An elven magus build, looking for coments


Advice


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So, the "stereotypical" magus build that I have heard of several times is the elven, dervish dancing magus. I was wondering how good it could be, so I decided to build it up and see waht I could get.

Note: This is kind of a min-max build. But I still try for "balance", IE no major stat dumping (nothing below 8) and the character has to have decent defenses and combat abilities, though it can shine in one aspect or the other.

I also decided to focus on maximizing the usefullness of spellstrike, with plenty of metamagic and appropriate spells.

Race: Elven (Arcane focus)

Class: magus (kensai & bladeboudn, another sterotype I wanted to test out)

Stats (25 pt build)

Str 10 Dex 18 (+4 level) Con 12 Int 17 (+1 level)
Favored class bonus: +1/6 magus arcana
1 Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
2
3 Dervish Dance; Magus Arcana (Black Blade)
4
5 Toughness, Intensify spell
6 Magus Arcana( spell shield, arcane accuracy)
7 Spell penetration
8
9 Lunge
10
11 Empower Spell, Improved critical (scimitar)
12 Magus Arcana (Maximized spell, accurate strikes)
13 Maximized spell
14
15 Spell perfection (force punch)

Well, let me explain myself a little.
Spell perfection: I decided to take force punch (not shocking grasp) for a few reasons. Firstly, force punch (which you can spellstrike, unlike walter's magus guide says) is a force effect. Almost nothing resists force. Secondly, since it is a higher-level spell, it will do an equivalent amount of damage if intensified, maximized & empowered:

Shocking grasp: 10d6 (max)+5d6 (empowered)=78 (average)
Force punch: 15d4 (max)+7d4 (empowered)= 78 (average)

The only difficulty is dealing with higher level spell slots. Which I think is worth it, since nothing will resist you.

Here's a level-15 example:

Elven Magus (I'm happy I found a good pic of arwen that seemed to fit perfectly)

*The places I wrote "energy" means one of the 3 allowed magus energy types (elec, cold, fire) which can be chosen at the beginning of battle.
Her "ideal case" would be to crit on a spellstrike with a maximized, empowered, intensified force punch (78 spell dmg). Using the kensai "perfect strike" ability, increase the crit multiplier to x3 (234 spell dmg). If you include her normal damage (with an arcane pool boost equivalent to (+1, bane, (energy) burst), and the black blade strike ability), this brings us to:

3d6+2d6 (bane)+3*18 + 1d6 (energy) + 2d10 (burst) +234 (force damage)=

72 (weapon) + 15 (energy) +234 (force damage)=321 damage; not too shabby. And it gets better at level 20 when the kensai gets weapon mastery... But she is fragile.

Well, I'm mainly looking for advice to make this more streamlined. I'm happy with the character's saves & AC (which can easily be boosted by spell shield), HP is a bit dissapointing but I cant do much for that. Attack could be better, although damage aint too bad (especially with the "bane" property...), so I would like to know how people would think I could go about improving this build. THe big things: hp (find ways to get DR?) & attack (though arcane accuracy does help).


No Quicken Spell?

Sczarni

For the Kensai I tapped 2-3 levels of shadowdancer
a. for the darkvision
b. for evasion
c. for uncanny dodge.

The shadow can be useful, I gave mine a +1 gh touch, menacing weapon to give me a +4 flanker bonus. But to each his own.


I decided against quicken spell because it would just empty my spell slots WAY too fast. I think it's more efficient to go about it like this, because I dont have the spell slots to have a maximized, empowered, intesified spell (then apply quicken with spell perfection).

My next magus arcana would probably be quicken magic though. Maybe if I ad a rod on top of everything? I gave her "belt of the monkey" so that she could have a rod out while in spell combat.

As for the the shadowdancer dip, I have done so myself before in other builds, but for this (metamagic centric) build, i cant afford to lose a single spell slot. Plus the feat cost would have been awful. I soooooo want uncanny dodge, but I cant... (I cry)

I've been working up to level 20, and if you combine perfect strike with weapon mastery, you get a x4 on crits (drool), which is pretty deadly. I might even try to bring her mythic, I think one of her critted spellstrikes could down a great old one in one shot (in theory).


Looks good!

I'm still not sold on the Dervish Dance magus... even ignoring the fact that it rests on one pretty cheesy feat (dex based builds need a feat to be viable, but I'm annoyed that its scimitar only). For the 1st two levels the build royally sucks because you cannot combine weapon finesse with scimitar - its not a light weapon. Only taking the feat at 3rd allows it. And since you are a Kensai/Bladebound, you aren't even proficient with rapiers. If the campaign starts 3rd level+, its all good. Otherwise, I'd avoid the dex build like the plague. Hrrmmm, that kind of turned into a rant! Sorry about that.

