Unarmed Magus?



I am about to make a new character for a game tonight for Pathfinder. I have always loved the idea of a Monk/Mage, but as we are not doing a gestalt game, I was thinking that maybe the Magus, using unarmed attacks, would work.

So from a rules standpoint, can I take Improved Unarmed Strike and do all the Magus stuff with that? Or do I need to get gauntlets or brass knuckles or something?

I'm not a rules expert, I've barely looked at the Magus rules, and I almost never do anything even vaguely melee, so I just wanted rules opinions on the validity of this and page number pointers if possible (I own all the rules books).

I would also be open to the Staff Magus, only I think that for some silly reason they made them all light armor kinda stuff, and I want to be able to at least survive in Melee and be a quasi monk/martial artist type.

I would also be open to maybe being a Monk/Wizard or Monk/Sorcerer, but I dont know if it would inherently stink, and I dont know what rules apply.

So I guess I'm asking which rules in the game would help me create my vision of a caster/martial artist type.


Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There seems to be nothing that prevents you from doing all of the Magus tricks and focusing on unarmed strikes.

you could always do one level of sohei monk / empyreal sorceror 9 (using wisdom as your casting stat) / eldritch knight 10? you would lose 2 caster levels but get nice synergy between wisdom for ac and casting stat, plus up to d8 unarmed strikes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you multiclass, I actually suggest alchemist. Vivisectionist and Internal Alchemist are fitting choices.

I like the sound of the Sohei / Empyreal Sorc / Eldritch, in the sense that while I am interested in the Magus, if I could (at level 20, if I reach it) cast as a level 18 sorcerer and still sometimes punch some stuff, that would be good.

Forgive the newbie rules question, but how does my BaB interact with my monk attacks and damage? I know I wont get the monk special abilities past level 1, but will my damage and attacks scale tolerably?


EDIT: also, which books do these come from (Sohei, Empyreal, Eldritch)?

sohei is from ultimate combat, eldritch knight is in the core rulebook, empyreal bloodline is from ultimate magic.

doing this build your base attack would effectively be 14 AB, +4 from 9 levels in sorc, +10 from ten levels in eldritch knight, +0 from one level in monk. if you flurried it would bring that one level of monk up to +1 giving you +15, but ultimately giving you one extra attack for all atatcks being at -2, thus bringing it down to +13 AB.

your damage and attacks are not gonna scale all that well, but +14 is only one behind a full magus and you would get 1 ninth level spell to compensate. also one level of monk makes your unarmed atatcks deal 1d6, and sohei archetype gives you full martial weapons proficiency thus getting that requirement for eldritch knight out of the way.

d20pfsrd.com has all these options :)

edit: personally if it was me i would simply forget about the monk abilities, the one level gives us pretty much everything we need, 1d6 unarmed strike, Improved unarmed strike feat, bonus feat, and the real thing we want, wisdom to unarmored ac.

also the sohei archetype specifically gives us proficiency with all martial weapons for eldritch knight requirements giving you a good selection of weapons to choose from, and at first level replaces stunning fist with the ability to act in a surprise round. not to shabby

hope this helps!

The problem I see with the Sohei is that it says:

"Unarmed Strike: A sohei's unarmed strike damage does not increase at 4th level and above."

Doesnt that kinda defeat the point of it? Is that why you said my damage wont scale well?

Hmm. I have about 3 hours to figure out what I want to do. Oh well. :)

well you would only be taking one level of monk, so it wouldnt particularly matter? the unarmed damage only scales with monk levels you see, a level one monk does 1d6 with his unarmed strike damage, a level 4 monk does 1d8, a level one monk / level 3 sorceror does 1d6 unarmed damage. it goes off class level as opposed to character level.

