WTF is... Arcane Mark


Rules Questions

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I'm running a homebrew campaign (my first as a GM) and one of my players wants to be a Magus. I figured it sounds like an awesome class, and it compliments the rest of the party pretty well. Fleshes them out.

However, he has been prattling non-stop about Arcane Mark... I don't know exactly what he THINKS it does... but to my reading it looks like it basically turns you into Zorro, adding a personal mark to your attack.

Now I know a few cool ways they could use it... marking paths, marking allies in the event of fighting dopplegangers, etc., what I am looking for is how he can use it in combat.

As a Cantrip, he can cast it as many times as he wants in a day... so I gather he can use Spell Strike, Arcane Mark (as a freebie that dosn't use up any of his more powerful spells in a day), and get a free attack at -2... move... and attack again normally.

Is that right? Am I missing something?

By the by, he is coming into the campaign around mid-way, so he starts at level 6.


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You are missing something. All his attacks are at -2.

Essentially, he gets 1 attack due to his sword and he simultaneiusly casts a spell with a touch attack, say shocking grasp or arcane mark. Instead of doing the touch attack, he channels the spell through his blade.

Arcane mark is valid and this was clarified through the FAQ

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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DirtSailor,

It's my experience that most players think arcane mark is like a "blank cantrip" that doesn't do anything except allow the magus to attack twice without using up "a real spell". They are mistaken.

It signs the caster's attacks. Unambiguously. If your magus player doesn't mind attracting enemies, the relatives of fallen foes, magistrates who want to know why he's killing people in their jurisdictions, ... then go for it.


Here is one of many old threads

Liberty's Edge

First, he can not move and make 2 attacks with arcane mark, spell combat is a full round action. Basically what arcane mark does is let him use the two weapon fighting feat (extra attack, all attacks at -2) without actually having to have the feat, and without having to have an off hand weapon (or deal off hand damage). It is an okay tactic, but not exceptional by any means.

As to it signing the magus's attacks, that is true. And I like that idea. However, remember it doesn't give them the magus's name nor his location, all it does is give them his mark. If he's careful to not allow his mark to be publicly known, then it has the potential to be dark and mysterious.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Now I want a first level spell of forge mark that allows you to leave someone else's arcane mark on things :-)


This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

Unless someone casts detect magic (possible, but not guaranteed), the invisible mark will just stay there quietly. Assuming you mark it on their skin, it will go with them to the grave :)


What is the duration of Arcane Mark?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Gherrick,

One question might be, will spellcraft detect the presense of an invisible mark? Having an inquisitor (who should have spellcraft, heal, and detect magic if a CSI type) be a recurring foe could make for an interesting campaign villian (especially since him being Lawful Neutral would be an option.)


Keep in mind casting arcane mark is still casting and will provoke attacks of oppertunity. At high levels itsno big deal but early on, it doesn't guarantee a two strike combo

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
What is the duration of Arcane Mark?

Forever on a corpse or garments, 1 month on a living being. And a magus don't get Erase on his spell list so he is unable to remove it.

PRD wrote:

Arcane Mark

School universal; Level sorcerer/wizard 0

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Effect one personal rune or mark, all of which must fit within 1 sq. ft.

Duration permanent

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

See invisibility, true seeing, a gem of seeing, or a robe of eyes likewise allows the user to see an invisible arcane mark. A read magic spell reveals the words, if any. The mark cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed by the caster or by an erase spell.

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, the effect gradually fades in about a month.

Arcane mark must be cast on an object prior to casting instant summons on the same object (see that spell description for details).

My personal opinion is that, as differently for Forgotten Realms, in Golarion there isn't a goddess of magic that enforce different marks for each spellcaster, the symbol you make with arcane mark is somewhat variable.

You can't change it when you cast the spell, but you can chose it when you memorize it or your recover your spellcasting slots if you are a spontaneous spellcaster.

- * -

To the OP. Note that to successfully use spellstrike a magus need to successfully cast a spell with a range of touch. So, if he is in a combat situation and fail his concentration check, he don't get the "free" melee attack.


In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.


