Magi often defy expectations. Many are mistaken for rogues and swashbucklers dabbling in minor magic, often to their opponents' detriment. Clerics, oracles and wizards often view these spellcasters with a degree of mistrust, as they seldom understand the nature or—more importantly—the source of magi's arcane power. This is especially true of the rare magi who dabble in hexcraft or carry strange sentient blades with alien goals and an ever-increasing lust for power. To more formulaic or hierarchal spellcasting traditions, such powers can only mean meddling from beings beyond mortal understanding.
Monks and sorcerers are often more accepting of magi, as they know that life energy and magic are more powerful than formulae and devotion would dictate, and see magi as fellow travelers on the road toward power, if not wisdom.
Because of the magi's flexibility, it is rare to find two who practice their arcane arts in exactly the same way, giving rise to many different organizations, disciplines, and tactics.
A select group of magi are called to carry a black blade—a sentient weapon of often unknown and possibly unknowable purpose. These weapons become valuable tools and allies, as both the magus and weapon typically crave arcane power, but as a black blade becomes more aware, its true motivations manifest, and as does its ability to influence its wielder with its ever-increasing ego.
A black blade is a particular form of intelligent weapon gained by a magus with the bladebound archetype. There are several ways a magus might gain this weapon. Sometimes it just appears among the magus's possessions, and its origin is a mystery. Other times the magus finds a black blade during an adventure or event of some kind. Sometimes a black blade is passed down generation to generation in an ongoing search for a magus who can unlock its true potential. A black blade is always a one-handed slashing weapon, a rapier, or a sword cane. The magus chooses the blade's type upon gaining the blade, and once chosen, it can't be changed. As a bladebound magus increases in level, his black blade gains power. A black blade is independently conscious but features some personality traits reflecting its wielder. A black blade always has the same alignment as its wielder and even changes its alignment if its wielder does. The blade typically works toward its wielder's goals, but not always without argument or backlash. Each black blade has a mission, and while sometimes two or more black blades will work in concert, each mission is singular in purpose (the black blade's mission is usually up to the GM and the needs of the campaign or the adventure, or a GM can roll randomly for the weapon's purpose using the Intelligent Item Purpose table. Some black blades are very open about their missions, but most are secretive. Certain sages have speculated that an invisible hand or arcane purpose moves these weapons.
|Magus Class Level||Enhancement Bonus||Int||Wis/Cha||Ego||Special|
|3rd–4th||+1||11||7||5||Alertness, black blade strike, telepathy, unbreakable|
Black Blade (Ex): At 3rd level, the bladebound magus' gains a powerful sentient weapon called a black blade, whose weapon type is chosen by the magus. A magus with this class feature cannot take the familiar magus arcana, and cannot have a familiar of any kind, even from another class.
Instead of the normal arcane pool amount, the bladebound magus's arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/3 his level (minimum 1) plus his Intelligence bonus. This ability changes the Arcane Pool class feature and replaces the magus arcana gained at 3rd level.
Magus Arcana: The following magus arcana complement the bladebound magus archetype: arcane accuracy, broad study, dispelling strike, and reflection.
Black Blade Basics: A black blade is bonded to a particular magus, much like a familiar, but in more of a partnership than a master-servant relationship.
Intelligence: This is the intelligence score of the black blade. It starts at 10 and increases by 1 for every two levels of the bladebound magus (at 3rd level, 5th level, and so on).
Wisdom and Charisma: As the bladebound magus increases in level, so do the Wisdom and Charisma of the black blade. These abilities start at 6 and increase by 1 for every two levels of magus.
Ego: A black blade starts with an ego of 5, and that ego increases as the blade becomes more powerful. In cases where a wielder and the black blade come into conflict, like any intelligent item, a black blade can attempt to exert its dominance using the items against characters rules. Due to its flexible and powerful nature, a black blade has a nonstandard ego progression.
