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RPG Superstar 2015

Magus vs. Arcane Duelist


Advice

The Exchange

6 people marked this as a favorite.

It's pretty obvious that the Magus and the Bard are, mechanically speaking, close cousins, since they share BAB progression, Hit Die, and casting progression, as well as the ability to cast arcane spells in light armour. The closest of the Bard archetypes to the 'caster in melee' concept of the Magus seems to be the Arcane Duelist (APG page 80).

Comparing the two, they both get two good saves - Fortitude and Will for the Magus, and Reflex and Will for the Bard. Whilst YMMV on whether Fortitude or Reflex saves are more useful, I think it's reasonable to say that both classes are equal on that footing.

Of the two, the Bard gets more skill points (6 Vs the Magus's 2).

The Magus has three class skills the Bard doesn't get (Fly, Ride, and Swim). The Bard has twenty-seven class skills the Magus doesn't get (Acrobatics, Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, seven Knowledge Skills, Linguistics, Perception, nine Perform Skills, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth).

On skills, the Bard is clearly superior all round.

The Magus gets all Martial Weapon proficiencies, the Bard gets a few select ones, and whip. The Bard is also profiencient with the use of a shield (and can cast whilst using one), whereas the Magus isn't. The Magus is also, essentially, limited to one-handed melee weapons if he wants to make the most use of his class features.

While the Magus's has a greater amount of weapon proficiencies, his class features essentially restrict him to actually using hardly anything the Bard couldn't use anyway. The Magus may opt for a scimitar Vs a rapier (aiming for a Dervish Dance build), but the difference isn't really a huge one IMHO.

The Magus's lack of shield use is more telling, however. He can make up the AC difference at low levels by using a lot of Shield spells (burning resources one way or another), but once magic shields start to come into it, the balance swings definitively the Bard's way.

So, for class proficiencies I'd say the Bard is, once more, the winner.

Class features are slightly more tricky...

The Magus can boost his combat ability via his arcane pool. The Bard can boost everyone's combat ability via Inspire Courage. The Magus's arcane pool boost increases by +1 per at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17. The Bard's Inspire Courage bonus increases at levels 5, 11, and 17. While this appears as though the Magus outpaces the Bard from level 9 onwards, it's not as clear-cut as that, since the arcane pool's raw bonus is limited by the maximum total cap on magical weapons, but the Bard's competence bonus on rolls stacks with weapon enchantments, regardless of any cap. Inspire Courage also boosts everyone's saves Vs charm and fear effects at the same time.

The Magus his Intelligence bonus +1/2 levels arcane pool points. The Bard gets Charisma bonus +(2x class level) +2 rounds of Bardic Performance. While the Magus's arcane pool weapon boost lasts a minute a time (so, a whole fight per point), the Bard's performance is measured in rounds. However, in any fight which lasts less than a full minute, the Magus is essentially wasting power, while the Bard can stop his performance at any time. An Intelligence 16 level 1 Magus may be able to use his arcane pool weapon enhancement in 4 fights, but the Charisma 16 Bard can use his 7 rounds of performance over up to seven fights. If the Bard takes (and uses) the Lingering Performance Feat he can, essentially, triple the number of rounds he can boost the whole party (and his 7 rounds of performance may well be able to be spread over seven fights in such a case). In the end, the Bard is more likely to be able to spread his combat-boosting usefulness over the course of the adventuring day.

The Arcane Duelist Bard's Bladethirst performance can be added to any one weapon, natural weapon, or 50 units of ammunition, within 30ft. The Magus's arcane pool weapon boosting can only be added to the weapon in his hand. Bladethirst grants a +1 bonus at levels 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18. The arcane pool grants a +1 bonus at levels 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17. The Magus is a few levels ahead, but this lead erodes over time - the Arcane Duelist briefly catches him at level 12, then levels 15 to 16, then again from 18 onwards. Both abilities can add weapon properties, but the arcane pool mostly stacks pure damage properties, whilst the Bladethirst adds a greater variety of effects - such as defending, distance, or returning.

The Arcane Duelist's Bladethirst can help his friends out, the Magus's arcane pool can only help himself. At level 18 Mass Bladethirst allows the Arcane Duelist to spread his bonuses between weapons, the Magus can never do this. Even at level 6, the Arcane Duelist could empower the arrows of 50 bowmen, whereas the Magus would still be empowering just his own bow...

Activating the Magus's arcane pool weapon bonus is a swift action, starting a Bardic Performance is a standard action - so the Magus is ahead there... although the Bard can start his performance as a move action at level 7 and a swift action at level 13, so the Magus's advantage is eroded over the course of play.

The Magus can use (and cast in) medium armour at level 7, and heavy armour at level 13. The Arcane Duelist Bard gets medium armour at 10 and heavy at 16, so in that respect he is three levels behind the Magus, but ultimately catches up.

The Arcane Duelist Bard gains 6 bonus Feats over the course of his career, the Magus gets 3 (but has more choice in selecting them).

The Arcane Duelist gains an arcane bond weapon. The Magus can take the Bladebound archetype to gain a Black Blade, but loses arcane pool points, his ability to gain a familiar, and one of his arcana to do so. Also, an Arcane Duelist who keeps his arcane bound weapon's enchantments up to date (he can, of course, enchant it as if he had the correct item creation Feat) will increase his weapons bonuses faster than a Black Blade does by levelling (but at the cost of time an money).

All in all, so far, the Arcane Duelist seems to easily come out on top. He gets more skill points, class skills, Feats, and better AC than the Magus, and can use his combat boosting abilties to help out his allies as well as himself. Where he lags a little behind the Magus (such as acquiring heavier armour use, and raw combat bonuses) he catches up over the course of a few levels, and by high-level play is equal to the Magus even in these things.

As casters, the Magus is a prepared caster and the Bard spontaneous. The Magus has an easier time learning new spells (which gets close-to automatic once he gets the Knowledge Pool class feature) and can use Pearls of Power to boost his number of effective casting slots. The Magus suffers from a restricted spell list, mostly focused on combat, whereas the Bard has a more universally useful spell list (inluding healing and utility, as well as some combat). The Magus mitigates this a little at high level and / or with spending arcana to learn spells from the Wizard / Sorcerer list.

The Magus gets the pseudo-spontaneous Spell Recall feature, but it eats into his (tiny) arcane pool - although Improved Spell Recall at level 11 makes this much more worthwhile.

The Magus gets Spell Combat and Spellstrike, so he can cast and melee at the same time, whereas the Bard is more likely to cast or melee (although there are several immediate action Bard spells floating about...).

Generally, the Arcane Duelist is looking like he's more survivable in melee (via shield-use for a better AC), is helping the whole team, has more skills, and has a more comprehensive spell list. He also looks to have a longer adventuring 'work day'.

The Magus looks to have some more raw casting power, but a limited spell list, is geared towards one-shot damaging spells delivered via Spellstrike, and seems to have a relatively short 'work day' due to the tiny arcane pool, and the spells he's tending towards using (although this latter isn't fixed - a clever Magus will use longer lasting combat buffs, and temper the temptation to blow a lot of damaging spells via Spellstrike).

All in all I'd suggest that, on balance, the Arcane Duelist is looking like a better caster + melee character: he's more use to the group, more survivable, and has a better selection of spells and skills.

