A couple things you may want to take into account, first of all common monsters (the example given is goblin, which I'd argue is less common than wolves) are a DC 5+CR so the wolf's knowledge DC is 6. That easily falls into the range for untrained knowledge checks. Second, a successful skill check gives you significantly more than just identification, it also gives powers and vulnerabilities. Mechanically that means that in a take 10 situation an untrained human with a 2 Int will still make the check, so by the letter of the rules you can't be "I wanna pet the big puppy" dumb without adverse conditions.
That being said, the monster id system has some fairly major issues (like it's technically harder to tell what a really big red dragon(DC32) is than it is to identify a baby(DC 16)) so I'd take that with a pretty big grain of salt.
Seconded. No rage, no weapon training, 3/4 BAB meaning less attacks and a lower damage bonus on Power Attacks. He may do slightly more damage on a turn where he moves than a Barbarian or Fighter focused on full attacks (provided he casts) but given that Spellstrike is incompatible with things like Vital Strike he'll do less than either of those classes would if focused on mobility.
On top of that using a Halberd means going with a strength focus which given the Kensai's lack of armour... I'd be less worried about the party getting annoyed about this GMPC overshadowing them, and more worried about them getting fed up with rez costs.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Thanks for the info, I would love to see this post (or a reworded version of it) stickied somewhere, maybe at the top of the Rules Question forum. Having a clear "We aren't ignoring your questions: How the FAQ process works." post might help clear out some of the frustration before people start bumping threads and complaining.
The Rot Grub wrote:
That technically doesn't work, but it's actually worse than that. Sudden attack let's you make an attack (with some bonuses) as a swift action so it falls under the same restrictions as combining Vital Strike with Spring attack. On the other hand, Amazing Initiative is a tier 2 base mythic ability that allows you to spend a mythic power point to gain an extra Standard action once per turn as a free action. Therefore if a t2 or higher Champion wants to nova they can burn two points to be able to do two Vital Strikes and a Sudden Attack/Fleet Charge and still have a move action left over.
An ancient and superior race of men from and island kingdom that was destroyed by a cataclysm? I'm pretty sure pure blood Azlanti is a near perfect match in Golarion for Numenorians.
Matrix Dragon wrote:
I've been playing an Archmage Wizard with Wild Arcana that started during the playtest, and that has been converted to the release version. During the playtest I was going with the assumption that Wild Arcana used whatever action the spell being cast used, and I think I preferred it that way. The new swift action version is more powerful, I can cast two spells in a round now, but I find it's less versatile. During the playtest I found I was using it a lot for those very useful, very situational, immediate action spells like Feather Fall and Liberating Command. Now it mostly just means quicker buffing or more offensive spells. I'm also finding that I'm burning through resources a lot faster, which I don't like.
The two balance questions I have about the ability though: I don't see any mention of casting time, and does it bypass opposition schools?
It should work fine, but a couple of the abilities are a little murky. Aside from Foe Biting, the stat boosts (more pool points) and special abilities that you can give intelligent legendary items are probably the most beneficial, but unfortunately the two separate intelligent item rule sets probably don't mix well.
And woe to the poor sap GM that let's a player convince them that Foe Biting should also multiply Spellstrike damage... ><
Espy Kismet wrote:
I'd go with Precise shot early for a few reasons. First of all when you are shooting into melee there is a good chance that you are firing through your allies so you have to deal with the -4 for cover as well. Even targeting touch ac a -8 penalty to hit is a lot. Given an fairly optimized build you probably have +5 or +6 to hit so hitting a touch ac of 10 on a 12 or 13 is pretty ugly for a character who is only firing once per round and who has no static damage bonus.
Matters get worse is you start to add in feats that the Gunslinger is reliant on for damage such as Deadly Aim and Rapid Shot.
That being said, all of that is mostly only pertinent for games that start at very low level. Given how touch AC doesn't really scale (or scales backwards as things get bigger), you could probably get away with skipping out on Precise Shot in a game that starts at about level 5 or higher.
