Magus: They said I was wrong


Rules Questions


This situation is rather old and so is the question
It has to do with the Magus and Spell Strike so before sending me to Grick's Thread on the subject, I've read it and I know.

The History is basically this. I started out playing Rise of the Runelords as a Magus. (There was another in our Group) I was at third level before I decided to try Spell strike. I was immediately told by the other player and GM that I was doing it wrong that I could use the Shocking Grasp on all of my attacks and that I didn't need to use Spell Combat at the Same Time.

The Banter with the GM was enough that I switched to another character.

We are getting close to the end of Rune Lords and I am thinking of the Magus again in one form or another.

I suppose my question would be is there another explanation of how this all works?

My first guess is no because every so often someone asks and you point to Grick.

My situation is a GM and player that say that the Paizo board is wrong.

Of coarse people would say go play with another group but this is a tiny thing.

I am going to post on Giants in the Playground and Reddit in hopes of getting alternitive points of view.

Thanks


I'm sorry, what are you asking, exactly? What are you doing that the DM says you can't do, or possibly don't have to do?

Shadow Lodge

It sounds like the DM is saying they can cast shocking grasp and use it with every attack?

Scarab Sages

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It depends on what is meant by being able to “use the shocking grasp on all of [your] attacks.” If you mean that they think you don’t need to cast Shocking Grasp at all, then they are wrong.

But you could have a situation where you cast Shocking grasp on a previous round, but miss with the free attack. You could then take a full attack on the subsequent round, and “use” the Shocking Grasp on all of your attacks, at least until you hit and the spell is discharged. You would not need Spell Combat in that situation.

But you don’t get free Shocking grasps without casting the spell first and the most you’re ever going to get in one round is three. Cast it the previous round, deliver it with one of your normal attacks on round 2, cast it with Spell Combat in round 2, deliver it with the free attack, then cast a quickened one and deliver that with the free attack.


If so, that is absolutely not correct. Once used, a spell is discharged and gone. Exceptions, such as Chill Touch, exist, but they are exceptions.


ngc7293 wrote:


I am going to post on Giants in the Playground and Reddit in hopes of getting alternitive points of view.

So are you just going around trying to find someone who will tell you they agree with your denial-ridden GM? I'm not sure what more we can tell you other than exactly how Spellstrike properly works.

Scarab Sages

How is spellstrike complicated?

You cast a touch spell, make a melee attack with a wielded weapon, which in turn adds the effects of the touch spell to your attack. That's literally all there is to it.

The actual rules text is more specific, but that's the practical effect of spellstrike.


Can you please clarify your question?

Your position vs your GM's position is unclear.

If your question is "Can I continue to "apply" shocking grasp because I have a held charge of it and haven't hit anyone yet" then the answer is yes. That's just how held charges work. Shocking grasp is a held charge until you cast another spell or until you hit someone with it and discharge it.


Davor wrote:

How is spellstrike complicated?

You cast a touch spell, make a melee attack with a wielded weapon, which in turn adds the effects of the touch spell to your attack. That's literally all there is to it.

Complications:

This applies even when casting as a swift action or during a full round attack with Spell Combat, meaning you get an extra attack you wouldn't normally get. You can even cast an otherwise pointless cantrip just to get an extra attack.

You can move between casting the spell and making the free attack.

You can switch your grip between casting the spell and making the free attack, meaning that if you're not using Spell Combat, you can make an attack with your weapon held in both hands for extra Power Attack damage.

If you miss you can you hold the charge of the spell and attack with it again, though you don't get any more free attacks until you cast another spell.

Scarab Sages

None of those are any different than casting any touch spell. The only thing Spellstrike does is let you use your weapon instead of your hand to deliver the spell. Otherwise all of things function exactly the same. I mean, the changing your grip one would be unecessary, but you could still do it.

You don’t get an extra attack from Spellstrike. You get an extra attack from spell combat.

You can always move between casting a spell and delivering the touch attack.

You can always switch your grip as a free action. You wouldn’t need to if you are delivering a touch attack, but you could.

