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Building a 'tank' magus


Advice

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Scarab Sages

So there is going to be a campaign starting up, and I wanted to try something a bit different. I'm thinking of building a 'tank' magus. I want to use spells like shield, mirror image, and false life while spell combating instead of going for the cookie cutter shocking grasp build. Probably going to end up in mithral breastplate for the mobility and because of the archetype I'm looking at.

Any ideas? Spells to keep an eye on? Arcana to look out for? As bad as it is for the concept, I really want to try the mindblade magus, so I will have some of the psychic's spells available to me, (like see invisibility).


Long Arm is a favorite of mine. If your job is to stand between your allies and enemies, then you may as well get a free swing on those trying to get around you. It's also good for holding your position and still attacking. And good for being able to 5 foot step back, then still get to cast and attack with spell combat.

Bladed dash is nice for both damage and positioning.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Melkiador wrote:

Long Arm is a favorite of mine. If your job is to stand between your allies and enemies, then you may as well get a free swing on those trying to get around you. It's also good for holding your position and still attacking. And good for being able to 5 foot step back, then still get to cast and attack with spell combat.

Bladed dash is nice for both damage and positioning.

Bladed Dash is a favourite Magus spell for me. Combining it with Long Arm would be a deadly combo.


I think if highest AC is what you are looking for Kapenia dancer with a 1 level dip in another class that has medium armor proficiency will give you the highest AC as a magus.

Scarab Sages

I know about bladed dash. Hadn't thought of longarm. I'll look into it.

Here are the defensive (ish) spells I know of so far.
1) shield, internal healing, illusion of calm,
2) anticipate thoughts, mirror image, blur, cat's grace
3)heroism, haste


I assume you're snagging heroism from the mindblade archetype as well? Cause it's not on the magus list.


It depends on what kind of point buy you're looking at, how much offense you're willing to sacrifice, and how long you expect to be playing at low, mid, and high levels. With a high point buy, you can go monk 1 / magus (kensai) 19 to get triple stat to AC. If you go that route, you'll get triple stat to AC which can pay off greatly with levels and money. This keeps a lot of the offensive aspects of the magus intact at the cost of one level dip while still having great defensive capabilities. This kind of build will go finesse naturally and then when you get an agile weapon you'll be a threat again. For a lower level game and an overall simpler build there's the Skirnir achetype where you basically get to use a shield and have your magus stuff work with it. Then you get access to those nice feats like missile shield and shield specialization.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Here's a Magus guide with lots of suggestions.

erik542 wrote:
For a lower level game and an overall simpler build there's the Skirnir achetype where you basically get to use a shield and have your magus stuff work with it.

Bear in mind that the skirnir doesn't actually work until level eight (because below that, using your abilities will make you lose your shield bonus, which defies the whole point).

Overall the easiest approach is to use Mirror Image or Displacement and not care overly much about armor class.


Yeah, I recommend going dex based and not caring too much about the armor, other than expected bonuses.


I might take a look at the Staff Magus, high shield bonus from your weapon is nice, I built a Dex based Staff Magus/Hexcrafter (with a few levels of monk) that with Bracers of Armor, Monk's Robe, Amulet of Nat Armor, Ring of Deflection, Dodge, Mobility, Monk's Ki Defence and combat expertise I could keep my AC high enough that almost nothing could touch me, and using evil eye and cackle to debuff enemys, it was quite fun!

Scarab Sages

First off, remember, if I become UNHITTABLE then NPCs will ignore me. I need a good AC, HP, and a way of mitagating damage through fast healing or regen or temporary HP or something


You'll want to look into getting a familiar with the protector archetype. The potential +2 to AC is nice, but at 5th level it can even take half of your damage. And of course you can get a good familiar bonus like +4 to initiative from it.


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With someone who may be "unhitable" they are only going to know that by them trying to hit you, or maybe you become famous(or infamous) for your defense even so its unlikely every one will recognize you on sight, even so it wont apply to creatures from other planes or monsters with low intelligence where that info would pass on to them until they fight you for a bit anyways then try for a weaker prey, if every enemy you fight in every encounter ignores you from the start cause you are "unhitable" then you GM is doing something wrong(but that's only my opinion).
In the mean time casting controlling spells to hinder movement, altering terrain/creating obstacles, and using combat maneuvers like trip, bullrush, reposition ect. will keep them busy and or put them in a worse spot for ignoring you, you could easily get into flanking position and either use up their AoO while you maneuver around them or have them be forced into a bad situation trying to focus some one else.


I like grabbing the Improved Trip line of feats. Combined them with True Strike and you should succeed in just about every trip attempt. Big help in battlefield control.
Wand of True Strike & the wand arcana is crazy good for this.

Grab yourself some Spell Storing Armor, cast Frigid Touch (second level spell) in it. Then whenever someone hits you, they take cold damage and are staggered. Can save you a world of being hurt.

Shadow Lodge

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Toughness

Tribal scars :raptor scale (6hp 5 feet of movement

Retrain hitpoints


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

Retraining HP seems like such a strange concept. In an AP like Kingmaker, everyone would be at their max at every level. Ooof.


Combat Reflexes, Reach, and Combat Maneuvers (and the Maneuver Mastery Magus Arcana) are your friends, to make enemies pay for ignoring you -- if they ignore you, not only can you whack them upside the head, but you can alternatively make them faceplant*) or maybe even throw mud in their eyes(**) or relieve them of their weapon(***). Unfortunately, being without the large number of bonus Combat Feats of the Fighter or the somewhat smaller but still respectable number of bonus Combat Feats of the Warpriest, you will have a hard time specializing in more than 1 Combat Maneuver at the low to mid levels.

(*)Feats now exist to make this work even against flying enemies, but these are not easily available to a non-Myrmidarch Magus, and Myrmidarch (needed for Weapon Training) is incompatible with Mindblade -- without Myrmidarch, you need VMC Fighter, which will make you even more feat-starved and takes forever to get online. Unfortunately, as a Mindblade, you can't get Staggering Fall by way of the Spell Blending Magus Arcana, to make enemies Staggered after you trip them up (it is on the Sorcerer/Wizard list, but not the Magus list, and not the Psychic list, to which Mindblade redirects Spell Blending).

(**)If you are going the Dirty Trick route, get Quick Dirty Trick as soon as you can, but with the prerequisites including BAB +6, this isn't for the low levels.