As others have said Arcane Mark is a way to TWF as a Magus. However unlike TWF it will often require a caster concentration check - since you are starting at level 6 it's not too difficult to make. However if you are level 2 then the check would be far from trivial.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.

For the benefit of those not in the know: why wouldn't it benefit haste?

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.
For the benefit of those not in the know: why wouldn't it benefit haste?

Spell Combat's not a full attack, it's a full-round action.


Ravingdork wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.
For the benefit of those not in the know: why wouldn't it benefit haste?

FAQ said so


Ravingdork wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.
For the benefit of those not in the know: why wouldn't it benefit haste?

Haste grants (in addition to the rest of its benefits) an extra attack when performing a full attack action. Spell Combat is full round action but not a full attack action, per FAQ.

The Exchange

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I picked up the arcana to use rays as touch and just use ray of cold/acid splash for the extra attack plus a little extra dmg without leaving a signature


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You can also spend 1k on a cracked orange ioun stone to get brand, touch cantrip that does 1 point of damage.

I like that more than Arcane mark.

For my magus, it reads "Fail" in celestial.


Thank you all for the insight. I particularly love the idea about it leaving a calling card for those who find the corpse... thinking The Joker leaving a playing card at the scene of his crimes. Batman doesn't know anything more than that The Joker committed the crime. I like it. Nice flavor. And can come back to haunt the party.

The PC allowed me to make a special use of his character's back story given the nature of the campaign. The PCs are really the only people left alive other than the Antagonist that they know of. I'll have his specific mark tie into that. "U.S." maybe...

Contributor

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This is a valid use of the spell, but it's also a huge story hook.

So the character has his arcane mark, 1-6 characters, arranged as a glyph or monogram or even a small sentence--"KICK ME" is possible, as is "U R A PIG" and possibly more meanings, assuming hieroglyphics and Chinese characters can be used. And the mark is visible or invisible as he likes.

So, if it's visible, the character goes around magically stamping people with a tattoo.

Who does this? Obviously the character, but who else? Serial killers for one. Mob hitmen as well. Both have well documented histories of leaving calling cards with their victims.

In most civilized societies, this is frowned upon which would lead to an Inquisitor being sent to deal with you.

But what about the people who survive, either due to running away, or surrendering, or even just beating the caster but not killing them? If they have a magical tattoo of the magus's Arcane Mark, they will probably not be pleased. And branding sentient beings...isn't that something slavers would do? You can bet that the good folk of Andoran would view this very dimly, and in fact, probably have laws against it.

Of course the laws of Andoran would pale to the punishments in Katapesh for those who put their mark on someone else's property. Slave rustling is the highest crime.

And there may be some other land somewhere where the use of arcane mark on human beings is reserved for the state who write things like "THIEF" and "HARLOT" and "GOSSIP" on the foreheads of those breaking local laws.

So the magus decides to make his Arcane Mark invisible. Fine. It then shows up to detect magic. There's still the same problem with those who might view this as the work of a hitman or serial killer. Likewise, marking people invisibly is also what some slavers would do, so same trouble in Andoran and Katapesh.

But it gets more entertaining still. Let's say someone survives the attack by the magus, and this someone is cautious or superstitious, or both, and goes to a witch, asking if he's been cursed. The witch then casts Detect Magic, the characters of the Arcane Mark glow visibly, and the witch says yes, yes, he is cursed! And she tells him how much money it will cost to remove the curse.

Yes, she knows it's an Arcane Mark and it will fade in a month, but knowing that, who in their right mind is going to pay her 100 GP for the casting of an Erase spell?

Of course 100 GP is a lot money, but the victim doesn't want to die of a curse, so he goes to the slightly more honest wizard down the lane for a second opinion. The wizard down the lane casts Detect Magic--I'm assuming for free, like the witch, since casters get unlimited use of it and do it almost reflexively--and the Arcane Mark blazes alight. The victim nearly faints in horror, for the accursed runes appear the same as they did when the witch cast the spell, and he asks if he's going to die, or if the wizard would take less that 100 GP to "Erase" the accursed mark!