The Magus would probably beat the Arcane Duelist in a one-to-one duel, because he's more focused on 'nova-ing' his spells and abilities, but is little help to anyone but himself. Being a prepared caster with spontaneous leanings gives him more raw casting power than the Arcane Duelist too. He also gets a cooler-looking iconic... ;)

One final note - although I'm almost loathe to mention it - the Arcane Duelist also has a better chance to benefit from the Eldritch Heritage Feat chain which, chosen well (such as aiming for Strength of the Abyss), can bump him head-and-shoulders above the Magus in terms of being a magical-melee warrior.

All completely IMHO, natch! :)


I'll have to read over Arcane Duelist. The Bard has never appealed to me so that's probably why I never considered the arcane duelist but you've made some interesting points though. Thanks for your analysis on this.


I once said Id prefer a bard of another class.... while this comment ws pre magus, I think ?I will repeat it, I'd sooner go for the bard over the magus...

Star Voter 2013

While I would rather play an Arcane Duelist than a Magus myself, please note you are going to be in range for a +3 buckler before you equal the shield spell. A wand of shield is much cheaper and more available at low levels than a +3 shield. A Magus could also equip a mithral buckler, the non-proficiency would not hurt him.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

You're leaving out the Magus's general enhanced damage capacity via Spellstrike and Spell Combat with a cantrip, as well as his Arcana (a benefit the Bard simply lacks).

That said, I definitely agree that an Arcane Duelist is on par with a Magus and otherwise a very dangerous customer.


Let's not forget that with spell recall the Magus effectively has more castings perday of their spells.

Lastly we can't forget that in general the magus is a much faster action oriented character than a bard. He can still throw out what few mass buffs he has while doing a full attack.

Silver Crusade

It is very hard to pass up +4 to hit and damage for the party. Starting at level 7 preform is a move action so first round.

move action Inspire courage +2 standard action good hope +2.


This otherwise well thought out and thorough discussion does miss one salient point, however.

The Magus is the kid in the black leather jacket, who rides his motorcycle to school.

The Bard is a band/theater/choir geek.

I mean, I'm no one to judge - I was a D&D geek from the time I was in third grade - but that's just how it is. It's hard to be a bad-ass when your power depends, however briefly, on performance when the other guy uses raw, arcane power.

Marathon Voter 2013

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

In PF, a bard's performance can be anything, even smashing his enemies bones.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Cheapy wrote:
In PF, a bard's performance can be anything, even smashing his enemies bones.

The Arcane Duelist also can use Intimidate in place of Perform for its "rallying cry" ability.

Sovereign Court

Interestingly, my current home campaign has both a magus(myself) and an arcane duelist in it, and while we stand on very equal ground, we have found that the arcane duelist is limited by the time given in a round. The spell combat ability in conjunction with spellstrike is devastatingly effective in a short amount of time, especially with spells such as chill touch that allow multiple touches. What has recently offset the time problem is the spell allegro, tipping the full attack damage scale back towards equal ground.


Cheapy wrote:
In PF, a bard's performance can be anything, even smashing his enemies bones.

Really? I'll admit I'm new to PF, but it does say you have to use the Perform skill, which includes:

Act (comedy, drama, pantomime)
Comedy (buffoonery, limericks, joke-telling)
Dance (ballet, waltz, jig)
Keyboard instruments (harpsichord, piano, pipe organ)
Oratory (epic, ode, storytelling)
Percussion instruments (bells, chimes, drums, gong)
String instruments (fiddle, harp, lute, mandolin)
Wind instruments (flute, pan pipes, recorder, trumpet)
Sing (ballad, chant, melody)

So unless I'm missing something from a different book, or a different part of the book (the organization can be a little byzantine), I'd have a hard time putting combat into any of those.

Okay, maybe you're a sword dancer. Or a viking who chants while he hews. Or, stretching a bit, you count your club against a goblin's noggin as "percussion instruments" after a fashion. But as written, it sure looks like you, at least as a bog standard Bard, and with allowances for Intimidation in the case of the AD, are locked into some manner of fer-real performance.

Am I missing something? Or just being a bit RAW in my relative newness to the system?

Marathon Voter 2013

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

The only abilities that require a Perform check are Countersong and Distraction. Ignoring those, there is no use for Bards to take Perform ranks for reasons other than RP and Versatile Performance. This is the case precisely because of the issue you brought up.

Grand Lodge

Cheapy wrote:
The only abilities that require a Perform check are Countersong and Distraction. Ignoring those, there is no use for Bards to take Perform ranks for reasons other than RP and Versatile Performance. This is the case precisely because of the issue you brought up.

I am glad this was posted I was actually doing a side by side comparison - One thing I got is the Arcane Duelist has that BladeSinger 2nd ed(and 3rd ed - though I never liked the 3rd ed version) feel to it.

The Magus does feel like the 'Cool', and 'badboy' mage. Something like the hyper-agressive teenage nerd who was really into gun mags and martial arts.

Funnily enough Elves work for both - though probably best for the Magus.

I think one of the other benefits to Bards is for the cost of one spell slot they can also heal wounds - either as an emergency or when there are unused spell slots when they are retiring for the day or even in between adventuring periods to speed up party recovery... Something the Magus lacks.


Good point made on Mithril Bucklers which EVENTUALLY can provide better AC.
(only when not using that hand for attacking/casting, but that goes for the Bard also)
Obviously, Shield spell is better until you can afford a bling Buckler (though Shield Focus helps),
although it requires prep / casting action to get up, using up Magus` casting action economy advantage.

I don`t know why the OP couldn`t just say it: Fort is a better Save to have than Reflex.
At the least, you want/need Evasion (if not Imp. Evasion) to justify Reflex over Fort.
(there ARE some powerful and surprising effects - not just dmg - keyed to Reflex which can surprise those optimizing Will and Fort, but they are surprises for a reason, Will and Fort are the generally more important Saves)

Another bit left out by OP was related to Feats...
Magus levels DO count partially towards Fighter-level Pre-Req Feats,
which just on the flat obvious boring ones like Greater Weapon Focus and Wpn Spec / GWS,
should bring them ahead of the Bard as a combatant all day, all night, without nova`ing spells.
Magus` Martial Weapon Proficiency also is extra valuable if you have Racial Exotics opened up that way... Dwarven Bastard Sw... ahem, War Axe is pretty damn nice.

ANOTHER bit left out is that if you are relying on Arcane Duelist variant Bards to make the comparison,
you are missing out on other options Bards may have, including Familiars as a built-in feature.
(which most Magus` can choose)
At minimum, a Familiar can be a very reliable Flank partner (w/ Aid Another), bringing to-hit higher,
not to mention their generally awesome effect on action economy, etc.
(which Magus already rocks at, especially if you care about things besides what Performance can do)

I agree that the Arcane Duelist Bladethirst is a nice ability... But ultimately it makes more sense to use it on an ALLY (Full BAB type) than the Bard themself, which brings the Arcane Duelist back into normal `party buffer` Bard territory.

Both classes are very viable and useful, but I don`t think Magus is out-done at his own schtick by anybody.

Sovereign Court

Helaman wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
The only abilities that require a Perform check are Countersong and Distraction. Ignoring those, there is no use for Bards to take Perform ranks for reasons other than RP and Versatile Performance. This is the case precisely because of the issue you brought up.

I am glad this was posted I was actually doing a side by side comparison - One thing I got is the Arcane Duelist has that BladeSinger 2nd ed(and 3rd ed - though I never liked the 3rd ed version) feel to it.