You can always hold the charge of a touch attack if you miss, until you cast another one.


Well, if your goal was to convince them that they are running the rule incorrectly, you probably shouldn't ask strangers on the internet when they already stated that they believe said strangers are wrong.

You're just going to have to buckle down to their ruling. Just ask what their rule is, and roll with it.

Just keep in mind that if the rule makes the game un-fun, it's still a wise decision to simply abandon the table. The golden rule of gaming is a very wise thing to follow.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

There's also a middle ground. If your group has a house rule that makes a particular class not fun but you like gaming with that group, you can also just not play that class with them.

I agree it can be frustrating if there's a house rule, but the group won't admit it's a house rule.


Maybe the confusion comes from this little piece of text:

Ultimate Magic wrote:
Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack.

I made the relevant part bold. My interpretation would be: If you wield multiple weapons at once (such as a sword and armor spikes), you can discharge your spell via either of them. But maybe it could be interpreted as 'through all your weapons', since it's not 'through any one weapon'. I am not a native speaker...

The description of spellstrike continues to talk about a single free melee attack - so with this context it should be clear it's really just one discharge.


Redelia wrote:

There's also a middle ground. If your group has a house rule that makes a particular class not fun but you like gaming with that group, you can also just not play that class with them.

I agree it can be frustrating if there's a house rule, but the group won't admit it's a house rule.

Not really. The OP made it clear on what he does and does not want to do, which makes the answer clear.

He wants to play a Magus. The table runs the class mechanics different from the conventional playstyle. He doesn't want to play a different class, nor does he want to play with a different table that runs the Magus correctly.

So, he has to play by the table's house rule. That's all there is to it. It's really not that complicated.

Yes, the OP asked for alternative ways to convey the correct way to play a Magus, but I feel that trial and error is the best route, since his group has made it clear that they do not want to be convinced of a different ruling when it's provided by sources they won't accept as evidence to disprove their ruling.


If I understand the OP correctly...... this is about the difference between Spell Combat and Spellstrike?

Spell Combat allows you to cast and attack at the same time. It is a Full-Round ability that essentially lets you get all of your attacks and cast a spell. This spell could be an offensive one to hit a foe with, but it could also be something like casting a buff on yourself.

Spellstrike allows you to make a weapon attack in place of your normal touch attack. You CAN Spellstrike without using Spell Combat, and you CAN Spell Combat without using Spellstrike. Your group sounds correct in that you did not have to use Spell Combat (read: take a penalty on your attacks) all the time. You can use either or both of the abilities, depending on what makes the most sense at the time.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sounds to me like a case of GM fiat.

Spellstrike just works differently in their world.

I wouldn't expend much energy on trying to change their mind.


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

Based on the lack of information in the OP, nobody actually knows what the GM ruled, or what the original situation was for that matter. There isn't even a mind to change at this point.


Okay, I'm going to try to "wade into" my own post.

At the beginning my Magus gets Spell Combat. I can cast a spell like Daze and hit with my sword (-2 to hit) My GM has no issue with this.

Later I get Spell Strike. To my understanding a Touch spell allows a Free Attack PLUS the spell. So I would get my normal attack plus this free normal attack through the sword and the spell through the Sword. The GM had no issue with this. (THAT particular part)

He said that Spell Combat was separate from Spell Strike and as such Spell Strike could be used without Spell Combat and none of the attacks would incur the -2 attack penalty.

I told him that he was wrong but he told me it was in the rule book. Moreover, the rules-lawyer player in the group the was playing a Magus too backed him up! [sigh]

Then there came the part where both of them said that every attack could get the spell I was using. They insisted this was in the book.

I was not holding a spell and my Magus was build for Shocking Grasp.

-------------

I also want to say after I started playing my Magus I thought Spell strike wasn't complicated until my GM (and other player made it so.)

Later I abandoned the Magus and played an Arcane Duelist and I am 14th level in the same game.

