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Level 5 Magus Idea


Advice


So my GM is running a game at level 5 with no 3rd party options and 8000g to start, and I was really interested in the Magus class. My friends insist that Magus suffer from "Red Mageitus", not being able to compete with other, non-hybrid classes. I understand what they're saying, but I'd like to make the most efficient Magus I can to show them. After looking at a few guides and bouncing ideas off of my friends, I came up with the following character, and I wanted to know anyone's opinions on it. Input would be greatly appreciated.

I'm going off of the Dervish Dancer build, using Dex rather than Str.

Class: Magus (Blackblade, Hexcrafter, and Fiend Flayer)

As I understand it, you can have multiple archetypes if they don't conflict, right?

Race: Teifling (Base)

Favored Class Magus gives +1/4 per level, helpful since Black Blade lowers your arcane pool a bit.

Ability Scores:

STR: 12
DEX: 18 (+2 racial)(+1 level 4)
CON: 14
INT: 20 (+2 racial)
WIS: 8
CHA: 6 (-2 racial)

I understand that others wouldn't invest as much in INT, but I believe that with certain Magus Arcana (Arcane Accuracy as one), Int becomes very important.

Traits: (GM allows 3 at creation)

Spell Lineage (Shocking Grasp)
Focused Mind
Adopted (By humans, for a bonus feat) It's been pointed out that this is incorrect

Feats:

Weapon Finesse
Dervish Dance
Quickdraw (Quickdraw shield shenanigans)
Intensified Spell (Not really needed at 5, I know)
Armor of the Pit (2 Natural Armor? Yes Please)

Equipment: (8000g)

Equipment is something that I'm probably least familiar with.

2100g +1 Mithril Chain Shirt (Allows +6 Dex bonus)
1059g +1 Metal Shield, Quickdraw (Quickdraw feat allows free action equip/unequip, making it essentially 2 AC with no penalties)
0000g +2 Blackblade (As per archetype)
0315g Masterwork Scimitar (Just in case)
0600g Masterwork Composite Longbow (Probably not worth it with 12 Str, but meh)
2500g Bag of Holding 1 (Low Str, can't limit max Dex bonus to medium-heavy loads)

And tons of misc. adventuring equipment.

Some Reasoning:

So I have the quickdraw shield and Mithril shirt so that I don't get an armor check penalty on any skills, and my max Dex bonus is +6, allowing Cat's Grace to give me the full bonus to attacks, and AC.

With Tiefling Feat "Armor of the Pit", Dex, and Equipment, My standard AC is 23. This can be boosted to 25 when using Cat's Grace.

I understand that metamagic feat "Intensified Spell" is wasted on a level 5 Magus, and should probably be purchased at 7. I'd like opinions on another feat for that slot. (Tinker with stats for Power Attack? Another Magus arcana? Maybe another Metamagic Feat at +1 for use with Spell Lineage "Shocking Grasp").

I Think that a Magus is one of the most versatile classes, especially around this level. This is why I want to use a high INT score, A lot of the versatility comes from using your Arcane Pool. Also at six I plan on getting Arcane Accuracy for +5 on my attack rolls.

So tell me what you think! I'm pretty happy looking at it right now, but I'd really like some input! Thanks.


I like what you made so far, did you look into improved critical?
A magus in my party has it and it's shocking. (Litteraly. If she gets a critical with a shocking grasp on her rapier, the shocking grasp is critical as well.)
I don't know the blackblade, but with a rapier it seem worth a feat to me.


Little Skylark wrote:

I like what you made so far, did you look into improved critical?

A magus in my party has it and it's shocking. (Litteraly. If she gets a critical with a shocking grasp on her rapier, the shocking grasp is critical as well.)
I don't know the blackblade, but with a rapier it seem worth a feat to me.

Sadly I can't get improved critical until I have a BAB of +8, meaning 11th level. Still I can give my weapon Keen with my arcane pool.

Grand Lodge

Adopted doesn't let you take an extra feat. You are confusing race traits and racial traits.

Grand Lodge

Bristor is right, no free feats in exchange for a trait.

As a 1st level spell, consider reduce person.
As a Dervish Dancer, you'll get +2 AC, +2 to-hit, and +2 damage in exchange for your weapon dice moving down one step.


Bristor is correct on the feats aspect. Adopted lets you take a trait of the "racial" type, not a racial trait like the extra feat that humans get. This is what it means by racial trait.

As for the magus build itself, I'd say you need to swap your Dex and your Int. High Int is good for a magus, but your Dex is your AC, your hit bonus, your damage, your Initiative, and your Reflex save. Bump it as high as you can.

