Playtesting the magus (lvl 1 to 19)


Round 3: Revised Magus Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’ve just finished playing through the Curse of the Crimson Throne series with a magus. So with our GM’s extra “quest/background/story” add-on’s I’m just shy of my 20th level.

Arcane Pool :

At first level, the +1 enhancement off-sets the -2 of spell combat. However, the GM wasn’t so sure what to do with the other +1 that came from masterwork quality weapons. He simply ruled that one was a magical bonus and the other a material bonus. At higher levels I often used this ability to give me an edge in combat, allowing me to do greater damage against certain type of creatures. I was often reluctant to use this ability in every battle due to the cost.

Although a useful ability, in my opinion, it should resemble a bit more the Ki Pool of the Monk. What I mean, is that it should give a +1 enhancement bonus as long as there is 1 point remaining in the pool.

On the other hand, my GM thought it should allow the magus to enhance his weapon for a day, by writing temporary runes on it for example, which would only work for the magus of course.

Spell combat, Improved Spell Combat & Greater Spell Combat :

At lower levels those handy unlimited cantrips help out a bit, but their low damage/save DC made the spell useless half the time.

I really enjoyed playing this class ability when I got the “wand wielder” arcana. Later on, with a glove of storing, I was able to use the wand whenever I needed and switch to a two-handed hold on my dwarven waraxe at a moments notice (it’s fun to be a dwarf). A good wand of vampiric touch saved my bacon on more then one occasion.

The Greater version of this ability wasn’t very useful for me. I had maxed out my concentration check for casting defensively by the time I reached that level (traits : focus mind +2, combat casting +4, skill focus +3, improved spell combat +2 & skill points equal to my level = 11+lvl).

Spellstrike :

I used this quite often at certain levels rarely bothering to use spell combat in conjuncture with it. With touch spell allowing multiple touches (such as calcific touch) it was very useful.

However, the low quantity of such spells (especially on the magus spell list) didn’t make this ability worthwhile. My GM ruled that the magus was a touch spell specialist and must have a lot more touch spells in its list of spells. So he added/allowed a few touch spells from various books (such as the for mentioned calcific touch).

Magus Arcana :

3rd : Haste Assault : is very good for a dwaven magus and pretty frightening at higher level while wearing heavy armor. I used this ability quite often.

6th : Wand Wielder : as I mentioned before, a must have in my opinion.

9th : Reflection : or how to make the GM cry

12th : Dispelling Strike : costly, but pumping a couple of points in this is very worth while.

15th : Familiar : used the bonded object version on this one with a dwarven waraxe (yes I stayed with my concept of a dwarven axeman).

18th : at this level, I didn’t know what to take. In my opinion all those once per day abilities would be a waste of a good ability. So I took spell shield to gain that little edge in defence.

I loved the idea of this ability but it needs a few adjustments.

Pool Spell, Improved Pool Spell & Greater Pool Spell :

It would be more useful if the arcane pool was bigger at low levels, at higher levels it help a bit more, being able to cast that unprepared or spent spell once more.

The greater version was fun to have but would be more useful if it wasn’t at such a high cost.

Knowledge Pool :

Useful to get those spells you don’t have from your magus spell list, but a “meh” ability in my book. In a few levels I was able to get all magus spells.

My GM and I thought that this ability should give some other kind of bonus and our idea ranged from : skill bonuses, spell DC increase, add a spell from another spell list, concentration bonuses equal to half magus level, etc…

Fighter Training :

Barely used this ability since the ½ level differential didn’t help much to get fighter only feats.

Counterstrike :

Very fun to use. As soon as I was in melee range of an enemy caster, my GM hesitated to cast any spell at all. The GM allowed me to make AoO with spellstrike (a melee attack) and calcific touch or other multiple touch spell “active” it was devastating.

Overall, it’s a nice class.