Languages and Skills: A black blade starts with Common as a language. As the black blade increases in Intelligence, it manifests knowledge of languages and arcane lore. Upon reaching an Intelligence of 12, it gains a bonus language of the GM's choice, and gains 1 rank in Knowledge (arcana). Each time the sword gains a bonus to Intelligence, it gains another language and another rank in Knowledge (arcana).
Senses: A black blade is aware of everything around it like a creature that can see and hear. It can be blinded and deafened as if it were a creature. It uses the saving throws of its magus, even if the magus is not currently wielding the black blade.
Black Blade Arcane Pool: A black blade has an arcane pool with a number of points equal to 1 + its Intelligence bonus.
Black Blade Ability Descriptions: A black blade has special abilities (or imparts abilities to its wielder) depending on the wielder's magus level. The abilities are cumulative. A black blade normally refuses to use any of its abilities when wielded by anyone other than its magus, and acts as a masterwork weapon of its type.
Alertness (Ex): While a magus is wielding his black blade, he gains the Alertness feat.
Black Blade Strike (Sp): As a free action, the magus can spend a point from the black blade's arcane pool to grant the black blade a +1 bonus on damage rolls for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, this ability gives the black blade another +1 on damage rolls.
Telepathy (Su): While a magus is wielding or carrying his black blade, he can communicate telepathically with the blade in a language that the magus and the black blade share.
Unbreakable (Ex): As long as it has at least 1 point in its arcane pool, a black blade is immune to the broken condition. If broken, the black blade is unconscious and powerless until repaired. If destroyed, the black blade can be reforged 1 week later through a special ritual that costs 200 gp per magus level. The ritual takes 24 hours to complete.
Energy Attunement (Su): At 5th level, as a free action, a magus can spend a point of his black blade's arcane pool to have it deal one of the following types of damage instead of weapon damage: cold, electricity, or fire. He can spend 2 points from the black blade's arcane pool to deal sonic or force damage instead of weapon damage. This effect lasts until the start of the magus's next turn.
Teleport Blade (Sp): As a standard action, a magus of 9th level or higher can expend an arcane point from his or his black blade's arcane pool, and can call his black blade from as far as 1 mile away, causing it to instantaneously teleport to his hand.
Transfer Arcana (Su): At 13th level, once per day, a magus can attempt to siphon points from his black blade's arcane pool into his own arcane pool. Doing so takes a full-round action and the magus must succeed at a Will saving throw with a DC equal to the black blade's ego. If the magus succeeds, he regains 1 point to his arcane pool for every 2 points he saps from his black blade. If he fails the saving throw, the magus becomes fatigued (but can try again). If he is fatigued, he becomes exhausted instead. He cannot use this ability if he is exhausted.
Spell Defense (Sp): A magus of 17th level or higher can expend an arcane point from his weapon's arcane pool as a free action; he then gains SR equal to his black blade's ego until the start of his next turn.
Life Drinker (Su): At 19th level, each time the magus kills a living creature with the black blade, he can pick one of the following effects: the black blade restores 2 points to its arcane pool; the black blade restores 1 point to its arcane pool and the magus restores 1 point to his arcane pool; the magus gains a number of temporary hit points equal to the black blade's ego (these temporary hit points last until spent or 1 minute, whichever is shorter). The creature killed must have a number of Hit Dice equal to half the magus's character level for this to occur.
A hexcrafter magus has uncovered the secret of using his arcane pool to recreate witch hexes. These magi can hex friend and foe, curse those they strike, and expand their spell selection to include many curses and harmful spells.
Hex Magus (Su): At 4th level, the hexcrafter magus gains access to a small number of witch's hexes. The hexcrafter magus picks one hex from the witch's hex class feature. He gains the benefit of or uses that hex as if he were a witch of a level equal to his magus level. This feature replaces spell recall.
Hex Arcana: A hexcrafter gains access to the following magus arcana, or may select any witch hex in place of a magus arcana. At 12th level, the hexcrafter may select a hex or major hex in place of a magus arcana. At 18th level, a hexcrafter can select a hex, major hex, or grand hex in place of a magus arcana. He cannot select any hex or arcana more than once.
