Optimal weapon for a Magus


Round 3: Revised Magus Discussion

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Hey, I have a level 2 human Magus that is about to hit level three. He has an 18 strength. Assuming that a "touch" spell with Spellstrike threatens with the same range as the weapon used (i.e. with a longsword 19-20x2, a shocking grasp would use that same range to crit), what would be the best weapon to take advantage of this? I have been using a longsword but I feel that using a weapon like a scimitar or a falcata would be better. Thoughts? Is taking a feat for an exotic weapon really worth it? Thank you in advance for your comments.


Running a few simulations some time ago, the longsword is ahead of the scimitar.

While using spellstrike, the scimitar will be ahead any time you beat something that can take crits. Otherwise the longsword is better. Based only on raw bona, like enhancement damage and strength damage, the longsword loses out at some really big number, like +30 or something.

tl;dr: use a high-crit weapon. Damage loss when not spellstriking isn't big enough to matter.

ps.: exotic weapons suck.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Primarily as a magus, if you're going to spend feats, improving your magic will give you more returns than spending a feat that ultimately will give you nothing more than a higher single die. As a magus these would be my priority considerations for feat acquistion.

1. More arcana

2. Mobility

3. Anything that makes my spells more effective.


I would say a club. Though I'm still working on the specifics...UMD and a wand seam like the best bet. Does Pathfinder have the metamagic feat that makes a spell's duration 24 hours?


At Lv 2 a longsword is probably best even if you do use spellstrike. Unless you're doing more than 18.5 extra damage above the 1d8 (between Str, PA, Spellstrike, etc.) a longsword will out damage a scimitar.

Even with spellstrike, at Lv 2 you're probably throwing a 2d6 shocking grasp. That's only 7 avg damage. Which leaves more than 11.5 to other sources. At Lv 3 you're averaging 10.5 dam with spellstrike, so you only need 8 from Str and PA. At Lv 4 you're getting 14 damage from shocking grasp leaving only 4 to Str and PA. By this time you're probably better off with a Scimitar.
At Lv 5 you can Keen your weapon with a pool point. Now the Scimitar blows the longsword out of the water. Just how much more damage the scimitar will do depends on how much damage you do and the enemy's AC. But to give a ballpark, if you hit on an 11 and do at least +20 damage over the weapon (very easily acomplished with a 5d6 shocking grasp) you'll be averaging 15.275 DPS with the scimitar vs. 14.7 with the long sword. Nearly a 5% bump. This number will increase linearly as you hit chance and damage go up.
Even without spellstrike, a keen scimitar still out damages a keen longsword, at least marginally as long as your doing +8.5 damage over the weapon.

As for the falcata, normally the falcata will always out damage both the long sword and the scimitar and even at low levels, EWP Falcata will usually return more damage than Weapon Focus or Weapon Spec. And it's even with Imp Crit. However, when it comes to spellstrike, since the spell will not benefit from the Falcata's x3 crit the scimitar is strictly better. Whether the Falcata is better for the Magus depends on how much you spellstrike, but I'd save the feat and use a scimitar.


Thank you for all the suggestions everyone. I was a pretty big dnd 3.5 player so I originally thought that taking exotic weapon prof. for this type of character was a mistake. Using a club with Shillelagh seems sub-optimal considering that it would have to be mundane to use the spell on it and I'd have to get a wand of it to cast. It doesn't appear to be a very good long term strategy. I figured the scimitar would pull ahead once keen was applied. Thanks for the rough numbers, Quantum Steve. LazarX, what do you mean by "more arcana"? Metamagic feats? From what I've seen, there's no way to get more or really improve much the Magus Arcana abilities.


After thinking about the crit issue, I think my club idea isn't as great as I originally thought it was. The mundane issue though is dealt with (in my opinion) by the bonuses the magus can add to a weapon as they level up. That's one of the biggest advantages of the magus in my mind. They don't need their custom enhanced melee weapon to handle an encounter...the magus can pick up any sword on the field and turn it into a propper weapon.

As for what he ment by more arcana...most people believe that when the class is finalized we will see a feat that grants more arcana abilities...as all of the APG classes got similar feats in the book they came out in. I could be wrong, and he could have meant something completely different though...

