Words of Power and the Magus


I'm toying with the idea of making a Magus that uses Words of Power. However my grasp of the rules are a bit tenuous. I'm curious if anyone has tried this before. Is it something that is worth exploring?

Some things are better, other things are worse. I'm of the mindset that WoP is designed for Spontaneous Casters, specifically the Sorceror, but the primary advantage for the Magus is that you get a bigger scale-up of damage spell options, which is sort of the purpose of the class. That said, all of those concerns are largely handled by Intensify Spell, anyway.

Sovereign Court

When I started the magus that I'm currently playing I considered Words of Power. I couldn't see any mechanical advantage to the option, however.

When you say that some things are better, can you point out some examples?

For instance, all of the 1st level damage effect words do 1d4/level damage, max 5d4. That's a substantial downgrade from the 1d6/level spells like Shocking Grasp.

Spells like Ablative Barrier and Bladed Dash and Force Hook Charge don't exist at all. Buffs like Blur don't exist. Invisibility effects are weaker for the spell level.

Every time I consider Words of Power I go through this same litany and end up disgusted with them by the time I'm done. :(

I was wondering something similar, while there are some obvious benefits to spontanious casters (being completely unfazed by energy resistances etc is very nice) the downside is unless you dont mind the bump up in spell levels all the targetting ranges are massively reduced. That is an area that would be tailor made for a magus, as they're generally in melee range anyway they can fill up their word spells with effect words without having to spend spell levels on increasing the range to make them actually castable from the back end of the battlefield

I am in the same boat every time I look at the words. Sadly I think in the effort to keep it balanced it went a little to far the other way. You can see that by the fact that no one uses them.

The only time I can see words of power as useful is if you are going for a campaign where magic is more primal. Everyone would be using it at that point so they would be on equal footing. Otherwise it is a pretty lackluster system.

And lets not forget the polymourph effects!

You don't even get CLAW attacks for free!

We did a podcast on Words of Power a little bit ago, you might find it useful.

The Gamers' Guide to Words of Power

You might find it useful for understanding the rules of how they work.

I did make a mistake in the podcast though in that it is only energy spells that are turned into rays... not hugely relevant to the magus though.

Anyway, the bottom line for a magus is that they will have more options of touch damage spells than a normal magus would. The down side is that those spells on average do less damage.

I would probably say it isn't worth it to be a dedicated Words of Power caster as a magus but might look at taking the feats that let me do just a few of the spells to add in some interesting ones (like a higher level one that has multiple effects built in).

Sean Mahoney

Sovereign Court

Interesting podcast. I think it's good that you guys tackled this topic, it gets it some more attention. With respect, however, there were quite a few errors I've noticed so far. Individually the errors are minor, but together I think they skew the view of Words of Power as better (mechanically) than they are.

I really love the premise of Words of Power, and I think the basics of the implementation are good. The system is, however, substantially less powerful than the default Pathfinder magic system. And that's a shame.

Hmm, I haven't tried words of power yet but if they're not powerful enough perhaps you could convince your DM to let you cast them a little more?

I'm considering a Magus with Words of Power in the future, though I'm going to petition my DM to let me take it s step further, using Spell Points (a different system, not the one from 3.5 Unearthed Arcana).

I even went to www.godeckyourself.com and made a deck I could use for it, when the time comes.

WoP might not provide a mechanical advantage, but you might want to try it out just for a new and interesting casting system.

Sovereign Court

I had almost convinced myself to make the switch to WoP with my 6th level magus after discussing it with the GM of that game today. But then I looked at all the cool spells that I have now and have coming up that can't even be replicated with WoP, not to mention the drastic reduction in power (like 1d6 -> 1d4 damage plus a save for the Shocking Grasp analog or the 1 min to 1 round per level duration of many spells) and I think I've talked myself right back out of it. :(

Sovereign Court

Ok, GM cajoled me into trying Words of Power for my lvl 6 Magus for a bit.

I've come to grips with all of the downsides now except the dearth of melee touch attacks at low spell levels and the fact that nearly all of the melee touch attacks also allow a saving throw.

It would seem that using the Selected target word should remove the saving throw, as is the norm even for the standard magic system. Most damage dealing words that can be touch attacks can just as easily be cones or lines or bursts. Except for a couple of specifically called out examples there is no compensation for limiting yourself to one target with the 'selected' target word.

Let's take the electricity line of words. The first level word does 1d4 damage/level, so already a downgrade compared to the magus staple of Shocking Grasp, but on top of that there's no attack bonus (admittedly that's a bit overpowering to start with and is a holdover concept from earlier editions) and to top the cake there's a saving throw allowed.

If you look at the Fire line, the first level word isn't even available as a melee touch.

The Cold line has a melee touch available at 2nd level, but once again allows a save for half.

Acid's first non-cantrip spell is at 2nd level and again isn't available as a melee touch.

Force, finally, has a 2nd level word with no save available as a melee touch.

Sonic does have a melee touch at 2nd with no save at least.

It's just very frustrating that the vaunted flexibility of Words of Power is just not there for the magus.

Grand Lodge

I know this is a old thread but I was thinking about this since my gm is lettimg me do the Cabalist (magus that spont cast like a bard version). (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/magus/archetypes/3rd-party-pu blishers/super-genius-games---magus-archetypes/cabalist) Now the trick is, is it still under powered or doe that make it a better choice now?

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