(***)Disarm doesn't work on Natural Weapons, so make sure that you are up against a lot of enemies using manufactured weapons before investing in this.

As a Mindblade, keep in mind that you are a spontaneous caster, and thus have much more limited circumstances in which you can use Metamagic (which increases the casting time unless you are using the very level-expensive Quicken Spell).

Disrupt Undead is good to have against Undead; it's a Cantrip, so it's good with Spell Combat even at 1st level. Against other enemies, Acid Splash and Ray of Frost are good to have; some people have posted fun ways using Alchemical Foci to get these Cantrips to do serious damage. Daze is good for a limited amount of battlefield control, and Acid Splash does not allow Spell Resistance. For a Touch Cantrip (that can be used with Spell Combat without needing the Close Range Arcana), Arcane Mark is your cheese. The need for Read Magic goes almost without saying; for a non-Mindblade Magus, this would not have an "almost" in it, but even for a Mindblade Magus, this is still very important for utility purposes.

Good 1st level spells are Chill Touch and Frostbite, good for debuffing enemies, or (in the case of Undead affected by Chill Touch) crowd control; these spells gain staying power as you level up, although at higher levels the lack of scaling of the DC of Chill Touch will hurt. Burning Hands isn't great, but every once in a while you are going to be glad to have it when you run up against a Swarm. Grease is good to have, as always. Long Arm has been mentioned above, for getting Reach; stack it with Enlarge Person for even more Reach (caution: doesn't work if you are an Outsider, although Enlarge Person can also be cast upon other Humanoids). True Strike is something you want to have when you are trying to land a Combat Maneuver on your turn (as opposed to an AoO, for which you won't be able to cast it) and it HAS to land. Vanish is good for when you want Invisibility for just a brief period to let yourself or a Rogue/Ninja/Slayer ally reposition.

Special Note for a Tank Magus: You want the 1st level spell Lock Gaze to force opponents to pay attention to you or be blinded for 1 round (caution: this spell is not effective against opponents that are immune to Gaze attacks or who are already blind. This will be especially needed if you dipped something else to get Medium/Heavy Armor Proficiency or otherwise amplified your Armor Class into the stratosphere (if you do go for Medium/Heavy Armor, get the 2nd level spell Effortless Armor when you can).

Special Note for a Mindblade Magus: You want Remove Fear via Spell Blending from the Psychic spell list to use on yourself when you get Shaken (which shuts down your ability to cast spells having Emotion components) or even as a prophylactic (especially in case of risk of a condition worse than Shaken), but you should cast it or have a Familiar cast it on you from a Wand instead of casting it yourself (which would require Logical Spell, since it has Emotion components for you). Importing this spell into your spell list lets you use it off a Wand without needing to worry about Use Magic Device. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you will also be able to use it on your allies.

If you are a Half-Orc, Linebreaker is available as a decent 1st level self-buff, and Bull Rush and Overrun Maneuvers become viable. If you are a Dwarf and up against a lot of Demons or Fey, Ironbeard is available at 1st level and could save you if something happens to your Cold Iron weapon (or if you can't get one in the first place); note that it would normally be rather bad to use on yourself, but since you are a Mindblade, you don't have to worry about the chance of failure for casting spells having Verbal components; this spell becomes less useful when your Psychic Energy Weapon gets enough Enhancement Bonus to get through DR/Cold Iron (6th level), although keep in mind that adding other Enhancements deducts from its Enhancement Bonus, and if your Arcane Pool gets depleted you won't be able to manifest it anyway, so this spell doesn't suddenly become entirely useless. If you are a Gnome with innate Spell-Like Abilities, you may want Recharge Innate Magic (available at 1st level).

If you are up against a lot of enemies having Spell Resistance, you'll want Splinter Spell Resistance (2nd level; beware that dissipating and re-manifesting your Psychic Energy Weapon will end this spell prematurely).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

When you have access to it, Vampiric Touch is a useful way to do damage, stay on your feet and not wast an action knocking back a potion or hoping someone heals you. Equipping it a couple times is pretty useful.

Best AC in the business = Mirror Image. At higher levels the 12% chance of getting hit trumps a high AC given the bonuses your opponent's may have, at low levels, roll well or maximize for 20% miss chance on the first hit to actually tag you.


A Skirnir Magus with Shield Slam would be a pretty good Tank Magus, although this takes a while to get online (doesn't get really good until level 8, and has a heavy cost in feats required as prerequisites).


Going to take a shot at a Skirnir Tank Magus build (need 20 point buy to make this work):

Human; Skirnir Magus VMC Fighter

Str: 15 + 2 = 17
Dex: 14
Con: 14
Int: 15
Wis: 10
Chr: 7 (I hate dumping, but it's unavoidable here without higher point buy)

Traits: {insert your traits here}

All Favored Class Bonus goes to +1/4 Arcane Pool point per level (since Skirnir can enchant both weapon and shield, you're going to burn through Arcane Pool points faster, especially if you pick any Magus Arcana that consume Arcane Pool points)

