Lvl 3 Magus Playtest


Round 3: Revised Magus Playtest


My regular campaign is on hold, which leaves me lots of time to playtest!
In choosing Grigori's first Magus Arcana, I first rejected all once/day abilities, of which I have never been a fan. Then I rejected choices powered by expending additional arcane pool points, since I expect to spend the four he has on enhancing his weapon, once each combat. That just about narrowed it down to the one that allows a familiar, and wand wielder. I went with wand wielder because by 3rd level wands of M. Missile are an affordable way to address the issue of low damage output.

Grigori the Magus, lvl 3:

Human Magus, Lvl3 (20 point buy, core+APG+Magus Playtest, no traits)

10 Str Light Load < 38 lbs < Med Load < 76 lbs
18 Dex init +4
12 Con
16 Int Common, Draconic, Sylvan, Aklo
8 Wis
10 Cha

BAB +2 Combat Maneuver Bonus: 2 (2 BAB + 0 Str)

•Rapier + Daze + Arcane Pool Enhancement
+6 to hit (+2 BAB, +4 dex, +1 enhance, +1 feat, -2 Spell Combat)
d6+1 dmg (+1 enhance), Crit x2 18-20
Attempt concentration check d20+10 vs DC 15
Humanoid Foe with 4 or less HD must save Will vs. DC 14 or takes no action for 1 round.

•Rapier + Burning Hands + Arcane Pool Enhancement
+6 to hit (+2 BAB, +4 dex, +1 enhance, +1 feat, -2 Spell Combat)
d6+1 dmg (+1 enhance), Crit x2 18-20
Attempt concentration check d20+10 vs DC 17
Burning Hands: 15' cone, 3d4 damage, reflex save DC 15 for half-damage. May set flammables alight.

•Rapier + Shocking Grasp + Arcane Pool Enhancement + Spellstrike
Attempt concentration check d20+10 vs DC 17
+6 to hit (+2 BAB, +4 dex, +1 enhance, +1 feat, -2 Spell Combat)
d6+1 dmg +3d6 lightning dmg (+1 enhance), Crit x2 18-20

•Rapier + Arcane Pool Enhancement
+8 to hit (+2 BAB +4 dex, +1 enhance, +1 feet)
d6+1 dmg (+1 enhance), Crit x2 18-20

•Rapier + Arcane Pool Enhancement + Wand of Magic Missile (Wand Wielder Arcana)
+6 to hit (+2 BAB, +4 dex, +1 enhance, +1 feat, -2 Spell Combat)
d6+1 dmg (+1 enhance), Crit x2 18-2
Cast Magic Missile from wand for d4+1 force dmg

Max HP 23 (17 Hit Die, +3 con, +3 favored class)

Saves: Fort +4 (+1 con, +3 class) Ref +5 (+4 dex, +1 class) Will +2 (-1 Wis, +3 class)

AC: 18 (+4 dex, +4 armor) Flat-footed: 14 Touch: 14 CMD: 16 (10 +2 BAB +4 dex)

Feats and Class Features:
Weapon Finesse
Combat Casting (Human)
Weapon Focus: Rapier (3rd lvl)
Light Armor Proficiency, Simple + Martial Weapon Proficiencies (Class)
Cast Spells in Light Armor with No Arcane Failure Chance (class)
Arcane Spell Pool: 4 (1 lvl, +3 Int)
Spell Combat
Spellstrike
Magus Arcana: Wand Wielder

Spells/Day Cast Defensively DC
0th: 4 Save DC 14 DC 15
1st: 4 Save DC 15 DC 17

Spellbook:
0th lvl: All Magus
1st lvl: Burning Hands, Chill Touch, Enlarge Person, Grease, Mount, Obscuring Mist, Shield, Shocking Grasp, Silent Image, Unseen Servant

Spells Memorized
0th: Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation, Detect Magic, Daze
1st: Shield, Burning Hands, Shocking Grasp, Silent Image

Skills: 18 ranks (2 class, +3 int, +1 racial) x 3 Class skills.*
7 Acrobatics +4 dex, +3 rank
3 Appraise +3 int
0 Bluff
0 Climb*
6/10 Concentration +3 int, +3 lvl, (+4 casting defensively or grappled (feat))
11 Craft Alchemy* +3 int, +3 class skill, +3 rank, +2 Alchemist's Lab
0 Diplomacy
0 Disguise
4 Escape Artist +4 dex
2 Fly* +4 dex
-1 Heal -1 wis
0 Intimidate*
8 Know Arcana* +3 int, +3 class skill, +2 rank
8 Know Planes* +3 int, +3 class skill, +2 rank
0 Perception -1 Wis +1 rank
0 Perform
4 Ride* +4 dex
-1 Sense Motive -1 Wis
8 Spellcraft* +3 int, +3 class skill, +2 rank
7 Stealth +4 dex, +3 rank
-1 Survival -1 Wis
0 Swim*
6 Use Mgc Device* +3 Class skill, +3 rank

Starting Cash 3000gp (3rd lvl)
Cash: 21.1 Gold Weight of Gear: 34.5 lb.
Cost Item lbs Stored
0 Explorer's Outfit 0 Worn
0 Traveling Spellbk* 1 Backpack
1100 Mithral Shirt 10 Worn
750 Wand of Mgc Missile 0 Belt
340 Cold Iron Rapier 2 Sheath on Back
325 1/2 Cure Light Wand 0 Tashtigo
200 Alchemist's Lab 0 Left with trustworthy NPC
75 Ioun Torch* 0 Orbiting head or tucked in pocket
50 Masterwk Backpack* 4 Worn
25 Holy Water 1 Pocket
25 Scroll: Obscuring Mist 0 Scroll Case
25 Scroll: Mount 0 Scroll Case
20 Alchemist's Fire** x2 2 Backpack
8 Kukri 2 Sheath on chest
8 Ink 0 Backpack
7.5 Alkali Flask** 1 Backpack
5 Spell Comp. Pouch 2 Belt
5 Spare Comp. Pouch 0 Tashtigo
5 Wp. Blanch: Silv.** x2*2 Backpack
1 Waterskin 4 Backpack
1 Scroll Case 0.5 Belt
1 Parchment x5 0 Backpack
1 Flint+Steel 0 Backpack
0.8 Signal Whistle 0 Cord around neck
0.5 1 Day's Rations 1 Backpack
0.1 Ink Pen 0 Backpack

*See APG
**Made for 1/2 price with Alchemy skill, taking 10.

