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A Guide to Touch Spells, Spellstrike, and Spell Combat [Ver 0.4 Alpha]


Advice

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19 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Question unclear. 224 people marked this as a favorite.

Hi folks,

This is my understanding of how these things work individually, and when used all together. I would appreciate any corrections or suggestions, both in spelling/grammar/style as well as content. Should this guide prove useful to anyone, a revised version might be posted in a more permanent location some day.

My goal is one (lengthy) item that someone can read and fully understand how these things work, by bringing together plain text explanations and the various rules that are scattered about various parts of the books. Also be sure to see This FAQ Item. (Thanks Sean!)

[Revision History
0.1a initial guide posted
0.2a added citation [4] and reference
0.3a changed sparky to melvin in part 2, re: unarmed strike
0.4a changed clunky to bumpy in Simple Example Time]

Part 1: You got the Touch, you got the Power!

The foundation of this guide is Touch spells. This section will deal entirely on how touch spells really work. Without it, Spellstrike will be a confusing mess. You're only cheating yourself if you skip ahead. Of all the problems I've seen people have with the Magus, half of them are due to not really understanding how touch spells work.

We'll start with some relevant rule citations:

1) 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.[1a] You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target.[1b] You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

2) Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely.[2a] You can continue to make touch attacks round after round.[2b] 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.[2c] 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.[2c]

3) Touch Spells and Holding the Charge (Magic Chapter): In most cases, if you don't discharge a touch spell on the round you cast it, you can hold the charge (postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. You can make touch attacks round after round until the spell is discharged. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates.

4) “Armed” Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a character's or creature's unarmed attack counts as an armed attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with natural physical weapons all count as being armed (see natural attacks).

Sparky the Sorcerer spies Clunky the Orc standing ten feet away. He wants to zap him! Sparky casts Shocking Grasp, a spell with a range of Touch. As part of casting this spell, Sparky gets to touch as a free action[1a] and can move before doing so[1b]. He moves up to Clunky, and touches him. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Sparky has 12 Strength. His result is 16, not bad! Clunky's Touch AC is 10, so Sparky has sucessfully touched Clunky, and the spell discharges. Zap!

Lets try this example again with some different results.

Sparky the Sorcerer spies Clunky the Orc standing sixty feet away. He wants to zap him! He casts Shocking Grasp, and moves thirty feet towards Clunky. He is out of reach, so he can't make his free touch attack that was granted by casting the Touch spell[1a] so he Holds the Charge[2a]. Clunky moves up and attacks Sparky, but misses.

Round 2! Sparky still wants to zap the Orc, and is holding the charge[2]. He uses his standard action to make a melee touch attack against Clunky[2b]. Because of the held charge, he is armed, and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity[4]. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Sparky has 12 Strength. His result is 4, that's terrible! Clunky's Touch AC is 10 so Sparky has missed. Sparky gives up his move action and ends his turn. Clunky attacks Sparky again, but misses.

Round 3! Sparky is tired of this Orc, he uses his special sorcerer Draconic Bloodline power to grow claws as a free action. Now he uses a full-round action to make a full attack. He is still holding the charge, so if one of these attacks hit, it will deal damage as well as delivering the spell[2c]. He rolls his first claw attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Sparky has 12 Strength. His result is 18, terrific! Clunky's AC is 14 so Sparky has hit. (Note: This attack is against Clunky's normal AC, not his Touch AC, because Sparky is making a melee attack, not a touch attack) Sparky deals his claw damage (1d4+1) and also discharges his Shocking Grasp, Zap! If Clunky still lives, Sparky can finish his full-attack with his second claw, which will deal only normal claw damage if it hits. If Clunky is dead, however, Sparky can abandon the rest of his full-attack and take a move action instead, to get away from the stinky orc corpse.

As a side note, Sparky could have done the same thing using his unarmed strike, instead of his claws, though without the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, he would still provoke an attack of opportunity. Even though he's holding the charge on a touch spell, the action would still provoke because Sparky's unarmed strike normally does[2c].

Part 2: Player Two has Joined the Battle!

Melvin the Magus has arrived to show Sparky how it's done. As a Magus, Melvin has access to Shocking Grasp, and can do everything Sparky just did, with the exception of growing claws. Instead of using his Claws, Melvin can use his Unarmed Strike, because he took the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for some reason. So you can repeat everything above with Melvin, just substitute an unarmed strike in place of the claws. (Applying two-weapon fighting penalties where appropriate)

Even though Melvin is a Magus, not a Sorcerer, he still follows all of those rules about Touch Attacks.

However, Melvin can do more than that. He's got Magus Stuff! He's level 1, so he only has Spell Combat, not Spellstrike. Ignore Spellstrike for now. Really, just ignore it, pretend you've never heard of it.

Spell Combat (Ex): At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

So we know the following:

Spell Combat is a full-round action. This means the only movement Melvin can make during Spell Combat is a 5' step, and he can do so before, during, or after the action.

One hand wields a weapon, the other hand is empty. Melvin has a Longsword.

When using Spell Combat, Melvin can make his normal full-attack with his weapon, and he can also cast a Magus spell with a casting time of 1 standard action. He can do this in any order, spell then sword, or sword then spell.

So, lets start off easy.

Melvin is surprised by Clunky the Orc! Clunky the orc uses his surprise round to move in next to Melvin. (He doesn't charge because there's a rock in the way) Round 1: Melvin takes a full-round action to use Spell Combat. He starts by casting Shield, and doing so defensively. He makes his concentration check, so now he has a shield bonus to AC. Great. Now he makes his normal full-attack with his weapon. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, and he also includes his -2 penalty for using Spell Combat. His result is 13, d'oh. Clunky has an AC of 14, so Melvin has missed. Clunky attacks Melvin, missing, because Clunky sucks.

Round 2: Melvin decides to put the hurt on Clunky. He takes a full-round action to use Spell Combat. He starts by making his regular attack, foolishly believing that it might kill Clunky and save him a spell. Melvin makes his normal full-attack with his weapon. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, and he also includes his -2 penalty for using Spell Combat. His result is 16, hooray. Clunky has an AC of 14, so Melvin hits. Melvin deals 1d8+1 damage. Clunky still stands! He laughs, in fact. Ha HA! But Melvin isn't done yet, he still gets to cast a spell because he's using Spell Combat. He casts Shocking Grasp, defensively. Melvin makes his Concentration check. Now, we follow the rules above for Touch Spells. Because Melvin just cast a Touch spell, he gets a free touch attack[1a]. He reaches out and touches Clunky. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, and he also includes his -2 penalty for using Spell Combat. His result is 11, that is... acceptable. Clunky's Touch AC is 10 so Melvin lands his touch, and discharges the Shocking Grasp. Zap!