1: Level 1 character feat = Combat Reflexes; Human bonus feat = Toughness (for an Undead/Incorporeal-heavy campaign, take the Human alternate racial trait Shadowhunter instead); start with weapon (Doru Spear recommended -- see below) and Light Armor of choice and Light Shield (no Spell Combat yet for the Skirnir archetype, so use your shield hand to hold your weapon when casting a spell, and keep in mind that your shield is an Arcane Bond item, so you can enchant it without needing Craft Magic Arms and Armor); use the 1st level Magus spell Lock Gaze to punish enemies who refuse to pay attention to you, and use offensive spells that have multiple charges (such as Chill Touch) to amortize the penalty of not having Spell Combat and make your Attacks of Opportunity more punishing
2: - (note that Skirnir actually gets Spellstrike at the previous level, and can use it with a Shield Bash as well as a weapon strike)
3: Level 3 character feat = VMC Fighter I = Bravery; Level 3 Magus Arcana = {insert your choice of Magus Arcana here}
4: Level 4 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex
5: Level 5 character feat = Two-Weapon Fighting; Level 5 Magus Bonus Combat Feat = Improved Shield Bash
6: Level 6 Magus Arcana = {insert your choice of Magus Arcana here}
7: Level 7 character feat = VMC Fighter II = Armor Training 1 (just in time for the level 7 Magus upgrade to Medium armor)
8: Level 8 Ability Score Increase goes to Str; Shielded Spell Combat comes online, and since this lets you use your shield hand to perform Somatic components of your spells, so upgrade to a Heavy Shield; BAB is now +6 as needed for Shield Slam, but you don't have a feat available until next level
9: Level 9 character feat = Shield Slam; Level 9 Magus Arcana = Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush) to substitute your Magus level for your BAB
10: -
11: Level 11 character feat = VMC Fighter III = Weapon Training 1 ({your weapon group -- Spears recommended -- see level 13}); level 11 Magus Bonus feat = Shield Focus
12: Level 12 Ability Score Increase goes to Int; Level 12 Magus Arcana = {insert your choice of Magus Arcana here}
13: Level 13 character feat = Shield Brace (this is the reason for picking a Doru spear above -- now you can upgrade to a Longspear and get Reach, while using Shield Bash/Shield Slam on enemies that get inside your reach); Heavy Armor proficiency comes online, but you might want to wait until Level 15 to make use of it
14: -
15: Level 15 character feat = VMC Fighter IV = Armor Training 2 (now you can upgrade to Heavy Armor); level 15 Magus Arcana = {insert your choice of Magus Arcana here}
16: Level 16 Ability Score Increase goes to Int
17: Level 17 character feat = Advanced Weapon Training (Armed Bravery) -- this could be moved to level 11 if desired (in a Fear/Intimidation-heavy campaign, for instance), pushing Shield Focus to level 13 and Shield Brace to level 17; level 17 Magus Bonus feat =
18: Level 18 Magus Arcana = {insert your choice of Magus Arcana here}
19: Level 19 character feat = VMC Fighter V = Weapon Training 2 (Close)
20: Level 20 Ability Score Increase goes to Int

Will have to think more about details later, but wanted to get the basic idea out here.


Thoughts on Magus Arcana for the above. Fortunately, Skirnir doesn't trade out or modify Magus Arcana, so you should be good to go with a decent number of these that you want.


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Okay, I want to put together a version of the above that comes together a bit faster and is preferably PFS-legal (VMC isn't PFS-legal). Unfortunately, this means no Armor Training (I've looked at ways other than VMC Fighter to get Armor Training on a Magus, but they are all BAD, so we'll just have to do without). Still needs 20 point buy to work (even if you were willing to hard-dump Wisdom as well as Charisma, you would still need a 16 point buy). I was going to add a Familiar for action economy improvement, but since Skirnir gives you Arcane Bond (Bonded Shield), I don't think you can have one.

Human; Skirnir Magus (without the VMC, and no dipping)

Str: 15 + 2 = 17
Dex: 14
Con: 14
Int: 15
Wis: 10
Chr: 7 (I hate dumping, but it's unavoidable here without higher point buy)

Traits: {insert your traits here}

All Favored Class Bonus goes to +1/4 Arcane Pool point per level (since Skirnir can enchant both weapon and shield, you're going to burn through Arcane Pool points faster, especially if you pick any Magus Arcana that consume Arcane Pool points)

1: Level 1 character feat = Combat Reflexes; Human bonus feat = Toughness (for an Undead/Incorporeal-heavy campaign, take the Human alternate racial trait Shadowhunter instead); start with weapon (Doru Spear recommended -- see below) and Light Armor of choice and Light Shield (no Spell Combat yet for the Skirnir archetype, so use your shield hand to hold your weapon when casting a spell, and keep in mind that your shield is an Arcane Bond item, so you can enchant it without needing Craft Magic Arms and Armor); use the 1st level Magus spell Lock Gaze to punish enemies who refuse to pay attention to you, and use offensive spells that have multiple charges (such as Chill Touch) to amortize the penalty of not having Spell Combat and make your Attacks of Opportunity more punishing
2: - (note that Skirnir actually gets Spellstrike at the previous level, and can use it with a Shield Bash as well as a weapon strike)
3: Level 3 character feat = Shield Focus; Level 3 Magus Arcana = Hasted Assault (caution: at low levels, only use it for emergencies, since you don't have very many Arcane Pool points)
4: Level 4 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (required for Two-Weapon Fighting)
5: Level 5 character feat = Two-Weapon Fighting (use to get Shield Bashes in, but beware that until level 7, you will lose your Shield Bonus temporarily when using this); Level 5 Magus Bonus Combat Feat = Shield Brace (caution: cannot find whether this feat is PFS-legal, but the prerequisites are, so I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that it is); the latter lets you use a spear or polearm when you want Reach while still using your shield, so add a Longspear to your collection, but keep the Doru Spear as a backup, including use in situations where the Longspear won't fit
6: Level 6 Magus Arcana = Prescient Attack -- if you are going to do a weapon attack and then a Shield Bash (or later a Shield Slam), this helps, since denying an opponent their Dexterity Donus nerfs their Armor Class and their CMD, assuming that they have a Dexterity Bonus
7: Level 7 character feat = Improved Shield Bash
Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush) (to use your level instead of your BAB; Shield Slam is a Bull Rush, somewhat nerfed in effectiveness but improved in action economy, so this should work, and as a considerable bonus, it doesn't consume Arcane Pool points; Medium Armor also comes online, but refrain from using it until you can get it in Mithril or the equivalent so that it doesn't slow you down
8: Level 8 Ability Score Increase goes to Str; Shielded Spell Combat comes online, and since this lets you use your shield hand to perform Somatic components of your spells, you could upgrade to a Heavy Shield, but beware that this worsens Two-Weapon Fighting penalties); BAB is now +6 as needed for Shield Slam, but you don't have a feat available until next level
9: Level 9 character feat = Shield Slam; Level 9 Magus Arcana = Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush) to substitute your Magus level for your BAB -- you are now fully online, and everything that follows is icing on the cake
10: -
11: Level 11 character feat = Nimble Moves (in PFS) or Combat Stamina (not in PFS -- in this case, you might as well get this since you have so many feats that you can use it to make better)
12: Level 12 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (no sense keeping an odd number on Dex; after this, if applicable, all go to Int); Level 12 Magus Arcana = Enduring Blade (for long fights) or Ghost Blade (if you are up against a lot of Undead/Incorporeal -- just make sure to turn on Ghost Touch and not Brilliant Energy by mistake, since the latter doesn't work on Undead, or on Constructs, for that matter; Brilliant Energy may also have undesirable effects on your shield)


I know you don't want to dip, but 2 levels of Ranger grants Shield Slam without needing Prereqs (Fighting Style bonus feat).

