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Magus ruling question


Rules Questions

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Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am contemplating creating a Magus for PFS soon, and I have been reading on some of the other posts on the boards that there's some disagreement about whether Arcane Mark, as a touch spell, can be used with Spellstrike and Spell Combat to gain a second attack. Is there a "rules as written" consensus on the issue for the purpose of sanctioned play?

I don't want to annoy any GMs if most PFS GMs consider using Arcane Mark for the extra attack to be going too far, but if it's generally seen as allowable, not factoring it into my build would let my fellow Pathfinders down.

Thanks everyone!


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

It can be used, yes.

Not sure why not using it would let your fellow Pathfinders down, unless they really enjoyed Zorro.

If you can find a way to pick up Touch of Fatigue, that might be a better idea. Or be a hexcrafter and take Brand.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

For starters, there's already an Official FAQ stating that you can use Spell Combat with cantrips just like with any other spell. (You wouldn't believe how many people so adamantly believed the "obvious intent" was to use only 1st-level and higher spells.)

Print out that FAQ and keep it with you, since it affects your character.

Spellstrike also does not specify spell level, so any magus spell with a range of touch is fair game. Make sure you have Ultimate Magic with you, or a watermarked PDF printout of the appropriate pages.

The text is abundantly clear. This is another case in which dissention is based on armchair balance judgments rather than unclear rules. Using spell combat and spellstrike to deliver arcane mark in addition to your normal attack(s) is 100% legal, and therefore PFS GMs are required to allow it.

Andoran

As the previous 2 have said there is absolutely nothing against it in the rules.

Osirion

Cheapy wrote:


Not sure why not using it would let your fellow Pathfinders down, unless they really enjoyed Zorro.

Mostly that I wouldn't want to get anybody else's PC killed because I wasn't optimizing.

At low levels where Shocking Grasps will be limited, Arcane Mark + Spellstrike is going to be my only option for getting two attacks a round unless I take the Close Range arcana so I can use Ray of Frost.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:


Mostly that I wouldn't want to get anybody else's PC killed because I wasn't optimizing.

Is this really a commonly held belief of PFS players?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:


Mostly that I wouldn't want to get anybody else's PC killed because I wasn't optimizing.

PFS was not built to require min-maxing to survive in. It does not require optimizing to the tenth power. It's not Living Greyhawk, nor Living Arcanis.

Osirion

Cheapy wrote:
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:


Mostly that I wouldn't want to get anybody else's PC killed because I wasn't optimizing.

Is this really a commonly held belief of PFS players?

Oh, I'm not expecting MMORPG levels of build-tyrrany by a long shot. Most PFS players I have played with are very friendly and accepting.

I still consider it my job to achieve basic effectiveness with my character though. Maybe optimization was the wrong word to use. I don't feel pressured to bring Pun-pun to the table.

Neither would I inflict an Apostle of Peace on anyone. : P

Grand Lodge

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

My spouse specialises in generating theoretically useless characters that are surprisingly effective.

Perhaps it's more the play than the build that matters?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Your spouse sounds awesome. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Your spouse sounds awesome. :)

My spouse is of the opinion that these message boards are a good way to kill a person's interest in Pathfinder, not because of Paizo, but because of the numbercrunching theorycrafting extremists that are the vocal presence here.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Face_P0llutiOn

I'm just trying to understand what the Spellstrike / Arcane Mark tries to achieve.

Arcane Mark isn't doing any damage. Arcane Mark is a cantrip - so you can use it unlimited. Arcane mark is a touch spell.

So in effect Arcane Mark is used to achieve the equivalent of Two Weapon fighting with two differences:

a) You attack twice with the same weapon
b) You can get an AoO if you don't cast defensivly and always want to have a second attack similar to two weapon fighting
b) If you cast defensivly then your second attack isn't automatic - if you fail the concentration check, then you still have the penalty for the first attack

If I interpret the above correct, then this is an interesting combination. I'm writing this here to ensure I get the thoughts right as I couldn't see the issue why this ever could be a problem or what the 'additional attack' in the post was about.

The issue GMs might have is:
It allows a magus effectivly unlimited Spellstrike. A Magus without this would only have a max. of 2-4 spellstrikes max per day (depending in Intelligence).
There is no penalty to 'waste' a spell if you fail concentration as it is unlimited. Worst case it is not a second attack.

As far as I can see - it seems RAW legal. But it reminds me a little bit of the flurry of blows with a single weapon discussion. The combinations pushed the envelope of the rules and what might have been intended. Arcane mark clearly is not a spell intended to do damage - contrary it actually says that the rune etched is without any harm to the material on which it is etched. Well - if you leave the mark this way, then you surely do harm the person you place the mark on - albeit with the weapon and not with the spell.
I'm not a developer - but I see at least a small chance this might get corrected if it gets widespread. In this case having a whole build based on the combination can lead to disappointment down the line.

Osirion

LazarX wrote:

My spouse specialises in generating theoretically useless characters that are surprisingly effective.

Perhaps it's more the play than the build that matters?

I'm still not so sure about my 8 con Barbarian... :P

Point taken though. Build obsession does seem to deliver diminishing returns as compared to just having high scores in the right stats and being adaptable.