Arcane Pool (Su): At 1st level, a magus can expend 1
point from his arcane pool as a swift
action to grant any weapon he is
holding a +1 enhancement bonus for
1 minute. For every four levels beyond
1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement
bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level.
These bonuses can be added to the weapon,
stacking with existing weapon enhancement
to a maximum of +5. This ability counts as
the Arcane Strike feat for meeting any
prerequisites. Multiple uses of this ability do not
stack with themselves

Spell Combat (Ex): At 1st level, a magus learns to cast
spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This
functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the offhand
weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this
ability, the magus must have one hand free, while wielding
a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As
a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with
his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any
spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1
standard action. If he casts this spell defensively, he can
decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls,
up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount
as a circumstance bonus to his concentration check. If
the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still
take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell
first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more
than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon
attacks. The magus must have one hand free to use this
ability, even if the spell being cast does not contain
somatic components.

Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts
a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell
list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is
wielding as part of a melee attack. If successful, this
melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the
effects of the spell. Instead of the free melee touch attack
normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make
one free melee attack with his weapon as part of casting
this spell. If used with spell combat, this does not grant
an additional attack.

Wand Wielder (Su): A magus with this magus arcana can
activate a wand or staff in place of casting a spell when
using spell combat.

Tashtigo, lvl3 Cleric of Calistra:

Human Lvl 3 N Cleric of Calistra (20 point buy, core+APG, no traits)

16 Str Light load < 86 < Medium Load < 173
13 Dex Init: +5 (+1 dex, +4 feat)
12 Con
10 Int Common
16 Wis
10 Cha

BAB +2 CMB +5 (+2 BAB, +3 str)

Cold Iron Longspear (Reach)
+6 to hit (+3 Str, +2 BAB, +1 Mwk) d8+4 (+4 1.5 x Str two hands)

Max HP 23 (17 Hit Die, +3 con, +3 Favored Class)

AC 19 (+6 armor, +1 enhance, +1 Dex, +1 Dodge) or
AC 21 (+6 armor, +1 enhance, +1 Dex, + 2 shield, +1 Dodge)
CMD: 16

Saves: Fort 4 (+1 con, +3 class) Ref 2 (+1 dex, +1 class) Will 6 (+3 wis, +3 class)

Feats and Features:
Simple Weapons, Med Armor, Shields except tower.
Improved Initiative (lvl 1)
Extra Channel (lvl 3)
Dodge (Human)
Proficiency: Whip (Calistra Follower)
Domains: Trickery Power: Bit of Luck
1st lvl Domain spell: Alter Self,
2nd lvl Domain spell: Aid
Luck Power: Copycat
1st lvl Domain spell: True strike,
2nd lvl Domain spell: Invisibility

Channel Positive Energy, 5/day, 30' Radius, Save DC 11
Either Heal Living or Damage Undead for 2d6

Bit of Luck (Sp): (6/day) You can touch a willing creature as a
standard action, giving it a bit of luck. For the next round,
any time the target rolls a d20, he may roll twice and take
the more favorable result.

Copycat (Sp): (6/day) You can create an illusory double of yourself as
a move action. This double functions as a single mirror image
and lasts for a number of rounds equal to your cleric level, or
until the illusory duplicate is dispelled or destroyed. You can
have no more than one copycat at a time. This ability does
not stack with the mirror image spell.

Spells Save DC Cast on the Defensive DC
0th 4 13 15
1st 3+Domain 14 17
2nd 2+Domain 15 19

Memorized:
0th Guidance, Virtue, Resistance, Detect Magic
1st Bless Cause Fear Protection fr. Evil Domain: Alter Self
2nd Hold Person Spiritual Weapon Domain: Invisibility

Skills 9 ranks: (2 Class, +1 Human)x3 Class Skill*

-2 Acrobatics (+1 Dex, -3 Armor)
0 Appraise*
6 Bluff* (3 Rank, +3 Class Skill)
0 Climb (+3 Str, -3 Armor)
3 Craft* (+3 Wis)
0 Diplomacy
0 Disguise*
-2 Escape Artist (+1 Dex, -3 Armor)
-2 Fly (+1 Dex, -3 armor)
7 Heal* (+3 Wis, 1 rank, +3 class)
0 Intimidate
- Know Arcana*
- Know History*
- Know Nobility*
- Know Planes*
5 Know Religion* (+3 Class skill, 2 Rank)
- Linguistics*
3 Perception (+3 Wis)
0 Perform
- Profession*
1 Ride (+1 Dex)
3 Sense Motive* (+3 Wis)
- Spellcraft*
4 Stealth* (+1 Dex, 3 Rank, +3 Class Skill, -3 Armor)
3 Survival (+3 Wis)
0 Swim (+3 Str, -3 Armor)

Level 3 Gold: 3000 Cash: 458.5 Total Weight: 81.5 lb
Cost Item Lbs. Stored
0 Explorer's Outfit 0 Worn
1200 Breastplate +1 30 Worn
398 Mwk Silv Morn Star 9 Belt
350 1/2 Wand of CLW 0 Belt
310 Cold Iron Longspr. 9 Carried
75 Ioun Torch* 0 Orbiting Head or in Pocket
50 Mwk Backpack* 4 Worn
25 Silv. Holy Symbol 1 Worn around Neck
25 Holy Water 1 Pocket
25 Scroll: Comp. Lang 0 Scroll Case
25 Scroll: End. Elemnt 0 Scroll Case
25 Scroll: Obsc. Mist 0 Scroll Case
20 Alch. Fire x2** 2 Backpack
7 Heavy Wood Shld 10 Slung on Back
2 Dagger 1 Boot
1 Scroll Case 0.5 Belt
1 Flint+Steel 0 Backpack
1 Waterskin 4 backpack
0.8 Signal Whistle 0 Pocket
0.5 Rations: 1 day 1 Backpack
0.2 Bedroll x2 10 Backpack
0 Spare Comp. Pch 2 Backpack

*See APG
**At cost from Grigori


Effective average party level for two 3rd level PCs is 2. I'll do encounters of level, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Randomly, the order is ECL 2, then 1, then 4, then 3.

