Homebrew Magus - more fighter, less spellcaster


Homebrew and House Rules

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This is something I meant to get up sooner. I've been working on it for a while. This would be my personal interpretation of the magus. What was important to me was combat ability, the ability to cast some spells from level 1, and using magic to fight, as opposed to being a spellcaster that can fight. The focus of this class is on combat, and replacing the utility the fighter makes of feats in combat with the utility of magic. To this end, the spellsword is different from the magus, which is a more even blending of spellcaster and martial character. I wanted a fighter that happens to use spells.

Rather than focusing spells to do damage or confuse or control enemies, the spellsword uses spells to protect themselves and improve their own fighting capability. Other class abilities allow them to fight and self buff at the same time, or to use arcane energies they've harnessed to improve their fighting ability for a certain period of time.

HD: d10
Skill Points: 2 + int mod
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str)
Proficiencies:Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, Light Armor, Medium Armor. A spellsword can cast spellsword spells while wearing light armor and/or using a shield without incurringthe normal arcane spell failure chance.

........................................................................... ..................Spells
Lvl...BaB...F...R...W...Special............................................ ...0..1..2..3..4
.1.....1........2...0...2....Cantrips, Spellbook, Comabt Arcana....2..0
.2.....2........3...0...3....Martial Casting.....................................2..1
.3.....3........3...1...3....Combat Arcana.....................................3..1
.4.....4........4...1...4.................................................. ..............3..1..0
.5.....5........4...1...4....Comabt Arcana.....................................3..1..1
.6.....6........5...2...5....Abbreviated Casting.............................3..2..1
.7.....7........5...2...5.................................................. ..............4..2..1..0
.8.....8........6...2...6....Disruptive.................................... ........4..2..1..1
.9.....9........6...3...6....Improved Combat Arcana.....................4..2..2..1
10....10......7...3...7.................................................... ............4..3..2..1..0
11....11......7...3...7....Armored Casting Mastery.....................4..3..2..1..1
12....12......8...4...8....Improved Combat Arcana.....................4..3..2..2..1
13....13......8...4...8....Improved Abbreviated Casting.............4..3..3..2..1
14....14......9...4...9....Spellbreaker.................................... ....4..4..3..2..1
15....15......9...5...9.................................................... ............4..4..3..2..2
16....16.....10..5..10...Greater Combat Arcana........................4..4..3..2..2
17....17.....10..5..10...Greater Abbreviated Casting................4..4..4..3..2
18....18.....11..6..11...Greater Combat Arcana........................4..4..4..3..2
19....19.....11..6..11..................................................... ..........4..4..4..3..3
20....20.....12..6..12...Master of Combat Arcana.....................4..4..4..4..3

Combat Arcana

Arcane Maneuver: 3 + Int modifier times per day, the spellsword may use his arcane knowledge and keen intellect to help him take advantage of small openings his enemies leave for him. The spellsword may attempt any combat maneuver and does not provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spellsword does not have the requisite improved combat maneuver feat. The spellsword adds his intelligence modifier in place of his strength modifier for these arcane maneuver checks.

Arcane Mobility: Arcane Mobility: The spellsword knows that movement can command the battlefield, and he uses his arcane ability to give him the ability to move in to take advantage of opportunities in battle.

A spellsword who has studied arcane mobility may choose one of the following benefits for a round as a swift action: ignore difficult terrain movement penalties, gain a 30' enhancement bonus to movement speed, gain a climb speed of 1/2 his base speed, gain a swim speed of 1/2 his base speed. A spellsword may use this ability 3 + Int modifier times per day. A spellsword may choose to activate two of these arcane mobility abilities in the same round, but it requires two swift actions - one to activate each, and consumes two uses of this ability.

Spell Shield: The Spellsword may summon a shield of force to protect them in battle as a move action. This arcane shield provides a shield bonus to AC equal to 2 + Spellsword level / 4 (+3 at 4th level, +4 at 8th, etc.). This shield may be active for 3 + Int modifier minutes / day. This shield may be summoned and dismissed as needed, but each use of the shield uses a minute of the spell shield's daily duration. Dismissing the shield is a free action.

Weapon Bond: A spellsword may bond himself to a specific melee weapon to increase his abilities while wielding the weapon. This weapon need not be either masterwork or magical. Bonding himself to the weapon requires that the spellsword be proficient with the weapon. He must spend 24 hours alternately meditating and practicing with the weapon. A spellsword may only be bonded to a single weapon at any time. A spellsword that performs the bonding ceremony with a new weapon necessarily loses his bond to his old bonded weapon as he studies and learns the particulars of his new weapon.

