Magus and scimitars... why?


Rules Questions

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Liberty's Edge

thistledown wrote:
Heavyload belt will give you the carry bonus right away.

I'd let any of them... but I assume the penalties do, too.

Str is Str.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

A masterwork backpack helps you with encumbrance a bit, too. And thanks for bringing up the scimitar and Dervish Dance. my character now has it. I was going to use a rapier with Weapon finesse. My strength is 10, because that helps with other things (like encumbrance).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because:

1) you want the high treat range,

2) exotic weapon proficiency require a BAB of +1, so you would not start with an exotic weapon with the same treat range;

3) there are way more creatures with DR/slashing than creatures with DR/piercing, so the rapier is generally less useful (a pity);

4) you can reskin a scimitar as a saber without anyone protesting, and a saber is a setting appropriate weapon for locations like Varisia or Ustalav, while a scimitar is appropriate for more southern regions (that is, if you care about that);

5) the dervish dance feat.

Thazar wrote:

Because the vast majority of the builds on the boards are all about min/maxing a character and do not really take any RP into account. The way a Magus does damage is with their weapon and spells.

The crit from a spell will do WAY more damage then the extra one to four points of damage you would get from say a bastard sword or battle axe. Crit range is the only thing that matters to a Magus DPR and a Scimitar is the best weapon that does not cost a feat to get it. The fact that you can do the dervish build to low the need for STR is just icing on the cake with that weapon.

Personally I like the idea of a Bastard Sword. You have less of a crit range, but when you are not doing spell combat you can two hand the weapon fairly well. Combine that with Power Attack and Enlarge Person and you get some good damage and reach.

I would have loved to be a bladebound magus with a bastard sword (I use a strength build), but it require EWP. As an human I could afford the feat at first level, not at the later levels.

So I am a saber (scimitar) wielding magus.


i was to lazy to read it all but dont forget a Maguc can use his arcane pool to make his +1 weapon keen verry early on so that would mean the difrence between

17-20 and 15-20 crit wich is 10% more chance of critting wich is a huge boost.

if you would like a sample build here is mine we are playing rise of the runelords now:

Male Human Blade bound magus 7
NG Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +1; Senses Perception +9

Defense
AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex)
hp 56 (7d8+14+3)
Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +6
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Attacks: scimitar +13/ 1d6+9 (18-20 x2)
spell combat with spellstrike: Int. Shocking grasp +11/+1 7d6+1d6+9 (18-20/x2)/1d6+9(18-20/x2)
Arcane pool enhancement= add +1 attack +1 damage and (15-20x2) crit.
Arcane pool: 10
--------------------
Statistics (+2 to two ability scores Alt racial dual talented 20 point buy)
Str 20, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +5; CMB +10; CMD 21
----------------------------------
Feats
Weapon Focus Scimitar, extra arcane pool, combat casting, intensified spell, craft wondrous item
Traits Family Ties(campaign), Magical Lineage ”Shocking grasp”
Languages: Common Giant Orc Infernal Sylvan

Equipment:
• +1 chain shirt (1250g)
• +2 scimitar Black blade
• Belt of giant Str +2 (4000g)
• 3 pearls of power (3000g)
• 1 potions of cure light wounds
• 1 potions of cure moderate wounds
• Explorer gear worth (75g)
• Wand of shield (750g)
• Ring of deflection +1
• Headband of Vast Intelligence +2 (4000g)
• Cloak of Resisance +1

--------------------
spells known:
LVL1: Color Spray, Enlarge person, frostbite, grease, obscuring mist, reduce person, shield, Shocking grasp, true strike, unerring weapon, Vanish
LVL2: Acid arrow, Flaming sphere, Invisibility, Bear’s endurance, frigid touch, Mirror image, web, Pyrotechnics
LVL3 Displacement, Fly, Force Hook Charge, Stinking cloud, Vampiric Touch
Spells prepared:
lvl0: Detect magic, Light, Arcane mark , Read magic, Dancing Lights
lvl1: Shocking grasp x2, True strike, Vanish, Enlarge Person
lvl2: Bear's endurance, Frigid touch, Mirror image, Invisibility
Lvl3: Fly, Force hook Charge

1. Extra arcane pool
2. .
3. Combat casting
4. .
5. Weapon focus Scimitar and intensified spell
6. arcane accuracy
7. craft “wondrous item”
8. .
9. .empower spell, accurate strike (spell blending heroism)
10. .
11. quicken spell, extra arcana ghost blade
12. .critical strike
13. .critical focus
14. .
15. .spell perfection: ”shocking grasp”, maximize magic
16. .
17. .Bleeding critical, Maximize (metamagic)
18. .arcana
19. .feat
20. .


