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Jiggy wrote:
Virtua Monk wrote:
If i use spellstrike to deliver shocking grasp, do I get the +3 (if target has/is metal) that I would get if i use it with a touch attack?

The spell says you get +3 to hit, and there's nothing contradicting that. You get it.

Makes sense to me, just want to see if there's been a ruling so i don't get accused of sleezing a free +3 to hit with my extra attack.
You may have simply misspoken, but note that there's no "extra" attack. You're just using a weapon instead of your wet finger. The spell itself (well, the Core rules for touch spells) grant you the attack - Spellstrike just modifies the attack you were already getting.
On a totally different topic, anyone know where info is on "jumping charge"? Can it count as attacking from above?
To my knowledge, no such rules exist. There's nothing stopping you from making a completely unnecessary jump during a charge. I'm not aware of anything stating whether you could use this for an elevation bonus on the attack at the end. Thus, ask your GM.

For Spellstrike I was going by the wording:

"Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell."

This seems to me to provide an additional weapon attack as part of the casting (i.e. like two weapon fighting), as opposed to a free touch attack that does no damage other than from the spell.

Thanks for the input everyone!

From what I gather from the spell description delivering Shocking Grasp grants +3 if the target has/is metal, and the attack from spellstrike is considered part of casting the spell as opposed to an attack that you can use to deliver a "held" touch spell. Therefore, the +3 would apply as it is being delivered via the spellstrike attack.

Re: Jumping Charge, I guess the Janni Rush charge thing makes sense, but I think they should come up with better rules for it. I was wondering if the Death From Above feet could be used with a jumping charge

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

If i use spellstrike to deliver shocking grasp, do I get the +3 (if target has/is metal) that I would get if i use it with a touch attack? It triggers if my weapon hit, which also does damage so it would benefit both attacks. Makes sense to me, just want to see if there's been a ruling so i don't get accused of sleezing a free +3 to hit with my extra attack.

On a totally different topic, anyone know where info is on "jumping charge"? Can it count as attacking from above?

Kaisoku wrote:

Just for a different option (since the easy and more reasonable options have been mentioned)...

Check out Ultimate Magic, Mastering Magic, Building and Modifying Constructs (link).

Specifically, the Construct Armor complex modification. Build a golem, wear it like armor.

Costs a boatload of cash to pull this off. Have to be pretty smart (caster) and freaking rich (the armor modification is 35,000gp alone). Pretty much exactly what a Golarion-ified Tony Stark would be.

Since it takes high caster level to get a decent metal golem, and the money and time involved with this, I'd say one of the other options is a better route.


Although I could see a high level commoner who's only "ability" is some decent skills focus, the unique ability to get Master Craftsman to work with golem creation, and the unique background of "a boatload of sustainable wealth", being something almost playable (although potentially rife with abusable options).

Might make a better NPC...

*Edit* Pah. Ninja'd because I spent too long writing the post, heh.

I think to really capture the tony stark iron man you'd need a few prestige levels of chevalier.

Just an idea, but what about adding a level of wizard to make the construct armor your bonded item?

Flak wrote:
The Black Blade can be any 1 handed slashing weapon and Weapon Finesse works with any light weapon, elven curve blade, rapier, whip, or spiked chain, so all light weapons that do slashing damage would qualify as would the whip (weird but a Black Blade can be a whip as it stands)

One-handed is a weapon category, just like light. Bladebound specifies one-handed: scimitars, longswords, katanas, etc. Yes, whips—they are one-handed slashing weapons. But not light slashing weapons (so no dagger, sickle, dog slicer, handaxe, or war razor). Rapiers (light piercing) and sword canes (one-handed piercing) are the two explicit exceptions in the RAW.

(And yes, the scimitar usually does not work with Weapon Finesse, but Dervish Dance lets it. And you don't need to be a Sarenrae worshipper to use it.)

Note: I'm not talking about what SHOULD be the case, or what's reasonable, just pointing at the rules as written. Personally I don't see the problem with allowing any melee weapon as a black blade (not sure why they need to be 'blades' at all...), nor with Dex to damage in general (yeah, it's amazing and broken, but when you're playing with powergamers who optimize SAD classes, there's really no reason not to allow it).

I stand corrected, one-handed is a specific category of weapon, so light weapons can't be black blades. Ironically, a Combat Scabbard (sharpened), could be a "black blade". A more interesting idea (if eastern weapons are allowed) would be something like the Urumi if you're going for more flavor.

LazarX wrote:
Stockvillain wrote:

Y'know, I noticed that several folks noted that part of the Black Blade restrictions is that you cannot gain a bonded item or familiar from another class. As I pointed out above, the Soul Forger archetype [which is not another class] technically stacks with Bladebound, and gives you the ability to select a bonded item.

Doesn't require any multiclassing or Eldritch Heritage feat.

It'd really be nice to have a final answer on this whole scenario, so I hope the devs can give this some thought and attention.

The Soulforger archetype can not be stacked with Bladebound because of the specific restriction on the latter. That blade simply won't tolerate any competition for your attention. You can not have a bonded item, nor can you have an animal companion if you multi-class to druid or paladin.

As the rules stand, I can't see why you couldn't stack the Soulforger archetype with the bladebound. (there's a but)

Technically, you can take any combination of archetypes so long as none of them change the same class feature.

BUT the Black Blade archetype text says:

"A magus with this class feature cannot take the familiar magus arcana, and cannot have a familiar of any kind, even from another class."

Since a bonded item is akin to a familiar, that would prevent you from taking a different or second bonded item. Both archetypes get the bonded item at the same level so I see no reason why you could not have the bonded item being the Black Blade for both. It's a bit of a waste, but technically there's no reason why you can't (assuming you're of my school of reason that allows enchanting of black blades).

Flak wrote:

I have a friend who runs a scimitar-wielding magus with dervish dance. He has no problem keeping up with damage, and he's not broken next to our 2H greatsword barbarian-fighter.

Re: the text of your feat—What one-handed slashing melee weapons allow weapon finesse, again? Bladebound specifically allows for rapiers as an exception to the one-handed slashing rule. So your feat would... only apply to rapiers. Is this correct?