The wizard stifles his laughter with arcane mumbling, but doesn't want a feud with the witch, so admits that the 100 GP is the going rate for the spell to "Erase" such runes, but then mentions that the Arcane Mark may also be removed at will by the original caster. Maybe the victim might ask him?

The victim decides that he will, but since the magus tried to kill him last time, this time he gets together a large gang who ambush the magus when he's away from his companions--for example, on his way to the privy behind the inn--and bring him to the victim once he's been beaten within an inch of his life.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

But what about the people who survive, either due to running away, or surrendering, or even just beating the caster but not killing them? If they have a magical tattoo of the magus's Arcane Mark, they will probably not be pleased. And branding sentient beings...isn't that something slavers would do? You can bet that the good folk of Andoran would view this very dimly, and in fact, probably have laws against it.

Its not a tatoo. Its not a Brand. Its a magical mark. Like a magical perma marker. On living creatures the mark fades over the course of a month. Its only permanent on non living material(People you kill).

It's also implied that you choose where the mark is placed. The bottom of the foot, the back of a leg, ect. It's not like it has to be on the forehead.

Considering the fact that as a hero you are more then likely killing Monsters, Killers, thieves, ect... most societies aren't going to be too concerned about you writing on them with a magic(literally) marker.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Arcane mark was spell that dates from 3.0 and maybe earlier. Aside from some Forgotten Realm text about the "Three Fold Curse of Mystra" as the penalty for cribbing someone else's symbol, the spell gathered dust in the pages of various editions of Players Handbooks and was virtually ignored until the magus character was created and the first clever gamist realised that the text of spell combat meant that this spell would give the user a free extra attack without spending a nonrenewable resource.


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LazarX wrote:
Until the magus character was created and the first clever gamist realised that the text of spell combat meant that this spell would give the user a possible free extra attack, causing at least -2 penalty to all attacks, after passing a concentration check which if it fails still causes a penalty to your other attacks, without spending a nonrenewable resource.

Fixed :)

Liberty's Edge

Diego Rossi wrote:
And a magus don't get Erase on his spell list so he is unable to remove it.

That's not correct. The caster can remove the mark. It explains this in the spell description. Also, anyone else can remove the mark with an erase spell.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

KAM,

You know who else marked people besides slavers and crazy magi?

The Phantom :-)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TGMaxMaxer wrote:

You can also spend 1k on a cracked orange ioun stone to get brand, touch cantrip that does 1 point of damage.

I like that more than Arcane mark.

For my magus, it reads "Fail" in celestial.

Interesting, but it count as a "a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list"?

It add it "to his list of spells known or spells prepared.", but even if it is a prepared spell it isn't necessarily on his list.
Confusing.


Arcane Mark Description wrote:


DESCRIPTION

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

See invisibility, true seeing, a gem of seeing, or a robe of eyes likewise allows the user to see an invisible arcane mark. A read magic spell reveals the words, if any. The mark cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed by the caster or by an erase spell.

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, the effect gradually fades in about a month.

Arcane mark must be cast on an object prior to casting instant summons on the same object (see that spell description for details).

Right. So the caster removes the mark, even if the victim run away. Big deal.

Quote:

Who does this? Obviously the character, but who else? Serial killers for one. Mob hitmen as well. Both have well documented histories of leaving calling cards with their victims.

In most civilized societies, this is frowned upon which would lead to an Inquisitor being sent to deal with you.

Why would they care about a bunch of dead bandits and monsters in the middle of nowhere, which is where the bodies will most likely be found?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
The wizard stifles his laughter with arcane mumbling, but doesn't want a feud with the witch, so admits that the 100 GP is the going rate for the spell to "Erase" such runes, but then mentions that the Arcane Mark may also be removed at will by the original caster. Maybe the victim might ask him?

Nice tale, but:

1) Arcane Mark isn't Dismissible, it hasn't the suffix (D);
[EDIT: I stand corrected, it is in the spell description, even if it hasn't the suffix (D).
So the caster can remove it at will? At any distance? Or it require a standard action "speaking world of dismissal" while in range of the target, like a dismissible spell?]
2) the caster don't get to chose where the mark appear during a combat, it appear in the touched point, so most of the time on the target robes or on his armor.

