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This does bring up an odd question:
If someone was to take Eldritch Archer dedication at 6th (let's say as a Fighter), and then takes Sorceror dedication at 9th (through human ancestry), would they not still be able to take Basic Sorceror Spellcasting?

It seems odd that this only restricts you one way. You can already have multiple of a single tradition (Sorceror Occult to Bard dedication).

- To be fair, I am a bit biased. I originally missed the sentence about already having spell slots. I originally thought the "If" at the beginning was just about granting access to the "Cast a Spell activity". My original plan was a Spellscale Kobold (Arcane) Warpriest Cleric (Divine) Bard Dedication (Occult) Eldritch Archer (Primal)... Luckily, I do have backup plans.

My first attempt was well too "wordy" and the link didn't quite work. So here goes:

Shapechanger Druid

(1) I would like to know where this lies along the following scheme of balance: Unplayable, Underpowered, Balanced, Overpowered, or Broken.

(2) I would like to know how you would build a character of this class to take advantage of it's strengths and weaknesses (in order to get some ideas, or to see if there are any broken tricks I might not have accounted for).

(3) Finally, if this is not at least somewhat balanced, I would like suggestions as to how I might improve it.

I am currently testing the archetype out myself in a campaign a friend of mine is running. If requested, I will post the character build I am using for this.

Paizo Staff:
If you see this: I was not able to find a way to delete or edit my original topic. Otherwise I would have. Please delete the thread "The Druid who ate his Animal Companion."

tl; dr:

I have created a Druid Variant somewhat based off of the "Shapeshift" variant in D&D 3.5 PHB II (Pages 39 - 41). I would like to know how it stands on the following scale: Unplayable, Underpowered, Balanced, Overpowered, Broken. In addition, if you feel that this is not balanced, I would like some suggestions on how I might better balance it.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mBCW6t3EQ1eYJs7wWEma-2HOx8ZPWKiDJSDFDZ3 yt3s/edit?usp=sharing

- A Brief History:
In the group I play Pathfinder with, there are 2 of us that are considered to be "munchkins". I put that in quotes because there are some here who would consider the things we build to not be that bad... Well, at least the things I build.

I am known for throwing together a bunch of different classes into a concept. I will often build Prestige Class builds, or other hybrid characters. The downside to a lot of these builds, is that they don't come into power until higher level. Often times I am among the weaker members of the party at low levels, and just balance out at higher levels. My knowledge of odd loopholes (which I will use occasionally just to get some random effects) is what labels me as a "munchkin". My most successful build so far has been for an Evil campaign, in which I am a (Catfolk: Sorcerer (Linnorm) 1, Fighter (Unarmed) 1, Anti-Paladin (Knight of the Sepulcher) 3, Dragon Disciple 2. I use Dragon Style and Feral Combat training to deal damage (20 STR at this level, picked up Power Attack through the Bloodline feat), and will occasionally deliver a Shocking Grasp (I know, only CL 2) through either an Unarmed Strike or a claw attack. While I try to do odd combinations, I am usually below the power curve for any given party I am in.

The second player on the other hand, tends to play the most over-powered build he can find. It is currently up to a point where the DM once said he would cut the player's damage in half occasionally so that the rest of us would have a chance to do stuff.

I believe this variant might be either balanced, or a bit underpowered due to the fact that this player stated he would rather play a normal Druid, as he could not see an easy way to break this without multi-classing.

Back before Pathfinder, I was in a 3.5 campaign where I used the PHB II variant (actually both of them) for Druids. I really liked the character, but have not been able to find anything quite like it in Pathfinder (except for Synthesist Summoner, which is a bit more cheese than I go for). Unfortunately, that party turned kinda evil and the game ended before reaching level 5.

- Balance?
I did not want to just replace the Wildshape and Nature's Bond with the original variant, as it did not appear properly balanced for Pathfinder. The original variant was designed to balance out 3.5 Wildshape; but like a lot of those attempts, they went a bit too far.

I started with the ability of "absorbing" the Animal Companion into the Druid similar to how the Synthesist Summoner does. That being said, I do have a full understanding of how the Synthesist is "broken" (mostly due to poor wording on some abilities, and the trouble it takes to actually validate that the Eidolon follows all of the proper rules). At the same time, I wanted this to be a true 'variant', and not just a substitution for a single class ability.

I decided that this Druid would take a step back, becoming even more primitive than the normal Druid. To this end, I gutted the Weapon and Armor proficiencies. I also extended the prohibition on metal items to include Weapons. I also gave the Druid a natural attack. This was done mostly for 3 reasons:
(1) If I gave them full IUS and increased their damage, I would be stepping on a Monk's toes.
(2) This class is designed to specialize in Natural Attacks, and be focused on it's animal form.
(3) I still liked the idea of using some Monk tricks, and Feral Combat Training would still allow me to accomplish that.

