Hand of the Apprentice - "Magic"?


Combat & Magic


I'm not sure if there's another thread that's dealt with this, so I'm starting this one...

For the last several weeks I've been playing a Universalist Wizard (lvl 1-3). I've made use of the Hand of the Apprentice ability fairly frequently... but during tonight's game I found that it was almost the exclusive attack available to me. I used the Hand of the Apprentice to slash at skeletons, gnomes, a giant, and a necromancer...

... and it didn't feel wizardy in the slightest. It really hit me in a fight against a golem. With my knowledge (arcana) skill I was able to determine that it had a weakness for fire or cold spells. The cleric, with his fire based touch attack was able to make use of this information. But the wizard... he used a longsword to hack at the golem like the fighter.

I like the idea of having an at-will ability that can deal damage for a wizard. I think that the ability should be more of a pure magic based ability rather than the swinging of a sword.

I'm not sure if anyone else has had a similar issue with the feel of this ability, but I wanted to comment.


I don't really like this ability too.

Maybe the Universalist should ...
... get an extra spell slot at his highest spell level
... double the number of cantrips
... start with an additional number of spells
... ???

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My wife loves this ability. "It's like Mage Hand or Spiritual Weapon." Feels like magic to her, and as an Elf, using it with a Longsword take advantage of the extra weapon proficiency, and the +2 Intelligence also fits nicely.


Tastes like flair disrupting and powergaming to me.
...The ability, not your wife...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

Tastes like flair disrupting and powergaming to me.

...The ability, not your wife...

Don't know what "flair disrupting" is, please explain.

And, by your apparent description, any of the things you mentioned would be powergaming as well.

Please explain how this spell is different from Spiritual Weapon (which also does weapon damage, not energy damage)aside from it using an actual weapon in your possession.

And Elves have Wizard as a favored class, so having some kind of synergistic bonus to being an Elf Wizard is a good thing to me, even if you see it as "powergaming". Elven Wizards make a lot more sense with this ability.


Great, Forum ate my post again.

In short. I don't like all universalists having this ability because they should generally toss spells and don't fight with floating swords (or shooting with crossbows - one of those things I never liked at D&D) - that's what I meant with flair/fluff disrupting.
That's just my way of playing and feeling and I am really happy with the changes for cantrips and orisons.

But back to topic: The ability should either be a spell or some special ability for a warmage (Prestige) Class.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First, I like it.

Hand of the Apprentice isn't very different then a conjurer's unlimited 1d6 +1 per something levels unlimited touch attack acid dart(?). Sure it's a spell, but Hand of the Apprentice is far from the best ability in the game.

Also, there are quite a few spells a wizard can cast to make the sword fun. :)


I just think wizards shouldn't interfere directly in melee (all too often).
That's just my personal thing.


I'm the GM in our playtest group..

But our Wizard loves it. The other players think it's cool to see it in action.

We did have some game mechanics concerns that were addressed in a thread just a few days ago, but I'm not citing that because it's clear that you're commenting on flavor.

I just don't agree. Having a sword or other weapon flying around seems very Star Wars Force-ish, or Sauraman-like from the Lord of the Rings movies.. Maybe those aren't perfect genre examples, but for me it's close enough to magic. Of course I play into it by having goblins shriek in alarm as a disembodied sword comes swinging in for their necks.

Since it's base attack plus Int, it doesn't seem over-powered.

At low levels I can tell you that it makes my Wizard feel like he's really weilding "magic" without burning through his low level spells.. and that is really what it's all about.

A crossbow. and carrying ammo..? Nah.. that is a flavor buster for us.


DracoDruid wrote:

I just think wizards shouldn't interfere directly in melee (all too often).

That's just my personal thing.

And that's cool. One can't argue personal taste.

But in my 3.5 group (I have two groups), I could not get anyone.. even after specifically asking.. to play a 1st level Wizard or Sorceror. They refused. I got one Wizard after 4 levels of Rogue.

The reason cited was just the difficulties and challenges inherent in start that class. Not enough spells, and the perception of being unable to contribute (and that includes melee). That crossbows were not flavorful, but rather a gimmee in order to get you through a few levels.

Too much "15 minutes a day" or "Okay, there goes my Color Spray for today, I'll just go wait outside now."

