Magus: Help needed to prove it's Balanced


Advice


Okay, as the title says, I need help showing that the Magus isn't "broken". I have a DM who has said that we can use anything from Ultimate Magic except the Magus because a Magus can cast True Strike before he attacks.

So, other than the Concentration Check needed to cast a spell defensively using Spell Strike and the -2 to all attacks rolls, is there anything else that makes sure the Magus isn't "broke"?


You'd probably have better luck getting an answer in a Pathfinder-specific forum. This one is 3.5/OGL.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I honestly don't think your going to have any luck convincing you GM. GM's tend to be fickle that way. Once they think something is broken it probably is going to stay that way. And arguing really hard it isn't broken just doesn't say people much. They usually have to see it in action to really see where it fits. My personal opinion, having seen a lot of organized play and convention play, is that the player can break the class. There is so much flexibility in the rules (3.x/patherfinder) a well built/well played character can dominate any table regardless of his class.

If his issue really is True Strike, just ask if he will let you play as if true strike is not on your spell list and you wont take it with Spell Blending. While true strike is a tool worth using I don't think its crucial to the class.

His issue really should be that the magus can leverage the action economy. But I don't think the magus leverages any better than the summoner or the druid can with their companions. ... But if the Magus is "broken" in someones mind, I imagine so is the summoner and druid.

I'll say that I think the Magus power starts falling off at the higher levels. Once full casters can start quickening spells/afford rods of quickening. So they can close the gap on the action economy and have better spells overall so they win more.

Don't know if that helped any.

Grand Lodge

Maezer wrote:
I honestly don't think your going to have any luck convincing you GM. GM's tend to be fickle that way. Once they think something is broken it probably is going to stay that way. And arguing really hard it isn't broken just doesn't say people much.

More or less where I am at on this one - if you really want to go head to head? Ask him if True strike is the only issue, if yes, tell him to remove True Strike from the Magus spell list - issue resolved.

If there are other issues then its not likely to happen. I don't really like some of the archetypes in UC or the Ninja - I'd think REAL hard myself before admitting such into my games... just the way I am. Happens to a lot of GMs - we get prejudiced :)


Helaman wrote:
Maezer wrote:
I honestly don't think your going to have any luck convincing you GM. GM's tend to be fickle that way. Once they think something is broken it probably is going to stay that way. And arguing really hard it isn't broken just doesn't say people much.

More or less where I am at on this one - if you really want to go head to head? Ask him if True strike is the only issue, if yes, tell him to remove True Strike from the Magus spell list - issue resolved.

If there are other issues then its not likely to happen. I don't really like some of the archetypes in UC or the Ninja - I'd think REAL hard myself before admitting such into my games... just the way I am. Happens to a lot of GMs - we get prejudiced :)

Oh god. The ninja is everything the rogue should've been. The rogue is such a weak class right now :(


Cheapy wrote:


Oh god. The ninja is everything the rogue should've been. The rogue is such a weak class right now :(

Sigh, while I agree with you Mr. Cheapy, let's not hijack the thread. To the point, most DMs are more understanding if you have a good character concept, i.e., something beyond mechanics. Share the character you've built in your mind and prove this isn't just about trying out a mechanic. THEN ask your DM for the specific objections to the Magus class. If it is just True Strike, no problem. If it is that the class flurries, then so does the monk. If it is that you get a spell and an attack, ask him to let you play it for a few sessions and if it appears overbroken (which it won't with the concentration saves), then you'll go to your back up.

Scarab Sages

lol. Just... lol.

Oh no! The Magus' 1d8+5 damage is a guaranteed hit! Whatever will we do! I mean, it's not like fighters are basically auto-hitting by level 5!.... oh...

Really, ask your DM if you can play, promise not to choose true strike as a spell, then take a 1 level dip in Sorcerer (Crossblooded Orc/Blue Dragon). Then, show him the meaning of pain.

Edit*: Yes, I'm just being snarky. Don't take me too seriously.

Grand Lodge

Davor wrote:

lol. Just... lol.