I would still like to play a magus (in what ever module we play next) again but see if the GM can be convinced that he isn't right on this subject.

I may have to do as Darksol said and go along with the GM's "Rules".

We have GM rules in our games but a rewrite of something obvious seems wrong to me.

Scarab Sages

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Spellstrike is separate from Spell Combat. It can be used without Spell Combat and you do not take the -2 penalty. I’m pretty sure Grick’s Guide includes that information, though it’s been a while since I’ve looked at it. There are FAQs that confirm as much as well. Will link in a minute.

Scarab Sages

LINK

FAQ wrote:

Magus, Spellstrike: If I cast a spell that allows multiple touch attacks, can I deliver all of those spell touches through my weapon?

Yes. For example, if you cast chill touch (which allows multiple touch attacks), you could use spellstrike to cast and deliver the spell through your weapon, and in later weapon attacks you could use your weapon to deliver the remaining spell touch attacks (one spell touch attack per weapon attack).

If you have multiple attacks per round with that weapon (such as from having a BAB of +6 or higher), you can use the weapon to deliver multiple spell touch attacks per round, so long as you have uses of that spell touch attack remaining.

For example, if you are an 8th-level magus (BAB +6/+1) and you cast chill touch, you have up to 8 uses of that spell touch attack. If you make two weapon attacks in a round, you can deliver two spell touch attacks per round (one for each successful weapon attack).

This one doesn’t directly say Spellstrike is separate, but it does refer to using Spellstrike in rounds when you don’t cast a spell at all (because you have an active spell going already).

Scarab Sages

This is the more important one.
LINK

FAQ wrote:

Magus: Can a magus use spellstrike (page 10) to cast a touch spell, move, and make a melee attack with a weapon to deliver the touch spell, all in the same round?

Yes. Other than deploying the spell with a melee weapon attack instead of a melee touch attack, the magus spellstrike ability doesn’t change the normal rules for using touch spells in combat (Core Rulebook page 185). So, just like casting a touch spell, a magus could use spellstrike to cast a touch spell, take a move toward an enemy, then (as a free action) make a melee attack with his weapon to deliver the spell.

On a related topic, the magus touching his held weapon doesn’t count as “touching anything or anyone” when determining if he discharges the spell. A magus could even use the spellstrike ability, miss with his melee attack to deliver the spell, be disarmed by an opponent (or drop the weapon voluntarily, for whatever reason), and still be holding the charge in his hand, just like a normal spellcaster. Furthermore, the weaponless magus could pick up a weapon (even that same weapon) with that hand without automatically discharging the spell, and then attempt to use the weapon to deliver the spell. However, if the magus touches anything other than a weapon with that hand (such as retrieving a potion), that discharges the spell as normal.

Basically, the spellstrike gives the magus more options when it comes to delivering touch spells; it’s not supposed to make it more difficult for the magus to use touch spells.

Doing what they describe in this FAQ would be impossible with Spell Combat, because Spell Combat is a full-round action. Spellstrike must be separate if you can cast, move (not just 5-foot step) and deliver the spell through Spellstrike.

I bolded the last couple of lines, because they lay it out pretty clearly. Anytime you deliver a touch spell, you can do so through Spellstrike.

Scarab Sages

Finally, from Grick’s thread.

Grick wrote:

Simple example time:

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

He gives an example where the Magus does exactly this. He casts Shocking Grasp and delivers it through his sword without using Spell Combat. The next example has the heading “Combining Spellstrike With Spell Combat.” That wouldn’t be necessary if they couldn’t be used separately.


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ngc7293 wrote:

Okay, I'm going to try to "wade into" my own post.

At the beginning my Magus gets Spell Combat. I can cast a spell like Daze and hit with my sword (-2 to hit) My GM has no issue with this.

Later I get Spell Strike. To my understanding a Touch spell allows a Free Attack PLUS the spell. So I would get my normal attack plus this free normal attack through the sword and the spell through the Sword. The GM had no issue with this. (THAT particular part)

He said that Spell Combat was separate from Spell Strike and as such Spell Strike could be used without Spell Combat and none of the attacks would incur the -2 attack penalty.