Thod - You hit the nail on the head. My intent was to figure out if using Arcane Mark to have unlimited Spellstrikes (effectively TWFing with my main hand weapon) was considered abuse. My alternate plan was to take the Close Range arcana so I can have infinite spellstrikes with a legitimate damaging spell (Ray of frost).

Honestly, though, with a high Int and Spell Recall, I am starting to doubt that this degree of optimization is even necessary - as of 4th level I can start recalling my 1st and 2nd level touch spells, which should give me enough spellstrikes to last through the length of most PFS scenarios. Everyone's attitudes seem to indicate that optimizing any further would be against the spirit of PFS and unfairly expecting harsh judgment from my fellow Pathfinders when none is warranted.

Osirion

LazarX wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Your spouse sounds awesome. :)
My spouse is of the opinion that these message boards are a good way to kill a person's interest in Pathfinder, not because of Paizo, but because of the numbercrunching theorycrafting extremists that are the vocal presence here.

I can't help but agree sometimes, much as I love these messageboards and Pathfinder, that seeing yet another thread about how weak class X is or how much DPR you can squeeze out of giving up your right pinky finger kind of wears on me after a while.

Honestly, I actually believe that just making sure your primary ability score is 16 or higher is probably 80% of a character's effectiveness. The rest is unnecessary except in the meanest of games. It's being made clear to me that I should not expect that out of PFS, so I'll just make sure my Magus doesn't dump stat Con or Int and leave the rest to in-game play.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Your spouse sounds awesome. :)
My spouse is of the opinion that these message boards are a good way to kill a person's interest in Pathfinder, not because of Paizo, but because of the numbercrunching theorycrafting extremists that are the vocal presence here.

I can't help but agree sometimes, much as I love these messageboards and Pathfinder, that seeing yet another thread about how weak class X is or how much DPR you can squeeze out of giving up your right pinky finger kind of wears on me after a while.

Honestly, I actually believe that just making sure your primary ability score is 16 or higher is probably 80% of a character's effectiveness. The rest is unnecessary except in the meanest of games. It's being made clear to me that I should not expect that out of PFS, so I'll just make sure my Magus doesn't dump stat Con or Int and leave the rest to in-game play.

This is my magus launched a couple of weeks ago in "Masters of the Fallen Fortress"

Spoiler:

TELGARANA CR 1/2
Female Half-Elf Magus 1
CG Medium Humanoid (Elf, Human)
Init +4; Senses Low-Light Vision; Perception +2
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14. . (+4 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 11 (1d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2
Immune sleep; Resist Elven Immunities
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Dagger +2 (1d4+2/19-20/x2) and
. . Longsword +2 (1d8+2/19-20/x2)
Magus Spells Known (CL 1, 2 melee touch, 2 ranged touch):
1 (2/day) Color Spray (DC 14), Shield (DC 14)
0 (at will) Daze (DC 13), Mage Hand, Ray of Frost
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Combat Casting, Skill Focus: Use Magic Device (Adaptability)
Traits Armor Expert, Elven Reflexes
Skills Acrobatics +1, Climb +5, Escape Artist +1, Fly +1, Intimidate +4, Perception +2, Ride +1, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +1, Swim +5, Use Magic Device +7
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, Orc
SQ Arcane Pool (+1) (4/day) (Su), Arcane Training, Elf Blood, Spell Combat (Ex)
Combat Gear Chain Shirt, Dagger, Longsword;
--------------------
TRACKED RESOURCES
--------------------
Arcane Pool (+1) (4/day) (Su) - 0/4
Dagger - 0/1
--------------------
SPECIAL ABILITIES
--------------------
Arcane Pool (+1) (4/day) (Su) Infuse own power into a held weapon, granting enhancement bonus or selected item powers.
Arcane Training +1 CL for spell trigger and spell completion items for your favored class.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Combat Casting +4 to Concentration checks to cast while on the defensive.
Elf Blood You are counted as both elves and humans for any effect relating to race.
Elven Immunities +2 save bonus vs Enchantments.
Elven Immunities - Sleep You are immune to Sleep effects.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Spell Combat (Ex) Use a weapon with one hand at -2 and cast a spell with the other.
--------------------
Unlike most half-elves, Telgarana is the daughter of two free spirited half-elven parents. Raniel an evoker of considerable note and the duelist Kitinara. Both were major, sometimes completing influences and her resultant life path is a combination of both. While having experienced prejudice from both humans and elves due to her mixed blood, her relatively pleasant family background compared to most half-elves has left her free of most of the moodiness common to her kind.

This has not kept her from being ambitious to prove herself as master of spell and sword. Some day she aspires to be a teacher of the spellsword path to others, perhaps to found a mercenary company that reflects such a union.

Hero Lab® and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at http://www.wolflair.com
Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.\

Andoran

Combat effectiveness doesnt have to be a large part of your character. Im not saying 'minmaxing is wrong' or anything like that, but dont create a minmaxed character if making them a little differently will make the character more interesting and fun for you.

Having the stats to be effective is only half of it, too. Just cause you are built for combat, doesnt mean you have to do it well.

I have a Tian Alchemist who...