Dragonamedrake wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

But what about the people who survive, either due to running away, or surrendering, or even just beating the caster but not killing them? If they have a magical tattoo of the magus's Arcane Mark, they will probably not be pleased. And branding sentient beings...isn't that something slavers would do? You can bet that the good folk of Andoran would view this very dimly, and in fact, probably have laws against it.

Its not a tatoo. Its not a Brand. Its a magical mark. Like a magical perma marker. On living creatures the mark fades over the course of a month. Its only permanent on non living material(People you kill).

It's also implied that you choose where the mark is placed. The bottom of the foot, the back of a leg, ect. It's not like it has to be on the forehead.

Considering the fact that as a hero you are more then likely killing Monsters, Killers, thieves, ect... most societies aren't going to be too concerned about you writing on them with a magic(literally) marker.

I don't see anything in the spell that implies that. Unless you are touching a willing or immobile target you get to touch it/him in a random spot.

No "brand on his forehead" option.


Diego Rossi wrote:

I don't see anything in the spell that implies that. Unless you are touching a willing or immobile target you get to touch it/him in a random spot.

No "brand on his forehead" option.

I can see your point. In that case the brand would show up where ever you stabbed said person. That is more then likely somewhere on his torso. I dont see alot of Forehead stabbing. Either way its not like the mark has to be in plain sight.


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Dragonamedrake wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

I don't see anything in the spell that implies that. Unless you are touching a willing or immobile target you get to touch it/him in a random spot.

No "brand on his forehead" option.

I can see your point. In that case the brand would show up where ever you stabbed said person. That is more then likely somewhere on his torso. I dont see alot of Forehead stabbing. Either way its not like the mark has to be in plain sight.

Forehead stabbing sounds highly effective to me.


Free attack with a

*censored*:
Mushroom Stamp?

Shadow Lodge

Just looking at the spell, there isn't actually anything the spell description that says the mark appears exactly where touched, just that the mark appears without harming the material it's placed on. Somewhat vague term, given that you can place something inside something else. Emphasis mine.

SRD wrote:

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

See invisibility, true seeing, a gem of seeing, or a robe of eyes likewise allows the user to see an invisible arcane mark. A read magic spell reveals the words, if any. The mark cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed by the caster or by an erase spell.

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, the effect gradually fades in about a month.

Arcane mark must be cast on an object prior to casting instant summons on the same object (see that spell description for details).

In theory, then, if one can control the placement (up to the GM from what I'm seeing, a malicious person could also place it inside the person, say on the outer lining of the stomach, or on the heart. Makes it that much more interesting when you go to that witch/wizard to see if you've been cursed, and they can see a bulls-eye with the words "Ur Nxt" around it etched on your heart/lung/organ of choice.


Arcane Mark = weak sauce.

See me sneer at those magii who use it.

<sneer/>

Contributor

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I tend to follow logic, sympathetic magic, and cinematic precedent for how spells work.

I'd say Arcane Mark requires touch and puts the mark wherever it is you touch. It makes no logical sense to have you touch someone on the arm which causes an invisible brand to appear on their butt. Similarly, you can use an item to extend your touch, like Gandalf tracing the rune on Bilbo's door with his staff or Zorro using his blade to cut a Z.

Writing something on someone's heart wouldn't happen unless you exposed the heart first--though would make a dandy way to hide secret messages assuming you had the Heal skill and some healing spells so you could cut someone's chest open without killing them, write some letters on their heart, then heal them up and send them on their merry way until someone kills them and cuts out their heart so they can read the message.


Personally, Paizo should errata Arcane Mark to be one "object" touched, and add another cantrip for the magus as the go-to cantrip for spell combat.


Ravingdork wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
In effect it becomes a way to two-weapon fight that requires a concentration roll and doesn't benefit from haste. Not a game-breaker in any case.
For the benefit of those not in the know: why wouldn't it benefit haste?

