn’t really commit to any one style, having talents spread out among a whopping nine spheres. Alchemy shows off his poisons and explosives, and Athletics’ Spider’s Touch represents his ability to climb just about any vertical surface. Ezio had training in a variety of weapons, not all of which were stereotypically roguish, reflecting his large amount of Equipment talents and the Intuitive Combatant feat which can let him swap out talents for other weapon groups (and talents in other spheres) if the need arises. The Scoundrel sphere’s Switcheroo represents how he can subtly plant bombs and other objects on passersby without getting noticed, and the Trap sphere at its base gives him proficiency in thieves’ tools and lets him set up bombs to be triggered via a snare. Scoundrel’s Twist the Knife, the Conscript Knave’s Sneak Attack, and Scout’s Deadly Strike all represent his ability to inflict great harm on foes he catches unaware.

For Scout I gave Ezio Fast Stealth to represent his quickness in hiding even from onlookers who caught him in the act, while Analytical Gaze, Great Senses, and Inimical Gaze better allow him to scout targets and apply his Deadly Strike against them while also learning of weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Track the Scene and Empirical Tracker represent his ability to form detailed clues from people merely by tracking them. I gave him merely the base sphere in Retribution, whose base ability at his level can counter a broad variety of effects. Finally, I gave him Tinkerer for the Suit Improvement talent which has a Parachute option, and Camouflage is pretty nice as well. Finally for Leadership I chose the Followers package rather than Sidekick as the recruits Ezio trains are multiple rookies rather than a single competent partner in arms, and Improved Leadership’s proficiency doubling in Persuasion reflects his legendary charm.

Talent Progression by Level

1st: Alchemy (Confusing Hallucinogen), Athletics (+1 from Combat Training), Equipment (Poison Blowgun Expert, Rogue Weapon Training), Scoundrel (Switcheroo), Scout (+1 from Combat Training)
2nd: Athletics (Spider’s Touch)
3rd: Scoundrel (Twist the Knife)
4th: Scout (Deadly Strike, Empirical Tracker, Track the Scene, +2 from Combat Training)
5th: Alchemy (Bomb)
6th: Alchemy (Paralytic Venom)
7th: Retribution
8th: Equipment (Renaissance Voyager), Scout (Analytical Gaze, Inimical Gaze, +2 from Combat Training)
9th: Scout (Fast Stealth)
10th: Equipment (Bruiser Training)
11th: Tinkerer (Suit Improvement)
12th: Leadership (Followers package, Friends in Low Places, Improved Leadership, Soldiers, +3 from Combat Training & skill proficiency)
13th: Trap
14th: Scout (Great Senses-Perception)
15th: Alchemy (Master Chemist)
16th: Equipment (Point-Blank Shooting, Unarmed Training, +1 from Intuitive Combatant feat)
17th: Scoundrel (Improved Grifting)
 
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Libertad

Hero
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Link, the Hero of Time
Medium Humanoid (Wood Elf)
Conscript 10/Mageknight 4; Mechanic/Spellblade

Armor Class 18, 20 when using Active Defense
Hit Points 102 (14d10+14)
Speed 35 ft.

STR 16 (27 with Silver Gauntlets) DEX 14 CON 12 INT 14 WIS 12 CHA 10 (27 point buy, +2 DEX Elf, +1 WIS Wood Elf, +2 STR Combat Dabbler x2)

Saving Throws Dexterity +7, Strength +8
Skills Animal Handling +7 (class), Athletics +8 (background), Perception +7 (Elf), Persuasion +5 (class), Survival +7 (background)
Tools Alchemist’s Supplies (sphere), Ocarina (background), Tinker’s Tools (class)
Senses passive Perception 17, darkvision 30 ft.
Languages Hylian (Common), Kokiri (Elven), Sylvan

Background: Outlander

Feats: Combat Dabbler x2, Magical Expertise

Casting Tradition: Great Fairy Magic
Key Ability Modifier:
Intelligence
Drawbacks: Focus Casting (Ocarina), Somatic Casting; Boons: Easy Focus; Variants: Protection (Limited Protection [aegis], Protected Soul), Warp (Limited Warp [only to other rooms in dungeons or places keyed to Ocarina melodies], Taxing Teleport)
Sphere DC; 15 Spell Points 4
Destruction - Aura (blast shape), Blade (blast shape), Blaster Adept (Ice Illuminating, Razor Wind), Confining (blast type), Fire (blast shape), Razor Wind (blast type)
Protection - Energy Resistance (aegis), Obstruction (aegis), Resistance (aegis)
Warp - Distant Teleport (teleport), Teleport Beacon (teleport), True Teleport (teleport), Unseen Teleport (teleport)

