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Magus concern


Rules Questions


Something came up in a recent home game, and I need a clarification on a rule about the Magus. The character in question was a 2nd level Elven Magus who was designed as PFS legal.

The player stated during a dungeon crawl that he cast Shocking Grasp and held it in his hand to be prepared for combat. Once combat started, he used the Magus ability to channel the spell through his sword as a melee attack, rather than taking the ranged touch attack. He stated that this was a free action, and that he also had a standard action to take, so he took a second melee attack, at his same base attack bonus. He hit with both and ended up doing the 1d8 + 2d6 + Str for the weapon and shocking grasp on the free attack, and another 1d8 + Str on the standard attack. I believe he took a -2 on one of the melee attacks because he said it was an off-hand attack.

My question is: Is this the correct interpretation? It seems too much to me to be doing 2d8 + 2d6 + (Str x 2) at 2nd level, with only a -2 on one of the attacks. My interpretation was that the melee attack takes the place of the touch attack, so it would be a standard action to make the attack that channels the held spell. He would still be doing 1d8 + 2d6 + Str, but there's no second attack, or an attack as a free action. It just seems a bit much, and if every single combat will be started with a prepared Magus doing that much damage, I may have to ban the class from my homebrew games. That is a bit excessive for a 2nd level character. Is this right?


There are two other threads currently addressing just this question on the advice forum. I will happily redirect you to both

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz4lfn?Magus-Spellstrike-Thread

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz526v?Magus-question

Either one will give you the answer.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Magus-Spellstrike-Thread Linkified

Magus-question Linkified

Grand Lodge

Good linkage, but it sounds as if the player is doing a couple of things differently. He is holding the charge on his hand, then deciding later to channel it into his sword, then claiming this as a free attack as if he had cast in that round. I'll apply the benefit of the doubt to presume that he did take spell combat penalties on both his attacks, though he has still ended up avoiding an AoO.

This all sounds highly questionable to me. I don't agree, a ) that he can convert a charge on his hand into a spellstrike, or b ) that he then treats his attack as a free action as if he had just cast the spell.

He has a charge on his hand. edit: He can take a standard action either to make one touch or unarmed attack with that hand, or to attack once normally with his sword and still hold the charge. If he really wants to, he can touch his sword and cast the spell on it, whether or not it's a valid target. He has missed his chance to benefit from spellstrike.


From what I understand you can convert a held touch attack spell to Spellstrike. However, you ONLY get an attack with that spell as a free action the round it is cast. So he has to use a standard action doing it. Also the whole time he's holding the charge he can't cast ANY spells or do anything with the hand holding the charge.

I could be wrong though.


I do not believe he can hold that charge previous to combat by RAI. The proper mechanics for the ability are stated in the two threads. Which also clarifies some of the OP's and her PC's misapprehensions about the way spell strike and spell combat interact such as the nature of the free attack.


Pickguy wrote:


The player stated during a dungeon crawl that he cast Shocking Grasp and held it in his hand to be prepared for combat.

Nothing wrong with this.

Pickguy wrote:


Once combat started, he used the Magus ability to channel the spell through his sword as a melee attack, rather than taking the ranged touch attack.

Shocking grasp is not a ranged touch attack, but rather a touch attack.

ANY character that's holding the charge on a touch attack can elect to make a natural weapon or unarmed strike attack which will also then deliver the touch spell that's been held.

A MAGUS can ALSO do this with a one-handed weapon via their class feature.

Pickguy wrote:


He stated that this was a free action, and that he also had a standard action to take, so he took a second melee attack, at his same base attack bonus.

On the round you cast a touch attack spell you can deliver a free touch attack. A MAGUS can elect to make a free melee attack instead. It's a strong ability, but one meant to make the magus strong in combat.

However, IF you are right about them holding a charge then he would not get a free attack here, but rather his normal attacks could deliver the shocking grasp.

Pickguy wrote:

I believe he took a -2 on one of the melee attacks because he said it was an off-hand attack.

This is also wrong, as if he were using spell combat to CAST the shocking grasp THAT round then he would be taking a -2 to ALL melee attacks in his full attack action.

It sounds as there is some confusion here- either on the player's part or on yours. Perhaps both.

A magus can do a decent amount of damage. But in all honesty it's really just at the level of a fighter when the magus is burning spells.. or more accurately a strength based MONK when burning ki.

-James


Summing things up:
Status: Magus holding a shocking grasp charge
What he does from OP description: Spellcombat spellstriking the charge as off-hand weapon + normal attack

Mistakes done:
1) spellcombat-2hit effects all attacks just as Two weapon fighting -> -2 to normal attack and spellstrike
2) By rule as written spellcombat cant be used with a held charge as off-hand weapon, but only "casting a spell" as off-hand

What could have been done by rules:
A) Spellstrike the held charge + cast a new spell (eg a 2nd shocking grasp) with another spellstrike --> this would be spellcombat (full-round) and both attacks would be -2hit
(note: the order is fix as casting a 2nd shocking grasp does dismiss unused spellcharges)
B) Simply deliver the held charge by spellstrike without spellcombat and have a move action left no malus to hit
----

Regarding spellcombat using a held charge instead of actually casting i made a thread. As it feels unlogic to me. The rules are however clear here - rules as written dont allow it.
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz524y


New Link
Spell combat and held charges.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Kinda of think of it this way. The reason you can cast Shocking Grasp and then get a free attack with your sword while you are casting, followed up by a standard attack, is that you are vulnerable to a AoO.