Lord Pendragon wrote:
By SG Magus I meant one focused on shocking grasp, and I didn't really mean shenanigans in terms of rules issues, I just think it is kind of lame that taking Magical Lineage and/or Wayang Spell Hunter is pretty much mandatory for Magi... Poor word choice on my part.
Lord Pendragon wrote:
Well it's a little more complicated than just straight up doing more damage, both spells have their niche. In terms of raw damage in a vacuum Frostbite is straight up better across the board. It's (1d6+1/lvl)level with no cap (in other words theoretically 20d6+400 at level 20), on top of that each hit inflicts fatigue, as well as entangle provided you are using the same shenanigans to get rime that a SG Magus would be using to get intensify. There are some significant downsides though, the main one is that since it gets applied 1d6+lvl per attack you usually won't see much advantage with it unless you have a significant number of natural attacks. The other major disadvantage is the fact that it is nonlethal undead and constructs are completely immune on top of the cold resistant/immune crowd.
Shocking Grasp on the other hand while being less efficient will usually give you a higher dpr and more burst at low to mid levels, and the extra accuracy against certain targets can be pretty handy.
While I can understand why a GM might choose to rule zero the feat and school ability working together, I don't see any raw reason why it shouldn't unless I am missing something on how supernatural abilities and feats interact. (I'll admit I find the rules on (sp), (su), and (ex) abilities to be a bit of a confusing mess) The school ability specifically states that the teleport functions as if using Dimension Door, implying that whatever affects DD should affect it.
It is pretty awesome for a Teleportation school wizard... having your swift action teleport not end your turn is great for getting out of trouble and still being able to cast. The downside is that depending on your gm you may or may not have to wait until you can cast 5th level spells to pick up the feat. (In my current game the GM ruled that the school ability qualified me for the feat.)
It's not optimal but it is doable. You can't do spell combat with a two-hander but you can do spellstrike. The other major downside in this case is that spellstrike gives you a weapon's threat range for spells but not the crit multiplier so you'd really be losing out on spell crit damage compared to using a weapon with a better threat range.
The way to make multiple natural attacks shine as a Magus is by focusing on Frostbite w/ Rime spell as opposed to intensified Shocking Grasp. Since you get one "charge" per level you'd be adding 1d6+7 nonlethal per attack and inflicting fatigue and possibly entangle with each hit. Shocking grasp tends to be better for the turns where you can't get a full attack.
I'd say either Inquisitor for the buffs, judgements and bane, or fighter/ranger depending on whether or not you want to keep up your full bab. Either way I'd recommend putting your gun on the back burner for a while... with your strength you're probably better off just using a long bow until you can find some way to go back to leveling Gunslinger.
As far as I can tell the error is that he is counting an unconfirmed crit as a miss instead of as a regular hit. Going by his numbers the x4 should be doing a 2.5 damage average on a 20 for a result of 0.575 and the 19-20x3 should be doing 2 damage average on 19-20 for 0.6. With keen that goes up to 0.675 for the x4 and 0.7 for the 19-20x3.
Unless I am missing something, Scenario three is legal as well. As a 5th level caster Frostbite grants 5 charges, so presuming it looks like this:
Then he has only expended 3/5 charges and can spellstrike on two more attacks, provided he doesn't cast anything else first. He could even theoretically save the two remaining charges for the next encounter, though as a GM in most cases I'd call shennanigans on that since he'd discharge a charge if he touched anything.
As far as I know all three scenarios are legal as, unless a spell specifically states otherwise, you can pretty much hold a touch spell charge indefinitely until you either touch something to discharge it or cast another spell.
So scenario one, assuming that he is using spell combat with the spell first, if he misses on the free attack granted by spellstrike he could discharge the spell on his normal attack.
Scenario two, presumably he's moving. Round 1 cast, move, then miss on the granted free attack. Round two spell combat, this time with the regular attack first, he can hit with his first attack then cast a new shocking grasp. It's worth noting that there is a slight risk in this scenario in the second round, you need to choose whether or not you are doing spell combat (and whether or not you are taking additional penalties to boost concentration) before beginning your attack routine. That means that if you would like to make the second attack from spell combat you need to take the -2 hit penalty on the first attack, and if you miss you have a choice between casting again to get the second attack, discharging and wasting the first spell, or passing on the second casting to save the charge from the first casting.