Martial Tradition: Weapon Master
Key Ability Modifier:
Intelligence
Sphere DC 15
Alchemy - Bomb (formula), Thunderstone (formula)
Equipment - Armor Training, Bombardier Training (discipline), Bushido Training (discipline)
Fencing - Footwork, Lunge
Leadership - Greater Recruitment x2
Retribution
Shield
- Redirecting Shield (deflect), Perfect Redirection
Tinkerer - Artillerist Gadgets (gadget), Footwear (accessory, gadget), Goggles (gadget)

Special Abilities

Alchemy:
Create up to 7 formulas every short or long rest. Can be a thunderstone that deafens for 1 minute and deals 1d10 thunder damage (expend martial focus to stun for 1 round and deal 3d10 thunder damage), or bomb that deals 3d6 fire damage in 5 foot radius (expend martial focus to deal 5d6 damage). Each bomb counts as 2 formula, and can have up to 10 additional formula due to subclass.

Counterstrike: May give up one attack from Attack action to ready melee attack. Deal +5 damage and regain reaction if hits, set up to 3 triggers for that attack.

Danger Sense: Advantage on Dexterity saves vs effects one can see.

Destruction Sphere Rider Effects: fire damage, targets set on fire on failed DEX save and take 3d8 fire damage until extinguished, Augment 1 SP targets are Frightened (fire); slashing damage, resist with CON instead of DEX, targets hit suffer stacking -1 AC until end of next round, Augment 1 SP to increase duration to 1 minute (razor wind); radiant damage, creatures become visible in dim light and suffer disadvantage on Stealth checks until start of next turn, Augment 1 SP become visible in darkness as well (Illuminating); cold damage, CON save instead of DEX save, targets reduce speed by 10 feet for 1 minute, Augment 1 SP to be encased in ice and are Restrained for 5 rounds or until broken out of 42 HP AC 10 ice (ice); force damage, cannot move closer to caster until start of next turn on failed STR save, Augment 1 SP to deal 3 force damage if they willingly move from space (confining); force damage, conjured or summoned creatures have disadvantage on saves and attack rolls have advantage, use CHA instead of DEX save, Augment 1 SP to affect any target not on native plane, Augment 4 SP to cause conjured/summoned creatures to be banished back to home plane on failed CHA save (dismissing).

Destructive Blast (Aura): Action to raise up for 1 round, bonus action to activate. Affects all creatures within a 10 foot radius, dealing 3d8 damage on failed DEX save (half damage success if Augmented for 1 SP or more). Augment 1 SP to increase duration to 1 minute or 2 SP to remove Concentration.

Draw Power: Gain 1 temporary Spell Point until end of next turn when reduce target of CR 7 or more to 0 HP or crit.

Extra Attack: May attack twice instead of once when using the Attack action.

Fatal Thrust: When rolling melee attack with advantage may reroll one of the 2 d20s.

Feint: Can use Help action on self to gain advantage on next attack roll.

Fey Ancestry: Advantage vs charmed condition, cannot be put to magical sleep.

Fighting Style: Magic Spheres Adept: Gain 1 bonus magic talent.

Footwork: Expend martial focus to move up to 10 feet, impose disadvantage on oncoming attack or gain advantage on DEX save if in response to an attack.

Gadgets: Can make up to 8 gadgets every short or long rest. Can have up to 10 more due to subclass. Gadgets can be handheld Detonator that deals 3d6 fire damage in 5 foot radius (or detonate alchemy formula) and set after 1 round to 1 hour, can be Hook and Pulley that can pull objects or pull self up to 30 feet in straight line, Launcher that doubles range of thrown weapon, footwear that grants alternate movement capabilities, or goggles granting various sensory enhancements.

Lunge: As long as you have martial focus, increase melee reach by 5 feet in exchange for -2 on attack rolls vs. adjacent targets.

Mask of the Wild: Can hide even when lightly obscured with access to natural phenomena.

