I know that, without the Wand Wielder Magus Arcana, I cannot use a wand as part of Spell Combat.
However, I believe that using it along with Spellstrike is perfectly okay - use the wand, channel it through my rapier, attack with the rapier in place of the melee touch attack, just as if I had cast the spell normally.
That works, right? And for other spell trigger items, as well? Similarly, can you use Spellstrike with scrolls or other spell completion items?
In my last game, we came across a partially-charged wand of Shocking Grasp (CL 3), and I didn't end up using it in a major fight because I wasn't 100% certain it was legal, and wanted to check in to make sure before I inadvertantly cheesed something.
Pool Strike (Su): A magus with this magus arcana can expend 1 point from his arcane pool to charge his hand with elemental power as a standard action. He can make a melee touch attack as a free action as part of activating this ability. If the attack hits, it releases the charge and deals 1d6 points of energy damage of a type of his choosing, either acid, cold, electricity, or fire. He can use this ability with the spellstrike class feature. If he misses with this attack, he can hold the charge for up to 1 minute before it dissipates. At 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, the amount of damage dealt by this attack increases by 1d6.
So, your first opportunity to pick up a Magus Arcana is 3rd-level.
So, assuming you pick this up as early as possible, it starts at 1d6, and, since you're 3rd-level, increases by 1d6, to 2d6, meaning that the real baseline of the ability is 2d6, not 1d6.
Wouldn't clearer text be, "... realeases the charge and deals 2d6 points of energy damage ... At 6th level, and every three levels thereafter, the amount ... increases by 1d6" ?
And now the question:
How does this ability interact with the Spellstrike class feature, if you've already used that ability to channel a touch attack through your weapon?
Assume you cast Shocking Grasp, and elect to channel it through your weapon. You miss on the ensuing attack, and hold the charge. On your next turn, you elect to use Pool Strike, and also channel it through your weapon via Spellstrike. Do you deal [weapon damage] + [Shocking Grasp] + [Pool Strike]?
The issue is complicated by the rules on holding the charge:
PF SRD wrote:
Touch Spells and Holding the Charge
In most cases, if you don't discharge a touch spell on the round you cast it, you can hold the charge (postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. You can make touch attacks round after round until the spell is discharged. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates.
Specifically, the original touch spell (Shocking Grasp) dissipates "if you cast another spell."
Using Pool Strike is not casting another spell; moreover, it isn't a spell-like ability, either; it's supernatural. Accordingly, a close reading would indicate that nothing untoward happens when you try to mix a touch spell and a Pool Strike.
Had our first playtest session this weekend (15 January), and things went well.
We had three combats, which caused me to spend 3/4 of my Arcane Pool enhancing my weapon. Since I don't have anything else to with it at the moment, this worked out fine, but I can see a time coming when I'll have other demands on the points, and then it'll be a real juggling act. Commentary on the Paizo boards is split (and heavily divided!) on whether they get enough points. Looking at some of the higher-level Magus Arcanas, my thoughts are currently siding with the "too low" crowd, but we'll see!
I ran out of interesting spells really quickly, but that's true for all low-level casters IME. I started the day with my memorized spells being:
0: Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Flare
1: Burning Hands, Shield
I caught 4 enemies in the BH cone, but rolled a 2 for damage, so it was not particularly impressive (especially vs. the Half-Orc sorceror's +CL, +1 damage per die BH! :D ). I'd hoped that my proclivity for being in the melee-mix would increase the value of those kinds of spells, and it might, but at this level it's not worth bothering with. Shield, on the other hand, was a good choice - an AC of 21 (+4 armor, +4 shield, +3 dex) is pretty good at 1st-level (but only for 1 combat, unfortunately).
For most of my turns during combat, I ended up using Spell Combat and mixing in a Ray of Frost. An additional 1d3 damage at the cost of an additional -2 penalty to my main attack is below Power Attack in the attack-bonus-to-damage-roll calculus, but it was fun, if somewhat mechanically inferior.
I only skimmed the Pathfinder rules, so I'd missed the part where ray spells provoke two AoOs (one for casting, one for making a ranged attack, and the second happens even if the spell was cast defensively), so there should have been a couple more AoOs coming at me. Largely, though, I used the heck out of 5' steps so that I didn't have to cast defensively (and therefore didn't need to worry about the second AoO, either). I never needed to use the additional-attack-penalty-for-concentration-bonus trade-off, and rolled well on my DC 16 concentration checks (with a +6 bonus; +1 CL, +3 Int, +2 Trait), so I only "lost" one Ray of Frost to concentration failure.
I really wish I had a melee touch attack 0th-level spell; it would synergize much better with my class abilities - especially with the new AoO provocation Pathfinder added. Even then, though, 0-level spells are not tremendously exciting (I mean, they *are* 0th-level, so they shouldn't be that great), and like all Vancian casters, it's pretty easy to run out of the "cool spells." This should get better with more levels (and more spells). That said, Ray of Frost is being switched out for Daze in my line-up, since damage-dealing is apparently still weaker, overall, than save-or-die/-suck spells.
I took two hits for damage in the three combats, taking me from 9HP to 1HP. This reinforces my belief that 3.X / PF characters are still too fragile at low-levels, and that I prefer the Saga / 4E method of not dying immediately. The person playing our healer wasn't present in this game (she'll be there next time we play; Elven Paladin, I think), so that would help, but slightly better damage rolls by the opponents would have put most of the party unconscious in the second combat (the first combat only lasted two rounds + a surprise round; the second was more involved).
All-in-all, I had fun playing the character and class, and am looking forward to the next session.