Scenario three the only real catch is that casting any other spell will discharge the remaining charges of frostbite, so you generally have a choice between wasting charges or passing on extra attacks. For that reason frostbite tends to be most popular on builds that use natural attacks and other means to maximize the number of attacks per round.
If you have any other questions about the mechanics of touch attacks Grick has posted a really good guide on touch attacks in general, as well as how they interact with magus abilities: Here
I wouldn't worry about the hardness rules, unless it is a super magic tent of dagger resistance or something a sharp knife will cut it.
The trick is doing it quietly, so I would probably do a skill check of some sort possibly a disable device or sleight of hand to make a nice neat cut that is big enough to slip through without making noise, along with whatever stealth checks are necessary to avoid detection as necessary. For a yurt or pavilion which generally has walls that are not attached maybe an escape artist to slip underneath. The DC would probably be based on the time taken, with it being bloody near impossible to do quietly as a standard action with the dc going down drastically if they are willing to take a few rounds to do it.
Though honestly provided it is out side of combat/initiative rounds I might just make it a straight up stealth check to simplify things.
I've been using them in my game for a couple years, every once in a while they cause something cool to happen, like having it come down to a single character's roll on an extra standard action from a hero point being the deciding factor on whether or not it would be a TPK. Honestly though more often than not my players make sure to keep at least two points at any given time, more hero points have been used on being left for dead than on anything else.
As a player I always take the antihero option, I personally like having more risk of death, and that extra feat is really nice in a lot of builds.
I've run a couple campaigns where I've used DMPCs, they can be really helpful as a gm, especially for those circumstances where you want to point out things that the characters should clearly know, but that the players have clearly forgotten. They're also really handy for those times where you want to say "Really?!? That's your plan?!? Are you out of your bloody minds?". In both cases it comes across as being a little more natural coming out in character from an NPC, and a little less ham handed.
On the other hand I've seen the flip side, playing in a 4E game where the GM was running a DMPC that was a high-end epic tier character (fully stated out) using his epic bluff to convince us he was a slightly bumbling henchman... To make matters worse the GM's idea of hints were things like having the real character sheet on the table amongst his notes where we could see it... (after he said that I started using a screen in my games for a while...) Needless to say I can understand why some people would be very much against the idea.
I'd add my vote to moving away from the cursed item chat, and going back to constructive advice because the cursed item wouldn't work for one of two reasons:
1. The GM is being a jerk and putting a (nigh) unbeatable foe in as a roadblock, and will just continue to be a jerk and the dust won't work.
2. The dragon is being put in as a plot point and the players are trying to circumvent it for the hell of it, in which case the GM should tell them straight up OOC that a clever plan and good dice rolls might work, but a questionable rules loophole will just be Rule 0'd.
In short if the game is already player vs GM, the plan won't work, and unless they want it to become player vs GM it shouldn't be attempted.
On a more serious note... how bout something like this:
Mute: You cannot speak or vocalize in any way. You gain Silent Spell as a bonus feat but any spell you cast with a verbal component gains a Somatic component and you suffer from spell failure chance from armour. In addition you may communicate telepathically in any language you know with a range of 15'. At 5th level the range of your telepathy increases to 30 feet and you no longer suffer spell failure while wearing light armour. At 10th level the range of your telepathy increases to 60 feet and you gain a +3 bonus to the DC of your Language Dependent Enchantment spells. At 15th level you no longer suffer spell failure from Medium armour and can communicate telepathically as if under the effect of Tongues. Note this does not grant you the ability to understand heard from outside the range of your telepathy.