The Black Blade can be any 1 handed slashing weapon and Weapon Finesse works with any light weapon, elven curve blade, rapier, whip, or spiked chain, so all light weapons that do slashing damage would qualify as would the whip (weird but a Black Blade can be a whip as it stands). Taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Aldori Dueling Sword allows you to use Weapon Finesse with the Aldori Dueling Sword as well.

The Scimitar, ironically, would not.

I got onto this topic because someone was asking about making an Aldori Dueling Sword Bladebound Kensai (which sounds like an excellent match). The Kensai Archetype grants the exotic weapon proficiency needed.

The unanimous opinion was that he would be much better off taking Scimitar with Dervish Dance because he would get both attack and damage based on Dex, so he could dump Strength altogether.

Here's the description of an Aldori Swordlord (fighter archetype)

The Aldori swordlords of Brevoy are among the deadliest and most feared fighters of the Inner Sea. They have spent long years mastering the Aldori dueling sword, against both other dueling swords and all manner of other weaponry. Their speed and reflexes weave a net of impenetrable steel around them, from which they strike and harry their unfortunate opponents. This variant focuses on avoiding damage and disarming foes; swordlords prefer wearing light or no armor, trusting their skill with their blades for protection.

I gotta say this sure seems like a good candidate for dex based damage instead of strength.

So if the character has the prerequisite exotic weapon feat Aldori Dueling Sword, why not allow it?

A kensai is simply an arcane version of a swordlord.

Here's the definition of a Kensai from wikipedia:
In ancient Japan, a kensei (剣聖?, sword's saint; sometimes rendered in English as Kensai, Ken Sai, Kansei, or Kenshei) was an honorary title given to a warrior of legendary skill in swordsmanship. The literal translation of "kensei" is "sword saint". Thus, the term is considered by some to imply a higher degree of perfection (possibly also encompassing a moral dimension) than the more commonly used kengō (剣豪?) or "great sword." This is not to be confused with the word kenshi (剣士), meaning "swordsman".
Among swordsmen widely regarded as kensei, the most famous one is Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵?). Other historical kensei are often the founders of popular schools of swordsmanship. Although there is no such written rule, the title carries such prestige that it is commonly understood that there should be no more than one kensei at any given time.

So, a magus that dedicates themselves to their blade to the point that they can form a mystical bond with their blade does not seem unrealistic either.

On a side note, I also think the kensai alone should be able to do the same with their weapon (if they have weapon finesse)

Cheapy wrote:

Hmmmmmm, +2 to Perception and Sense Motive, or add your dexterity to damage, allowing me to stack AC, reflex, Initiative, and a ton of skills? Tough choice!

No. Just because an option exists doesn't mean everyone should have it.

The way I'm looking at is that Alertness is a feat, and so is Dervish Dance. Since I'm only suggesting to grant the same abilities that Dervish Dance does it's a straight swap. If all you're doing is removing one feat and replacing it with another, I don't see the problem.

What you're suggesting is that one feat is not worth the same as another. The magus still needs weapon finesse to qualify for this ability.

No. Just because an option exists doesn't mean everyone should have it.

I agree, however since the ONLY bladebound magus that can use this MUST be a worshipper of serenrae and use a scimitar, this doesn't seem like a sensible restriction.

As it stands so long as you take Dervish Dance you can do exactly what you are suggesting. Since you can do it in the game, why restrict the Bladebound Magus who is dedicated to a single weapon when a generalist can do it for the price of one feat and some dancing lessons...

Does it seem right to restrict an Aldori Dueling Master (i.e. they have the entire feat chain including Aldori Dueling Mastery) from using their Aldori dueling sword to do dex damage instead of strength damage (they DO get the ability to change it to piercing with ADM feat) when a cleric that draws their scimitar 1 in 10 time could if they take two feats?

The Dervish Dance feat allows a worshipper of Sarenrae to do Dex based damage instead of Str based damage (with prerequisites). Since this isn't a supernatural ability I figured that if it made sense for another class to have why not make a rule that allows for it.

I am trying to come up with a version of Dervish Dance for the Bladebound Magus.

I've come up with a couple options and I'd like some feedback on what seems like a balanced option.

I'm taking into account that the Bladebound Magus sacrifices a lot to dedicate themselves to their blade, so in some cases I might lean towards giving them a break on some things. Also, since the Scimitar doesn't even benefit from Weapon Finesse (a prerequisite of Dervish Dance), I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to apply it to weapons that actually CAN be used by weapon finesse...

Option 1: the Feat - "enter cool sounding name here"

Your bond with your Black Blade allows you to work together to strike with pinpoint accuracy.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Black Blade class ability, Weapon Finesse
Benefit: When wielding a Black Blade that is eligible for Weapon Finesse, you can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on melee attack and damage rolls. You treat the Black Blade as a one-handed piercing (or slashing if it is normally a piercing weapon) for all feats and class abilities that require such a weapon (such as a duelist’s precise strike ability). You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand.
Option 2: The Magus Arcana -

This seems like a poor choice due to the temporary nature of Arcana
Option 3: Black Blade Class Ability -

When the Bond between you and your Black Blade is initially formed the Blade attunes itself to your particular fighting style.

If your Black Blade is eligible for Weapon Finesse and you have the Weapon Finesse feat then instead of granting the Alertness feat the Black Blade allows you to apply your Dexterity modifier instead of Strength modifier on melee attacks and damage rolls with your Black Blade. This only works if you are not carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand.

Out of all of these I think the Class Ability is the overall winner. The Magus is a little feat starved to begin with so expecting him to take another feat for this seems a little excessive. Instead, sacrificing a feat granted by the Black Blade at level 3 seems like a fair way to tailor your Magus without needing to have a carbon copy Dervish Dance Black blade.