As per the original variant, I took away both Wildshape and the Animal Companion (including the Domain Option). I wanted to build the forms to have some degree of actual power, so I felt I needed those two abilities to equal out what I wanted to make.

I have always loved the Fire Domain for some reason, and the original character used a feat trick in order to pick it up. Since no tricks like that exist in Pathfinder, I decided to add one in. I replaced the Spontaneous Summon Natures Ally with the ability to choose a single domain from the standard Druid list, and spontaneously cast those spells.

The other abilities were mostly thrown in for flavor reasons.

The forms were built from the following formula:
(1) I gave each form the STR/DEX and Natural Armor increase as appropriate for the Druid's Animal Companion at that level. (2) I decided on 5 forms based around specific themes: Swift Hunter (movement and tracking), Fierce Attacker (offense), Tough Defender (Defense), Plantoid (Plant Wildshape), and Elemental (Elemental Wildshape). I assigned Plant to 12 and Elemental to 16 because it meant I could make them start off more powerful, and it was where they used to be in 3.5. (3) I deconstructed the Eidolon base forms, and found they came out to around 14 points. I created these forms using that as the level 1 value. Starting at level 4, I added in an amount of Evolution points equal to the amount a Summoner would get at that level minus half the level itself. It actually made things pretty easy. There was some rounding involved, and I did set aside a number of the points the "subforms" (and yes. There is absolutely no reason not to choose a subform. It is designed that way). (4) I assigned each form a Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary stat. Mostly they are all STR/DEX/CON, only in different orders. The Plantoid form actually has WIS as one of the first two. Some of the Evolution points were spent on increasing these by set values based on a chart I put together. I chose evolutions based on the theme of the form for the most part. There were points where I couldn't find anything that didn't scream "over-powered" to me, and in those cases I usually either made up abilities, or flavored.

If any of you have actually made it to this point, I am greatfull that you took time to read this.

I am actually playing this character (with GM permission) in one of the games I'm in. We are under the understanding that if he finds anything that needs adjusted, we will work to make sure that it is adjusted fairly. If you would like, I can post the build I am using.

I would also challenge you to find an optimized build for this class. I believe I may have made it rather under-powered, and Druid is already MAD to begin with. I would suggest a level 10 build and or a level 20 build to show what might be over-powered (or under-powered) so that I can look through and adjust things. Having read Treantmonk's guide to Druids, I believe this is designed much more for a Spirit of the Beast build.

As to the "Only applying to Magus Spells", I don't believe a character should be able to take a one level dip into any class, and then be better at an ability of that class than that character. A Cleric9/Magus1 would have access to several touch spells (Cure Series, Inflict Series, Bestow Curse, and more) that it could then deliver through a 15' Reach whip. Requiring the Cleric to at least take Magus up until it can take the Magus Arcana: Broad Study at least somewhat mitigates this.

Whip Cleric/Magus: Cure X Wounds -- Massive Healing at a 15' Reach

Sorcerer/Magus(At least this one needs second level for Spell Combat):
Spontaneous Caster that can through the use of Spell Combat and True Strike out-Magus the Magus. They not only have a better spell list, but by being spontaneous, they can decide later which of their spells they need to cast.

I had in my head a build for Bard/Magus, Ranger/Magus, Druid/Magus, and Paladin/Magus problems, but I can't quite remember which spells it was that would start causing problems.

I am currently using the Magus(RAW) in a game at my local college. While I do tend to eat through my spells pretty fast, I have been able to out-damage the fighter on occasion. (Last night I got Dominated by a Vampire, and ended up killing the fighter in one and a half [Suprise Round + First Round] rounds of combat). This class is a Spike Damage class. It can do fine in combat normally (I currently have both a +1 Rapier and a +1 Whip and will change which one I make my Arcane Weapon based on how I feel that morning).

Actually, the Full-Plate fighter is pissed at me because my AC is higher than his and my attack roll is only 2 points less than his. He does do more damage on a critical (He uses a Scythe), but I crit more often and can do a decent amount.

Level 5 Magus:
STR 10
DEX 20
CON 11
WIS 10
INT 18
CHA 10 (8, +2 Item [Stole it off a dude in town])

AC 24 -- 10 + 5 DEX + 4 Studded Leather+1 + 4 Shield (Spell) + 1 Natural Armor [Amulet]

Base Attack 10 -- 3 BAB + 5 Weapon Finesse + 1 Enhancement Bonus + 1 Weapon Focus

I generally True Strike one round, then follow it with a Spell Combat Shocking Grasp + Weapon Attack. Grants a bonus of +26 to hit (10 Base + 20 True Strike - 4 Spell Combat Penalty) and I have a chance to crit on any roll of 15 or higher (+1 Rapier, Arcane Weapon (Keen). I prepare some of my True Strikes as second level spells, so it's easier to cast the Shocking Grasps.