Oh no! The Magus' 1d8+5 damage is a guaranteed hit! Whatever will we do! I mean, it's not like fighters are basically auto-hitting by level 5!.... oh...

Really, ask your DM if you can play, promise not to choose true strike as a spell, then take a 1 level dip in Sorcerer (Crossblooded Orc/Blue Dragon). Then, show him the meaning of pain.

Edit*: Yes, I'm just being snarky. Don't take me too seriously.

The true strength of true strike is not in the auto hit - its in the combat manuever attack... its virtually an auto success to disarm etc.


Well, their array of utility, control and defensive spells isn't exactly stellar. Add that to a d8 HD, MAD, a relative lack of utility, a class that tends to quickly identify themselves as target #1 among intelligent enemies, and you have a fairly glass cannon-y character that can't do a lot outside combat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Davor wrote:

I keep seeing it referenced, but what is the source of the blue dragon bloodline (which book did it come from?)


Maezer wrote:
Davor wrote:
I keep seeing it referenced, but what is the source of the blue dragon bloodline (which book did it come from?)

Core book.


As a GM who's wants to allow a Magus into is games because it sounds cool, but is hesitant to do so after a cursory reading, I whole-heartedly disagree with the sentiment 'gms get ideas in there head, and its useless to talk them out of them'. I haven't done my homework on the Magus yet, but my initial reaction is that it's already too easy to make a Gish that will out-combat the combat focused classes by upper low-level without the magus making it easy; that the magus's ability descriptions are vaguely and sloppily written; and that allowing the magus might result in me having to allow other things from that hap-hazardly assembled book.

If a player comes to me with sincere points about why my concerns aren't valid, I will be eager to entertain them and if called for let go of my concerns. If on the other hand a player comes to me with the attitude that I'm a bad GM if I don't allow everything printed in every non-core supplement Paizo churns out for a quick profit hence forth, or simply thinks the class sounds cool (it does) and I should therefore not worry about any of the balance issues it may introduce into the game, then I will be less easily dissuaded from my knee-jerk reaction to the class.


I can prove how its not balanced ;) but that's probably not going to help you.

In fact I ran one of these as a character replacement at 9th level in a campaign and long story short, My Magus became an NPC the next week ;)

built right they're one trick ponies of DOOM


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Maezer wrote:
Davor wrote:
I keep seeing it referenced, but what is the source of the blue dragon bloodline (which book did it come from?)
Core book.

Oh, this was priceless. :)

But you could also get +1 to lightning spells from primal elemental bloodline, yet no one seems to bring it up. Always Orc/Dragon.


Phasics wrote:

I can prove how its not balanced ;) but that's probably not going to help you.

In fact I ran one of these as a character replacement at 9th level in a campaign and long story short, My Magus became an NPC the next week ;)

built right they're one trick ponies of DOOM

I can do the same thing with Fighters! And Barbarians! And Bards!

...and well just about everything but the rogue.

Monk might be a bit difficult. But doable.


Cheapy wrote:
Phasics wrote:

I can prove how its not balanced ;) but that's probably not going to help you.

In fact I ran one of these as a character replacement at 9th level in a campaign and long story short, My Magus became an NPC the next week ;)

built right they're one trick ponies of DOOM

I can do the same thing with Fighters! And Barbarians! And Bards!

...and well just about everything but the rogue.

Monk might be a bit difficult. But doable.

and no doubt his GM would probably call shenanigans on those tricked out builds as well. The difference is that for a Magus you either build them "

"right" and they're OP or you build them wrong and they suck , I don't think it's possible to make an average Magus ;)

However its harder to make a tricked out Fighter/Barb/Bard and easier to make average versions of them.

Scarab Sages

I had a similar problem with my GM. He let me play a 10th level magus, but unfortunately in the charcter's first live combat my magus novaed a stone giant and took him down with one intensified shocking grasp crit. After serious negotiations with my GM, I had to nerf my magus and now am doing far less dpr than any of the other melee builds. I basically have to crit to even equal them in a round.