Quest for Perfection, part 1:
...was one of the only members of the party who made the will save not to be scared of the yeti (subtier 1-2). I went first in the combat as well. What was my action (despite him being combat capable)? I tried to convince my companions that the monster was just a guy in a suit, so they have nothing to be scared about and should go fight him.

I didnt even make an attack roll that combat. I think I only threw one bomb that entire scenario, actually. It was good fun. :P

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thod wrote:

I'm not a developer - but I see at least a small chance this might get corrected if it gets widespread. In this case having a whole build based on the combination can lead to disappointment down the line.

It was actually in response to the arcane mark/Spellstrike/Spell Combat combination that the FAQ I linked earlier was created, so this is nothing new, and the developers have made it clear that they have no intention of stopping it.

I'm actually a little surprised that this was (or seems to be?) the first you've heard of it; it made quite a ruckus back in the day.

Andoran

Thod wrote:

So in effect Arcane Mark is used to achieve the equivalent of Two Weapon fighting with two differences:

a) You attack twice with the same weapon
b) You can get an AoO if you don't cast defensivly and always want to have a second attack similar to two weapon fighting
b) If you cast defensivly then your second attack isn't automatic - if you fail the concentration check, then you still have the penalty for the first attack

If I interpret the above correct, then this is an interesting combination. I'm writing this here to ensure I get the thoughts right as I couldn't see the issue why this ever could be a problem or what the 'additional attack' in the post was about.

The issue GMs might have is:
It allows a magus effectivly unlimited Spellstrike. A Magus without this would only have a max. of 2-4 spellstrikes max per day (depending in Intelligence).
There is no penalty to 'waste' a spell if you fail concentration as it is unlimited. Worst case it is not a second attack.

There is a significant penalty associated with it actually, especially if you're talking about a strength based magus.

First, you're taking a -2 penalty to hit. Second, you're not wielding the weapon in 2 hands to get 1.5x strength bonus.

Compare:

+3 to hit and 1d6 +4 to damage
vs
+5 to hit and 1d6 + 6 to damage.

Even if you make your concentration checks, 2 attacks isn't hugely superior, maybe 3 extra points of damage all things considered.

Now for a dex based magus the penalty is less so trying for the second attack is considerably better.

Quote:

As far as I can see - it seems RAW legal. But it reminds me a little bit of the flurry of blows with a single weapon discussion. The combinations pushed the envelope of the rules and what might have been intended. Arcane mark clearly is not a spell intended to do damage - contrary it actually says that the rune etched is without any harm to the material on which it is etched. Well - if you leave the mark this way, then you surely do harm the person you place the mark on - albeit with the weapon and not with the spell.

I'm not a developer - but I see at least a small chance this might get corrected if it gets widespread. In this case having a whole build based on the combination can lead to disappointment down the line.

As Jiggy pointed out, this is not only RAW but RAI and there's nothing to correct. This is working as intended. The developers considered every touch spell that the magus received.

Andoran

I will throw my two cents in on this. As Thod pointed out, in general, using arcane mark to get two attacks as a Magus is actually slightly less effective than traditional two-weapon fighting in several ways, and slightly more effect in others. While you can use the same weapon for both attacks thus cutting down on cost in the long run only upgrading one weapon, you take the same -2 on both attacks and should you fail the concentration check have the potential to lose the second attack. Is it a little cheesy, maybe, is it overpowered, absolutely not. I would probably question you about what arcane mark actually does (prior to reading this thread) but after seeing the spell, I would have no problem letting you use it in this fashion.

Optimizing a character is not against the spirit of PFS and it really annoys me with the CharOP backlash that people dish out on these boards. There is nothing wrong with having a PC that is very powerful. I have 8 active PFS characters at the moment, some are powerhouses and some are more mediocre (like my Gnome Barbarian). But I can tell you one thing, when one of my local players is sitting down to play with me and wants to play his Witch (who is about as effective in combat as a wet paper towel) he is always appreciative of me playing my Half-Orc Sorcerer/Barbarian that can pick up his slack.

Having an optimized character is not against the spirit of PFS, having a character with no backstory and completely lacking flavor that is simply a set of numbers on the page, that is against the spirit of PFS. If you enjoy making powerful PCs, go right ahead, I will happily drive into a dungeon with you as long as that powerhouse also has some personality that makes them fun.

Osirion

James Engle wrote:

Optimizing a character is not against the spirit of PFS and it really annoys me with the CharOP backlash that people dish out on these boards. There is nothing wrong with having a PC that is very powerful. I have 8 active PFS characters at the moment, some are powerhouses and some are more mediocre (like my Gnome Barbarian). But I can tell you one thing, when one of my local players is sitting down to play with me and wants to play his Witch (who is about as effective in combat as a wet paper towel) he is always appreciative of me playing my Half-Orc Sorcerer/Barbarian that can pick up his slack.

Having an optimized character is not against the spirit of PFS, having a character with no backstory and completely lacking flavor that is simply a set of numbers on the page, that is against the spirit of PFS. If you enjoy making powerful PCs, go right ahead, I will happily drive into a dungeon with you as long as that powerhouse also has some personality that makes them fun.