Technically Minded: Can create 10 additional formula or gadgets in any combination.

Actions

Active Defense:
When wielding shield may increase AC by 2 against attack you are aware of. Can expend martial focus to use this without spending reaction or redirect attack to another target within the attack’s reach or range.

Aegis: Grant benefit of aegis to self for up to 1 hour Concentration, Augment 2 SP to remove Concentration. Gain AC 17 (Armored), Resistance against choice of acid/cold/fire/lightning/radiant/thunder (Energy Resistance), or Resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage (Obstruction), or can spendable Reaction to gain advantage on saving throw (Resistance).

Attack: +11 to hit (Master Sword), +7 to hit (boomerang, shortbow, or formula), +10 to hit (Megaton Hammer or Biggoron’s Sword), range 80/320 (shortbow), 30/120 boomerang), or 20/60 (alchemical item), reach 5 ft. (melee) or 10 ft. (lunge), 1 creature or object. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) slashing damage (Master Sword), 4 (1d4+2) bludgeoning damage (Boomerang) 12 (2d6+5) bludgeoning or slashing (Biggoron’s Sword or Megaton Hammer), 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage (shortbow), 5/17 (1d10/3d10) thunder damage (thunderstone) or 11/19 (3d6/5d6) fire damage (bomb). Special: +2d10 radiant damage vs fiends or undead and sheds light in 10 foot radius (Master Sword), can make new attack vs adjacent creature if miss original target (alchemical item), deafened for 1 minute or stunned for 1 round (thunderstone), affects targets within 5 foot radius (bomb). If attuned to Silver Gauntlets add +5 to attack and damage of all melee attacks.

Destructive Blast (Blade): one melee weapon, natural weapon, or 20 ammo deals damage of chosen blast type for 1 minute and deal +3d6 damage on critical hit, Augment 1 SP to affect 5 weapons or up to 100 ammo, Augment 2 SP to remove Concentration.

Teleport: Must be Augmented for 1 SP, move self 300 feet. Augment 1 SP to not need line of sight, Augment 2 SP to teleport up to 1,000 miles but suffer potential d100 Mishap depending on familiarity.

Teleport Beacon: Designate touched spot, creature, or beacon as personal dimensional beacon for 24 hours but can only have 1 at a time. Augment 1 SP to make an additional one without removing previous ones, Augment 1 SP to return to beacon regardless of distance as long as on the same plane.

Bonus Actions

Destructive Blast (Blade):
Apply rider effect of chosen blast type when successfully hit with weapon

Second Wind: Heal 1d10+10 hit points per short or long rest.

Spell Combat: expend martial focus to make a single attack whenever cast magic sphere effect of 0 Spell Points as an action.

Reactions

Aegis (Resistance):
gain advantage on one saving throw.

Quick Application: use a formula or poison or activate a gadget.

Equipment

Alchemist’s Supplies, Biggoron’s Sword (+2 Greatsword), Boomerang, Goron Tunic (as Breastplate of Resistance [fire]), Master Sword (Longsword, as Holy Avenger but Link can ignore class prerequisite), Megaton Hammer (+2 Maul), Mirror Shield (as Spellguard Shield), Ocarina of Time (Spell Focus), Shortbow, Silver Gauntlets (as Belt of Giant Strength: Cloud Giant), Zora Tunic (as Breastplate of Water Breathing, like Potion of Water Breathing but permanent)

no63GEi.png


Navi is Link’s trusty fairy sidekick. She uses the stats for a Sprite, but with 14 levels in the Spherecaster sidekick class the following adjustments:

  • She has 44 hit points.
  • Her Proficiency Bonus is +5.
  • Her Intelligence is 18.
  • Her Wisdom saving throw is +6.
  • Her attack bonus with the longsword and shortbow are +5 and +9.
  • The DC for her shortbow poison and Heart Sight abilities are 13.
  • She has the Skilled feat.
  • Her skills are Arcana +9, Nature +9, Perception +6, Religion +9, and Stealth +11.
  • Her passive Perception is 16.
  • She has the Natural Casting Tradition, albeit she uses Intelligence instead of Charisma as her Key Ability Modifier. She has 11 Spell Points, and up to two times per long rest she can recover 5 Spell Points at the end of a short rest.
  • She has the following spheres and talents: Divination (Detect Aberration, Detect Constructs, Detect Dragons, Detect Elementals, Detect Fiends, Detect Monstrosity, Detect Oozes, Detect Nature, Detect Secrets, Detect Shapechanger, Detect Spellcasters, Detect Summons, Detect Undead, Fast Divinations, Invasive Divinations, See Hazard [sense]), Light (Guiding Light [glow])