As another option, make a feat that applies for ALL classes that allows the same kind of effect as Dervish Dance. Take for example the Aldori Dueling Sword. The style of Aldori Dueling is to fight with agility and grace, usually without armor. I can't think of a better candidate for a Dex based damage swap.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
ShadowcatX wrote:

How would you handle a blade bound magus who is wanting to use "craft magic weapons and armor" on his black blade. I'm asking this because I intend to be that magus in an up coming game and would like to eventually give it the holy property (as much to bypass DR/Good as anything but I won't turn down the extra 2d6 damage).

Specifically, should it cost money as it would on the level I enchant it? Would you make me pay an increase each time the blade becomes more powerful? Would you allow me to enchant it to the point that it eventually becomes an epic blade? (Ie. Adding +6 worth of the special properties, then leveling up so it becomes a +5 blade for a total bonus of +11.)

There's a big thread on Black Blade Enhancement that I think might help the issue you can find it HERE. It's called Black Blade Enhancement Limitation.

Seems like the question is in need of an official FAQ. I recommend people hitting the FAQ button so we can finally get it officially cleared up.

4 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Heaven's Agent wrote:
Virtua Monk wrote:
"A black blade normally refuses to use any of its abilities when wielded by anyone other than its magus, and acts as a masterwork weapon of its type."

It may function as a masterwork weapon, but it is not a masterwork weapon. You need an actual masterwork weapon before you can add enhancements. Additionally, since it is not a masterwork weapon it cannot be selected as an arcane bond.

Virtua Monk wrote:
The rules say only permanent magical items can be intelligent, so the black blade would have to qualify as a magical item [weapon] and therefore must be masterwork.

That simply prevents temporarily magical items from being turned into an intelligent magical item. Your logic usage is backwards, and in this instance faulty. Only permanent magical items can become intelligent magical items. A black blade, though intelligent, is not an intelligent magical item.

Virtua Monk wrote:
From that and the description of how a Black Blade can be acquired I think it is fair to conclude that if the Bladebound Magus is less than level 3 and has the Black Blade, it would function as a masterwork weapon of it's type until the bond is formed, at which point the powers manifest (thus allowing the weapon to be gained via the heirloom weapon trait.)

False, and I believe I saw this one clarified by a developer somewhere. The blade is gained at level 3. If someone already has the item, it cannot be gained.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
What about the masterwork transformation spell?

There is no such thing as a masterwork black blade. As it has no masterwork equivalent, the spell has no effect.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Is the Black Blade not subject to spells, such as magic weapon?

If the blade is a valid target spells like magic weapon should function normally.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Using the Craft Construct to make the Black Blade an animated object can be combined with construct modifications.
If you create an appropriate construct form and if...

My question here is not how to twist the rules, but actually came about by an innocent question someone else asked that got me thinking. Someone wanted to create a Dex based bladebound kensai on the Aldori Dueling sword instead of being forced to make a carbon copy Dervish Dance Scimitar version. As a GM I thought, well, why shouldn't he be able to? Pathfinder is about imagination, not unnecessarily restricting people and forcing them down a path.

The issue was that using the Aldori Dueling Sword instead of the Dervish Dance + Scimitar meant that he would lose out on Dex damage, or have to also build up strength. The simple solution (i.e. without creating any additional rules or feats) was to suggest having the weapon enchanted as a +1 Agile Sword. Problem solved, character concept approved. Up until he could get the enchantment done he'll have to suck it up.

At this point a lot of people have raised several good points and there has been some repetition for responses so I think I'll start with a quick summary of what we've been discussing before addressing Heaven's Agent's claims of logical fallacy. On that note I am attempting to interpret the rules using Ockham's Razor. "select among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect."

As a starting point I will summarize only points of fact. Once the relevant facts are compiled we can look at the conclusions we can draw with the minimum number of assumptions necessary to create a standard and fair method of dealing with Black Blades.

Origin and Acquisition of the Black Blade

1) As a class feature a Bladebound Magus is provided, without any additional cost, a one-handed slashing weapon of their choice at level 3 (or rapier or sword cane).

2) Also at level three, the Bladebound Magus class ability allows their chosen weapon to manifest powers and intelligence that scale with the level of the Magus. When this happens the weapon is known as a Black Blade. Class Abilities that grant powers to a weapon and scale with level is not a new concept, paladins also get this ability.

3) The item is bonded to the Magus and the class based abilities granted to the blade only function for the Magus. Also not a unique concept, a paladin's Divine Bonded weapon functions this way, as does the Arcane Bonded Item of a wizard or the arrows of an Arcane Archer. In each of these cases enhancement bonuses or abilities granted as part of the Class Ability can be added to existing enhancements as per the normal rules.

4) The weapon that is to become their Black Blade comes into the Bladebound Magus's possession by any number of means (with some common examples provided in the description). [assumption: This is most likely intended to provide the GM and the player the freedom to create an interesting character concept or Campaign plot.]

5) The Black Blade takes the spot of a familiar. It cannot be a familiar or bonded item for any other class, nor can the Bladebound Magus have a familiar or bonded item from any other class.

6) The weapon is granted as a class feature and has no price. [Assumption: the price is the regular Magus abilities given up to become a Bladebound Magus, like any other archetype that loses normal class abilities to gain new ones. The Black Blade is a powerful class ability and is already balanced out by the powers taken away when the archetype was designed.]

Ockham's Razor: The Black Blade should be treated exactly like any other intelligent magic item. For any effect, spell, enhancement, feat, etc. the normal prerequisites must still be met unless a specific exception is provided. Class Abilities granted by the Bladebound Magus level interact with other enchantments, spells or abilities exactly like the common rules from other classes that grant abilities to bonded items unless a specific rule in the Bladebound Archetype description says otherwise. So a Bladebound Magus would not gain the Wizard's unique ability to enchant their bonded item without the mandatory crafting feat.


The Black Blade has no permanent enchantments (all are class based ability) so the powers of a Black Blade are not calculated into the cost of enhancements. However, because there is no rule excluding the Blade Blade from a total +10 enhancement modifier, this must be factored in to whether or not an enhancement (of any kind) can be added to the blade.