After completing further research, it has become evident that going with the magus/dervish dance/ scimitar is not the slam dunk it used to be.

A couple things came to light recently as I am preparing to release my Magus upon the world:

1. Weapon Finesse & the Scimitar. Nope. Contrary to what everyone assumes, you DO NOT get to use weapon finesse with your scimitar while you are waiting for 3rd level when you can take Dervish Dance. You can only use weapon finesse with the weapons listed on the feat. Just because weapon finesse is a prerequisite for dervish dance, does not grant you the right to use your dex for melee attacks with the Scimitar. Sort of a big deal. You'll have to use a rapier or something until 3rd level.

2. You can NOT attack two-handed with Weapon Finesse or Dervish Dance. EVER. This is a big strike against this build for me. You will be using your Spellstrike ability as much as or more than your spell combat ability. With a strength build Magus you can deliver your spellstrike two-handed! For example: Shocking grasp delivered as a two handed, Critical Katana attack (2nd level, 18 strength, arcane pool active) = 2d8+14 + 4D6. With a dervish scimitar, one-handed (even though not even possible, see #1 above) Spellstrike (2nd level, 18 dex, arcane pool active) = 2d6+2 + 4D6. CLEARLY at first and second level the dervish build is gimped and for good reason.

It it true, as a Magus you could use any martial weapon to deliver two-handed attacks, but with no or low strength bonus, and no attack bonus from strength or dex, what is the point? And let's not even discuss when the strength build Magus rolls a crit using two-handed power attack with spellstrike. Sick damage. Frickin massive damage at 5th level.

I'm going to try a Half Elf strength build Magus centered around the Katana as my main weapon. You can attain the exotic weapon feat at first level legally as a half-elf with the ancestral arms trait(can use one or two handed, higher damage dice than scimitar) If I wasn't the sole spellcaster in our party, I'd probably go for the Kensai arch class which is pretty beast.

On a side note, Dervish Dance feels kind of cheap anyways unless you are playing that campaign setting it released with. I don't remember it's origins. Heck, you can't even pull up the feat on the PRD at all and that should tell you something.


1. I didn't know anyone was assuming you could use Weapon Finesse with a Scimitar...you can't...pretty much ever. It's a pre-req for Dervish Dance, but Dervish Dance is the feat that actually allows you to use your DEX to hit and damage with a Scimitar.

2. Sorry, but that's not really the case. The Aldori Dueling Sword actually has it written into the weapon rules how to run it. You can use Weapon Finesse with it (as long as you have the Exotic Weapon Prof. in it), and if you are using it two handed you can also get your 1.5xSTR damage with it.

With a STR based Magus you can definitely deliver your spellstrike two-handed... However, most builds, the STR bonus isn't the biggest part of the damage to worry about. It's the ability to do spell damage on top of a weapon hit that gives the main damage boost. Add in the ability to multiply the spell damage on a crit (with threat range 18-20 or 15-20?), and it can be a real heavy hitter.

If you're going melee, you should always build towards having a bonus to hit from one of your stats. Which you use is up to you.

In regards to the side note, Dervish Dance was created for the Pathfinder campaign world of Golarion. You can't pull it up on PRD as it has flavor that was tied to a specific religion (Sarenrae), and since it is tied to the campaign world, it is not part of the Core Rules line which is made to be setting neutral. That is what not being able to pull it up on the PRD is telling you in this case.


Sniggevert wrote:
With a STR based Magus you can definitely deliver your spellstrike two-handed...

