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Epic Meepo's Magus Playtest


Round 1 – Magus

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

The Scenario: This playtest is a scenario for four characters, run once each at 2nd level, 4th level, and 8th level. The scenario is designed to be a standard four-encounter adventuring day ending with a tough boss fight against a creature whose identity the party has known for at least one day. The EL of the first encounter is APL+0, the ELs of the next two are APL+1, and the EL of the last is APL+3. Except for the final encounter, all encounters involve multiple monsters. All monsters are generated at random from the list of "Monsters by CR" in the Bestiary.

After running this scenarion for a given level, I then ran a pair of bonus encounters, each pitting the magus against a single, randomly-determined monster with a CR equal to his class level, starting at 30 feet and trapped together in a dungeon room. In these bonus encounters, the magus reeives no assistance from his party.

The Party: Because I am running this playtest solo, I am using the following simplifying assumptions: the magus is in a party with three other characters. These other characters are not explicitly defined. Instead, it is assumed that these other characters, together, are able to neutralize three-fouths of each encounter after accounting for all of their attacks, buffs, debuffs, healing, and flanking. I am also assuming the presence of a healer who heals the magus to full hit points after each encounter.

As a result of these simplifying assumptions, whenever there are multiple opponents in an encounter, the magus is expected to face one in four of them using only his personal abilities. Whenever there is one single monster, the magus is expected to deal damage equal to one-fourth of the monster's hit point total, and survive 25% of the damage dealt by the monster's attacks (the remainder of that damage being healed in combat, prevented before being dealt, and/or taken by other party members).

The Magus: The magus in this playtest is designed to be fairly generic, though skewed a bit towards melee. He doesn't specialize in any particular trick, so is not representative of builds focused on combat maneuvers, whips, or other less-obvious options. At each level, the magus used here is created using 20 point buy, standard wealth per level, and favored class bonuses that are spent exclusively on hit points.

In selecting the magus's prepared spells, I assume the existence of at least one magus touch spell per spell level. Accordingly, I include several instances of "[hypothetical X-level touch spell]" as placeholders in my magus stat blocks. During the playtest, I assume that a 0-level touch spell would deal 1d3 damage, a 2nd-level touch spell would deal 1d6/level damage (max 5d6) x125%, and a 3rd-level touch spell would deal 1d6/level damage (max 5d6) x150% (the equivlanet of a 3rd-level empowered shocking grasp spell).

2nd-level magus:
Human magus 2
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +0
---
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 16
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +3
---
Speed 30 ft.
Melee masterwork scimitar +5 (1d6+3, 18-20/x2)
Ranged composite (Str 14) longbow +3 (1d8+2, x3)
Special Attacks spellstrike, spell combat
Spells Prepared (CL 2nd)
1st -- burning hands, magic missile, shocking grasp
0 (at will) -- daze, light, mage hand, [hypothetical 0-level touch spell]
---
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Attack +1; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Arcane Strike, Combat Casting
Skills Acrobatics +3, Climb +7, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering) +8, Spellcraft +8, Swim +7
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin
---
Gear masterwork scimitar, Str 14 composite longbow (20 arrows), masterwork chain shirt, alchemist's fire (3), spellbook, mundane gear worth 59 gp

2nd-level playtest:
In the 2nd-level playtest, the magus knows in advance that he is going to be fighting a mummy that the party has been hunting when he reaches the dungeon, and his spell selection reflects that fact.

First Encounter: Before dawn, while the party is camping on an open plains, they are ambushed by 4 drow at a range of 120 feet. The party is not expecting the drow, and has no rounds to prepare in advance.

Results: Under the circumstances, magus class features didn't play a major role. The drow lurked in the dark making ranged attacks, requiring a response involving lots of hurled sunrods and fired arrows. Some spells on the magus list might have made this combat easier, but none of them were prepared at the time.

Second Encounter: While travelling through a forest (whose undergrowth provided +2 AC, +1 Reflexes saves, concealment, and difficult terrain), the party encounter 4 wolves at a distance of 80 ft. The party is not expecting the wolves, and has no rounds to prepare.

Results: The wolves approach. The magus closes the distance on his wolf and attacks. On general principal, the magus has been holding the charge on his hypothetical 0-level touch spell. Between spellstrike with that, Arcane Strike, and his normal damage, the magus nearly one-shots the wolf. He and the wolf attempt a few failed attacks, and he then kills the wolf.

