Magus / Alchemist cross-class, Vestigial Arms, two-handed weapons, and shield madness


Advice


I am not going this route with my current magus, but theoretically I'm wondering if my thoughts on this are accurate:

A magus is penalized for using a shield in that it applies an arcane spell failure on spells that require somatic components. Assumption: Since the Magus is typically holding a weapon in one hand, the shield strapped to\held in the other is what causes this spell failure chance.

Likewise, a magus generally is restricted to using one-handed weapons because he needs a free hand in order to cast his spells for Spell Combat.

But could this work out: Magus X \ Alchemist 4, with both Alchemist discovers spent on Vestigial arm. This would result in a Magus with 4 arms. 2 arms could wield a two-handed weapon, one arm could be equipped with a shield for extra AC, and the final arm would be perfectly unhindered to cast spells (including touch spells, which could then be delivered via the two-handed weapon).

Flaws in my reasoning?

[edit]
I realized that this probably doesn't belong in Rules Questions. Please move if needed, or I can delete and re-post in a more appropriate forum.


Reviewing the text of both Discovery: Vestigial Limb and Magus, I don't see why you couldn't do this. I think this is the correct forum.


PRD wrote:
To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.

Emphasis mine. Strict RAW, no, for casting spells while wielding a two-handed weapon. But the rules were written with a 2 handed humanoid in mind - so ask your GM.

Dark Archive

edit
Does the one handed thing only apply to spell combat or also spell strike?

Bare in mind:
-Maybe I am wrong and would love someone to point me to the correlating text, but I do not think the number of hands/arms matters towards a shield's arcane failure chance. Otherwise, why would some wizards or sorcerers not commonly carry a shield in one hand and just cast off the other? Probably because the players would say it was not worth the gold and fail to value the action economy, instead, they would piss away that round casting the spell shield, not to mention the spell slot.
-Neither of those regular classes has proficiency in shields, maybe an archetype can help. A masterwork buckler has no armor check penalty, meaning no attack penalty.
-PF added text to the buckler that turns off the ac bonus if that hand is used to cast a spell
-A mithral buckler has zero% spell failure. Add that is is MW and no attack penalty either.
-You might be better off sticking with one class to gain higher level spells/extracts than gaining more low level stuff with again, low caster level. Same goes for less powerful bombs and less arcane pool.

Silver Crusade

Spell Combat only works with 1-Handed and Light weapons. It doesn't matter if you have 16 arms, you can't use a 2H weapon and Spell Combat.

Likewise, the number of arms you have doesn't affect your arcane spell failure.

As Raymond suggested, you could use a mithral buckler, as it has a no failure chance.


Elamdri wrote:

Spell Combat only works with 1-Handed and Light weapons. It doesn't matter if you have 16 arms, you can't use a 2H weapon and Spell Combat.

Likewise, the number of arms you have doesn't affect your arcane spell failure.

As Raymond suggested, you could use a mithral buckler, as it has a no failure chance.

However you CAN wield a one-handed weapon in two of your hands for the damage bonus and still use spell combat, if I'm reading this right.

And as an alternative to Magus X/ Alch 4, go Alch 2 and use a feat on Extra Discovery for the second arm. Personally I'd set the levels up so that Alch 2 is on an odd level and get both arms at once, but that's just a stylistic choice. Use Magical Talent to keep the caster level up on your Magus levels, and maybe go vivisectionst for 1d6 sneak attack instead of some weak bombs.


Thanks for pointing out the text on Spell Combat, I had forgotten that.

I'll have to dig into the shield idea regarding arcane spell failure; it seems sort of clunky that just holding a shield somehow impedes your ability to properly cast a spell, especially for a class that is used to having a weapon in one hand anyway.

Follow-up question: Since you could not use a two-handed weapon, would this sort of build allow you to wield a one-handed weapon with two hands (for extra damage) while still allowing Spell Combat\casting since you have a hand free?


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
However you CAN wield a one-handed weapon in two of your hands for the damage bonus and still use spell combat, if I'm reading this right.

What makes you think so?

Spell Combat (Ex): "To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand."

If you don't have a hand free, you can't use the ability. As soon as your hand becomes not free (when you put it on the weapon) you no longer qualify for spell combat.

Xaratherus wrote:
A magus is penalized for using a shield in that it applies an arcane spell failure on spells that require somatic components. Assumption: Since the Magus is typically holding a weapon in one hand, the shield strapped to\held in the other is what causes this spell failure chance.

It doesn't matter which hand it's in, if the shield has ACP, then you take that ACP when it's donned.

Xaratherus wrote:
Likewise, a magus generally is restricted to using one-handed weapons because he needs a free hand in order to cast his spells for Spell Combat.

Spell Combat requires a light or one-handed weapon. It also requires one hand free, completely independent of somatic or material/focus components.