Concentration: 9(13): 4 INT + 5 Caster Level (+ 4 Combat Casting)

I would rather not see spellstrike changed that much away from what it is, and I think I see a way to word it nicely.

Spellstrike (SU / EX):
A Magus is trained in combining his physical prowess with weapons and his ability to cast spells. A Magus may choose to deliver any Touch Attacks granted by his spells through his weapon. This ability functions as delivering a touch attack through an unarmed attack or natural weapon (Player's Guide Page 186) however you use the weapon's Critical Threat Range. The spell is considered to have a Critical Modifier of x2.

This allows it to work with Elemental Touch, or any other Touch Attack granting spell the Magus has, as well as clarifies the rules as to how it works. It still does not give the Magus a free weapon attack when casting a spell (as you don't get a free unarmed strike/claw/bite attack when casting a touch spell normally). I would also like to potentially add two further parts to this, or make it these a Magus Arcana:

At 5th level a Magus has further improved his ability to cast spells through weapons. A Magus may choose to deliver Touch Attacks granted by his spells through ranged weapons. This functions the same as delivering a touch attack through an unarmed attack or natural attack, but allows the Magus to make the attack at range. Unlike delivering a touch attack through a melee strike, a missed attack still uses up the touch attack (For spells that allow multiple touch attacks i.e. Produce Flame [Change the example with a spell on the magus list], a missed projectile uses up an amount of duration/attacks as if the arrow hit even on a missed attack).

At 10th level a Magus gains the ability to restrict his spells, allowing him to cast a greater variety of them through his weapon. He may cast any non-personal spell as if it were a touch spell. Area of effect spells cast in this manner do not effect multiple targets, however treat the target as having failed any saves to reduce damage. Saving throws that do not specifically deal with damage (such as through the Sleep [Replace with a spell on the Magus List]) must still be made, but gain a +2 to their save DCs. Attacks that grant multiple attacks (For example Scorching Ray [May need to be replaced with a Magus Spell]) grant an equal number of Touch Attacks when used with this ability.

And there you go. Not only would they be able to make use of Lightning Bolt and Fireball on their weapon (at 10th level), it would also give them the ability to place those spells on Bolts, Darts, or even Daggers (which they then throw).

Arcane Diversity:
A Magus with this magus arcana may select one Wizard School or Sorcerer Bloodline. The Magus can add the granted spells of the School or Bloodline to his spellbook, but at a level higher than they are originally obtained (1st level School/Bloodline spells = second level Magus spells, up until 5th level School/Bloodline spells). This ability may only be taken once.

Divine Diversity:
A Magus with this magus arcana has gained a divine bond to either his deity of purpose. He may select one Cleric Domain and may add those spells to his Magus spellbook as Magus spells of one level higher. This ability may be taken only once.

At least I think Wizard Schools come with free spells. If not, then it would just apply to Sorcerer Bloodlines. Perhapse it can also apply to either one of the Witches (familiar purposes?) or Oracles (forgot what they're called) abilities.

Just a minor point to add. Don't forget that Spellstrike does not require either the attack or the spell to deal damage for it to be successful. Use that nice little Non-lethal 15' reach weapon to apply Bull's Strength or Cat's Grace to the rest of the party.

Think of it now, a Magus in full leather armor using whips and chains to buff his allies and harm his enemies...

The advantage to the Arcane Weapon from what I can tell, is that you can change it each day when you prepare spells. And not just change it to different abilities, you could change it to an entirely new weapon. A Magus also has the ability if he so chooses to not bond with a given weapon on that day. The advantage is that if he does not bond with a weapon, he doesn't need it in hand to cast spells. An example to this would be the whole Wizard's Arcane Bond. If a Wizard has an Arcane Bonded Bastard Sword (one in a campaign I'm currently in does), then he needs to draw his weapon any time he wants to cast a spell. That includes casting spells inside a tavern, castle, or town... How do you think the Gaurds would react to seeing a person drawing a weapon, even if it was so they could cast Prestadigitation to clean themselves up a bit.

Spellstrike / Spell Combat:
Spellstrike has a ton of potential, especially if combined with a few new spells and Spell Combat. The main thing to realize with Spell Combat is that as it is now, you can either do a full attack and then throw a Fireball/Magic Missle at other enemies, or you could cast a Touch Spell and deliver it with the first attack of your melee hits. While each use of Spell Combat does require you to cast defensively, you won't always be provoking AoOs when you fail. If I recall, there are a small number of one-handed reach weapons that you could use to perform Spell Combat outside of AoO range (Whip comes to mind immediately, however buffs such as Enlarge Person could also give a Magus Reach) or in situations where an AoO would not be allowed such as if the Magus was Invisible.