It’s a high requirement class needing high ability scores from 2/3 of the 6 ability scores. The average BAB progression means that you need a good str or dex bonus to make your attack count. Aiming for a dervish style magus, as proposed by other board members, means that you lack the higher up class ability of the heavy armor (unless you can see a half-plated magus dancing around on the battlefield). Not to mention the 2 feats cost of weapon finesse and dervish dance while you’re at it. With a d8 in hp, you also need a good AC or a good constitution score to be in melee either to dodge those attacks or take the hit. Finally you need a decent intel bonus to get those extra spells per day and increase those DC’s.

My GM suggested giving it a bonus to AC and/or BAB equal to its Intelligence modifier.

He also proposed a variant of the class to aim for the arcane archer prestige class. Allowing most melee abilities, such as spell combat and spellstrike, to be placed on ranged weapons

I enjoyed playing that class and look forward to try the final version of the class when it comes out.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

lodiir wrote:
The Greater version of this ability wasn’t very useful for me. I had maxed out my concentration check for casting defensively by the time I reached that level (traits : focus mind +2, combat casting +4, skill focus +3, improved spell combat +2 & skill points equal to my level = 11+lvl).

Thats not quite legal. Since concentration isn't a skill any more, there is no Skill Focus for it.

Still, I just play tested a low level Magus myself over the weekend and even at second level with Focused Mind and Combat Casting the concentration checks were relatively trivial. Which I am perfectly OK with, since with only 3 level 1 spells, having a more than 20% chance to lose one every time I cast it seems excessive.

I was also able to put up Shield, wander in to Melee with 5 opponents and Spell Combat Daze+Bastard Sword them all in to the ground. Good times, good times.


Also, I don't think you can pick a bonded item with the familiar arcana; that just gets you a familiar, not the "Arcane Bond" ability of the Wizard class (which lets you pick a familiar or a bonded item).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Space Mantis wrote:

Thats not quite legal. Since concentration isn't a skill any more, there is no Skill Focus for it.

Noted & talked to my GM, we didn't see it that way.

Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
Also, I don't think you can pick a bonded item with the familiar arcana; that just gets you a familiar, not the "Arcane Bond" ability of the Wizard class (which lets you pick a familiar or a bonded item).

Also noted & talked to my GM about that point. For him he doesn't mind the bonded object.

He jokingly pointed out all the trouble it would be to use the "deliver touch spell" ability of the familiar with the magus "spell combat" ability.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

lodiir wrote:
Evil Space Mantis wrote:

Thats not quite legal. Since concentration isn't a skill any more, there is no Skill Focus for it.

Noted & talked to my GM, we didn't see it that way.

Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
Also, I don't think you can pick a bonded item with the familiar arcana; that just gets you a familiar, not the "Arcane Bond" ability of the Wizard class (which lets you pick a familiar or a bonded item).

Also noted & talked to my GM about that point. For him he doesn't mind the bonded object.

He jokingly pointed out all the trouble it would be to use the "deliver touch spell" ability of the familiar with the magus "spell combat" ability.

Just saying, those are both technically houserules. I don't think they are particularly game-changing or anything though :)


lodiir wrote:


Also noted & talked to my GM about that point. For him he doesn't mind the bonded object.

Cool - and, actually, I wanted to apologize. You provided some good feedback on how the class worked, and all I posted was a kibbitz on some rules text. I meant to add more about, I dunno, thanking you for taking the time to post it, but then I forgot to edit it in, and then the board wouldn't let me edit my post, and then I forgot again.

So, uh, yeah. :) Thanks for posting your impressions!

How did you feel the Arcane pool worked? Did you find yourself routinely running out of points (especially using the relatively expensive Dispelling Strike and Reflection abilities)?


lodiir wrote:
3rd : Haste Assault : is very good for a dwaven magus and pretty frightening at higher level while wearing heavy armor. I used this ability quite often.

I feel the need to point this out.