EDIT: there is a feat (MONASTIC LEGACY) that allows you to treat levels taken in other classes as half monk level for unarmed damage, but it requires still mind which monks gain at level 3, thus if you get that you would be missing out on 4 sorceror caster levels as opposed to 2, making you cast as if a 16th level sorceror with a max of 8th level spells.

a build doing this would be monk (sohei) 3 / empyreal bloodline sorc 7 / eldritch knight 10.

giving you a caster level of 16, 8th level spell, and to find unarmed damage after taking monastic legacy you would divide the 7 sorc levels in half giving you 3, and the eldritch knight levels in half giving you five, adding those to the monk levels that would mean your unarmed damage would hit as if you were an 11th level monk or for 1d10, seeing as your a sohei it would be capped at 1d8 or a 4th level monk. not worth the caster levels for the +1 average damage in my opinion.

you would already be doing more damage with unarmed strike then any non monk could hope to accomplish with d6's

Ah, I see. Interesting. Thanks. I have to think about that.

Which book is Empyrean Sorcerer in? I see it int he SRD, but I think I'm overlooking it when flipping through my books.

Thanks so much. Not sure what I'm gonna do, but I will definitely consider this.

Frankly, I'm really a spellcaster at heart. Even tho I kinda suck at it because I dont like carrying around all the rods and pearls and stuff. I dunno.

it is in ultimate magic i believe, under the wildblooded bloodlines

and after thinkign about it you could always try to find a "monks robe" in game

MONKS ROBE: This simple brown robe, when worn, confers great ability in unarmed combat. If the wearer has levels in monk, her AC and unarmed damage is treated as a monk of five levels higher. If donned by a character with the Stunning Fist feat, the robe lets her make one additional stunning attack per day. If the character is not a monk, she gains the AC and unarmed damage of a 5th-level monk (although she does not add her Wisdom bonus to her AC). This AC bonus functions just like the monk's AC bonus.

that would pump your unarmed damage to d8, and give you a +1 ac bonus

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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

My low-level monk/magus, Daren Mott, is pretty ass-kickin'. He can strike people for 1d6+5 lethal damage plus 1d6+5 nonlethal frost damage plus fatigue, get a +20 bonus on a combat maneuver check, deflect melee weapon attacks made against him, enlarge hiself for crazy reach and strength, get bonus attacks every round with an additional +1d3 cold damage, or pump his AC up by +8 at a moment's notice. And this is at low levels. At higher levels, he could have monk's robes, Deflect Arrows, intensified shocking grasp, and a host of other cool things.

Yours could be awesome too. It's not hard. You just need to be inspired. ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suppose a good question is: What do you want your character to do?

I suggested this one in a different thread but I'll pop it up here again too:

hexcrafter staff magus/ monk of many styles 2.

I would level it like thus:
Monk (crane style/ crane wing)
Monk (Kirin Style/ Kirin Strike)

Feats of interest: Hex strike, Monastic legacy

Basically put you'll use Hex strike to put evil eye on your enemies while spell striking. The staff is primarily for the AC since you'll be using up swift action on hex strike you'll avoid arcane strike.

Animation here, on a second account I just made. Went to my GMs house with my iPad but had never logged in with it. So I made a second acct.

In response to what I want to do, basically I want max spell casting levels I can get as Wizard or Sorc, with some martial arts and melee on the side, and something that won't be weak in melee by max level.

If I could design a class, it would cast at full caster levels but only from 1-3 schools. It would also have medium or full BaB but only with unarmed or staves. Basically, rather than limiting spell caster levels, I would rather limit my spell list. I want to flurry of blows as a full monk, cast evocation, shapeshifting and maybe teleport as a full caster, but I would give up all monk special features or other spells. No idea if that's balanced, just saying what I want.

But I definitely like the spell casting side more. If I could be a full wizard or sorcerer with full fighter BaB and just sometimes whack stuff with a +5 staff of jack_you_up 4 times as a full attack (at level 20) if something gets close, I would be fine.

Not saying it's balanced or not.

The staff magus might be a good option, I just dunno if I will hate the character when I am level 17 but I can't cast shape change and meteor swarm.

Any help along this direction would be great. I have 2 hours, but 2 players have issues today so it might work out well that I have the evening with the GM to make my character.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What point buy are you going to be using? Are you starting at at first level, or higher? If higher, what level? What resources (books and the like) are you permitted to draw from? Are there any house rules we should know about?