Hand of the Apprentice spaced the Wizard's effectiveness out a little, and did so in a "magical" way.


And I think it's just not magical ENOUGH.
It might be a cool ability, but I really don't think that it's a good general ability for ALL universalist casters.

If it's so good, make it a spell, so that every wizard can get it's benefits!


I find it very magical your moving objects though your arcane will alone.
The few I have seen use it loved it with a wave of there hand and they sent daggers flying or swords or small objects.Its an all around useful ability not just a combat one.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not being magical enough I can understand. I don't see what other attack you can give them. Fire, Acid, and Lightning ranged attacks were already given out. I mean I guess a frost ray could be given out but the floating sword is neat.


The magically floating sword isn't very different, mechanically, from a fighter using a sword. The only difference it seems to me is that instead of standing in range of getting hit, I can be 30' away.

Why not give the universalist the option of picking a level 1 spell that he can do at will? (mage hand being a level 1 spell, and this is basically that spell). Then the universalist could pick whatever fits that character or player's idea of appropriate.

Sure... as a Human Wizard it's nice that I can use that free weapon prof. to become proficient with longswords... and then I can wave a longsword around at range. But this isn't starwarsie at all. I can only think of one time where someone used a lightsaber like that (Luke in Heir to the Empire). Otherwise, the "magical" uses of the Force were things like Force thrust, Force Lightning, Force Grip, etc. I'm not saying a wizard should be like Yoda... but a wizard power that does a bull rush plus 1d6 damage as a force push effect might be interesting.

When I think of Wizards... I think of Merlin, Harry Dresden, Gandalf... and none of them had floating swords at 30'! Harry usually goes for the blast of fire or force or wind (hey, there's an idea... gust of wind at will). Gandalf didn't do much "wizardy". Merlin, well, what he did depends upon the stories you read.

I'm not disagreeing that the Hand of the Apprentice isn't effective. I was doing 1d8+5 with a +5 to hit... not bad. In fact, I was doing more damage than the fighter in some cases, and definitely more than the rogue (even with sneak attack). I don't have another spell that can compete with that damage output. Sure, I like my orb spells... but that's a 1 time shot. The wand of magic missile is nice for distance... but it doesn't compete with damage either.

So yes, it's good. But it doesn't feel like something a wizard should be doing. If I wanted to play a fighter, then I would have made a fighter... but a wizard should really do more than fight with a sword.

But, apparently, I'm on the minority here (I hope that's not because of the fact that the damage output on this is just too good to pass up).


Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
But, apparently, I'm on the minority here (I hope that's not because of the fact that the damage output on this is just too good to pass up).

You might not be in the minority, it's a fairly young thread yet.

There's also a disconnect, sometimes, between those that have read the rules and those that have played them. Though I make the good faith assumption that everyone who has posted has actually tried it out in actual play. That's *my* hope, but please know that I'm giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.

The concern was brought up about the flavor. I have five players who thought fighting telekinetically with a long sword while the wizard player was gestured wildly with his arms at the table in order to simulate 'fighting' from a distance was cool as hell.

You could have 5 players who thought it sucked. Our mileage may vary as a result.

The potential damage output is kinda.. nice.. I grant you.

Now that we've made it clear that they don't threaten, get AOO's, flank, and have to occupy their own square (unless they're significantly smaller than whatever else is occupying that space).. it does offest it a little.


Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
...So yes, it's good. But it doesn't feel like something a wizard should be doing. If I wanted to play a fighter, then I would have made a fighter... but a wizard should really do more than fight with a sword...

Do I have to say that I agree to you?

A wizard fighting with a longsword, doing more damage then the fighter and doesn't even need to stand in the range of his target?
That's NOT the way to go FOR SURE!

My point.


DracoDruid wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
...So yes, it's good. But it doesn't feel like something a wizard should be doing. If I wanted to play a fighter, then I would have made a fighter... but a wizard should really do more than fight with a sword...

Do I have to say that I agree to you?

A wizard fighting with a longsword, doing more damage then the fighter and doesn't even need to stand in the range of his target?
That's NOT the way to go FOR SURE!

My point.

Oh... I counted you in my favor... but it seemed like it was more than 2 in favor of it (thus putting us in the minority).