Hasted Assault (Su): A magus with this magus arcana
can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action
to move more quickly. This functions as haste, but only
targets the magus and lasts for a number of rounds equal
to the magus’s Intelligence bonus. That magus must be at
least 9th level before selecting this magus arcana
.

Emphasis mine. Aside from that, pretty interesting.

Scarab Sages

Are younstacking concentration because you are wearing heavy or medium armor? I don't believe the magus has a concentration check if in light armor.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Craigory Primodious wrote:
Are younstacking concentration because you are wearing heavy or medium armor? I don't believe the magus has a concentration check if in light armor.

You have to make a concentration check to use the Spell Combat ability in melee and not provoke an attack of opportunity from any opponents who threaten you. This means the Magus tends to make a LOT of concentration checks, since Spell Combat is something you want to use almost every turn you can.

Also, I think you are confusing Arcane Spell Failure checks from armor with concentration checks. The spell failure check is a d100 percentile roll that a Wizard or Sorcerer has to make while wearing ANY armor, and a Magus has to make while wearing anything heavier than light armor before 7th level.

If you are a 1st level Magus in scale mail(medium armor) trying to use Spell Combat, you have to make two checks. The first is a d20+Int Mod+Caster level+concentration bonus(if you have one) Concentration check against DC 15+(2x Spell level) to cast defensively. If you fail this check, the spell fizzles. If you succeed on this check, you then need to make an Arcane Spell Failure check and roll a 26 or higher on a d100(scale mail has a 25% arcane spell failure chance) to cast the spell successfully. If you roll a 25 or lower, your armor interferes with the motions of the spell casting and again, the spell fizzles. Arcane Spell failure only effects spells with Somatic components, but that is virtually all of them.

Basically, you want your concentration check bonus to be high enough spells rarely fizzle and you probably want to avoid Arcane Spell Failure chance all together, since you really don't want to have to roll twice just to get off each spell.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Heretek wrote:
lodiir wrote:
3rd : Haste Assault : is very good for a dwaven magus and pretty frightening at higher level while wearing heavy armor. I used this ability quite often.

I feel the need to point this out.

Hasted Assault (Su): A magus with this magus arcana
can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action
to move more quickly. This functions as haste, but only
targets the magus and lasts for a number of rounds equal
to the magus’s Intelligence bonus. That magus must be at
least 9th level before selecting this magus arcana
.

Emphasis mine. Aside from that, pretty interesting.

First of all sorry for the late reply.

Second I should have been more aware when I wrote my first post down, the magus arcanas aren't in the right order that i took them... they're more I my preference order.

This was one of my problems with this ability, those good abilities (as most often with other classes) are later on in levels. In my opinion, few of the proposed abilities at 3rd & 6th levels are must haves.

Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:


How did you feel the Arcane pool worked? Did you find yourself routinely running out of points (especially using the relatively expensive Dispelling Strike and Reflection abilities)?

The reflection ability, can be pretty handy sometimes and when you see a big spell coming your way, you spend those points. If it's not enough, that little save bonus gives you a better chance to save your beacon.

As for Dispelling strike, it can change the tide of battle when someone starts flying around out of reach and you tap them with it.

Although they come later on in the magus arcana levels, my GM asked himself if the "improved pool spell" ability ( 1/2 discount on pool points) should affect the selected arcana abilities.

As for the arcane pool, in my opinion, yes it's a bit low (or some of the abilities are expensive), but giving more would be too much. Compare the monk's Ki pool and they are relatively the same.

However, my GM allowed me to take feats to increase my arcana pool(much like the extra Ki feat) and also propose something talked about in the advance players handbook, the "racial favored class" alternative. He gave me the choice of a +1/2 arcane point per level, which was the easiest/obvious one to make/create for the class.

opinions, comments?


We also allowed Arcane Bonded Item inplace of the Familiar, and I love that aspect of the character. Makes much more sense to us then having a familar also. Improved Arcane Bond becomes a great feat to have (with all the great bonuses and +2 concentration, helps a ton for Casting on the Defensive).

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