View Full Version : Pathfinder Kingkiller's Chronicles - The Magic Traditions of the Academy (SoP)

2019-04-21, 01:06 PM
Hello dear forumites,

This is material for a game I am planning, in a setting inspired by Rothfuss' books, using Pathfinder / Sphere of Powers. These are the 4 magic traditions I will make available to my players, including a couple of custom drawbacks.

Magic in the books is subject to lots of rules and limitations, and flashy magic is basically unheard of, outside of "Naming". I wrote these tradition with that as a goal.

Also, these will be the only traditions available in the game, so I am aiming at balancing them against each other, rather than the published ones or custom traditions. The game will not be combat heavy, at least how I am envisioning it - no way to tell which way the players will go of course. My goal is for magic to be more of a tool for creatively overcoming obstacles and figuring out stuff than to straightforwardly win combats - that is what the characters skilled with blades are there for.

So, for you to critique:

Tradition of Sympathy – the transfer of energy from an object in the arcanist´s grasp to another object of similar nature, brought forth by the arcanist´s force of will.
Drawbacks: Laws of Sympathy
Boons: Bonds of Sympathy
Casting Ability: any

Drawback: Laws of Sympathy

You can only use sphere or effects that affect one or more targets, you cannot use spells that affect an area.

Moreover, you need a special focus in order to affect a target other than yourself with any of your magic. This focus must be of a similar nature to the target that you wish to affect: a twig can affect a branch, a piece of wire can affect a set of clothes, a rock can affect a stone wall.
To affect a living creature, you need something from the very target that you want to affect: for instance a drop of their blood, or some of their hair.

Using magic without a proper focus requires a concentration check (DC 20 + caster level of the effect desired) to produce the desired effect, failure means time and spell points are spent, but no effect happens.

This Drawback counts as 2 drawbacks for calculating boons / extra spell points

Boon: Bonds of Sympathy

Using a sympathetic focus gives you greater flexibility in the control you exert over your target when using certain Spheres:

- If you use a drop of someone’s blood as a focus, you can gain the benefit of any single talent from the Blood Sphere that you don’t possess.
- If you use somebody’s hair as a focus, you can gain the benefits of any single talent from the Telekinesis sphere that you don’t possess.
- If affecting an object using a focus of the same material, you can gain the benefits of any single talent from either the Telekinesis or Creation spheres.

The gained bonus effect is not an added rider on another sphere effect: you need to be using the sphere you are gaining the free talent in the first place (or use this ability to use the basic sphere’s effect, if you don’t possess it).

This drawback requires the Laws of Sympathy drawback

Tradition of Artificiery – the binding of energy into an object through the incision of runes
Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft: Calligraphy, Craft: Runes, or similar), Extended Casting, Prepared Caster, Mental Focus, Material Casting
Boons: +1 Spell Points per level in a spellcasting class
Casting Ability: Wisdom or Intelligence

Tradition of Alchemy – the concoction of alchemical principles into potions and unguents that can produce almost any effect
Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft: Alchemy), Focus Casting (Alchemist focus – each sphere requires a different focus), Alchemical Delivery, Wild Magic (roll for wild magic upon drinking the potion).
Boons: Easy Focus, +1 spell point, +1 per 3 levels in spellcasting classes.
Casting Ability: Wisdom or Intelligence

Drawback: Alchemical Delivery
All your magic comes in consumable form. Any time you cast a spell, you produce a number of potions or unguents doses equal to the number of targets.
If the spell targets a creature, any creature valid as a target may consume one potion to receive the effects of the spell, which uses the same action as drinking a potion.
If the spell targets an area or an object, it must the thrown or poured over the object, which uses a standard action or a move-equivalent action respectively.
The alchemist can use the same action he uses to cast a spell to either throw, drink, or pour the potion.

Time spent in potion form counts towards the spell duration, instantaneous spell require concentration lest the magic loses potency. A potion so created possesses an aura as if it were the original effect.

Tradition of Naming – control over those parts of the world the Arcanist has mastered the True Name of. By some considered the purest form of magic, as the one that that looks less like science, and mostly resembles magic from tales and legends.
Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Strenuous Magic, Draining Casting, Emotional Casting
Boons: Overcharge, Embodiment
Casting Ability: Charisma

About the Casting Ability line: The idea is that a given tradition is available only to characters with the specified ability as their casting ability. So only charisma-based classes could become namers. Not sure if this is really necessary, but I envision certain tradition to better fit with certain casting abilities than with others. I might lift it as a hard rule and leave it as a suggestion, relying on my players to make a thematically fitting choice.

Suggestion regarding everything including but not limited to crunch balance, adherence to fluff, ease of comprehension, and glaring holes in the rules / mechanics I am not seeing, are super welcome.