Also, am I the only one to realize the tricks you could do with Spell Combat and True Strike? While you wouldn't be able to do this every round, think of the following:

Round 1: Cast True Strike, Move
Round 2: Full Attack (Spell Combat) choosing to cast Shocking Grasp or another potential Touch spell.

If the spell is cast first, and made with the first attack of the full attack, you have a +16 bonus (+20 True Strike, -4 Spell Combat) on a Weapon + Spell combination. If used with a Rapier or Scimitar (Which at level 4 you can make Keen as long as the weapon is already +1) you would have a 15-20 Threat Range and if you confirm will do up to 12d6 damage [2d6 Weapon Base + 10d6 Shocking Grasp (CL5) + Miscellaneous modifiers]. Note that at level 5 you could do this about 3 times per day before you run out of spell slots. Also, at 5th level, the check would require a (DC17 Base - 6 (5 for Magus Level + 1 Minimum INT for casting second level spells) or 11 Concentration assuming they aren't built for it, and a DC17 Base - 12 (5 for Magus Level + 3 Minimum INT for 6th level spells + 4 Combat Casting [it does state that the check is to cast defensively]) or 5 Concentration assuming they are somewhat built for it. [In this case, eat your second level spells for some of your True Strikes since you aren't casting it using Spell Combat].

And that's before we look at other potential touch spells that this class can get. While it might take a bit of preparation, it is actually possible for this class to stand on its own as a front-line damage dealer. Lets not forget that they do get Armor Proficiencies, Shield (Spell), and can benefit from a High Dex / Weapon Finesse. This could potentially put them to two main stats [INT, DEX] (I would suggest this over [STR INT] due to the fact that this class does get a couple of Ranged Touch spells, which are DEX based. Plus I recall reading somewhere that you can use DEX for touch too. Might need Weapon Finesse though, not certain.

His main basis was in delivering touch spells (like Shocking Grasp) through an Unarmed Strike, and was going to use Arcane Strike to increase the physical damage slightly. The problem I see with this is that the Gauntlet as a weapon (while treated like an unarmed strike) doesn't mention if you can also cast touch spells through it. He didn't want to take a dip into monk, as he already has 3 classes to contend with now, and doesn't want to add a 4th before taking Eldritch Knight (Rogue1/Fighter1/Wizard2). [Invisibility, Shocking Grasp (Hold Charge), Sneak Attack while delivering the spell through an Unarmed Strike].

In the current game, each of our characters has a flaw or an oath, but gains some benefit for it. While the Monk can't use Armor or Weapons, he is treated as one size larger for his Unarmed Strike Damage. The Paladin lost the ability to use Metal, but gains access to the entire Cleric Spell list as well as the Paladin one. My character has social problems, but gained a really nice race from it (Races of the Wild, Catfolk [Having 22 DEX at level 1 is sweet, my Eidolon is currently built as a Quadruped Tentacle Monster. And yes, the character is female at the GM's request.]).

I have always been under the thought process that classes in new books, core or not, are not really 'meant' for new players. While new players are welcome to take these classes, they are generally far more complex than the base book ones. Take a look at the Summoner for example. A class with a 'Create a Pet' can cause a number of problems for the newbie player. The Alchemist blends spellcasting with mutagens, and is also a major pain to play since it has constantly changing stats (especially when you start to apply mutagens that lower their spell modifying stat). I will also add that the APG grants several new "alternatives" to the base classes, making some of them even harder for new players.

That being said, I see the Magus as a 'Sword Mage' type class. One who uses his spells to buff himself and increase the power of his weapon. Changing spellstrike as I stated earlier (basically making it so that it follows the rules of casting a touch spell through an unarmed strike in the PHB, but allows use of a weapon instead) could be a relatively easy fix, and still keep the nature of the class.

If anything, I think the 'Transmute Spell Slot int Xd6 Touch Spell for Spellstrike' should instead be a Magus Arcana, and agree with using the descriptor of the spell to 'type' the damage. This can actually turn out pretty well with spell equivalents to some the 3.5 Spell Compendiums spells that allow you to chose the energy type when you cast them. In the Magus Arcana thread, I also posted some other ideas both for Arcana and for the class itself, but from what I've seen it can be a lot more powerful than some of you give it credit for.

Hmmm... I see some interesting points here, but let's put this into more modern terms.

A Police Woman (Meant to Serve and Protect, Lawful Good by definition) is walking down the street in the big city. As she enters an allyway on a routine patrol (aka why the heck she was there in the first place) she notices what appears to be a large black furred creature asleep. From the look of the fangs and claws, the police woman assumes it to be a bear, or perhapse some other animal.

(1) If the police woman says to herself: "That thing looks like it will attack me, I should take the first strike" either due to fear or due to personal reasons, is she Metagaming?

(2) If she then states to her sidekick "This thing looks quite dangerous, we should kill it so that it doesn't attack us or harm anyone else", is she committing an Evil Act? If the sidekick agrees, and both shoot at the 'creature', is that a deliberate Evil Act?