In my experience much of the charOp backlash is against questionable interpretations of the rules for one's own benefit and harsh judgment against those who are not "in the know" about every single modifier you can squeeze out of a build.

I haven't seen it come up much in face to face PFS honestly. Nobody has given anybody trouble if they are missing a point or two of DPR. Effective characters are certainly important - I think the Optimization that people tend to "hate on" is when that last five percent of 100% effectiveness becomes an obsession. I think sane players accept that if a character is 80 or 90% as effective as the absolute maximum for their class or build, that's almost always enough to survive, especially given some decent coordination and teamwork.

IMO, what's against the spirit of PFS is getting into game-killing rules arguments with the GM, or making someone feel unwelcome because they did not copy their feat selection word for word from one of Treantmonk's guides. I'll still certainly keep an eye on the guides and boards, but if I can be 90% as effective and stay within my concept or be more unique than the guide-builds, I think I will still be thought of as "optimized enough". At least that is the impression I am getting from everyone else.

Andoran

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

Um... am I understanding correctly, that you are assuming when you deliver a touch spell through your weapon, that you also get your normal attack with the same weapon?

This is an incorrect interpretation of the ability.

Magus can do their ability a couple of ways.

1) You cast a spell with one hand, and attack with your sword with another. If it is a touch spell, you can use your hand to deliver the spell. If it is ranged touch or some other kind of spell, you use the spell as written.

2) You cast a spell with range touch, and you can deliver it with your sword. This counts as your swords attack. You don't then get your normal sword attack. This is your normal sword attack, you just also get to deliver a touch spell through it.

You also don't necessarily need to cast defensively if nobody is threatening you. You can take a 5 foot step at any time during a full attack action (before, between, or after your attacks).

So you could cast, step 5', deliver.

But using a cantrip is not a free way to get two attacks with your sword.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Maps Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:

Um... am I understanding correctly, that you are assuming when you deliver a touch spell through your weapon, that you also get your normal attack with the same weapon?

This is an incorrect interpretation of the ability.

Magus can do their ability a couple of ways.

1) You cast a spell with one hand, and attack with your sword with another. If it is a touch spell, you can use your hand to deliver the spell. If it is ranged touch or some other kind of spell, you use the spell as written.

2) You cast a spell with range touch, and you can deliver it with your sword. This counts as your swords attack. You don't then get your normal sword attack. This is your normal sword attack, you just also get to deliver a touch spell through it.

You also don't necessarily need to cast defensively if nobody is threatening you. You can take a 5 foot step at any time during a full attack action (before, between, or after your attacks).

So you could cast, step 5', deliver.

But using a cantrip is not a free way to get two attacks with your sword.

Actually, you DO get the weapon damage as well as the spell damage. From the PRD:

"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."

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:
Um... am I understanding correctly, that you are assuming when you deliver a touch spell through your weapon, that you also get your normal attack with the same weapon?

Actually, delivering a touch spell through his weapon (the Spellstrike ability) doesn't grant him an extra attack. Rather, the separate ability called Spell Combat grants him an extra attack.

Spell Combat lets him use a full-round action to make an ordinary attack and also cast a spell. That spell can be (and in my experience, usually is) one with a range of touch. Spell Combat means that, with a -2 to hit, the magus can attack, cast shocking grasp (or whatever), and deliver the spell, all in a single turn.

Separately, Spellstrike says that any time he casts a magus spell with a range of "touch", he can replace the melee touch attack granted by normal spellcasting rules with a weapon attack to deliver the spell, attacking normal AC but getting to include his weapon's damage and threat range, etc.

As a result, once the magus has both abilities, he can use Spell Combat to make a normal attack followed by casting a spell; if it's a touch spell, he can use Spellstrike to deliver it with his sword instead of his wet finger.

Not only does it function by a direct reading of the rules, but it caused a big ruckus quite some time ago, from people thinking that surely it must be an incorrect interpretation. The developers' response, however, was to make a FAQ entry (linked upthread) that debunked the most common argument against this combo. If they were going to put the kibosh on this, that was their chance; but they chose not to. If that doesn't show that the abilities are being used as intended, I don't know what does.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Todd Morgan wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

Um... am I understanding correctly, that you are assuming when you deliver a touch spell through your weapon, that you also get your normal attack with the same weapon?

This is an incorrect interpretation of the ability.

Magus can do their ability a couple of ways.

1) You cast a spell with one hand, and attack with your sword with another. If it is a touch spell, you can use your hand to deliver the spell. If it is ranged touch or some other kind of spell, you use the spell as written.

2) You cast a spell with range touch, and you can deliver it with your sword. This counts as your swords attack. You don't then get your normal sword attack. This is your normal sword attack, you just also get to deliver a touch spell through it.

You also don't necessarily need to cast defensively if nobody is threatening you. You can take a 5 foot step at any time during a full attack action (before, between, or after your attacks).

So you could cast, step 5', deliver.

But using a cantrip is not a free way to get two attacks with your sword.

Actually, you DO get the weapon damage as well as the spell damage. From the PRD:

"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...

Yes you do. But you don't get a 2nd attack with that sword.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Um... am I understanding correctly, that you are assuming when you deliver a touch spell through your weapon, that you also get your normal attack with the same weapon?