It was just the oddest thing the other night to be sitting at the game table... hacking at a golum as a wizard and thinking "this is really lame." It didn't make sense to hit it with any spell... just the non-magical sword. Yup, it was effective, but felt really cheesy and non-wizard like all at the same time.

Look at me, I'm the master of the arcane... and with all that power and knowledge I can... swing a sword.

Scarab Sages

Doug Bragg 172 wrote:

Why not give the universalist the option of picking a level 1 spell that he can do at will? (mage hand being a level 1 spell, and this is basically that spell). Then the universalist could pick whatever fits that character or player's idea of appropriate.

This relates to my own concern overall with the replacement for Specialization... with the alpha rules as they exist now (I'm hoping Alpha 2 has some changes to it), they are removing options from the wizards (free spell of wizard's choice, of specialist school, per spell level) and providing weakened (DC based off of CHA instead of INT), delayed (all the sla's that they get seem to be spells that the wizard could take one level earlier), specific selections regardless of the theme you might want your wizard to have within a school of specialization.

I can definitely understand, though, how it might be tough to come up with something all universalists should get. It does seem kind of odd that the idea thus far is to provide them with a melee-ish solution.

The specializations is something I expect to undergo some serious changes before beta, though, so, I'm not too worried about it. That doesn't mean it shouldn't still be discussed thoroughly on the boards, though, so Jason et al can pick through some really good ideas I've seen already on the subject.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
Why not give the universalist the option of picking a level 1 spell that he can do at will?

Because every Universalist Wizard will pick magic missile.. the only level 1 spell that's still good when you can cast 5th level spells. Might as well just give them magic missiles.. but that's ridiculous and it's a controlled 2nd level benefit of Evocation specialty.

A thought I did have was allowing Universalists to pick a first level power from another school.


SirUrza wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
Why not give the universalist the option of picking a level 1 spell that he can do at will?

Because every Universalist Wizard will pick magic missile.. the only level 1 spell that's still good when you can cast 5th level spells. Might as well just give them magic missiles.. but that's ridiculous and it's a controlled 2nd level benefit of Evocation specialty.

A thought I did have was allowing Universalists to pick a first level power from another school.

Personally, I'd go for one of the orbs... acid or electricity most likely (seems they have fewer resistances than fire & cold). Magic Missile's damage output just seems kinda' small. (even with multiple missiles at higher levels... orbs are better choices).

Still... what's wrong with having the choice? Personally, I'd rather toss acid orbs or magic missiles rather than use a longsword.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm sure you do. I'm thinking about evoker route for my next character myself.


Doug Bragg 172 wrote:

Oh... I counted you in my favor... but it seemed like it was more than 2 in favor of it (thus putting us in the minority).

It was just the oddest thing the other night to be sitting at the game table... hacking at a golum as a wizard and thinking "this is really lame." It didn't make sense to hit it with any spell... just the non-magical sword. Yup, it was effective, but felt really cheesy and non-wizard like all at the same time.

Look at me, I'm the master of the arcane... and with all that power and knowledge I can... swing a sword.

First off.. There's nothing I can say that is going to convince you of anything, because you've made up your mind about something that is fairly subjective.. which is taste and flavor.

However, a couple of points

  • If you're powerful enough to be fighting a golem, then you have to have more resources than your 1st Level School Power. Why aren't you using them instead? RotRL doesn't pit a flesh golem against a party till they're 7th level. I'm not nitpicking here, I'm pointing out that you're arguing that a 1st level is not exciting from the perspective of a character that should have much more exciting options to choose from. Of course it's not as exciting. You're both skewing this as if Hand of the Apprentice was your only option. It was only the option you chose to utilize and it is intended for first level Wizards. Too boring at 7th level? Then cast some spells or use other powers.
  • You're complaining about the amount of damage but what were you doing before this? Using up your spells fast and then either doing nothing, or relying on the crossbow and longsword. 4th Editon takes a more dramatic step away in terms of "magical attacks", but that isn't the desired outcome either.
  • Most importantly, this is such a subjective argument. It's like arguing over Coke or Pepsi trying to find a definite answer as to which tastes better. The statement "if I wanted to swing a sword I'd play a fighter" speaks to that subjectivity. When did we get so jaded and desensitized that hefting objects in the air became blase or passe? "Telekinetic combat is like wearing white after Labor Day." Hell, I remember being impressed that Luke Skywalker grabbed his light saber from out of reach in Empire Strikes Back. How retro! Whatever could I have been imagining? My point, is Hand of the Apprentice really that banal; or have you subjectively minimized it to merely "chopping someone with a sword?" Because that is a subjective interpretation.