The problem comes in because you 'lose' Spell Combat by doing so; in order to have a two-handed weapon ready to deliver, you'd need four arms (two for the two-handed weapon, one wielding the light or one-handed weapon required for Spell Combat, and the other one open as required for Spell Combat).


Xaratherus wrote:
Sniggevert wrote:
With a STR based Magus you can definitely deliver your spellstrike two-handed...
The problem comes in because you 'lose' Spell Combat by doing so; in order to have a two-handed weapon ready to deliver, you'd need four arms (two for the two-handed weapon, one wielding the light or one-handed weapon required for Spell Combat, and the other one open as required for Spell Combat).

Yeah, I don't think a two-handed strike option is really a "good" option, as I'd go more with the spell combat route and a one hand strike personally. I was just saying it WAS possible to do so. You're just losing out on a very strong piece of the class by fighting with a weapon two-handed.


Spell combat states you only need a light or one-handed weapon for spell combat (as well as a free hand to cast the spell). If your weapon is usable one or two handed, why can't you switch grips on the weapon as part of the attack(after casting the spell)? Using a one-handed weapon with two hands doesn't make it a two-handed weapon.

Scarab Sages

Gherrick wrote:
Spell combat states you only need a light or one-handed weapon for spell combat (as well as a free hand to cast the spell). If your weapon is usable one or two handed, why can't you switch grips on the weapon as part of the attack(after casting the spell)? Using a one-handed weapon with two hands doesn't make it a two-handed weapon.

Spell combat is a single full round action. You can change grips before and after using spell combat, but not in the middle.


Artanthos wrote:
Gherrick wrote:
Spell combat states you only need a light or one-handed weapon for spell combat (as well as a free hand to cast the spell). If your weapon is usable one or two handed, why can't you switch grips on the weapon as part of the attack(after casting the spell)? Using a one-handed weapon with two hands doesn't make it a two-handed weapon.
Spell combat is a single full round action. You can change grips before and after using spell combat, but not in the middle.

Err, isn't changing grips a free action? Free actions can interrupt other actions (it was for 3.x, did that change in PF?).

Shadow Lodge

I have three Magi, across both Society and a home game. The two Society magi use scimitars, while the one in the home game uses a whip.

The first magus is a Human Bladebound, with the scimitar flavored as an Elven-style Drizzt kinda sword. Up til he got that, he still used a longsword.

The second is a standard Tiefling, who uses Dervish Dance. He later multiclassed to Cleric.

The third, in the home game, is a Half-Elf magus who uses a whip along with Whip Mastery for some maneuvers and reach Spellstrike. Doesn't do as much damage, but gets hit less often and is pretty versatile. Also, is great when using multi-touch attack spells.


Gherrick wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Gherrick wrote:
Spell combat states you only need a light or one-handed weapon for spell combat (as well as a free hand to cast the spell). If your weapon is usable one or two handed, why can't you switch grips on the weapon as part of the attack(after casting the spell)? Using a one-handed weapon with two hands doesn't make it a two-handed weapon.
Spell combat is a single full round action. You can change grips before and after using spell combat, but not in the middle.
Err, isn't changing grips a free action? Free actions can interrupt other actions (it was for 3.x, did that change in PF?).

A requirement for Spell Combat is that one hand is free. It must be free during the entire Spell Combat full-round action, not just while casting the spell. Thus, a two-handed grip is not allowed during Spell Combat.

There might be a technicality for a two-handed Spellstrike during the same turn that the magus used Spell Combat. Casting a touch spell allows a free action in that turn to deliver the charge as a melee touch attack. In theory, the magus could end the Spell Combat full-round action before making that touch attack. Then he could shift to a two-handed grip as a free action, and deliver the charge via his weapon as a Spellstrike attack free action. However, the attack made during Spell Combat would still have to be one handed.


Sniggevert wrote:
2. Sorry, but that's not really the case. The Aldori Dueling Sword actually has it written into the weapon rules how to run it. You can use Weapon Finesse with it (as long as you have the Exotic Weapon Prof. in it), and if you are using it two handed you can also get your 1.5xSTR damage with it.