The Magus does feel like the 'Cool', and 'badboy' mage. Something like the hyper-agressive teenage nerd who was really into gun mags and martial arts.

Funnily enough Elves work for both - though probably best for the Magus.

I think one of the other benefits to Bards is for the cost of one spell slot they can also heal wounds - either as an emergency or when there are unused spell slots when they are retiring for the day or even in between adventuring periods to speed up party recovery... Something the Magus lacks.

Don't forget that false life and the recently introduced infernal healing, while it won't help in combat in an emergency, works fine to get that health boost and keep it between encounters. Also, vampiric touch can be used with spellstrike, and doesn't take you out of the round just to heal. I don't think that learning a cure spell helps the bard much, except at lower levels... thoughts?

Grand Lodge

Enaris wrote:
Don't forget that false life and the recently introduced infernal healing, while it won't help in combat in an emergency, works fine to get that health boost and keep it between encounters. Also, vampiric touch can be used with spellstrike, and doesn't take you out of the round just to heal. I don't think that learning a cure spell helps the bard much, except at lower levels... thoughts?

I had forgotten those... they do help the situation some.

Prehaps my point is that Arcane Duellist has more overall flexiblity in roles and team utility than the Magus

Star Voter 2013

Enaris wrote:
Interestingly, my current home campaign has both a magus(myself) and an arcane duelist in it, and while we stand on very equal ground, we have found that the arcane duelist is limited by the time given in a round. The spell combat ability in conjunction with spellstrike is devastatingly effective in a short amount of time, especially with spells such as chill touch that allow multiple touches. What has recently offset the time problem is the spell allegro, tipping the full attack damage scale back towards equal ground.

If your buddy has some cash, he can invest in a rod of quicken least. At 8th level he can then cast a spell, sing as a move action, and cast a quickened spell in the same round, most people tend to go with inspire courage, good hope, and haste.

Liberty's Edge

My solution for the healing with the Magus, was really obvious, Hexcrafter. Yeah you lose spell recall, but some of those hex's are on par with extra spells. Alternatively, Use Magic Device is a class skill.

Arcane Duelist gets acces to some very handy feats ealier than the Magus though. Disruptive, and Spellbreaker, which are requirements Ray Shield (An insanely useful feat). I can't help but maximize my shield by tacking shield focus, block missiles, ray shield. Many of the most painful spells are rays. Improved counterspell, and parry spell can also be used effectively by Arcane Duelists.

I'm still at odds with the Masterful performances...seeing that they are really only viable to human bards, who can afford to sacrafice a spell. Though they can provide some great benefits, particularly mimicing 2nd and 3.0 haste effects.

A fight between the Arcane Duelist and Magus is an interesting concept though, given that one is build to heckle casters in melee and one that castes in the danger's of melee readily. The AD can summon creatures and eat up the Magus's action economy, and can maintain actions that can dispell or disrupt some spells. I'd say the Magus has one Critical advantage over the Arcane Duelist. Silence won't necessarily negate his abilities. Bard spells cannot be silenced. So the a smart bard would hoplfully rely on a whip and range trip or disarm. Thankfully the bard can still inspire himself in that deadly ring.

As it stands the Arcane Duelist, Magus, and Inquisitor are my favorite options to play. I'd love to play a game with all three as a party.


ProfPotts,
Very well thought out and thank you for taking the time. While I like the flash-bang of the magus, it is good to know the arcane duelist is a good melee-caster also. I remember your discussion which basically proved a magus was a better evoker than an evoker.

Thanks, Doug

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

DougErvin wrote:

ProfPotts,

Very well thought out and thank you for taking the time. While I like the flash-bang of the magus, it is good to know the arcane duelist is a good melee-caster also. I remember your discussion which basically proved a magus was a better evoker than an evoker.

Thanks, Doug

I should point out that the AD is not limited to melee weapons. I suppose if you want to be a ranged caster, just be a wizard or sorcerer, but if you want something of the arcane archer flavor (whether you take that PrC or not), AD is certainly a route you could go.

The Exchange

Glutton wrote:
While I would rather play an Arcane Duelist than a Magus myself, please note you are going to be in range for a +3 buckler before you equal the shield spell. A wand of shield is much cheaper and more available at low levels than a +3 shield. A Magus could also equip a mithral buckler, the non-proficiency would not hurt him.

No Arcane Duelist worth the name will be using a buckler... at least not for long. As a Bard the guy suffers no ASF for using shields, and as an Arcane Duelist he can use the hand holding his arcane bond weapon for spell gestures. As Gravefiller613 notes, the Arcane Duelist gets a lot out of concentrating on shield Feats so, assuming he picks up Shield Focus early, and is using a heavy shield, all he needs is a +1 Shield to match the Shield spell (but, of course, last all day). By the time he picks up Ray Shield he's likely to be rocking a magical heavy adamantine shield (to take the ray hits better). Despite the archetype name, the Arcane Duelist ends up as a guy in full plate with a heavy shield and a longsword - he's more of an arcane knight in that respect.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
You're leaving out the Magus's general enhanced damage capacity via Spellstrike and Spell Combat with a cantrip, as well as his Arcana (a benefit the Bard simply lacks).

Spell Combat is reducing the Magus's chance to hit by 2 (at least) in return for a chance of casting a spell (if he doesn't get AoO'd so bad he loses the spell). In contrast that -2 on a Power Attack equals +4 damage on all your attacks, or with Combat Expertise a +2 bonus to AC. Of course, the Arcane Duelist can go Two-Weapon Fighting too, of he wants (shield bash FTW!), and match the Magus's number of attacks without the need to attempt a spell and possibly soak an AoO to do so. The Magus doesn't win here so much as it seems at first glance.

As for the Arcana - yes, there are a couple of good ones - but then again the Bard / Arcane Duelist also has all those performances I didn't mention as well... Several of the Magus Arcana do little more than simulate a metamagic rod, once per day, and others leech from his arcane pool (which is too small to start with, really) - it's an easy trap to fall into to build a Magus which novas everything he's got very quickly. Better Arcana, like Familiar and the wand Arcana, help the Magus out, of course, but I can't imagine an Arcane Duelist worrying about not having Arcana...

TarkXT wrote:
Let's not forget that with spell recall the Magus effectively has more castings perday of their spells.

Yes, I agree - although using that feature leechs his arcane pool. He's better off using the fact he's a prepared spellcaster and hording Pearls of Power to maximise his advantage in raw casting numbers, IMHO.

TarkXT wrote:
Lastly we can't forget that in general the magus is a much faster action oriented character than a bard. He can still throw out what few mass buffs he has while doing a full attack.

He certainly can (and should) be better with action economy, if played well. Full attack + 5ft step + casting is a much better proposal for the Magus most of the time than trying to do clever things with casting whilst still threatened and Spellstrike (which, I'd suggest, is often best used for those multiple touch spells like Chill Touch). The question becomes how much is the Magus's full attack routine (at a -2 to hit) worth to the group, over and above guys who just cast and forget the full attack? The answer will, of course, depend on the group and the campaign - in a small group without any full-on melee characters then the Magus's full attack could well make a huge difference. In a larger group with a couple of full BAB guys up front, it could be little more than the cherry on the top of combat...

Jason Packer 445 wrote:

This otherwise well thought out and thorough discussion does miss one salient point, however.

The Magus is the kid in the black leather jacket, who rides his motorcycle to school.

The Bard is a band/theater/choir geek.