Conversion Details: This stat block represents Adult Link near the end of Ocarina of Time, sometime during Gerudo Valley and the Spirit Temple. Once again I had to do some minor cheating. Link from Ocarina of Time is closest to an Outlander in background, but his Martial Tradition is closest to Weapon Master. Although there’s no overtly Japanese-style weapons in OoT, Bushido Training gives him proficiency in greatswords and mauls which match up to the Biggoron’s Sword and Megaton Hammer, while his Wood Elf subrace grants him proficiency in the typical sword and bow stuff. The Shield sphere and talents represent his use of shield in combat as well as the Mirror Shield’s ability to deflect magical attacks, while his Fencing talents and Retribution sphere represents the game’s combat system where you wait for an opening which was inspired by Chanbara theatrical swordplay. Alchemy and Tinkerer represent the variety of gadgets and tools Link has access to, such as deku nuts (thunderstone), bombs (bombs), the Lens of Truth (Goggles), Hookshot (Artillerist Gadgets), and Hover Boots (Footwear). The talents of his Casting Tradition are in line with the magical items Link gains access to, such as Destruction’s Fire, Ice, and Illuminating blast types for the Fire/Ice/Light Arrows (Blade blast shape) and Din’s Fire (Aura blast shape), and Razor Wind for his magically-charged Spin Attack (can be Aura or Blade depending on appropriateness). For more utility features there’s Protection for Nayru’s Love and Warp for Farore’s Wind and the various Ocarina songs that teleport Link to a specific location. I wanted the Master Sword to be special and looked for the closest Legendary-rarity magic item. The Holy Avenger seemed the best choice, although it being restricted to Paladins was impractical given that building Link as a Spherecaster Paladin would’ve given him much less talents to work with.

In regards to his equipment, Link actually has more magic items than which he can attune to at once. Typically he has an armored Tunic, Mirror Shield, and Master Sword as his attuned items. The Silver Gauntlets can really increase his attack and damage output albeit at the cost of one of these items. So he typically uses the gauntlets to lift and move heavy objects rather than in direct combat. The Golden Gauntlets once obtained can be treated as a Belt of Giant Strength: Storm Giant.

The Leadership sphere’s sidekick package and Greater Recruitment grant Link a trusty fairy companion in the form of Navi. Using the Sprite as a base,* I specialized in the Divination sphere, with the Light sphere’s Guiding Light representing her hovering near an enemy to initiate Z-Targeting where Link focuses on the foe more intently. Her various Divination spheres and the Skilled feat make effective use of Recall Lore, as Navi in-game knows the habits and weaknesses of virtually every enemy. The Detect Secrets and See Hazard talents represent her ability to discover and warn Link about various hidden passages and traps in dungeons.

*It has a higher Intelligence than a Pixie, and its Heart Sight seems more thematically appropriate for a knowledgeable fairy.

Talent Progression by Level (Link)

Level 1 Conscript: Martial Tradition: Equipment (Armor Training, Bushido Training), Fencing, Retribution; Level: Alchemy (Thunderstone)
Level 2 Conscript: Level: Shield
Level 3 Conscript: Level: Fencing (Footwork)
Level 4 Conscript: Level: Alchemy (Bomb); Combat Dabbler Feat: Fencing (Lunge)
Level 5 Conscript: Level: Leadership (sidekick package, Greater Recruitment [+1 talent from skill proficiency])
Level 6 Conscript: Level: Leadership (Greater Recruitment)
Level 7 Conscript: Level: Equipment (Bombardier Training)
Level 8 Conscript: Level: Shield (Redirecting Shield); Combat Dabbler Feat: Shield (Perfect Redirection)
Level 9 Conscript: Level: Tinkerer (Artillerist Gadgets, Footwear Improvement [+1 talent from tool proficiency])
Level 10 Conscript: Level: Tinkerer (Goggles)
Level 1 Mageknight: Casting Tradition: Destruction (Confining [blast type], Fire [blast type], Blade [blast shape], +1 talent from Protection sphere), Protection; Variants: Protection (Energy Resistance, Obstruction); Level: Destruction (Blaster Adept [Ice, Illuminating, Razor Wind])
Level 2 Mageknight: Fighting Style: Warp; Variants: Warp (Distant Teleport, Unseen Teleport); Bonus Talents: Destruction (Dismissing [blast type])
Level 3 Mageknight: Level: Warp (True Teleport); Path Talent: Destruction (Aura [blast shape])
Level 4 Mageknight: Magical Expertise Feat: Protection (Resistance), Warp (True Teleport)