Answering these basic questions may well help us help you develop a worthwhile character.

Also, why didn't you just sign in under your first account?

I will be level 3. We are using 25 point buy. We use the main pathfinder books (core, advanced player guide, ultimate magic, ultimate combat). No other house rules, no other resources.

The reason I didn't sign in with the original acct is because that password is cached or in a cookie on my home pc but I can't remember it, and I am not at home now.

I feel silly. As soon as I said I couldn't remember, and hit submit, I remembered. :)

Anyway, 25 point buy, level 3, I prefer full spell casting, but wouldn't mind trying to mix in melee.

I am tempted to make a staff magus, I just don't know if I have the mindset.


I have played a monk, scimitar dex magus and an eldritch knight (paladin/sorceror).

Out of the three, in melee, the monk was by far the best; followed far far far behind by the magus and the eldritch knight. Most people don't believe this, but an optimized melee monk can outdamage a 2H fighter. A 2 weapon fighter can outdamage the monk, but few other classes can.

In spellcasting, I believe the magus is more versatile than the eldritch knight, even given no high level spells. The reason for this is action economy. The ability of the magus to cast and full attack is pretty ridiculous. Also, the eldritch knight really suffers in the low to mid levels. Arcane pool gives a lot of flexibility to cast more spells. My magus with an arcane pool of 13 can cast 14 fireballs or haste or force hook charge per day if he chooses. Also, with action economy, he can cast any of those spells and then full attack if he wants.

I believe that settling for unarmed or staff on a magus is a large power drop from scimitar. If you don't care that your melee attacks are sub par, that is your choice.

If you want to be a full caster that can attack in hand to hand, his attacks will be pretty feeble compared to a real fighting class. This is where pathfinder has suceeded in balancing casters and non-casters.

Well, based on that, I should probably just go full spellcaster. In terms of style, I have no interest in the scimitar. Conceptually, I want a monk/wizard gestalt. I'm willing to lose flexibility as long as I dont lose spellcasting level. Seems like its not an option tho.

So I will probably just fall back to not playing a melee character at all.

I have a week to make my character since we didnt play tonight after all.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you become a member of a spellcasting guild and raise 40 Fame, you get +3 caster level to one class and +1 to another. These bonuses actually raise your spells known and spells per day.

So, multiclass at least a little, as it will cost you almost nothing.

Whoa! What rulebook is that from?

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

Whoa! What rulebook is that from?

Inner Sea Magic. Oh, I suppose I should have added the caveat that the bonus caster levels cannot go above your character level. If you are a straight caster, the bonuses are worthless. If you are a mystic theurge, paladin sorcerer, or monk/magus, however, than they are a bit more worthwhile.

And that's just ONE of the benefits of being a member of a spellcasting guild.

Web Product Manager

Moved thread.

Cool. I own Inner Sea Magic, and it is allowed. I will check it out.

By the way, are there any dual-casting prestige classes in Pathfinder yet, such as Ultimate Magus, Mystic Theurge, etc?


Mystic Theurge is in the core. pg 387

Animation wrote:

Cool. I own Inner Sea Magic, and it is allowed. I will check it out.

By the way, are there any dual-casting prestige classes in Pathfinder yet, such as Ultimate Magus, Mystic Theurge, etc?


Mystic Theurge as Rylar said, and Magus actually works pretty well with cleric if you want to go that route. I would suggest going magus 7 then cleric 1 before going into mystic theurge, applying the +3 bonus to the cleric and the +1 bonus to the magus.

Made one with a DBZ type of character in mind. We're level 7 in our current campaign and i chose a samaran magus. Every feat i chose: Improved unarmed strike, bleeding attack, Dodge, Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) and Greater Unarmed Strike. focused on damaging spells and since you're fist are weapons you're able to enchant them with your magic. prioritized Dex and Int, Cha dump stat (of course). Level 7, I'm currently a +8 to hit, damage is 1d8+2+1d4 (bleed damage)+ Whatever damage the spell i enchant my fists with. =) took some ranged spells for ki blasts, and flare for solar flare.

Six years is a long pause in a conversation.

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