Every 37 years, there's a meteor shower that sometimes yields adamantium-rich meteoroids. One with hibernating Akatas (Bestiary 2) in it (those creepy tentacle blue lion things) lands in the Forest of Danger. The local vegepygmies decide that the meteoroid is a sacred seed from the heavens, so they're protecting it. The PCs' druid friend Oak already went to check it out and killed a handful of the akatas and their misguided plant people before being killed himself and turned into a void zombie. Digger, Oak's Dire Badger animal companion (Bestiary 2) gets bitten and infected by the akata parasites. Only humanoids can turn into void zombies, but poor Digger has been driven mad by the infestation. He's been roaming around the site of the meteoroid, randomly tearing creatures, plants, and boulders to pieces with his massive claws.

An astronomer friend of the PCs, watching from her observatory miles away, thinks that she saw a meteorite going down somewhere in the Forest of Danger. The PCs set off to the Forest of Danger to meet up with Oak to act as their guide as they search for the potentially enormously valuable space rock. Reaching Oak's tiny cabin midmorning, they find it empty.

Oak's journal, dated one day earlier, says that he and his Dire Badger animal companion Digger were setting off to investigate an explosion in the notch between Crooked Peak and Bare Hill. Finding the two landmarks on their map, Grigori and Tashtigo decide to strike out for the site on their own, not wanting to risk being scooped by less cautious treasure hunters.

Lacking any particular wilderness skill, Grigori and Tashtigo head directly overland for the gap between the hill and the peak, trying to keep the landmarks in sight. Grigori climbs trees to check their bearings. Tashtigo makes the survival skill check using Guidance and his Bit of Luck ability. Considering the length of time the one check represents, it requires three uses of Bit of Luck to receive the benefit of one. First roll is 17 (13 +1 guidance, +3 wis), which surpasses the DC 15 for not getting lost. The PCs arrive in the vicinity without incident, and with ~3 hours of daylight remaining.

Focusing on not getting lost, the PCs are not making any particular effort to be stealthy. Opposed perception checks will determine who spots whom first, the PCs or the enraged Digger. Digger perceives at 17, Grigori at 2, and Tashtigo at 11. Digger attempts to stealth up to the PCs, dig down, and then break up through the ground beneath their feet. Digger stealths at 12, surprising both PCs.


Initiative: Digger at 22, Grigori also got 22, but as his init. mod is lower that Digger’s, he gets bumped down to 21, and then Tashtigo at 18. Digger gets an action in the surprise round.

As Grigori and Tashtigo approach the vicinity of the meteorite, they find evidence of strange goings on; some small trees are uprooted and larger ones have deep gouges. There are fresh holes in the earth, seemingly dug at random. “Is this from the falling star?” asks Grigori? “I do not think stars leave claw marks, Grig.” says Tashtigo, tracing the wounds in an ancient tree. The cleric gauges the depth of four parallel cuts in the trunk, each half a hand deep.

The ground beneath [random] Tashtigo’s feet buckles, and two pair of shovel-like claws emerge, followed by a shaggy triangular snout full of gnashing teeth. The great beast (12: 8 +4 attk) tries to bite through the cleric of Calistra’s grieves, but can’t get a good angle on the bite to penetrate the metal (Tashtigo’s Flat footed AC is 17).

Before the magus or cleric can overcome their astonishment at being set upon by their contact’s animal companion, Digger rears back on his powerful haunches and tears into Tashtigo: Bite AC 12, Claw AC 18 (5 pts dmg), Claw AC 15. The cleric’s magic armor stops two of the three angry badger’s attacks. “Oak, it’s us, Call off Digger!” shouts Grigori into the air, and spends an arcane pool point to enhance his rapier. Grigori moves into flanking position and readies an action to attack if Oak does not appear from hiding to stop his companion before the dire creature attacks again. Tashtigo, bleeding from the dirt-filled claw wound in his thigh, takes a 5’ step away from Digger and waves his longspear back and forth in front of the beast (nat 3 on the attk.). “Calistra’s whips on you, grub eater!” he yells at the 500 pound animal.

Digger, unhinged by the infection of alien parasites, [random] takes a 5’ step towards Tashtigo, intending to rip him up. Grigori gets a sense motive check to see if he recognizes this move toward his friend as part of an attack, thus triggering Grigori’s AoO: [nat 1] the magus is not close enough to strike when Digger attacks. Muscles ripple beneath Digger’s striped fur; his bite falls short (modified AC 9) but then his thick claws find their way under Tashtigo’s breastplate (modified AC 22, and 23) to tear out his guts for 8 points of rending agony [10 remain]. In trouble, the cleric 5’ steps back and casts Cause Fear at Digger, who saves vs. the magical fear with a nat 20.

Unhurt, but confused and scared, the former animal companion lashes out at [random] Tahstigo (this thing really seems to hate that cleric). After a 5’ step and a guttural growl, Digger bites and lashes out randomly with his claws in a threatening but ineffective display (nat 2, 3, 1). Now ten feet away, Grigori takes a moment to cast shocking grasp, then draws his wand of magic missile and moves into position next to Digger. Tashtigo 5’ steps back and viciously stabs at the badger with his cold iron longspear (nat 16), for 12 (max damage), sinking the tip of his spear deep into the creature’s abdomen, down to the crossbar [10 hp remain for Digger].

Digger’s pupils contract and he begins to foam at the mouth as the blood rage (+2 str, +2 con, -2 AC) kicks in [hp up to 13]. He 5’ steps up to the human who hurt him and, distracted by the burning alien infection scratches and bites all around Tashtigo without connecting (nat 3, 2, 3). “I will end this now, Tash!” cries Girogori confidently, and he steps forward, his sparking blade in one had and his wand in the other. He hits Digger (AC 18: 12 +6 attk with spell combat), the rapier penetrating for 5 points, and the arcing shocking grasp spell discharging through the weapon for an additional 10 points of electric damage. Point blank, Grigori fires an eldritch purple dart of force from his wand into the bloodied badger for yet 2 more points, 17 total [Digger at -4], a storm of arcane punishment that by rights, should have shredded the creature. Due to his ferocity ability however, Digger refuses to admit that he is dead, and keeps fighting until at negative con (currently 19).