I mean, I'm no one to judge - I was a D&D geek from the time I was in third grade - but that's just how it is. It's hard to be a bad-ass when your power depends, however briefly, on performance when the other guy uses raw, arcane power.

LOL!

Of course, the game mechanics have it the other way round entirely - the Magus is the guy with high Intelligence who dumped Charisma (AKA the 'geek') whereas the Arcane Duelist has the highest Charisma in the group (next to his hot Sorcereress girlfriend) - RAW, the Arcane Duelist is 'cooler'... ;)

Quandary wrote:

Another bit left out by OP was related to Feats...

Magus levels DO count partially towards Fighter-level Pre-Req Feats,
which just on the flat obvious boring ones like Greater Weapon Focus and Wpn Spec / GWS,
should bring them ahead of the Bard as a combatant all day, all night, without nova`ing spells.
Magus` Martial Weapon Proficiency also is extra valuable if you have Racial Exotics opened up that way... Dwarven Bastard Sw... ahem, War Axe is pretty damn nice.

The Arcane Duelist, as bonus Feats, gets four Fighter-only Feats, whilst it seems the Magus, at most, gets 5 from levels (not getting Fighter Training until level 10) and 2 from bonus Feats. However, by level 20 a Magus still only qualifies for level 10 Fighter-only Feats. That means he's still locked out of a lot of the top-notch Fighter-only Feats (such as Penetrating Strike and Greater penetrating Strike - which the Arcane Duelist gets as bonus Feats) including Greater Weapon Specialization. Sure, he can pick-up Weapon Specialisation at level 11, but then what? He can take Disruptive at 13, Greater Weapon Focus at 17, and... that's about it really, since the few others he ever qualifies for cover shield or ranged weapon use, and all the good ones are for Fighters of level 10+.

The usefulness of the Magus's Fighter Training feature may well get a big boost from Ultimate Combat, of course, but for now it's mostly an illusion.

Dwarven war axe is, IMHO, a bit of a naff choice for a Magus weapon. To leverage the most out of Spellstrike you need to look at the weapon's critical range, not critical multipler ('cos the threat range passes over to the spell, the multiplier doesn't). Dwarven war axe + Spellstrike is a bit of a waste. The best exotic for the Magus is, ironically enough, the whip - which the Bard gets and the Magus doesn't - as it allows Spellstriking and Spell Combat at range.

Quandary wrote:

ANOTHER bit left out is that if you are relying on Arcane Duelist variant Bards to make the comparison,

you are missing out on other options Bards may have, including Familiars as a built-in feature.
(which most Magus` can choose)
At minimum, a Familiar can be a very reliable Flank partner (w/ Aid Another), bringing to-hit higher,
not to mention their generally awesome effect on action economy, etc.
(which Magus already rocks at, especially if you care about things besides what Performance can do)

Not 'left out' as much as 'not part of the proposed comparison'. :)

Yeah, Familiars rock - and the Magus should always take the Familiar Arcana and the Improved Familiar feat at level 3 (starting with a celestial / fiendish goat and switching to a small elemental as soon as he hits level 5) IMHO, since he benefits a lot from a 'combat Familiar', and (thanks to the way Familiars work off the master's Hit Points and BAB) generally gets the toughest Familiar on the block out of the deal. Of course, if he's gone Bladebound then he's bang out of luck...

Quandary wrote:
I agree that the Arcane Duelist Bladethirst is a nice ability... But ultimately it makes more sense to use it on an ALLY (Full BAB type) than the Bard themself, which brings the Arcane Duelist back into normal `party buffer` Bard territory.

The Arcane Duelist's ability to choose to buff either himself or his friends with Bladethirst is hardly a point in the Magus's favour... ;)

Enaris wrote:
Don't forget that false life and the recently introduced infernal healing, while it won't help in combat in an emergency, works fine to get that health boost and keep it between encounters. Also, vampiric touch can be used with spellstrike, and doesn't take you out of the round just to heal. I don't think that learning a cure spell helps the bard much, except at lower levels... thoughts?

Yes - all Magus players should definitly get ahold of the Inner Sea World Guide, just for the few extra, juicy, spell options they get - Infernal Healing being the big one. The Magus doesn't get False Life on his list, but it's a solid pick for the Spell Blending Arcana. Vampiric Touch looks like a very nice use of Spellstrike.

Generally, how much healing any character needs to worry about depends a lot on the group composition - if you have a Cleric or Oracle of LIfe handling the duties then you're freed up to worry about other stuff. But just having Cure spells (or Infernal Healing) on your list is nice anyway, for out of combat wand use if nothing else.

Gravefiller613 wrote:
My solution for the healing with the Magus, was really obvious, Hexcrafter. Yeah you lose spell recall, but some of those hex's are on par with extra spells. Alternatively, Use Magic Device is a class skill.

I'd agree that Hexcrafter is probably the closest to a 'must have' archetype for the Magus - you gain a lot and don't really lose anything except delaying your gaining of Spell Recall (which is essentially Pearls of Power as a class feature which drains your arcane pool). Aside from a couple, Hexes are going to be better choices than Magus Arcana anyway - and the fact you eventually gain access to Major and Grand Hexes as well pretty much seals the deal. Not to mention the expanded spell list (every little helps the Magus when it comes to his spell list...).

Gravefiller613 wrote:
As it stands the Arcane Duelist, Magus, and Inquisitor are my favorite options to play. I'd love to play a game with all three as a party.

An all 'semi' classes party is an interesting idea - no full BAB or full spellcaster Classes. Hmmmm...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think Magus vs Arcane Duelist the Arcane Duelist would win. The big reason, the bonus feats that the Arcane Duelist gets. Disruptive and Spell Breaker. Not feat I normally take with fighter but free for the Arcane Duelist. Add step up and the Magus will suffer if they try to use Spell Combat. Basically if you know you fighting a Arcane Duelist don't cast in combat hope they don't don't have the step up feat.

Not saying the Magus is weak but if I was playing a Magus I'd rather have AD bard as party member than fight one as member of an enemy party.

Liberty's Edge

voska66 wrote:

I think Magus vs Arcane Duelist the Arcane Duelist would win. The big reason, the bonus feats that the Arcane Duelist gets. Disruptive and Spell Breaker. Not feat I normally take with fighter but free for the Arcane Duelist. Add step up and the Magus will suffer if they try to use Spell Combat. Basically if you know you fighting a Arcane Duelist don't cast in combat hope they don't don't have the step up feat.

Not saying the Magus is weak but if I was playing a Magus I'd rather have AD bard as party member than fight one as member of an enemy party.

It can go eitherway. The Builds i make with my AD's are designed to make combat hard for casters. The Magus is a caster who can handle combat.

I would not say that it's impossible for either to win, however. Silence is a big hamper to the AD. It's easier for the Magus to nova, but at the same time they also have a better combat spell list.

The AD on the otherhand gets a lot of great stacking buffs and utility abilities that can make combat more difficult for the Magus.

It all comes down to the exact builds and the players behind them, in my opinion. Still it'd be great to watch the fight play out.

Grand Lodge

These would make a GREAT duo for RP - either Siblings or college rivalry on who is best/what is superior etc.


ProfPotts wrote:

Of the two, the Bard gets more skill points (6 Vs the Magus's 2).

The Magus has three class skills the Bard doesn't get (Fly, Ride, and Swim). The Bard has twenty-seven class skills the Magus doesn't get (Acrobatics, Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, seven Knowledge Skills, Linguistics, Perception, nine Perform Skills, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth).