Actually, delivering a touch spell through his weapon (the Spellstrike ability) doesn't grant him an extra attack. Rather, the separate ability called Spell Combat grants him an extra attack.

Spell Combat lets him use a full-round action to make an ordinary attack and also cast a spell. That spell can be (and in my experience, usually is) one with a range of touch. Spell Combat means that, with a -2 to hit, the magus can attack, cast shocking grasp (or whatever), and deliver the spell, all in a single turn.

Separately, Spellstrike says that any time he casts a magus spell with a range of "touch", he can replace the melee touch attack granted by normal spellcasting rules with a weapon attack to deliver the spell, attacking normal AC but getting to include his weapon's damage and threat range, etc.

As a result, once the magus has both abilities, he can use Spell Combat to make a normal attack followed by casting a spell; if it's a touch spell, he can use Spellstrike to deliver it with his sword instead of his wet finger.

Not only does it function by a direct reading of the rules, but it caused a big ruckus quite some time ago, from people thinking that surely it must be an incorrect interpretation. The developers' response, however, was to make a FAQ entry (linked upthread) that debunked the most common argument against this combo. If they were going to put the kibosh on this, that was their chance; but they chose not to. If that doesn't show that the abilities are being used as intended, I don't know what does.

Sorry, you don't get two sword strikes because you choose to use your sword attack as the delivery method of your touch attack.

Osirion

Spell combat allows a full attack and one spell.

+

The spell says I get one free touch attack included in the casting of the spell.

+

Spell strike says the free attack granted by the touch spell can be a weapon attack.

=

I full attack, then cast a spell. The spell says I get a free attack, and Spellstrike says that free attack is with my weapon.

Spellstrike is a large part of what makes the Magus such a damage engine - attack, cast shocking grasp in the same action thanks to Spell Combat, attack again because offensive touch spells grant free attacks as part of their casting action, and thanks to spellstrike, it's a weapon attack.

I can't do it all day like Fighters can though - unless I can spellstrike Arcane Mark, in which case, I can still deliver acceptable damage even after I run out of Shocking Grasps and Frigid Touches.

Taldor

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Jiggy is right read the links and all the posts above explaining the secanrios. Or search Spellstrike and Spell Combat on this topic at least the rules are clear.

Darn Magi Ninja

Andoran

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

Ok, I went and reread magus, and I was mistaken.

You get the free attack.

However, spellstrike says you must cast the spell before you make any attacks. Not between attacks with your weapon.

So while it doesn't explicitly say it, the free attack granted by the spellstrike, would have to be part of your attack sequence (yes an extra attack). So if you had 2 attacks (one iterative) you couldn't take both attacks, cast your spell, and get a 3rd attack. You'd have to cast your spell, and then take all 3 attacks.

Doing this with Arcane Mark is cheesy, legal, but cheesy.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:


I'm actually a little surprised that this was (or seems to be?) the first you've heard of it; it made quite a ruckus back in the day.

Jiggy - no - I never have read about it here in the boards. I do read most posts on the PFS boards. My involvement with the Rules board is much more sporadic. I go there if something piques my interest - and then I also might contribute as you have seen in the past.

But this is pretty sporadic.

What this shows - and the post of Andrew is a different issue beyond the rules.

It 'caused a ruckus' and it seems not everybody directly agreed on it. Some experienced GMs might never have heard about it and instinctivly feel this can't be right.

This is the true danger if you spring it at a PFS game on an unsuspecting GM. As a GM you don't have the time to discuss this here and spend half an hour to read up the rulebook.

It sometimes can be difficult as GM to know all intricacies. Less than a month ago a local Magus player who had run out of spells adamantly and very assertive tried to tell the GM that he could use his weapon similar to a bonded item of a wizard and get an extra free spell of his choice.

You can easily say - well - but that is wrong - that is not in the rules. The issue is - you often have to decide on the spot and go to the rulebooks later. What do you do as GM if a player is adamant he is right but you are certain he is wrong.

As GM I probably ruled more often in favour of the player - and allowed something illigal - only to confirm after the game that actually it wasn't allowed - as the other way round. But what I learned for a good game for everyone else on the table is to make a decision and carry on.

Luckily most people at the table seem to have a relaxed attitude to rulings and the occasional mistake is accepted.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:

Ok, I went and reread magus, and I was mistaken.

You get the free attack.

However, spellstrike says you must cast the spell before you make any attacks. Not between attacks with your weapon.

Or more specifically (and I think you meant spell combat in your above post, not spellstrike):

Spell Combat wrote:
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.
Quote:
So while it doesn't explicitly say it, the free attack granted by the spellstrike, would have to be part of your attack sequence (yes an extra attack). So if you had 2 attacks (one iterative) you couldn't take both attacks, cast your spell, and get a 3rd attack. You'd have to cast your spell, and then take all 3 attacks.

More precisely, Spellstrike doesn't grant you an extra attack. The rules for Touch spells do. Spellstrike just modifies that existing attack to use your weapon instead of your finger. As such, the attack itself is a free action granted as part of casting the spell.

