Advice on building a STR Magus


Advice


Good afternoon everyone,

I'm trying to build a Magus (again..), but since there are so many options on how to go about it, and since I never played one for any decent amount of time, I would like to have your assistance with it please. Any feedback and tips are welcome.

First off, I don't want to build a one trick pony, or a guy that pools all its resources into one or two fights per day (Am I wrong off the bat playing a Magus?) - I want a balanced melee character who can stand decently on his own two feet without MUCH magic, and then uses said magic to complement his fighting prowess, with outstanding Action Economy.

(So far I am not delving into Archetypes until my understanding of my own characte is at least decent - I know Bladebound and Hecrafter and many others are good though)

What I have so far

- STR based Magus: This one by itself is a tough choice. My reasons for it are the fact I don't want to be tied to a single weapon, or dependant on an enchant or whatever of the sort (which I feel happens in most cases with Dervish Dance and the Scimitar, or Fencing Grace, or Agile enchantments on weapon A). I have the feeling being STR based makes me more versatile in this aspect. I may be wrong - again I admit my ignorance;

- Half-Orc: I know Toothy can be used in some combos (even if I don't know exactly what feats are needed, etc), but I am chosing Half-Orc more because of the Sacred Tatoo's boost to saves with Fate's Favored (which I can make use of with a Wand of divine Favor also);

- Stat spread at level 1, something like:
STR 17 (15+2)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 16
WIS 10
CHA 08

- Traits: Fate's Favored and does it make sense to grab Gifted Adept (Frostbite) if feat is as below?

- Feats: Rime Spell

- Spells of choice would be Shield and Frostbite

- Weapon and Armor: Most likely Scimitar + Lamellar Studded Leather to start with

This is just my initial plan. Is it decent to start with? Am I beginning already fundamenally wrong somewhere? I have alot of follow up questions - is there a problem if I want to take Power Attack along the way? What about Combat Reflexes? Can I play the Magus under a logic of a Reach combatant? Etc, etc. But let's take things one at a time :D

Cheers, and thanks for any possible advice.


Not gifted adept - look at magical lineage. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with your plan so far.

Power attack is something you might use when you don't have a spell to spellstrike with, but it's a poorer bargain when your scimitar has a few charges of rime frostbite ready to go.

Enlarge person has too long a casting time to use with spell combat so you'd want to get the long arm spell if reach is your thing. Combat reflexes works with that of course.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What you're going for is fine. I would pick human for the feat and flavor (I'm old fashioned, half orcs are mental midgets) but mechanically half orc is fine.

Also, you mentioned wanting to go for reach and combat reflexes, which is actually quite good if you take lunge. However, you mentioned wanting power attack which is generally inaccurate and poor for a 3/4 BaB character. You know what would help remedy that? Keeping the opponent prone with improved trip. Trip can be used all say Long and is effective if you take the maneuver Magus atcana. It also synergizes brilliantly with reach and combat reflexes. BRILIANTLY.

TLDR: if you want a go all day Magus who utilizes reach, combat reflexes and power attack, take improved trip and maneuver Magus. It ties together a concept that is otherwise a little dicey.


avr and Zolanoteph, thank you for the feedback.

avr wrote:

Not gifted adept - look at magical lineage. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with your plan so far.

Power attack is something you might use when you don't have a spell to spellstrike with, but it's a poorer bargain when your scimitar has a few charges of rime frostbite ready to go.

Enlarge person has too long a casting time to use with spell combat so you'd want to get the long arm spell if reach is your thing. Combat reflexes works with that of course.

I am assuming then Gifted Adept is only useful in the first few levels? To allow me to use Frostbite more times? Whereas Magical Lineage will allow me to apply Metamagic feats to it - is this correct? If so, what metamagic feats would eventually make sense?

Zolanoteph wrote:

What you're going for is fine. I would pick human for the feat and flavor (I'm old fashioned, half orcs are mental midgets) but mechanically half orc is fine.