Third Encounter: In the dungeon, the party encounters 4 lemures at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting hostile guardian monsters of an unknown sort, and has one round to prepare.

Results: The magus holds the charge with shocking grasp. The party enters the room and the lemures attack. The magus takes some damage, then nearly one-shots his lemure, which survives on account of DR. The lemure misses. The magus attempts spell combat with his hypothetical 0-level touch spell, succeeds, and drops the lemure with the spell.

Fourth Encounter: At the end of the dungeon, the party encounters the mummy they were hunting at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting the encounter, and has two rounds to prepare.

Results: The magus has no buff spells to prep, so he gets out some alchemist's fire. The party enters and the magus is paralyzed by the mummy's aura. Assuming the remainder of the party holds off the mummy long enough for the magus to recover, he then tags the mummy with alchemist's fire, takes a nasty slam, and lets loose with burning hands. After that, the magus is largely ineffectual and possibly dead.

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with a skeletal champion at a range of 30 feet. He has no time to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: The skeletal champion charges and hits. The magus uses spell combat to fail casting a spell and miss badly with an attack. The magus uses spell combat to cast and touch with shocking grasp and then miss horribly with his weapon. The skeletal champion misses. The magus uses spell combat to cast burning hands and miss horribly with an attack. The skeletal champion kills him.

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with a morlock at a range of 30 feet. He has two rounds to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: Expecting trouble but not spotting the stealthy morlock, the magus holds the charge with shocking grasp. The morlock makes a leaping sneak attack but misses on an average roll. (A few points higher and the magus would be nearly dead.) The magus charges the morlock and hits handily, dealing weapon and shocking grasp damage, nearly dropping it. The morlock leap attacks away, missing on an average roll. A round of mutual misses ensues. The frsutrated magus drops the morlock with magic missile.


4th-level magus:
Human magus 4
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +0
---
AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex)
hp 33
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +4
---
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 flaming scimitar +7 (1d6+3 plus 1d6 fire, 18-20/x2)
Ranged composite (Str 14) longbow +3 (1d8+2, x3)
Special Attacks arcane weapon, magus arcana (concentrate), spellstrike, spell combat
Spells Prepared (CL 4th)
2nd -- bull's strength, [hypothetical 2nd-level touch spell]
1st -- enlarge person, magic missile (2), obscuring mist
0 (at will) -- dancing lights, light, mage hand, [hypothetical 0-level touch spell]
---
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Attack +3; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Arcane Strike, Combat Casting, Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics +5, Climb +9, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering) +10, Spellcraft +10, Swim +9
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin
---
Gear +1 scimitar, composite (Str 14) longbow (20 arrows), +1 chain shirt, +1 ring of protection, alchemist's fire (3), spellbook, mundane gear worth 59 gp

4th-level playtest:
In the 4th-level playtest, the magus knows in advance that he is going to be fighting a spectre that the party has been hunting when he reaches the dungeon, and his spell selection reflects that fact.

First Encounter: Before dawn, while the party is camping on an open plains, they are ambushed by 4 svirfneblin at a range of 120 feet. The party is not expecting the svirfneblin, and has no rounds to prepare in advance.

Results: The magus learned from his 2nd-level encounter with the drow. When these svirfneblin used the same lurk-and shoot tactics as the drow, the magus threw up obscuring mist for cover, hucked out a few sunrods to illuminate parts of the battlefield, and used dancing lights to illuminate the rest. After that, it was just ranged combat with arrows.

Second Encounter: While travelling through a forest (whose undergrowth provided +2 AC, +1 Reflexes saves, concealment, and difficult terrain), the party encounter 4 spider swarms at a distance of 120 ft. The party is not expecting the spider swarms, and has no rounds to prepare.

Results: Due to a lack of prepared area spells, no magus class features were used in this encounter. Just some basic "outrun the swarm while disuading its with alchemist's fire" tactics.

Third Encounter: In the dungeon, the party encounters 4 iron cobras at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting hostile guardian monsters of an unknown sort, and has one round to prepare.

Results: The magus slaps on bull's strength. The party enters the room and is attacked. The magus attempts spell combat, gets off his hypothetical 0-level touch spell, misses the touch attack, then tags it with the follow-up attack. After a few more rounds of low rolls, the magus destroys the cobra with ordinary melee attacks without himself being injured.