With the death of Clunky, Melvin goes up a level! (DING) In addition to some stat changes and stuff, Melvin gains the ability to use Spellstrike.

Spellstrike (Su): 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.

So we know the following:

In order to use Spellstrike, the following conditions must be met - A) Melvin must have cast the spell. B) The spell must have a range of "touch". C) The spell must be on the Magus spell list.

Once A, B, and C have been met, then Spellstrike may apply. If any of those three conditions are not met (such as casting a Cleric spell, or using a wand to cast a Magus spell) then Spellstrike will not work.

So, Melvin decides to cast Shocking Grasp, which is a Touch spell, and on the Magus spell list. Excellent. What now?

Now, Melvin can deliver that spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. He does not have to! He "can" deliver it, meaning it's his choice. He still has all of the options listed above to deal with delivering his spell just like Sparky.

But why be a Magus if you're just going around groping orcs? Bah! Put them to the sword! So, what does Spellstrike actually do?

It lets you deliver that touch spell through a weapon, as part of a melee attack. This means multiple things:

1) You use a weapon, not your touch. Any bonuses you have using that weapon will apply. Magic enhancement bonuses, weapon focus, etc.

2) The attack will be against the opponents normal AC, not his Touch AC. This usually means the opponent will be harder to hit.

3) When you land the attack, you deal weapon damage in addition to discharging the spell.

4) The attack has a critical threat range based on the weapon used. Melvin's longsword threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19–20. If Melvin confirms a critical hit when using Spellstrike, both the weapon damage AND the spell damage will double. (If Melvin was using a Battleaxe instead of a Longsword, the spell damage would still only double, even though the Battleaxe is an x3 weapon)

Sparky walks up, demanding an explanation. "So when can this happen? It says something in there about a free attack! What the heck, dude?"

It's simple. Any time Melvin could normally deliver a touch spell, he has the option of using his sword to do so. This means 1-4 above will apply. The rules for Spellstrike specifically call out being able to use Spellstrike in place of the free attack granted from casting the spell. (Remember point [1a] from the very top?) However, that is not a limitation, that is just point out that, in addition to being able to deliver his normal touch spells with his sword, he ALSO can deliver the FREE touch spell granted by casting it. If the rules did not spell this out, it would not be clear that Melvin is able to swing his sword more than once per round. This point is important, and it's thrown a lot of people off-track.

So, once more, all those times that Sparky could deliver his touch spell? (Free attack from casting, touch attack with held charge, full-attack with held charge and weapons) Melvin can do all of those things, and he ALSO has the option of doing any or all of those things with his sword, instead of his hand or claw or fist. That is what Spellstrike does.

Spellstrike is not an action. It's not a 'free' attack. It's not anything. All it does is let you use your sword instead of your hand.

Simple example time:

Bumpy the Orc appears, and he wants revenge! He stands 30 feet from Melvin, and calls him a sissy. Round 1: Melvin casts Shocking Grasp, which is a touch spell, and on the magus spell list. (A, B, and C fulfilled!). Melvin then moves 30 feet to get adjacent to Bumpy. Now, Melvin has a free attack as a result of casting the spell[1a]. He has two options: He can make a melee touch attack against Bumpy's Touch AC. This is more likely to hit, but all it will do it Zap Bumpy, and it will only critically hit if Melvin rolls a 20. His other option is to use Spellstrike to deliver that touch with his sword. That's what he's going to do! He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, adds another 1 because he has +1 BAB. His result is 17, quite good. Bumpy has an AC of 14, so Melvin hits. Melvin now deals weapon damage (1d8+1) and discharges Shocking Grasp, Zap!

Now, I know what you're thinking. "That's too easy. I fully understand how touch spells work, and those magus abilities make sense! My noodle is not yet baked!"

Well hold your horses. You have yet to experience the brain-melting horror that is Combining Spell Combat with Spellstrike! Tables have been flipped, Mountain Dew bottles scattered to the four winds, and DMs everywhere have torn out hair by the fistful, by simply trying to figure out how exactly this all works. But not you! No! You have the benefit of a full understanding of Touch Spells. You know how to Hold the Charge. You understand in what cases can someone discharge those touch spells. You even know what Spellstrike does, and that's a heck of an accomplishment. So lets put them all together.

The heavens crack, lighting lines the horizon. Stumpy the Orc teleports in from the Plane of Orcs, intent on destroying Melvin, then taking Sparky as his wife.

It's too bad Melvin beat him on initiative.

Melvin takes a full-round action to use Spell Combat. Remember that Spell Combat grants him a full-attack with his weapon, and also lets him cast a Standard action spell. Melvin chooses to start with his spell. He casts Shocking Grasp, defensively. He makes his concentration check. Now, as part of casting a Touch spell, Melvin gets a free touch attack.[1a] Because he has Spellstrike, he can (and will) choose to deliver that attack with his sword. He rolls this attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, adds another 1 because he has BAB+1, and he also includes his -2 penalty for using Spell Combat. His result is 12. Outrage! Stumpy has an AC of 16, so Melvin has missed. If Melvin had managed to hit, he would have dealt weapon damage as well as discharging the Shocking Grasp. But he didn't. Boo. So, that takes care of the free attack granted by casting a Touch spell. But Melvin isn't done yet, this is Spell Combat, so he still gets to make a full-attack with his weapon. And, he hasn't discharged that shocking grasp, yet. Melvin makes his normal full-attack with his weapon. He rolls his attack: a d20, and adds 1 because Melvin has 12 Strength, adds another 1 because he has BAB+1, and he also includes his -2 penalty for using Spell Combat. He rolls a 19, which is a critical threat, and enough to beat Stumpy's AC! Melvin will hit for sure, but first will roll to confirm his critical hit. He rolls again, with the same bonuses and penalties. 17! Melvin has confirmed the critical hit! Melvin rolls his weapon damage twice (1d8+1, and 1d8+1) then rolls his Shocking Grasp damage twice, Zap! Stumpy is no more.

So here's some things we've learned.

Spellstrike does not grant you an extra attack. You still have the exact same number of attacks (d20's rolled) as you would without it.

You may get an extra attack when using Spell Combat over making a regular full-attack, but ONLY if the spell you cast has an attack roll.

When Melvin reaches a BAB of +6 (at level 8 unless he multiclasses) he will get two attacks during a full-attack routine. One at full BAB, and one at BAB-5. (+6/+1) This means that if he uses Spell Combat, he still gets to make his full-attack in addition to casting a spell. And if that spell grants him an attack, then that's three attacks that turn. All of which are at -2 penalty from Spell Combat. Same thing if someone casts Haste.