Digger bleeds for 1 [at -5 hp] and turns to eat the human who hurt him so, but (modified AC 10) can’t catch the nimble magus. Grigori, not understanding why the fight is not over, fights defensively (nat 18) stabbing the stubborn animal for another 6 points of rapier [-11]. Tashtigo fights conservatively, judging by the visibility of Digger’s innards that the dire animal is close to death. The blood-raging dire badger leaves itself open to another spearing (nat 18), this time for 7 points of damage [-18].

On Digger’s turn, the ill-fated dire badger vomits blood and collapses with a thud [bleeds to -19].

Dark Archive

Nice!

I am as yet, unconvinced by Wand Wielder. I'm not sure I buy that 3.5 damage extra is worth -2 to hit on the weapon. The rapier is going to do much more than that normally and even more when you can start using your weapon enhancement for extra d6's of damage. And the cost of higher level wands gets pretty ridiculous, not that you'll probably need them since at later levels the number of spells you have is pretty sufficient for a day's fights.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
Nice!
thanks!
YuenglingDragon wrote:


I am as yet, unconvinced by Wand Wielder. I'm not sure I buy that 3.5 damage extra is worth -2 to hit on the weapon.

Isn't that basically the same deal as power attack? Except it's better than power attack because it's auto-hit, ranged, force dmg.

YuenglingDragon wrote:
The rapier is going to do much more than that normally and even more when you can start using your weapon enhancement for extra d6's of damage. And the cost of higher level wands gets pretty ridiculous, not that you'll probably need them since at later levels the number of spells you have is pretty sufficient for a day's fights.

I agree with you about wands. For a few levels, I see the M.Missile wand being important (though less each level) as a way to keep damage levels decent. But as spells/day climbs, there will more and more often be a better choice for spell combat than a d4+1 M Missile. After that, maybe Use Magic Device with a wand of CLW to heal and attack in the same round? Or maybe UMD with a wand of Hydraulic Push (APG) to attk and bullrush? At higher levels, staves (staffs?) would replace wands.


There's always the possibility of debuffing the creature you're about to attack. Prone(Grease) or Blind(Glitterdust) are both quite spammable in fights with many opponents, and more than make up for the -2 to attack (should they fail the save).


i took familiar for my magus.

I will stay away from wand wielder until (if) i find a decent staff.

so far, ive had my bat carry vials of cure light wounds, and deliver some touch attacks. Some of the bonus's have been nice.

Im interested to see what its like to take a familiar all the way up, because the magus can.

Ive always been an EK or a MT, or a AT, and thus the familiar suffered from split levels.

I want to see what i can do with a familiar now. The magus is going to have more hit points than the typical wizard, so his familiar will be a bit more survivable too.

I want to try stupid things like flanking with my own familiar etc, things that you would never get to try with a wizard.


Gruuuu wrote:
There's always the possibility of debuffing the creature you're about to attack. Prone(Grease) or Blind(Glitterdust) are both quite spammable in fights with many opponents, and more than make up for the -2 to attack (should they fail the save).

I like the grease idea for a level or two, until the save DC gets too low to trip up most foes. A wand of Glitterdust would cost 4500: (2nd lvl spell x min caster lvl 3 x 750 base price). At that price, I wouldn't call it affordable until level 6 (starting gold 1600) unless you invest a feat in craft wands, which might be a good idea, actually.

With Craft Wands, a wand of Glitterdust (2,250) is reasonable at lvl5 (starting gold 10,500). The save DC would be 13 (10 +2 spell lvl, +1 min 12 int to cast). An unscientific sampling of Will saves on CR4 critters (Korred +7, Giant Stag Beetle +2, Weretiger +4, Dire Boar +4, Gray Ooze immune, Griffon +4) makes it seem that the spell has a fair chance to blind, especially since it affects a 20' x 20' foot square.


Pendagast wrote:

i took familiar for my magus...

I want to see what i can do with a familiar now. The magus is going to have more hit points than the typical wizard, so his familiar will be a bit more survivable too.

I want to try stupid things like flanking with my own familiar etc, things that you would never get to try with a wizard.

The typical familiar-phile approach is to take Improved Familiar for something with decent charisma and hands, so it can use your UMD ranks to spam low-level wands. I love familiars because they're fun for RP, give mondo bonuses, (eventually) make good scouts, and can aid other on many skill checks. I easily could have gone that way with Grigori, but I felt I needed to do something about damage.


Exle wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

i took familiar for my magus...

I want to see what i can do with a familiar now. The magus is going to have more hit points than the typical wizard, so his familiar will be a bit more survivable too.

I want to try stupid things like flanking with my own familiar etc, things that you would never get to try with a wizard.

The typical familiar-phile approach is to take Improved Familiar for something with decent charisma and hands, so it can use your UMD ranks to spam low-level wands. I love familiars because they're fun for RP, give mondo bonuses, (eventually) make good scouts, and can aid other on many skill checks. I easily could have gone that way with Grigori, but I felt I needed to do something about damage.

familiars can use YOUR umd?

hmmm musta missed that.

anyway, my magus is currently 7th level.

I do tons of damage.

in one of the last fights i brought down a chimera nearly single handedly (crit with a falcata and a 5d6 shocking grasp)

3rd level is a little early to be putting out big damage.
but a dex based magus isnt going to be the apple of destruction anyway.

I think i would have put that 12 into str gust to get a bit more damage and used my prefered class for +1 hp.

maybe would have picked a longsword for more damage.

The dex/weapon fineese thing always looks attractive but has it's issues with damage output as you are noticing.

Try the same play test once you are done, but make gregori II, put his 12 in str, like i said above, go with longsword instead of rapier and see how the same exact fight comes out?

drop weapon fineese and pick up power attack, or trade weapon fineese for WP falcata and use one of those.

My magus has a high dex too (i rolled well and have an elf) i open alot of encounters with my bow at first.