On skills, the Bard is clearly superior all round.

I have to agree with you on the range of skills they certainly have a advantage but it should be noted that the magus does use int for his primary casting ability so he is likely to be closer to the bard then the 6 vs 2 skill points presented. How much ground he makes on the bard is debatable though.

ProfPotts wrote:


The Magus gets all Martial Weapon proficiencies, the Bard gets a few select ones, and whip. The Bard is also profiencient with the use of a shield (and can cast whilst using one), whereas the Magus isn't. The Magus is also, essentially, limited to one-handed melee weapons if he wants to make the most use of his class features.

While the Magus's has a greater amount of weapon proficiencies, his class features essentially restrict him to actually using hardly anything the Bard couldn't use anyway. The Magus may opt for a scimitar Vs a rapier (aiming for a Dervish Dance build), but the difference isn't really a huge one IMHO.

I agree with you for a primary damage weapon but the access to martial weapons can provide the magus with alternatives when using CMB style attacks or when dealing with unique situations such as using a lance from horse back. A ranged weapon is a good idea for any character and the long bow is pretty much the best so that is a mark in his favor and has been mentioned his arcane pool allows him to do pretty well at range with the weapon.

ProfPotts wrote:


The Magus's lack of shield use is more telling, however. He can make up the AC difference at low levels by using a lot of Shield spells (burning resources one way or another), but once magic shields start to come into it, the balance swings definitively the Bard's way.

while AC is important both classes are better off using their magic to provide alternate protection that does not rely on AC.

ProfPotts wrote:


The Arcane Duelist gains an arcane bond weapon. The Magus can take the Bladebound archetype to gain a Black Blade, but loses arcane pool points, his ability to gain a familiar, and one of his arcana to do so.

I would like to point out that a arcane bond weapon can be as much a disadvantage as it can be an advantage. Since it will cause trouble for the wielder if he is disarmed or destroyed hampering spell casting. It also pretty much guarantees he will have it in hand every combat if he wants to cast and use the shield.

ProfPotts wrote:


The arcane pool mostly stacks pure damage properties, whilst the Bladethirst adds a greater variety of effects - such as defending, distance, or returning.

I have to disagree the arcane pool is much more flexible since it can be used for more things then simply pumping a weapon. providing to hit bonuses, AC bonuses, Spell recall, a haste effect, etc.

ProfPotts wrote:


The Magus his Intelligence bonus +1/2 levels arcane pool points. The Bard gets Charisma bonus +(2x class level) +2 rounds of Bardic Performance. While the Magus's arcane pool weapon boost lasts a minute a time (so, a whole fight per point), the Bard's performance is measured in rounds. However, in any fight which lasts less than a full minute, the Magus is essentially wasting power, while the Bard can stop his performance at any time. An Intelligence 16 level 1 Magus may be able to use his arcane pool weapon enhancement in 4 fights, but the Charisma 16 Bard can use his 7 rounds of performance over up to seven fights. If the Bard takes (and uses) the Lingering Performance Feat he can, essentially, triple the number of rounds he can boost the whole party (and his 7 rounds of performance may well be able to be spread over seven fights in such a case). In the end, the Bard is more likely to be able to spread his combat-boosting usefulness over the course of the adventuring day.

You seem to hate the arcane pool ability since you seem to bash it a lot. Lingering Performance does potentially triple the bards performance time in the right circumstances but to make a proper comparison you should mention Extra Arcane Pool for the magus. It can be taken multiple times to increase arcane pool size.

I agree that their are a several abilities that use the arcane pool that are gluttons but most of the out of the box abilities are worth the expenditure such as spell recall I understand that pearls of power are fairly cheap for 1st level spells but they don't have the appeal of a swift action for emergency I need that spell to recast this round action. Even a few of the abilities that are inefficient have their uses such as arcane strike to get past BBEG's AC it is one of those situational abilities that can shine in the right situation.

As a whole I will give it to the Arcane duelist for being able to fill more gaps in a group but a Magus is really the only one that can do what he does squeeze more actions in the same round. That means a Magus works as a combat multiplier in a group while the Arcane Duelist is still the jack of all trades guy.

The Exchange

Narrater wrote:
I have to agree with you on the range of skills they certainly have a advantage but it should be noted that the magus does use int for his primary casting ability so he is likely to be closer to the bard then the 6 vs 2 skill points presented. How much ground he makes on the bard is debatable though.

Right - if the Magus happens to have eight more points of Intelligence than the Bard then he catches up skill point-wise.

Narrater wrote:
I agree with you for a primary damage weapon but the access to martial weapons can provide the magus with alternatives when using CMB style attacks or when dealing with unique situations such as using a lance from horse back. A ranged weapon is a good idea for any character and the long bow is pretty much the best so that is a mark in his favor and has been mentioned his arcane pool allows him to do pretty well at range with the weapon.

The lance is a very nice weapon for a Magus (what being a one-handed reach weapon and all) when he gets to be mounted (he gets Ride as a class skill too, so why not?). The flail is an excellent choice for a Magus focusing on combat maneuvers. Longbow is also good, only Spell Combat and Spellstrike don't work with it. The arcane pool weapon boost does work with it - but lacks some of the better range-based extras the Arcane Duelist's Bladethirst performance can provide (distance, seeking, and returning too if using a thrown weapon).

Narrater wrote:
while AC is important both classes are better off using their magic to provide alternate protection that does not rely on AC.

True - although both have to wait until they hit level 2 spells before getting into the Blur and Mirror Image territory.

Narrater wrote:
I would like to point out that a arcane bond weapon can be as much a disadvantage as it can be an advantage. Since it will cause trouble for the wielder if he is disarmed or destroyed hampering spell casting. It also pretty much guarantees he will have it in hand every combat if he wants to cast and use the shield.

'As much a disadvantage' seems way too strong. Yes, there are some limits which come with an arcane bond weapon, but the advantages far outweigh them - the ability to enchant it as if you had the relevant Item Crafting Feats, it only works for you, you get that extra spell per day, and the Arcane Duelist can use it for gestures as well. The rules for magical weapons being broken help to protect the arcane bond weapon in the first place, and if damaged it heals back to full the next time the character prepares spells.

Narrater wrote:
I have to disagree the arcane pool is much more flexible since it can be used for more things then simply pumping a weapon. providing to hit bonuses, AC bonuses, Spell recall, a haste effect, etc.

You quoted me out of context - I was refering to the arcane pool's 'weapon boosting' in the bit you quoted. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I do wish they'd actually named that ability something specific, as typing 'the arcane pool's weapon boosting ability' every time is tedious in the extreme... plus, I recall a lot of people asked for it to be called... something... anything... during the play test, to avoid just such an issue... ;)

Narrater wrote:
You seem to hate the arcane pool ability since you seem to bash it a lot. Lingering Performance does potentially triple the bards performance time in the right circumstances but to make a proper comparison you should mention Extra Arcane Pool for the magus. It can be taken multiple times to increase arcane pool size.

First up, suggesting I 'hate' anything involved in a game, I find to be an extreme thing to say.

Secondly, it's not true. I'm not trying to 'bash' the class feature, more illustrate that it's a valuable resource which is very easy to mismanage. Compared to similar 'pools' for other Classes the Magus gets a tiny amount of 'points', and is tempted with a lot of class features which can draw on those points.