One final note about my attack roll numbers, and Shocking Grasp. You'll note that Shocking Grasp says you get a +3 bonus on attack rolls if the opponent is wearing metal armor or carrying a metal weapon. The orcs in my examples were all shamefully nude (or wearing leather, if the reader is under 18). While this bonus certainly applies to touch attacks made to deliver Shocking Grasp, check with your DM to find out if he allows it on attacks made with Spellstrike. (Personally, I think that having to hit normal AC vs touch AC, combined with a Magus's generally lower to-hit and damage, makes the +3 not unbalanced with Spellstrike. Your DM may of course rule otherwise.)

Happy Zapping!

Osirion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dotting this for later, and to send to a Magus-player.

One thing I'd really like to see addressed (and has been houseruled for three decades, ever since my group allowed any 1st Edition caster to send shocking grasp through a weapon) is whether a partial hit is allowed, or if it's all or nothing.

I.E., If the attack roll totally fails to hit Touch AC, the result is obvious, no effect at all.
If the attack roll beats Full AC, the effect is obvious, weapon damage and spell damage apply.
If the attack roll lies between Touch AC and Full AC; what is the writer's intent?
Does the Touch effect go off, but without the weapon damage?
After all, you have, by definition, struck the opponent on target, but merely failed to find the chink in his armor, or failed to power the blade through thick hide.

I've never had any problems adjudicating this, even in editions that didn't even specify Touch AC. I was always able to rule which AC mods made you 'tougher to hurt', and which made you 'not stood there'.
But the concept seems to hurt some people's heads.

Am I deluded? Is this actually a complicated concept?


Grick wrote:
Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge.[2c] In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack.
Grick wrote:
Because of the held charge, he is armed, and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. He rolls his attack (...)

That seems contradictory.

Apart from that, well done, Grick. And very entertaining!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think one statement relates to the hand holding the charge, and the other statement to attacks made via the spare hand.

The hand covered in glowy octarine flames is 'armed'.
The other hand he is throwing a punch with, is not*.

*Unless he's multiclassed as a monk, taken Unarmed Strike feat, or otherwise has a natural attack he is proficient in, of course.

Grand Lodge

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

You should take a look at the latest entries to the faq as it specifically addresses magus particular issues in holding a spell charge including items such as recovering a disarmed weapon.

Also note that on the touch spell, you only get a free attack on the round you actually cast the spell. If you don't make the touch attack then, then it has to be as part of a standard attack sequence if done at the next or later round.


Cpt. Caboodle wrote:
Grick wrote:
Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge.[2c] In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack.
Grick wrote:
Because of the held charge, he is armed, and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. He rolls his attack (...)
That seems contradictory.

The first rule you quoted is for making an unarmed attack, or attack with a natural weapon. (Punch/Claw)

In the second example you quoted, Sparky was making a melee touch attack, not an unarmed attack or attack with natural weapon. (Poke, not punch) Making a touch attack with a touch spell is considered armed, which I forgot to quote.

4) “Armed” Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a character's or creature's unarmed attack counts as an armed attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with natural physical weapons all count as being armed (see natural attacks).

Thanks!

Snorter wrote:
One thing I'd really like to see addressed (and has been houseruled for three decades, ever since my group allowed any 1st Edition caster to send shocking grasp through a weapon) is whether a partial hit is allowed, or if it's all or nothing.

By the rules, it's the same for Spellstrike as it is for an unarmed attack or natural weapon, hit VS normal AC. This also makes sense, as the trade off for getting weapon damage is hitting the (usually) more difficult AC value.

Sometimes, when you really want to hit, it's worth just using the touch. With your rule, there's no downside to always using your sword, or claw, or whatever. If you allow partial misses, this can make some monsters much more dangerous. (Such as Weapon+1 wis drain vs touch 1d4 wis drain)

Snorter wrote:

I think one statement relates to the hand holding the charge, and the other statement to attacks made via the spare hand.

The hand covered in glowy octarine flames is 'armed'.
The other hand he is throwing a punch with, is not*.

It's not about which hand, it's about what he's doing with it. A poke is armed, a punch is not*. Same hand both times.

LazarX wrote:

You should take a look at the latest entries to the faq as it specifically addresses magus particular issues in holding a spell charge including items such as recovering a disarmed weapon.

Also note that on the touch spell, you only get a free attack on the round you actually cast the spell. If you don't make the touch attack then, then it has to be as part of a standard attack sequence if done at the next or later round.

Did the guide conflict with the FAQ in some way? I thought it was fairly clear about when you get the free attack, but if not I want to change it.


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This type of meta-analysis is a great service to the community.

Thanks for taking this on!

Taldor

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

Nice write up. Everything looks correct to me so far.

Grick wrote:
Instead of using his Claws, Sparky can use his Unarmed Strike, because he took the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for some reason.

That line, however, seems out of place and potentially confusing just because it doesn't get used in any subsequent examples. Not wrong, just maybe unneeded detail, unless you go on to use it in an example.


Talon Stormwarden wrote:
Grick wrote:
Instead of using his Claws, Sparky can use his Unarmed Strike, because he took the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for some reason.
That line, however, seems out of place and potentially confusing just because it doesn't get used in any subsequent examples. Not wrong, just maybe unneeded detail, unless you go on to use it in an example.

It is wrong, actually. That should read Melvin, not Sparky. I put it there because if I said "Everything Sparky can do, Melvin can also do" it would include the claws, which I only used to avoid TWF confusion and still get more than one attack. The intent was Sparky can full attack with his claws, not provoke, and discharge the spell on a hit, and Melvin can full attack with his fists, not provoke, and discharge a spell on a hit.

It does seem kind of unneeded. I'll either strike that part, or change Sparky to use fists instead of claws.

Thanks!

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grick wrote:

It is wrong, actually. That should read Melvin, not Sparky. I put it there because if I said "Everything Sparky can do, Melvin can also do" it would include the claws, which I only used to avoid TWF confusion and still get more than one attack. The intent was Sparky can full attack with his claws, not provoke, and discharge the spell on a hit, and Melvin can full attack with his fists, not provoke, and discharge a spell on a hit.

It does seem kind of unneeded. I'll either strike that part, or change Sparky to use fists instead of claws.

Thanks!

Haha, actually, when I first read it that was my first thought. Still, great work. I really wouldn't have the patience to write something like this out.


I wish a touch charge would be treated like a weapon, as rays are. I think that would simplify things a whole bunch.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I have a question concerning spells that allow multiple touch attacks. For example, consider the spell Chill Touch.