Also, you mentioned wanting to go for reach and combat reflexes, which is actually quite good if you take lunge. However, you mentioned wanting power attack which is generally inaccurate and poor for a 3/4 BaB character. You know what would help remedy that? Keeping the opponent prone with improved trip. Trip can be used all say Long and is effective if you take the maneuver Magus atcana. It also synergizes brilliantly with reach and combat reflexes. BRILIANTLY.

TLDR: if you want a go all day Magus who utilizes reach, combat reflexes and power attack, take improved trip and maneuver Magus. It ties together a concept that is otherwise a little dicey.

Understood, and I do like trip builds a LOT - what concerns me about it is that I feel like I will have to continue investing in it forever to keep it relevant. I need Combat Expertise > Improved Trip > Fury's Fall > Greater Trip + maybe some other stuff to pile on as levels increase (True Strike works with maneuvers?).

That's 4 feats, and it makes me feel like it is tying up other options - am I wrong?

In any case, let's see if this progress would be acceptable then for a tripping Magus:

Level 1 Feat: Rime Spell
Level 3 Feat: Combat Expertise
Level 3 Arcana: Maneuver Mastery
Level 5 Feat: Improved Trip
Level 5 Bonus Magus Feat: Power Attack
Level 6 Arcana: ???
Level 7 Feat: Fury's Fall
Level 9 Feat: Greater Trip
Level 9 Arcana: ???
Felling Smash
Etc

Looks solid?

My main concern is that if I get too focused on the Trip maneuver and its associated 'stuff', and I may be missing out on other cool stuff which could be amplified by taking other, better choices (comes with not knowing the class well, I guess).

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

That being said, what would be a 'normal' feat progression for a Magus not wanting to overfocus on a specific role (or maybe it is a mistake)?

Can I combine for example...

Rime Spell > Enforcer for debuffs
+
Power Attack + Combat Reflexes for reach tactics and protect other 'squishies'
+
Dimensional Agility chain to pop next to the bad guy wreaking havoc from a distance, and maul him
+
Defensive Spells (Mirror Image, Shield, Displacement) + Offensive Spells to go toe to toe with a BBEG if it comes down to it?

Is this feasible? Where would metamagic feats fit? Which ones? Am I asking too much? :D


The obvious feat to use magical lineage with in your plan is rime spell on frostbite. Later on maybe empower. Gifted adept just isn't going to be useful past ~2nd level.

One useful trick for a magus who likes maneuvers is to take the wand wielder magus arcana, then get a wand of true strike. You can skip feats intended only to boost CMB (like fury's fall) in that case; a dabbler might use long arm to escape AoOs from medium-size enemies and take no trip feats at all. It beats maneuver mastery IMO.

Around about 5th level is the low point in power attack's usefulness to you. You're not as prone to running out of spells (5 touches per frostbite spell), PA is still only -1/+2 and you have 101 other feats you want to take in its place. You don't need it and I'd reconsider taking it at all. Combat reflexes with a sword loaded with rime frostbite is better without PA for protecting squishies.

BTW, a a magus you don't need dimensional agility. Spell combat works without it.


Thank you again avr - let's assume then I overcome my obsession with Power attack. Back to the build:

Level 1 Feat: Rime Spell
Level 3 Feat: Enforcer
Level 3 Arcana: Flamboyant Arcana

And I'll stop right here - questions time:

- Flamboyant Arcana is great, or am I looking at it wrong?
- Assuming I start wielding a reach weapon (such as a Bardiche) -> It is 'legal' to hold it in one hand, cast Frostbite, and grasp it back in two hands ready to do AoO if someone approaches? All this in one round? Correct?

- As far as tactics go, I can start a fight as above, and if/once engaged simply drop the bardiche, draw the scimitar and go to town with Frostbite if it has charges left. Is this correct?

- Last but not least, assuming I start the round wielding a 2h weapon - I cannot hold it one hand, use Spell Combat to cast Frostbite, re-grasp it in two hands, and attack. All in the same round. Correct?

--------

Some additional details at level 3:

- Baseline damage assuming STR18 and Scimitar 2h = d6+6 [Average: 9.5]
- If I had Power Attack: d6+9 [Average: 12.5]
- Damage with Frostbite: d6+d6+6+3 [Average: 16 with some non-lethal]
- Can use Frostbite for 6 rounds day (assuming 4x level 1 spells at 3rd Magus lvl, and half of those being Frostbites). Seems like very few rounds, doesn't it?