If want extra damage, 1 dip in Fighter (Siegebreaker) deals Str bonus damage every maneuver attempt, 2 more if have Improved feat.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Regarding Shield Brace and PFS.

From Additional Resources + Armor Master's Handbook:
Feats: All feats in this book are legal for play except Mobile Stronghold and Unhindering Shield. Unless otherwise noted, a character must wear armor of the appropriate category (i.e. light, medium, or heavy) to benefit from armor mastery and armor style feats. The Spring- Heeled Style feat also functions when using a full-round action to use the Spring Attack feat.


Starbuck_II wrote:
I know you don't want to dip, but 2 levels of Ranger grants Shield Slam without needing Prereqs (Fighting Style bonus feat).

That's tempting to get Shield Slam online a lot faster, although the Ranger's other low-level abilities aren't very synergistic with being a Magus. Same goes for Slayer (with Ranger Combat Style). And the loss of spellcasting progression hurts (especially when you have Diminished Spellcasting), even if you have Magical Knack to neutralize the Caster Level loss.

Starbuck_II wrote:
If want extra damage, 1 dip in Fighter (Siegebreaker) deals Str bonus damage every maneuver attempt, 2 more if have Improved feat.

This is attractive for getting Bull Rushing online sooner, although once you get Shield Slam it gets to be semi-redundant, so maybe you would just want to retrain this later.


Kensai Finesse Magus with a defending Wakazashi. Stupid high Dex and Int for all of the dodging, stupid high initiative so you don't get caught flat-footed. Take suspicious as a trait (if you get traits) for sense motive class skill so you don't get feinted. Take Long Arm as a spell and lunge as a feat to smack enemies from 15' away so they can't 5' and full round you. With Shocking Grasp you'll still be hitting like a truck, and unless your GM is metagaming hard, enemies will see you as a soft target to attack (initially).


taks wrote:
Retraining HP seems like such a strange concept. In an AP like Kingmaker, everyone would be at their max at every level. Ooof.

Don't think of it as 're'training, just training. In a campaign where characters have plenty of downtime it's easy to imagine that some of them would train to get tougher. Sure it might throw some encounters' difficulty out of whack, but so do a lot of things you can do with time + gold.

Lantern Lodge

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Makknus wrote:
Kensai Finesse Magus with a defending Wakazashi. Stupid high Dex and Int for all of the dodging, stupid high initiative so you don't get caught flat-footed. Take suspicious as a trait (if you get traits) for sense motive class skill so you don't get feinted. Take Long Arm as a spell and lunge as a feat to smack enemies from 15' away so they can't 5' and full round you. With Shocking Grasp you'll still be hitting like a truck, and unless your GM is metagaming hard, enemies will see you as a soft target to attack (initially).

Throw in combat reflexes, bodyguard, arcane strike, gloves of arcane striking, and benevolent armor and your DM will cry.


Just realized that using a two-handed weapon such as a Longspear is not compatible with Spell Combat (which specifies that you have to be holding a Light(*) or One-Handed weapon in the hand that isn't doing the spellcasting(**), and the Skirnir archetype doesn't change this when it lets you hold a shield in your spellcasting hand). Not a show-stopper, especially if you are mainly casting multiple-charge spells such as Chill Touch or Frostbite (that eventually give enough charges per casting that you won't be able to use them all up in just 1 or even 2 rounds), but still a mark against it (although for a Skirnir, this doesn't start to hurt until you actually get Spell Combat in the first place, delayed to 8th level by the archetype).

(*)Including Unarmed Strike or Natural Weapon.

(**)Regardless of whether the spell you are casting actually has Somatic components.


Use a 'small-sized' Longspear. It's one-handed for a medium creature, still has reach, and only imposes a -2 penalty to hit. Then prepare to have the book thrown at you by the GM. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tiefling (Prehensile Tail alternate racial trait) swashbuckler (picaroon) 2/magus (myrmidarch) X to fight with both rapier and pistol and use either Spellstrike or Ranged Spellstrike as needed (using the prehensile tail to hold the other weapon to free up a hand for casting/Spell Combat, as well as reloading the pistol). Plus, get both Weapon Training and Armor Training.


^Not a bad idea -- I have something similar here. But unless you can get your hands on advanced firearms (for the long range increments), I prefer a 1 level dip in vanilla Gunslinger for the Deadeye Deed, to be able to make Ranged Spellstrike useful by resolving your firearm attack against Touch AC at distances beyond the first range increment. Alternatives in case you don't want firearms are Bolt Ace Gunslinger -- the replacement Deed Sharp Shoot only gives you attacks vs Touch AC within the first range increment, but you get a long range increment; and Hooded Champion Ranger -- same deal except the replacement Deed is Dead Aim and works with Bows. Hooded Champion Ranger and Picaroon Swashbuckler have the problem that they use Panache based upon Charisma instead of Grit based upon Wisdom, and you really don't want to dump Wisdom, whereas dumping Charisma is merely undesirable rather than dangerous. Unfortunately, the only Gunslinger archetype (Siege Gunner) that makes Grit Intelligence-based also trades out the Deadeye Deed, and the only Swashbuckler archetype (Inspired Blade) that makes Panache partially Intelligence-based doesn't have any equivalent Deed in the first place (and makes your choice of melee weapon even more restricted). I suppose you could dip 1 level of Inspired Blade Swashbuckler and 1 level of one of the other non-Swashbuckler options above, and at least you would get also free (although limited) Weapon Finesse, but now you're really starting to hurt a Magus archetype that has Diminished Spellcasting in the first place, even if you use Magical Knack to offset the caster level loss.

Although I should add that Myrmidarch Magus is less suited for being a Tank and more suited for being a switch-hitting maneuver master, like what I posted in my 1st link above.

Edit: Also keep in mind that getting Dexterity-to-Damage isn't very Magus-friendly any more, due to Errata to both Fencing Grace and Slashing Grace -- hasn't happened yet for Dervish Dance, but probably will if it gets onto the developers' radar. If you do use a Dexterity-to-Damage feat, this would be another argument for favoring spells such as Chill Touch and Frostbite that give a lot of charges per casting -- that way, you are only using Spell Combat in a minority of your rounds, and get the benefit of your Dexterity-to-Damage feat in the rest.