Fourth Encounter: At the end of the dungeon, the party encounters the spectre they were hunting at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting the encounter, and has two rounds to prepare.

Results: The magus preps enlarge person in addition to his continuing bull's strength, and holds the charge on his hyptothetical 0-level touch spell. He enters the room and Arcane Strike Power Attack spellstrikes with his scimitar in two-hands. He hits for decent damage, even after accounting for incorporeality, and gets hit in turn. At this point, he falls back and finishes off his expected damage contribution with a magic missile.

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with a griffon at a range of 30 feet. He has no time to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: The griffon is perched on a 10-foot ledge. The magus casts bull's strength. The griffon pounces, crits with a bite, hits with a talon, and hits with a claw. The magus uses spell combat, casts his best touch spell, but misses with his attacks. The griffon full attacks him to near death. In desperation, the magus uses spell combat, attacking first. He crits with his scimitar and his held touch spell and one-shots the griffon. (Had the magus not confirmed his crit, he'd have finished his action by casting magic missile and come within inches of one-shotting the griffon anyway.)

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with an owlbear at a range of 30 feet. He has two rounds to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: The magus begins the encounter with bull's strength and holding the charge with his hypothetical 2nd-level touch spell. The owlbear charges and there's a round of mutual misses. Then the owlbear hits twice and grapples. The magus tags the owlbear with his held touch spell. The owlbear then pins and kills the magus.


8th-level magus:
Human magus 8
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +0
---
AC 23, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+7 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 natural)
hp 63
Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +7
---
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 flaming keen spell storing scimitar +12/+7 (1d6+5 plus 1d6 fire, 15-20/x2)
Ranged +1 composite (Str 14) longbow +10/+5 (1d8+3, x3)
Special Attacks arcane weapon, magus arcana (arcane accuracy, concentrate), spellstrike, improved spell combat
Spells Prepared (CL 8th)
3rd -- haste, greater magic weapon, [hypothetical 3rd-level touch spell]
2nd -- bull's strength, glitterdust, mirror image, scorching ray, [hypothetical 2nd-level touch spell]
1st -- enlarge person, magic missile (2), obscuring mist, shocking grasp
0 (at will) -- daze, light, mage hand, [hypothetical 0-level touch spell]
---
Str 18, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Attack +6; CMB +10; CMD 25
Feats Arcane Strike, Combat Casting, Dodge, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills Acrobatics +6, Climb +12, Fly +2, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering) +14, Spellcraft +14, Swim +12
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin
---
Gear +1 spell storing scimitar, +1 composite (Str 14) longbow (20 arrows), +1 breastplate, +1 ring of protection, +1 amulet of natural armor, +1 cloak of resistance, +2 belt of physical might (Strength and Dexterity), handy haversack, ring of sustenance, 1st-level pearl of power, alchemist's fire (3), spellbook, mundane gear worth 59 gp

8th-level playtest:
In the 8th-level playtest, the magus knowns in advance that he is going to be fighting a hezrou demon that the party has been hunting when he reaches the dungeon, and his spell selection reflects that fact.

First Encounter: Before dawn, while the party is camping on an open plains, they are ambushed by four minotaurs at a range of 120 feet. The party is not expecting the minotaurs, and has no rounds to prepare in advance.

Results: Finally, an ambush by melee brutes. The magus wakes up to shouting, and arrises with weapon drawn in time to get hit by a powerful charge. He uses spell combat to cast his his hypothetical 2nd-level touch spell and misses with a terrible roll. He then hits with his first melee attack, unleashing his held touch spell and a lot of damage from his weapon, one-shoting the minotaur with the help of his spell storing weapon. He reloads his spell storing weapon with his hypothetical 3rd-level touch spell.

Second Encounter: While travelling through a forest (which provided +2 AC, +1 Reflexes saves, concealment, and difficult terrain), the party encounter four hungry dire lions at a distance of 90 ft. The party is not expecting the dire lions, and has no rounds to prepare.

Results: The lions get the party within reach before the party can react. The magus can't 5-foot step because of terrain, so he uses spell combat to enlarge person and attack. He hits twice. The lion only hits with a bite, and can't grab due to the magus's enlarged size. The magus swaps his weapon into two hands and Arcane Strike Power Attacks. He crits on his first attack and drops the dire lion.