(3) If it turns out that the snarling beast was actually a hobo with a bearskin cape bought or stolen from a recent Ren.Fest or other fair, should she be stripped of all rank and then thrown in jail for murder?

On point 1, the paladin was not entirely metagaming just to say "These things might attack us, we should kill them." It is a large beast, and without a DC16 Knowledge Check (Which cannot be made untrained), the Paladin would probably not himself know that they were sentient creatures. In fact, this is more of keeping in character than metagaming. Metagaming would actually be more of: "Oh, in this campaign these are servants of the Lich we should kill them" or "Wyverns are sentient creatures with an int of 7. Despite me having no ranks in Knowledge (Nature/Arcana/Whatever), I can tell that they are Neutral creatures that mean us no harm unless provoked. Let's bribe them." He just saw a big scary creature, and said This thing looks dangerous and it looks like it will probably attack us. We should get rid of it.

On point 2, no it is not a deliberate evil act. When threatened, it is natural to attack. In the essence of doing her job (which can potentially be said in the case of the paladin as stated much earlier based on the Deity) she is attacking a perceived threat. If her sidekick had any trouble with it, then a differing opinion would be stated. If her specific teaching in the academy called for a different approach, then it would be questionable, but still generally accepted due to the fear of being attacked by a vicious creature.

As to point 3, this is something that does indeed happen occasionally. Due to a number of factors police do sometimes shoot and kill innocents. In these situations, a member of the police may need to be re-evaluated by their leaders, but they are not immediately stripped of all rank and thrown in jail with the possible potential of bail ("Atonement"). Remember, removing a paladin's class abilities makes them completely useless. While you may strip them of some of their abilities (take away their gun and their badge), you should not strip them of everything that makes them them. Even without a badge, a police officer is still capable of using some of the basic resources of the police. And even still, and officer generally won't lose their status on the first offense unless it is gross misconduct (such as shooting a kid in a schoolyard for the heck of it).

If you put it into perspective, you'll find that while he may have done a "evil" act, he was actually playing his character correctly and the "evil" part was not deliberate. I myself would not take away all of his paladin powers and class features, but might remove his Smite Evil, and perhapse 1 spell of each level until he does some act to show remorse for his actions / atone for his misdeed. I also would give him some form of dream about the action as the deity saying "I saw what you did. While I can understand why you did it, and while you didn't mean anything evil by it, it was still an evil act. You have been warned."

This does however change if the Paladin had a history of such misdeeds. If for example the police woman had a history of killing hobos or had been previously repremanded for shooting first without thinking things through, then she should be punished to the full extent of the law. Even then, a good lawyer could probably get that changed from "Premedetated Murder" to "Wrongful Death".

Personally, I really like Spellstrike as it is right now. It is a feature that I've been looking for in a class for a long time. Personally, I read it as more of a:

"If you are holding a touch spell (cast in a previous round or through Spell Combat), you may deliver that spell through a weapon attack." This interpretation would mean that if you miss the attack, you still have the spell. Also it states that on subsequent rounds you can either try to Weapon Attack the spell or use a touch attack for the spell. While I may need to brush up on the rules a bit, with the advent of True Strike a level 1 spell that grants a +20 to your next attack roll, you could probably assure that the spell and the weapon will hit.

Personally I kinda like the Smiting Spell feat from 3.5 a tiny bit better as it also allowed you to (for an increased spell slot) place the touch spell into a piece of ammo [Sling + Cure X Wounds Stones. 1d3 damage, xd8+y healing. At a distance no less). That being said, for the class itself, Spellstrike makes sense.

I also don't believe that Spellstrike as it stands should be limited to times per day, only because it does eat both a preparation round (or a penalty to attack rolls) and a penalty to hit on the spell itself (touch VS attack). Aha. Got it!

-- Suggestion
When a Magus is holding the charge of a touch spell cast from the Magus Spell List, he may chose to deliver the spell through a Weapon as if delivering it through an Unarmed Strike. The spell shares the Threat Range of the weapon used, but has a Critical Multiplier of x2.

I would also like to see the Magus gain either through Magus Arcana or through a Feat the ability to cast some divine spells (or an arcane version of them.) Mostly Cure X Wounds and Inflict X Wounds. They should not get the Mass forms, and perhapse the Cure X Wounds could be restricted to Harming Undead.

Since a lot of people seem to mention the BAB, I guess I should throw in my thoughts on it.

As far as I can tell, the main choices for a Magus attacking are as follows:

(1) Touch Spells:
In general, a creature tends to have a worse Touch AC than their normal AC. Due to this fact, the 3/4ths BAB would be more than enough for most touch spells to hit.

(2) Spellstrike:
At the lower levels, a Magus is still better off casting a spell (possibly before combat begins even) and holding the charge. This would potentially negate the -4 penalty of Spell Combat at low levels, and could still be boosted by feats such as Weapon Focus and Arcane Strike.