I told him that he was wrong but he told me it was in the rule book. Moreover, the rules-lawyer player in the group the was playing a Magus too backed him up! [sigh]

Then there came the part where both of them said that every attack could get the spell I was using. They insisted this was in the book.

I was not holding a spell and my Magus was build for Shocking Grasp.

You're both wrong, on two separate things.

First is that they are correct, Spellstrike can be used without Spell Combat; it can be used any time you have a Touch spell (or even Ranged Touch spell, with the correct Arcana) active, and all it requires is having a touch spell to discharge. Grick's guide actually calls this out as being a thing, so this shouldn't have been news to you. The FAQ that Ferious Thune linked is important, as otherwise you'd end up discharging the spell onto your weapon every time you attempted (and thereby damaging it as if you were Sundering said weapon); it's also a solid guide as to what you can and can't do with Spellstrike, since it gives a very clear and expansive example of what it is that the ability does.

Second, you are correct in that you cannot use Shocking Grasp on every attack; Spellstrike and Spell Combat do not change anything else regarding Touch Spells aside from what the abilities say they change. There is nothing in those abilities that states the spell effect lasts for the entire duration, or that a touch spell's effects apply to every attack you make with that action (Spell Combat or otherwise). Grick's guide not making any mention of this being the case would be a strong indicator that arguing otherwise is houseruling, since everything about the Guide is basically RAW interpretations. But, if they did allow Shocking Grasp on every attack you make, you'd be nuking things 9 ways to Sunday since you can expend a 1st or 2nd level spell for upwards of 30D6 damage per round.


The only point I might quibble on is that you usually can't get multiple hits with the same spell. (You cast Shocking Grasp, it's discharged on your first successful attack, not every attack you might make in a round.)

Otherwise... your GM and Rules Lawyer friend seem like they're basically right. As Ferocious Thune has detailed, Spell Combat and Spellstrike are separate abilities, and it is NOT required that you use both of them. (...This is a good thing. Having more options usually is. XD)

Scarab Sages

GM Rednal wrote:
As Ferocious Thune has detailed...

RAWR!

Umm.. sorry. Anyway...

Yeah, I should have explained more. Darksol and GM Rednal are correct that you do not get the shocking grasp on every attack. You cast one shocking grasp, you get one shocking grasp. If you miss, you can hold the charge until you hit or cast another spell (or otherwise discharge it).

The first FAQ I quoted was for spells like chill touch or frostbite that grant more than one touch attack. In those cases, you can deliver the spell on each hit until the spell is exhausted. So a 5th level Magus who casts chill touch (either through spell combat or not) can deliver a chill touch on each of his next 5 attacks/hits for 1d6 on each attack, as long as he does so within the 5 round duration of the spell, and he doesn't cast another spell during that time.


Ferious Thune wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
As Ferocious Thune has detailed...

RAWR!

Umm.. sorry. Anyway...

Yeah, I should have explained more. Darksol and GM Rednal are correct that you do not get the shocking grasp on every attack. You cast one shocking grasp, you get one shocking grasp. If you miss, you can hold the charge until you hit or cast another spell (or otherwise discharge it).

The first FAQ I quoted was for spells like chill touch or frostbite that grant more than one touch attack. In those cases, you can deliver the spell on each hit until the spell is exhausted. So a 5th level Magus who casts chill touch (either through spell combat or not) can deliver a chill touch on each of his next 5 attacks/hits for 1d6 on each attack, as long as he does so within the 5 round duration of the spell, and he doesn't cast another spell during that time.

Using chill touch this way is a common tactic for me with my paladin/eldtritch scion magus. On the same character, using spellstrike without spell combat is sometimes important due to the limited number of rounds of spell combat on that magus AT.

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Spell Combat is basically like two-weapon fighting except you cast a spell instead of get an extra off-hand attack.