...
Targets: creature or creatures touched (up to one/level)
...
A touch from your hand, which glows with blue energy, disrupts the life force of living creatures. Each touch channels negative energy that deals 1d6 points of damage. The touched creature also takes 1 point of Strength damage unless it makes a successful Fortitude saving throw. You can use this melee touch attack up to one time per level.
...

So let's assume that Melvin is fighting Lumpy the Orc. Lumpy runs up and attacks, but misses. Melvin uses Spell Combat, and begins by casting Chill Touch (he is level 2, so he now can make two touch attacks). He hits on the free attack, dealing 1d8+1 damage from the longsword, and then makes his normal attack. Assuming he hits, can he use Spellstrike to use the second charge on the Chill Touch spell with this second attack, even though it is still the same round?

Now let's assume that Melvin's second attack missed, so he is still holding the charge. Can Melvin cast another spell the following round? If he does, will he lose the remaining charge he is holding on the previous spell?

Thanks!


good old dot.

Good question Tamago.


Tamago wrote:
I have a question concerning spells that allow multiple touch attacks. For example, consider the spell Chill Touch.

This is a question specific to Chill Touch, independent of Spellstrike. It's long been a strangely written spell.

This gets a little off-topic, but how I think it works:

It's a touch spell like any other touch spell. You cast it then make touches until the spell is discharged. It's discharged when you've touched (or otherwise zapped) caster level targets.

Tamago wrote:
So let's assume that Melvin is fighting Lumpy the Orc. Lumpy runs up and attacks, but misses. Melvin uses Spell Combat, and begins by casting Chill Touch (he is level 2, so he now can make two touch attacks[1]). He hits on the free attack, dealing 1d8+1 damage from the longsword[2], and then makes his normal attack. Assuming he hits, can he use Spellstrike to use the second charge on the Chill Touch spell with this second attack, even though it is still the same round?

[1] Pedantic, but he doesn't get two touch attacks, he gets two creatures touched. If he misses, nothing happens, and the failed touch attempt (or failed attack) doesn't count against him.

[2] His first hit would have dealt not only 1d8+1 slashing damage, but 1d6 negative energy damage (and 1 Str damage if Lumpy failed his save).

Since the spell is not yet discharged, his next hit would do the same thing. At the end of the round, if the spell still isn't discharged, Melvin would hold the charge.

Tamago wrote:
Now let's assume that Melvin's second attack missed, so he is still holding the charge. Can Melvin cast another spell the following round? If he does, will he lose the remaining charge he is holding on the previous spell?

As with all touch spells, casting another spell will discharge the held one.

This really deserves its own thread in the rules forum with lots of FAQ flagging. I'll see if I can dig one up for us to concentrate on.

(I accidentally closed my browser, so my slightly better written response was lost, this one may not make much sense)

Bonus Edit
Here's my choice for a Chill Touch FAQ thread.

And we are not alone:

Chill touch is worded awkwardly. I'm not sure what the intent there is, honestly... worth FAQing.

I suspect the intent is, actually, to let you make multiple attacks over the course of the next several rounds, up to a maximum number of times equal to your level.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

FAQed the other thread.

Here's my take on how I think Chill Touch is intended to function (this is my interpretation, and I could be wrong):

I think the most likely scenario is that the spell allows you to make a number of touch attacks equal to your caster level. As the spell description states, "You can use this melee touch attack up to one time per level." The "Targets" line stating it affects "creature or creatures touched (up to one/level)" is derived from the fact that if you have a number of touch attacks equal to your level, you can necessarily only affect that many creatures.

The Instantaneous duration likely refers to the effect of the spell (the HP and STR damage), not the length of time you can hold the charge. For example, you can hold the charge on an Inflict Light Wounds spell, even though the duration is Instantaneous.

Does that seem like a reasonable interpretation?

Shadow Lodge

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Grick wrote:


Part 1: You got the Touch, you got the Power!

That is amazing. :)


Tamago wrote:
I think the most likely scenario is that the spell allows you to make a number of touch attacks equal to your caster level.

If you mean that you can make caster level free attacks as part of casting the spell, then that has MASSIVE repercussions if combined with things like Spellstrike or Elemental Touch.

If you mean that you can only use touch attacks, and not discharge the spell in any of the usual ways, then... I don't know. That breaks all the existing rules about how touch spells work, without any of the flavor or clarifications of other somewhat similar spells (like Produce Flame).

If you mean it's like any other touch spell, but misses count towards discharging the spell, that makes the spell pretty bad, honestly. If you compare Chill Touch to it's brother Shocking Grasp, they both do 1d6 per level, but if Chill Touch gets denied the burst damage of SG, and can be whittled away to nothing, it starts to really be a bad choice. I think 1d6/lv all at once and 1d6/lv over however many rounds seems fairly balanced. (Basically choosing to sacrifice spell slots or actions)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is great stuff, thanks dude.


It would be nice to see a FAQ on this.

There is definitely some ambiguity on Chill Touch's wording. The "You can use this melee touch attack up to one time per level" wording simply is not consistent with any rules for touch spell attacks. It could be interpreted several different ways.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Grick you are my hero, just two days ago I considered asking you to do this threat, but I didn't want to bother you.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

When using Spellcombat and Spellstrike together, I always thought that you had to designated which attack was normal weapon and which attack was weapon+spell. In essence you would declare which attack is the free attack to deliver spell, and which attack is the normal one.
It seems like you are saying you can decide on each individual swing whether the touch spell is delivered after the results of the roll.


Grumpus wrote:

When using Spellcombat and Spellstrike together, I always thought that you had to designated which attack was normal weapon and which attack was weapon+spell. In essence you would declare which attack is the free attack to deliver spell, and which attack is the normal one.

It seems like you are saying you can decide on each individual swing whether the touch spell is delivered after the results of the roll.

When you cast the spell, you get a free touch attack. You can use Spellstrike to deliver that spell with your weapon instead of a touch. This must happen in order, first cast, then free attack. Once that's done, the 'free' attack is over. If the spell is discharged, then that's it for the spell. If the spell is not discharged, either because you missed, or it allows multiple touches, then you hold the charge. (Technically you don't hold the charge until the end of the round, but that makes it hard to explain when using Spell Combat) Once you're holding the charge, any attack you make can discharge the spell, using whatever action it is to make whatever kind of attack you're making.

If you're using Spell Combat, you either make your normal weapon full attack first, then cast, or cast then fight. If you cast first, and you still have a touch spell ready, you can keep using Spellstrike until the spell is discharged.

What I'm saying is, if you've cast Shocking Grasp in the past, and not discharged it (either by touching something, using Spellstrike to zap something, or having cast another spell) then every attack you make can be (if you choose) a Spellstrike. You do need to choose before you attack, but there's no penalty for missing (other than missing) so there's not really any benefit to deciding after you hit. The touch spell isn't discharged on a miss. You hold the charge forever, until it's discharged or you cast another spell.


