Serpents Skull Magus Advice Please


Advice


I'm going to be joining a Serpent's Skull game here soon. 8th level, 25 point buy, 2 traits. I've been wanting to do a magus, specifically a hexcrafter, but since I'm not very good at building casters I figured I'd get some advice. I have no idea what the other members of the party are other than there are no other arcane casters. From what I can gather from the player's guide, there's going to be lots of jungles and ruins and maybe some pirates, so I'm trying to keep that in mind. Technically anything pathfinder or 3.5 is allowed, but I'm sticking to options on the PRD only for my own sake.

I'm presenting the build as if I was starting from level 1, even though I'm coming in at 8th.

character style: I'm playing this guy as an estranged son of some fairly powerful winter witches. Mother never understood why he preferred trying to wear armor and swing those weapons around. So when he got tired of her nagging him to go find a patron he headed south to get as far away from her as possible/seek his fortune in a place far from her influence. He's not going to just toss away what he learned from his homeland though, it's rather useful compared to some of the magics he's seen on his way south. He's had some misadventures in many different places, so he's picked up a few tricks here and there. I envision playing him as a snarky b@$tard, and not afraid to get in someone's face (for better or ill :p).

the build:
Race: Half-elf; Alternate racial abilities: Dual Minded, Arcane Training (I don't plan on multiclassing so multitalented is useless anyway)
Str 18 (15 start plus 4th level boost plus belt)
Dex 14
Con 15
Int 20 (15 start +2 racial +1 8th level +2 headband)
Wis 10
Cha 9

Traits: Magical Lineage (Frostbite), Armor Expert
Feats:
01 Rime Spell
03 Dodge
05 Improved Unarmed Strike
05 Crane Style (magus bonus)
07 Crane Wing

Arcana/Hexes
03 Arcane Accuracy
04 Slumber
06 Flight

Skills:
max out: perception, knowledge: arcana, spellcraft, 2 others
3 ranks: acrobatics
1 rank: climb, swim, ride, 2 others

languages: common, elven, polyglot, 2 others

Spellbook:
3rd: Force Hook Charge, Greater Magic Weapon, Haste, Ray of Exhaustion
2nd: Blur, Fog Cloud, Frigid Touch, Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Web
1st: Color Spray, Enlarge Person, Feather Fall, Floating Disk, Frostbite, Grease, Mount, Ray of Enfeeblement, Shocking Grasp, Vanish
0: all plus Brand

Gear: adamantine heavy pick, cold iron scimitar (sawback blade), silvered light mace, lesser rod of extend spell, 2* pearl of power I, +1 mithral breastplate, amulet of natural armor +1, ring of protection +1, wand of shield, belt of strength +2, headband of intelligence +2, handy haversack, ring of sustenance, heightened continual flame (to 4th level) cast on a spare hat, scroll of reached breath of life, 497gp left to spend/save

notes: I know intensified shocking grasp + scimitar is the stereotypical magus combat style, and while I can do that if needed, the default combat style will be pick and rime frostbite to go with the slumber hex. I'm trying to go for endurance rather than novas (hence the hexcrafter). I also tried to pick up some good battlefield control spells since I'm the only arcanist. I'm using extended greater magic weapon in lieu of an actual magic weapon, combined with my arcane pool. I'm going to ask the GM if I can combine the light mace and the metamagic rod.

I'm not sure what other skills or languages to grab, or which skill to get my headband attuned to. I was thinking grabbing a single point in some of the more obscure knowledge skills and maybe sleight of hand. I can max out 2 more skill based on my natural Int, and I'm torn between stealth, sense motive, and use magic device. I kind of want to pick up an obscure language like gnoll or something so I can convince the party to use it and we'd have a combat/secret language.

advancement
09: Spell Blending (false life, resist energy), either Quick Draw, Improved Initiative, or Extra Arcana
11: Dragon Style, Combat Style Master (magus bonus)
12: Con to 16, Ice Tomb
13: Crane Riposte?


It looks like a solid build IMO. I am playing a Hexcrafter right now too (gestalt with synthesist in a solo Carrion Crown game). just started a few sessions ago, but its been a blast so far.

anyway, a couple things I'd suggest:

1) If the GM okays it, get Hex Strike. Technically hexcrafters dont have the hex class feature to qualify, but many GMs would likely allow it. You've already got IUS, and a SoD hex. Perfect. I'd lose Dodge, bump IUS up to 3rd and get Hex Strike at 5th. Now you can toss Slumber into your Rimed Frostbite Spellcombat routine. Its like a status effect nova!

2) i would likely try to fit Extra Arcana (for either arcanas or hexes) in wherever possible going forward. Arcanas and Hexes are both generally more powerful and versatile than feats so well worth it.