You'll want to go for celestial armor as soon as you can. It's 22,400gp so it's not cheap, but it's pretty much the highest possibly AC you can get as a Dex-based character.

Celestial Armor: This bright silver or gold +3 chainmail is so fine and light that it can be worn under normal clothing without betraying its presence. It has a maximum Dexterity bonus of +8, an armor check penalty of –2, and an arcane spell failure chance of 15%. It is considered light armor and allows the wearer to use fly on command (as the spell) once per day.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well your idea is interesting but you have a few mechanical flaws you will need to address.

First, spell combat is a full attack option and requires you to have a free hand the entire time. So any round you decide to use this ability you can't use your quickdraw shield, I'd recommend skipping it.

Second is the adopted trait, doesn't let you take another feat as has been noted by everyone else so far.

Third you have tanked your will save at the exact same time will affecting spells become the most common. Never a good thing to do.

Fourth, Fiend Flayer at 5th level is a bad selection. You're doing non-standard CONSTITUTION damage to yourself for an extra arcane point or two that [b]can't be healed]/b] at your level except with normal healing. As low as your current HP's will be that's going to murder your HP's, Fort save and Con checks for no real benefit.

Quickdraw and Intensified spell are unnecessary (especially quickdraw, your a tiefling, get prehensile tail as a racial trait) and I'd recommend spending those feats on Extra Hexes instead. What's the point of being a hexcrafter if you aren't taking hexes?

My recommendation is dump the blackblade completely and focus on being a natural weapon tiefling Hexcrafter. Grab prehensile Tail & heritage claws and use adopted to get a bite attack from Half-orcs.Then at 4th level take Prehensile Hair hex for a 4th natural attack.
This gives you 4 natural attacks (3 primary, 1 secondary) and 10' reach. Every round you cast a touch spell from 10 ft away (no need for casting defensively if you aren't threatened) and use the hair to do the touch attack then 5ft step in and full attack with your claws and bite. (I recommend using frostbite or chill touch as your default spell). This will let you do up to 50pts of damage a round and either fatigue or strength drain your target to uselessness.

Best part you'll save a fortune in cash since you never need to buy a magic weapon (and a amulet of mighty fists is cheap at this level and boosts 4 weapons at this point)


Itsgottabeodin wrote:

As a 1st level spell, consider reduce person.

As a Dervish Dancer, you'll get +2 AC, +2 to-hit, and +2 damage in exchange for your weapon dice moving down one step.

I didn't even consider reduce person, thanks! I like this idea a lot.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
First, spell combat is a full attack option and requires you to have a free hand the entire time. So any round you decide to use this ability you can't use your quickdraw shield, I'd recommend skipping it.

This is actually something I wanted to confirm. As per the text on Quickdraw Shield: "If you have the Quick Draw feat, you may don or put away a quickdraw shield as a free action."

A full round action says that "it can't be coupled with a standard or a move action" But makes no mention of free actions, so I assumed they were allowed.

I also understand that I should take advantages of hexes, and I'll likely move things around to include them.
Fiend Flayer is just another archetype that doesn't conflict with my others. I understand that the con damage is steep, but if I have the option of adding the archetype for free or not choosing it, I'd like to take it to add a small bit of versatility.

The natural weapon build also sounds really tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to do that with this character.

I really appreciate the help so far!

Cheliax

Postmodern wrote:
Itsgottabeodin wrote:

As a 1st level spell, consider reduce person.

As a Dervish Dancer, you'll get +2 AC, +2 to-hit, and +2 damage in exchange for your weapon dice moving down one step.

I didn't even consider reduce person, thanks! I like this idea a lot.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
First, spell combat is a full attack option and requires you to have a free hand the entire time. So any round you decide to use this ability you can't use your quickdraw shield, I'd recommend skipping it.

This is actually something I wanted to confirm. As per the text on Quickdraw Shield: "If you have the Quick Draw feat, you may don or put away a quickdraw shield as a free action."

A full round action says that "it can't be coupled with a standard or a move action" But makes no mention of free actions, so I assumed they were allowed.

I also understand that I should take advantages of hexes, and I'll likely move things around to include them.
Fiend Flayer is just another archetype that doesn't conflict with my others. I understand that the con damage is steep, but if I have the option of adding the archetype for free or not choosing it, I'd like to take it to add a small bit of versatility.

The natural weapon build also sounds really tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to do that with this character.

I really appreciate the help so far!

It's not the action involved that matters, the specific text of Spell combat states you must have a free hand while doing it, using a quickdraw shield (drawing or sheathing) puts something in that hand. So no spellcombat if you put a shield (or wand or dagger or anything at all in that hand.