For less than a 25 point build I'd axe that intelligence down to a 14. Assuming any magic items you'll still get your highest level spells, and probably the bonus at 7 if you have a +2 int headband by then.

Quick note: your spellstrike always does 2x on a critical, never 3 or 4. From the magus:

"This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier"

The Kensai ability specifically increases the weapon critital - so yes on multiplying dex damage, arcane strike, etc by 3, but no on spells.


williamoak wrote:
I decided against quicken spell because it would just empty my spell slots WAY too fast.

Spell Recall dude, spell recall.


Crap, I had forgotten tht spellstrike crit thing... sigh. But yeah, I know this would SUCK for level 1&2...

Edit: @ master marshmallow: kensai, dude, kensai... no spell recall


williamoak wrote:

Crap, I had forgotten tht spellstrike crit thing... sigh. But yeah, I know this would SUCK for level 1&2...

Edit: @ master marshmallow: kensai, dude, kensai... no spell recall

God I hate this archetype...


Ehehe... Eh, I was trying to build something interesting. I could try a similar non-kensai build, but I find it's quite interesting.

I'm currently playing a vanilla magus, and it's quite fun. I'm testing out the kensai for the fun of it.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One piece of advice: By the time you'll be able to get Lunge you won't need it. Assuming an 18 int by level 9 with a headband you'll have a concentration of about +15 (+17 with the arcane focus racial trait, and +19 with focused mind). At +15 you auto succeed when casting a 0th level spell, with a +17 you auto succeed on 1st level spell, and +19 for second level spells. With a +19 concentration you can cast a level 3 with a roll of 2. I have a 10th level magus with all of the above that auto succeeds on spells 3rd level or below.


You bring up an interesting point Soluzar. I guess I could trade out lunge, maybe take empower spells earlier, and take greater weapon focus? Or Iron will/Greater fortitude? Uncertain what to chose.
I couldnt take focused mind though, sicne i've already used up my magic trait.
In any case, I've built it up to level 20, and this is what I get. It's kinada funny, because she has 40 initiative; not +40, just straight 40, since they can always take 20 on initiative.

Elven Magus

I've been thinking about switching out force punch for "vampiric touch", since apparently vampiric touch is untyped damage? It's a higher dice, and could be more effective. But nothing seems to resist force. I dont know if anybody resists vampiric touch. But with all the trimings, it could give me 115 temporary hit points per hit (double if it crits) which would solve my hit point trouble.

I've also been trying to take it mythic, but I'm not terribly familiar with that stuff, so I'll put that aside until I have a chance to test it out (which should be soon).


what makes a shocking grasp magus so awsome is that intensefied shocking grasp is a lvl 1 spell slot and you can get pearl's of power all day long this way EVERY attack you make is a intensefied shocking grasp,

hell you could take wand wielder and just get a wand of it anyway!


Yup, Vampiric Touch is untyped damage... but you should be careful with that in home games, because I think a lot of GM's would homerule it as a death effect (especially if your char uses it a lot and they want to throw an encounter at you balanced around the rest of the party). Mind spelling out how you got 115 out of it? I love the spell and haven't gotten it that high (intensified+maximized = 15d6=90? I'm missing a +1 per level somewhere :P).


For vampiric touch:

Intesified+maximized=90 +empower=+7d6=25 (average)

It's pretty powerful.

The reason I'm tending away from shocking grasp is that at high level, ALL energy types are resisted heavily by creatures (if they arent immune). I started building this character with the specific goal of slaying Cthulhu (added in the beastiary 4) that's only "non-resistance" (yes, it's resistant to sonic) is force.


Intensified doesn't do anything to vampiric touch unless your CL is over 20. Although Spell Specialization and Spell Perfection combine to give +4 CL, so that would be

CL 24 -> 12d6 with intensify.
Maximize -> 72
Empowered -> +6d6 (average 21)

So I'm still getting 72+6d6 = 93 average :/

Yeah, resistances are a pain with the energy types. Its also the reason that Scorching Ray is a terrible choice as a spell to focus on: resist energy by an 11th level caster will stop almost all the damage and its a 10 minute/level spell. Or a lesser globe of invulnerability, which will stop all of these cold.


Ok, I forgot it was +1d6/2 levels. I guess force punch is the priority. And I've got to prepare more to get rid of globe of invulnerability.

Note: would a third-level spell metamagiked be considered higher level for the globe?


