Touch spells are confusing me


Round 3: Revised Magus Discussion


Ok so a scenario if you will.
I use spell combat to cast shocking grasp i then stab my opponent (say an orc) and touch him with the shocking grasp.

what penalties do I take to these attacks? I understand a -2 for the weapon attack from spell combat. Do I also take penalties for two-weapon fighting?

ok scenario two
I cast shocking grasp and then on the next turn I move up and stab my opponent. I then use my held charge on shocking grasp to touch the opponent as well.

once again what penalties do I take? If I don't have a high enough BAB to get extra attacks can I use my touch attack?

I begin to see why one would want to channel spells through your weapon.

edit: one more quick question. Does a natural 1 auto-fail on an concentration check like it would with an attack or save, or does it not as with skill checks?


Salubri wrote:

Ok so a scenario if you will.

I use spell combat to cast shocking grasp i then stab my opponent (say an orc) and touch him with the shocking grasp.

what penalties do I take to these attacks? I understand a -2 for the weapon attack from spell combat. Do I also take penalties for two-weapon fighting?

ok scenario two
I cast shocking grasp and then on the next turn I move up and stab my opponent. I then use my held charge on shocking grasp to touch the opponent as well.

once again what penalties do I take? If I don't have a high enough BAB to get extra attacks can I use my touch attack?

I begin to see why one would want to channel spells through your weapon.

edit: one more quick question. Does a natural 1 auto-fail on an concentration check like it would with an attack or save, or does it not as with skill checks?

I'm not an expert but I'll give this one a try.

Scenario 1: Spell combat is just being specific. you only suffer -2 on your weapon attack.

Scenario 2: You can not move and make a full attack action in a single turn.

Quick question: Concentration is like a skill check with the exception that you can not take ten or twenty. So a 1 is not an auto fail.


scenario 1:
So you get to attack at -2 with the weapon and then with the touch attack at no penalty? That is quite nice.

ok so lets modify scenario 2 then shall we.

having previously cast shocking grasp and moved up to the opponent it is a new round. on this round I would like to attack the opponent with both my touch attack and my sword. how does that work?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Salubri wrote:

scenario 1:

So you get to attack at -2 with the weapon and then with the touch attack at no penalty? That is quite nice.

ok so lets modify scenario 2 then shall we.

having previously cast shocking grasp and moved up to the opponent it is a new round. on this round I would like to attack the opponent with both my touch attack and my sword. how does that work?

Modified Scenario 2: You treat it like two-weapon fighting with your spell-hand being treated as a light weapon. If you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, you would take a -2 to both your weapon attacks and the spell's touch attack. If you don't have the feat, well, let's just say I wouldn't recommend duel-wielding.


We'll see the final version in Ultimate Magic. Personally I think the playtest description will be clarified as in my opinion it should be -2 to *all* attacks, not just the ones made with his melee weapon.

So this is my take:

In scenario 1 you are doing spell combat - so you take a -2 penalty on all attack rolls.

In scenario 2 you're not using spell combat - so you do not take a penalty to either the normal nor the spell-based touch attack.

In scenario 3 you cast the spell in spell combat (taking -2 to your attacks) but hold the charge. On your next turn you move and attack (at no penalty) and discharge the held charge (also at no penalty).


You only need to treat the touch spell as TWF if it will use an attack not granted by your first array (the one granted by BAB) or the spell itself(as most do on the round they are cast).

Example 1: If you have 12 BAB and are holding a shocking grasp, you could Stab at 12, Grasp at 7 and Stab at 2.
Example 2: You are an angry barbarian with 16 bab, quick draw, a battleaxe and a stack of javelins. You smash someone at 16, throw a javeling at 11(plus an AoO if the smashed guy lived) and smash someone again at 6 and 1.