Sovereign Court

Hi

Not sure about the most powerful options, but I've got 2 Magii in PFS.

The first is a Dwarf (friend gave me V.Well painted mini of Gandalf). He uses Bastard Sword 2H. Just made 3rd lvl. pretty avge. stats, Str/Dex 14, Con 16, Int 15. Taken Toughness & Pwr Attack for Feats, not sure what to take for his Arcana ability, since he uses 2H weapon.

Second is Halfling Rogue 1/Magus 1. Took Wpn Finesse at 1st lvl. Got 2 ranks in Perform (Dance), so taking Dervish Dance at 3rd lvl. Much better for Spellstrike, since he needs one hand free for Dervish Dance. (Uses his Dex to Hit AND Damage with his Scimitar). With Cat's Grace & Shield spells up, together with Arcane Pool abilities & Sneak Attack, he's a damage dealer.

For the OP, 1H Bastard is good, or Falchion & Elven Curved Blade for 2H weapons. Thought that spell crit was always [20 x2], regardless of weapon crit range? Otherwise Lt & Hvy Picks & Falcata are good choices.

Thanks
Paul H


I'm testing out the Magus right now and I'm leaning twords the falcata and exotic weapon proficiency. The falchion and elven curved blade are poor choices in my opinion because making use of the class's three main abilities, spellcasting, spell combat and spellstrike, generally require having at least one hand free. I like the falcata because it's got the same damage and critical threat range as the longsword and a x3 multiplier which just doesn't suck, plus, it looks cool ;) heh heh.


Keirion M. Weiwyrdson wrote:
I'm testing out the Magus right now and I'm leaning twords the falcata and exotic weapon proficiency. The falchion and elven curved blade are poor choices in my opinion because making use of the class's three main abilities, spellcasting, spell combat and spellstrike, generally require having at least one hand free. I like the falcata because it's got the same damage and critical threat range as the longsword and a x3 multiplier which just doesn't suck, plus, it looks cool ;) heh heh.

My magus uses a falcata, but we found it in game.


Maybe whips (esp. the Adventurer's Armory scorpion counterpart) could work, plus it's got reach too.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Here4daFreeSwag wrote:
Maybe whips (esp. the Adventurer's Armory scorpion counterpart) could work, plus it's got reach too.

I had a Magus NPC with a whip (pirate themed) in my home game and he worked exceedingly well. Between the damage (enhancing his own weapon as magical), and the trips, he was able to maintain solid control over the battlefield while delivering weapon blows and spell casting.

I'd suggest it to anybody wanting something a little different.


Whips? Really? I'm sure it's fun playing with one if you're shooting for a character concept but it looks far from optimal. Also, using trip with a whip seems sub-optimal considering that a Magus should have spells that would be better and more consistent. However, you could attempt a trip all day instead 0f using valuable spells per day. Regardless, the damage potential one would give up to use such a weapon seems like more of a detriment than a benefit. No power attack, no dervish dance (with a scimitar), no damage against creatures with natural armor (+3 or better) and an armor bonus of +1 or higher, no decent weapon crit range for doubling spell damage, and it provokes an AoO. I'm aware that most builds utilizing a whip would not be relying on weapon damage but would be expecting the whip to give the character a 15ft delivery for touch spells. Sure, the range would be situationally nice but it my opinion it doesn't appear to be worth it. I'm sorry if this is coming off too critically. I'm just trying to "think out loud" why I don't think using a whip would be such a fantastic idea. Thank you everyone for your posts.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
McBAMF wrote:
LazarX, what do you mean by "more arcana"? Metamagic feats? From what I've seen, there's no way to get more or really improve much the Magus Arcana abilities.

What I meant was for feat investment, i.e. Extra Arcana.


LazarX wrote:
McBAMF wrote:
LazarX, what do you mean by "more arcana"? Metamagic feats? From what I've seen, there's no way to get more or really improve much the Magus Arcana abilities.
What I meant was for feat investment, i.e. Extra Arcana.