This is an eye of the beholder issue.


Oh, I'm fully aware that my comments are entirely, 100% subjective. However, I've seen a number of posts on this board talking about how the fluff mattered more than the mechanics. So, for the sake of talking about does the fluff of Hand of the Apprentice fit the Wizard, I started this thread. And, yeah, it bugged me playing a level 3 wizard and my only real option was to smack the golem with my sword.

So, my options include 3 level 1 spells, 3 level 2 spells (I took a feat giving me an extra 2nd level spell slot), unlimited cantrips, or smack 'em over the head with a big piece of metal. The Cantrips do 1d3; Orb of Acid is 1d8 (maybe 2d8 at level 3, but still a 1 time thing), Scorching ray is 4d6, but a 1 time thing and I think only 1 ray at level 3 (I admit, I didn't take that spell until level 4).

In other games... I've taken reserve feats as soon as I could, or would use nothing but the wand of (pick destructive force - magic missile, orb of fire, whatever). At level 1, yeah, the crossbow was used a lot. And that was lame.

But... the Hand of the Apprentice doesn't feel particularly cooler and more magical than using the crossbow did. (note, 100% my subjective, non-provable opinion). But, I can do more damage with the floaty longsword than I can with a crossbow, so thus the choice.

And I know that at level 1-4 options are limited. And in 3.5 they are really limited for Wizards. But... if you're going to open up the options and give the Wizards more to do, shouldn't it be of a more wizardy flavor?

I'm not really complaining about the amount of damage... doing between a d6+x or a d8+x or multiple d6s or d8s... the problem is how it is done and is it wizardly.

I guess the part that really bugged me out of this was I was able to determine that the golem was slowed by fire spells. O.k., so the one flourishing the arcane fire was the... cleric. The Wizard swung the sword. The cleric gets an at will ability to throw fire bolts around... and the universal wizard gets a magic melee attack.

That to me just felt like someone got their wires crossed at some point.

I guess I'm not really looking to change anyone's mind or debate this much... more of a "this is what I feel about this ability. What do others think?" approach. As was said, eye of the beholder and mileage may vary. I'm just giving my views and mileage as a universalist wizard starting at level 1 and playing through to now level 4 in the chaos of thrones path (or whatever it's called).

Dark Archive

I have done some playtesting with Hand of the Apprentice at 3 different levels. I did it at 1st, 5th, and 10th. What I found was that at first level it is probably a little strong. For the most part there isn't a damage dealing option at 1st level for a wizard that will do more than this I don't think. Using the Alpha rules and a human, I was able to get an 18 intelligence very easily and thus had a +4 attack that did 1d8+4 damage (I chose longsword for the human weapon proficiency just for the sake simplicity). At 5th level, I found the ability wasn't overpowered at all as by that time I had far more options to choose from like casting haste or firing off a scorching ray or whatever. I still ended up using the ability, and I found that the points it came in the most handy was when I didn't want to have to use any more of my spells, but the battle still wasn't over. At 5th level, my wizard had a 21 intelligence (+1 at level 4 and had a headband of intellect +2). So I had an attack bonus of +7 with 1d8+5 damage. At that point, the hand of the apprentice was a useful tool but not overpowered by any measure. At 10th level, I really only bothered using the hand of the apprentice when the battle was basically won for mop up duty, or in situations where it made more tactical sense to add an attack like that than drop a fireball or something (there was a battle in a corridor when I was having trouble placing spells without affecting comrades, and I used it then). At 10th level I had an Int of 22 (+1 at 4th and 8th level, and headband of intellect +2), and had invested in a +1 longsword resulting in an attack at +12 (+1 sword, +6 int, +5 base) with 1d8+7 damage.