For 3 + Int modifier minutes / day, the spellsword can imbue their bonded weapon by +1 per 4 spellsword levels as a move action (minimum 0 for levels 1-3). The bonded weapon may have enhancement bonuses conferred on the bonded weapon, or the following abilities: Brilliant Energy, Flaming, Flaming Burst, Frost, Icy Burst, Returning, Shock, Shocking Burst, Throwing and Thundering. The bonded weapon must have an enhancement bonus of at least +1 before any other property may be placed on the bonded weapon. Each use of this ability consumes at least 1 minute of the spellsword's daily duration. Changing the effect consumes another minute of the duration of the ability. Minute long uses of the ability need not be consecutive.

The spellsword may summon his bonded weapon into his hand as a move action if his bonded weapon leaves his hands while it is imbued. A spellsword of 1st through 3rd level can imbue his weapon, and while it confers no enhancement to the weapon, it does allow this ability to be used. As long as the spellsword has line of sight to the bonded weapon and the bonded weapon is within his level dependent range for this ability, he can spend a move action to summon the bonded weapon back to his hand. The range for this ability is 10 feet per spellsword level. The bonded weapon counts as cold iron and magical for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction while imbued, and counts as all the inexpensive material components necessary for casting a spell for the spellsword.

Improved Combat Arcana

Arcane Maneuver, Improved: The spellsword may expend one of his daily arcane maneuver uses to reach out with telekinetic energy and attempt a combat maneuver check against any one creature within 30' of the spellsword as a standard action. The spellsword must have line of sight to the target of the maneuver. This arcane maneuver is subject to spell resistance and must use the spellsword's Intelligence modfier instead of his Strength modifier. Prerequisite: Arcane Maneuver

Arcane Mobility, Improved: The spellsword's further studies into arcane magics allow the spellsword to move about even the strangest battlefields.

A spellsword with improved arcane mobility may expend one of his arcane mobility uses as a swift action to choose one of the following benefits for a minute: ignore difficult terrain movement penalties, gain 30' movement speed, gain a burrow speed, climb speed or swim speed of 1/2 his base speed or gain a fly speed of his base speed. A spellsword may choose to have multiple arcane mobility abilities active at the same time, but this will use multiple Arcane Mobility uses, and requires a swift action for each ability activiation.

Alternatively the spellsword may expend a daily use of his arcane mobility to choose to teleport 10 feet as a move action. The spellsword may teleport farther than 10 feet by expending additional uses of improved arcane mobility in the same move action - expending more uses does not require an additional action, and each additional use adds 10' to the distance teleported. Any fraction of movement expends the entire improved arcane mobility use for the day. Thus a teleportation of 25 feet would expend 3 uses. You must have line of sight to the location you are teleporting to. When you teleport, you may only transfer yourself and your worn or held gear (gear inside a backpack is considered worn). You may not transfer additional creature or objects. Prerequisite: Arcane Mobility

Spell Shield, Improved: The Spellsword's spell shield may now be summoned as a swift action, and allows the spellsword to ignore damage from the spell Magic Missile. The shield provides a +2 luck bonus to saves and the spellsword has Evasion (as the rogue ability) while the shield is active. Prerequisite: Spell Shield

Weapon Bond, Improved: The spellsword's bonded weapon may be imbued as a swift action. The bonded weapon also now counts as adamantine for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

The spellsword gains the ability to store spells in his bonded weapon in a manner similar to the spell storing special ability. The spellsword may store 1 level of spells per 3 spellsword levels. You may store multiple spells in the bonded weapon, but the sum of spell levels may not exceed this number. A 10th level spellsword may store one first and one second level spell in his bonded weapon, or he may store a single third level spell. The spellsword may choose, on a successful hit that deals damage, whether or not to also expend the spell on the creature that was damaged. Only one spell may be expended per hit with this ability. As with a spell storing weapon, spells with a casting time longer than a standard action may not be stored in the bonded weapon and spells stored in the weapon must be targeted spells. The spells cast into the bonded weapon must be cast by the spellsword himself, and only damage dealt by the spellsword himself with his bonded weapon may expend the spells stored within the weapon. Cantrips count as 1/2 level for the purpose of this ability.