Oh yeah, I got that. Thank you. Hopefully, there will be a Extra Arcana feat published in Ultimate Magic.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
McBAMF wrote:
Whips? Really? I'm sure it's fun playing with one if you're shooting for a character concept but it looks far from optimal. Also, using trip with a whip seems sub-optimal considering that a Magus should have spells that would be better and more consistent. However, you could attempt a trip all day instead 0f using valuable spells per day. Regardless, the damage potential one would give up to use such a weapon seems like more of a detriment than a benefit. No power attack, no dervish dance (with a scimitar), no damage against creatures with natural armor (+3 or better) and an armor bonus of +1 or higher, no decent weapon crit range for doubling spell damage, and it provokes an AoO. I'm aware that most builds utilizing a whip would not be relying on weapon damage but would be expecting the whip to give the character a 15ft delivery for touch spells. Sure, the range would be situationally nice but it my opinion it doesn't appear to be worth it. I'm sorry if this is coming off too critically. I'm just trying to "think out loud" why I don't think using a whip would be such a fantastic idea. Thank you everyone for your posts.

If "optimal" to you means "I do more damage than the two-handed-sword-wielding-fighter" then no, the whip is a far inferior weapon, but if your goal is to function as an effective team member and be able to use your spell/fighting abilities well and augment them with a little control, then it's a very effective weapon.

Just to clarify, when we say whip we actually mean scorpion whip. There's no reason to be using a weapon which cannot effect individuals wearing any kind of armor. This also brings the damage up from a pretty paltry amount of non-lethal damage to a respectable base amount of physical damage.

The goal isn't to be doing damage with the whip, it's to use the whip as an extension of your touch attacks via spellstrike and to open up the effective area you control on the battlefield. IMHO being able to lock down characters with one hand while blasting them (or worse) with the other is an effective way to play the character.

First off you have the ability to focus your touch spells at both melee and short range. This is a pretty significant boon when you're letting off ghoul and vampiric touch. If anything it offers up flexibility in case you're wounded or not functioning as the group's front-line fighter. Since trip is an attack action rather than a standard action, you're also able to combine it with your spell combat to lash trip attempts with beefier spells like black tentacles or higher damage spells at range further offering up flexibility in how you fight. Access to maneuver mastery makes it even more feasible to follow this route as the whole 2/3 BAB problem is reduced.

If your whole plan is to act as the group's main damage dealer via weapon then no, the whip is terrible, but again IMHO, what makes casters so strong is not their ability to deal damage but rather their ability to control the battlefield. The magus has the capacity to do either, which is why I find the whip such a good and fun weapon to use. You can damage when needed, act as a beefstick for a hit or two, and offer wider control of the battlefield than a fighter can via your spells.

I really did have fun with the level 8 NPC magus when I threw him at the party. He and his small band of level 2 pirates did an adequate job of messing with the party and the look on their faces when he tripped the lead paladin and followed it up immediately with a fireball on the rest of the party was pretty priceless. YMMV though.

Liberty's Edge

Fraust wrote:
I would say a club. Though I'm still working on the specifics...UMD and a wand seam like the best bet. Does Pathfinder have the metamagic feat that makes a spell's duration 24 hours?

No, and they never will.

The feat was "Persistent Spell", and it was one of the most broken things ever introduced. Don't use it, don't port it, just leave it dead.

The APG (Advanced Player's Guide) introduced a different Persistent Spell, one that forces targets to make two saves instead of one. Still very nice, but not hideously broken.


BobChuck wrote:
Fraust wrote:
I would say a club. Though I'm still working on the specifics...UMD and a wand seam like the best bet. Does Pathfinder have the metamagic feat that makes a spell's duration 24 hours?

No, and they never will.

The feat was "Persistent Spell", and it was one of the most broken things ever introduced. Don't use it, don't port it, just leave it dead.

The APG (Advanced Player's Guide) introduced a different Persistent Spell, one that forces targets to make two saves instead of one. Still very nice, but not hideously broken.

I don't know... at +6 to the spell level, you can't persist anything higher than a 3rd level spell without going epic. IMO, it was coupling that feat with Divine Metamagic that utterly broke the feat.


Quantum Steve wrote:


No, and they never will.

This really isn't ment to start any online flame war crap...but as long as I'm seeing "subscriber" behind your handle, as opposed to "developer" don't presume to tell me what Paizo will never do.