Third Encounter: In the dungeon, the party encounters eight quasit demons at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting hostile guardian monsters of an unknown sort, and has one round to prepare.

Results: The magus puts up bull's strength. The party enters the room. Invisible quasits charge and deal minimal damage. The magus splats the two pesky quasits before they can fly back to the ceiling and turn invisible again. That's what they get for not having Fly-By Attack. The magus does take 1 Dex damage from a poisoned scratch, though.

Fourth Encounter: At the end of the dungeon, the party encounters the hezrou demon they were hunting at a range of 30 feet. The party is expecting the encounter, and has two rounds to prepare.

Results: The magus adds mirror image and haste to his ongoing bull's strength. The party enters the room and the magus is sickened by the hezrou's stench. The hezrou charges and pops on of the magus's images. The magus retaliates by full attacking, hitting once and letting loose with the spell in his spell storing weapon. This comes close to meeting his share of the damage for the encounter, prevented only by DR and energy resistance. Then the hezrou's blasphemy goes off, resulting in a TPK.

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with a giant slug at a range of 30 feet. He has no time to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: The magus casts bull's strength and falls back 20 feet. The slug closes 20 feet and misses with its spit. The magus uses full defense and moves forward. The slugs closes the distance and misses. The magus uses spell combat to haste himself and full attack. He misses twice and crits once using Arcane Strike Power Attack and the spell sotred in his spell storing weapon. The slug hits him for over half his hit points. He kills the slug with a full attack.

Bonus Encounter: Unrelated to the previous encounters, the magus finds himself trapped in a dungeon room with a young copper dragon at a range of 30 feet. He has two rounds to prepare in advance for the encounter.

Results: The magus begins the fight with bull's strength and mirror image. The dragon uses climb stone to stand on the 20-foot ceiling and uses its breath weapon. The magus uses spell combat to enlarge person and attack. He misses. The dragon flies down and bites, missing. The magus and the dragon trade full attacks for three rounds. Mirror image saves the magus from several attacks and he kills the dragon by unloading his spell storing weapon.


General Observations: The magus seems to have enough AC to survive minions and some level-approriate solo monsters, but relies heavily on mirror image in tough fights. The magus deals enough damage to slice through minions with ease, though he misses often against monsters with above-average AC, especially when using spell combat. Hitting could become a problem in boss fights. Not surprisingly, he's just as vulnerable to grapple as other casters.

If the magus is prevented from engaging in melee, he'd better hope he has situation-appropriate battlefield control prepped. Which can be tricky, since he needs to burn through lots of buffs and touch spells to contribute meaningfully in melee, and isn't a spontaneous caster. The odds of having the right battlefield control spell available during any given fight are small compared to the odds of a combat-focused bard or sorcerer having a similar spell. The fact that a magus is a prepared caster also makes him a bit swingy. If he has just the right spell and uses it, he does well. If not, he may struggle. Which means he has to pick and choose his battles very carefully. He can't just spam his most effective combat spells when needed, even if doing so would be the best tactic to win in a given situation. He requires fairly intensive resource management just to survive.

At low-levels, assuming the magus gets a 0-level damage-dealing touch spell, spellstrike is surprisingly useful. It gives him a free damage boost on his first hit each combat, and, in conjunction with spell combat, allows him to make a second attack with a touch spell in the same round if the first attempt misses. (Though at higher levels, a spell storing weapon is virtually required, since the magus needs to cast buffs at the outset of fights, ruining any touch spell whose charge he is currently holding.) There's a strong incentive at low levels for a magus to walk around with a two-handed weapon all the time so he can start combat using that high-damage weapon as a vehicle for spellstrike. If he later needs to use spell combat (hint: on low levels, he won't), he switches weapons.

When using spell combat, the magus misses. A lot. And he occasionally loses a spell on a few bad rolls, even with the concentrate magus arcana. The odds of that are low, but in a clutch situation where it's do-or-die, your party doesn't want to be relying on a guy whose signature class ability might just choke completely. Also, once a magus gets a few buffs going, he has a strong temptation to just ignore his signature bladesinger combat style and make ordinary, two-handed full attacks.

I may add some more observations addressing specific class features when I return to make suggestions.