Just to add on to this: warlok9, damage is not the only factor in play on a character. A Dervish Magus and a STR Magus are going to have access to the same armor across levels, but a Dervish Magus will have a higher potential AC at lower levels because of his higher DEX modifier; a STR Magus gets - well, damage from his STR, and that's it (not taking into account skill bonuses, which are roughly equal as well).

Assuming your GM allows it, your best bet might if this is a real concern is to retrain at 3rd or 5th into a Dervish build.

As to using a two-handed weapon with Spell Combat, the intent seems clear (to me, anyway) that a Magus is intended to primarily be a one-handed class; in order to use Spell Combat, the intent appears to be that you have one hand free for the duration of the action (i.e., for the full round). Although I can't find it now, I seem to recall dev quotes to that end as well - I think the topic came up in regards to using natural attacks with Spell Combat maybe, and the designer quote assumed that if you were combining Spell Combat and Spellstrike, you were required to use the designated "light or one-handed weapon" to deliver the spell.


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As I understood matters, two-handed spellstriking was always used for when you were limited to a standard action (usually on turns when you need to move that turn). If you're not using Spell Combat, you don't need a free hand.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
warlok9 wrote:


1. Weapon Finesse & the Scimitar. Nope. Contrary to what everyone assumes, you DO NOT get to use weapon finesse with your scimitar while you are waiting for 3rd level when you can take Dervish Dance.

"Everyone" who? almost all the posts I have seen say "you will suck the first levels as you can't use weapon finenesse with the scimitar. Use the rapier for the first levels."


I really don't see "you'll suck at super low levels" as a convincing argument as a lot of things suck then. It's not a unique to the Dervish Dancing Magus.

Dark Archive

Since no one has said it yet, I must add it. Holy thread necro batman!

If you guys haven't yet, Walter's Guide to the Magus is something you all should read. What it comes down to is this. The Dex magus will have better AC, and have difficulty hitting at low levels. The Str magus will have an easier time hitting, but his AC will be b$+++#~s compared to the Dex magus. They will end up doing almost the exact same amount of damage at 10-12th level.

Another option I've found that works great (provided you Gm credit boost it up to level, or your home game starts at 6th) is a Kensai Bladebound Magus with a single level of Aldori Swordlord. The biggest issues people have with a Dex based magus is that when you start wearing armor, your dex gets restricted. This isn't a problem, because you can't wear armor as a Kensai. Put on those bracers of armor, bump them up a +1 whenever you get the chance. You're bladebound, so you're getting a free +5 weapon. An Aldori Dueling Sword, to be exact. Also, you get your int as a dodge bonus to your AC. So you've only got three stats to worry about, Dex, Int, and Con, and they all help you stay alive or kill everything. The Aldori Sword Lord lets you use your dex instead of your strength the the Aldori Dueling Sword, and gives you some more armor as a shield bonus. I wouldn't advice taking more than a single level of the Aldori Sword Lord, as the main reason you want it is at 1st level.

This build will be awful until 6th level. There is no doubt about that. Your crit range will be the same as the strength magus. But, this build will get you the best armor as a magus, some really cool flavor, and you'll get a glorious initiative roll, some great absolutely stunning crit damage (perfect strike your keen black blade to a 17-20/x3. Go ahead. Shocking grasp them for 30d6 at 10th level), and you'll also have the satisfaction of saying, "I'm not a dervish dancer magus", if that's your cup of tea.


im lvl 7

got a ring of deflection amilet of natural armor and a wand of shield

also got a mithrill +1 breasdtplate

so i am walking around with 24AC mirror image and possible bear's endurance...

i dont know if thats enough for ya on lvl 7 but it is for me

Shadow Lodge

Spellstrike does not make the spell's critical match the weapon, even the Kensai. It's always x2, no matter what weapon you are using.


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I'm late to the party but early in the thread I read that the katana's special was 'pointless'. I'd like to point out that the bonus to coup de gras means that you get a bonus to suicide attempts.


yeah I mis read his intentions

I thought he was saying it didn't match the critical range on the weapon not the critical multiplier.

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