Accursed Strike (Sp): A hexcrafter magus who can cast bestow curse, major curse, or any spell with the curse descriptor can deliver these prepared spells using the spellstrike ability, even if the spells are not touch attack spells.
Magus Arcana: The following magus arcana complement the hexcrafter archetype: arcane accuracy, broad study, familiar, and quicken magic.
A spellblade magus can manifest a ghostly blade of force that can be used as an off-hand weapon.
Force Athame (Sp): At 2nd level, a spellblade magus can sacrifice a prepared magus spell of 1st level or higher as a swift action to create a dagger of force in his off hand. The athame lasts for 1 minute or until dismissed, has an enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls equal to the level of the spell sacrificed (maximum +5), and is considered a weapon the spellblade is holding for purposes of his arcane pool feature (using the pool to add abilities to a held weapon applies to the magus's physical weapon and to the athame for no additional cost). The athame acts as a dagger, but the hand holding it is still considered free for the purpose of casting spells and delivering touch attacks. The magus can use the athame as if he were fighting with two weapons, or can use that hand to cast spells as part of the spell combat class ability (but not both in the same round). Attacks with the athame are force attacks and deal force damage. This ability replaces the spellstrike class feature.
Spellblade Arcana: A spellblade gains access to the following magus arcana. He cannot select any arcana more than once.
Pool-Sourced Athame (Su): Instead of sacrificing a prepared spell to create the force athame, the magus can spend points from his arcane pool to do so. An athame created this way has an enhancement bonus equal to the number of arcane pool points spent.
Spellblade Parry (Su): When an enemy makes a melee attack roll against the magus, as an immediate action the magus can end the athame's duration to gain a deflection bonus to his Armor Class until the end of his next turn. This bonus is equal to the level of the spell sacrificed to create the athame (maximum +5).
Throw Athame (Su): As a standard action, a spellblade magus can throw his athame up to 60 feet as a ranged attack (no range penalty). If the athame misses, it returns automatically to the magus' hand just before his next turn. If the athame hits, it deals damage and its duration ends; the magus can choose to spend up to 2 points from his arcane pool to increase the thrown athame's damage by +1d6 for each point spent.
Magus Arcana: The following magus arcana complement the spellblade archetype: critical strike, hasted assault, pool strike, and spell shield.
While most magi use a one-handed weapon as their melee implement of choice, one group of magi uses the quarterstaff instead. These lightly armored magi use staves for both defense and inflicting their spells upon enemies. Skilled in manipulating these weapons with one hand or two, they eventually learn how to use arcane staves as well, and are just as formidable in combat as their sword-swinging brethren.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A staff magus is proficient with simple weapons only. He can cast magus spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a magus wearing medium armor or heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass magus still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes. This replaces the normal magus weapon and armor proficiency feature.
Quarterstaff Master (Ex): At 1st level, the staff magus gains the Quarterstaff Master feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the normal prerequisites. He only gains the benefit of this feat when wearing no armor or light armor.
Quarterstaff Defense (Ex): At 7th level, while wielding a quarterstaff, the staff magus gains a shield bonus to his Armor Class equal to the enhancement bonus of the quarterstaff, including any enhancement bonus on that staff from his arcane pool class feature. At 13th level, this bonus increases by +3. This ability replaces the medium armor and heavy armor class abilities.
Staff Weapon (Su): At 10th level, a staff magus treats any magical staff he is wielding as a magical quarterstaff with an enhancement bonus to attack and damage equal to the staff's caster level divided by 4 (minimum +1). The staff must have at least 1 charge for the magus to use this ability. A staff magus can restore 1 charge to a staff by expending a number of points from his arcane pool equal to the level of the highest-level spell cast in the staff, as long as at least one spell in the staff is on the magus spell list. The magus cannot restore charges to more than one staff per day. This ability replaces fighter training.
Magus Arcana: The following magus arcana complement the staff magus archetype: critical strike, dispelling strike, maneuver master, and spell shield.