GTM #255 - Secrets of Magic
by Paizo



I’m Logan Bonner, the Pathfinder Lead Designer and the book lead for the upcoming Secrets of Magic. This is a truly exciting book—the one that lets us stretch our wings after providing the foundation of the game with our previous releases. Not only is it jam-packed with new rules and character option, it’s also built to enrich your understanding of the game world, your character, and magic itself! Our rulebooks have long had a wide variety of rules for players to use and GMs to incorporate in their games. But preparation and reading the books make up a major part of your engagement with the game even when you’re not at the game table. We wanted to boost that part of the experience, and make a book that was fun to read, full of interesting tidbits, and a real springboard into the story of magic and of your character.

The book kicks off with essays written by spellcasters from the setting of Golarion to let you better understand what a spellcasting character knows about how magic works. Learn about the traditions of magic to study and wield—arcane, divine, occult, and primal—plus the fundamental essences that fuel magic and the traditional spell schools like destructive evocation or deceptive illusion. But that’s just the beginning!

New Classes

Two popular classes from Pathfinder First Edition make their triumphant return—the summoner and the magus! The magus is a double threat, combining attacks with spells. The summoner calls upon an eidolon, a creature linked to their being that can be anything from an angel to a demon to a ghostly phantom or even a plant creature.

These two classes cast fewer spells than a class like cleric or wizard but have other powerful abilities to make up the gap. The magus can perform a Spellstrike to strike with their weapon and a spell simultaneously and can parlay the power of their spells into a magical fighting stance that adds magical damage to all their attacks. The summoner can act together with their eidolon, share its senses, and quickly manifest or dismiss it. Both these classes initially appeared as preliminary versions in a public Secrets of Magic Playtest, and have changed and expanded greatly since then, based on fantastic, in-depth feedback from our players.

You’ll notice there’s a new summoner on the scene. Ija is a brand-new character for Second Edition, with her dragon eidolon close by her side! This student features prominently in this book, and you can see a few of her adventures with her eidolon and the other Pathfinder iconic characters in the fabulous art throughout the book.

Spells, Spells, and More Spells!

What would a book about magic be without spells? This book adds over 200 spells to Pathfinder Second Edition, including focus spells for the new classes and rituals any character can conduct. New cantrips, utility spells, and elemental, magnetic, and time-manipulating magic represent just a few of these additions. Some of the exciting new ideas here are incarnate summon spells, which call in a massive ally who arrives with a bang and departs a turn later with just as much magical fanfare, and a category of new spells based on the classic spell contingency! Some fan favorites also get their due here. This includes some well-known returning First Edition spells, as well as more variable-action spells, which have different effects the more actions you spend to cast them. There’s something for every spellcaster!

Legendary Loot

Bringing something fun for players and GMs, the magic items section has new consumable and permanent items for your hoards. This chapter expands on some existing item types, with more magic weapons, runes, talismans, potions, and so on, even including new high-level apex items that increase characters’ ability scores.

But what if you’re looking for something new? Then it’s time to take a look at six new categories of items: fulu paper talismans, grimoire spellbooks with extra magical benefits, magical tattoos, personal staves you can customize with the exact spells you want, extra-powerful spell components, and spellhearts that attach to your gear as needed to improve your attacks or defense and grant you extra spells.

Throughout the items, you’ll also find snippets detailing encounters people have had with magic items. If you’ve ever considered how strange an encounter with a magic item would be in the real world, you’ll soon find it’s pretty weird even in a fantasy setting!

Going Wild with Unlimited Magic

After making sure we had plenty of classes, spells, and items fit for a wide variety of games, we also wanted to expand with ones that are specific and weird. That’s how we came up with the Book of Unlimited Magic—an entire chapter to blow the doors open! Change how you cast spells entirely, with options like channeling powerful emotions as a source of magic, casting exclusively elemental spells, tying your gear directly to your soul, harnessing the magical potential of true names, and more.

The GM can reshape their campaign using many of these systems, too! Ley lines make certain locations more magical, and pervasive magic can put magical power into every creature and place in your game world if the normal amount of magic isn’t enough! In keeping with the rest of Second Edition, many of these new rules have the uncommon or rare trait since they suit some types of games and not others.

Many of the systems in the Book of Unlimited Magic use class archetypes, a type of archetype we hinted at in the Core Rulebook that’s making its grand debut here. These archetypes alter some of your class’s core class features, even at 1st level. For just one example, the flexible spellcaster archetype lets any prepared spellcaster prepare a smaller number of spells per day but cast any of those spells with their spell slots. (If combined with a wizard, you can even recreate an arcanist from First Edition!)

End of Scroll

Secrets of Magic has even more exciting surprises in store than I’ve mentioned here. It was a real labor of love, and a big step for Pathfinder Second Edition. A great team came together to squeeze an unbelievable amount of creativity and fun into this book, and we hope you have just as much fun reading it and playing with the choices inside as we did making it!