Xaratherus wrote:
But could this work out: Magus X \ Alchemist 4, with both Alchemist discovers spent on Vestigial arm. This would result in a Magus with 4 arms. 2 arms could wield a two-handed weapon, one arm could be equipped with a shield for extra AC, and the final arm would be perfectly unhindered to cast spells (including touch spells, which could then be delivered via the two-handed weapon).

Technically, yes, but not in the way you're thinking.

You have one hand free, and you're wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand (The shield). The fact that you have two extra arms which are wielding a greatsword doesn't matter.

So you can cast your spell and make all of your attacks with your shield, so long as for that entire action you still have one hand free and are wielding the shield.

The only way you can attack with the greatsword is if you are granted the ability to do so. For example, if you do spell combat, bash with the shield, then cast a touch spell, the touch spell grants you an extra attack as a free action. Nothing prevents you from using the greatsword to deliver that attack. Also, if before or after the full-round action to use Spell Combat you cast a quickened touch spell, you could also use the greatsword to deliver that free attack as well.

Here's A Guide to Touch Spells, Spellstrike, and Spell Combat.


Grick wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
However you CAN wield a one-handed weapon in two of your hands for the damage bonus and still use spell combat, if I'm reading this right.

What makes you think so?

Spell Combat (Ex): "To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand."

If you don't have a hand free, you can't use the ability. As soon as your hand becomes not free (when you put it on the weapon) you no longer qualify for spell combat.

I think so, because with 4 arms total you can use two on the one-handed weapon, one on the shield , and one for casting.

Primary hand: using one-handed weapon
natural off-hand: free for casting/spell combat/using items/etc
1st vestigal arm: wielding a shield but not bashing with it (no additional attacks)
2nd vestigal arm: increasing the damage from the weapon to 1.5 str (still no additional attacks)


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

I think so, because with 4 arms total you can use two on the one-handed weapon, one on the shield , and one for casting.

Primary hand: using one-handed weapon
natural off-hand: free for casting/spell combat/using items/etc
1st vestigal arm: wielding a shield but not bashing with it (no additional attacks)
2nd vestigal arm: increasing the damage from the weapon to 1.5 str (still no additional attacks)

This is how it works by RAW. Its really pretty clear IMO. Unusual and kinda cheesy? Perhaps, but it works as long as it fits the character concept.

If you have at least 3 arms as a Magus, you can wield your one-handed weapon in two hands, while still having an empty hand to satisfy the Spell Combat requirements. As long as you're using a weapon from the one-handed category (i.e. scimitar), and not an actual two-handed weapon (i.e. greatsword), it works fine. The text in spell combat does preclude you from using an actual 2H weapon with the ability. While you could wield a light weapon two handed as well, there's no benefit to doing so, so this only works with weapons in the one-handed category.

At any rate, as long as the weapon is 1-handed (regardless of how many hands you use to wield it) and you have a hand free, all the requirements of spell combat are met, so you can attack 2 handed, getting the x1.5 Str damage modifier (and qualifying for the -1/+3 power attack progression if you choose to use that as well), and still cast a spell using your empty hand with no problems whatsoever. If the spell you cast is a touch spell, you still have the option of also delivering it via the one-handed weapon you're now wielding in two hands via spellstrike.

In this case, you've also got a 4th arm. This isn't necessary to attack 2H with spell combat, but it doesn't stop you from doing so either, so long as you're not also trying to tack on a shield bash. Incidentally, you could choose to bash with the shield and use spell combat to cast a spell instead of attacking with the other weapon, but as long as you're using the shield strictly for defense and not shield bashing with it, you've still met all the requirements of spell combat. Namely, (1)wielding a one-handed weapon, albeit in two hands and (2) having a hand free.

That you've also got a 4th arm using a shield is immaterial to spell combat, but yes, you'd also get the shield bonus to AC provided you gained proficiency with it (neither class grants proficiency with shields). I guess the AC bonus would technically still apply even without proficiency provided you were willing to eat the armor check penalty on your attack rolls and most skills, but that's probably not a good idea anyway, and is pretty bad form IMO (many DMs will bristle at PCs using armor and shields with which they are not proficient). At any rate, there's no way around the arcane spell failure (other than the normal means). If you're holding the shield, you're stuck with the ASF chance.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
with 4 arms total you can use two on the one-handed weapon, one on the shield , and one for casting.

Hrm. Looks like that probably works. You could say that "the other hand" is singular, and that using two other hands no longer qualifies, but I think that's a stretch.


Why not just skip alchemist alltogether and be a Kasatha?


Grick wrote:
Hrm. Looks like that probably works. You could say that "the other hand" is singular, and that using two other hands no longer qualifies, but I think that's a stretch.

I agree. That "while wielding a light/1H weapon in the other hand" clause being singular is pretty much the only argument that could be made against this from a RAW perspective.