Magi have two nice qualities: spikiness and versatility. True strike isn't a game breaker; it just gives you more versatility with combat maneuvers. You better not be burning a spell a round just to make sure you hit.

Grand Lodge

Wyrd20 wrote:

I had a similar problem with my GM. He let me play a 10th level magus, but unfortunately in the charcter's first live combat my magus novaed a stone giant and took him down with one intensified shocking grasp crit. After serious negotiations with my GM, I had to nerf my magus and now am doing far less dpr than any of the other melee builds. I basically have to crit to even equal them in a round.

Magi have two nice qualities: spikiness and versatility. True strike isn't a game breaker; it just gives you more versatility with combat maneuvers. You better not be burning a spell a round just to make sure you hit.

lol - I can just see the GMs jaw hit the table.

That's where lots of new Magi go wrong with GMs - they do a really good job and scare the DM. Had you used an non intensified spell, it may have gone down differently


Wyrd20 wrote:

I had a similar problem with my GM. He let me play a 10th level magus, but unfortunately in the charcter's first live combat my magus novaed a stone giant and took him down with one intensified shocking grasp crit. After serious negotiations with my GM, I had to nerf my magus and now am doing far less dpr than any of the other melee builds. I basically have to crit to even equal them in a round.

Magi have two nice qualities: spikiness and versatility. True strike isn't a game breaker; it just gives you more versatility with combat maneuvers. You better not be burning a spell a round just to make sure you hit.

I hate when GMs see you crit and then decide your character is broken.

The gunslinger in my group does around 20 to 40 damage a round, but sometimes crits on a Dead Shot and does almost 200 damage. That doesn't mean he's broken.

Oh well.


Ice Titan wrote:
Wyrd20 wrote:

I had a similar problem with my GM. He let me play a 10th level magus, but unfortunately in the charcter's first live combat my magus novaed a stone giant and took him down with one intensified shocking grasp crit. After serious negotiations with my GM, I had to nerf my magus and now am doing far less dpr than any of the other melee builds. I basically have to crit to even equal them in a round.

Magi have two nice qualities: spikiness and versatility. True strike isn't a game breaker; it just gives you more versatility with combat maneuvers. You better not be burning a spell a round just to make sure you hit.

I hate when GMs see you crit and then decide your character is broken.

The gunslinger in my group does around 20 to 40 damage a round, but sometimes crits on a Dead Shot and does almost 200 damage. That doesn't mean he's broken.

Oh well.

it might seem unreasonable but if you come at it from a GM perspective if he's got character that can oneshot kill BBEG that can also fail to crit as well.

Meaning the encounter is either waaay too easy or waaay too hard ending up in a boring quick fight not epic at all. or a long drawn out fight which could end in TPK.

Nova Burst damage characters while fun to play are not friendly for GM's to work with and remember he's trying to make it fun for everyone,


Even casting true strike as a standard action can be a pain, guaranteed maneuver next round on your first attack, the magus just makes it more obvious.

Houserule the spell, maybe change it to a bonus of 5 +1 per level up to +10, and automatically confirming critical hits.


Heh you haven't even got to the fun of Force Hook Charge so you can move and full attack with spell combat ;)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Phasics wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
Wyrd20 wrote:

I had a similar problem with my GM. He let me play a 10th level magus, but unfortunately in the charcter's first live combat my magus novaed a stone giant and took him down with one intensified shocking grasp crit. After serious negotiations with my GM, I had to nerf my magus and now am doing far less dpr than any of the other melee builds. I basically have to crit to even equal them in a round.

Magi have two nice qualities: spikiness and versatility. True strike isn't a game breaker; it just gives you more versatility with combat maneuvers. You better not be burning a spell a round just to make sure you hit.

I hate when GMs see you crit and then decide your character is broken.

The gunslinger in my group does around 20 to 40 damage a round, but sometimes crits on a Dead Shot and does almost 200 damage. That doesn't mean he's broken.

Oh well.

it might seem unreasonable but if you come at it from a GM perspective if he's got character that can oneshot kill BBEG that can also fail to crit as well.