Okay, I just figured out something for building a Tank Magus that I already figured out long ago for other situations: DWARVES ARE AWESOME.

First, let's get the downsides out of the way:

  • Slow speed, but on the other hand, going to Heavy Armor (when you get to a Magus level that supports it) doesn't make your speed any worse. You're going to have to use magic to compensate.
  • No Strength or Intelligence bonus and no Human Bonus Feat, but in the above build with Human you only get one of these anyway, and on the other hand, the Constitution bonus you get instead makes up for the lack of Toughness (except at levels 1 and 2), and goes beyond by improving your Fortitude Save. Therefore, by being a Dwarf, you are trading out some damage in exchange for being harder to kill or otherwise take out of the fight.
  • Charisma penalty -- as long as you're not up against Mummies, you don't care -- you're dumping it anyway. Try to roleplay it in a way that doesn't make the other players want to kill you.
  • Unlike Human, no way to take Shadowhunter (if you are in an Undead/Incorporeal-heavy campaign such as Carrion Crown) without trading out Weapon Familiarity, which you MUST keep (see below). You will need to get Ghost Touch weapons and armor if you are up against a lot of Incorporeal creatures (especially Undead). Note that www.d20pfsrd.com STILL says (incorrectly) that Dwarves can take this in place of their Bonus Feat.

Now, the upsides:

  • Constitution bonus -- see above about how this mitigates the lack of the Human Bonus Feat.
  • Wisdom bonus -- not a huge help (+1 to Will Saves, Perception, and Sense Motive if you actually decide to invest in it), but it certainly doesn't hurt; the Hardy racial trait means that you can afford to soft-dump it back down to 10 if you really have to for the build points.
  • Defensive Training is useful in its own right in a campaign in which you will be up against a lot of Giants (Rise of the Runelords, Giantslayer), or can be traded out for other things.
  • Hardy (also mentioned above) makes you more . . . well, hardy, and is needed to qualify you for the Steel Soul feat, which makes this standard racial trait even better -- definitely a keeper unless you trade it out for Unstoppable (see below).
  • Stability is another keeper -- if you are going to be doing Bull Rushes and Trips, you want to be resistant to these yourself.
  • Greed is trade-out bait.
  • Stonecunning is useful in its own right, although not necessarily a keeper, depending upon the campaign.
  • Darkvision is a no-brainer keeper.
  • Hatred is usually trade-out bait, but is useful in its own right if you are in a campaign that has a lot of Goblinoids for a sustained period (for instance, Ironfang Invasion, for which I am trying to think of a Tank Magus build).
  • Weapon Familiarity -- JACKPOT: "Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon". This lets you use some weapons that would normally be effectively off-limits without Exotic Weapon Proficiency, such as the Dwarven Dorn-Dergar (which you can eventually wield as a one-handed variable-Reach weapon, with no need for the clumsy Shield Brace feat or its prerequisite Shield Focus that consume 2 feat slots in the build I posted above), the Dwarven Maulaxe (a better-than-average backup weapon, especially if you get stuck in a Grapple, since it is Light), and the Dwarven Boulder Helmet (another emergency Light weapon). It also lets you use some weapons as one-handed weapons that would normally be two-handed (the Dwarven Waraxe (even the version that has "Double" in its name).

Other options:

  • Ancient Enmity instead of Hatred, in case you are in a campaign with a lot of Drow and/or other Elven enemies (for instance, Second Darkness).
  • Barrow Scholar instead of Stonecunning and Barrow Warden instead of Defensive Training and Hatred in case you are in a campaign with a lot of Undead (Carrion Crown and Mummy's Mask, but NOT Rise of the Runelords, because the Giants that you meet later are going to hurt you even more than the Undead that you meet early, and you're meeting Goblins early anyway).
  • Craftsman or Lorekeeper instead of Greed -- either one of these is probably more useful.
  • Deep Warrior instead of Defensive Training and Sense Aberration instead of Stonecunning if you are in a campaign with a lot of Aberrations (Strange Aeons, maybe?).
  • Fey Thoughts instead of Hatred if you want some extra skills in class and Magus doesn't give them to you -- the best choices are probably Acrobatics (to avoid Attacks of Opportunity while moving) and Perception.
  • Giant Hunter instead of Hatred if you are up against a lot of Giants and not Goblinoids (Giantslayer?).
  • Rock Stepper instead of Stonecunning to let you ignore some common types of Difficult Terrain.
  • Unstoppable -- actually a decent trade for Hardy, since it gets you Toughness while still keeping a +1 bonus to Fortitude Saves; however, keep in mind that you will lose your bonus against spells that target a Save other than Fortitude, and furthermore it removes the option of getting the Steel Soul feat, so this is not a no-brainer trade. Overall, it is probably somewhat unfavorable, but if you are stuck with 15 point buy, you will need to reduce Constitution to save on point buy points, and then you will need the free Toughness.

So here's the above Skirnir Tank Magus build adapted for a Dwarf (still really needs 20 point buy, but if you are stuck with 15 point buy, you do have an option):

Dwarf (with alternate racial trait substitutions dependent upon campaign, as noted above), Skirnir Magus (without VMC, and no dipping)

Str: 15
Dex: 14
Con: 14 + 2 = 16 (if you are stuck with 15 point buy, get 4 points back by reducing this to 12 + 2 = 14, and trace out Hardy for Unstoppable -- see above)
Int: 15
Wis: 10 + 2 = 12 (if you are stuck with 15 point buy, get 1 point back by reducing this to 9 + 2 = 11)
Chr: 7 - 2 = 5 (I hate dumping, but it's unavoidable here without higher point buy; if hard-dumping is not allowed but soft-dumping is, or if you want another point of Charisma because you are up against a lot of Mummies, you could afford to change Wisdom and Charisma to soft-dumps, for final numbers 10 and 6, respectively, although not if you are stuck with 15 point buy and have to shave some off Wisdom already)

Traits: Insert your traits here -- thematically and mechanically, Defensive Strategist is likely to be one of the ones you want, and the other one will probably be either a campaign trait or a PFS-specific trait.