Mechanically, the Magus's arcane pool is based on the Monk's Ki pool... but the Monk's already been happily doing his thing for three full levels before he even gets his Ki pool, and can do most of his stuff without using it - if anything, the Monk's Ki pool is the cherry on the top of his class features. The Magus isn't really like that. Unlike the Monk and his Flurry of Blows, the Magus needs to be using his arcane pool to boost his weapon in order to simulate a full BAB progression. Without a Monk's Flurry, or a Rogue Sneak Attack, or anything similar, when he's not using his arcane pool to boost his weapon in melee, the Magus is - by the numbers - falling behind the curve. So, all things being equal, a Magus can probably expect to want to be boosting his weapon via his arcane pool in every encounter. A standard day's adventuring (whatever that means) is 4 to 6 encounters - so he needs 4 to 6 arcane pool points just to keep up to speed in combat. At level 1 he'd need an Intelligence of 20 just to hit 6 arcane pool points. He doesn't get a second point from levels until he hits level 4 (a Bladebound Magus doesn't get a second arcane pool point from levels until he hits level 6!).

Comparing Lingering Performance and Extra Arcane Pool doesn't come out well for the Magus. Lingering Performance potentially triples the Bard's performance rounds per day, and he gets an extra 2 rounds every level (so, Lingering Performance is potentially adding 4 rounds of performance each and every level, for the cost of one Feat). Extra Arcane Pool adds a flat 2 points.

Put another way, a level 20 Bard gets 42 rounds of Bardic Performance from his class levels alone, and Lingering Performance can make that the equivalent of 126 rounds. That's over twelve and a half minutes of continuous performance per day. A level 20 Magus gets 10 minutes of arcane pool weapon boost from his class levels, twelve minutes if he took the Extra Arcane Pool Feat once (to match the Bard's Feat expenditure on Lingering Performance). Not only that, but the Bard can split that into 42 different performances, over 42 fights if needs be. The Magus can only divide that into 12. The amount added by the characters Ability Scores increases the frequency of use equally for each class, but does increase the total amount of time by more for the Magus.

Lingering Performance is a big boost for a Bard. Extra Arcane Pool is, at best, patching a hole for the Magus.

Narrater wrote:
I agree that their are a several abilities that use the arcane pool that are gluttons but most of the out of the box abilities are worth the expenditure such as spell recall I understand that pearls of power are fairly cheap for 1st level spells but they don't have the appeal of a swift action for emergency I need that spell to recast this round action. Even a few of the abilities that are inefficient have their uses such as arcane strike to get past BBEG's AC it is one of those situational abilities that can shine in the right situation.

The Magus potentially gets a lot of 'situational' and 'arcane pool glutton' class features, if he's not careful. A lot of the Arcana pale compared to just casting the relevant spells (especially once he gets Improved Spell Recall and can cast level 3 spells for the cost of one arcane pool point). 1 pool point for Hasted Assault or 1 pool point to cast an actual Haste spell? 1 pool point for Arcane Accuracy, or 1 pool point to cast True Strike? They're the 'oops - I forgot to...' Arcana - which can be great if the situation you've forgotten to plan for crops up, but just aren't really a good trade for a precious arcane pool point, IMHO. Also, don't forget these things tend to eat your swift action - so bang goes that nice Arcane Strike Feat damage bonus you were rocking (assuming the Magus takes Arcane Strike... and why wouldn't he?)...

The Magus class can rock, if the character's built with some forethought and played well, and archetypes like the Bladebound Magus are just chock full of role-play potential (if not quite optimal from a mechanical standpoint). The Hexcrafter archetype in particular does a lot to cover the Magus's bigger weaknesses (his narrow-focused spell list and lack of 'at will' all-day abilities), and the Staff Magus is more what I picture when I hear the word 'magus' (and can leverage a better AC than the vanilla Magus too...).

But, when all's said and done, I still think the Arcane Duelist is of more use to a group.


ProfPotts wrote:

Comparing Lingering Performance and Extra Arcane Pool doesn't come out well for the Magus. Lingering Performance potentially triples the Bard's performance rounds per day, and he gets an extra 2 rounds every level (so, Lingering Performance is potentially adding 4 rounds of performance each and every level, for the cost of one Feat). Extra Arcane Pool adds a flat 2 points.

Put another way, a level 20 Bard gets 42 rounds of Bardic Performance from his class levels alone, and Lingering Performance can make that the equivalent of 126 rounds. That's over twelve and a half minutes of continuous performance per day. A level 20 Magus gets 10 minutes of arcane pool weapon boost from his class levels, twelve minutes if he took the Extra Arcane Pool Feat once (to match the Bard's Feat expenditure on Lingering Performance). Not only that, but the Bard can split that into 42 different performances, over 42 fights if needs be. The Magus can only divide that into 12. The amount added by the characters Ability Scores increases the frequency of use equally for each class, but does increase the total amount of time by more for the Magus.

If we go off of pure use time with your performances with the lingering performance feat and comparing it to the magus's arcane pool with the single bump the bard does come out slightly ahead. However each modification from the primary casting stat benefits the magus more then the bard for pure length of usage even with the lingering performance feat.

The Arcane Duelist will always have more individual uses making their battle enhancements easier to doll out exactly but assuming every battle will be exactly 3 rds or less isn't practical. I don't know about your experiences but most fights I have seen are about twice that long if not longer.

A direct comparison between the lingering performance and the Extra arcane pool feat is hard to do well. The extra arcane pool gives 2 extra uses of a magus's pool ability free and clear and the ability to take it multiple times while lingering performance provides a situational bump a very nice one but it does have limitations at lower levels primarily its action usage to reactivate every several rounds to maximize your performances. That isn't a big deal unless the Arcane Duelist is deep in a fight and he has to make the choice between a single strike or maybe only a move action but keeping his buffs up or a full round of actions and loosing his performance buffs.

ProfPotts wrote:


Right - if the Magus happens to have eight more points of Intelligence than the Bard then he catches up skill point-wise.

I am not saying he will be his equal only that the 2 vs 6 point comparison doesn't tell the whole story. Intelligence isn't as important to a Arcane Duelist as it is to a Magus I can easily see a 10 or 12 in most builds for them while the Magus builds I have seen generally have at least a 16 and a few have 18 in intelligence out of the gate. Again I want to reiterate I certainly feel Bards clearly win in skills points and skill selection that is one of their things.

What is more useful to a group is rather subjective and can really depend on what they already have and the tactics that they use.

The Exchange

Narrater wrote:
If we go off of pure use time with your performances with the lingering performance feat and comparing it to the magus's arcane pool with the single bump the bard does come out slightly ahead. However each modification from the primary casting stat benefits the magus more then the bard for pure length of usage even with the lingering performance feat.

Yes... that's what I said...

Narrater wrote:
The Arcane Duelist will always have more individual uses making their battle enhancements easier to doll out exactly but assuming every battle will be exactly 3 rds or less isn't practical. I don't know about your experiences but most fights I have seen are about twice that long if not longer.

No-one assumes every battle will be 3 rounds or less, but the Bard loses nothing, apart from a standard action every third round (which can be a pretty big loss) using Lingering Performance to extend his performance rounds - and it's not like he ever has to use it, he has the option to when it seems like a good idea.

The Magus is the class built around assuming every battle will be exactly one minute, or two minutes, or however many minutes long in duration - 'cos if it isn't he's wasting resources every time he uses his arcane pool to boost his weapon. This never happens to the Bard, because he's a one-round-at-a-time sort of a guy.