The thing that stood out to me big time at 10th level is that once I had the 8th level universalist metamagic ability, it pretty much outshined anything else I could do. Being able to drop an orb spell along with a quickened orb spell in the same round without modifying casting time or level was just sick. I coupled that with a lesser empowering rod, and I was dropping 30d6 of fire damage with fireballs at 10th level (10d6 base x 1.5 for empowering rod, and then done again with Quicken spell on the second one using the universalist ability)and only had to use two third level spell slots.

On the issue of flavor. My group loved the idea of a telekineticly controlled sword floating around the battlefield and thought it made a lot more sense than just firing a crossbow into battle. Personally I think it is a great ability. It is overpowered a bit at 1st level I think. By 5th it is fine, and by 10th just a handy way to conserve more powerful abilities. I would like clarification on how the ability stacks with magical weapons and feats if the wizard chooses to focus feats to use it better (like weapons focus). We decided that everything would stack for our playtest, but I don't know for sure if that is correct. In terms of feats, I didn't want to spend any of them on improving the attacks of the apprentice hand, because I was too busy loading up on metamagic feats to use with that 8th level power. That is IMHO, the best ability they have added. Being able to really supercharge your spells a few times a day is awesome as an ability and was TONS of fun to play. Flavor wise it was great.

Anyway, didn't mean to digress there. I think the apprentice hand works, though I can see why some think it would not. I will be interested to see if they are going to change that up in Alpha 2 or the Beta.


Doug I was excessively sarcastic. My regrets.

I guess we're at an impasse. I don't experience it the way you do, but someone else does.


How about a Force Blast. 1d4 +1 per 2 levels. Range Touch Attack. Similar to Transumtation but it affect ethereal creatures.

Another idea is to make Hand of the Apprentice only affect small weapons. Presumably a daggar. I seem to remember some movie where the wizard attacks with a telekinetic dagger. It also means you will not outshine the fighter. Some powergamer will claim he can put poison on the blade with no chance of poisoning himself, but that is life.

Why is Telekinetic Fist only 1d4 +1 per 2 levels? Just weaker because it makes it the Evocation types more powerful by comparison? Does Telekinetic Fist affect ethereal creatures?


Watcher wrote:

Doug I was excessively sarcastic. My regrets.

I guess we're at an impasse. I don't experience it the way you do, but someone else does.

No problem... I didn't take any of this personally or anything. And, I'm gathering most don't see it the way I do... which is fine.

I still find it odd. I am looking forward to the day when my wizard will have enough spells that I won't need this to feel effective. And the metamagic stuff later does look like fun (I've never done much with metamagic feats because I hate losing higher level spells).

Oh... Brent, question about the math. My recollection of Hand of the Apprentice is that BAB+Int for attack and damage. Not sure how that changes the effectiveness at different levels.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Duncan & Dragons wrote:
Another idea is to make Hand of the Apprentice only affect small weapons.

Wizards traditionally have staffs as well though, so I wouldn't want to give up hand of the Apprentice on that.


What everyone keeps forgetting is all the non combat uses for the hand. It is the most useful all around starting power.


What kind of golem can you be fighting at 3rd level?

Why not use the telekinetic hand to deliver tanglefoot bags/alchemist's fire/smokesticks/thunderstones/rubber chickens/etc?


Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:

What kind of golem can you be fighting at 3rd level?

Why not use the telekinetic hand to deliver tanglefoot bags/alchemist's fire/smokesticks/thunderstones/rubber chickens/etc?

I'm not the DM... and I'm not the author of the pathfinder adventure path... so I can't give you the specific name of the golem. All I can tell you is that it was described as a cobbled together golem made of various bodies parts (flesh golem? or some variation thereof?).

Why not use a tanglefoot bag? It was trapped in a narrow corridor, and constantly slowed by the cleric's fire blasts. Entangling it didn't seem like that would do much.

Alchemist's Fire - don't have any, and the splash would hit party members (the fighter, for example, who was blocking the only way out of said narrow hallway).

Smokesticks - not really sure how this would help.

Rubber chickens - alas, at level 3, those are out of my price range.

As for this being the most useful ability in the game... there's a cantrip that allows for moving 5 lbs (non-magical item) 15' (per round?) for a max. distance from you of 25'+5/2 lvls. Every Wizard (except those who lose Transmutation as a prohibited school) has the ability to do this at will. It's called "Mage Hand" (which, btw, raises a question about magic swords... the Alpha rules say Hand of the Apprentice works just like Mage Hand... so does that mean it can't lift a magic sword?).