All Favored Class Bonus goes to +1/4 Arcane Pool point per level (since Skirnir can enchant both weapon and shield, you're going to burn through Arcane Pool points faster, especially if you pick any Magus Arcana that consume Arcane Pool points)

1: Level 1 character feat = Combat Reflexes; start with weapon (see above) and Light Armor of choice and Light Shield (no Spell Combat yet for the Skirnir archetype, so use your shield hand to hold your weapon when casting a spell, and keep in mind that your shield is an Arcane Bond item, so you can enchant it without needing Craft Magic Arms and Armor); use the 1st level Magus spell Lock Gaze to punish enemies who refuse to pay attention to you, and use offensive spells that have multiple charges (such as Chill Touch) to amortize the penalty of not having Spell Combat and make your Attacks of Opportunity more punishing
2: - (note that Skirnir actually gets Spellstrike at the previous level, and can use it with a Shield Bash as well as a weapon strike)
3: Level 3 character feat = Improved Shield Bash (moved a LOT earlier in this build compared to the Human version); Level 3 Magus Arcana = Hasted Assault (caution: at low levels, only use it for emergencies, since you don't have very many Arcane Pool points)
4: Level 4 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (required for Two-Weapon Fighting)
5: Level 5 character feat = Steel Soul -- makes your awesome Dwarven Hardiness even more awesome (if you traded out Hardy for Unstoppable, get Lightning Reflexes instead, to shore up your one bad Save); Level 5 Magus Bonus Combat Feat = Two-Weapon Fighting (use to get Shield Bashes in, but beware that until level 7, you will lose your Shield Bonus temporarily when using this)
6: Level 6 Magus Arcana = Prescient Attack -- if you are going to do a weapon attack and then a Shield Bash (or later a Shield Slam), this helps, since denying an opponent their Dexterity Donus nerfs their Armor Class and their CMD, assuming that they have a Dexterity Bonus
7: Level 7 character feat = Dorn-Dergar Master (now you can use the Dorn-Dergar as a One-Handed Weapon, which is important not only because you are using a shield, but also because Shielded Spell Combat is about to come online, and like regular Spell Combat it won't work with a Two-Handed weapon even if wielded one-handed by means of a feat such as Shield Brace for Spears; Medium Armor also comes online, and unlike the Human version of this build, it doesn't slow you down, so suit up!
8: Level 8 Ability Score Increase goes to Str; Shielded Spell Combat comes online, and since this lets you use your shield hand to perform Somatic components of your spells, you could upgrade to a Heavy Shield, but beware that this worsens Two-Weapon Fighting penalties); BAB is now +6 as needed for Shield Slam, but you don't have a feat available until next level
9: Level 9 character feat = Shield Slam; Level 9 Magus Arcana = Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush) (to use your level instead of your BAB; Shield Slam is a Bull Rush, somewhat nerfed in effectiveness but improved in action economy, so this should work, and as a considerable bonus, it doesn't consume Arcane Pool points to substitute your Magus level for your BAB -- you are now fully online, and everything that follows is icing on the cake
10: -
11: Level 11 character feat = Darting Viper (speeds up changing the Dorn-Dergar between Reach and non-Reach mode, which took a Full-Round Action before getting this feat, when wielding it as a One-Handed Weapon)
12: Level 12 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (no sense keeping an odd number on Dex; after this, if applicable, all go to Int); Level 12 Magus Arcana = Enduring Blade (for long fights) or Ghost Blade (if you are up against a lot of Undead/Incorporeal -- just make sure to turn on Ghost Touch and not Brilliant Energy by mistake, since the latter doesn't work on Undead, or on Constructs, for that matter; Brilliant Energy may also have undesirable effects on your shield)

Beyond level 12 (not in PFS unless you have some kind of boon that lets you past), get Shield Master when your BAB gets to the required +11 (which will be at level 15).


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Level 3 Magus Arcana = Hasted Assault

HASTED ASSAULT needs level 9. You can swap it with MANEUVER MASTERY without any real problems.

Also I'd probably take INT over DEX at level 12, but that's a preference thing.


Thanks for the tip on Hasted Assault -- I could have sworn I had checked for all of the prerequisites and thought it was okay. I also discovered another mistake that I made above: If you reduce Constitution from 14 + 2 = 16 down to 12 + 2 = 14, you only get 3 points back, so to get total 5 points back, you also have to reduce Wisdom from 10 + 2 = 12 to 8 + 2 = 10.

The reason for going for +1 Dex at 12 instead of +1 Int is to get the benefit of another +1 on Dexterity Bonus and another Attack of Opportunity.

Another feat to consider at level 5 instead of the the non-Combat feats listed at level 5 is Rime Spell, to add the hurt onto spells like Frostbite. I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you plan to use more than 1 [Cold] spell, though. In that case bump either of these to level 11, or maybe even insert them earlier, because if you are going to be a Tank, you really want Steel Soul if you can get it or Lightning Reflexes if you can't, although if you can't, Lightning Reflexes is less critical since it doesn't do as much for you (just shores up your worst Save instead of shoring up all of your Saves against spells).


I just discovered another thing that needs correction: I forgot to change the Favored Class Bonus from Human to Dwarf. The Dwarf Favored Class Bonus is rather bad and situational: +1/6 of an additional use on a Magus Arcana that you can use once per day, and according to some FAQ/Errata that I don't know how to find you can't even select this Favored Class Bonus until you have the Magus Arcana. Thus, go with default of +1 hit point per level, unless you are really skill-starved.

Additional options for the build above: If you don't decide to go with a Dorn-Dergar and instead stick with more standard one-handed weapons (use LongArm to get Reach), you free up 2 feats that could be used for Metamagic and/or to start building towards eventual Cleaving, Whirlwind Attack, or further Combat Maneuver enhancement. The first 2 of these aren't friendly with Spell Combat with respect to action economy, but if you heavily favor spells that give multiple charges per attack (which you should be doing anyway), it will be only a partial clash.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

It strikes me that if you're investing in the Dorn Dergar then you want to be at reach; whereas if you're investing in Shield Slam then you want to not be at reach. Am I missing something here?


dark78660 wrote:

With someone who may be "unhitable" they are only going to know that by them trying to hit you, or maybe you become famous(or infamous) for your defense even so its unlikely every one will recognize you on sight, even so it wont apply to creatures from other planes or monsters with low intelligence where that info would pass on to them until they fight you for a bit anyways then try for a weaker prey, if every enemy you fight in every encounter ignores you from the start cause you are "unhitable" then you GM is doing something wrong(but that's only my opinion).

