WTF is... Arcane Mark


Rules Questions

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YogoZuno wrote:

Sadly, I was unable to find a reference to that the last time it was ruled on in the middle of a game. Can you provide a link to it?

As to house rules - it's not a house rule, but an interpretation. The spell gives a bonus to hit, based on a touch attack on metal armour. If using Spellstrike to deliver the spell, a touch attack is no longer involved, so the bonus may not apply. After all, it's not like the presence of the Shocking Grasp is making it easier for your sword to penetrate the metal armour.

Huh? Swords are pretty conductive, unless they are made of wood...which most aren't. Axes/maces/polearms, ok, there the DM might have a fair case, but not swords.


YogoZuno wrote:

Sadly, I was unable to find a reference to that the last time it was ruled on in the middle of a game. Can you provide a link to it?

As to house rules - it's not a house rule, but an interpretation. The spell gives a bonus to hit, based on a touch attack on metal armour. If using Spellstrike to deliver the spell, a touch attack is no longer involved, so the bonus may not apply. After all, it's not like the presence of the Shocking Grasp is making it easier for your sword to penetrate the metal armour.

It doesn't say the +3 bonus is "based on a touch attack". It just says you get a +3 bonus if the opponent is wearing metal armor. That's it. The RAW is very clear here. The spell would still give you a +3 bonus on spellstrike. If your group houserules against this then that's your house rule.

Sczarni

Rynjin wrote:


What is the one Touch Spell Cantrip a Magus gets?

Arcane Mark.

I'm surprised nobody else has pointed this out, but Magi actually get a second touch spell cantrip: Light.

It can only target objects, but it does have a range of "touch", so RAW says you can use Spellstrike to deliver it through your weapon... to an object. So, instead of getting a free extra attack, you can get a free sunder maneuver!


I actually completely forgot Light was a Touch spell.

Still, doesn't really change anything.

Is "Zorroing" somebody really that much more silly than attacking someone with the intent to make their weapon (or the pieces thereof) glow?

Sczarni

Rynjin wrote:

I actually completely forgot Light was a Touch spell.

Still, doesn't really change anything.

Is "Zorroing" somebody really that much more silly than attacking someone with the intent to make their weapon (or the pieces thereof) glow?

Well, if you fail to sunder the item, you've just given your allies an easy indication of what it is you want them to try and break. You could also negate an enemy's concealment bonuses due to dim light/darkness.

Then again, Arcane Mark can target objects too, so you could sunder with that and not spend two cantrip slots on it.


Honestly, this is why there should be a touch attack cantrip. And, imho, Arcane Mark should let you do any message -- I think I said that already. That way it is much more of a flavor ability to humiliate an opponent or otherwise leave a message. Cool stuff.


on the +3 to hit on shocking grasp

you should see your weapon as an extention of your arm. your spell is guided trough your weapon and to discharge the electricity from your weapon to a metal suit of armor is still more easy than from your weapon to skin.

so the +3 stil aplies I need to remember that!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can normally use an Unarmed Strike, or Natural Attack to deliver touch spells.

So, a non-Magus, can cast Shocking Grasp, attack with a weapon, and gain that +3.


Darkflame wrote:

on the +3 to hit on shocking grasp

you should see your weapon as an extention of your arm. your spell is guided trough your weapon and to discharge the electricity from your weapon to a metal suit of armor is still more easy than from your weapon to skin.

so the +3 stil aplies I need to remember that!

OTOH, while it makes sense for the shocking grasp part to hit metal armor more easily, if you hit with Spellstrike , you're also doing weapon damage. It doesn't make sense for the Shocking Grasp part to let your sword penetrate or bypass armor more easily.

So I could see ruling it either way.


thejeff wrote:
Darkflame wrote:

on the +3 to hit on shocking grasp

you should see your weapon as an extention of your arm. your spell is guided trough your weapon and to discharge the electricity from your weapon to a metal suit of armor is still more easy than from your weapon to skin.

so the +3 stil aplies I need to remember that!

OTOH, while it makes sense for the shocking grasp part to hit metal armor more easily, if you hit with Spellstrike , you're also doing weapon damage. It doesn't make sense for the Shocking Grasp part to let your sword penetrate or bypass armor more easily.

So I could see ruling it either way.

Maybe the static charge helps your attack hit (and metals more easily respond to that).

Or...you know, it's MAGIC electricity, so maybe it just helps your weapon pierce metal better.

It's nice now and then, and I don't see a good reason to just deny it to the Magus.


If you wanted to get fancy, just apply the +3 conditionally. If the +3 changes a miss to a hit, then only the shocking grasp damage is applied. I think most people don't want that extra bit, but it's fair to use this logic to separate the spell portion from the weapon portion.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I looked at some of the former discussions of this topic, and it was pointed out that, by RAW, if you cast Shocking Grasp but changed the damage type to something other than electricity, it still gets the +3 to hit against metal armour. This makes no RAI or fluff sense at all, it's just applying the mechanics.


Sorry I didn't respond sooner, got tied up in map-making when I got home.

Here's the link from JJ answering this question.

Again, JJ is creative director and not generally a 'rules guy' by his own admission.

Reading over the SKR quote again, I don't know that it necessarily is a good application here. It's basically the last line of his FAQ on Spellstrike, and is the line about Spellstrike not being meant to make it more difficult to deliver touch spells. I thought it was worded slightly differently, and so I withdraw that as possible support.

