Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Arcane Strike - how are "caster levels" defined?


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Arcane Strike feat requires the ability to cast arcane spells to take the feat.

But in the feat language it states

Quote:
As a swift action, you can imbue your weapons with a fraction of your power. For 1 round, your weapons deal +1 damage and are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. For every five caster levels you possess, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

Does the "every five caster levels" mean:

- every five arcane caster levels in your highest level arcane class?
- every five levels, adding up levels if you have them in different classes? What about caster levels in non-arcane classes - i.e. divine caster levels?

I'm looking at building a character that is multiclassing in many different classes (and prestige classes). Likely a cleric of Desna but possibly also an Arcane Duelist Bard (which would mean he gets the Arcane Strike feat as a bonus feat).

I still think this is a bit of a weak feat but for this character it may be a good one to bump up his starknives a bit.

Andoran

That's an interesting question. Normally caster level means the caster level for your spells, but if that really is the wording for arcane strike, its different than virtually every other wording I've seen. I'd guess RAW would be that it would work with cleric caster level as well, but I intensely dislike that interpretation.

As a DM I would probably say it would work off of the sum of your arcane caster levels, even if spread across multiple classes. It would not include your divine caster levels (being that it is named ARCANE strike). I think its a fair compromise.


The feat requires arcane caster levels to take the feat. I think that makes it at least fairly clear that its talking about arcane caster levels to power it.

Levels in classes that don't give arcane spells shouldn't grant bonuses to the feat.

-S


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

That's an interesting question. Normally caster level means the caster level for your spells, but if that really is the wording for arcane strike, its different than virtually every other wording I've seen. I'd guess RAW would be that it would work with cleric caster level as well, but I intensely dislike that interpretation.

As a DM I would probably say it would work off of the sum of your arcane caster levels, even if spread across multiple classes. It would not include your divine caster levels (being that it is named ARCANE strike). I think its a fair compromise.

I agree, that's how I think the intention is though since the feat is a fairly weak one (it costs a swift action to activate and only lasts 1 round) I might give it to a multiclass character to combine all of their caster levels...

of course a Mystic Theurge would cause more issues since they advance caster levels in two classes at the same time.

But yes, it appears to be a poorly worded feat.

Andoran

Rycaut wrote:

of course a Mystic Theurge would cause more issues since they advance caster levels in two classes at the same time.

But yes, it appears to be a poorly worded feat.

And see the poor wording again rears its head. I didn't interpret it as caster levels (as in I've got 10 wizard caster levels and 10 cleric caster levels) I interpreted it as "I've got 3 wizard caster levels, 3 cleric caster levels, and 7 mystic theurge caster levels."

Honestly, probably the most RAI view would be drop the "s" off of levels, and have it be a direct function of caster level like everything else in the freaking game is.


Why is it confusing?

Mystic Theurge advances arcane caster level. Any level of the class that didn't have a - for arcane advcenemtn would provide a level for arcane strike.

The levels of druid, cleric, or whatever that are just divine wouldn't. Nor wuold levels of rogue, fighter, or any non-arcane class.

-S

Andoran

By RAW it requires an arcane caster level to take, but all caster levels improve it, even divine. However, that isn't likely the RAI. RAI is probably that it is based off of your highest arcane caster level, but if that is it, why isn't it simply written in that manner?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pick your highest CL and roll with it.


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

as a DM I would probably rule that a player could add up all of their arcane caster levels if they happened to have multiple different arcane classes (and frankly given that an arcane/divine caster even a Mystic Theurge is an uncommon class combination I might just say "add up all your caster levels")

I wouldn't, however, say "use your highest arcane caster level.

That would imply that a character with say Bard & Sorcerer or Bard & Wizard or possibly a Bard/Dragon Disciple would get an even less useful version of Arcane Strike.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Arcane Strike counts caster levels. Count them all.

Feats such as Arcane Armor Training and Craft Wand say "caster level 3rd" and "caster level 5th." Other feats, such as Spell Penetration, refer to the caster level of a particular spell. These refer to a particular caster level. None count caster levels. Thus, do not generalize from them to Arcane Strike.

Arcane Strike might have been intended to count only arcane caster levels, but as written it counts divine caster levels, too. Yes, the double caster level increase of Mystic Theurge counts double for Arcane Strike. But Arcane Strike has a maximum bonus of +5, even if you reach that bonus before 20th level.