Since the archetype gives up nothing to have take it if you want, just understand all of it's abilities require you to take non-fixable con damage so you'll be out of commission for a while every time you use it.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For a first time magus your overcomplicating things for yourself. Try using a basic magus first (teifling ok).
Your kicking your own arse min maxing for damage and hit.
Black blade will hurt you in the long run since at level 7 you will really want a spell storing weapon witch a black blade can't have.
Hexcrafter is cool but useless if you plan to do alot of damage out of the gate (magus strong point 1)
With a 20pnt buy in i would go with
str 10
Dex 16 (5pnts for 14 +2) (get a belt of dex after you get a ring)
Con 16 (10pnts) (+1 at level 4 i would put in int)
Int 16 (5pnts for 14 +2)
Wis 10 (no need for negatives for perception)
Chr 8 (-2, -1 or not using intimidate is not bad)
trait #1 magical lineage (shocking grasp)
trait #2 Eyes and ears of the city or suicidal
feat level one weapon finesse
feat level three get armor of the pit
feat level five spell focus (evocation)
level 3 magus Arcane Accuracy
feat bonus level 5 magus spell Specialization (shocking grasp)

make sure to take Prehensile Tail instead of fiendish sorcery racial trait. That's so you can have a lesser rod of metamagic elemental spell (acid or cold) so you don't fall into the it's immue to electricity trap.

Magic iteams are up to you but you will need a cloak of resistance a ring of protection and a chain shirt at that level. Aslo, you should get a +1 spellstoring keen (rapier or scimitar) asap. (note at level 5 you can add keen to your weapon already so get spell storing first.

Doing all this will make sure that (shield spell up and mirrior image if you can) you can act as a tank when you run out of shocking grasps. That will give you the staying power that some say you lack as a magus. You just have to have two jobs. Hit them hard and then don't get hit.

All just suggestions btw for a first time magus.

Grand Lodge

forgot to add get intisify spell at level 7 but if you can get a rod at 5


Postmodern wrote:
I understand that others wouldn't invest as much in INT, but I believe that with certain Magus Arcana (Arcane Accuracy as one), Int becomes very important.

Just to point out that your logic is a bit flawed. You're taking a -1 to hit all the time for a +1 to hit some of the time. Doesn't make a lot of sense. (Not to mention that dex is also damage, ac, and multiple skills). The one extra spell at first level really isn't worth that trade-off.


Instead of the shield and feat, buy a wand of shield with a spring loaded wrist sheath and spend your feat on weapon focus. +2 AC over the shield, +1 attack, +309gp, and immunity to magic missile.


Xyllen wrote:


Black blade will hurt you in the long run since at level 7 you will really want a spell storing weapon witch a black blade can't have.

Disagree. The black blade saves enough money to invest in pearls of power to the point that you can enter 3 fights a day at a full load of shocking grasp very quickly. The spell storing weapon is somewhat expensive (3k/6kgp minimum or enough to make 6 pearls, which is twice as many shocking grasps as the spell storing would give you a day assuming three fights) and detracts from enhancements which would cause more damage in the long run.

In summation, if you think black blade costs you anything you really need to consider what you're going to do with the extra money you have from party loot split to make your BB magus better.


Regarding the Black Blade, you should check with your DM. He might allow you to enhance it. The rules don't really say if it's allowed either way.

Cheliax

Lastoth wrote:
Xyllen wrote:


Black blade will hurt you in the long run since at level 7 you will really want a spell storing weapon witch a black blade can't have.

Disagree. The black blade saves enough money to invest in pearls of power to the point that you can enter 3 fights a day at a full load of shocking grasp very quickly. The spell storing weapon is somewhat expensive (3k/6kgp minimum or enough to make 6 pearls, which is twice as many shocking grasps as the spell storing would give you a day assuming three fights) and detracts from enhancements which would cause more damage in the long run.

In summation, if you think black blade costs you anything you really need to consider what you're going to do with the extra money you have from party loot split to make your BB magus better.

Your argument is in accurate, it's not how many spells you can cast per day that matters, it's how many PER ROUND that matters. A well built Magus can drop 4-5 spells into a target on the first round of combat with spell storing weapons. That's usually a one round kill and you want to give that up to save a few handfuls of gold?