Put another way, a canny enemy, using hit and run tactics (say, a bunch of annoying goblins) could pop up, fire a few ranged attacks, then duck back out of sight. If the Magus fires up his arcane pool weapon enhancement every time, ready for the fight, he may get in one round of using it... then the other nine rounds are wasted as he chases down the sound of giggling goblins...

The Bard can fire up that one round... let it Linger... then not expend any more resources until the goblins are found again.


ProfPotts wrote:
Narrater wrote:
If we go off of pure use time with your performances with the lingering performance feat and comparing it to the magus's arcane pool with the single bump the bard does come out slightly ahead. However each modification from the primary casting stat benefits the magus more then the bard for pure length of usage even with the lingering performance feat.

Yes... that's what I said...

I misread the last bit when I posted but I am happy we agree on something ;)

ProfPotts wrote:
No-one assumes every battle will be 3 rounds or less,
ProfPotts wrote:
Not only that, but the Bard can split that into 42 different performances, over 42 fights if needs be.

It seemed like you where making that assertion to me but mehh maybe I was wrong.

ProfPotts wrote:


Put another way, a canny enemy, using hit and run tactics (say, a bunch of annoying goblins) could pop up, fire a few ranged attacks, then duck back out of sight. If the Magus fires up his arcane pool weapon enhancement every time, ready for the fight, he may get in one round of using it... then the other nine rounds are wasted as he chases down the sound of giggling goblins...

Canny enemies that work on your weaknesses is part of the game. You change your tactics. Its not like the magus has no other options available to him. Maybe he enhances his long bow with arcane strike and takes some long range pop shots of his own or uses a spell to stop them from retreating or enhances his own speed to catch up to them. Just because he can do some of his best work using the arcane pool at close range does not mean that using it is the best tactic in every situation.

I personally look at using the Arcane pool to bump my melee weapons only once I am within close combat range its a swift action I can afford to wait until I am properly positioned to take advantage of it but that's just me.

Grand Lodge

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

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

The Magus is what the Warmage wanted to be, but fell laughingly short of. a true union of spell and blade.

The Arcane Duellist is a fine character build but all in all it's a significantly different approach. They can both excel but they do it in very different areas.


LazarX wrote:

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

Actually the summoner has the same action economy advantage. Plus he doesn't have to wade into melee himself to do it.

Dark Archive

Has anybody played (or used as NPC) AD with two weapon fighting?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

Actually the summoner has the same action economy advantage. Plus he doesn't have to wade into melee himself to do it.

Yes, but it's a different economy. and irrelevant to the thread itself for the most part. The magus was specifically created for those who wanted the action economy of blasting with spells and swinging with swords in the same combat phase. The summoner is a pet/caster economy just like that of a conjuring wizard.


LazarX wrote:
thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

Actually the summoner has the same action economy advantage. Plus he doesn't have to wade into melee himself to do it.
Yes, but it's a different economy. and irrelevant to the thread itself for the most part. The magus was specifically created for those who wanted the action economy of blasting with spells and swinging with swords in the same combat phase. The summoner is a pet/caster economy just like that of a conjuring wizard.

Hey you brought other classes into this. I was just stating a fact. Your bolded claim is not accurate. A magus can squeeze out a full round of melee attack and cast a spell.

A summoner can cast a spell and have his pet pounce. Considering the eidolon is a stronger source of melee dpr than a magus, I think the comparison is fair.

Mechanically they have the same action economy. they both have the ability to cast in the same round as they make a full attack.


thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

Actually the summoner has the same action economy advantage. Plus he doesn't have to wade into melee himself to do it.
Yes, but it's a different economy. and irrelevant to the thread itself for the most part. The magus was specifically created for those who wanted the action economy of blasting with spells and swinging with swords in the same combat phase. The summoner is a pet/caster economy just like that of a conjuring wizard.

Hey you brought other classes into this. I was just stating a fact. Your bolded claim is not accurate. A magus can squeeze out a full round of melee attack and cast a spell.

A summoner can cast a spell and have his pet pounce. Considering the eidolon is a stronger source of melee dpr than a magus, I think the comparison is fair.

Mechanically they have the same action economy. they both have the ability to cast in the same round as they make a full attack.

I think for the sake of the thread I'd ask to keep it Arcane Duelist/Magus here. Else, we'll be dragging Druids/Clerics/Wizards and everyone else into this. I think it's safe to assume that Lazar meant having the capablity stuck in a single body rather than separated out amongst pets and such.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
TarkXT wrote:
thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thepuregamer wrote:
LazarX wrote:

The comparison leaves out the single defining element of the Magus which makes it a class like no other:

The singular action economy of full melee and spellcasting in the same round. This is what the magus is all about. And no other class comes close to duplicating this feature.

Actually the summoner has the same action economy advantage. Plus he doesn't have to wade into melee himself to do it.
Yes, but it's a different economy. and irrelevant to the thread itself for the most part. The magus was specifically created for those who wanted the action economy of blasting with spells and swinging with swords in the same combat phase. The summoner is a pet/caster economy just like that of a conjuring wizard.

Hey you brought other classes into this. I was just stating a fact. Your bolded claim is not accurate. A magus can squeeze out a full round of melee attack and cast a spell.

A summoner can cast a spell and have his pet pounce. Considering the eidolon is a stronger source of melee dpr than a magus, I think the comparison is fair.

Mechanically they have the same action economy. they both have the ability to cast in the same round as they make a full attack.

I think for the sake of the thread I'd ask to keep it Arcane Duelist/Magus here. Else, we'll be dragging Druids/Clerics/Wizards and everyone else into this. I think it's safe to assume that Lazar meant having the capablity stuck in a single body rather than separated out amongst pets and such.

Of course if one insisted I could bring in the spell blending arcana and then we'd have a Magus who'd be casting summon monster spells and he'd have the pet economy on top of his standard bonus :)


A few things to look at for this comparison:

  • Skill points: The Magus needs 8 points of int to catch up true, but for the Magus int is at worst a secondary stat, while for the AD it is at best tertiary. Most Magi will be throwing at least a 16 into int and trying to buff it with items meaning that it should end up at 22 or higher in the long run. That's equal to an AD with a 14 int. The Magus may still end up behind in the long run, but probably not by much.

  • Burst Damage: No contest here. It is a pretty well established fact that one hit of 50 s better than two of 25. The Magus can get a 25% crit chance as early as level 5, at which point they can without too much trouble be critting for 16d6+change (72avg from dice) which is enough to one shot most CR5 monsters. That's with a level 1 spell.

  • AP vs Performance: Performance wins out with many short fights true, but loses out on fewer long ones, so that comes down to the game's style. But the fights need to be pretty short for the AD to come out ahead. At four rounds per fight with the base number of performance rounds, the AD gets 10 fights (remainder 2), at 5 rounds 8 fights (again, remainder 2), at 6 rounds, 7 fights. So to stay ahead the AD needs the fights to reliably be 3-4 rounds. Given a shorter work day, say 3-5 encounters, the Magus' AP really wins out by getting converted into Arcana and spells. On top of that, AP scales better with stat gain. Assuming that both classes put a 16 in their caster stat, the AD ends up with 45 rounds, vs 13 AP.

  • Difficulty of using Spell Combat: Assuming a 16 int, the levels where casting defensively becomes automatic (base/trait/combat casting/cc+trait):
    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.