The spellsword may summon his bonded weapon into his hand as long as the bonded weapon is within 10 miles/level of the spellsword and on the same plane. The bonded weapon no longer needs to be actively imbued for this ability to be used. This is a teleportation effect that requires a move action. Effects that affect teleportation will also affect this effect. Prerequisite: Weapon Bond

Greater Combat Arcana

Arcane Manuver, Greater: The spellsword may expend one of his daily arcane maneuver uses to reach out with telekinetic energy and attempt the same combat maneuver against any number of creatures within 30' of the spellsword as a full round action. The spellsword must have line of sight to each target of the maneuver. These arcane maneuvers are subject to spell resistance, and must use the spellsword's intelligence modifier instead of his strength modifier. Prerequisite: Improved Arcane Maneuver

Arcane Mobility, Greater: A spellsword may assist his allies in their mobility now as well. He may expend a use of his arcane mobility to grant an improved arcane mobility ability to a willing ally he touches.

The spellsword himself may instead expend two arcane mobility uses to teleport himself and a number of allies within touching distance as the spell Teleport using his Spellsword levels as his caster level, or he may expend four arcane mobility uses to plane shift himself and a number of allies no greater than eight as the spell Plane Shift. Prerequisite: Improved Arcane Mobility

Spell Shield, Greater: The Spellsword's spell shield may now be summoned as an immediate action. In addition to its other effects, the spell shield may now act as the spell Spell Turning, turning back 6+1d4 levels of spells cast at the spellsword back at the spell's caster. Once the spell shield's pool of spell levels has been turned, the spell shield disappears. The Spellsword may choose at the time of summoning the spell shield whether the shield will use the spell turning ability if he wishes to keep the other effects of the shield up for the full shield duration. The spellsword may only have one spell shield up at any one time. Prerequisite: Improved Spell Shield

Weapon Bond, Greater: The spellsword may now choose to expend one of his uses of weapon bond as a swift action to confer a greater dispel magic property on his bonded weapon. The next creature or object the spellsword hits and damages with his bonded weapon is the target of a greater dispel magic spell, using the spellsword's class level as the caster level of the effect.

The bonded weapon can also be inscribed with spell forms and used as a spellbook with a number of pages equal to the spellsword's class level. The bonded weapon is engraved in the same manner as the pages of a spell book, requiring the same time period for scribing the spell forms and the same costs. If a spellsword wishes, spell forms on the bonded weapon may be removed and the newly freed space on the bonded weapon may be used to scribe a new spell for future memorization. If the weapon is lost or destroyed, the spells are lost as well. If the spellsword transfers his bond to a new weapon, he may recopy the spells on his old bonded weapon at half cost to transfer them to his new bonded weapon.

The spellsword may summon his bonded weapon into his hand as a move action, even across planes. This is a teleportation effect and if the bonded weapon is on another plane it is as the spell Plane Shift. Anything that affects these effects will also affect the summoning of the bonded weapon. Prerequisite: Improved Weapon Bond

Martial Casting: The spellsword may use his currently wielded weapon to perform the somatic component of a spell he is casting. These gestures, while performed with a weapon instead of a free hand, do not avoid the normal attack of opportunity that casting in a threatened area provokes. For the purpose of this class ability, a shield is not counted as a weapon.

Armored Casting Mastery: The spellsword has become so practiced with casting spellsword arcane spells in combat that his training now allows him to cast his spellsword spells without any arcane spell failure chance while wearing medium armor.

Abbreviated Casting: In order to use their arcane spells to the greatest effect in combat, spellswords train to cast especially familiar spells while in the thick of battle. As a full round action the spellsword may choose to cast any spellsword spell that is at least two levels lower than the highest level spell he can cast immediately before or after making a single melee attack against an enemy with a weapon or unarmed attack. The spellsword must cast the spell as part of the same action as their attack on an enemy - they may not take a 5 foot step between the attack and the spellcasting, though they may take a 5 foot step either before or after the attack and spellcasting.

Improved Abbreviated Casting: The spellsword's practice at mixing arcane magic with mundane battle pays off, as the spellsword may now cast spellsword spells one level lower than his most powerful magics as part of a full round action that includes an attack on an enemy.

Greater Abbreviated Casting: The spellsword's practice at mixing arcane magic with mundane battle pays off, as the spellsword may now cast any spellsword spell he has memorized as part of a full round action that includes an attack on an enemy.

Master of Combat Arcana: The spellsword has mastered efficient spellcasting of the spells he knows so well. He can cast any prepared spellsword spell he has memorized as a swift action once per round.