Thanks for the reminder on the feat. Persistant spell sounds right. This probably isn't the place for an actual discussion on it, but if you happen to have a link handy where people are talking about why it's broken, I would love to see it.

On topic...I'm thinking the whip coupled with something complimentary might work well. In my opinion, the magus class is set up to not be dependent on always using their one uber magiced out super weapon...giving them the ability to switch hit.


Would it be worth it to go for a Dorn-Dergar? It'd be a little feat intensive (2-3 feats depending on whether or not you're a dwarf), but with dorn dergar master it's a 1d10 one handed reach weapon. It might save you from some concentration checks and it's way better damage than a whip. Can anyone think of a use for TWF so it isn't a totally wasted feat?


Spellstrike with spells that allow multiple touches per casting? Was looking at that a little bit ago, and got turned off by the ammount of feats you would need. Was going to go half elf with Ancestral Arms alternate racial trait from the APG.


Fraust wrote:
Spellstrike with spells that allow multiple touches per casting? Was looking at that a little bit ago, and got turned off by the ammount of feats you would need. Was going to go half elf with Ancestral Arms alternate racial trait from the APG.

Or...you full attack, casting it through spell combat.


Maybe I'm getting the class abilities mixed up. What I'm talking about is the ability to cast touch spells through your weapon. So you cast chill touch, and then start wielding the dorn-dergar in both hands, allowing you to get your full attack plus how ever many extra attacks from two weapon fighting in.


Doesn't really change anything, does it? Last I checked spells with multiple touch targets have no expiring clause that isn't common to normal touch spells: lasts until discharged or another spell is cast.
Thus you don't need to unload it all in a single round.


Just so we're clear I'm not trying to say TWF is the ultimate way to go for the magus. It's not. I'm just responding to the question posed about making it at least worth taking to use the dorn dergar...

As for your post...it might be beneficial to get that one extra (or two depending on how many feats you've invested) attack in on your turn, before the badguys get to go again...but yeah, overall I agree that it doesn't make a huge difference.


Fraust wrote:
Maybe I'm getting the class abilities mixed up. What I'm talking about is the ability to cast touch spells through your weapon. So you cast chill touch, and then start wielding the dorn-dergar in both hands, allowing you to get your full attack plus how ever many extra attacks from two weapon fighting in.

To be clear I'm not advocating TWF as a good way for a Magus to fight, it's just a requirement for using a dorn dergar one handed. If you're a dwarf I believe you treat the dorn dergar as a martial weapon, so for two feats you get a 1d10 one handed reach weapon that will still damage armoured targets, as opposed to one feat to get a whip. Downside is as far as i can tell, TWF is a completely wasted feat, so i was just wondering if anyone could think of a way to get SOME value out of it aside from being a prereq.

And to be honest I don't really think either method of grabbing one hand reach weapon is really optimal, I'm just responding to the comments about using a whip.


Froze_man wrote:

To be clear I'm not advocating TWF as a good way for a Magus to fight, it's just a requirement for using a dorn dergar one handed. If you're a dwarf I believe you treat the dorn dergar as a martial weapon, so for two feats you get a 1d10 one handed reach weapon that will still damage armoured targets, as opposed to one feat to get a whip. Downside is as far as i can tell, TWF is a completely wasted feat, so i was just wondering if anyone could think of a way to get SOME value out of it aside from being a prereq.

And to be honest I don't really think either method of grabbing one hand reach weapon is really optimal, I'm just responding to the comments about using a whip.

If the APG stuff are allowed, Half-orcs can get access to whips with a racial substitution so the feat won't have to be spent in that case. ;)


Yeah, the dorn dergar isn't the optimal weapon, but it's far from the worst. You're likely not going to use Spell Combat every single round, so the chance to use two weapon will be there, and an extra attack is always nice.

I've been working on a couple different magi as I go through and convert both Age of Worms and Rise of the Runelord to pathfinder...and I came across an idea. Basically I was bouncing back and forth between high strength or high dexterity magi...and I thought I would try something a little different...

Max out intelligence as high as you can, and use the arcana to get Arcane Accuracy, Spell Shield, and Pool Strike. Adding intelligence to hit and AC is going to make you pretty scary, and the extra d6 of energy damage can add a little punch as well. Granted, your Arcane Pool is going to get drained pretty quick, but a huge part of the build is going to be knowing when to go all out and when to rely on your basic abilities.