If you allow them to pre-cast the Shocking Grasp, and still get the two attacks, you are eliminating the fear of the AoO.

The Shocking Grasp is held, they can use it in a melee touch attack or they can use it through their sword as part of a normal attack, but either of those is a standard action.

Now another question is: Can they release the Shocking Grasp with their sword and get a second attack with an off hand weapon using THF?


Spellstrike is activated whenever you cast a melee touch spell. If you don't cast a spell that round, you can't use spellstrike. Pretty simple really.


had that come up in my game, posted in the ask James Jacobs anything

"Spellstrike: The free attack is NOT an extra attack. It's a free attack you add on to spellcasting. Casting the spell still takes the normal amount of time—spellstrike just effectively adds the weapon attack as a part of the casting of the spell. Think of the attack as a somatic component if you will. So when he uses spellstrike, he does NOT get his full iterative attacks—his primary action in that round is the spellcasting, and normally that means he gets NO attacks. Spellstrike lets him make ONE attack as part of that spellcasting".

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz2u4o&page=227?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Que stions-Here


dartagnan4 wrote:

had that come up in my game, posted in the ask James Jacobs anything

"Spellstrike: The free attack is NOT an extra attack. It's a free attack you add on to spellcasting. Casting the spell still takes the normal amount of time—spellstrike just effectively adds the weapon attack as a part of the casting of the spell. Think of the attack as a somatic component if you will. So when he uses spellstrike, he does NOT get his full iterative attacks—his primary action in that round is the spellcasting, and normally that means he gets NO attacks. Spellstrike lets him make ONE attack as part of that spellcasting".

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz2u4o&page=227?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Que stions-Here

Sry - this is very misleading. I read your question leading to this answer from JJ:

question wrote:


so basically level 8 magus two attacks +6/+1 uses spellstrike - does he get +6/+6 with spell/+1 or does he get +6 with spell/+1 (I think it is the latter but both sides have made compelling arguments)

This is not the topic and obviously wrong.

Spellstrike does not grant extra attacks, but replace a touch delivery by weapon delivery.

The topic asks, if both attack may deliver a charge via spellstrike.
Please check here:
FAQ thread

I further suggest reading the many posts from Grick on this topic.

Concerning the limitation to actually casting:

Grick from other thread wrote:


Talandor wrote:


As by RAW spellstrike does not allow its use for held charges but only when he actually casts - just as spell combat.

Spellstrike rule wrote:
At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack.

It is not limited to the round in which you cast the spell.

If you're a level 2 magus, and you cast Shocking Grasp, which is a spell with a range of touch, which is also on the magus spell list, you have fulfilled the three criteria for being able to deliver that spell through your weapon.

A wizard can cast Shocking Grasp, wait three turns, then deliver the spell.

A magus can do the same thing. In addition, since he fulfilled those three criteria (he cast it, rather than it coming from a wand, it has a range of touch, rather than a range of close or personal, and it was on the Magus spell list, rather than a cleric spell list) then he can still deliver the spell through his weapon.

If you cast the spell, then don't touch anything for three rounds, you still cast the spell, it still has a range of touch, and it's still on the magus spell list. Thus, you can use Spellstrike.

If the wording was different, a Magus could use Spellstrike with wands and scrolls and whatever other weirdness might crop up. This limits him to only spellstriking with spells he has personally cast.

The wording is not meant to limit to the casting, but to a spell that you cast yourself.


Ravingdork wrote:
Spellstrike is activated whenever you cast a melee touch spell. If you don't cast a spell that round, you can't use spellstrike. Pretty simple really.

wrong - check post above. The rules wording is meant to limit spellstrike to spells you cast compared to spells you got using eg a wand, but not to limit the use to the round of casting.


Talandor wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Spellstrike is activated whenever you cast a melee touch spell. If you don't cast a spell that round, you can't use spellstrike. Pretty simple really.
wrong - check post above. The rules wording is meant to limit spellstrike to spells you cast compared to spells you got using eg a wand, but not to limit the use to the round of casting.

Ah, it seems you are indeed correct sir.

Spellstrike (Su): wrote:
At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the magus makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon's critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.


dartagnan4 wrote:

had that come up in my game, posted in the ask James Jacobs anything

"Spellstrike: The free attack is NOT an extra attack. It's a free attack you add on to spellcasting. Casting the spell still takes the normal amount of time—spellstrike just effectively adds the weapon attack as a part of the casting of the spell. Think of the attack as a somatic component if you will. So when he uses spellstrike, he does NOT get his full iterative attacks—his primary action in that round is the spellcasting, and normally that means he gets NO attacks. Spellstrike lets him make ONE attack as part of that spellcasting".

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz2u4o&page=227?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Que stions-Here

That's correct in regards to SPELLSTRIKE. However, when Spellstrike and Spell Combat are used in tandom, the spell grants an attack (instead of a touch attack) and you get your full complement of attacks as well. In other words, you get an extra attack.


meatrace wrote:

However, you ONLY get an attack with that spell as a free action the round it is cast. So he has to use a standard action doing it. Also the whole time he's holding the charge he can't cast ANY spells or do anything with the hand holding the charge.

I could be wrong though.

You're not wrong. The free attack with a touch spell is only given on the round it is cast. If you forfeit it, it's gone. No freebie attacks later.

From the SRD:

Quote:

Touch Spells in Combat

Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.

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