If you start an action that requires you to have a hand free, it has to be free for the entire action. So if you do a full round action you need a free hand for the entire action.

i.e. the Magus' full round attack + free spell won't work with a 2 handed weapon. Just forget about it.

I'm a little leery of power attack. You're already taking a -2 to hit from the Magus' special action and you're 3/4 BAB. But power attack does synergize with Frostbite/Rime spell, and its only 1 feat.

Consider picking up weapon focus, the extra +1 to hit helps shore up your class ability. Also at low level you'll be a bit dependent on cantrips, so investigate them. Daze is amazing for 2 levels, then kind of useless. Acid Splash has the most longevity for combat.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Meirril wrote:

If you start an action that requires you to have a hand free, it has to be free for the entire action. So if you do a full round action you need a free hand for the entire action.

i.e. the Magus' full round attack + free spell won't work with a 2 handed weapon. Just forget about it.

I'm a little leery of power attack. You're already taking a -2 to hit from the Magus' special action and you're 3/4 BAB. But power attack does synergize with Frostbite/Rime spell, and its only 1 feat.

Consider picking up weapon focus, the extra +1 to hit helps shore up your class ability. Also at low level you'll be a bit dependent on cantrips, so investigate them. Daze is amazing for 2 levels, then kind of useless. Acid Splash has the most longevity for combat.

When will people realize the glory of trip + power attack? Prone oponents are at -4 vs melee attacks, not to mention that you're not taking spell combat penalties on attacks of opportunity when they try to get up.


The Blade Tutor's Spirit spell can be used to reduce voluntary attack penalties (such as from Power Attack) by 1 + 1 per 5 levels.

If you want to make some use of combat manoeuvres than instead of taking Combat Expertise I'd suggest Dirty Fighting which does many wonderful things; it allows you to sacrifice your flanking bonus to perform combat manoeuvres without provoking attacks of opportunity, if you have a feat or ability that allows you to perform manoeuvres without provoking an aoo you get a +4 bonus and finally Dirty Fighting counts as having Combat Expertise, Improved Unarmed Strike, 13 dex and 13 int for the purpose of taking the various Improved combat manoeuvre feats as well as for taking feats that have Improved combat manoeuvre feat as a prerequisite.

I know you're not yet looking into archetypes but what I will say is that witchcraft is awesome and the Hexcrafter gives you some really nice utility and combat options.

Something you might want to consider is taking Cornugon Smash. It allows you to make an intimidate check as a free action to demoralise (applies the shaken condition for a -2 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks) an opponent when you damage them with Power Attack. Personally I'd drop dex to 12, Increase cha to 10 and take Intimidating Prowess (adds str mod to intimidate), combined with the Intimidating trait you have a good chance of landing the demoralise; the high intimidation score provides you with a strong opportunity to play an effective social role outside of combat and Conugon Smash maximises your action economy in combat.


If you want to do some tripping, you should look into the Blade Lash spell. It's a level 1 spell that improves your ability to trip, and allows you to do so from 20 feet away. Could be useful for knocking an opponent down, then moving next to them to grab the AoO for them standing up.


At 3rd level (& lower) you've got a potential spell shortage, yes. You might like to get a 1000 gp pearl of power to mitigate that. At 4th level you get spell recall unless you take an archetype which loses that, and you don't have a shortage any more.

With rime frostbite you add fatigued and entangled on a hit as well as damage. That's why landing a hit is more important for protecting others than another +2-3 damage.

Flamboyant arcana is great, but watch you don't use up your arcane pool. Unlike a swashbuckler you have no way to recover it during the adventuring day, and you also use it to enchant your weapon - that's your 'No, really I have full BAB' ability. 1 arcane pool point per parry attempt is inefficient even though its impressive.

(Thinking about it this is one big advantage of a blade adept arcanist. I'll have to think about how to use that.)

Correct on the other 3 questions.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Advice on building a STR Magus All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.