Spell List

Level 0: Arcane Mark, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Disrupt Undead, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Resistance, Touch of Fatigue

Level 1: Chill Touch, Detect Undead, Endure Elements, Enlarge Person, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Hold Portal, Mage Armor, Magic Aura, Magic Weapon, Protection from X, Ray of Enfeeblement, Reduce Person, Shield, True Strike

Level 2: Bear's Endurance, Blur, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Darkvision, Eagle's Splendor, False Life, Fox's Cunning, Ghoul Touch, Gust of Wind, Invisibility, Levitate, Make Whole, Mirror Image, Obscure object, Owl's Wisdom, Protection from Arrows, Resist Energy, See Invisibility, Shatter, Spider Climb, Touch of Idiocy, Whispering Wind

Level 3: Arcane Sight, Blink, Daylight, Dispel Magic, Displacement, Gentle Repose, Greater Magic Weapon, Haste, Heroism, Invisibility Sphere, Keen Edge, Magic Circle, Nondetection, Protection from Energy, Ray of Exhuastion, Shrink Item, Tongues, Vampiric Touch, Water Breathing, Wind Wall

Level 4: Arcane Eye, Detect Scrying, Dimension Door, Dimensional Anchor, Enervation, Fire Shield, Globe of Invulnerability Lesser, Interposing Hand*, Invisibility Greater, Locate Creature, Remove Curse, Scrying, Stoneskin, Telekinesis

(* denotes early entry spells)

Spell Notes: Spells chosen are: self and group buffs, ranged or melee touch attacks, and utilities that directly help battle situations. Polymorph spells and spells that mostly involve a save are generally not included. Utility spells that don't directly have battle implications are also generally excluded. Some judgement is required to decide if a new spell should go on the Spellsword's spell list. It is better to err on the side of caution with assigning new spells, as the spellsword should have a somewhat limited spell list. This list was drawn up before the APG came out. Some of those spells may be appropriate in this list as well.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Darn, too late to edit. It's Intelligence based casting.

The Exchange

While I like the idea and would like to have an arcane version of the Paladin/Ranger, I don't want that from the magus. The magus should be the single class solution for Eldritch Knight builds, which I think it does pretty well.

I like your version, but I think if you're going to use the 4 level progression, it really needs to follow the Paladin/Ranger progression to a T. I think it would make a very neat arcane warrior type, and I might even allow it as a homebrew class.


w0nkothesane wrote:

While I like the idea and would like to have an arcane version of the Paladin/Ranger, I don't want that from the magus. The magus should be the single class solution for Eldritch Knight builds, which I think it does pretty well.

I like your version, but I think if you're going to use the 4 level progression, it really needs to follow the Paladin/Ranger progression to a T. I think it would make a very neat arcane warrior type, and I might even allow it as a homebrew class.

Personally, I really wanted an arcane counterpart to the Inquisitor. I'm currently reshaping the class to fit what I was doing with a similar gish.

6th level spell progression based off of int.
Good Ref and Will saves
Medium BAB.

Your class looks a bit like the Iron Mage, created by Tejon, whom you might have a look at on this very page.

Sorry, I don't mean to hijack your thread :D

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, that's why I stated the design idea behind the class up front - and in the title. I don't want a half-spellcaster, half-fighter when I play. I don't want a front line fighter laying down fireballs. I want a fighter that happens to use magical abilities rather than feats to fight.

The reason I didn't go with actual ranger or paladin spell progression is the lack of cantrips (at will cantrips make a character feel like a spellcaster), and the three levels with no spells at all. Both of these would be dealbreakers for me as a player looking for an arcane warrior class.

Since the class maxes out its spell levels by 10th, I added a different progression in after that - the ability to cast low level spells...and eventually all spells...while still smacking around enemy combatants. This comes up later than the magus' similar ability, but has fewer penalties. As the spells being cast are necessarily of a quite low level, I wasn't worrying about them going off during combat without much difficulty. By the time that starts to happen, the spellsword is generally using them to buff up during battle.

When I started on this a while back, I made the concious decision that I wouldn't look at other homebrew arcane warrior classes - just to prevent me from stealing someone else's ideas, even unconciously! I guess now that I've posted this, though, I can go take a look. :)

The Exchange

Jess Door wrote:
The reason I didn't go with actual ranger or paladin spell progression is the lack of cantrips (at will cantrips make a character feel like a spellcaster), and the three levels with no spells at all. Both of these would be dealbreakers for me as a player looking for an arcane warrior class.

So, what did the spellcasters feel like in 3.5, 3.0, AD&D and Basic? Because without at will cantrips, they couldn't have felt like spellcasters.