So if you normally have attacks at +6/+1, you could use Spell Combat to change those to +4/-1, and cast either at the beginning or at the end (per the quote above). Once you cast, if that spell is a touch spell, the touch spell rules grant you an attack to deliver it. If you have the Spellstrike ability, you can choose to modify that touch attack to be a weapon attack.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thod wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


I'm actually a little surprised that this was (or seems to be?) the first you've heard of it; it made quite a ruckus back in the day.

Jiggy - no - I never have read about it here in the boards. I do read most posts on the PFS boards. My involvement with the Rules board is much more sporadic. I go there if something piques my interest - and then I also might contribute as you have seen in the past.

But this is pretty sporadic.

I guess I figured since I see you around here a lot, that maybe you'd have seen it. Not a big deal, I was just commenting. :)

Quote:
This is the true danger if you spring it at a PFS game on an unsuspecting GM. As a GM you don't have the time to discuss this here and spend half an hour to read up the rulebook.

Oh, absolutely. I ignore a lot of stuff when I'm a player at the table, especially if I know the GM doesn't roam the forums. Heck, I even let some stuff slide that I could quote the relevant rule from memory, if it's not a big deal at the moment (i.e., not going to get a PC killed or whatever). In fact, at the last table I played at, I wasn't even the one doing most of the rules protesting. Go figure, right? ;)

Quote:

It sometimes can be difficult as GM to know all intricacies. Less than a month ago a local Magus player who had run out of spells adamantly and very assertive tried to tell the GM that he could use his weapon similar to a bonded item of a wizard and get an extra free spell of his choice.

You can easily say - well - but that is wrong - that is not in the rules. The issue is - you often have to decide on the spot and go to the rulebooks later. What do you do as GM if a player is adamant he is right but you are certain he is wrong.

I'm a big fan of not looking stuff up at the table unless it's pretty important. That's why I delve into the rules so much when I'm not at the table. As a GM, I want to be as knowledgable as possible so that I can make satisfactory rulings, and be caught off-guard as little as possible. I know what I'm capable of, so I feel it would be lazy of me to do less.

Quote:
Luckily most people at the table seem to have a relaxed attitude to rulings and the occasional mistake is accepted.

Yep, and that's how it ought to be. :)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Thod wrote:

It sometimes can be difficult as GM to know all intricacies. Less than a month ago a local Magus player who had run out of spells adamantly and very assertive tried to tell the GM that he could use his weapon similar to a bonded item of a wizard and get an extra free spell of his choice.

You can easily say - well - but that is wrong - that is not in the rules. The issue is - you often have to decide on the spot and go to the rulebooks later. What do you do as GM if a player is adamant he is right but you are certain he is wrong.

As GM I probably ruled more often in favour of the player - and allowed something illigal - only to confirm after the game that actually it wasn't allowed - as the other way round. But what I learned for a good game for everyone else on the table is to make a decision and carry on.

Luckily most people at the table seem to have a relaxed attitude to rulings and the occasional mistake is accepted.

Depending on his level, he could do that. At 11th level he gets Imp. Spell Recall.

UM wrote:

Improved Spell Recall (Su): At 11th level, the magus’s

ability to recall spells using his arcane pool becomes more
efficient. Whenever he recalls a spell with spell recall, he
expends a number of points from his arcane pool equal
to 1/2 the spell’s level (minimum 1). Furthermore, instead
of recalling a used spell, as a swift action the magus
can prepare a spell of the same level that he has in his
spellbook. He does so by expending a number of points
from his arcane pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum
1).
The magus cannot apply metamagic feats to a spell
prepared in this way. The magus does not need to reference
his spellbook to prepare a spell in this way.

Now, were he not 11th lvl yet he could have just been mixing this up with the regular spell recall with is basically a pearl of power as a swift action. But this is why players are supposed to be able to prove rules, right? They're supposed to bring the printed material so that they can show it to the GM should a conflict arise.

Qadira

LazarX wrote:
Perhaps it's more the play than the build that matters?

Definitely.

Both in and out of PFS, it really doesn't matter the power of your build, it's how you use it and how you work to include others in the fun. Too many people think that squeezing an extra point of damage will make them seem like a better player.

Nope. Nor will a +47 intimidate check. Nor an extra point or two to a save DC. None of that really matters.

Play your build and have fun doing it. If a PFS GM is wrong about this ruling, make your case politely once and then move on. It isn't that big of thing (as Shadowcat showed above) that will really be limiting you. You can play around it and be just fine.

-Pain


Andrew Christian wrote:


So while it doesn't explicitly say it, the free attack granted by the spellstrike, would have to be part of your attack sequence (yes an extra attack). So if you had 2 attacks (one iterative) you couldn't take both attacks, cast your spell, and get a 3rd attack. You'd have to cast your spell, and then take all 3 attacks.

This, too, is incorrect.

Let us go through what a magus' options would be without spellstrike and just using spellcombat to cast a shocking grasp spell.

The magus takes a -2 to hit on all of his attacks. He can elect to cast the spell and then make his full attack action round worth of attacks, or he can take all of his full attack action round worth of attacks and then cast the spell.

Let's go with the later. After he's made his full round action attacks he then casts shocking grasp.

What happens?