You arent really going to need the weapon fineese for plus to hit tho. if the critter is hard to hit, touch attack spells could make up the difference.
If it's not hard to hit, but has tons of hit points, going two handed on the longsword, bulls strength, spell strike would be the way to go.

longsword, 12str, power attack is going to be more damage on average than rapier plus magic missle.

the rapier has 1/20th more of a chance to crit but will have less 'beef' on that crit when it does, so there is a wash.

The only thing you get out of the rapier is a +3 more likelihood to hit.
Like i said, if your magus is finding something hard to hit, back off and use a bow, (getting your dex in there and could still use strength with a composite on damage) use a touch spell, use flamming sphere, flank it with tash, etc.

I think your build put to much redundancy in one basket.

a wand of vampiric touch however would be a nice, erm, touch.


In the wake of the battle with Digger the Dire Badger, Tashtigo uses 3 charges from the party’s wand of CLW to return himself to full HP. 47 charges remain, so I’m not going to bother tracking that. The two characters examine the steaming corpse for any clue as to why it flipped out on them, Tashtigo tries Heal, with Bit of Luck and Guidance, to check for signs of disease that might have caused the former animal companion to go crazy. First roll 19 (12 +1 guidance, +7 heal), second roll lower 16. The cleric of Calistra parts some of the dead animal’s dirty fur to find a strange round puncture not matching the PCs’ weapons. Tashtigo does not recognize it as the signature wound that a Void Zombie (Bestiary 2) makes with its alien parasite-injecting tongue attack. The magus, also with guidance and Bit of Luck, thinking back to the animal’s behavior while alive, attempts to use spellcraft to determine whether Digger seemed to be acting under a magical compulsion. First roll 15 (6 +1 guidance, +8 spellcraft), second roll 22. Grigori ties the badger’s bad behavior to the unnatural wound that Tashtigo found, but since Akatas are abominations and he doesn’t have Know: Dungeoneering, that’s all he gets. Tashtigo has 1 use of Bit of Luck Remaining.

Climbing further into the notch between Crooked Peak and Bald Hill, where Oak’s journal reported he saw the meteor fall, and on edge from the badger attack, Grigori and Tashtigo move more cautiously. Grigori stealths at 24 (17 +7 skill), and Tashtigo at (using his last Bit of Luck) at 23 (19 +4 skill). This close to the crash site, a burnt odor lingers from the brief blaze that the falling star sparked where it landed.

Up ahead in the trees, Oak, the former druid now Void Zombie (Bestiary 2) is mindlessly stalking things to try to infect with alien parasites. It doesn’t recognize the plant vegepygmies as targets, and fortunately, it hasn’t encountered any other humanoids yet. It’s first victim, Digger, has already been killed by the PCs. Oak has a hawk held to his face that, feathers burnt in the previous night’s fire, was not able to fly away from him. Oak perceives at 16, noticing neither character. Oak is not hiding, but the PCs may not notice his undead state. The magus perceives at 3, and the cleric at 9. [I’m starting to think each PC should invest a few more points in that skill.]

“Oak!” calls Grigori, spoiling his concealment, “What happened to Digger? Are you ok?” The wiser Tashtigo holds his tongue for the moment. Surprised, the mindless former druid releases the near-dead hawk, which slides off of the tip of the Void Zombie’s 3-foot tongue tendril and drops to the ground with a plop. Through knowledge: religion, 23 (18 +5 skill) Tashtigo recognizes that Oak is now a Fast Zombie (Bestiary), but does not know what the tongue tendril is, since that is actually an abomination living in the zombie host. Only Tashtigo acts in the surprise round, standing to channel positive energy “Calistra redeem thee, Oak!” for a disappointing 2 points (2d6 = 1+3 =4, Oak saves for ½ dmg.) The holy light from Tashtigo’s symbol of Calistra reflects dully in the zombie’s dead eyes, and from the dripping alien appendage snaking about in his slack jaw.


Pendagast wrote:
familiars can use YOUR umd? hmmm musta missed that.

It gets your skill ranks, so when UMD is high enough, they can use wands reliably.

SRD wrote:
Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master's skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar's total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar's ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, and Swim as class skills.
Pendagast wrote:

I think i would have put that 12 into str gust to get a bit more damage and used my prefered class for +1 hp.

Try the same play test once you are done, but make gregori II, put his 12 in str, like i said above, go with longsword instead of rapier and see how the same exact fight comes out?

drop weapon fineese and pick up power attack, or trade weapon fineese for WP falcata and use one of those.

You arent really going to need the weapon fineese for plus to hit tho. if the critter is hard to hit, touch attack spells could make up the difference.
If it's not hard to hit, but has tons of hit points, going two handed on the longsword, bulls strength, spell strike would be the way to go.

longsword, 12str, power attack is going to be more damage on average than rapier plus magic missle.

the rapier has 1/20th more of a chance to crit but will have less 'beef' on that crit when it does, so there is a wash.

The only thing you get out of the rapier is a +3 more likelihood to hit.
Like i said, if your magus is finding something hard to hit, back off and use a bow, (getting your dex in there and could still use strength with a composite on damage) use a touch spell, use flamming sphere, flank it with tash, etc.

I think your build put to much redundancy in one basket.

a wand of vampiric touch however would be a nice, erm, touch.

I'll try putting together a 3rd level strength-based build using your suggestions and put them side-by-side to compare.


Initiative: First Tashtigo at 9, followed by Grig (also at 9, but with a lower init. mod), then the Void Zombie at 2 (1 +1 dex).

“Kill it, Grig, that’s not Oak!” shouts Tashtigo, who uses a move action to activate copycat (5 uses remain) and sets a longspear attack against an anticipated charge from the zombie. “Let it come,” the cleric grunts. Following his comrade's lead, the Magus expends an arcane pool point to enhance his rapier, takes up his position in front of Tashtigo but behind the point of his spear, and readies an attack if Oak’s animated corpse comes in melee. Heedless of the PCs’ tactics, the non-intelligent former druid steps right into their readied attacks. Tashtigo thrusts his spear at the corpse’s inhabited throat for 10 damage. Since the zombie did not charge, the cleric does not deal extra damage for setting his spear. Grigori also hits (nat 13 vs. the Void Zombie's 13 AC), finishing putting Oak's remains to rest with 4 points of rapier to the face.