When held by the Bladebound Magus the enhancement modifiers of the Black Blade do not stack with any existing enhancement modifiers (i.e. the pure +X) and conform the the normal restrictions of a maximum of +10 and would not duplicate or double powers already there. If the Black Blade has pre-existing enchantments (temporary or permanent) when another power is being activated, if the power would push the enhancement cap past +10 (or any other normal restriction) the power would fail to work. (e.g. Our level 20 Magus could only place a power with an enhancement bonus of +4 or less because of the existing +5 from Black Blade Progression and +1 for the Agile ability).

A black blade is a weapon that can be enchanted like any other, so long as the normal prerequisites and restrictions are observed. The enhancement bonus of the black blade is based on the Magus level and should be treated as temporary for the purposes of enchanting the Black Blade with powers.

This means that for our Aldori Dueling Magus to create an Agile Aldori Dueling sword he needs to pay the normal +2 price (+1 enhancement minimum and +1 for Agile).

At level 3 when he wields the blade it functions as a +1 Agile Black Blade because the +1 from the enchanting does not stack with the +1 gained from it being a bonded Black Blade. When his fighter friend picks it up to use because the Magus has been knocked out, it's a +1 Agile Aldori Dueling Sword.

Our hero makes it to level 20 and now when he wields the Black Blade it functions like a +5 Agile Black Blade. When his fighter friend picks it up (our hero gets knocked out a lot) it's still only a +1 Agile Aldori Dueling Sword.

In his final battle our hero doesn't get knocked out and finds himself fighting the Omega Hydra. Using his Arcane Pool he summons the power of his +5 Agile Black Blade to make it Vorpal...and it fails as this would put the enhancement bonus up to +11. Our hero contemplates all the battles over the years where having the Agile ability on the sword was really awesome and wonders if it was worthwhile

Making an assumption that a weapon capable of being an intelligent magic item would not be masterwork is not consistent with the concept of a Black Blade, nor the rules for intelligent magic items. Because the specific rules for the Black Blade say that in the hands of anyone but the Magus the Black Blade functions as a masterwork weapon this is a specific addition to the rule that Bonded Items function only for their owner. If, in the hands of a someone trying to enchant the weapon, the Black Blade functions like a masterwork weapon, could he enchant it? Because it functions like a masterwork weapon it meets the prerequisite so...Yes. Therefore, since there is a specific rule about the nature of the Black Blade, it is always a masterwork item The details, such as who pays the masterwork fee are game balance issues.

This may require that the character pay the 300g to make the item masterwork either at character creation (if they have the weapon that will become their Black Blade from the beginning) or at level 3 when the Black comes into their possession. Alternately, the GM can provide the player with a masterwork weapon at level three that becomes their Black Blade. (For all you nay sayers, what do you do if the GM gives the Magus a +1 Sword at level 3 and says "here's your Black Blade"?)

Powers of the Black Blade

1) A Black Blade is a weapon. It is a unique, physical weapon that can be broken by normal means.

2) The Black Blade must have an Arcane Pool to to be unbreakable. Thus if the Black Blade has used it's Arcane Pool it can be broken. In the hands of anyone but the Bladebound Magus it functions as a masterwork weapon and can be broken.

3) The unique Black Blade powers granted by the Bladebound Archetype do not prevent the Black Blade from benefiting from powers granted by Magus Arcana, spells and magical items such as Scabbard of Keen Edges.

4) Black Blades have an Ego Score that scales with the Bladebound Magus level. This Ego Score progression is a non-standard progression specifically designed to balance out the class.

5) Intelligent Item Ego scores are based on adding the combined modifiers (including mental stats) to the existing Ego Score of an intelligent item. This includes the Base Value modifier of the total enchantments on the item (as per the chart)

6) Additional powers added to intelligent items follow the standard Ego Modifier chart.

Ockham's Razor: An Ego Score is the base number that is modified. Unless a specific rule says the modification of an Ego Score is non-standard, it follows the standard rules for modification found in the Intelligent Items section.


A Black Blade follows the non-standard Ego Score Progression Chart that is subject to the same modification rules as other intelligent items. The base Ego Score of a Black Blade is the number provided in the Table: Black Blade Progression. Any additional powers or abilities that add modifiers to an Intelligent Item's Ego Score follow the rules for Intelligent Items and are added to the existing Ego Score of the Black Blade.

The initial value of the Black Blade is 0, as it's a class granted feature. The Ego Score Modifier for making it a +1 Agile weapon is +2 due to the base magic item value of 8000gp. Thus a "level 3" Black Blade has an Ego Score of 5+2 for a total of 7 and at level 5 it is 8+2 for a total of 10, etc.

Now as far as Heaven's Agent's claims of some logical fallacies on my part I'll try to address some.

It is not necessary for a magic item to exist prior to being intelligent, thus your statement about only permanent magic items can become intelligent is logically false. An item can be made intelligent at the same time (but not before) it is made magical as part of the creation process. Therefore, logically, the necessary and sufficient condition for intelligence in an item is that it is also permanently magical. The Black Blade is magical so it can be intelligent. Up until it is magical it is not intelligent. Logically sound.

To add to this the description of the Black Blade describes is specifically as a "particular form of intelligent weapon". No where does it say it is not magical and in fact if you look at the Black Blade Progression chart, it is a +1 weapon.

The rules on intelligent items are straightforward and the description of the Black Blade does not contradict them.

Ockham's Razor: Since it is specifically described as an intelligent weapon, it has a +1 magic enhancement, there is nothing saying it isn't magical and only permanent magic items can be intelligent it must be a magical weapon. In the hands of anyone else, it's both the magic and the intelligence are suppressed, but it is still a Black Blade. At no point is it ever magical and not intelligent, nor intelligent but not magical.

All that aside, adding abilities does prevent powerful ones like Vorpal being added later on. I think a more elegant solution would be to either add a Magus Arcana, a feat or ideally a class ability that allows a "wielder of a Black Blade to add their dexterity modifier to damage instead of Strength if their Black Blade can benefit from Weapon Finesse and the Magus has the Weapon Finesse Feat".