(3) Spell Combat:
Since casting the spell during that round takes no action (counts as part of the full attack), you still have a swift action to consider. For this Swift Action, you can apply the Arcane Accuracy Magus Arcana to allow you to burn a spell to increase your accuracy. In addition, you also do have the fun little spell of "True Strike" which grants a +20 to your next attack. When cast on the previous round (or even as part of that full attack), you have very little actual miss chance for at least your first attack.

While I have yet to throw the full numbers around, I believe the intent was to not allow the Magus a full 5 Attacks + Spell (4 from full BAB, 1 from Haste feature, spell from Spell Combat) each round. While I will admit that a full BAB would indeed help the Magus, I don't quite think that it's what the Magus needs.

Not wanting to add all of this without a possible suggestion, here is my take:

Change Arcane Accuracy to:
A Magus with this magus arcana can sacrifice one spell slot of first level or above to grant himself an insight bonus to attack rolls equal to 1/4th his Magus level (minimum +1). This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the sacrificed spell.

(I thought about "a number of attacks equal to the level of the sacrificed spell.", but that would bring about the question of stacking: "If I use this ability while I already have an attack stored, what happens?".)

Thanks for the help. The Masterwork part of Craft Arms and Armor is the key to that one.

Unlike many feats such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization which actually state Unarmed Strike, Arcane Strike does not. Would a Wizard require either a level of Monk or Gauntlets in order to Arcane Strike with an Unarmed Attack. Also, due to the "Weapon" nature of the Gauntlets, can a Wizard cast and use a touch spell through them, or do they have to have a Gauntlet-less hand to do so? This is based on an Eldritch Knight build one of our other players was thinking about going in to.

Not sure if this is a board default, but for me this is done in a monospaced font. This may or may not look ugly on your screen if you use a different one.

Soooo many thoughts and ideas for this class...

If both of the Armor adjustments were added as level adjusted Magus Arcana, and applied to the level diagram I had previously posted, there would be an issue of two spaces with nothing in them. After thinking about this for a while, I had this idea:

01 - Cantrips, Spellstrike
02 - Spell Combat
03 - Magus Arcana
04 - Arcane Weapon -- (Should Unarmed Strikes / Nat. Weapons be allowed)
05 - Magus Arcana
06 - Fighter Training -- (It's at half level, so I don't think it'd really bother anything if it's given early.)
07 - Magus Arcana
08 - Improved Spell Combat
09 - Magus Arcana
10 - Armor Training -- (As the fighter Ability, but only get the first iteration.)
11 - Magus Arcana
12 - Weapon Training -- (As the fighter Ability, but only get the first iteration.)
13 - Magus Arcana
14 - Greater Spell Combat
15 - Magus Arcana
16 - Counterstrike
17 - Magus Arcana
18 - Weapon Bond
19 - Magus Arcana
20 - True Magus

Also perhapse granting the "Movement Speed to Medium/Heavy Armor" as another Magus Arcana possibility.

Edit: It looked ugly, so I changed the formatting a bit.

AS to the Unarmed Paladin, he has an Oath to his Diety such that he is not allowed to use metal weapons or armor. Though wooden gauntlets sound possible... I think he'd be better off taking a level of Monk at this point. In the game, the Monk was the first person to be able to upgrade to a +2 weapon. The rest of us should get ours over the next 2 sessions. The main complaint by the rest of the group is that in order to give the monk a +2 Weapon, he needs a magic item worth far more than what he should have right now. The monk's honor rule is that he may use neither held weapons nor armor (he's actually a halfling monk running around in the nude... Jewelry is ok, but robes/clothes/armor is not). I was lucky, as the Summoner in the group I'm merely cursed with the fact that all Townspeople treat me as "Unfriendly" at best.

This then goes back to an earlier point. If the Monk's Unarmed Strike (however that strike is) applies to "Spells and Effects", are you saying that "Craft Magic Arms and Armor" is then not an "Effect" used by the Wizard targeting the Monk's Unarmed Strike? If it is not an "Effect", then would other Feats that enhance a weapon also not apply due to them not being "Effects"?


Contextually, I do see this as possible. The money would still need to be spent to enhance the weapon, buying things like rare herbs and oils, or perhapse inks for tattoos or "hides" for skin grafts. Such an enchantment would not make the Amulet of Mighty Fists useless, though it might interfere with it (An Amulet of Mighty Fists +1 Enhancement on a Monk with a +1 Unarmed Strike wouldn't do anything). It would also allow a Monk to break the +5 barrier that they are currently at right now (An amulet of Mighty Fists cannot go beyond +5 total, and you can't exactly wear 2 of them). Again, this does also restrict the monk to some extent, as having a +3 Flaming Unarmed Strike would potentially restrict them from other magical enhancements, unless of course the Monk contains a number of potential "Unarmed Strikes". This would also potentially limit this quality, as each "Unarmed Strike" would have to be enhanced seperately, while an "Amulet of Mighty Fists" works on all of them at once.