Suggestions (Pending): Once I ruminate a bit on my playtest experience, I'll return with some specific suggestions.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Suggestions: Spellstrike

Assuming the existence of a 0-level touch spell, I found this ability to be fun and effective on low levels, and would recommend that the text of the ability only be changed for clarity.

Assuming the magus gets some other, more active class feature on 1st level, spellstrike doesn't need to be more powerful, as many others have suggested. It works well as a passive ability that turns held buff spells into melee weapon buffs and as a passive ability that lets touch spells that miss on their first attack be combined with future melee weapon attacks.

(If, contrary to my expectations, there is no 0-level magus touch spell to spam as a melee-weapon buff on 1st level, I would instead conclude that spellstrike is horribly underpowered.)

I would consider changing the wording of spellstrike for clarity purposes only, as follows:

Spellstrike (Su): Whenever you could use a natural attack to deliver a touch spell, you can choose to use any manufactured melee weapon to deliver the spell as if that manufactured weapon was a natural attack (see Touch Spells in Combat, Pathfinder Core Rules page 185).

That wording, or something like it, better clarifies exactly how spellstrike is intended to work.

Suggestions: Spell Combat

Observation: The concentration check DCs required by spell combat are too high at low levels.
Observation: The attack penalty caused by spell combat is too large at low levels.
Observation: The magus has no 3+Int ability at 1st level.

I would first borrow a suggestion from other posters in this forum and make spell combat work like flurry of blows. Give the magus spell combat on 1st level, the level at which monks get flurry of blows. Reduce the attack and concentration penalties to -2, the same penalty imposed by flurry of blows. Let the magus use his level as his BAB when using spell combat, just like a monk using flurry of blows.

I would NOT remove the defensive casting restriction on spell combat.

I would NOT grant Combat Casting as a 1st-level magus bonus feat.

Instead, I would recommend adding the following at 1st level:

Concentration (Ex): When casting a 0-level magus spell, a magus may focus his mind to take 20 on a concentration check. The magus may use the ability a number of times per day equal to one-half his magus level + his Int modifier. For every three levels the magus gains beyond 1st, he may use this ability while casting magus spells of the next highest spell level (while casting 1st-level magus spells at 4th level, 2nd-level magus spells at 7th level, etc.).

This gives the magus a 1st-level X+Int ability that can be used to fuel magus arcana, and allows him to reliably use spell combat a limited number of times per day on lower levels where his concentration check is too low. It also gives the magus the option to ignore the Combat Casting feat until later if he's comfortable using spell combat sparingly on low levels.

Suggestions: Magus Arcana

The magus is starved for feats, especially at low levels, where he needs them just to keep up with other secondary melee combatants like rogues. I could easily list over a dozen feats, any three of which a 1st- or 2nd-level magus could use just to tread water when it comes to damage output.

I would suggest combining the bonus feats, magus arcana, medium armor, heavy armor, and counterstrike class features into a single magus arcana class feature that the magus gains every two levels, starting on 2nd. Allow the magus to freely select combat feats, item creation feats, and metamagic feats as magus arcana options.

This would let the magus pick up some much-needed feats at low levels instead of relying solely on spend-to-use magus arcana that would make swingy, low-level combat even swingier. Those spend-to-use arcana should still be available if the magus wants them, but he should at least have the option to take a few reliable feats on lower levels.

Suggestions: Fighter Training

I never got to use this ability in my playtest. In fact, on account of its high level, I would get very little use out of it in most compaigns I've played in. Which is too bad, because it seems like an interesting way to pepper some melee flavor onto a class that otherwise feels very narrowly focused on magic, magic, and more magic.

I would consider moving fighter training to 2nd level and changing it to read:

Fighter Training (Ex) Starting at 2nd level, a magus adds his base attack bonus from magus levels to any levels of fighter he might have for the purpose of meeting the prerequisites of feats (if he has no fighter levels, treat his base attack bonus from the magus class as his fighter level).

That would give the magus some more options for improving his low-level viability without simply stacking on new class features. He still has to spend feats to get use out of this ability, so it's more about versatility than raw power. It also opens up more viable magus builds, giving players more choices of builds when using the class.

Suggestions: Arcane Weapon

Just two quick points, here. First, in my playtest, spell storing was an absolute must-have ability. It was like a magus version of a paladin's smite, but with spells instead of raw attack bonuses. In fact, it was the single deciding factor in several of my magus's playtests victories. Spell storing should be on the list of arcane weapon options.