Osirion

RAW you can take 3 levels of Wizard, 3 levels of Rogue, 1 level of cleric, and then 10 levels of Arcane Trickster that increase your Cleric spellcasting.

RAW, you could take this feat as a Magus, then switch over to Cleric for 19 levels. Just ask yourself: Is the minor bonus to damage at the cost of your swift action worth a level loss? No.

Grand Lodge

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

I'd go with the simplicity route. Your highest arcane caster level sets the damage for Arcane Strike.


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

Hmm does Arcane strike work on ranged weapons? ie could you use this as an archer or other thrown weapon specialist? It also seems to apply to all of your weapons - so could work well for builds that attack many times in a turn (and/or can take many attacks of opportunity)

Andoran

LazarX wrote:
I'd go with the simplicity route. Your highest arcane caster level sets the damage for Arcane Strike.

See, adding all Arcane caster levels together seems simpler and fairer to me.

Andoran

Rycaut wrote:
Hmm does Arcane strike work on ranged weapons? ie could you use this as an archer or other thrown weapon specialist? It also seems to apply to all of your weapons - so could work well for builds that attack many times in a turn (and/or can take many attacks of opportunity)

Yes. It's a reccomended part of archer Bard builds, for example. It's really just a free (pretty decent) power up for any arcane class who wants to use a weapon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'd go with the simplicity route. Your highest arcane caster level sets the damage for Arcane Strike.
See, adding all Arcane caster levels together seems simpler and fairer to me.

Unless you're some really corner combination, than it should work out the same. Quite frankly the only time I'd consider this feat would be for an Eldritch Knight or possibly a magus build but I don't see it as anything but a minor "feel good about my pathetic damage" feat for low level casters. I considered it for my magus, but there were too many other feats which offered greater bang for the buck.

Andoran

LazarX wrote:
Unless you're some really corner combination, than it should work out the same. Quite frankly the only time I'd consider this feat would be for an Eldritch Knight or possibly a magus build but I don't see it as anything but a minor "feel good about my pathetic damage" feat for low level casters. I considered it for my magus, but there were too many other feats which offered greater bang for the buck.

It's surprisingly good, actually. At 5th level specifically, as a Bard or other 3/4 BAB class it's a better damage enhancer than Power Attack, and even at higher levels it can be comparable on a one handed weapon (since it doesn't reduce attack bonus) and the two stack. An extra +2 to +4 damage on all your attacks is really pretty nice, and very much worth it for anyone who doesn't get a lot of use out of their Swift Action.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Unless you're some really corner combination, than it should work out the same. Quite frankly the only time I'd consider this feat would be for an Eldritch Knight or possibly a magus build but I don't see it as anything but a minor "feel good about my pathetic damage" feat for low level casters. I considered it for my magus, but there were too many other feats which offered greater bang for the buck.
It's surprisingly good, actually. At 5th level specifically, as a Bard or other 3/4 BAB class it's a better damage enhancer than Power Attack, and even at higher levels it can be comparable on a one handed weapon (since it doesn't reduce attack bonus) and the two stack. An extra +2 to +4 damage on all your attacks is really pretty nice, and very much worth it for anyone who doesn't get a lot of use out of their Swift Action.

I'm going to amend myself. I'd say that Arcane Strike is a good choice for the following.

1. Eldritch Knights because they'll have the muost multiple attacks of any of the "gish"combinations... most of the time.

2. Dragon Disciples using Dragonform. Especially the DS/DD builds. using up to 5 natural attacks in one go.

3. Magus is where it gets marginal, they have the caster levels but multiple attacks accrue slowly for them, even with spellstrike/spellcombat combinations.

4. Bard They have full caster levels but the BAB is median and unlike the magus they have fewer options to spruce up their attacks per round.

And then of course the wizard/non-draconic sorcerer. For most its in the "what are you, nuts? category. The problematic call is whether or not you allow a mage using Transformation to call upon arcane strike even though by at least some interpretation, he's not a spellcaster while under the effect of that spell.


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

The swift action cost likely means it isn't all that useful for a Zen Archer monk if multiclassed into an arcane casting class to consider assuming the monk has a Ki pool likely burning a ki point as a swift action to get an additional shot at full BAB would add more damage than +1 to all attacks.

But for other archers or perhaps for a natural weapon's specialist with lots of attacks per turn I could see how Arcane Strike might add a lot of damage.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Arcane Strike - how are "caster levels" defined? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.