Spoiler:
For those unaware, Jess is a RL friend and my current GM. I am just razzing her, so turn of the flamethrowers and chill. ;-)

We already discussed this, but for the benefit of others: I like the class overall, but think they get too many uses of their Combat Arcana per day at low levels. Coupled with our discussion about GCA, referenced below, I think a system like the Monk's Ki pool or Bard's Bardic performance would balance the amount of uses per/day as they level up.

I also still think that the Greater Combat Arcana abilities should burn 2 uses each. (With an increasing pool as mentioned above it would eliminate the 'only 4 uses of abilities at higher levels you didn't like.)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Wolfthulhu wrote:
So, what did the spellcasters feel like in 3.5, 3.0, AD&D and Basic? Because without at will cantrips, they couldn't have felt like spellcasters.

Fine, fine. How about this:

Jess Door wrote:
The reason I didn't go with actual ranger or paladin spell progression is the lack of cantrips (at will cantrips make a character feel like a spellcaster in Pathfinder), and the three levels with no spells at all. Both of these would be dealbreakers for me as a player looking for an arcane warrior class.

:P

Wolfthulhu wrote:

We already discussed this, but for the benefit of others: I like the class overall, but think they get too many uses of their Combat Arcana per day at low levels. Coupled with our discussion about GCA, referenced below, I think a system like the Monk's Ki pool or Bard's Bardic performance would balance the amount of uses per/day as they level up.

I also still think that the Greater Combat Arcana abilities should burn 2 uses each. (With an increasing pool as mentioned above it would eliminate the 'only 4 uses of abilities at higher levels you didn't like.)

I've gone back and forth on number of uses and relative power of Combat Arcana quite a bit wile working on this.

General personal rules of thumb:

  • Create abilities that fit with the theme of the class
  • Avoid a new mechanic or rule for a situation similar to an existing mechanic exists if possible
  • Avoid completely overshadowing fighters at level appropriate points.
  • Other options being equal, personal preference wins. (What? Isn't this the case for everybody?!?)

I decided the Combat Arcana seemed most like domain powers, bloodline powers and school powers. This lead naturally to the 3+Casting Stat Modifier scheme.

Using this as the starting point, the basic pool of powers will not grow much over a character's lifetime. While a character could devote money and stat increases entirely to intelligence, getting up to a 20(elf) + 6(item) + 5(basic increases) = 31 reasonably easily, or 13 uses per day, this ignores the fact that class is rather MAD, and derives nearly all of its actual combat usefullness from Strength. The lack of important spells with DCs, the lack of spell levels and the pull toward combat stats means that typcially I would expect to see starting intelligences of around 13-16 (up to 6 uses/day), and ending intelligences around 20-22 (up to 9 uses / day).

The pool of uses therefore doesn't grow much. What DOES grow is the power level of a particular combat arcana use as the character increases in level.

One possibility is making all combat arcana pull from the same pool. This makes the third basic Combat Arcana next to useless, as who would waste a pool use on a low level ability when you can use one of your two higher level abilities? a new class ability would need to be found there.

Also consider that the character has, at high level, only fourth level spells. Sure, the character can cast them while fighting - awesome for buffing up or little self-helps like vampiric touch for a bit of healing. Not so awesome when compared to 7th, 8th, 9th level spells. The only thing that lets the character keep up there is their combat arcana. A character will get to choose any two of: movement, shielding, weapon enhancement, combat maneuvers. Will nine minutes of weapon enhancement and/or nine spell turning spells make up for those spells? For fighter feats? I think it may be doable. Cutting down the uses to 4-5 / day would make the class very undesirable, in my opinion.

If we switch from the casting stat + 3 scheme to some level increasing scheme like bardic music or rage or ki pool, the choices are: 4+Important Stat mod at first level, +2/level...or 1/2 level + import Stat mod. Only the monk scheme, starting at first, seems viable then - the others provide a great many more uses.

At first level, you would get a combat arcana. You could: for one round, have expeditious retreat, a swim speed, or a climb speed; for 1 minute, be able to teleport your sword to yourself, and have it count as magical and cold iron for the purposes of damage reduction for 1 minute, have +2 shield bonus to your AC for one minute, or perform one combat maneuver per day with your intelligence modifier without provoking an attack of opportunity. YOu might have up to 2 or 3 with a high enough intelligence. You may also cast a single first level spell / day, and know two cantrips. Is that...viable? Is that equal to one feat?

At 15th level, you'd have 7+stat mod. A LOT more. You'd also have three combat arcana to choose from, and 2 improved combat arcana. Does that seem a large enough pool? Too large?

At 20th level you'd have 10+stat mod.

The monk ki calculation might work out.

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