Exle wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

a wand of vampiric touch however would be a nice, erm, touch.

I'll try putting...

dont make a new character just move the stats.

you dont need mondo stats to be more effective.

use dex for ranged, a little bit of strength and a bigger weapon should make alot of difference.

try a fight that maybe dex grig got beat up on on defeated and do the same fight with strength-grig.

I was thinking, instead of power attack (since you dont have the 13 str) just go bastard sword, str 12.

leave the dex at 18, he should be able to have a longbow.

had I built character from level 1, I would have gone str 12, con 10 dex 18.
leather armor, longsword, shortbow.

would also have alleviated the need for tash to carry some gear.

at level 3 i would pick up bastard sword as a feat because he can afford one now. maybe even masterwork.

the bastard sword gives 1d10 damage and the same crit as a long sword.

w/ bulls strength no crit and spellstrike (two handed) grig would average 20 pts of damage (1 point from pool to enhance wep)

just spell combat no bulls strength:
he would be 7 average from the sword and 9 average from the shocking grasp (16 total)

this way with the 12 strength instead of 12 con, you have easily picked up the "extra" damage from the magic missile.

the only benefit from MM is the auto hit, however, i think you will find touch attacks are going to be silly easy to land on enemies with a magus, who has a much better BAB than the typical wizard.


MY version of grig:

Human Magus, Lvl3 (20 point buy, core+APG+Magus Playtest, no traits)
12 Str +1 damage/hit
18 Dex init +4
10 Con
16 Int Common, Draconic, Sylvan, Aklo
8 Wis
10 Cha

BAB +2 Combat Maneuver Bonus: 2 (2 BAB + 1 Str)

Max HP 23 (17 Hit Die, +3 favored class, +3 feat)

Saves: Fort +5 (+2 familiar, +3 class) Ref +5 (+4 dex, +1 class) Will +2 (-1 Wis, +3 class)

AC: 18 (+4 dex, +4 armor) Flat-footed: 14 Touch: 14 CMD: 16 (10 +2 BAB +4 dex)

Feats and Class Features:
Weapon Proficiency (exotic): Bastard Sword
Combat Casting (Human)
Toughness
Alertness (familiar)
Light Armor Proficiency, Simple + Martial Weapon Proficiencies (Class)
Cast Spells in Light Armor with No Arcane Failure Chance (class)
Arcane Spell Pool: 4 (1 lvl, +3 Int)
Spell Combat
Spellstrike
Magus Arcana: familiar Rat

Dark Archive

Exle wrote:
Isn't that basically the same deal as power attack? Except it's better than power attack because it's auto-hit, ranged, force dmg.

Well, it's not quite as effective as power attack numerically. Power attack gives 2 damage per 1 attack and if it were anyone but a Magus with their specific restrictions, they'd be getting 3 for 1 with a 2-hander. Yeas auto hit is nice which increases minimum damage and force is useful but better than power attack? Nope. You forgot the biggest benefit of Power Attack; it will never cost you a single clipped copper.

Exle wrote:
I agree with you about wands. For a few levels, I see the M.Missile wand being important (though less each level) as a way to keep damage levels decent. But as spells/day climbs, there will more and more often be a better choice for spell combat than a d4+1 M Missile. After that, maybe Use Magic Device with a wand of CLW to heal and attack in the same round? Or maybe UMD with a wand of Hydraulic Push (APG) to attk and bullrush? At higher levels, staves (staffs?) would replace wands.

Staves, I think.

CLW, maybe. Hydraulic Push? Unless you're paying a ton for a higher level version, your CMB is gonna be pretty low for the Bull Rush attempt. I'm just not sure I see too many uses.

Staves maybe. I'm not sure I can conscience paying the cost of one or the opportunity cost of not selling a found one. I just have a hard time seeing it.


YuenglingDragon wrote:


CLW, maybe. Hydraulic Push? Unless you're paying a ton for a higher level version, your CMB is gonna be pretty low for the Bull Rush attempt. I'm just not sure I see too many uses.

Ah, I was forgetting the fact that wands typically use minimum caster level.


Creeped out but uninjured by their battle with the zombified druid, Tashtigo and Grigori circle the area, looking for the meteoroid. They come upon a rocky place where trees are burned half bare. There is an oval of blackened and overturned earth and stone as from a tremendous explosion. Surprisingly, at the center of the otherwise barren space is a dense cluster of brush, saplings and vines (all planted by the vegepygmies to cover their new precious object).

“Anything could be hiding in there, Grig.” says Tashtigo.
“I wish Oak were alive, but since he’s not here to object, let us lob alchemist’s fire into yon thicket.” says Grogori.
“Do you remember you made a similar suggestion at the shrine to Calistra?” asks the cleric, digging out his two ceramic alchemical bombs.


The PCs approach to within 30’ of the edge of the transplanted thicket, which covers a 20’ radius circle around the shallow-buried meteoroid. Two hidden vegepygmies stand guard, one hidden at 38, and the other at 26 (they get +18 stealth in vegetation). Neither PC can perceive that high, even on a nat 20. There is also an assassin vine draped about over the heaven-seed, brought there by the vegepygmies, who bring it enough small animals to keep it from wandering off. The assassin vine is too deep in the thicket, camouflaged, and low to the ground for the PCs to have a chance to detect it from their current position.

Grigori hurls an alchemist fire in a graceful arc toward the center of the thicket: 8 (10 -8 distance, +4 dex, +2 BAB) which lands where he intended. The vegepygmies are closer to the edge of the cover near the PCs, so the bomb sails over their heads. The assassin vine has resist fire 10, so it doesn’t react. Tashtigo throws his alchemist fire after Grigori’s: 0 (5, -8 distance, +1 dex, +2 BAB) The missile flies [random direction = 8] 40 feet away from the center of the clearing, splashing fire on the trunk of an already burnt tree, no where near anybody.