Because it is a ranged touch spell the caster on the round that he casts the spell can spend a free action at any time during this round to deliver the spell with a melee touch attack. He is considered armed for this attack, and on a successful touch he discharges the spell. He holds the charge on this touch attack until he discharges it or casts another spell.

Now lets see how spell strike alter this.

Instead of the free melee touch attack the magus can make a free normal melee weapon attack.

On a successful melee weapon attack he discharges the touch spell rather than just on a successful melee touch attack.

If you break the two abilities down both are understandable, but when you try to swallow them both at once its easy to get confused,

James

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

james maissen wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


So while it doesn't explicitly say it, the free attack granted by the spellstrike, would have to be part of your attack sequence (yes an extra attack). So if you had 2 attacks (one iterative) you couldn't take both attacks, cast your spell, and get a 3rd attack. You'd have to cast your spell, and then take all 3 attacks.

This, too, is incorrect.

Let us go through what a magus' options would be without spellstrike and just using spellcombat to cast a shocking grasp spell.

The magus takes a -2 to hit on all of his attacks. He can elect to cast the spell and then make his full attack action round worth of attacks, or he can take all of his full attack action round worth of attacks and then cast the spell.

Let's go with the later. After he's made his full round action attacks he then casts shocking grasp.

What happens?

Because it is a ranged touch spell the caster on the round that he casts the spell can spend a free action at any time during this round to deliver the spell with a melee touch attack. He is considered armed for this attack, and on a successful touch he discharges the spell. He holds the charge on this touch attack until he discharges it or casts another spell.

Now lets see how spell strike alter this.

Instead of the free melee touch attack the magus can make a free normal melee weapon attack.

On a successful melee weapon attack he discharges the touch spell rather than just on a successful melee touch attack.

If you break the two abilities down both are understandable, but when you try to swallow them both at once its easy to get confused,

James

Psssst!

;)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a concrete example:

If a magus has a BAB of +6, he can:

A. Make two melee or ranged attacks as a full attack, at +6/+1 (not counting the appropriate modifiers, of course), but cannot cast any kind of spell that round or move further than 5 feet.

or

B. As a full-round action, he can use Spell Combat to make two melee attacks at +4/-1 and also cast a magus spell (before or after the normal attacks). If the spell is a touch spell, he gets a free melee touch attack with his hand at +4, or can use Spellstrike to channel the spell through his weapon and make a free melee attack with his weapon at +4. This is in addition to his two regular attacks, and he cannot move more than 5 feet.

or

C. If he has to move more than 5 feet, he can cast a touch spell, hold it as a charge, move, and then make a free melee touch attack at +6. If it is specifically a magus touch spell, he can choose to instead make a free melee attack with his weapon at +6 to channel the spell (via Spellstrike).

or

D. If he has to move more than 5 feet and he casts any kind of spell other than a touch spell, he only gets to cast the spell and move that round, no melee attacks (free or normal).

or

E. If he has to move more than 5 feet, he can move and make a single melee or ranged attack at +6. No spellcasting.

Silver Crusade

Thamius your E is incorrect

Quote:


If he has to move more than 5 feet, he can move and make a single melee or ranged attack at +6. No spellcasting.

it should read

if he has to mve more than 5', he can move and make a single melee,ranged attack at +6 or cast a spell that requires a swift action to cast or a spell that is a standard action to cast.

You can always make a move action and a standard action in the same turn


(pedant) Unless it's a surprise round (/pedant)

In answer to the thread title: If the question is, "Does the Magus rule?" the answer is "Yes"

Shadow Lodge

Alright i'm really not "getting" the magus here. What does the magus gain with an attack in his offhand with arcane mark?

Take the two weapon fighting penalties with your sword--------> Cast a touch spell that deals no damage and touch them with that------> ????? ----------> Profit.


I played my level 1 magus for the first time a couple of days ago and I didn't use the AM trick as my hit and concentration were too low to validate (I roughly calculated). So at the low levels where you are low on spells it's difficult to pull off. Later, when you have a better chance at doing this you'll have more powerful options.

Cheliax

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Alright i'm really not "getting" the magus here. What does the magus gain with an attack in his offhand with arcane mark?

Take the two weapon fighting penalties with your sword--------> Cast a touch spell that deals no damage and touch them with that------> ????? ----------> Profit.

its not actually twf.

its deliver arcane mark with a sword strike. then hit with another sword strike.


Had anyone GM'ed a game where the Magus used this combination? If so, have you put any sort of penalty on the fact that each of his enemies end up with glowing runes on the corpses that don't disappear for a month.

It might make concealing the number of people being killed by the party somewhat difficult.

Also, for everyone who hates the cheese of this combo, doesn't the "close range" arcana for magus open up the zero level ray of frost spells for the same effect in a 100% rules legal cheese-free way? It looks like the intent of the class was to open the door to 0 level spell strikes and arcane mark just kicks that door in a little early.

Shadow Lodge

Name Violation wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Alright i'm really not "getting" the magus here. What does the magus gain with an attack in his offhand with arcane mark?

Take the two weapon fighting penalties with your sword--------> Cast a touch spell that deals no damage and touch them with that------> ????? ----------> Profit.

its not actually twf.

its deliver arcane mark with a sword strike. then hit with another sword strike.