Thank you. Most of that does indeed make sense, and it does give a decent interpretation of the rules. This does mean I'll need to inform our Unarmed Paladin that he'll need to take a level of Monk in order for Holy Sword to work correctly.

For the purposes of Craft Magic Arms and Armor, the question mostly comes with the fact that a Monk is considered both a Manufactured Weapon and a Natural Weapon for spells and effects. This would potentially let a Monk enhance his "Unarmed Attacks" (Note: Wildshape, Polymorph, and other -shape spells would still make the Amulet of Might Fists useful, as it does provide bonuses to all the Natural Attacks of these forms. In addition, a Monk could use one to change the magical properties of his attacks [+5 on the Monk and +5 Abilities on the Amulet, or a combination of the two]). The counter argument to the other part of that is that to the best of my knowledge no job feature makes a person count as a Ring, Staff, Robe, Armor, or otherwise any other Enchant-able item. Thus a person could not give themselves a +x enhancement bonus unless they somehow had a job feature that said "A person of this class count's as Manufactured Armor for spells and effects". Another point to this is, Magic Fang can be made permanent with the Permanency Spell. I haven't calculated the costs in yet, but I think it would/could be the same as "directly enchanting a monk".

The Disarm/Sunder is also an interesting question. I have yet to find a specific ruling on wether or not an Unarmed Strike can be sundered or disarmed. If a monk is badly injured (like a broken arm, or broken ribs) would it not potentially weaken their attacks to some extent? In the case that the Monk IS the weapon, this would mean that they would become 'Broken' at half HP (A weapon is broken when it reaches half it's total HP, at which point it gains a -2 to hit and to damage and it's critical modifiers go to 20 and x2).

After reading the full text of page 182, it still isn't quite clarified. The problem being is that an Unarmed Strike (1) Deals Weapon damage, (2) Counts as a Light Weapon, but (3) Is not a Natural Weapon. So we have an attack that counts as a weapon, is not a natural or a manufactured weapon, but is still somehow a weapon.

The spellcasting question involves two parts. The first, is that "is it only a Monk's Unarmed Strike that counts as a weapon for the purposes of spells, or does anyones"? This comes into play when dealing with the Improved Unarmed Strike Paladin that might attempt to cast Holy Sword on their fists. Unlike a Monk, RAW does not state that the Paladin's Unarmed Attack is a Weapon for Spells and Effects, so would that make it not qualify for the target of Holy Sword?

I'm not talking about simply casting Magic Weapon on the Monk, but using the Craft Magic Arms and Armor to actually add properties to the Monk itself, bypassing the need for an Amulet of Mighty Fists. This would work on the basis that the Feat Craft Arms and Armor counts as an effect. There was a huge discussion on this on another thread, but if the feats aren't considered effects, then Improved Natural Attack would not have to be re-worded to no longer work with Unarmed Strike.

Another problem is, I can't really find any distinction that states what an "Effect" really is. The "effect" of Arcane Bond starts the Wizard off with a "Weapon" that has special powers. A Monk 1 / Wizard 1 already possesses a "Weapon" (Unarmed Strike, which for the Monk is both a Natural Weapon and a Manufactured Weapon) that could possibly qualify for the feature. This question could also be asked about a Sorcerer / Wizard with the Draconic Bloodline. They gain a Claw attack (an official Natural Weapon). The Wizard's Arcane Bond states that it can be a Weapon, but makes no distinction of the weapon type (Natural, Manufactured, or Unarmed).

Magic Fang gives a distinction of applying to "One natural weapon or Unarmed Strike". This would seem to state that a character with 2 claw attacks would need to cast this spell on each claw seperately, and if they had a bite as well they would need to cast the spell a 3rd time. How many castings would you have to make on a Flurrying Monk to make all of their strikes magical? Is there a set number of "Unarmed Attacks", or is the monk a walking arsenal of infinite "Unarmed Weapons"?

Edit: Modified wording/spelling.

It's about 4 am here, the time when I think best. But for some reason, this sticks out in my mind as another possibility:

Make the Bonus Feat into a Magus Arcana, and re-structure as:

01 Cantrips, Spellstrike
02 Spell Combat
03 Magus Arcana
04 Arcane Weapon
05 Magus Arcana
06 Medium Armor
07 Magus Arcana
08 Improved Spell Combat
09 Magus Arcana
10 Fighter Training
11 Magus Arcana
12 Heavy Armor
13 Magus Arcana
14 Greater Spell Combat
15 Magus Arcana
16 Counterstrike
17 Magus Arcana
18 Weapon Bond
19 Magus Arcana
20 True Magus

Before I ask my questions, I'd like to get a couple of "known factors" out of the way. These are copied from the Pathfinder PRD, so if there is a discrepancy, please let me know:

(1) -- Base Unarmed Strike Rules
Strike, Unarmed: A Medium character deals 1d3 points of nonlethal damage with an unarmed strike. A Small character deals 1d2 points of nonlethal damage. A monk or any character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat can deal lethal or nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes, at his discretion. The damage from an unarmed strike is considered weapon damage for the purposes of effects that give you a bonus on weapon damage rolls.