I mean seriously...the guy dedicates his whole life to the blade, but some prancing bard can add dex damage because he can dance with a scimitar and the magus can't, even if he's studied enough Aldori Dueling to wield an Aldori Dueling Blade? Dervish Dance is not supernatural so it's obviously learnable.

This fails the common sense test as far as I'm concerned.

Xzaral wrote:
I'd count it as a specific weapon. It doesn't fit inside the normal rules structure for weapons. In my opinion it's the same vein as, for example, an Assassin's Dagger. An Assassin's Dagger is +2. In a homebrew, sure you can make it +3 or +5, add on Keen or Unholy, or anything like that. But as written an Assassin's Dagger is +2, with no real rules for enhancing it beyond that. The Black Blade is the same vein, it's what is listed for it's level, nothing more, nothing less.

I agree with you that the best fit for a black blade is as a specific weapon. I also agree that for game continuity (and gm/player relations) that Black Blade must be 'categorized' and treated that way for feats, etc. It's not a class ability, it's an intelligent magic item that benefits from a class ability. (So it's a specific magic item that needs to be treated as an NPC, due to it being intelligent)

However, the rules are unambiguous for adding abilities to any magic item. In the explanation there is even an example of adding an ability to a specific item.

"Sometimes, lack of funds or time make it impossible for a magic item crafter to create the desired item from scratch. Fortunately, it is possible to enhance or build upon an existing magic item. Only time, gold, and the various prerequisites required of the new ability to be added to the magic item restrict the type of additional powers one can place."


"If the item is one that occupies a specific place on a character's body, the cost of adding any additional ability to that item increases by 50%. For example, if a character adds the power to confer invisibility to her ring of protection 2, the cost of adding this ability is the same as for creating a ring of invisibility multiplied by 1.5."

The use of the word 'only' when listing the restrictions in the rules for adding abilities make it a universal rule, meaning that it applies to all things, unless specifically prohibited. I can find no rules that segregate "specific" magic items from generic ones

Quod non prohibetur ultro permissum est - "That which is not forbidden is freely permitted"

Heaven's Agent wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I wonder if the Black Blade can be a weapon you already own.

A black blade is gained at class level 3; it cannot be an item already in a character's possession.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Also, if your Black Blade is not considered "magical", but a class feature, there is nothing stopping one from making it an animated object.

There is not anything stopping this from happening, but an animated black blade has no benefits over any other mundane animated weapon of its type. A black blade's abilities are determined by the wielder's magus level. An animated blade attacking on its own would not have a wielder, and as a result would not have any additional abilities.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Then, this weapon can have construct modifications added to it.

Construct modifications can only be added when the construct is "inanimate or nonfunctioning". When a black blade is enchanted by animate object, it is an animate construct. When the spell ends or is dismissed it is no longer a construct at all. In neither situation is it possible to apply construct modifications.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
What happen if your Black Blade is a Klar? Can you not enchant as a shield?
Armor and shields must also be masterwork quality or magical items before they can be enhanced. A black blade in the form of a klar would be neither.

In the sidebar description of gaining a black blade, one of the several ways listed (and I gather these are just some examples) that a magus can acquire a black blade is "Sometimes a black blade is passed down generation to generation in an ongoing search for a magus who can unlock its true potential."

An heirloom is defined as "something special that is passed down from generation to generation"

So the magus inherits the black blade at level 1 and at level 3 becomes the first member of the family to "unlock its true potential". Where's the conflict?
Arguably if you want to be a stickler for rules, using the heirloom weapon trait and then paying to have the item made into a masterwork weapon at character creation through Masterwork Transformation could be the key to start the unlocking that takes effect at level 3...I'd just balance it with a house rule that you could take the trait and pay the difference in masterwork cost, rather than the cost to have someone cast the spell

Heaven's Agent wrote:
Black blades cannot bear additional weapon enhancements. They are neither magic weapons nor are they masterwork weapons, and one of these two conditions must be met before a weapon can be enhanced by Craft Magic Arms and Armor.

The class description of the Black Blade class ability is that it grants a weapon.

"A black blade normally refuses to use any of its abilities when wielded by anyone other than its magus, and acts as a masterwork weapon of its type."

The rules say only permanent magical items can be intelligent, so the black blade would have to qualify as a magical item [weapon] and therefore must be masterwork.

From that and the description of how a Black Blade can be acquired I think it is fair to conclude that if the Bladebound Magus is less than level 3 and has the Black Blade, it would function as a masterwork weapon of it's type until the bond is formed, at which point the powers manifest (thus allowing the weapon to be gained via the heirloom weapon trait.)

Also, I don't believe that the Bladebound Magus could get the Wizard bonded item as "A magus with this class feature cannot take the familiar magus arcana, and cannot have a familiar of any kind, even from another class." However, the paladin Divine Bond is not a familiar and would still be allowable (if somewhat weird).

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I actually see no reason not being able to enchant it, but having it as a bonded object would seem to bypass this restriction, if it exists.

Excellent point!

I agree, or even taking levels of wizard, which is not unreasonable for a Magus archetype that can't wear armor and just wants to boost spell casting. It seems to me that if you can bypass an unwritten restriction with a lowly trait bonus or class dipping, it probably isn't meant to be a restriction.

On a slightly weirder note, I can't find rules saying a paladin/wizard can't stack bonded abilities (weird as that class combo might be). Similarly, a bladebound magus/paladin (also weird combo but allowed) bond stack, essentially bonding the weapon to the magus and then to his god, thus allowing the black blade to be enhanced. A celestial spirit would enhance the intelligent black blade for 1 minute per paladin level and the paladin could further enchant the weapon.

Vinyc Kettlebek wrote:

Intelligent Items built using the design rules from the CRB can be modified. The Black Blade has a static progression chart detailing its abilities.

A wizard’s Bonded Object specifically states it can be modified using crafting feats. Arcane Pool and Divine Bond says it boosts an existing weapon. The Black Blade’s description tells you to refer to the chart to determine its stats and powers. No where in this description does it give you formulas or options for altering what is listed in the chart provided.