So let me be sure I have this straight. If you are a 2nd-level Magus, you can make a weapon attack with Spellstrike and discharge a spell while getting full weapon damage, then make ANOTHER weapon attack using Spell Combat? The only penalty being the -2 to hit?
That seems crazy imbalanced to me, a 2nd level fighter is NOWHERE near that capability as far as multiple attacks and damage dealt, and if a DM turned that on the players they'd be screaming FOUL!
I can see where you could use Spell Combat and Spellstrike to make the touch attack through the weapon and cast a spell with the off-hand using the penalties for Spell Combat, but this gives a Magus, a 2ND level Magus, the ability to basically perform 3 standard actions in a round without having to take any feats to do so. Please clarify...

Grand Lodge

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Godsdog10 wrote:

So let me be sure I have this straight. If you are a 2nd-level Magus, you can make a weapon attack with Spellstrike and discharge a spell while getting full weapon damage, then make ANOTHER weapon attack using Spell Combat? The only penalty being the -2 to hit?

That seems crazy imbalanced to me, a 2nd level fighter is NOWHERE near that capability as far as multiple attacks and damage dealt, and if a DM turned that on the players they'd be screaming FOUL!
I can see where you could use Spell Combat and Spellstrike to make the touch attack through the weapon and cast a spell with the off-hand using the penalties for Spell Combat, but this gives a Magus, a 2ND level Magus, the ability to basically perform 3 standard actions in a round without having to take any feats to do so. Please clarify...

I'll try to go through the order of events, assuming a Magus starts beside his target. We'll use the same stats as in the example above for weapon damage, etc.

1. Declare Spell Combat(Full Round action).
2. Make concentration check to cast Touch range spell defensively(Shocking Grasp, for example).

3a. If the Magus fails the check, the spell fails and the Magus cannot make a either a touch attack or a Spellstrike attack. GoTo 6
3b. If the Magus makes the check, the Magus can then make either a melee touch attack or a Spellstrike attack.

4. Assuming the Magus chooses to Spellstrike, he then makes a melee attack using his weapon at a -2(due to spell combat).

5a. If the Magus hits on his attack, the enemy is dealt both weapon damage(1d8+1) as well as being affected by the spell(damage, effects, etc). Goto 6
5b. If the Magus misses on his attack, the enemy is not affected by the spell and the spell charge is held. Goto 7

6. As part of Spell combat, the Magus is able to make a second attack at a -2 to hit. If he hits, he'll do normal weapon damage(1d8+1). END

7. As part of Spell combat, the Magus is able to make a second attack at a -2 to hit.
8a. If he hits, he'll do both normal weapon damage(1d8+1) as well as expend the charge on his held spell(Damage, effects, etc).
8b. If he misses, he won't do any weapon damage to the enemy but will still have the charge of his spell. END

Boiled down, you could interpret the Magus as getting a full 3 different standard actions in a single turn(Cast Spell, Attack, Attack).

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Godsdog10 wrote:

So let me be sure I have this straight. If you are a 2nd-level Magus, you can make a weapon attack with Spellstrike and discharge a spell while getting full weapon damage, then make ANOTHER weapon attack using Spell Combat? The only penalty being the -2 to hit?

That seems crazy imbalanced to me, a 2nd level fighter is NOWHERE near that capability as far as multiple attacks and damage dealt, and if a DM turned that on the players they'd be screaming FOUL!
I can see where you could use Spell Combat and Spellstrike to make the touch attack through the weapon and cast a spell with the off-hand using the penalties for Spell Combat, but this gives a Magus, a 2ND level Magus, the ability to basically perform 3 standard actions in a round without having to take any feats to do so. Please clarify...

I see a lot of people complain that the Magus is overpowered because of this... As someone that currently plays one, I can tell you that, while I am a bit biased in my opinion, I do not think this is the case.

First off, the Magus is MAD as Hell. Because of this, you are not getting the same bonuses out the gate that a Fighter or other pure melee class would. This is, of course, the (fair) penalty to playing a hybrid class.

Secondly, the Magus is on 3/4 BAB progression.

MAD attributes, plus 3/4 BAB, means that the Magus begins to fall behind late in the game with attack bonuses. Especially when you start adding in the -2 for Spell Combat, and forgoing Touch AC attacks to use Spellstrike.

So, the potential to do gnarly amounts of damage is certainly there, but the tradeoffs are also present as well and, in my opinion, presented fairly. A Fighter or Barbarian is going to successfully land a hit far more often than the Magus will, while outputting similar-or-more damage. The upside is that the Magus becomes pretty versatile with the ability to have spells prepared.

That concludes my pro-Magus rant. :)


Hmm, explain to me how a 2nd level fighter or barbarian can get 3 attacks and do 6-24 points of damage in one round? That's IF he doesn't score a crit and with no other Feats to assist in the attacks. That stat also uses the above example of a Magus with a 12 Str. Not to mention if the enemy is wearing metal armor, the Magus using Shocking Grasp will be +3 to hit (which gives him a +1 after the -2 for Spell Combat). Oh, and then there is that whole magic pool to make the weapon magical thing. lol
I'm thinking of adjusting this where there is no additional melee attack with the weapon. Seems powerful enough to use Spellstrike as a standard action and still be able to move. That, or creating an evil NPC Magus and see how the party enjoys being cut down by their own exploit. >8) Bwahahaha...
Thanks for the response. My buddy playing the Magus in my group will be very pleased.


Godsdog10 wrote:

Hmm, explain to me how a 2nd level fighter or barbarian can get 3 attacks and do 6-24 points of damage in one round? That's IF he doesn't score a crit and with no other Feats to assist in the attacks. That stat also uses the above example of a Magus with a 12 Str. Not to mention if the enemy is wearing metal armor, the Magus using Shocking Grasp will be +3 to hit (which gives him a +1 after the -2 for Spell Combat). Oh, and then there is that whole magic pool to make the weapon magical thing. lol

I'm thinking of adjusting this where there is no additional melee attack with the weapon. Seems powerful enough to use Spellstrike as a standard action and still be able to move. That, or creating an evil NPC Magus and see how the party enjoys being cut down by their own exploit. >8) Bwahahaha...
Thanks for the response. My buddy playing the Magus in my group will be very pleased.

It isn't a exploit it is how the class works. You are also overlooking the big hangup that the Magus has to deal with, witch is resource management. Yes he could do 6-24 points of damage in one round. All I can say is big deal at 2nd level a Magus will likely have 3 1st level spells so if he decides to memorize shocking grasp 3 times he can do that kind of damage 3 times in a day.