3). Prehensile Hair. Its just SO useful. Spellstrike with reach. An Int based natural attack. And most importantly, it lets you use metamagic rods with spellcombat and a weapon (less vital if you fight mostly unarmed but still useful to get your crit range back for spells when you DO want to go damage nova).

4). Why bother with feather fall on your spell list? Are you gonna memorize that for party mates? You feather fall automatically with the flight hex. Also consider adding Bladed Dash to your 2nd level spells. Its pretty useful for mobility (and grants an extra attack). You can use it with spell combat to either close the gap or to end your turn non-adjacent to a dangerous enemy so you dont get full attacked.

5). I would do the stats slightly differently...probably drop Con to 14 and Cha to 8 to add one to either Str or Int, but your array will work fine if you like it better.

6) make sure you get Paragon Surge asap. You can use it to access any arcana OR hex (or other feat of course) you need but dont have. You could even aim to get Spell Perfection on it to quicken it for free and eliminate the setup round. Thats likely what I am going to do on my guy.

7) Regardless you should try to get Spell Perfection on something IMO. Quicken is an obvious one to throw in to help qualify. Also heighten (see below)

8). Preferred Spell is great to have if you have a signature spell (likely frostbite in your case). You need heighten as a prereq, but spontaneously converting any of your spells for your go to spell is pretty sweet and lets you memorize all those neat situationally useful utility spells without fear that they will be wasted. It also lets you spontaneously add metamagic to your preffered spell without altering casting time. Thats pretty darn good IMO.

EDIT - added 6-8

Happy Hunting!


1) Dodge is in there as a prereq for Crane Style, so I kind of need it. Plus my AC needs all the help it can get.
2) Oh definitely, but there are some feats I still want to get.
3) One of the players in that game is already using a witch in another campaign we're in. It's bad enough I'm using slumber, flight, and a pick like that character does, taking the hair too would really get them calling me a copycat XD. Plus, the 'fro of doom is kind of silly. And Bobobo bo bobobo freaked me out as a kid.
4) Feather fall is for the others, yes. I didn't see Bladed Dash, what book is it in? Sounds like the same thing I'm using Force Hook Charge for.
5) The Con is like that so I can boost it at 12th
6) I only have 3 3rd level spells per day, one being used for greater magic weapon. And I'm not a spontaneous caster, so not nearly as great for me.


Forgot about dodge being a prereq. Fair enough. Id still go for hex strike if youre allowed to, especially if youre gonna be using unarmed strikes anyway.

Also, if youre going to be using unarmed strikes, you can do without the hair IMO, as youd still have a free hand while wielding a metamagic rod. Especially with another witch in the party. Thats reasonable.

Bladed Dash (and Greater) is from Inner Sea Magic. It is slightly diferent from FHC. FHC requires that you end adjacent to your target, but also allows you to cross pits, etc. Bladed Dash technically only lets you MOVE somewhere within range in a straight line (albeit without provoking AoO). So you can choose to use it to close or get away from something, but difficult terrain, pits, etc can thwart it easier than FHC. I like them both.

Paragon Surge is actually a 4th level magus spell. Its more of a long term move,and useful to have for versatility. I'd call on demand access to ANY feat, arcana, or hex pretty darn useful. Besides, you dont need to memorize it every day if you dont want to. Scribe it into your book and have it when ya need it. Options are power.


MTCityHunter wrote:

Forgot about dodge being a prereq. Fair enough. Id still go for hex strike if youre allowed to, especially if youre gonna be using unarmed strikes anyway.

Also, if youre going to be using unarmed strikes, you can do without the hair IMO, as youd still have a free hand while wielding a metamagic rod. Especially with another witch in the party. Thats reasonable.

Bladed Dash (and Greater) is from Inner Sea Magic. It is slightly diferent from FHC. FHC requires that you end adjacent to your target, but also allows you to cross pits, etc. Bladed Dash technically only lets you MOVE somewhere within range in a straight line (albeit without provoking AoO). So you can choose to use it to close or get away from something, but difficult terrain, pits, etc can thwart it easier than FHC. I like them both.

Paragon Surge is actually a 4th level magus spell. Its more of a long term move,and useful to have for versatility. I'd call on demand access to ANY feat, arcana, or hex pretty darn useful. Besides, you dont need to memorize it every day if you dont want to. Scribe it into your book and have it when ya need it. Options are power.

I'm actually only using IUS to get access to Crane Style without class dipping.

The other witch is the same player, different campaign.
I'll think about the Surge at 11th or 12th, probably not going to be one of my first 4th level spells.

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