Anyway spamming nothing but shocking grasp all day is less then optimal choice past 10th level or so.
The spell storing weapon is there so you can do more then just be a BSF. Usually your Spell storing weapon is loaded down with either Blindness or Bestow Curse. Best choice is of course Blindness for that 50% miss chance against your whole party or Bestow Curse to drop a spellblight on your target if it's a caster. Nothing like hitting the BBEG with a Ritualistic Obsession to bump all his casting times up a step (usually to 1 full round to cast)AND make them need 2 free hands to cast now.

Drop one of these in your spell storing weapon and you can drop a massive amount of damage as well as negate your opponents ability to fight back which is your real job as a caster. Just splashing an extra couple of D6's around isn't that effective at mid to high levels.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Postmodern wrote:
My friends insist that Magus suffer from "Red Mageitus", not being able to compete with other, non-hybrid classes

Your friends have no idea on how to properly run a magus. You have two options when running a magus. You're either a glass canon that breaks whatsoever easily. Or you are an awesome burst of damage. With a bit of battlefield control mixed in.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Your argument is in accurate, it's not how many spells you can cast per day that matters, it's how many PER ROUND that matters. A well built Magus can drop 4-5 spells into a target on the first round of combat with spell storing weapons. That's usually a one round kill and you want to give that up to save a few handfuls of gold?

Anyway spamming nothing but shocking grasp all day is less then optimal choice past 10th level or so.
The spell storing weapon is there so you can do more then just be a BSF. Usually your Spell storing weapon is loaded down with either Blindness or Bestow Curse. Best choice is of course Blindness for that 50% miss chance against your whole party or Bestow Curse to drop a spellblight on your target if it's a caster. Nothing like hitting the BBEG with a Ritualistic Obsession to bump all his casting times up a step (usually to 1 full round to cast)AND make them need 2 free hands to cast now.

Drop one of these in your spell storing weapon and you can drop a massive amount of damage as well as negate your opponents ability to fight back which is your real job as a caster. Just splashing an extra couple of D6's around isn't that effective at mid to...

I think I'm missing something, but how on earth can a magus drop 4-5 spells in one round?

Cheliax

D'arandriel wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Your argument is in accurate, it's not how many spells you can cast per day that matters, it's how many PER ROUND that matters. A well built Magus can drop 4-5 spells into a target on the first round of combat with spell storing weapons. That's usually a one round kill and you want to give that up to save a few handfuls of gold?

Anyway spamming nothing but shocking grasp all day is less then optimal choice past 10th level or so.
The spell storing weapon is there so you can do more then just be a BSF. Usually your Spell storing weapon is loaded down with either Blindness or Bestow Curse. Best choice is of course Blindness for that 50% miss chance against your whole party or Bestow Curse to drop a spellblight on your target if it's a caster. Nothing like hitting the BBEG with a Ritualistic Obsession to bump all his casting times up a step (usually to 1 full round to cast)AND make them need 2 free hands to cast now.

Drop one of these in your spell storing weapon and you can drop a massive amount of damage as well as negate your opponents ability to fight back which is your real job as a caster. Just splashing an extra couple of D6's around isn't that effective at mid to...

I think I'm missing something, but how on earth can a magus drop 4-5 spells in one round?

Pretty easily at higher levels but it does take some prep.

A perfect rotation involves 2 spell storing items (an AoMF and a weapon with the enchant as well) and the Hexcrafter Archetype to give you prehensile hair (or anything that gives you a natural attack). Finally either a quickened spell or the Forceful Strike spell.

Now with this setup and knowing you are going into a fight you can pre-cast a touch spell and hold the charge and activate your hair.
Fight starts and opponent gets in melee range you spellcombat/spellstrike and hit the target with your hair releasing the held charge, you then release the spell from your AoMF for a second spell that round. THEN you hit with your weapon releasing the spell stored in it THEN you 5ft back cast your touch spell with spell combat and hit with your hair again releasing that spell and THEN you either cast your quickened spell or just cast forceful strike attached to the last hair attack.

That's how you drop 5 spells on your target in one round and if you just use shocking grasps (not the best choice but good enough) you can hit a target for at least 50D6 damage at the beginning of a fight at 10th level or so.
It's a brutal move and a little resource intense but very effective.
It only costs you about 13000GP and 3ish arcane pool points.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Pretty easily at higher levels but it does take some prep.

A perfect rotation involves 2 spell storing items (an AoMF and a weapon with the enchant as well) and the Hexcrafter Archetype to give you prehensile hair (or anything that gives you a natural attack). Finally either a quickened spell or the Forceful Strike spell.

Now with this setup and knowing you are going into a fight you can pre-cast a touch spell and hold the charge and activate your hair.
Fight starts and opponent gets in melee range you spellcombat/spellstrike and hit the target with your hair releasing the held charge,...