It seems to me the reason to use Hand of the Apprentice over Mage Hand is because you want to fight with a sword/dagger/other melee weapon. Not because you're looking at moving a 5 lb or less non-magical item into combat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:

What kind of golem can you be fighting at 3rd level?

Why not use the telekinetic hand to deliver tanglefoot bags/alchemist's fire/smokesticks/thunderstones/rubber chickens/etc?

I'm not the DM... and I'm not the author of the pathfinder adventure path... so I can't give you the specific name of the golem. All I can tell you is that it was described as a cobbled together golem made of various bodies parts (flesh golem? or some variation thereof?).

Sounds like a Carrion Golem - assuming you are playing Curse of the Crimson Throne...

~D


daemonslye wrote:
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:
Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:

What kind of golem can you be fighting at 3rd level?

Why not use the telekinetic hand to deliver tanglefoot bags/alchemist's fire/smokesticks/thunderstones/rubber chickens/etc?

I'm not the DM... and I'm not the author of the pathfinder adventure path... so I can't give you the specific name of the golem. All I can tell you is that it was described as a cobbled together golem made of various bodies parts (flesh golem? or some variation thereof?).

Sounds like a Carrion Golem - assuming you are playing Curse of the Crimson Throne...

~D

We are... and it might have been.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
What everyone keeps forgetting is all the non combat uses for the hand. It is the most useful all around starting power.

Agreed! Most of my rogues take a level in mage just so they can get that. Comes in handy for stealing objects just out of reach :)

I haven't had a chance to playtest the apprentice power yet, but i don't see it as being too overpowered in the long run. If anything magic missile is the broken first level spell/ability. In our games we've changed it to a ranged touch and increased the damage to 1d6+1 which has seemed a good trade off. When you can maximize it for a free 25 points of damage without a saving through, gets to be a bit too much.

For those who want to redo it as a spell i'd suggest making apprentice a second level ability like Spiritual weapon (so other wizards/sorcerers can get it, but the universalist gets it first) Depends on how you feel about the losing of the spell slot. Return the spell slot and put all the "abilities" in as spells, but for those not of the school make the spell one level higher for those outside the specialization.


Michael Miller 36 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
What everyone keeps forgetting is all the non combat uses for the hand. It is the most useful all around starting power.

Agreed! Most of my rogues take a level in mage just so they can get that. Comes in handy for stealing objects just out of reach :)

I don't really understand this argument.

There's this really neat cantip called "Mage hand"... that apparently everyone has forgotten exists:

SRD wrote:

Level: Brd 0, Sor/Wiz 0

Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One nonmagical, unattended object weighing up to 5 lb.
Duration: Concentration
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You point your finger at an object and can lift it and move it at will from a distance. As a move action, you can propel the object as far as 15 feet in any direction, though the spell ends if the distance between you and the object ever exceeds the spell’s range.

As a cantrip a wizard can use this at will all day long. I seem to recall that rogues get the ability to use lower level spells (this would seem to be included in that). Alternatively, a wand of Mage Hand wouldn't be too terribly expensive.

The only thing that Hand of the Apprentice does that this doesn't is smack people over the head with a sword.

So, yes, Hand of the Apprentice is useful telekinesis... but it's also not the only way to go about it. Particularly as Mage Hand becomes more powerful at higher levels (distance increases to 75' at level 20, where Hand of the Apprentice remains at 30').

But, as a clarification, my complaint with Hand of the Apprentice wasn't that telekinesis at will all day long wasn't useful... it's that a wizard doing essentially melee attacks doesn't feel wizardy in the slightest. Since wizards can already do the Mage Hand all day long... why not give them a level 1 power that actually has the feel of being a wizard instead of being another sword wielding fighter type?


Late reply, but you are sooooooooo true!


SirUrza wrote:

First, I like it.

Hand of the Apprentice isn't very different then a conjurer's unlimited 1d6 +1 per something levels unlimited touch attack acid dart(?). Sure it's a spell, but Hand of the Apprentice is far from the best ability in the game.