This doesn't impede the player's ability to participate in RP with the party, but does somewhat hinder their ability to be a face (a significant drawback for a Cha primary). I was trying to keep the power level somewhere between Clouded Vision and Tongues... I'm not sure about the ranges on the telepathy though, I was considering touch to start then 15' at 5, 30' at 10 and 60' at 15. The idea of having to do spells like command as a melee touch seems kind of cool, but it's probably too harsh when combined with the spell failure from armour, and the communication range seems a little restrictive. I was also debating having the range increase to 90-120' at 15.
Matthew Morris wrote:
Either that or a side effect of losing all skin pigmentation in the face and gaining Force Cube range personal.
/ducks volley of rotten veggies.
I was considering doing something similar for a bit of a switch hitter. For PFS play there isn't a whole lot I'm interested in after level 5-7, so I was thinking of going Monk(sensei) for the wis based unarmed strike and making a grizzled old vet type character. Biggest thing holding me back on it is the fact that the monk would be really important for the feel of the character, but I wouldn't want to drop out Gunslinger(Musket Master) until I'd done at least three levels, otherwise the reload is just too painful.
As far as the act of holding the sword automatically discharging the spell where RAW does it say that you are holding the charge in that hand? Since Spellstrike requires a free hand, for a we know it could be a technique in which you cast the spell and hold the charge in your off hand, and touch the blade of your sword as it contacts the foe.
The way I would rule it would be that "Come" will call a distant animal to you, and "Heel" will instruct a nearby to follow you. For example:
The dog is in the yard and you come out of the house to talk him for a walk.
Scenario 1, Come: You walk out of the house and shout "Here boy!" The dog comes running to you, and you clip his leash to his collar, because you know that if you don't he's going after every squirrel, interesting bush, and bird on the way, and you will constantly be hollering for him to come back.
Scenario 2, Heel: You walk out of the house and shout "Here boy!"... nothing. You shout it a couple more times, then curse and go find the dog chewing on a stick behind the tool shed. You give his head a quick rub, then slap your thigh and say "Heel!". The dog perks up and follows a couple steps behind you while the walk.
Scenario 3, Come and Heel: You walk out of the house and shout "Here boy!". The dog comes running to you. Then you slap your thigh and say "Heel!". The dog gives a happy little bark, and follows along behind you while you walk.
So in my opinion, "Come" will get the dog out of the bushes, or away from that neat stick, but it won't keep his attention long. "Heel" won't get the dog's attention, but will keep it once you have it.
I don't think you can dispel the mount. I'm fairly sure it is a Conjuration (Teleportation) effect for a few reasons:
First Conjuration (Calling) specifies that it comes from another plane. When you get the mount it has the Animal type, and when you get higher level it becomes a Magical Beast. It never gains the Outsider or Outsider(Native) types.
Second, it never says anywhere that you can "unsummon" the mount. You can leave the mount in the stables, then summon it into a dungeon, but once it is there you can't send it back to the stables. Unlike 3.x there is nothing about having it conveniently disappear.
I think it's one of those annoying situations where a common rules term gets used in a sentence with just its standard English language meaning ie: Huge Rats (size small). So I think you can counterspell the initial call/summon/whatever, but banishment, dismissal, and dispel shouldn't have any effect.
The further into the campaign you are, the harder it is to train players to consider running to be an option. I find the trick is to avoid pulling punches... once players start to realize that crits happen, and that characters CAN DIE, running starts to seem a lot more reasonable. The downside is if the characters have been around for a while, and the players expect "fair" encounters even one death can create hard feelings.
The other thing that can work is obvious no-win scenarios where the enemies won't chase the PCs:
Base assault type scenario where a wave of ranged attacks spread out amongst the PCs (2-4 attacks on each) brings them all low enough that it's obvious that another wave will probably take at least one PC down, and if they were to focus fire...
Have a nasty monster start eating a downed PC, giving the others an obvious opportunity to escape.