The Ego Score of an intelligent item varies depending on its stats and gp value. Since the Ego score in the Black Blade’s chart is a set value and not a calculation to determine the total ego, you can not do anything to the weapon that would alter the value in the chart.

The rules governing the creation of magic items read:

"Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed). The DC to create a magic item increases by 5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet. The only exception to this is the requisite item creation feat, which is mandatory"

A wizard's bonded item is different from regular magic items because the rule specifically states it can be modified without using crafting feats but only by the bonded wizard, unlike every other item, which is why it needed a specific rule. Otherwise the bonded item would follow the rules for adding abilities and the wizard would need the feat to do it themselves. The Wizard bonded item rule modifies the standard magic item creation rules by removing the only mandatory prerequisite (the crafting feat), not granting a unique ability to modify the bonded item.

The reason there is no formula or option for altering what is listed in the black blade chart is because those abilities are tied to the Magus level, not the black blade itself.

"As a bladebound magus increases in level, his black blade gains power"

"A black blade normally refuses to use any of its abilities when wielded by anyone other than its magus, and acts as a masterwork weapon of its type"(so I give it to a friend and ask them to enchant my "masterwork" weapon :P)

This functions identically to the paladin Bonded Weapon "The celestial spirit imparts no bonuses if the weapon is held by anyone other than the paladin but resumes giving bonuses if returned to the paladin" because both classes grant their weapons abilities based on the character's class level. The power is in the bond between the character and the item, not really resting solely in either, which is why it only works if that character holds the weapon and only that weapon. It's a kind of unique synergy.

Take the case of the Arcane Archer prestige class. Their class ability enhances EVERY arrow they fire, regardless of the arrow or the bow they use. This is not granted by a 'bond' but it is a class ability. Like the "bonded classes" the arrows only work for the archer and also similarly, "The bonuses granted by a magic bow apply as normal to arrows that have been enhanced with this ability. Only the larger enhancement bonus applies. Duplicate abilities do not stack."

With Divine Bond weapons gain a maximum of +6 "these bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon bonuses to a maximum of +5, or they can be used to add any of the following weapon properties:...". The weapon can be further enhanced after becoming a Bonded Item without any additional restrictions except the standard ones. The clarification that the Bonded Weapon still follows the limit of a pure +5 enhancement is to reinforce that the bonus of +6 granted at level 20 doesn't allow the paladin to create a +6 Brilliant Energy sword

Any additional abilities added to the Black Blade follow the regular rules for intelligent magic items. Because there is no variation, unlike the wizard's bonded item, there is no need for a specific rule. The magus, to do it themselves, still needs to meet the crafting feat.

The Black Blade description tells you to refer to the chart for it's class based abilities (or base stats) that you get for free. This in itself doesn't prevent you from adding others. Otherwise, it would be impossible to add any other abilities, even temporary ones from spells or items like Scabbard of Keen Edges, because it doesn't say so in the class description of the Black Blade. (Additional abilities granted by Magus Arcana affect the Arcane Pool's influence on the black blade, not the blade itself, so I think it is slightly different than having your friendly wizard cast a buff spell on you and/or your Black Blade).

All intelligent items have an Ego Score. This number does not change unless it is modified by something that changes the ego so an intelligent +5 Sword has a static ego score, not an Ego modifier, just like a black blade. If you add to the the +5 sword, you add the modifier to the ego score. By way of comparison, being a black blade of Magus level 'X' gives it an ego "modifier" of 'Y'. If there are no other modifiers, that number is it's Ego Score. If there are other modifiers, they are added like any other intelligent item.

I see no reason why a Black Blade's Ego Score (or any other intelligent item) should not be modified using the Intelligent Item Chart.

I really hope the developers read through this thread after all the work we're putting into clarifying the rules! I wonder if we can send them a bill for the mess we're cleaning up...

Stynkk wrote:
The central issue here is can you further enchant an Intelligent Magic Item? If yes, I'm not seeing any language that differentiates Black Blade from some other intelligent weapon.

The answer to that is "yes", you can further enchant intelligent magic items, although for RP (and even game balance) I'd make the PC have to convince the intelligent item it wants the enchantment and possibly even trigger a battle of wills if it's not what the weapon wants.

Vinyc Kettlebek wrote:

Most Magi can get the crafting feats and improve their weapons. Paladins can do the same thing, or have an allied spellcaster do it for them. Neither Arcane Pool nor Divine Bond can take a weapon past +10. The Black Blade specifically can’t be modified.

The Black Blade is a unique quasi artifact-like item that has a defined power progression charted out, with no rules allowing that progression to be altered.

The weapon teams up with the Magus at level 3. The fluff text doesn’t mention that it can be a normal weapon that spontaneously manifests magical powers. The handed down from a relative just means that the magic weapon has been in your family for generations, and at 3rd level is passed on to you.

Now in a Home game the GM can alter anything they want to fit into their campaign world. If they want a piercing weapon or blunt weapon as a Black Blade they can. If they want the weapon to made of a special material they can. If they want a mundane heirloom weapon to spontaneously manifest powers then they can. If they want to allow the weapon to be modified outside of the progression chart, they can. But none of these are within the RAW, or from what little developer imput from these threads the RAI, of the Black Blade.

I don't see the two sets of rules for intelligent items as being in conflict. The progression of the black black uses Table: Black Blade Progression to determine Ego, the magical enhancement would use the Table: Base Magic Item Value and Ego Modifier. The key here is that the gp value adds a modifier not an ego score to the weapon.

Thus, if a black blade with an ego of 5 gets an enhancement worth 2000gp, the black blade's ego would be bumped up to 6. This is identical to the base ability stat progression of +1 every 4 levels. You can still use manuals (or other methods) to bump the stat permanently.

The key sticking point is that the Black Blade is not being treated as a weapon despite the use of the word weapon in the class ability description. Since it is a weapon the rules on adding new abilities are unambiguous.