Meaning the encounter is either waaay too easy or waaay too hard ending up in a boring quick fight not epic at all. or a long drawn out fight which could end in TPK.

Nova Burst damage characters while fun to play are not friendly for GM's to work with and remember he's trying to make it fun for everyone,

That seems to be more a general weakness of the system, rather than any particular build or class. (or not a failing at all, it's really a matter of opinion)


To avoid the first round crit spike damage, just give the NPC (if it can wear armor/use shield) the feat from UC that lets you turn a crit into a normal hit and makes your armor broken.

I did the Magus at a high level switch and it was alright. Lotta little things that could add together. If you abused a trait to get a cheap 10d6 shocking grasp it would be nice with a reduced spell level meta magic feat that can be nasty.

But honestly, just show the GM a level 10-11 barbarian with Spell Sunder and Greater Beast totem. Throw in Strength surge and you are half way to the true strike for a combat manuever. (and Helaman is right, that's why Magus with truestrike can be scary.)

Overall I found teh Magic like I find most of the caster hyrbids. They can be amazingly awesome. But they require more steps and the stars to align and all these other factors when I could just be a swordsman dervish bard that uses Immediate action spells and battle dance or play a barbarian or fighter or something and get similar results without playing up circumstances.

But some people like setting up the moves and throwing together a serious of modifiers. For those people the Magus is good. But hardly OP.


Chances are your DM is going to care 0% about any reasons or proof you give him.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Chances are your DM is going to care 0% about any reasons or proof you give him.

If you can show your DM reasonable in-game examples and comparisons, I don't any reason why they wouldn't at least consider it.

I've played under DM's who though Warmages and Shadowcasters in 3.5 were broken at first glance, but after seeing some in-game play, they quickly changed their minds. Those are two of the weakest classes in the entire edition.


Azten wrote:

Okay, as the title says, I need help showing that the Magus isn't "broken". I have a DM who has said that we can use anything from Ultimate Magic except the Magus because a Magus can cast True Strike before he attacks.

So, other than the Concentration Check needed to cast a spell defensively using Spell Strike and the -2 to all attacks rolls, is there anything else that makes sure the Magus isn't "broke"?

You could check with your GM if he's open for a compromise: Let you play the magus (because no amount of theory crafting is going to measure up to in-game experience) with the caveat that if he finds that the class does turn out to be disruptive to gameplay, you'll retire the character and roll something else.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Azten wrote:

Okay, as the title says, I need help showing that the Magus isn't "broken". I have a DM who has said that we can use anything from Ultimate Magic except the Magus because a Magus can cast True Strike before he attacks.

So, other than the Concentration Check needed to cast a spell defensively using Spell Strike and the -2 to all attacks rolls, is there anything else that makes sure the Magus isn't "broke"?

I remember when the first magus I'd ever GMed for pulled that trick. I thought it was pretty neat. Magi don't have the spells per day to pull their best stuff every round. The one thing they do have is that they tend to be swingy - if everything goes right they can do big damage in one hit. But x4 crit weapons are swingy too - the look on some people's face the first time a level 2 character hits for 60 can be fun.

If your GM is reasonable, I'd suggest an experiment. See if he'll let you play a magus in a one-shot or have one as a cohort or something where it can be easily removed/replaced/ignored if he concludes it is in fact too powerful.


Wow, lot's of posts since I last checked. Every one of them that wasn't about the ninja has been helpful. Thanks!

I'll talk to him about it. Davor was pretty close to be taking seriously too! ;)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Phasics wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
Phasics wrote:

I can prove how its not balanced ;) but that's probably not going to help you.

In fact I ran one of these as a character replacement at 9th level in a campaign and long story short, My Magus became an NPC the next week ;)

built right they're one trick ponies of DOOM

I can do the same thing with Fighters! And Barbarians! And Bards!

...and well just about everything but the rogue.

Monk might be a bit difficult. But doable.

and no doubt his GM would probably call shenanigans on those tricked out builds as well. The difference is that for a Magus you either build them "

"right" and they're OP or you build them wrong and they suck , I don't think it's possible to make an average Magus ;)

However its harder to make a tricked out Fighter/Barb/Bard and easier to make average versions of them.