Both characters catch a glimpse of a halfling-sized plant-man turn and run back into the brush as one of the vegepygmies breaks cover to make sure the fire doesn’t spread by spreading damp earth over the tiny flames. Grigori throws his remaining alchemist’s fire at the strange creature, 40’ away missing, sizzling away in the bushes. (8, -6 distance, +4 dex, +2 BAB). Tashtigo throws his second incendiary toward the clearing’s center again, (modified 1). His throw falls short, halfway between the characters and the near edge of the transplanted greenery.

“That was two-score royals’ worth of fire” laughs Grigori, pulling his kukri, meaning to hack a way to the center of the strange anti-clearing of vegetation in the center of the blasted clearing.
“Stay close.” whispers Tashtigo, scanning the dense plants for movement, spear at the ready.

Initiative runs: Vegepygmies on 7, Tashtigo on 11, Grigori at 16, Assassin Vine at 4, once either of the warm-bloods approaches within its reach (the entire plant-covered area.)

First Grigori starts swinging his kukri, making a way into the dense foliage. Tashtigo expects tiny plant-man reprisal, so he readies a spear attack triggered by something appearing to take a swing at his magus friend. The two vegepygmies stab at Grigori with their longspears, the tips of which appeared, until that moment, to be thorns growing naturally among the others. The first swats his longspear against the surprised magus’s mithral (11 +1 vs. Grig’s flat-foot AC 14), the other point catching under Grigori’s collar bone (nat 20 to attack, modified 12 to confirm) for 5 hp. Since the vegepygmies are two longspears' distance away from Tashtigo, they do not trigger his readied attack. The assassin vine mindless waits.

Liberty's Edge

Does wand-wielder have to be offensive? Can you use it with True Strike? Just curious.


Lyrax wrote:
Does wand-wielder have to be offensive? Can you use it with True Strike? Just curious.

Any wand.


For the first time since character creation, Grigori spots a chance to catch two foes in an AoE! Grigori takes a 5’ step back and lets loose with a howl and a cone of magic flame: Burning hands for 3d4=11 points. Neither woodland creature could withstand the inferno, saving throw or no. There’s a chance some of the recently planted brush is dry enough to ignite: I’ll give it a 50’ chance: [random] yup: the fire spreads from the vegepygmies’ smoldering bodies. Grigori and Tashtigo are standing just beyond the edge of the bracken, so they are not affected. The PCs wait a moment for the fire to burn down before continuing.

“Grig, use this.” says Tashtigo, passing the wand of CLW. Grigori thinks really hard about what it would be like to be able to cast Cure Light Wounds and tries to wrest a charge from the wand: 15 (9 + 6 Use Magic Device) vs. DC 20. Tashtigo snickers. Grigori tries again, failing with a Nat 3. During this time, the assassin vine, which has resist fire 10, has been creeping closer, but “instinctively“ keeping to the cover of the brush. The vine creeps at 5’ per round. It doesn’t have the stealth skill, but it’s camouflage (EX) ability works like a stealth check of 20. Grig perceives at 4, Tashtigo at 6.

A moment later, as much of the foliage in the area around the buried meteorite is green, the fire from the burning hands spell has gone out. Through the partially-thinned out brush, it is evident that the earth is mounded up towards the center of the mysterious flora, as if something large were buried there. After a couple more tries, Grigori manages to heal himself using the wand of Cure Light Wounds, so the PCs are ready to proceed. Tashtigo switches to his shield and morningstar because of the close quarters of the shoulder-high bushes. The heroes enter the zone of plants, eyes anxious for creatures approaching from either side, unaware that they tread the very stalks of their deadliest foe yet! Initiative runs: Tashtigo, Assassin Vine, Grigori, with the Assassin Vine acting alone in the surprise round.

In a sudden spray of sooty earth, a vine the thickness of a man’s wrist slashes up from the ground at [random] Grigori, (nat 1) showering him with dirt but missing. Tashtigo, unable to discern which parts of his environment want to kill him, uses a move action to tuck his weapon his arm to free up a hand for spellcasting, and summons Calistra’s Lash (spiritual weapon), provoking an AoO from the Vine. The vine strikes AC 17 (10 +7 to hit): a whip-like green tendril clashing soundly against the Cleric’s wooden shield. A shimmering strand of condensed light appears and at Tashtigo’s word, snaps ineffectively at the animate plant AC 9 (4 +2 BAB +3 Wis), fouling in the tangle of bramble all about the creature. “Know thy place, salad!” Cries Grigori, and attempts to power his rapier with a casting of Shocking Grasp (he does not know that plants are immune to electricity). His attempt to cast defensively passes easily. Grigori uses a swift action to charge his rapier with an Arcane Pool Point (his third use of the day) and attacks using Spellstrike. The magus hits AC 14 (6 +8 to hit), failing to penetrate the tough fibrous vine.

On Tashtigo’s turn, the spiritual weapon lashes again (Modified 10), not even leaving a mark on the tangled writhing plant creature. Unable to step out of the vine’s reach to cast safely, the cleric of Calistra uses his move to ready his gleaming silvered morningstar again, and tries smashing the thing like herbs with a mortar: nat 14 beats its AC, and the cleric breaks one of the vine’s branches, releasing a pungent sap smell: 4 points of dmg (2 +3 str, -1 Silvered). The assassin vine slithers back 5’ to take advantage of its reach, and compels all the plantings, including those whose surfaces are scorched but whose life lingers in the root, to entangle its prey. Both PCs save vs. the effect (reflex DC 13, Tash: nat 14, Grig nat 16), so they manage to evade the grasping branches, but they must save again each turn they remain in the area of plants. The unintelligent vine grabs at [random] Tashtigo, (nat 10, needs a nat 14 to hit), but the wary cleric fends off the tentacle-like plant appendage. Grigori cannot take a 5’ step in the difficult terrain, so he provokes an AoO as he advances to find a piece of the vine central enough to be worth striking. The vine hits AC 23 (nat 16 +7 to hit) for 9 points of crushing impact, and attempts to snake around the magus’s waist in a constricting grapple. The vine’s grapple check is 26 (13 +13 grapple), vs Grigori’s CMD of 16- the magus is now grappled, out of reach of the vulnerable central stalk. Unable to reach with his yet- sparking rapier, Grigori draws his wand of Magic Missile and fires an angry-red dart of eldritch energy into the thing for 5 points. So far, the two heroes’ combined efforts have reduced the vine from 30 to 20 hp.