That's outstanding!


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Pretty easily at higher levels but it does take some prep.

A perfect rotation involves 2 spell storing items (an AoMF and a weapon with the enchant as well) and the Hexcrafter Archetype to give you prehensile hair (or anything that gives you a natural attack). Finally either a quickened spell or the Forceful Strike spell.

Now with this setup and knowing you are going into a fight you can pre-cast a touch spell and hold the charge and activate your hair. Fight starts and opponent gets in melee range you spellcombat/spellstrike and hit the target with your hair releasing the held charge,...

I'm confused here, where does it state that you can hold the charge in a limb for extended time? Just to get that straight, you're saying I can cast shocking grasp, and walk around all day with it in a limb, until I touch something, when it will be discharged?

Everything else makes sense, but I'm confused as to where you're having to spend multiple arcane pool points. I'm seeing you cast two spells into spell storing weapons, another into the "held limb" and then using spell combat and a quickened spell to cast two in the exact round. How does that burn arcane points? I'm not trying to argue it doesn't, I just don't quite understand all of the magus action.

Cheliax

First the rules for touch spells specifically state you can hold a charge for as long as you want as long as you don't touch anything other then your weapon (magus only for the weapon) so go ahead and keep a spell prepped to cast.

Touch Spells and Holding the Charge wrote:

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.

Second you are using the arcane pool points to recover the spells you just unloaded on the BBEG and put them back into your spell storing items/memory after every fight.

Since this is your big one hit combo you want to have it ready all the time so using your arcane pool to keep the spells available is important.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

First the rules for touch spells specifically state you can hold a charge for as long as you want as long as you don't touch anything other then your weapon (magus only for the weapon) so go ahead and keep a spell prepped to cast.

Touch Spells and Holding the Charge wrote:

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.

Second you are using the arcane pool points to recover the spells you just unloaded on the BBEG and put them back into your spell storing items/memory after every fight.

Since this is your big one hit combo you want to have it ready all the time so using your arcane pool to keep the spells available is important.

Awesome! I didn't know that, that's really sweet. What level do you really think this could be pulled off at? 7-8?

Also, how is a hexcrafter getting spell recall? Wouldn't pearls of power be easier? (at least for 1st level slots)

Cheliax

ashern wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

First the rules for touch spells specifically state you can hold a charge for as long as you want as long as you don't touch anything other then your weapon (magus only for the weapon) so go ahead and keep a spell prepped to cast.

Touch Spells and Holding the Charge wrote:

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.

Second you are using the arcane pool points to recover the spells you just unloaded on the BBEG and put them back into your spell storing items/memory after every fight.

Since this is your big one hit combo you want to have it ready all the time so using your arcane pool to keep the spells available is important.

Awesome! I didn't know that, that's really sweet. What level do you really think this could be pulled off at? 7-8?

Also, how is a hexcrafter getting spell recall? Wouldn't pearls of power be easier? (at least for 1st level slots)

Hexcrafters do get spell recall, it's just delayed until 11th level (instead of improved spell recall). Before then you are usually using Pearls of Power but it can get expensive. You're burning at least 2 pearls every time you do this and that's 2grand a pop. An average adventuring day will see this be used 4-5 times. By the time you can afford 10grand in pearls you should have spell recall by then.

Technically this trick can be pulled off at 1st level if you have the cash for it but it is prohibitively expensive (Tiefling with a Rod of Quicken spell, lesser and 2 spell storing items can do it but it costs you over 40grand). Honestly I'd expect you to start putting this trick together around 5th-6th level.


Yeah, spell storing items which allow you to nova all your junk in one round just never appealed to me. I don't have a problem with not dealing enough damage on a nova round. To me the magus suffers more from a longevity problem, and BB can help resolve that with more pearls of power (which you spent your extra gold on).

Cheliax

Lastoth wrote:

Yeah, spell storing items which allow you to nova all your junk in one round just never appealed to me. I don't have a problem with not dealing enough damage on a nova round. To me the magus suffers more from a longevity problem, and BB can help resolve that with more pearls of power (which you spent your extra gold on).

I can definitely understand that feeling, any fight that is over in one players turn leaving everyone else with nothing to do are boring no matter how effective they are.

For longevity however I find them extremely efficient. Instead of spending 5-10 rounds casting and fighting you effectively just cast 1 spell, end the fight and move on to the next one. A handful of pearls or arcane points per fight is soo much more efficient then needing to buff and cast 4-5 attack spells to defeat the same opponent. With a decent focus you'd have to go through a dozen different fights a day before your magus would begin worrying about resources.

Effective but so very boring.

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