"Sometimes, lack of funds or time make it impossible for a magic item crafter to create the desired item from scratch. Fortunately, it is possible to enhance or build upon an existing magic item. Only time, gold, and the various prerequisites required of the new ability to be added to the magic item restrict the type of additional powers one can place."

Since someone (or something) created the Black Blade as a magic weapon at some point, this rule would apply.

Also, as far as the intelligent item goes the rules have this to say:
"Magically imbued with sentience, these items think and feel the same way characters do and should be treated as NPCs. Intelligent items have extra abilities and sometimes extraordinary powers and special purposes. Only permanent magic items (as opposed to single-use items or those with charges) can be intelligent."

If they are to be treated as NPCs and only permanent magic items can be intelligent then they should be able to be enchanted since they are (as NPCs) independent of the Magus and their class abilities and (as permanent magic items) subject to the rule for adding new abilities.

I'd love to hear from the developers as the description of the rules on Black Blades are 'mushy'. Since I've only found examples that support being able to enchant the black blade (i.e. the wizard bonded item, etc.) I'd also like to know if anyone has come across any examples of something like the black blade where it says specifically the item can not be further enchanted (or other restrictions). Is there a link to any developer comments on the black blade that I can read that might help clarify?

Name Violation wrote:

boded object is a class feature, it specifically calls out a wizard can further enhance it.

black blade is a class feature. it lacks any such language to say it can be further enhanced

The wizard class feature is mentioned because the class feature allows a wizard to enchant their bonded item without needing any crafting feats.

The magus class feature doesn't need to mention anything special because the class feature grants a weapon and the rules for enchanting weapons are already established. The magus still needs to have the crafting feat if they want to do it themselves.

Here's another example of why I think that not allowing black blade enchantment is overly restrictive and against the spirit of the class.

Lots of people take the bladebound kensai with Dervish Dance and Scimitar because it's the only way of doing dex damage instead of strength damage if the black blade can't be enchanted

Let's take an Aldori Bladebound Kensai who picks the Aldori Dueling Sword as his Black Blade. He continues along the feat path and enchants his Black Blade with the Agile special ability (+1, PFSFG). The Aldori Dueling Kensei is absolutely within the spirit of the class, so the rules should be interpreted in favor of creating such a character

As interpreted, no Magus can ever have an Agile blade because it's not among the listed abilities. There are tons of abilities and new ones every book that the magus can't use if the list is restricted to only the ones granted by a class power in the class description.

This restriction violates the spirit of the game itself that allows people to create unique characters (so long as they are not abusing the rules). I see no abuse for making a Aldori Dueling Magus that spends +1 enhancement bonus instead of a Dervish Magus of Serenrae that spends a feat.

Vinyc Kettlebek wrote:

The Black Blade can’t be changed from the stats listed in the progression chart. The Black Blade’s charted enhancement bonus can’t be reallocated to special abilities like flaming or keen. Eventually the weapon will have a +5 enhancement bonus and the Arcane Pool will make it equivalent to a +10 weapon.

What this means is that at level 3-4 the Black Blade has a +1 enhancement bonus, and you can use Arcane Pool to increase it to a +2 weapon. At level 5-6 the weapon is +2 and you have a +2 bonus from your Arcane Pool to build a +4 equivalent weapon. This means you could have a +4 weapon, a +3 Keen weapon, or a +2 Flaming Burst weapon. You could not make the weapon a +1 Keen Flaming Burst weapon, since you couldn’t use the weapon’s enhancement bonus to add special abilites.

The GM is free to make the Black Blade whatever they want in a home game. In something like Pathfinder Society you would acquire the steel weapon at 3rd level, which would not make it eligible to be spawned from an heirloom weapon.

The lack of it being made of special material isn’t a major setback. At level 5 you can make it a +4 weapon with Arcane Pool. At this point it bypasses Silver, Cold Iron and Adamantine DR. At 9th level you could make the Black Blade a +5 weapon which bypasses Alignment based DR.

There are also several Magus Arcana that allow you to add additional special abilities, such as Holy and Bane, to the options for your Arcane Pool.

The Arcane Pool can give it a up to a +5 enhancement bonus, and it's a temporary variable enhancement so there is no reason to even count it against the permanent enhancement cap. Just like you couldn't cast Magic Weapon on a weapon with a +10 enhancement bonus, you couldn't use your Arcane Pool to enhance the weapon past a total +10 enhancement.

The special material is more of a RP flavor piece anyway, and it was just another example. I'm not talking about PFS rules as they are more restrictive than the regular game rules. Since the rules specifically say it can be passed down from generation to generation in non PFS play I'd say it's fine to have it as a non-magical heirloom until level 3 (just don't get it sundered!)

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Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:

The Black Blade is not classed as either a magic or mundane item, it is a class feature (and is described in it's description as such), more like a familiar than anything else, and thus cannot be further enchanted. When it is being described as being found as part of treasure that is merely to give an RP reason to how and why they have it, background purposes only.

It was supposed to be augmented by a Magus via their Arcane Pool ability. There is one other way it can be enhanced, it is called "Gaining more Magus levels" that is the only way.

It's a class feature that grants a weapon. The actual wording is very clear.

"the bladebound magus’ gains a powerful sentient weapon called a black blade..."

Following your logic that the Black Blade is similar to the Wizard Bonded Item class feature (and I agree) you find this in the Wizard class description:

"A wizard can add additional magic abilities to his bonded object as if he has the required Item Creation Feats and if he meets the level prerequisites of the feat. For example, a wizard with a bonded dagger must be at least 5th level to add magic abilities to the dagger (see Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat)."

So not only can a wizard can further enchant their bonded item, they can do it without even needing to acquire any crafting feats! (Not a class feature of the Bladebound Magus however)

Similarly, the paladin's Divine Bond with a weapon also allows additional enchantments to the bonded weapon.

so...I don't see the issue. However, I agree the Bladebound Magus' black blade is more like the bonded item for a wizard than the paladin's Divine Bond.

It just seems like people are hung up on a the idea that a class feature is not an actual "thing", rather than seeing it as a class feature that grants an item. If the other classes that have bonded item class features can add additional enchantments to their item, why would a class that is built around dedicating themselves to their bonded item be restricted? It's not a "game balance" issue either since the +10 cap is still in effect and there are TONS of examples of spells that temporarily affect magic items.