I dont' see where this ends up happening. He casts arcane mark, he makes an attack with his sword instead of his hand.


Lokiron wrote:
I played my level 1 magus for the first time a couple of days ago and I didn't use the AM trick as my hit and concentration were too low to validate (I roughly calculated).

i also did rough calculation for my Magus, and it appears that I gain some damages; not an incredible amount of damages, but still, it's a bit better than "wielding my weapon with two hand and using PA".

But my magus isn't the best test-case: we rolled abilities, and I rolled very high (to the point that the DM changed the creation method; the initial rule was "roll abilities, if your rolls are poor you can use a 20-point build", and after I rolled my character, the rule was "roll abilities, if your rolls are poor you can use a 35-point build").

Cheliax

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Alright i'm really not "getting" the magus here. What does the magus gain with an attack in his offhand with arcane mark?

Take the two weapon fighting penalties with your sword--------> Cast a touch spell that deals no damage and touch them with that------> ????? ----------> Profit.

its not actually twf.

its deliver arcane mark with a sword strike. then hit with another sword strike.

I dont' see where this ends up happening. He casts arcane mark, he makes an attack with his sword instead of his hand.

as a full round attack, you use spell combat and spell strike.

it gives you the extra attack (with a weapon channeling a touch spell).

Spell combat + spell strike.

read jiggy's expatiation above if you still dont see how it works

Shadow Lodge

Name Violation wrote:
read jiggy's expatiation above if you still dont see how it works

Can't follow him, sorry.

Is there any official confirmation that that's how it works?

Cheliax

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
read jiggy's expatiation above if you still dont see how it works

Can't follow him, sorry.

Is there any official confirmation that that's how it works?

the devs have said it somewhere. I'm too lazy to look.

But if everyones word isnt good enough, try searching the devs posts about magus's

also the abilitys say what they do. RAW is this is how they work

Cheliax

Jiggy wrote:

Actually, delivering a touch spell through his weapon (the Spellstrike ability) doesn't grant him an extra attack. Rather, the separate ability called Spell Combat grants him an extra attack.

Spell Combat lets him use a full-round action to make an ordinary attack and also cast a spell. That spell can be (and in my experience, usually is) one with a range of touch. Spell Combat means that, with a -2 to hit, the magus can attack, cast shocking grasp (or whatever), and deliver the spell, all in a single turn.

Separately, Spellstrike says that any time he casts a magus spell with a range of "touch", he can replace the melee touch attack granted by normal spellcasting rules with a weapon attack to deliver the spell, attacking normal AC but getting to include his weapon's damage and threat range, etc.

As a result, once the magus has both abilities, he can use Spell Combat to make a normal attack followed by casting a spell; if it's a touch spell, he can use Spellstrike to deliver it with his sword instead of his wet finger.

Not only does it function by a direct reading of the rules, but it caused a big ruckus quite some time ago, from people thinking that surely it must be an incorrect interpretation. The developers' response, however, was to make a FAQ entry (linked upthread) that debunked the most common argument against this combo. If they were going to put the kibosh on this, that was their chance; but they chose not to. If that doesn't show that the abilities are being used as intended, I don't know what does.

so "full round spell combat" (cast spell, deliver touch attack via spell strike, then full round attack) is exactly how the abilitys work in tandem

Shadow Lodge

James jacobs said "Spellstrike: The free attack is NOT an extra attack. It's a free attack you ad 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.

____

Someone tries to convince him of Jiggy's logic a few pages later, but i don't see a counter response in the next three pages.

_____

Linky

And you're right. Spellstrike does not grant you an extra attack. It allows you to make an attack as part of a spellcasting action—essentially, it adds "swing your weapon to hit the target" to the spell's somatic component, more or less. The attack itself is free... but the act of casting the spell in the first place still takes up a standard action (or whatever action the spell casting normally requires).

So you COULD use arcane strike as a spellstrike, but that'd be a pretty poor decision since all you'd gain from this is the ability to write a word on the person you hit with your weapon (and with a penalty to hit as well).
_____

I think he means arcane mark instead of arcane strike there.

____

Folks are overcomplicating the whole spellstrike thing.

Basically... all spellstrike does is let you deliver a touch spell via your weapon. It lets you make a weapon attack to deliver that touch spell rather than just using your hand. You still go through the motions of casting a spell (which provokes an AoO because that's what casting a spell does) and you still need to make a touch attack to deliver the spell.

And yes... Magi don't mix well with two-handed weapons as a result. They're not intended to be two-handed or dual-weapon wielding characters at all, because they've got spells to cast with their free hand. There's one archetype that exists that lets you break that rule.

Cheliax

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Spell combat
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.

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.

so use spell combat (full round) to cast a touch spell and channel threw weapon (using spell strike). done. spell and from spell attack resolved. Now do exacly what the rest of the ability says you get to do. make a full round attack.

so what you get is a full round attack, + 1 additional touch attack granted by a spell with range of touch

also notice the phrase
"a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell."

spell casted? check. free attack? check. also get to perform full round attack? check.

I'm not sure what there is to miss

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