Or to create a BBEG that the group will instantly hate (works best if you have one player that is a really good sport). Have the BBEG show up a group of minions that would be a slightly under tuned encounter without him. On the first round have the BBEG somehow one shot the good sport while the minions engage. On the second round have the BBEG cast something (or use a magic item) and hand the PC you one shotted a character sheet with their character beefed up with a couple nasty undead templates and tell them to have fun. Round three BBEG does a Laugh and Leave ;)
Honestly though, just keeping encounter difficulty generally tuned a little high so that there is always a sense of risk, and not saving the players from their own stupidity is the best way to do it.
So earlier you said you weren't having fun, and you were only still running the game because you didn't want to let down your friends, then you said that if you were to force them to create/level their own characters they'd walk. You might want to take a stand there... as I see your situation it might be win-win, either they learn, or they stop playing and you are no longer obligated to run the game.
For a slightly less hard line approach, maybe try saying that when they get enough xp they may, if they choose, level up their character whenever they are ready. Until that point they can continue to play the character as is. Then tell them that you'd like them to level up on their own between sessions. If they have any questions, feel free to ask(in between sessions) and you'd be happy to help. If they ever ask you for help on character choices, offer advice, but always offer a choice:
"Hey, what feat should I take for my fighter?"
At this point you can take a couple minutes to say that it depends most on what they want the character to be like, then show them a couple higher level options that chain off those feats, like Greater Specialization. This way you are narrowing the options for them so it's not so overwhelming, but they are still choosing. From there hopefully they can start to take the training wheels off.
Just make sure when ever they ask for advice on a build choice, present them with 2-3 options, explain them, and NEVER, EVER, decide for them.
If all else fails, they seem to really enjoy roleplaying, so if they can't figure out PF, maybe try a simpler game?
Ship's Galley's were a very real risk to the ship. They were generally built using brickwork the deck and bulkheads to prevent fires. They were also kept as far as possible from the powder magazine for obvious reasons. For a forge I would say it would depend on you campaign's teck level. If you are at a traditional medieval tech level and only have brick oven style forges, you are probably SOL without some decent magic. If you're tech level is a little higher and you have access to a portable forge (think modified pot belly stove) it would be easier, those were actually used on tall ships. The trick with them is that they have to be made out of a metal that can withstand enough heat for you to melt the metal you want to work with.
Here is a link to a Flickr of the Portable Forge from the HMS Victory
Strange. I wonder why steam ships don't spontaneously combust then.
They did: The Lexington
Figuring out how to keep a raging fire on a boat that was made of wood coated in tar was took some pretty significant advances in technology and manufacturing techniques. You're not really looking at medieval or even renaissance era tech.
On the up side, a lot of the work involved in armouring doesn't require a forge. If you can pound out sheets and stretch wire on shore you could punch out scales and lamellar. Cold pound to shape plates. Form, weave and rivet chain links.
Hope some of that is helpful.
One of those awesome Table computers like they've been using in this season of leverage as my game table. Individual tablets for each player for character sheets, and private messages. Multi-panel LCD monitor GM screen + tablet to gm from. Hire a GW Golden Demon nut to paint all my minis, and do conversions to make the PC minis match the character.
If you were to add 0 or two it could get really fun... maybe arrange a "Red Phone" to Seatle for a 24 hour dev hotline for those really annoying rule adjudications. ;) Oh and maybe some chairs rigged to give painful but harmless shocks... mostly for that one player who can't help but start a side conversation any time I try to describe a scene. 8D
Oh, and did anyone else have "Ignore the man behind the curtain" pop into their head during the OP?
If you are using things like Black Tentacles you shouldn't be screwing your melee at all. Think of it this way:
Best case scenario, all enemies are caught in the tentacles:
Middle of the road scenario, some enemies get caught:
Worst Case scenario, no enemies are caught: Everything is pretty much as it was before, but you might still be able to make use of it with other control spells. If you are exceptionally lucky and have a BIF instead of a BSF among your melee, they might even be ale to make use of it.
I don't see a downside here, though I suppose for completeness sake I really should include:
The Worse than Worst Case scenario, you catch the melee in the area without creating a massive, insurmountable advantage:
Please, please , PLEASE! No weapon init mods. They're great in systems with phased combat (ie everybody moves, then everybody attacks) but they just don't work in a system with sequential init like PF. There are too many problems... does my init change because my greatclub got disarmed, then again when I draw my backup dagger? Does that mage get to blast me even sooner cause he's got a rapier in his offhand?