Also, there are quite a few spells a wizard can cast to make the sword fun. :)

Except when you have a Human Wizard who takes 2-Handed Sword as there "Weapon of Choice" and can wield it as a fighter with a 20 strength. I don't feel like it balanced with any of the other abilities, for example

Abjur-Protective Ward +1 deflect for 1 rnd
Conjure- Acid dart does 1d6 +1/2 caster levels (MAX at 20th 1d6+10)
Divin-Diviner's Fortune your C/L for 1 Atk or Skill check 1 crtr once
Enchant- Dazing Touch Daze creature for 1 rnd if Your HD or under
Evoc-Energy Ray does 1d6 +1/2 caster levels (MAX at 20th 1d6+10)
Ill-Blinding Ray 1 rnd Blind Up to or under your HD. Only usable x1
Necro- Grave Touch 1d6 +1/2 caster levels (MAX at 20th 1d6+10)
Uni- Hod Apprentice - Draw weapon as free action and attack within 30' with your atk bns and your int at modifier to atk and strength.

I believe that all of the first level powers are weak except for Universalist HoA. Just imagine when a Universalist wizard obtains a Fiery 2 handed sword of OP with a High int.

I think that because the wizard in not committed to a particular school he gives up the specialist abilities. After all why would I want to specialize in any other school when I can use my HoA with any weapon I'm proficient with and is magically imbued with any kind of ability I want. Then I can pick any spell that you want on top of that. I think the whole Universalist is OP and seriously needs to be NERFed


I love this ability. It's a lot of fun, and it's a big help in combat. I obviously don't subscribe to the "a wizard should NEVER have to touch a weapon EVER" school of thought and I have a hard time understanding those who do.

Dark Archive

If the flavor itself is an issue, I'd be fine with Alternate Class Featuring out the current version for a 'Hand of the Magus' version.

Hand of the Magus - SLA act as Mage Hand at will. As a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, when not otherwise using the Mage Hand ability, the Wizard can produce a visible pulse of magical force that vaguely resembles his own hand, performing a melee attack at close range using his Intelligence in place of his Strength at his normal BAB, and acting as if he had Improved Unarmed Attack, allowing him to do either 1d3 lethal or nonlethal Bludgeoning damage with each strike, modified by his Intelligence bonus. This ability does not threaten any opponent, nor can it be used to perform an Attack of Opportunity. The attack can be used to perform any other legitimate standard combat action that could be performed with one hand and does not require a sustained use of force over time, such as a Trip, Sunder or Disarm (but not Grapple). The pulse of battering force requires a standard to hit roll, modified by the Wizards Intelligence modifier, and can only be generated once per round, regardless of BAB (although it could be combined, in a full-round action, as part of the Wizards melee or ranged attack sequence, as he lashes out with his quarterstaff at a close foe, while throwing his Hand of the Magus at a more distant foe.

This version does less damage (no dancing weapons, just a pulse of force from his hand), and has a bit more versatility (being explicitly able to perform other actions). It also, IMO, 'feels' more magical, as wizards in various movies and books are sometimes seen to wave their hand at people and knock them down or fling their weapons from their hands, or just batter them with magical damage.

It's got much more utility than a standard 'blast,' as it also comes with an at will Mage Hand ability, is explicitly visible (so no worrying about Dex modifiers applying, free Sneak Attacks because the attack is invisible, etc.), has the option to do nonlethal damage, and, if the 1d3+Int bonus damage isn't adequate, it can be just bumped right up to 1d6+Int, and still work fine.

The +Int damage instead of scaling damage by level, as well as the melee (+Int bonus) attack roll requirement (instead of the superior ranged touch of most other specialist attack powers) helps to compensate somewhat for the increased utility of the Mage Hand feature.

And that's just one option. If there's one thing that makes sense, it would be that the 'Universalist' would have more than one option for 1st level class powers, unlike the Specialists. It should be easy enough to come up with one that better suits the 'theme' or 'feel' of a generic magical attack.

Dark Archive

Solientious wrote:
Except when you have a Human Wizard who takes 2-Handed Sword as there "Weapon of Choice" and can wield it as a fighter with a 20 strength. I don't feel like it balanced with any of the other abilities, for example.

Five pound limit, as far as I know, so nothing sexier than a longsword (which is still pretty nice), and it's got to be a weapon that you're proficient with.

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