Second, if magus arcana are bumped to one per two levels instead of one per three, as I suggest above, move arcane weapon forward one level. Having arcane weapon on 3rd level (and increasing every four levels thereafter) wouldn't be overpowering, given the magus's need for a reliable, magic-based attack or damage bonus on low levels. Further, having earlier access to weapon boosting abilities than other classes would emphasize the magus's role as the definitive magic-in-melee guy.

Other Suggestions

I also suggest adding something small like the following, especially if you roll things into magus arcana as I suggest, above:

Arcane Shield (Su): Starting at 5th level, whenever a magus is weilding a weapon in one hand and holding nothing else, he gains a +2 shield bonus to his Armor Class. This shield bonus is a force effect. For every four levels he gains after 5th, this shield bonus increases by an additional +1.

This little boost provides the magus a little extra incentive to use the free-hand fighting style, and allows him an improved chance of surviving tough fights without relying quite as much on invisibility and mirror image. It could replace the underpowered spell shield magus arcana.

It also fits well into a faster-than-beta magus arcana progression, as follows:

Magus Progression:
(Abilities not listed below should be rolled into magus arcana.)

Level - Class Features
1st - cantrips, concentration, spell combat, spellstrike
2nd - magus arcana, fighter training
3rd - arcane weapon
4th - magus arcana
5th - arcane shield
6th - magus arcana
7th - arcane weapon
8th - magus arcana
9th - arcane shield
10th - magus arcana
11th - arcane weapon
12th - magus arcana
13th - arcane shield
14th - magus arcana
15th - arcane weapon
16th - magus arcana
17th - arcane shield
18th - magus arcana
19th - arcane weapon, weapon bond
20th - magus arcana, true magus


Really like your version of spell combat. The magus really needs an x+int ability. Your change to Magus Arcana seems rather good too.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is a nicely put together review of the abilities and I too like a lot of your ideas (especially for an X+INT ability).

One our party toyed with would be to permit the magus to fail concentration checks but not lose the spell. Our thought was to model this like other skills with the same mechanic. Fail by less than five and you do not lose the spell; the beauty is that you can, if desired make higher-level abilities that expand this window.

I could see it though tying it in as an X+INT ability and allowing a certain number of failed concentrations be ignored as an alternative to your "take 20" concentration ability. Rather than trivialize concentration checks again (something I know Paizo tried to do with the changes to concentration) by making them no-fail, you would permit the Magus to still fail, but lessen the ramifications.

Great thoughts though, and well presented.


In one word EPIC. Not only did you do a great playetest, but you also gave all the right suggestions to send the class to the printer (adding more spells of course). It even was perfectly presented.

I have a Kingmaker game starting next week and I will suggest the variant to one of my players or run it as a DM npc.

Announcement to everybody:

You can stop arguing about full bab, the name, mechanics and everything else, the class is done let´s all go home and eat cake.


@Epic Meepo: Do you plan to do a high level playtest, or do you think it´s possible to extrapolate the high level magus from the current test?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Banpai wrote:
@Epic Meepo: Do you plan to do a high level playtest, or do you think it´s possible to extrapolate the high level magus from the current test?

I don't usually play high-level games, so I have little interest in playtesting those levels.

Other playtests on these forums suggest that high-level magi work fairly well as written, so I tried to restrict my suggestions to things that would make improvements to low levels without greatly effecting higher levels. (The only significant high-level changes resulting from my suggestions would be a slightly improved effective BAB during spell combat, on account of the flurry of blows mechanics, and earlier access to fighter feats. If high-level playtesting proves these to be overpowering on later levels, they could be compensated for by lowering the bonus provided by arcane accuracy and precluding the use of hasted assault during spell combat.)


Bumped for quality content.


A question if I may....
I have seen several threads asking for Spell Combat to function like Flurry of Blows, but I'm not exactly sure I understand what that means ?

Would you use the monks flurry progression, and allow one of the attacks to be a standard action spell, and the rest to be weapon hits ?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

nighttree wrote:
Would you use the monks flurry progression, and allow one of the attacks to be a standard action spell, and the rest to be weapon hits ?