A further clarification: Spell combat would benefit from the attack bonus from haste, but wouldn't get an extra attack.


Zorro the bastards while you slice em up with your Sword.

in combat it has 1 purpose not manny think of!

Arcane mark can be detected by detect magic so if the target goes invisable you can still track it! at low lvl it can be usefull at higher lvl it get less so as they all got magic stuff and you can track it anny way!


Darkflame wrote:
Arcane mark can be detected by detect magic so if the target goes invisable you can still track it! at low lvl it can be usefull at higher lvl it get less so as they all got magic stuff and you can track it anny way!

For something to be seen by Detect Magic, it still must be within Line of Sight, if it's invisible. Therefore if a creature is invisible, you can't draw LOS to the mark...but you would get the aura/outline/cloaking effect of the invisibility effect, that would get sharper in focus as the rounds progressed :)


For the purpose of Arcane Mark in seeing something invisible, why not just use ghost sound or light? Wouldn't that make the invisible mob croak like a from wherever he goes or shine regardless?


no
you would need gliterdust for that!

at low lvl's arcane mark can help you with a cantrip but its just so situational so its not realy done i can only think of 1 real situation i would be able to use it tho.

on the other hand its just a way to slash your uponent some damage :-) in my case (my lvl 6 magus) with arcane pool: 1d6+10(15-20X2)

Silver Crusade

I did not know about this, since I really don't know much about the magus class. If I ever get around to making a magus character, I'll definitely have to name him Zorro.


Lolz!

Mine is called Joruus K'both

mwhahahaha


I find Arcane Mark of great value to any of my arcane casters. Inscribe a rune on an item to verify that it belongs to me or aid in divining it's location if lost. Alternatively, I use it to aid in scrying on someone that we have come in contact with or possably a villain we have let escape. The arcane mark is my focus for such dealings and really helpful in finding the BBG's secret hide-out or stash.


by the way it glows and becomes visable!! so when sombody cast invisibilety on himself the mark wil still glow andbecome visable I wonder what trumpts what

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.


Personally, I think there should just be a weak touch cantrip that can be used. 1d6 damage seems reasonable for a touch attack (two die steps up for needing to be in melee) -- certainly 1d4 can't be argued. NEEDING to use Arcane Mark is silly.

Also, Arcane Mark should let you put anything you want that's 6 character or less, imho. Afterall, I don't want my personal mark to be "LOSER" or "I FAIL". And right now it doesn't let you make two attacks for "Please Kick Me".

Awful!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Darkflame wrote:

by the way it glows and becomes visable!! so when sombody cast invisibilety on himself the mark wil still glow andbecome visable I wonder what trumpts what

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

1) you need to have made it an invisible mark for that to work, if it is a visible mark and the target become invisible the mark will not glow.

2) Detect magic require concentration. So you use up your standard action to make it glow and it must be in the area of effect of detect magic.


Drachasor wrote:
Personally, I think there should just be a weak touch cantrip that can be used. 1d6 damage seems reasonable for a touch attack (two die steps up for needing to be in melee) -- certainly 1d4 can't be argued. NEEDING to use Arcane Mark is silly.

While I agree there needs to be a better cantrip for magus use, all the other damaging cantrips are 1d3 (albeit ranged touch). At best I'd agree with 1d4.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

So can this be used to reveal a stealthed or invisible character.

I cadt arcane mark on a rogue. The rogue stealths. Can I still see the mark and is there still a miss chance?


Gherrick wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
Personally, I think there should just be a weak touch cantrip that can be used. 1d6 damage seems reasonable for a touch attack (two die steps up for needing to be in melee) -- certainly 1d4 can't be argued. NEEDING to use Arcane Mark is silly.
While I agree there needs to be a better cantrip for magus use, all the other damaging cantrips are 1d3 (albeit ranged touch). At best I'd agree with 1d4.

Disrupt Undead is 1d6 ranged touched, limited targets.

But let's be honest, the difference between 1d4 and 1d6 is very little. Worst 1d6 damage does is make Shocking Grasp a crappy spell at first level...oh wait, it ALREADY WAS.

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