Tashtigo’s/Calistra’s Lash strikes true, this last round before returning to the goddess, (nat 14), for 4 points of force damage, spilling sap from the central trunk of the vine. On the assassin vine’s turn, Tashtigo must again save or become entangled (Grigori is already grappled), and he does so easily, crushing beneath his heel the low sapling trying to restrain him. With Grigori the soon-to-be fertilizer securely in hand, the assassin vine begins a slow withdrawal. It moves back 5’ and attempts to crush Grigori’s bones to meal: Grapple Check 32, exactly double poor Grigori’s CMD. The successful grapple allows the vine to deal slam damage (d8+7 = 15), and its constrict ability deals an additional (d8+7 = 10) points of damage, for 25 total. Combined with the 9 points last round, Gigori has taken 34 points, putting him at -11.

So ends my magus playtest!


how anti climactic...
I had to read it twice..i was like, wait what just happened?


Pendagast wrote:

how anti climactic...

I had to read it twice..i was like, wait what just happened?

I know right, bummer! I noticed a couple of errors (forgot to use tumble with Grigori, missed Tashtigo's last turn) so I reran the scenario with corrections. Here it is again, but be warned, it ends the same way.

Grigori's Alternate Ending:

On Tashtigo’s turn, the spiritual weapon lashes again (Modified 10), not even leaving a mark on the tangled writhing plant creature. Unable to step out of the vine’s reach to cast safely, the cleric of Calistra uses his move to ready his gleaming silvered morningstar again, and tries smashing the thing like herbs with a mortar: nat 14 beats its AC, and the cleric breaks one of the vine’s branches, releasing a pungent sap smell: 4 points of dmg (2 +3 str, -1 Silvered). The assassin vine slithers back 5’ to take advantage of its reach, and compels all the plantings, including those whose surfaces are scorched but whose life lingers in the root, to entangle its prey. Both PCs save vs. the effect (reflex DC 13, Tash: nat 14, Grig nat 16), so they manage to evade the grasping branches, but they must save again each turn they remain in the area of plants. The unintelligent vine grabs at [random] Tashtigo, (nat 10, needs a nat 14 to hit), but the wary cleric fends off the tentacle-like plant appendage. Grigori cannot take a 5’ step in the difficult terrain, so he attempts to tumble-advance to find a piece of the vine central enough to be worth striking. Grigori’s tumble check of 20 (13 +7 acrobatics) barely squeaks by the vine’s CMD of 19. If the magus had not invested in that mithral shirt (No armor check penalty) he would have provoked. Grigori drives his rapier futilely (nat 4) into the dirt, striking nothing vital.

Tashtigo, less confident of his ability to weave through the animate vines and roots to reach a vulnerable piece of the giant plant, uses a move action to switch back to his longspear and stabs the woody trunk (13 +6) for d8+4 = 6 points. So far the PCs’ efforts have brought the thing from 30 down to 20 hp. The assassin vine clubs Grigori AC 23 (nat 16 +7 to hit) for 9 points of crushing impact, and attempts to snake around the magus’s waist in a constricting grapple. The vine’s grapple check is 26 (13 +13 grapple), vs Grigori’s CMD of 16- the magus is now grappled. Grigori, feet dangling, tries to hack at the tendril wrapped around his waist: Nat 20 hits, but fails to confirm: (8 +8 to hit normally, but -2 from grappling, and -4 to dex which reduces his to-hit by another 2). The magus deals d6+1 = 6 points to the assassin vine, as the jolt of electricity from shocking grasp passes harmlessly into the ground. Not expecting to be able to cast spells whilst being constricted, Grigori pulls his wand of Magic Missile.

On the cleric’s turn, Tashtigo’s/Calistra’s Lash strikes true, this last round before returning to the goddess, (nat 14), for 4 points of force damage, spilling sap from the central trunk of the vine (10 hp remain). Hoping to keep his friend in the fight, Tashtigo conjures a copycat image as a move action and forgoes his useless memorized Hold Person spell to cast Cure Moderate on the grappled but still adjacent magus. This triggers an AoO, from the vine, which hits AC 23 [random] Tashtigo, not the copycat, for 14 points of damage. Tashtigo fails the DC 24 concentration check, and the spell fizzles. Still on the opportunity attack, the vine exactly matches the cleric’s CMD of 16 to grapple him, now holding each PC just off the ground. On the vine’s turn both characters would have to save vs. the entangle effect, but they are both already grappled. With two people worth of soon-to-be fertilizer securely in hand, the vine attempts to crush Grigori’s bones to meal: Grapple Check 32, exactly double poor Grigori’s CMD. The successful grapple allows the vine to deal slam damage (d8+7 = 15), and its constrict ability deals an additional (d8+7 = 10) points of damage, for 25 total. This squeezes the fight out of the slim magus (Total HP 23), who goes limp, dropping his rapier and wand to either side. On his turn, Grigori bleeds to -3.

Calculating that doing so will heal gain his own team twice as much as the opposition, Tashtigo channels positive energy, healing everyone involved for 2d6=12 (ooh, max) points! Tashtigo is now at 21hp, Grigori is again conscious at 9, and the assassin vine is reinvigorated to 22! Tashtigo uses his move action to draw the Wand of CLW. With both humans grappled, the vine randomly chooses to wind its serpent-like tendrils tighter around Grigori again, with a grapple check of 28, tenderizing him for (2d8+14 = 28) points, which brings him to -17, thoroughly dead.

Wow, is Grab/Constrict nasty or what?

Liberty's Edge

Grab/Constrict is especially nasty against a two-person party.


see grappled doesnt mean the cleric or the magus can't attack.
They are grappled not pinned.
With only 10 hp left, either one or both could have killed the assassin vine.


Pendagast wrote:

see grappled doesnt mean the cleric or the magus can't attack.

They are grappled not pinned.
With only 10 hp left, either one or both could have killed the assassin vine.

Indeed Grigori made a successful attack while grappled. Tashtigo spent two actions healing/attempting to heal. Had he attacked instead, one hit might have killed the plant, and one crit certainly would have. I had him heal because, in this playtest, I wanted to see what the magus could do if conscious.

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