I'd also agree that's a stretch since it was obviously written under the assumption of a PC having the standard two arms, and Magi don't ordinarily have a means of obtaining more arms, so specifying "hand or hands" is mostly an unnecessary distinction.


Nation Prophetic wrote:
Why not just skip alchemist alltogether and be a Kasatha?

That would certainly be a more efficient (IMO) approach in games where non-standard races are available.

Alternatively, it can be done with a Synthesist Summoner multiclass as well, although it doesn't make the best dip since your physical scores get replaced and wouldn't be very high on a 1-2 level dip. I suppose it could work okay for a Magus 6 (for Broad Study magus arcana) / Synthesist X though if one really wanted to go that route, but at that point, its probably not worth doing from an optimization perspective.

As an aside, I actually just started playing a solo game last night, where I'm playing a Magus/Synthesist gestalt. At mid/higher levels, he'll probably be getting an extra set of arms via the evolution to do just this, although using a shield is unnecessary due to Shielded Meld (and Greater Shielded Meld) so the 4th arm will just be for utility and metamagic rod usage.


Man....vestigial arms are good for nothing.You can't get extra attacks ,you can't use it for spell combat ,......is there anything this arms can do besides picking your nose?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Smug Narcissist wrote:
Man....vestigial arms are good for nothing.You can't get extra attacks ,you can't use it for spell combat ,......is there anything this arms can do besides picking your nose?

That's why they're called "vestigal". You can use them for picking up potions and other stuff from your belt pouches.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Smug Narcissist wrote:
Man....vestigial arms are good for nothing.You can't get extra attacks ,you can't use it for spell combat ,......is there anything this arms can do besides picking your nose?
That's why they're called "vestigal". You can use them for picking up potions and other stuff from your belt pouches.

Yep. One of my homebrew setting's races is an insect-like race with a second pair of arms that works in a similar manner; playing one I would wield my main weapon (longspear) in my normal hands, use one one of the vestigal arms to draw and hold my ranged weapon (chakram) and the other for fetching potions and stuff, and just swap hands as needed.

Can be really useful if you know what you're doing with them, especially with Alchemist - so much focus on consumables and need-to-be-drawn weaponry (potions/extracts and bombs), having a free hand at all times dedicated just to get stuff out of your pockets is a great time- and effort-saver.


LazarX wrote:
Smug Narcissist wrote:
Man....vestigial arms are good for nothing.You can't get extra attacks ,you can't use it for spell combat ,......is there anything this arms can do besides picking your nose?
That's why they're called "vestigal". You can use them for picking up potions and other stuff from your belt pouches.

This isn't correct, and the name of the discovery isn't relevant to the OP's proposition. The choice of the word "vestigial" for the discovery was unfortunate considering the mechanics. In real life, a vestigial limb would carry the implication that it has lost its normal function, but in PF w/r/t the vestigial limb alchemist discovery, that's just not true.

The limb(s) gained by that discovery are in fact, fully functional. The clause indicating that the arm(s) do not give extra attacks per round is only to indicate that they're not natural weapons and can't be used to add secondary natural attacks on top of a full attack routine (unless you add claws to them I suppose). Its also there likely to prohibit a PC from using the extra limbs in conjunction with things like the Multi-weapon Fighting and Multiattack Bestiary feats, but they can still be used in any way normal arms can be. In fact, the very next couple of sentences state that the arm(s) can wield a weapon and make attacks as normal, and that they can manipulate items as well as a normal limb.

The new arms are every bit as functional as the arms the alchemist started with, and can do anything their normal arms can do. They're definitely not vestigial in the English language sense of the word.

d20PFSRD wrote:

Benefit: The alchemist gains a new arm (left or right) on his torso. The arm is fully under his control and cannot be concealed except with magic or bulky clothing. The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though the arm can wield a weapon and make attacks as part of the alchemist’s attack routine (using two-weapon fighting). The arm can manipulate or hold items as well as the alchemist’s original arms (for example, allowing the alchemist to use one hand to wield a weapon, another hand to hold a potion, and the third hand to throw a bomb). The arm has its own “hand” and “ring” magic item slots (though the alchemist can still only wear two rings and two hand magic items at a time).

Special: An alchemist may take this discovery up to two times.

Sczarni

While you can not do Spell Combat, There is still a big loophole that will still make this a very good build: Spellstrike.

"At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through ANY weapon he is wielding as part of a MELEE ATTACK."

Caps by me.
This means that, while you cannot do spell combat with, say, a greatsword, you could, at 2nd level, do spellstrike.
If I am missing anything, i am sorry. I actually thought of and built this build yesterday, have yet to try it.

Sczarni

whoops, sorry for double post.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Magus / Alchemist cross-class, Vestigial Arms, two-handed weapons, and shield madness All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.