Spellstrike lets you replace the free touch attack that touch spells grant you with a weapon attack. And if you're holding a charge, it also lets you discharge the spell with a weapon attack. Spellstrike is not an action in of itself.


Cyrad wrote:

Spell Combat is basically like two-weapon fighting except you cast a spell instead of get an extra off-hand attack.

Spellstrike lets you replace the free touch attack that touch spells grant you with a weapon attack. And if you're holding a charge, it also lets you discharge the spell with a weapon attack. Spellstrike is not an action in of itself.

Okay, the two are separate. I can deal with that. I'm good.

One thing that may have been rolled over and ignored or maybe it is fact.

Example: A third level Magus has a single normal attack with his sword (and spell strike)

I looked up Casting Touch spells in Combat. It implies that you get a free touch attack.

No where in the above explanations do I see that free attack from the sword.

Does the Example magus above get the free touch attack through his sword when he casts a touch attack such as Shocking Grasp? Someone explained it a lot better in some other post.


*Ahem*

The Magus does not get a touch attack through his weapon. When using Spellstrike, he gets a normal attack with his weapon, and adds the spell onto it.

The Combat rules don't discuss the deliver-through-weapon bit because it provides the general, normal rules. The Magus' abilities are specific rules that override the general rules and let you do things you otherwise couldn't. (Lots of Pathfinder works this way.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ngc7293 wrote:

Example: A third level Magus has a single normal attack with his sword (and spell strike)

I looked up Casting Touch spells in Combat. It implies that you get a free touch attack.

No where in the above explanations do I see that free attack from the sword.

Does the Example magus above get the free touch attack through his sword when he casts a touch attack such as Shocking Grasp? Someone explained it a lot better in some other post.

He gets to do the "free" attack granted by the spell through his sword if he chooses. It is not a touch attack if he does, just a regular attack. If he also declared spell combat (thus taking a,-2 on his attacks), he gets his normal attack as well, for a total of 2. The spell remains until he hits. This is explained in both the descriptions of spellstrike/spell combat, and Grick's thread.


I just want to clarify something, chiefly because I am an idiot.
(There is a thread in the rules section called Magus - Is spellstrike reliant on Spell Combat I downloaded that back in March(ish) of last year and forgot that I could waste your time!)

So here's the thing. Spell Strike can be used by itself. But Gallant Armor said:

Gallant Armor wrote:
RAW you have it right, you can spellstrike without doing spell combat but you would miss out on full attacks.

So in my own thread, I am right and I am wrong. Spell Strike can be used by itself just not with a full attack. If I want to have a full attack (and at a -2) I need Spell Combat

Is what Gallant Armor said (or me) wrong?


That's correct.

You can use them separately or together.

If you Spell Strike and don't use Spell Combat, then you're casting a touch spell as (normally) a Standard action. This gives you a free melee attack in place of the usual free touch attack. Since you're using a Standard Action to cast the spell, you don't get to do any other attacks that round.

If you use them together, then it requires a full round action and gives you -2 to hit, etc.

Scarab Sages

However, if you have cast a spell on the previous round and held the charge, you can Spellstrike and still make a full attack. You wouldn’t get an “extra” Attack in that full attack, though.

If the spell you cast is something like chill touch, then on the 2nd round (not the round you cast it), you could full attack and use Spellstrike to deliver chill touch on every attack, provided you have enough remaining uses of chill touch. That’s the first FAQ I quoted above. If you had cast chill touch, you could make Unarmed Strikes in the 2nd round and take a full attack without Spellstrike. All Spellstrike is doing is letting you use a weapon instead.

Try to think of it like this. Spellstrike does not change the number of attacks you get. All it lets you do is use your weapon instead. Anytime you could make a touch attack with a spell, you may instead make a regular attack with your weapon and deliver the spell through your weapon. Anytime you have a held charge and you attack with your weapon, you can deliver the held charge. If the attack hits, the spell is discharged like normal.

So one more time. Spellstrike does not change the number of attacks that you get. It does not give you more attacks. It does not give you fewer attacks. It only changes what you attack with.

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