If I enchant a buckler with a special ability like arrow deflection, does it still function if I choose to lose the AC bonus by using my off hand for an attack or casting a spell or do I also lose the arrow deflection as well?

"Benefit: You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an off-hand weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed weapon), but you take a –1 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you lose the buckler's Armor Class bonus until your next turn. You can cast a spell with somatic components using your shield arm, but you lose the buckler's Armor Class bonus until your next turn. You can't make a shield bash with a buckler."

So I lose the AC bonus (and any magical bonus to AC) take a -1 to hit and I might argue that a special ability that requires the buckler to be used as a shield in order to work like Arrow Catching would also not function.

However, other special abilities like fortification project a force that affects other parts of the body, so it would still be in effect just from wearing the buckler.

In the case of Arrow deflecting I think it would still work because "Attempting to deflect a ranged weapon doesn't count as an action" so you wouldn't need to be using the buckler as a shield.

Am I missing the mark?

37 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 7 people marked this as a favorite.

I have a serious issue with the threads I've read about black blade enhancement.

Everyone seems to say you can't permanently add to the enhancement of your black blade (i.e. through craft magic arms).

From what I've read of the acquisition of the Black Blade there is nothing saying that the blade can't be a magic weapon to begin with, or even that it can't be an heirloom weapon.

"A black blade is a particular form of intelligent weapon gained by a magus with the bladebound archetype. There are several ways a magus might gain this weapon. Sometimes it just appears among the magus’s possessions, and its origin is a mystery. Other times the magus finds a black blade during an adventure or event of some kind. Sometimes a black blade is passed down generation to generation in an ongoing search for a magus who can unlock its true potential."

From the Magus rules: "At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal."

This is virtually identical to the paladin's Divine Bond:
"These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon bonuses to a maximum of +5, or they can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: axiomatic, brilliant energy, defending, disruption, flaming, flaming burst, holy, keen, merciful, and speed."

and finally, from the magic weapon section:
Some magic weapons have special abilities. Special abilities count as additional bonuses for determining the market value of the item, but do not modify attack or damage bonuses (except where specifically noted). A single weapon cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents, including those from character abilities and spells) higher than +10. A weapon with a special ability must also have at least a +1 enhancement bonus. Weapons cannot possess the same special ability more than once.

From this I can conclude the following:

1) A magus can receive his black blade at 1st level as an heirloom weapon, but the black blade powers do not "manifest" until the the character is sufficiently powerful (i.e. level 3). Until level 3 it is, for all intents and purposes, a normal weapon.

2) A magus can find his (or her or it's) black blade in a pile of treasure. Therefore the black blade itself is an item and is independent of the class ability that grants the weapon additional powers and abilities.

3) If the black blade has permanent enhancement(s) the magus cannot use the class ability to enhance the black blade past the +10 enhancement restriction. The enhancements are temporary enhancements granted by the class ability and therefore do not violate the +10 cap. This may mean that a magus cannot choose one of the special abilities (e.g. a magus that has a permanently enchanted +1 Brilliant Energy black blade can never choose Vorpal as this would create a +11 weapon, even if it is temporary)

4) A Magus can further permanently enchant the Black Blade, so long as the +10 cap is not violated. While this might require getting the blade itself to agree, as long as it is beneficial to the sword's ultimate goal. ("Hey Mr. Black Blade, I know you hate Demons so would you mind if I enchanted you with Holy and Bane (Demons)?")

The idea that "the rules don't explicitly say you can so you can't" is always overidden by ultimate pathfinder rule that the "rules" in the book are "guidelines".

On a slight tangent there is no mention if the black blade can be made of a special material. Is it so crazy that an elven magus inherits his father's mithril longsword and that for millenia the family has been trying to unlock to full potential of the sword?

Does this make sense? I'm no expert but this seems to follow the rules and more importantly the spirit of what a Black Blade is supposed to be.

AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:

Yeah, I like Arcane Training, even if I do a wizard.

Cause, if you aren't going to multiclass then Multitalented is useless. I tried to convince a GM of that, he kept saying "It's not worthless, it's part of game balance." and I was like but if I Don't multiclass, ever... then what benefit do I get from it? I don't think he ever saw my point (he's a stickler for "game balance" sometimes to the point he'll ignore common sense and refuse to even discuss rules questions. Once didn't understand a house rule and he got very mad at me for "debating the house rule" even worse I said, "I have a right as a player to have the rules I don't understand clarified" and he got uber mad and said that I was acting under a sense of entitlement... )

So let me see if I understand Arcane Training...

I'm thinking of creating a Magus (Bladebound Kensei) that will use wands in offhand (and maybe weaponwand as well)

If I take Arcane Training I can pick a class OTHER than magus and use all spell completion/trigger items for that class and I am considered to be +1 level for any relevant effects or rules. So I pick Wizard for my favored class, without taking any levels in wizard (straight Magus).

I lose a total of 20hp or skill points @ level 20 and can now use ALL spell completion/trigger items from the wizard spell list as a level 1 "wizard" caster since I have no levels of wizard.

I take wand wielder arcana to use any wizard spell of 4th level or less as my "offhand" attack.

Then to avoid going bankrupt I take Craft Wand and use a scroll of spell X to make it since the requirement is "spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed"

In combat I decide to use my black blade and a wand of enervation every round.

Did I interpret Arcane Training correctly?

Cesare wrote:

How does reloading work in this case?

Assume that you have two weapon fighting, improved two weapon fighting, and rapid reload.

Easiest way around this now is to allow alchemical rounds.

Rapid reload drops it from a standard action to a move action. Alchemical rounds drops it another category, so from a move action to a free action (not swift or immediate). Therefore, as a free action, it shouldn't really matter about the "physics" of how to do it, just that the rules say it's a free action however you want to do do it.

Whether or not you make alchemical rounds keep the +1 misfire penalty would be the only real discussion.