Scarab Sages

Gherrick wrote:
If you wanted to get fancy, just apply the +3 conditionally. If the +3 changes a miss to a hit, then only the shocking grasp damage is applied. I think most people don't want that extra bit, but it's fair to use this logic to separate the spell portion from the weapon portion.

That's how we ran it, from AD&D 1st Edition onwards, whenever there were conditional attack modifiers.

We allowed anyone to cast shocking grasp on one round, and deliver it next round through a metal weapon, before there was a magus, because of the game including elf Fighter/Mages, who were flavourfully the same thing.
I don't recall if the +3 bonus existed back then, but we accepted that the spell could be delivered by an attack roll that beat touch AC, and if you beat full AC as well, you got weapon damage as a bonus.

We used the concept of touch AC, before it was part of the official rules, so we could adjudicate attacks that didn't pierce armour, but were still on target.

It was also useful in situations such as cancelling mirror images, interacting with illusory enemies ("That swing went through him! You get a new save."), setting off fire shield, whether you were wildly off-target when firing into melee (and thus, eligible to shoot your ally in the back), whether the ooze is blocked by your shield (nom nom nom), etc.

Lantern Lodge

Not entirely sure why the topic needed to change to shocking grasp... but here's an FAQ some people might have forgotten:

PH FAQ wrote:

Shocking Grasp: Do I get the +3 on the attack roll if I'm delivering the spell with something other than a touch attack, such as a natural weapon?

Yes. The +3 bonus is not dependent on using a melee touch attack to deliver the jolt. For example, a magus using spellstrike to deliver shocking grasp through his weapon would get the +3 bonus on the attack roll.

Enough said on shocking grasp? Interpret that as you may.

Arcane mark is in fact cheesy. No denying it. My DM doesn't allow it because it doesn't make sense to him, all well. I think it'll be a game to game thing. Maybe someday they'll make a new touch cantrip to satisfy everything, but until then...

RAW and RAI, even though it's distasteful, does in fact allow a weakened version of TWF for the magus at level 2 (Using arcane mark before the is useless).

Again, stated that first you have to cast the spell, most often in melee which provokes, or cast defensively for a DC 15 check, and if THAT succeeds, you get another attack roll. Oh, and you have to decide this before making any of your attacks, not in between, because the -2 affects all attacks made that round.

Once again, distasteful, and not even all that great, but none-the-less within the rules.


With feat retraining now semi-RAW, ensuring that you make those concentration checks at low level is fairly easy: Combat Casting gives you a +4, you're probably pulling at least a +3 in INT, pick up a trait that grants a +2, and at 2nd level you've got a +11, meaning you're only failing your check to cast defensively on a 3 or less.

You could forego the trait and use the trade-off of penalty to hit for bonus on concentration, but at low levels that's probably not worth it.

Liberty's Edge

FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:
Arcane mark is in fact cheesy. No denying it. My DM doesn't allow it because it doesn't make sense to him, all well. I think it'll be a game to game thing. Maybe someday they'll make a new touch cantrip to satisfy everything, but until then...

First, there is denying it. Secondly, it isn't (or at least shouldn't be) any more of a game to game thing than any of the other rules.


I don't really find it 'cheesy'. The suggestion that a base cantrip be created that does minimal damage so that you can consistently benefit from an extra attack doesn't really alter what might be considered 'cheesy' (the extra attack). The class is a low BAB-progression hybrid class compared to, say, a fighter, who (through burning his feats) can achieve basically the same function; seems like a fair trade-off.


We don't need a "new" cantrip, just make Touch of Fatigue a magus cantrip and shazam, problem solved.


Gherrick wrote:
We don't need a "new" cantrip, just make Touch of Fatigue a magus cantrip and shazam, problem solved.

Wouldn't that be much more devastating than arcane mark though? Relative to a level 1 spell anyway.


FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:


Arcane mark is in fact cheesy. No denying it.

I deny it. Simply because you don't like it does not make it cheese, ham, or any other sandwich ingredient.

"Cheese" (when used correctly, though it's still a stupid term) is reading the rules in such a way that defies the RAI in favor of pure RAW. This does not do that. The RAI is clear on Arcane Mark, in favor of it.

Lantern Lodge

I apologize, when I say cheesy, I was thinking along the lines of some cheesy movies.

Leaving behind a mark on somebodies face is kinda cheesy for me. Kinda like some superhero in a fantasy world fighting crime. The concept of THAT seems cheesy, not the extra attack concept.

My apologies... I'm still somewhat new to the community. Some commonly used words have new meanings... O.o


Ah.

In that sense, yes, it is kinda cheesy.

I love cheesy things. And even if I didn't, I'm not the type to ban things just because they don't fit my personal sense of aesthetics.

And hell, what are superheroes without cheese?

Men in tights running around saving people with their bat gadgets, laser vision, stretchy arms, and arrows with boxing gloves on them? What about that ISN'T cheesy? But still GREAT.


Yes, it is the most delicious of cheeses.

Lantern Lodge

To be honest, I like cheesy movies...

I don't like cheese. Honest, cross my heart and hope to die. If my wife would let me I'd peel the cheese off the pizza we get together. Ice cream is where it's at. :)


I'd like to petition to bring back MST3K. :P I like cheesy movies - to make fun of.


Based on this thread I think I'll switch from saying cheesy to thematically ridiculous as others will think I mean overpowered or something like that :P

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, "cheesy" is usually just "I don't like it, and I don't like people who make use of it".

At least, on these boards.

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