Spell Shield is a trap. The spell Shield is available for the same price, starts out better, lasts longer and gives you an immunity just for the encore. They also don't stack, which means Spell Shield only gets better after you beat int 18


Normally I would agree, but the NPC I made using this build has I think a 22 int.

Silver Crusade

Keirion M. Weiwyrdson wrote:
I'm testing out the Magus right now and I'm leaning twords the falcata and exotic weapon proficiency. The falchion and elven curved blade are poor choices in my opinion because making use of the class's three main abilities, spellcasting, spell combat and spellstrike, generally require having at least one hand free. I like the falcata because it's got the same damage and critical threat range as the longsword and a x3 multiplier which just doesn't suck, plus, it looks cool ;) heh heh.

How did I miss that weapon? I am now in the process of building a magus whose primary weapon was rapier (I prefer it to longsword because of its crit range - 18-20 vs. 19-20) but the falcata seems to be the only weapon allowing both increased range and increased multiplier. The only question now is whether to swap Dodge for EWP.

Dark Archive

Andrew Besso wrote:


How did I miss that weapon? I am now in the process of building a magus whose primary weapon was rapier (I prefer it to longsword because of its crit range - 18-20 vs. 19-20) but the falcata seems to be the only weapon allowing both increased range and increased multiplier. The only question now is whether to swap Dodge for EWP.

You're seeing the errata'd version that's 19-20 x3 right? Because I believe that's one of the weapons that got printed wrong in the AA tables.


and the corrected Falcata also be in the APG for even moar reference too.


I was considering carrying two weapons. Longspear for regular usage, and a heavy mace (more for flavor) for the times the enemy gets inside my spear. Any flaws in my strategy?

Silver Crusade

YuenglingDragon wrote:
Andrew Besso wrote:


How did I miss that weapon? I am now in the process of building a magus whose primary weapon was rapier (I prefer it to longsword because of its crit range - 18-20 vs. 19-20) but the falcata seems to be the only weapon allowing both increased range and increased multiplier. The only question now is whether to swap Dodge for EWP.
You're seeing the errata'd version that's 19-20 x3 right? Because I believe that's one of the weapons that got printed wrong in the AA tables.

Yes, that is how the weapon is described in my copy of the APG. If that has been changed, I'll probably stick with the rapier.

Dark Archive

BigCrunch wrote:
I was considering carrying two weapons. Longspear for regular usage, and a heavy mace (more for flavor) for the times the enemy gets inside my spear. Any flaws in my strategy?

Just the difficulty of switching between the two. I don't think occasionally using a spear is worth the cost of Quick Draw.

Andrew Besso wrote:
Yes, that is how the weapon is described in my copy of the APG. If that has been changed, I'll probably stick with the rapier.

I had forgotten that it was reprinted in the APG. Those are the correct numbers. The first printing of Adventurer's Armory (where I first saw the Falcata) had an error in the tables, if I remember correctly.

Sovereign Court

Hi

I've been looking at a (Sarenrae follower) Finesse Magus.

Wpn Finesse at 1st lvl (Heirloom Weapon Trait: Scimitar). At 3rd lvl take Dervish Dance (need 2 ranks dance). You now use Dex to Hit AND Damage. Useful, since you must have off-hand free. (Like Spell Strike).

Use Magus Arcana (gained 3rd lvl) to add Chill Touch to spellbook, then Spellstrike it.

So, 3rd lvl Human Magus, (Dex 18), using Arcane Pool, plus the above:

Attack (Scimitar)+9
Damage (Scimitar)D6+5 (+6 if +1 wpn) + Chill Touch

Thanks
Paul H


YuenglingDragon wrote:
BigCrunch wrote:
I was considering carrying two weapons. Longspear for regular usage, and a heavy mace (more for flavor) for the times the enemy gets inside my spear. Any flaws in my strategy?

Just the difficulty of switching between the two. I don't think occasionally using a spear is worth the cost of Quick Draw.