If you compare that to a 2 handed great sword wielding fighter with cleave and power attack it isn't really looking that hot. we are talking somewhere in the realm of 8-18 damage a swing without breaking a sweat. Assuming a 14 strength and power attack in use. That is every swing. With a chance to take another swing and hit a target of opportunity with cleave for another 8-18 damage.

A Magus can deal decent spikes of damage but they are better off trying to control the battlefield with SoS spells, buffing themselves to stay alive and relevant during the fight, and or hampering their enemies to mitigate party damage.


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Godsdog10 wrote:
Hmm, explain to me how a 2nd level fighter or barbarian can get 3 attacks and do 6-24 points of damage in one round?

Yes, the magus can hit twice and shocking grasp.

Even worse, he can completely alpha strike by having Shocking Grasp already cast and held.

Spell Combat, attack, hit discharge. Cast, hit discharge. Two sword hits, two shocking grasps, one round.

Lets put this in perspective.

Lets say ideal conditions, he pre-casts Shocking Grasp. Round one he gets to full attack, uses spell combat, and hits, discharges, then casts again, makes his concentration check, hits and discharges. 2d8+4 +4d6 = Average 27 damage.

Short Sword fighter attacks, hits with both, 2d6+12 = Average 19 damage.

Falchion Barbarian attacks, dealing 2d4+12 = Average 17 damage. (or 22 with Vital Strike)

Round two: Magus is out of spells. He uses Arcane Mark to keep using Spell Combat. Again, he somehow manages to hit the abysmal AC of the target. 2d8+4 = Average 13 damage.

Fighter and Barbarian do the same thing.

Damage totals:
Magus - 40
Fighter - 38
Barbarian - 26 (Or 44 if he uses Vital Strike)

If this fight goes more than 2 rounds, they outdamage the magus. And there's still 3+ more fights to go before the end of the day.

The pile of dice looks impressive, but who cares if he can blow away a goblin in one round by spending all of his resources? There's six more coming at him, and oh god they have fire.

Godsdog10 wrote:
I'm thinking of adjusting this where there is no additional melee attack with the weapon. Seems powerful enough to use Spellstrike as a standard action and still be able to move.

Before you cripple the class, try playing with one, in a group with other semi-competent damage characters. You'll probably see that while the magus has pretty good burst damage, that's just about it.


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Godsdog10 wrote:
Hmm, explain to me how a 2nd level fighter or barbarian can get 3 attacks and do 6-24 points of damage in one round? That's IF he doesn't score a crit and with no other Feats to assist in the attacks.

A fighter without feats? How does the magus do that kind of damage without spells?

Now a fighter with feats can, with about the same chances, deal the following:

Move action- Moves up to the fight (while the magus cannot do this in your example).

Standard action- Cleave, powerattacking.

Attack roll- +8 to hit (vs the +4 that your magus is getting WITH the metal bonus.. which he won't get on the other attack).

Damage roll- 2d6+11 for 18average (another 1d6+1 if given a round to prep)

Cleave attack- +8 to hit for 2d6+11.

If either of these drop the target then cleaving finish for a THIRD attack.

Now these 'ideal' situation scenarios have the magus dealing 27 damage, while the fighter deals 60. The magus has spent 2 of his 3 first level spells for the day and the fighter has spent perhaps a potion of enlarge person.

So I think you've let flash confuse you here. The magus, like the monk, has ways to try to compete with the fighter. In general he barely treads water. His damage is, however, spikey, so he can get a deal of glory,

James

-James

Grand Lodge

dotting and fav-ing


I appreciate your defense of the Magus class, and I think it is a cool class as well. But Magus class gets feats as well, and all other things being equal the Magus unleashes MUCH more damage than other classes at these lower levels. While the case was made for multiple goblins, one of my issues is the "boss" killing potential this power has at low level OR the player killing power it has at low level (if used against the party).
I'm suggesting that, at lower levels especially, the Magus class is imbalanced with the Spellstrike/Spell Combat that are granted powers, not Feats that need to be taken. In the olde days of D&D one had to multi-class to get this kind of power, so the balance was built into the experience system. Sure you could wield magic and a sword, but you leveled slower than the rest of the party. The other issue here is probably my friend of almost 30 years who has the uncanny power to min/max a character. With his stat placement and feat choices he has managed to create a Magus that will unleash much higher numbers than those above. So when he began to tell me that he got an extra attack per round (and that is another issue, no limits on usage with Spellstrike other than memorized spells, but I am sure I will hear something about cantrip touch spells being used to trigger the Spellstrike/Spell Combat combo!) I though there was no way he could be reading that correctly, and I personally see nothing in that descriptor that suggests the extra attack, which is why I came here. Thanks again for all the clarifications and explanations!


Excellent post and responses, thank you Grick


Godsdog, consider this:

At every level of the game, there will always be some class/archetype that has benefits above others. With the way feats and whatnot are given the different classes tend to shine more or less at different periods.

Will you nerf every class when it hits a golden period?

As shown above, the damage is limited to a few times per day and is only a couple points higher than a fighter who can do it at will. This is not out of bounds as much as you think.


Very informative. "Dotting."

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Dot. Well-written!


I have the same issue with Druid pets in Pathfinder. They should not out-tank the Fighters. lol
As I said, I will just create an NPC Magus and unleash her on the party. Once my friend sees it from the other side he will get it. Just like the time he made a Dragonborn Fighter/Warlock with a specialty in chain weapon. lol
I was hoping one of the Devs might pop in on this topic, but Grick seems pretty knowledgeable and logic-oriented. Thanks!


I have another question in regards to Frostbite/ Chill Touch, or even with a missed Shocking Grasp.

In the round AFTER casting, is there any free touch attack allowed? For Shocking Grasp it looks like a glaring no, but what about the other two spells? Are you able to Spell Combat in this second round, substituting a faster spell for the attack allowed from the held charge?

I'm about to pick up two feats (enforcer/rime spell) so I want to make sure I am doing everything by the rules before I cripple everything.


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Godsdog10 wrote:
As I said, I will just create an NPC Magus and unleash her on the party. Once my friend sees it from the other side he will get it.

You've got to be careful in situations like this. The enemies are supposed to lose. They don't have a long life ahead of them, or three more encounters to prepare for. They have one shot at it, and in all likelihood, the PCs will kill them. They have no reason not to use every resource at their disposal. Should they drink the potion, or save it for later? Drink it, of course. Should they keep some spells in reserve, in case another tougher party of PCs stops by? No way. The PC magus can't do that, if he uses both of his spells in one encounter, he's pretty much gimped for the day.