Same bonuses and penalties as flurry of blows (use class level as BAB, but take -2 on attacks), but the magus casts a spell (at concentration -2) instead of making additional attacks.


Epic Meepo wrote:
Same bonuses and penalties as flurry of blows (use class level as BAB, but take -2 on attacks), but the magus casts a spell (at concentration -2) instead of making additional attacks.

At lower levels that would certainly do about the same thing, but what about at higher levels ?

Would they gain an additional hit with melee weapon, or an additional spell ?

A hit with a melee weapon seems balanced, but if it's allowing multiple spells to be cast, as well as multiple melee strikes....that seems a little over the top (IMO)....


nighttree wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Same bonuses and penalties as flurry of blows (use class level as BAB, but take -2 on attacks), but the magus casts a spell (at concentration -2) instead of making additional attacks.

At lower levels that would certainly do about the same thing, but what about at higher levels ?

Would they gain an additional hit with melee weapon, or an additional spell ?

A hit with a melee weapon seems balanced, but if it's allowing multiple spells to be cast, as well as multiple melee strikes....that seems a little over the top (IMO)....

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Magus gains extra spell cast at higher levels. The other option is to reduce the concentration check penalty at those iterative attack points, to -1 then to 0. Or at 8th and 14th where Improved and Greater Spell combat are.

Remember the Monk ability specifically calls out gaining Improved and Greater two-weapon fighting. You just don't include those lines on the Magus and instead replace them with a penalty reduction.


I love this and I will suggest these changes to my GM for our upcoming campaign (where I'm going to play a Magus). The only thing I would like to see is Arcane Shield changed to Arcane Armor and written similarly to Arcane Weapon. In other words, allow the magus to do with her armor what she does with her weapon, i.e. add magic armor properties or enhancement bonuses. This makes for some really nice symmetry and gives the magus a sort of spontaneous melee-artificer feel.

Quote:
Allow the magus to freely select combat feats, item creation feats, and metamagic feats as magus arcana options.

Do you really mean to suggest that the magus should be allowed to take a bonus feat every time they get magus arcana? Isn't that a bit much in terms of stepping on the fighter's toes? Or are you simply suggesting that it's the same three bonus feats but that there is no level minimum for taking them?

On that note, what level minimums are you suggesting for the many class abilities that you are rolling into magus arcana?


Excellent testing and suggestions! Your alterations make the class mechanically cleaner as well as expanding options, making the Magus more similar to existing base classes in versatility and ability acquisition. Nice work!


Neverfox wrote:


Quote:
Allow the magus to freely select combat feats, item creation feats, and metamagic feats as magus arcana options.

Do you really mean to suggest that the magus should be allowed to take a bonus feat every time they get magus arcana? Isn't that a bit much in terms of stepping on the fighter's toes? Or are you simply suggesting that it's the same three bonus feats but that there is no level minimum for taking them?

I believe the suggestion was to have a magus arcana that grants a feat, much like the rogue talent that does the same. I could be wrong though. Perhaps one magus arcana each for combat, metamagic, and item creation feats?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Neverfox wrote:
Do you really mean to suggest that the magus should be allowed to take a bonus feat every time they get magus arcana? Isn't that a bit much in terms of stepping on the fighter's toes?

I don't see why not. The magus can't step on the fighter's toes, because his lower BAB and lower effective fighter level mean he can't qualify for the good combat feats as quickly as a fighter can. And, in theory, the higher-level magus arcana are going to be better than feats because they have synergy with specific magus abilities, so the magus won't end up taking ten straight bonus feats anyway. But if really wants to, despite all of the other magus arcana options, I say let him.

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I have to agree with everyone above, excellent job on the playtest. Your suggestions actually make the magus more inviting and add to it's own unique flavor as you said without stepping on other classes toes.


Now lets just hope the changes come in some way or another so the damn playtest can end. I can hardly immagine the horror of reading the entire playtest forum and having to end up with a class that makes everyone happy (and buy the book).
I really hope the designers have nerves of steel^^


Epic Meepo wrote:
I don't see why not. The magus can't step on the fighter's toes, because his lower BAB and lower effective fighter level mean he can't qualify for the good combat feats as quickly as a fighter can. And, in theory, the higher-level magus arcana are going to be better than feats because they have synergy with specific magus abilities, so the magus won't end up taking ten straight bonus feats anyway. But if really wants to, despite all of the other magus arcana options, I say let him.