Talent Progression by Level (Navi)
Level 1: Casting Tradition: Divination (Detect Monstrosity, See Hazard), Light.
Level 2: Light (Guiding Light)
Level 4: Divination (Fast Divinations)
Level 6: Divination (Invasive Divinations)
Level 8: Divination (Expanded Divinations [Detect Constructs, Oozes, Fiends])
Level 10: Divination (Expanded Divinations [Detect Undead, Dragons, Secrets])
Level 12: Divination (Expanded Divinations [Detect Elementals, Nature, Spellcasters])
Level 14: Divination (Expanded Divinations [Detect Shapechanger, Aberration, Summons])

Why does Ganondorf hate the Internet? Too many links!

While Ocarina of Time is perhaps the most well-regarded game in the series alongside Breath of the Wild, other incarnations of the legendary hero can be done by altering a few talents (and maybe even a class) here and there. Additionally, many aspects of the above stat block exist in multiple games, such as the Spin Attack. While making each one a unique stat block is beyond the scope of this post, here are a few suggestions.

Breath of the Wild: Is Proficient in Stealth, likely has Intuitive Combatant in order to gain various (discipline) talents to use virtually any weapon. Paraglider likely comes from the Aerodynamics Study of the Scholar class and Parachute of the Tinkerer sphere’s Suit Improvement talent. Magnesis Runes are Telekinesis with a Variant limiting its use to magnetic objects. Stasis is the Time sphere’s Time Freeze talent. Cryosis is the Freeze function of the Nature sphere’s Water geomancy package. Camera is Tinkerer’s Recording Gadgets talent.

Link to the Past: Link is likely an Armiger with the Antiquarian subclass to represent the variety of possible effects from items here. Pegasus Boots and Zora Flippers can be represented by Tinkerer’s Footwear. Magic Powder can be represented as the Alteration sphere Augmented to effect unwilling targets. Fire Rod and Ice Rod can be represented by Destruction’s Ray blast shape talent in conjunction with the Fire and Ice blast type talents. Cane of Somaria can be represented by the Creation sphere, Shovel Nature’s Forge Earth talent, and the various Medallions Destruction’s Explosive Orb blast shape with appropriate blast type talents.

Skyward Sword: Beetles can be represented with the Beastmastery sphere’s Tamer package. The Digging and Mogma Mitts can be represented by Athletics’ Terrain Glide. The Gust Jar can be represented by the Nature sphere’s Air geomancy package. Water Dragon’s Scale can be represented by Tinkerer’s Footwear that grants a swim speed.

Twilight Princess: There’s no magic meter in the game so Link is likely a full Conscript. Gain the Transformation feat to assume wolf form. Midna is a sidekick similar to Navi but has Warp’s Planeshift talent to transport herself and Link to the Twilight world, the Dark sphere’s One With the Void to become incorporeal and Shadow Stash to store Link’s items when he’s in wolf form, and Alteration’s Blank Form talent to assume the appearance of various humanoids. Hawkeye can be simulated using Tinkerer’s Ranged Weapon Improvement, and the Spinner is like the Footwear option that grants a climbing speed.

Wind Waker: Link has talents in the Barroom to represent use of breakable items and the ability to pick up and throw various items and objects, even heavy melee weapons. The Grappling Hook can be represented by Athletic’s Rope Swing, Picto Box represented by Tinkerer’s Recording Gadgets, and the Deku Leaf can be represented by Nature’s Air geomancy package.


And with that, I am done with my Let’s Read of Spheres of Power & Might. It’s been a fun ride since I began nearly a month ago. I hope that I did due diligence in showcasing the strengths of the system and being critical where it’s warranted.
 
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