Throwing a high burst damage resource-intensive NPC at the party to show them how a class is unbalanced may not be the best idea.


dunebugg wrote:
In the round AFTER casting, is there any free touch attack allowed?

No. Once you're holding the charge, you can attack normally (unarmed/natural/spellstrike) or make a regular touch attack as a standard action.

dunebugg wrote:
Are you able to Spell Combat in this second round, substituting a faster spell for the attack allowed from the held charge?

The held charge doesn't grant any attacks. If you cast a spell, any held charge you've got dissipates.

Lets say you cast shocking grasp, and hold the charge. Some time later, you use Spell Combat. You attack first, if you hit, the spell discharges. If not, you're still holding the charge. Now you need to cast a spell. As soon as you do, no matter what spell it is, the held charge dissipates.


Godsdog: Maggy the Magus starts with a single attack and can deliver a touch spell as part of a full attack at a -2 to hit, lower str, and bab of 0.

Bort Barbarian see casty maggy use limited resources so Bort do too. Bort rage for +2 to hit with 2-hand sword on top of Bort's higher Str and +1 Bab. Bort also Power Attack

Maggy uses her full attack and swings with say a -1 to hit due to her 12 str to do 1d8+1 vs regular AC, and 1d6 if she hits touch. That's an average of 8 damage.

Bort with his 14 str, rage, and PA swings at +4 and deals 2d6+6+3 average of 16 with a standard attack action, not a full attack.

Maggy hits lv 2! *ding*
Maggy casts shocking grasp, advances and deals her attack with spellstrike to do 1d8+2d6+1 at with her 12 str, and 1 bab, for a +2 to hit averaging 13 damage.

Oops, Bort forget to level up!
But Bort keep do his thing, and swing at a +4 for 16 damage

Round 2
Maggy will cast...Frostbite! using spell-combat, and deliver the attack with her weapon, and then take her attacks with spell-combat and deliver another charge of frostbite!

Bort have nothing special to do on full attack... unless Bort half orc with toothy trait, but Bort not, because Bort want Beast totem! Bort plan ahead!

Maggy uses her 1 bab and 12 str to swing with +0 to hit, with both swings and deal 1d8+1d6+3 (1d8+1+1d6+2) for an average of 21 total damage

Bort congratulate Maggy for out damaging him by 5 points.

Now neither of these characters are well optimized, but i'm not comparing super builds, I'm comparing the abilities, and improvements made to one character can be made to the other.

tldr:Magus has much lower to hit than a normal fighting class, and requires her very limited spells to do damage on par with them, where they have lots of rounds of rage, and rage powers, or feats that are always on, and much better chance to hit.


Fantastic job, Grick

If I may make a suggestion, I think it would would be useful to include a brief mention to the usage of 5ft when using spell combat.

Original link: http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderR PG/advice/waltersGuideToTheMagus&page=2#65

In a nutshell:

Quote:


Can you five foot step in the middle of spell combat though? Which is a full round action?

Yes, the 5 ft step can be used durring other actions. This includes things like cleave.
From the combat section, 5 foot step:
prd wrote:
You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after your other actions in the round.

and under full attack:
prd wrote:
The only movement you can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step. You may take the step before, after, or between your attacks.

So, if you start at 10ft from a target you can

-Activate Spell combat
- Cast spell (no AoO unless the enemy has reach)
-5ft step into melee
-Use Spellstrike instead of the free action touch attack
-Make your normal attacks

In general, the 5ft step while using spell combat is a great idea. Enemy right next to you? Activate Spell combat, attack, 5ft step out of range, cast shield/grease/color spray/mirror image/touch spell that you could potentially deliver in the next turn.

0 risk of AoO, no risk of losing spell for casting defensively


Found this in another thread on Spellstrike, it seems to contradict what is being said. Again, my problem is NOT with Spell Combat skill by itself, not Spellstrike by itself. It is the, in my opinion, assumption that the Magus gets ANOTHER melee attack after using these two abilities in conjunction.
________________________________________________________________________

"Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:
Charles Dunwoody wrote:

Casting a spell is a standard action, so the magus wouldn't get secondary attacks. So, as a standard action, he can cast a touch spell or cast the spell and also attack with a weapon with both attacks resolved as one melee attack which does both the damage of the spell and the weapon.

At least, that's the way I'm reading it.

But if you move and cast touch spell in round 1 and then use your full attack on round 2, I understand you can make both attacks, the first one delivering the chill touch. "as part of a melee attack".
Correct reading folks.. that sentence is there just to say that you do not get a free melee attack with a weapon when you cast a touch spell. You can, however, still take the free touch attack that comes with the casting of such spells.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing"
________________________________________________________________________

It seems to me to be enough of an advantage to be able to Spellstrike as a standard action in the round (thus casting a spell AND making a melee attack as well as moving during one round), and more on par with other 2nd level special abilities. Plus you avoid having to touch anything that may physically do you harm from touching it. *shrug*

Also of note, a fighter type that takes Two-Weapon Fighting Feat is still -3/-4 when using that attack and the attack comes from the secondary weapon, and characters without TWF suffer a -6/-10! The -2 for the Magus is NOTHING in comparison. Even when Fighters get to a high enough level (6th I believe) The 2nd attack they are granted is at -5.


Godsdog10 wrote:
Found this in another thread on Spellstrike, it seems to contradict what is being said.

Because that quote comes from people discussing the playtest in 2010, which used different rules from the ones currently published.

Godsdog10 wrote:
It is the, in my opinion, assumption that the Magus gets ANOTHER melee attack after using these two abilities in conjunction.

He gets exactly the same number of attacks he would if he didn't use spellstrike at all: 2.

You get one free attack as part of casting a touch spell. Everyone does. Always.

Spell Combat lets you cast a spell and also make your normal melee attacks.

So if you make your normal melee attack (1) and cast a spell that grants you a free attack (1) you've got 2 attacks.

All Spellstrike does it let you use your sword instead of a touch.

Godsdog10 wrote:
It seems to me to be enough of an advantage to be able to Spellstrike as a standard action in the round

Spellstrike is not an action. Any time you could deliver a touch spell, you can deliver a touch spell with Spellstrike. This guide was made for you. I respectfully ask that you read it again.

Godsdog10 wrote:
Also of note, a fighter type that takes Two-Weapon Fighting Feat is still -3/-4 when using that attack and the attack comes from the secondary weapon, and characters without TWF suffer a -6/-10! The -2 for the Magus is NOTHING in comparison. Even when Fighters get to a high enough level (6th I believe) The 2nd attack they are granted is at -5.