Fair enough. Did you have any comments on the issue of minimum levels for medium armor, heavy armor, and counterstrike class features once turned into magus arcana? The same level at which they appeared in the original class? Any level?

Also, what do you think of the idea of Arcane Armor? Either way, the only thing that feels a bit weird is Arcane Weapon coming before Arcane Shield (or Armor). After all, +1 AC is cheaper than +1 weapon enhancement in gp terms. What were your thoughts behind arranging it this way?

One option might be to start the Arcane Shield/Armor progression at 1st level. But then 1st level is getting kind of crowded. It might require moving some other things around.

Finally, did you intend the Concentration ability to replace the Concentrate arcana?

Great stuff!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Neverfox wrote:
Did you have any comments on the issue of minimum levels for medium armor, heavy armor, and counterstrike class features once turned into magus arcana?

I didn't have any specific comments about minimum levels based on my playtest.

Quote:
Also, what do you think of the idea of Arcane Armor?

It's more complicated than a flat shield bonus, and generally prefer classes with fewer complicated features.

Quote:
Finally, did you intend the Concentration ability to replace the Concentrate arcana?

Preferably, since the concentrate arcana would now be redundant.


Cool. Thanks!


Was Dorje correct in assuming that, like flurry of blows, you would give the magus some sort of improvement at higher levels (say at 8th and 14th or 15th)? If so, what did you have in mind exactly? It could be that you just imagine that Concentration *is* the improvement.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Neverfox wrote:
Was Dorje correct in assuming that, like flurry of blows, you would give the magus some sort of improvement at higher levels (say at 8th and 14th or 15th)? If so, what did you have in mind exactly? It could be that you just imagine that Concentration *is* the improvement.

If it were changed to accommodate my suggestions, I suspect it wouldn't need improvements at higher levels. Being able to use it while casting spells of progressively higher spell levels should be improvement enough.


Epic Meepo wrote:
If it were changed to accommodate my suggestions, I suspect it wouldn't need improvements at higher levels. Being able to use it while casting spells of progressively higher spell levels should be improvement enough.

Thanks. You've been very helpful and patient with my questions. If I haven't already exceeded my limits, let me ask you one more. It's a more general question.

So many "rebuilds" of Magus have pushed the idea of an Arcana Pool to avoid the perceived problem of the give-up-a-spell Magus Arcana powers. I was wondering if you considered anything like this, why you might have rejected it, and what you think of the current give-up-a-spell Magus Arcana?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Neverfox wrote:
So many "rebuilds" of Magus have pushed the idea of an Arcana Pool to avoid the perceived problem of the give-up-a-spell Magus Arcana powers. I was wondering if you considered anything like this, why you might have rejected it, and what you think of the current give-up-a-spell Magus Arcana?

In my above posts, you'll see that I suggest using the proposed concentration ability to fuel magus arcana. At higher levels, the magus is going to have a good enough concentration check that he'll be able to use spell combat with some spells without needing to use the concentration ability. So magus arcana could become additional ways to use the concentration ability instead of abilities that burn spells.


Epic Meepo wrote:
In my above posts, you'll see that I suggest using the proposed concentration ability to fuel magus arcana. At higher levels, the magus is going to have a good enough concentration check that he'll be able to use spell combat with some spells without needing to use the concentration ability. So magus arcana could become additional ways to use the concentration ability instead of abilities that burn spells.

I did notice that wording but didn't catch that that was what you meant by it. How would that work exactly? Are you suggesting that you could give up one of your Concentration uses for the day in return for powering a spend-to-use arcana at the appropriate level? For example, if you were at 7th level (such that Concentration works on 2nd-level spells), you could trade-in a Concentration use as if you had given up a 2nd-level spell. Or would you use it more directly, i.e. every use you give up corresponds to a spell level up to the max spell level you can cast? For example, at 7th level, you could give up 3 uses to power an arcana at 3rd level spell strength, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 1st.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Neverfox wrote:
How would that work exactly?

It would depend upon the direction the designers want to take. Jason has already mentioned that the magus arcana are getting a major overhaul. If they get reworked with something like my suggestion in mind, it would simply be a matter of the designers crunching the numbers to see what bonuses each use of the concentration ability should allow to keep the magus viable on any given level. At this time, I haven't crunched those numbers.

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