Sure it is, go strength based and use a longsword instead of dex based with a scimitar and dervish dance. Then optimize normally. You get a relatively average front line character that is ok when not buffed and good when buffed.

My magus WOULD be average in my kingmaker game except the dm gave a 5th level character a +2feybane sword in a fey heavy campaign.


Helaman wrote:
Davor wrote:

lol. Just... lol.

Oh no! The Magus' 1d8+5 damage is a guaranteed hit! Whatever will we do! I mean, it's not like fighters are basically auto-hitting by level 5!.... oh...

Really, ask your DM if you can play, promise not to choose true strike as a spell, then take a 1 level dip in Sorcerer (Crossblooded Orc/Blue Dragon). Then, show him the meaning of pain.

Edit*: Yes, I'm just being snarky. Don't take me too seriously.

The true strength of true strike is not in the auto hit - its in the combat manuever attack... its virtually an auto success to disarm etc.

Agreed, but to be effective, you need to invest in combat expertise and improved trip or disarm to avoid taking an AoO when tripping or disarming. Add to that even with true strike, you will have a hard time tripping/disarming larger creatures. It is a cool trick, but it does have limits.


Azten wrote:

Okay, as the title says, I need help showing that the Magus isn't "broken". I have a DM who has said that we can use anything from Ultimate Magic except the Magus because a Magus can cast True Strike before he attacks.

So, other than the Concentration Check needed to cast a spell defensively using Spell Strike and the -2 to all attacks rolls, is there anything else that makes sure the Magus isn't "broke"?

First of all the Magus can only do that trick a limited number of times 5 maybe a little more times a day, and still for damage potential Shocking Grasp will be your go to at low levels. I've played a Magus and just using True strike at low levels I have been way behind the Fighter in total damage. You can still easily lose a spell while casting so it all balances out.

I've seen at low levels a well cast color spray screw over an entire group I would have rather been hit by the magus than knocked out blind and stunned.

The other thing casting a spell and swinging a sword is a full action which limits your mobility in combat just like Flurry and Two Weapon Combat. I'd much rather hit my foe for 1d8+str mod +1d6 per level (5d6 max) +3 to hit if they are wearing metal armor using Shocking Grasp a much better use of my 1st level spell.


In the grand scheme of things I see them as parallel to the bard class. They are a solid magic/martial hybrid class. The bard has bardic performance and skills. The magus gets a arcana and spell combat.

Optimizing for scimitar + dervish dance + arcane strike, I get about 45 damage per round at level 10 with a hasted full attack. For reference, a good fighter build puts out 60-65 damage per round without haste. With haste, a fighter would easily double my damage. I can make an archer bard that puts out 50 damage per round at level 10.

The magus' spell damage isn't all that stellar either. You won't have the metamagic support that a full sorcerer or wizard has, so you will fall behind there as well. A level 10 sorcerer can put out an empowered or fireball + quickened magic missle for an easy 70 damage. More if the fireball hits multiple targets. A Sorcerer or Wizard would also have access to level 5 spells as well as having a better list of spells to choose from.

The only real edge the Magus has is the action economy of spell combat. They can do both of these things at once. This makes the Magus a really strong support character. The magus can buff the party with haste, debuff the enemy with slow, use battlefield control spelsl like grease or obscuring mist while making a full attacks and providing flanking for other melee characters.

The Exchange

By it's very nature even a guaranteed melee hit (and even true strike isn't really that) by a Magus isn't going to be overly scary - he's a one-hander who's a MAD Class, and tends towards the lower damage but higher critical threat range weapons. A Magus can do a lot better than Spell Combat with true stike - although it has its moments.

The Spellstrike Class Feature is all about boosting the damage of melee touch spells via the higher critical threat range of weapons. That's what can make a Spellstrike applied shocking grasp seem so powerful... but really, it's nothing which couldn't occur on any damaging spell which requires an attack roll - they all have the potential to be critical threats, the Magus just gets to expand the threat range.

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