Two-Weapon Fighting with a light off-hand weapon and the TWF feat means your penalties are -2/-2. Exactly the same penalties as Spell Combat.

A fighter's second iterative attack is made at BAB-5. Just like a Magus.


Godsdog10 wrote:
Found this in another thread on Spellstrike, it seems to contradict what is being said. Again, my problem is NOT with Spell Combat skill by itself, not Spellstrike by itself. It is the, in my opinion, assumption that the Magus gets ANOTHER melee attack after using these two abilities in conjunction.

Spell Combat: Lets you Full Attack and either cast a spell before or after the attack. If the spell you are casting is NOT a touch spell, nothing else happens. However if you cast Shocking Grasp, SpellStrike kicks in.

SpellStrike:
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.

It even mentions being able to use them together right in the text.


dunebugg, this seems to me to suggest that when Spellstrike is used in conjunction with Spell Combat the Magus may cast the touch spell through the weapon as part of the attack AND cast a spell with the off hand. Not make a melee attack that delivers the touch spell AND then make a second melee attack with the same weapon and hand. The differentiation is the off hand use, which seems to be consistent throughout the rules in this way. For example, a fighter cannot charge and make BOTH his attacks even if he has the TWF Feat because charging is a full-round action, nor can he move his move action speed and make both his attacks, yet the Magus can cast a spell, attack with his weapon then attack again despite the fact that Spell Combat is a full round action??? It just doesn't jive in my head. I am not being argumentative in any way, and I hope no one is misconstruing what I am saying as belligerent or antagonistic. While Grick's description is appreciated and flows logically, the extra attack seems to fly in the face of ALL other rules.


Godsdog10 wrote:
I appreciate your defense of the Magus class, and I think it is a cool class as well. But Magus class gets feats as well, and all other things being equal the Magus unleashes MUCH more damage than other classes at these lower levels.

Actually the fighter owns him.

Taking just the fighter bonus feats for WF & power attack, lets compare our heroes here-

Given no prep and the monster materializing adjacent-

Magus:
Swift action (spend pool point to enchant weapon)
Full action spell combat
Needs to make concentration check to cast shocking grasp. Let's assume an 18 INT here.. so a 50-50 chance.
Then makes 1 or 2 attacks at -2 to hit against this BBEG.

How bad is the BBEG's AC? Normally they aren't at the mook level.. but let's say it's only a 14.

The magus has the following optimal damage 20, but this requires a concentration check and 2 hits.. the odds of this are around 10%.. we might as well say that the fighter criticals if we assume this.

So let's do expected damage. Let's ignore crits for now. The magus is +1 to hit with his (now) +1 longsword, and gets a +3 to hit when shocking grasp is charged up.

The magus expects to deal

(fail concentration check) 50% x (40% x 6.5) = 1.3
+
(make concentration check & hit 1st time) 50%x55%x (13.5 + 40%x6.5) = 8.05
+
(make concentration check & miss 1st time) 50%x45%x55%x13.5 = 1.84

for a total of 11.14 expected damage.

The fighter's +8 to hit for 2d6 +10 averages 17, but his much higher hit roll and the fact that he doesn't have a concentration check to make for half of his attacks gives him an expected:

75% x 17 = 12.75 expected damage.

Now the magus has spent 1 arcane pool and 1/3 of his spells to do this... the fighter has spent nothing. The magus needed to be in full attack range, the fighter could have even charged (for even higher expected damage). Because crits need to be confirmed, figuring in criticals here favors the fighter.

Given a round to prep. The magus elects to read a 2nd level scroll of shocking grasp (or burn another third of his spells for the day) while the fighter quaffs a potion of enlarge person.

The magus adds around 3.5 expected damage.. the fighter adds 3.025 expected damage.

So in either case the fighter comes out ahead and this magus is burning through a significant portion of his resources to try to compare.

-James


Godsdog10 wrote:
For example, a fighter cannot charge and make BOTH his attacks even if he has the TWF Feat because charging is a full-round action, nor can he move his move action speed and make both his attacks, yet the Magus can cast a spell, attack with his weapon then attack again despite the fact that Spell Combat is a full round action???

You're comparing two different actions.

Fighter standard action: 1 attack
Fighter full round action: 2 attacks (Full attack)

Magus standard action: 1 attack
Magus full round action: 2 attacks (Spell combat)

Monk standard action: 1 attack
Monk full round action: 2 attacks (Flurry of blows)

They all make 2 attacks using a full round action, because they're all based off a similar mechanic: Two-Weapon Fighting. They all have a -2 penalty to their attacks (assuming the fighter has TWF).

The monk can even use the exact same weapon for both of his attacks. And if the weapon is his fist, he can do all of that and could discharge a held touch spell at the same time. (Hope he's got good UMD skill, or lots of wands)


These damage assumptions all account for Feat expenditures for the Fighter, which are not taken into account for the Magus (including NOT having to have TWF for better bonus; -2). Also, it seems to me that in your example Grick it would be:

Magus standard action: 1 attack + spell (using Spell Strike)
Magus full round action: 2 attacks + spell(using Spell Combat&Strike)


Godsdog10 wrote:
These damage assumptions all account for Feat expenditures for the Fighter, which are not taken into account for the Magus

They are just using the FIGHTER bonus feats... AS I SAID.

How much damage does the magus do without using his CLASS abilities?

BOTH PCs would have the SAME number of OTHER Feats.

-James


I see what you are saying James, the Fighter class gets bonus feats, but the Spell Combat and SpellStrike skills are more akin to the Bravery and Armor Training class skills the Fighter gets.
I guess I feel that probably not many people are playing a straight fighter class due to these stronger skill-sets of other classes, kind of like in an MMORPG where there are a few of the "regular" classes and a MANY of the types that receive better (especially in PvP) skills. But overall, it is not a question of favoring one class over another, it is just one of those rules that seem to deviate from EVERY other example of the ruleset to give the player an advantage (perhaps for purchasing the new book?). I just had one of my players almost destroy a "boss" encounter (Asar in the Crypt of the Everflame adventure) with his Magus in ONE round, and we discussed the Magus point and so came here seeking clarification. I think also the fact that these Magus skills are call "Spell" combat and strike indicates they are not meant to be in addition to extra attacks. Isn't it advantageous enough as it stands (especially at 2nd level), with the touch spell being delivered and the ability to use a full-round action to also cast another spell? Seems like too much is never enough for a player, but try it from a DMs perspective. I don't "love" my creatures, and I play fair, but when I can't (or shouldn't as Grick pointed out in one of the above posts) use an NPC due to the fact that it would waste my party, that is pretty telling as far as game balance goes. Thanks for listening and responding. Only through dialogue and reflection may one arrive at a conclusion.

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