In the mean time casting controlling spells to hinder movement, altering terrain/creating obstacles, and using combat maneuvers like trip, bullrush, reposition ect. will keep them busy and or put them in a worse spot for ignoring you, you could easily get into flanking position and either use up their AoO while you maneuver around them or have them be forced into a bad situation trying to focus some one else.

I dunno. If you're unhittable through dexterity, then I feel like it should be fairly obvious to an enemy combatant watching you.

You're not standing still, after all. You're being ninja.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ierox wrote:
I dunno. If you're unhittable through dexterity, then I feel like it should be fairly obvious to an enemy combatant watching you.

I concur. Enemies with human-level intelligence do get to spot the obvious (like wearing heavy armor or having outrageous physical stats), in addition to being able to use sense motive and/or knowledge local on you.


I would Armored battlemage archetypeand use shielded mage feat to carry a bit armor and shield that doesn't hinder you ability to cast spells for spell strike


Kurald Galain wrote:
It strikes me that if you're investing in the Dorn Dergar then you want to be at reach; whereas if you're investing in Shield Slam then you want to not be at reach. Am I missing something here?

The idea with the Dorn Dergar is that it is both switchable between Reach and non-Reach, AND that when you have it in Reach mode, you still have Shield Slam to bash enemies away when they get too close to you -- if you are getting Zerged, some of them will get through no matter how good your Combat Reflexes and Total Attack Bonus are. The Cestus + Longspear combination for a Reach Cleric or Fighter (or other martial) uses the same idea, but this takes it a step further by making your backup non-Reach attack enabled for pushing your enemies back out to where you can get them with Reach. As a Magus, you can even attempt to use True Strike to give Shield Slam a chance to work even if something REALLY BAD gets inside your Reach zone. I was also trying to think of how to do something similar with a Bloodrager, and may even try a rebuild this way, although Bloodrager doesn't get Spellstrike for delivering weapon-attack-enabled multiple-charge debuff spells unless you go VMC Magus, which makes you really feat-starved, and even then you have to wait until level 11 for it to come online, or unless you dip into Magus, which makes your Bloodrager spellcasting progression even more delayed. (And Child of Acavna and Amaznen Fighter is just plain inferior to Bloodrager, and still doesn't give you Spellstrike without taking one of the above measures.)

All that said, the Dorn Dergar does require substantial feat investment, so I'm willing to consider trading it out (and still using Long Arm and sometimes Enlarge Person(*) to get some Reach, just not as much) in exchange for freeing the feats to improve Combat Maneuvering (for instance, Power Attack(**) --> Improved Bull Rush(***) --> Greater Bull Rush(****)).

(*)Most of the time you WON'T want Enlarge Person, because it makes you easier to hit and accessible to more melee opponents. But if you are fighting something that is just 1 size too big to Bull Rush when you are at normal size (this normally means Huge), then it becomes potentially worth casting. At later levels, you gain access to Monstrous Physique II and higher, which you can also use to increase your size (and Monstrous Physique III and IV let you get Huge, worthwhile if you are fighting something that is 1 or 2 sizes too big to Bull Rush when you are at normal size -- this normally means Huge or Gargantuan).

(**)Power Attack, which is a prerequisite for Improved/Greater Bull Rush, would normally be bad on a Magus due to 3/4 BAB and the attack roll penalty from Spell Combat, but if you aren't doing Spell Combat on most rounds due to progressively Spellstriking out a multi-charge spell like Chill Touch or Frostbite, or because you haven't yet hit the level (8th) where Skirnir Magus gets it in the first place, then Power Attack will be the only voluntary attack roll penalty you will be taking most of the time, and you can mitigate it with Blade Tutor's Spirit.

(***)Improved Bull Rush is partially redundant with Shield Slam, but it still gives you +2 on the Bull Rush, as well as giving you a backup option for performing the Bull Rush without eating an Attack of Opportunity in case your shield gets Sundered, or you get captured and stripped of your gear and don't have it all back while making your escape. Speaking of unpleasant situations like this, in some of them you may also be able to make a bit more lemonade out of lemons by two-handing your weapon (when not casting a spell) to get more out of Power Attacking until you can get your shield back or replace it.

(****)Greater Bull Rush is where this alternative really gets good (as long as you have allies still in the fight): Not only do you get another +2 on the Bull Rush, but the Bull Rushed opponent provokes Attacks of Opportunity, which your allies will love (especially if they summoned their own horde), although a minor downside is that the text of Greater Bull Rush specifically excludes you from the further action, even if you have your weapon-wielding arm stretched by Long Arm.

Jesper Roland Sørensen wrote:
I would Armored battlemage archetypeand use shielded mage feat to carry a bit armor and shield that doesn't hinder you ability to cast spells for spell strike

The problem with Armored Battlemage is that it trades out too much for what it gets. You NEVER get Spell Combat, and cannot enhance your weapon (and the wording of the tradeout and of the Ghost Blade Magus Arcana suggests to me that you can't even take a Magus Arcana like Ghost Blade that gives you back a little bit of this ability). And you STILL don't get to use a shield. If Armored Battlemage let you use a shield without risking Arcane Spell Failure (as Skirnir does), and/or if it would let you still enhance your weapon (as Skirnir does), in return for Diminished Spellcasting (like on Skirnir), then it would be a worthwhile archetype. (If it didn't let you use a shield, but did let you enhance your weapon as well as your armor, even in exchange for Diminished Spellcasting, it might still be semi-worthwhile -- without Spell Combat, you might as well go for a two-handed weapon, preferably with Reach, and use multi-charge spells like Chill Touch and Frostbite, since you can still Spellstrike without Spell Combat while two-handing a weapon.) Also, Rules As Written with the current text, an Armored Battlemage only gets the concentration bonus when casting in Medium Armor, which means you nerf yourself when you upgrade to Heavy Armor; this is probably a typo, but that's the way things stand now, when read literally.


I was mostly thinking on the the tank aspect not so much about enhancing you weapon. I suggested the shielded mage feat for you, if you wanted a heavy ac magus with fullplate armor and shield, since shielded mage allowes you to ignore arcane spell failure and cast spells with somatic components with the shield hand, I would go this way since the shield would prevent you for using shield combat anyway, unless ofcourse you perfer to bash people with the shield rather than a normal weapon to keep one free hand.