  • Froze_man wrote:

    A few things to look at for this comparison:

  • Skill points: The Magus needs 8 points of int to catch up true, but for the Magus int is at worst a secondary stat, while for the AD it is at best tertiary. Most Magi will be throwing at least a 16 into int and trying to buff it with items meaning that it should end up at 22 or higher in the long run. That's equal to an AD with a 14 int. The Magus may still end up behind in the long run, but probably not by much.
  • Personally I figure that on a 20pt buy it could easily be a wash in number of skill points/level. (On a side note.. I tend to think towards PFS, so I also focus more on the level 1-12 range as that's what PFS limits itself to).

    If you take the elven dervish build magus then you're looking at a 18INT to start, meanwhile it's very conceivable that an AD might go with a 12INT in such a point buy in order to max their attacking stat.

    Moreover the AD is likely to sport a CHA boost on the head rather than an INT, so by the time that the AD either goes for an ioun stone or additionally enchanting their headband of CHA, the magus is likely looking at a headband that's +2 higher.

    So I do find it feasible that the number of skill points here is a wash. Mind you I think that the AD has a better quality of class skills.

    But in general I haven't been as impressed with the AD in terms of dealing with a melee or ranged role. I'd love to see some builds for both in case I've done them an injustice. While I like the idea of a ranged AD the bonus feats don't mesh with it and at the same time it would more than eat up all the PC's feats to really do archery.

    The AD still feels like a support PC rather than the magus which feels more light infantry.

    -James

    Sovereign Court

    voska66 wrote:

    I think Magus vs Arcane Duelist the Arcane Duelist would win. The big reason, the bonus feats that the Arcane Duelist gets. Disruptive and Spell Breaker. Not feat I normally take with fighter but free for the Arcane Duelist. Add step up and the Magus will suffer if they try to use Spell Combat. Basically if you know you fighting a Arcane Duelist don't cast in combat hope they don't don't have the step up feat.

    Not saying the Magus is weak but if I was playing a Magus I'd rather have AD bard as party member than fight one as member of an enemy party.

    This is actually quite deceptive. While yes, the bard does have a pretty good chance of interrupting the spellcasting of a magus, there are a number of spells (chill touch, for one) that can be cast before closing to melee range, useful with spellstrike. Also, my personal magus build has picked up the stilled arcana, leaving you a tad out of luck there. I also started with one level of fighter, and don't actually use any somatic components. Ever.

    When this discussion started, me and the AD in my party had a couple of just-for-fun bouts, splitting up allies, one on one, and several other sparring bouts PvP. Honestly, I rarely used spells against the AD for the reasons you mention- I did, however, just physically pound him into the ground with my glaive. My extremely heavy, and well enhanced, armor (through every level after 2nd) easily let me walk right up and full attack.

    I must point out, since I have mentioned using spells not on the magus' list, that Knowledge Pool is truly an amazing ability. After a feat spent on Extra Arcana (I really wish the magus came with more points standard), I generally use false life, blindness/deafness, and any other spell that looks juicy. Keep in mind as well that one can prepare a spell, and then not un-prepare it- If I spend the day off the party has to prep false life, then sleep and regain AP, it STAYS prepared at essentially no cost.

    Also, pearls of power came up in this discussion.
    My magus in carrion crown has about 12.

    Sovereign Court

    nightflier wrote:
    Has anybody played (or used as NPC) AD with two weapon fighting?

    I've actually wondered about this myself. The issue I run into is needing quick draw to cast a spell. However, I have always loved the whip/handcrossbow/bayonet concept for an arcane duelist...

    Sovereign Court

    ProfPotts wrote:

    Put another way, a canny enemy, using hit and run tactics (say, a bunch of annoying goblins) could pop up, fire a few ranged attacks, then duck back out of sight. If the Magus fires up his arcane pool weapon enhancement every time, ready for the fight, he may get in one round of using it... then the other nine rounds are wasted as he chases down the sound of giggling goblins...

    I'd be interested to know what the arcane duelist's best move is in this situation. My magus build actually excels at hit-and-run enemies, having the shield arcana, combat reflexes, and true strike (with a dozen pearls of power). Goblins pop up, I true strike, make one truly ridiculous attack roll that ignores concealment, and a few potshots. Plus, my flat-footed armor at any given level is MUCH higher than the bard's.

    I do see your point, however. Using arcane pool too early can be a grievous error in tactics and resource management. Luckily, it is a swift action.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    ProfPotts wrote:
    No Arcane Duelist worth the name will be using a buckler... at least not for long. As a Bard the guy suffers no ASF for using shields, and as an Arcane Duelist he can use the hand holding his arcane bond weapon for spell gestures.

    Is there a special provision for an Arcane Duelist? Last I checked, spellcasters COULDN'T use their arcane bond weapon hand to make a spell's required somatic components. This is exactly why so many people say not to choose a two-handed weapon as your arcane bond, because you would be screwing yourself silly.

    Dark Archive

    Ravingdork wrote:
    ProfPotts wrote:
    No Arcane Duelist worth the name will be using a buckler... at least not for long. As a Bard the guy suffers no ASF for using shields, and as an Arcane Duelist he can use the hand holding his arcane bond weapon for spell gestures.
    Is there a special provision for an Arcane Duelist, cause last I checked, spellcasters COULDN'T use their arcane bond weapon hand to make a spell's required somatic components. This is exactly why so many people say not to choose a two-handed weapon as your arcane bond, because you would be screwing yourself silly.

    "Arcane Bond (Ex)

    At 5th level, an arcane duelist gains the arcane bond ability as a wizard, using a weapon as his bonded item. He may not choose a familiar or other type of bonded item. He may use the hand holding his bonded weapon for somatic components."


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

    So there IS a special provision. Yay!

    Shame it doesn't seem to apply to other spellcasters. It really should though.

    Sovereign Court

    That also opens up two-weapon fighting and two-handed weapons for the AD.


    I didn't dead all of the posts, so what I'm about to say has probably already been said.

    I agree that the Arcane duelist is more group oriented while the Magus is more self oriented.
    The Magus isn't as bad off skill wise as one would think at first glance because he will probably have a higher Int (needed for spells).
    The Magus can blast and attack or buff and attack at the same time. (with vampiric touch, all three).
    In the end I'd say they are even, it just depends on your play style as to which one would be "stronger".


    ProfPotts wrote:
    The Magus would probably beat the Arcane Duelist in a one-to-one duel, because he's more focused on 'nova-ing' his spells and abilities, but is little help to anyone but himself. Being a prepared caster with spontaneous leanings gives him more raw casting power than the Arcane Duelist too. He also gets a cooler-looking iconic... ;)

    First of all, congrat Prof for your analisys. I do only disagree with you in the part I've quoted, mainly because:

    1)In a high level melee duel, I agree with what voska66 wrote
    voska66 wrote:
    I think Magus vs Arcane Duelist the Arcane Duelist would win. The big reason, the bonus feats that the Arcane Duelist gets. Disruptive and Spell Breaker. Not feat I normally take with fighter but free for the Arcane Duelist.

    For low level melee duel, I can only speak for my experience: level 5 twohanded weapon melee AD beats level 5 DD BB Magus, 70% of times.

    2) the AD iconic' image was left out, here it is for a fair comparison:
    Arcane Duelist Real Iconic

    Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Magus vs. Arcane Duelist All Messageboards

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