Archives of Nethys

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Designing Spells

Step 1: Conceive

Source Starfinder Enhanced pg. 114
The first step in making a great spell is to figure out what, at its core, you want it to do. You can approach this by way of filling a particular mechanical niche, satisfying a purely narrative angle, or using a mixture of both. In terms of a spell’s basic mechanics, you can select from the following generalized list of uses: a spell can deal damage; apply a condition, penalty, bonus, or effect to one or more opponents or allies; provide combat or out-of-combat utility, or affect the battlefield. Of course, you can mix and match such effects (though see the Flexibility is Strength) or create something even more innovative.

Flexibility is Strength

Source Starfinder Enhanced pg. 114
When creating spells, keep in mind that the more options a spell provides, the more powerful it generally is, in that it allows a spellcaster to use one known spell to cover a large number of potential situations. This isn’t inherently bad, and spells that cover multiple situations can be very satisfying and mechanically sound; just keep in mind that you should adjust the relative strength of multiple effects so that it’s not a strictly better option than a more-focused spell. This also applies to spells whose effects scale, variable-level spells, and spells that have multiple simultaneous effects.