Andrew Besso wrote:
Yes, that is how the weapon is described in my copy of the APG. If that has been changed, I'll probably stick with the rapier.
I had forgotten that it was reprinted in the APG. Those are the correct numbers. The first printing of Adventurer's Armory (where I first saw the Falcata) had an error in the tables, if I remember correctly.

I wouldn't use quick draw. Considerimg drawing doesn't draw aoo and its only a move actiontheres really no reason.


PaulH...isn't chill touch already on ther list of available spells?


Arcane Accuracy was something I thought I would never use -- but it has been a life saver several times -- that +7 to hit on all my attacks makes a huge difference.

Dark Archive

BigCrunch wrote:
I wouldn't use quick draw. Considerimg drawing doesn't draw aoo and its only a move actiontheres really no reason.

Except for the fact that you're limited to only a standard action after that. Nope, not worth it to me.


Lunge and the cestus both ended up on my character as well.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
BigCrunch wrote:
I wouldn't use quick draw. Considerimg drawing doesn't draw aoo and its only a move actiontheres really no reason.
Except for the fact that you're limited to only a standard action after that. Nope, not worth it to me.

meh its only for one round.

Dark Archive

BigCrunch wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:
BigCrunch wrote:
I wouldn't use quick draw. Considerimg drawing doesn't draw aoo and its only a move actiontheres really no reason.
Except for the fact that you're limited to only a standard action after that. Nope, not worth it to me.
meh its only for one round.

It's basically being Staggered for a round just to switch between two weapons.

Plus, you have to spend the money to enchant both of them. Pick one weapon. Make it good with magic. Beat things to death. This equation is simple.

In the long run, the weapon you choose is nearly immaterial. Whether it does a d6 or a d8 or a d4 doesn't make any difference. All you really need is a decent crit range and that's it. Any weapon that is at least 19-20 and you're good.

Sovereign Court

Hi

@Faust: Yep - you're right. Must've been thinking of something else. But Chill Touch is still good choice because it lasts 1 attack/lvl.

Thanks
Paul H

Dark Archive

PaulH wrote:

Hi

@Faust: Yep - you're right. Must've been thinking of something else. But Chill Touch is still good choice because it lasts 1 attack/lvl.

Check with your GM when you're using it, though. My GM determined Chill Touch to be like holding the charge so you can't cast another spell and still hit other targets with Chill Touch after that.


PaulH...definately, chill touch is THE spell for magus, at least for the first few levels in my opinion.

YuenglingDragon...so your GM does it the way the rules are supposed to opperate?

Dark Archive

Fraust wrote:
YuenglingDragon...so your GM does it the way the rules are supposed to opperate?

Ha! Yes, he does.

I'm just saying that not every GM will always act like mine. Better to confirm with them before a game than to argue at the table.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
BigCrunch wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:
BigCrunch wrote:
I wouldn't use quick draw. Considerimg drawing doesn't draw aoo and its only a move actiontheres really no reason.
Except for the fact that you're limited to only a standard action after that. Nope, not worth it to me.
meh its only for one round.

It's basically being Staggered for a round just to switch between two weapons.

Plus, you have to spend the money to enchant both of them. Pick one weqapon. Make it good with magic. Beat things to death. This equation is simple.

In the long run, the weapon you choose is nearly immaterial. Whether it does a d6 or a d8 or a d4 doesn't make any difference. All you really need is a decent crit range and that's it. Any weapon that is at least 19-20 and you're good.

then we disagree. I think for this class there are two main issues. Lack of HP and con checks on spells. The fewer spells I have fizzle the better as they are a finite resource. Just my opinion.


BigCrunch wrote:
then we disagree. I think for this class there are two main issues. Lack of HP and con checks on spells. The fewer spells I have fizzle the better as they are a finite resource. Just my opinion.

How are you having spells fizzle?

I've been sitting on combat casting and focused mind in our campaign, with a 22 Int at level 8... I can't fail these checks if I tried:

8 (CL) +6(Int) +4(CC) +2(FM) = +20... versus a maximum DC 21 = (15+(3rdx2=6))

That's without spell combat adding an additional +2.

I also started with a 14 Con and took toughness (dropping my favored class into it as well) for 8 hp a level -- not perfect to be sure but plenty well enough with things like mirror image helping out (and a stout AC).

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