I just wanted to throw this in here. I haven't even looked at the Magus, so I'm not sure about any of the scenarios you're talking about, but I had a GM once that did it this way, and I've taken it into my games as well. With any of those "grasp" type touch attacks, we've always ruled that you could choose to make a normal attack against the opponents AC, with the caveat that you were attacking with a metal weapon. If your attack is successful you send the charge through the metal weapon into the opponent. At that point you've only made one attack, but it, in many cases, is at a more difficult target AC. So you would get the damage from the weapon, and from the discharge of the magical energy all at the same time. Many of my gamers have seen this as a houserule (of course they rarely argue it because it works in their favor most of the time), but I've always seen it as a liberal interpretation of the rules as written. If a PC makes a successful attack against a target's AC, they've obviously "touched" them. So long as the weapon they are wielding is metal, the charge could, and most likely would, discharge through the metal weapon into the recipient.


Your houserule is the Magus' class feature "spellstrike", though it isn't restricted to any type of weapon.

By default you can only deliver touch spells as touch attacks or as natural/unarmed strikes provided you don't do it on the round you cast the spell.


Synapse wrote:

Your houserule is the Magus' class feature "spellstrike", though it isn't restricted to any type of weapon.

By default you can only deliver touch spells as touch attacks or as natural/unarmed strikes provided you don't do it on the round you cast the spell.

I totally get that, the way we've always played it though is that a "touch" attack simply means you've touched the opponent. It's actually more difficult to successfully strike an opponent with a weapon, than it is to just reach out and touch them (thus the Touch AC differential). Our interpretation has always been that if I successfully hit them with a weapon, I quite obviously "touched" them. I just did it with my weapon. This is also why we had the additional rule that you had to be using a metal weapon, so that it would act as a "conductor" for the magical energy.


MendedWall12 wrote:
Synapse wrote:

Your houserule is the Magus' class feature "spellstrike", though it isn't restricted to any type of weapon.

By default you can only deliver touch spells as touch attacks or as natural/unarmed strikes provided you don't do it on the round you cast the spell.

I totally get that, the way we've always played it though is that a "touch" attack simply means you've touched the opponent. It's actually more difficult to successfully strike an opponent with a weapon, than it is to just reach out and touch them (thus the Touch AC differential). Our interpretation has always been that if I successfully hit them with a weapon, I quite obviously "touched" them. I just did it with my weapon. This is also why we had the additional rule that you had to be using a metal weapon, so that it would act as a "conductor" for the magical energy.

Why would metal conduct magic better than any other material? Or does this only work for shocking grasp since shocking grasp is electricity?


Quantum Steve wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:
Synapse wrote:

Your houserule is the Magus' class feature "spellstrike", though it isn't restricted to any type of weapon.

By default you can only deliver touch spells as touch attacks or as natural/unarmed strikes provided you don't do it on the round you cast the spell.

I totally get that, the way we've always played it though is that a "touch" attack simply means you've touched the opponent. It's actually more difficult to successfully strike an opponent with a weapon, than it is to just reach out and touch them (thus the Touch AC differential). Our interpretation has always been that if I successfully hit them with a weapon, I quite obviously "touched" them. I just did it with my weapon. This is also why we had the additional rule that you had to be using a metal weapon, so that it would act as a "conductor" for the magical energy.
Why would metal conduct magic better than any other material? Or does this only work for shocking grasp since shocking grasp is electricity?

Great question, I asked that myself. No we used it for every "touch" discharge type spell, even things like Ghoul Touch. The answer is considerably silly, especially since nobody really "knows" what the properties of any magical force are. Just using "normal" physics as a base, many metals are way better conductors than wood, or glass for most "conductive" type energies, i.e. heat, cold, electricity. Obviously it is all subjective, but we always just based it off of the idea that most metal weapons in our fantasy setting were made out of iron, steel, or some mythical metal that doesn't really exist, and so we just made them conductive anyway. We talked about all the nuances though. I mean, if you have a metal dagger, but the hilt is wrapped in leather, that would slow down the conductive energy. To answer that we just said, well it's probably got a metal hilt, and knowing that you were trying to discharge energy through the weapon you'd place a thumb or finger on the hilt to facilitate that. It's a generous dose of creative thinking, but if you follow it through it does make some kind of sense.

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