(2) -- Improved Unarmed Strike (Feat)
Improved Unarmed Strike (Combat)

You are skilled at fighting while unarmed.

Benefit: You are considered to be armed even when unarmed—you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you attack foes while unarmed. Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice.

Normal: Without this feat, you are considered unarmed when attacking with an unarmed strike, and you can deal only nonlethal damage with such an attack.

(3) -- Monk's Unarmed Strike
Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.

Usually a monk's unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.

A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

Ok, now that the known rules are in place, here are my many questions:

An Unarmed Strike (without the feat) is considered weapon damage, but it is not a Natural Weapon. What then does it count as? Is it even considered a Weapon at all? Could a Paladin with or without Improved Unarmed Strike cast Holy Sword on their fists? Could a Wizard "Arcane Bond" with their Unarmed Strike? Could a Magus (Playtest) apply "Arcane Weapon" to their Unarmed Strikes?

Since the rules specifically state that an Unarmed Strike is not a Natural Weapon, is it even considered a Natural Attack? If not, again, what is it?

A Monk's Unarmed Strike specifically states that it counts as either a Manufactured Weapon or a Natural Weapon for the purposes of spells and effects. Does that mean a Level 5+ Wizard could enhance the Monk's unarmed strikes as if it was any other Manufactured Weapon (being that the ability to enhance manufactured weapons is the 'effect' of Craft Arms and Equipment)? If so, could a Wizard then enchant different areas of the monk's body differently (A +1 Flaming Fist, +1 Keen Knee, +2 Shocking Foot)? Could a Monk 1 / Wizard 1 Arcane Bond with their Unarmed Strike since the Bond itself is an "Effect" that can be placed on a "Weapon"?

Can you Disarm or Sunder an Unarmed Strike? Even if a normal Unarmed Strike or Improved Unarmed Strike is not a weapon, a Monk's is. Therefore a Monk's Unarmed Strike seems to qualify to be Sundered or Disarmed. If you then disarm a Monk's Unarmed Strike, what happens. If you attempt to Sunder a Monk's Unarmed Strike, how much HP/Hardness does it have? Would a Monk at less than half HP have the Broken Condition after a Sunder attempt?

There were a couple of others, but I can't think of them right now. I'll probably add more questions later. As much as this may seem like a joke topic, I'm actually looking for serious answers to these questions. I have multiple times wanted to Sunder our stupid Monk so he'd stop bragging about how he has the greatest weapon in the party at the moment (Amulet of Might Fists +2, the rest of us have at best +1 weapons.)

Ok. This class has been what I've been looking for for a long long time. The main suggestions I have are as follows:

I really like the idea of making the Medium and Heavy Armor mods an Arcana, and increasing the total number of Arcana available.

New Magus Arcana Suggestions:

Arcane Bolt:
The Magus may as a standard action (counts as casting a spell for Spell Combat and Spellstrike) lose a prepared spell of first level or higher to fire a bolt of Arcane Energy. This bolt attacks as a ranged touch at close range (25ft + 5ft/level) dealing 1d6 damage per spell level. The spell deals either Fire, Cold, or Electricity damage, as decided when using this ability. Spell Resistance does apply.

Ranged Arcane Weapon:
The Magus may apply his Arcane Weapon to ranged weapons. Bows, Crossbows, and Slings impart their bonuses on to their ammunition. The bonuses available for ranged weapons must be selected from the following list: Flaming, Flaming Burst, Shock, Shocking Burst, Frost, Icy Burst, Returning, Distance, and Speed.

Ranged Spellstrike:
The Magus may deliver a touch or ranged touch spell through a ranged or thrown weapon. This ability can only be done a number of times per day equal to the Magus' intelligence modifier.

Shielded Magus:
The Magus may ignore the Arcane Spell Failure penalties of a Buckler or Light Shield (both wooden and metal varieties). In addition, the Magus may still use their Spellstrike and Spell Combat abilities providing the spell they cast contains no Somatic components. A Magus using the Spellstrike or Spell Combat abilities while wielding a shield loses the shield bonus to AC for that round.

Reduced Spell: (Can't remember what I was gonna call it)
A Magus with this Arcana may choose to cast any Ranged Touch spell they know as a Touch Spell. The spell is treated as a touch spell for all purposes or effects that work on touch spells including Spell Combat and Spellstrike.