The idea on modifying when iteratives occur is a lot better, but would take a MASSIVE overhaul of the weapon chart, and probably the way static modifiers work. You knock daggers down to BAB-4 and Greatswords up to BAB-6 and I can almost guarantee that daggers would come out way ahead.
As far as go, I'd give them the rule firearms have now, and give firearms a damage boost. Remember, the effect crossbows had on armour was so terrifying that they were banned by the Pope.
Overall though I think the biggest problem with weapons in general is the insignificance of the dice. After a certain point the only major differences between a dagger, a longsword, and a greatsword are one is one handed and finessable, one is one handed, and one is two handed with a 1.5* modifier on str an PA.
It might be interesting at some point to try doubling all HP related dice (HD, weapon, spell, etc) while leaving the static modifiers the same. I'd be curious to see how it changed things, I think it might actually make things like the Bastard sword and TWF worthwhile.
I think a major part of why we disagree on this is because of playstyle. I tend to value longer term or passive buffs far more highly than very short term. The additional passive buffs from wondrous items and armour, more than balance out the loss of Pool points in my opinion. Honestly the Bladebound archetype is most valuable in campaigns with long "work days" and or long encounters.
I'm honestly not as concerned about action economy either... I find that with a tendency towards having a relatively high init, and being fairly squishy, if you use the "pounce" options right off the bat you beat the party meatshield in and out damage them on round one. That tends to get you killed so I prefer to take a round to buff up a bit and pop off a control type spell (I know it's not RAW but my group allows using an action as a lesser action, so Cast(Std), AP(move>swift), BB strike(swift) is doable), then charge in.
I'm not trying to say that Bladebound is the optimal way to go, but I would say it's pretty close to an even trade for what you lose.
Stuff about Bladebound and Shocking Grasp vs Frostbite
I think there are some things that you aren't taking into account in both discussions. First I'll tackle the Black Blade:
The difference in arcane pool isn't quite as big as it seems, it's not 1/2 level vs 1/3 lvl, it's 1/3 lvl + the sword's pool, a difference of 1-3 points total.
You aren't choosing between Arcane Pool, Black Blade strike, and Arcane strike they all stack, it just takes a couple rounds to wind up, and they all get multiplied on a crit.
Next Shocking Grasp vs Frostbite... I'm not going to say that Frostbite is awful, but I think your numbers are skewed. Frostbite will do more damage per cast, but the damage is spread pretty thin. The big advantage that SG has is that all of its damage is on attacks that are likely to hit, where FB is spread down the chain of iteratives. On top of that SG has a bonus to hit a decent targets with metal armour. Add in in the math for hitting and confirming crits and you will see a very different picture.
The other problem with FB is that it is nonlethal damage. That completely rules it out against a good chunk of the Bestiary.
That being said, FB definitely has its uses, it's way better against hordes, especially since it can carry through to your AoO, and possibly even last multiple turns (Though you won't get the extra attacks from Spellstrike if you stretch it), but for taking down a big dangerous mob SG is the way to go.
I've been looking at building a Cavalier, and checking out the archetypes made me think of an interesting question. Are the Beast Rider and Standard Bearer archetypes compatible? The only cross over between the two is the Mount class feature, which Standard Bearer moves without altering. I'm just curious, because I'm not interested in mounted combat, and by combining the two, you get a mildly useful ability (Banner) early, and don't receive your mount until it can actually be something other than a horse.
Could this be a potentially PFS legal alternative to the Hound archetype from RPG superstar?
Umm... Isn't this one of this cases where it really doesn't matter?
Whether you are multiplying the dice result by 1.5 or the number of dice rolled by 1.5 it comes out pretty much the same until you run into rounding. I tend to prefer multiplying the result because you end up with a smoother boost that way since rounding 7*1.5 to 10 seems less awkward than rounding 7d6*1.5 to 10d6.