On the armor I think it's a typo since it says meidum or armor, might be fair to assume a heavy was left out of the printing.


^Where is Shielded Mage? I can't find this feat on www.d20pfsrd.com (tried both old and new versions), Archives of Nethys, or the Paizo PRD; I did find a thread that mentions this feat and even tries to link to it, but the link therein gives a Page Not Found error. Going by the quoted text on the thread, Shielded Mage either eats 3 feats or 2 feats and a dip in some class that grants shield proficiency, since according to the quoted text Shielded Mage requires Shield Focus (which I got rid of when I got rid of Shield Brace and went with a different choice of Reach weapon), which in turn requires shield proficiency.

The reasoning behind going for Skirnir Magus is that you get to be proficient with shields (all types, although not all of them are good options(*)), with no Arcane Spell Failure penalty, AND you eventually get back Spell Combat (along with the ability to use your shield hand for Somatic Components), AND you can still enhance your weapon as well as your shield with your Arcane Pool (just be careful with Arcane Pool point management). You also eventually get Heavy Armor, although it takes longer than for Armored Battlemage.

(*)Strangely, even though you get Tower Shield proficiency, you can't make a Tower Shield be your Bonded Item, and thus it doesn't work with your other class features.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Where is Shielded Mage? I can't find this feat on www.d20pfsrd.com (tried both old and new versions), Archives of Nethys, or the Paizo PRD; I did find a thread that mentions this feat and even tries to link to it, but the link therein gives a Page Not Found error. Going by the quoted text on the thread, Shielded Mage either eats 3 feats or 2 feats and a dip in some class that grants shield proficiency, since according to the quoted text Shielded Mage requires Shield Focus (which I got rid of when I got rid of Shield Brace and went with a different choice of Reach weapon), which in turn requires shield proficiency.

The reasoning behind going for Skirnir Magus is that you get to be proficient with shields (all types, although not all of them are good options(*)), with no Arcane Spell Failure penalty, AND you eventually get back Spell Combat (along with the ability to use your shield hand for Somatic Components), AND you can still enhance your weapon as well as your shield with your Arcane Pool (just be careful with Arcane Pool point management). You also eventually get Heavy Armor, although it takes longer than for Armored Battlemage.

(*)Strangely, even though you get Tower Shield proficiency, you can't make a Tower Shield be your Bonded Item, and thus it doesn't work with your other class features.

It should be in the Armor master's handbook, I don't know why it disappeared from d20 and Archives of nethys are quite a few months behind on updating materials.

My problem with the skinir is that untill 8th level you still have to have a free hand to cast a spell, unless you use the buckler then you can forfeit the ac to cast a spell. But a buckler can't be used for shield bash. and after 8th level you get to use the hand casting somatic component at the cost cost of your AC if you use anything other then a buckler. It's not untill 19th level you get to cast spells and keep the AC for anything other than a buckler.

In my opponion I don't mind trading spell combat away for getting armor training like a fighter and be able to pick some of the advanced armor training options and also run full speed in heavy armor at 8th level.


^Before 8th level, when using a Light Shield, you can use the same workaround that other sword-and-board spellcasters use: Free Action transfer your weapon to your shield hand; Standard Action (usually) use your hand that would normally hold the weapon to cast a spell; Free Action transfer your weapon back to that hand. With a Light Shield you can't wield a weapon in your shield hand, but you can still hold an object in your shield hand (including a weapon, although you can't wield it until you put it back in your weapon hand). Tower Shields are the ones that don't let you use your shield hand for anything else (although it would work for Shielded Spell Combat if only Sorcerous Shield didn't specifically exclude Tower Shields from being your Bonded Object). (I could have sworn the same was true for Heavy Shields, but now I can't find that.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Yes, in practice the point of the skirnir is to wield a massively enchanted buckler (at discount price) to increase your armor class. The main issue with the archetype is that it completely fails to work at levels 1 through 7. I don't see the shield bashing as a particularly helpful addition for a Magus, considering what it costs you.

Note that bull rushing, while fun, is not frequently an effective tactic in combat. If you need to shove somebody off a ledge, spell combat + true strike + bull rush takes care of that. If you need to drop someone prone, invest in trip. If you want to push somebody back about 5' each turn, well, I'm actually not sure why you'd want to do that.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Before 8th level, when using a Light Shield, you can use the same workaround that other sword-and-board spellcasters use:

Yes, but you can't use Spell Combat, which is the main advantage of playing a Magus.


^Push them into the middle of your allies so that they are massively flanked(*), or push them into an immovable object so that they fall down, or push them into the Pit that some Wizard (possibly even their own) created, or push them back out to where your Reach weapon can get them and they can't get you.

(*)If you actually go to the trouble to invest in the Power Attack + Improved/Greater Bull Rush Feat Chain, when you push them into the midst of your allies, they get sliced and diced by Attacks of Opportunity. Hard to fit all those feats in, though.


I know Skinir don't have the spell combat untill 8th level but wouldn't the shiedled mage feat be a way around only having the buckler as a "real" option? Can a feat that does something an ability does later override the restictions at an earlier level?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

UnArcaneElection wrote:


(*)If you actually go to the trouble to invest in the Power Attack + Improved/Greater Bull Rush Feat Chain, when you push them into the midst of your allies, they get sliced and diced by Attacks of Opportunity. Hard to fit all those feats in, though.

The greater bull rush chain is, well, great. I just don't see what Shield Slam adds to it, though.

I'll have to look into that shielded mage feat, it sounds promising.


Kurald Galain wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:


(*)If you actually go to the trouble to invest in the Power Attack + Improved/Greater Bull Rush Feat Chain, when you push them into the midst of your allies, they get sliced and diced by Attacks of Opportunity. Hard to fit all those feats in, though.

The greater bull rush chain is, well, great. I just don't see what Shield Slam adds to it, though.

I'll have to look into that shielded mage feat, it sounds promising.

I think the only thing shield slam does is give a free bull rush , when you shield bash and if the oppornent can't move back due to wall or other hard surface they are knocked prone instead.

Normally bull rush is a standard action so with this he can full attack and bull rush if he wants to.

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