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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide


Source Secrets of Magic pg. 5
Magic's secrets are limitless. No one person can hope to understand them all. Powerful yet delicate, infinite in scope but precise in execution, magic is a conundrum that challenges the greatest minds and the most naturally talented souls. Within this book, you'll find rules and descriptions of all kinds of magic, but they need players and Game Masters to bring out their full potential!

Secrets of Magic goes beyond the basics of magic in ways both large and small. You'll find everything from a new cantrip that creates a small spout of water to rules for pervasive magic that can totally transform a campaign's world. And more than just the rules, this book digs deep into how magic feels and the ways spellcasters understand the magic of their world. Though the Essentials of Magic chapter goes in-depth on this topic, you'll find notes among the spells and magic items written by the people of Golarion, and the Book of Unlimited Magic explains in each section how that form of magic can affect roleplaying and the game world.

The knowledge and methods of magic recounted in this book come from all sorts of sources, and only the most seasoned experts in the game world are familiar with them all. When using these sources, consider which areas a given character or institution knows how to use or is familiar with—and, crucially, which ones they're unaware of. A druid who knows geomancy and druidic circles in great depth might be entirely unfamiliar with arts practiced by arcane or occult casters. Separate what you as a player or GM understand and think of fun wrinkles or misunderstandings a character might make based on their limited experience. As another example, the magical essences are crucial to magic working, but a follower of a certain tradition might only know the practical spellcraft that lets them actually use magic. They might be unaware of the deeper sources, or even consider them unnecessary to learn—frivolous time wasted on esoterica when one could be studying a new spell!

Choosing Expansions

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 5
The Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide include rules useful to the vast majority of games. Parts of Secrets of Magic aren't meant for every table. Chapter 5 in particular, with its new forms of magic, is more appropriate for certain games and circumstances than others. Some of that chapter's entries have rarities above common to more clearly indicate this. If you're running a game or want to use options like these for your character, think in advance about what their inclusion means for your game. You might even want to have a discussion about the implications with the rest of your group.

That said, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 are more broadly useful. Even if you don't want to have elementalists as a specific type of caster in your game, the elemental spells in Chapter 3 could still be useful for any caster of the appropriate tradition. The classes in this book are common, as are the vast majority of spells and magic items.

The pieces of this book are meant to play well together. Exploring the spells and items can open up more options for the new rules in the Book of Unlimited Magic, and the new classes will find spells that work well with their abilities. Pick and choose your favorites, and above all, experiment!

Bounded Spellcasting Archetype

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 74
Some archetypes, such as the magus and summoner multiclass archetypes, grant you spellcasting abilities based on the way magi and summoners cast spells, albeit delayed compared to a character from those classes. In this book, both archetypes are bounded spellcasting archetypes, but future books might introduce bounded spellcasting archetypes that aren't multiclass archetypes. A bounded spellcasting archetype allows you to use scrolls, staves, and wands in the same way that a member of a spellcasting class can, and the basic bounded spellcasting feat counts as having a spellcasting class feature.

Bounded spellcasting archetypes always have a basic bounded spellcasting feat, an expert bounded spellcasting feat, and a master bounded spellcasting feat. These feats share their name with the archetype. For instance, the magus's master spellcasting feat is called Master Magus Spellcasting. All spell slots you gain from bounded spellcasting archetypes have restrictions depending on the archetype. For example, the summoner archetype grants you spell slots you can use only to cast spells from your summoner repertoire, even if you are a sorcerer with spells of the same tradition in your sorcerer repertoire.

Basic Bounded Spellcasting Feat: Usually gained at 6th level, these feats give you a 1st-level spell slot and a 2nd-level spell slot from that magical tradition. If you have a spell repertoire, you can select one spell from your repertoire as a signature spell. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “basic bounded spellcasting benefits.” At 10th level, you replace your 1st-level spell slot with a 3rd-level spell slot.

Expert Bounded Spellcasting Feat: Usually taken at 12th level, these feats make you an expert in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition. You gain an additional 3rd-level spell slot. If you have a spell repertoire, you can select a second spell from your repertoire as a signature spell. At 14th level, you replace your spell slots with two 4th-level spell slots and one 5th-level spell slot, and at 16th level, you replace your spell slots with two 5th-level spell slots and one 6th-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “expert bounded spellcasting benefits.”

Master Bounded Spellcasting Feat: Usually taken at 18th level, these feats make you a master in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition and grant you an additional 6th-level spell slot. At 20th level, they replace your two 5th-level spell slots with two 7th-level spell slots. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “master bounded spellcasting benefits.”

Related Rules

Archetypes (Source Core Rulebook pg. 219 2.0)