I'm fairly sure that the numeric variables statement is partially to prevent increase on static modifiers to healing and damage in spells like the cure series, but more importantly to prevent shenanigans like empowered bull's strength.
The question about metamagic stacking is more important, and I'm not sure whether it should be 10d6*1.5 or 5d6+(5d6*1.5), but I'd personally rule towards the former for simplicity's sake.
Looking back to the conversation about the value of spell recall vs hexcrafter, Abraham Spalding brings up the point that spell recall is a crutch and that you shouldn't just be nova'ing with shocking grasp and using spell recall to get it back. The fact that I agree with him to some extent is why I like preferred spell (shocking grasp) so much for the magus. I know it is expensive because of the requirement, but I think it's undervalued in the guide a bit because the use that is being suggested for it is kind of backwards in my opinion. I don't see it as yet another way to be able to spam more shocking grasps, but as a way to gain more versatility by never memorizing SG.
Shocking grasp is a spell that is pretty much bread and butter for the magus, in that its kind of a default fallback attack. With preferred spell you can trade whichever other spell you think you might not need, and if you make a mistake, you can use spell recall to recover it. That way you can have a broader selection of utility spells.
Even without preferred spell I really like the versatility that spell recall gives because it gives you the option of memorizing more unique spells, and using spell recall to gain multiple casts if necessary.
Walter also makes a good point about using pearls and spell recall in tandem. To really gain the most out of your spells you can try to use whichever is most efficient for a given level. Once you have improved spell recall, using AP for 1st and 2nd level spells seems pretty wasteful, but one point for a 3rd level is pretty good, and two points for a 5th level is great, so if you try and buy pearls for levels 1, 2, and maybe 4, and use improved spell recall for 3 and 5, you can get a fairly obscene number of casts in a day, from a large selection of spells.
A few things to look at for this comparison:
0:10/8/8/6 1:12/10/8/6 2:14/12/10/9 3:16/14/12/10 4:18/16/14/12 5:20/18/16/14 6:-/20/18/16
So it can be tricky, but those numbers aren't taking into account int increases or taking attack penalties for bonuses.
So is the AD better than the Magus? I don't know, with lots of really short encounters, sure, and he may be more of a boon to the party. Does he beat the Magus at his own game? I don't think so, the Magus is arguably the best true "Gish" 3.5 has seen, other than maybe the old Duskblade, which wins out in combat ability, and loses out in versatility.
Like I said, depending on the GM's ruling. The BAB issue, like just about everything else about the Synthesist is still heavily debated with no official ruling clarifying things.
But anyway I didn't mean to turn this into another Synthesist thread, I was just presenting a silly work around since the OP's question had been answered. My apologies to everyone for derailing things.
I was mostly joking, but depending on how the GM rules on the synthesist you could make some pretty cheese-tactic builds with a single level dip. If you go biped you'd get decent physical stats (while dumping your own), and with the 3 evolution points you could get limbs and reach. A magus weilding a scimitar two handed (with reach) with a rod and a free hand? Ick! I think I'd have to smack any player who tried to bring something like that to the table...
Every time I look at the synthesist I'm more convinced that it needs some clarification and possibly errata.
As a GM I'd allow a rod plus spell strike if you were to jump through all the hoops: cast the spell with the rod in hand and weapon sheathed (standard), stow the rod (free), draw your weapon, possibly as a part of a move (move), deliver the spell through the weapon (free). This works because with spellstrike you are delivering the attack with the weapon, not casting it.
Spell combat on the other hand I'd say is a straight up no. Since you are doing a full attack and casting as part of a single Full-Round action you are running into two problems. First of all I would say that you would need to meet the action's requirements throughout the entire action. Since the requirements are for a one hander and a free hand, a rod in the offhand would fail to meet the requirements. Failing that, if I recall correctly you can't interrupt an action with a free action, so you could store the rod before or after spell combat, but not during.
The primary exception to that would be if you could have the free hand while you had the weapon and rod out, which could be possible with a synthesist or alchemist multi class.