Thaago wrote:
Yup, Vampiric Touch is untyped damage... but you should be careful with that in home games, because I think a lot of GM's would homerule it as a death effect (especially if your char uses it a lot and they want to throw an encounter at you balanced around the rest of the party). Mind spelling out how you got 115 out of it? I love the spell and haven't gotten it that high (intensified+maximized = 15d6=90? I'm missing a +1 per level somewhere :P).

Am I misinterpreting the Intensified feat? The description states

"Benefit: An intensified spell increases the maximum number of damage dice by 5 levels. You must actually have sufficient caster levels to surpass the maximum in order to benefit from this feat. No other variables of the spell are affected, and spells that inflict damage that is not modified by caster level are not affected by this feat. An intensified spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level."

Vampiric Touch deals 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels (maximum 10d6 at 20th level), so you would have to be 30th level to gain the extra 5d6 damage.


I'm well aware, I was the one who made a mistake. I had though it was 1d6/level, and not /2 levels.


williamoak wrote:

Ok, I forgot it was +1d6/2 levels. I guess force punch is the priority. And I've got to prepare more to get rid of globe of invulnerability.

Note: would a third-level spell metamagiked be considered higher level for the globe?

TO my understanding (I do NOT claim to be a rules-lawyer) All spells w/ metamagic still count as their normal spell level As far as level/effects/resistances/Globes,etc.

EXCEPT Heighten Spell. That is it's only purpose, to make a low lvl spell into a higher lvl one.

If I am wrong please tell me! I have been playing that way since 3.0! ;P
It's one of the reasons I never take that meta magic. If something has a Globe up I either use a higher lvl spell, or let the rest of the group pound it. ;)

Although, now that I think about it, a Sorcerer w/ Heighten spell could apply the Heighten on the fly to battle a BBEG. I shall have to reconsider this.


FYI I'm very interested in this thread, thanks for sharing with us.

I'm playing 5th lvl vanilla magus right now, and have gone Dex but am avoiding the Dervish schtick. I hadn't really looked at Force Punch much. Thx for the tip.


Ragadolf wrote:
williamoak wrote:

Ok, I forgot it was +1d6/2 levels. I guess force punch is the priority. And I've got to prepare more to get rid of globe of invulnerability.

Note: would a third-level spell metamagiked be considered higher level for the globe?

TO my understanding (I do NOT claim to be a rules-lawyer) All spells w/ metamagic still count as their normal spell level As far as level/effects/resistances/Globes,etc.

EXCEPT Heighten Spell. That is it's only purpose, to make a low lvl spell into a higher lvl one.

If I am wrong please tell me! I have been playing that way since 3.0! ;P
It's one of the reasons I never take that meta magic. If something has a Globe up I either use a higher lvl spell, or let the rest of the group pound it. ;)

Although, now that I think about it, a Sorcerer w/ Heighten spell could apply the Heighten on the fly to battle a BBEG. I shall have to reconsider this.

You should check out the latest FAQ on the subject.

Basically, use the level that screws the player more.

A metamagicked Vampiric Touch would be blocked by a Lesser Globe of Invulnerability because it's a 3rd level spell, but at the same time an Empowered Vampiric Touch would require a normal (not a lesser) Rod of Metamagic to further alter it (since it uses a 5th level slot.)


That's... kinda unpleasant quantum steve. I'm not too surprised, but I wish it was more consistent than "whatever most disadvantages the caster". Then again, that must make thos who complain about caster power happy.

Guess I'll have to add a rod of heighten spell. JUST in case.

@ragadolf: If you're avoiding the dervish shtick, i'd be curious to know what you're focus is. I'm playing a dervish dancing one myself (level 8, almost 9) and my spellstrike isnt doing as much damage as I would like to be honest.


Ah, yes, that stinks,

However, please re-read the VERY LAST sentence of that FAQ,

Quote:
Heighten Spell is really the only metamagic feat that makes using a higher-level spell slot an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

So, to avoid Globes and such, Heighten spell is really the only way to go.


Damn it, there's no heighten spell rod... ugh...


williamoak wrote:


@ragadolf: If you're avoiding the dervish shtick, i'd be curious to know what you're focus is. I'm playing a dervish dancing one myself (level 8, almost 9) and my spellstrike isnt doing as much damage as I would like to be honest.

Well, I'm still tweaking to be honest (playing him in a PbP which is posting very slow right now. I came in late at 5th lvl, so have only really played through 2 fights so far.) And I never intended to try and Min/Max him. Wanted a PC who could do fun and interesting things, and be fun to play.

Spoiler:

Magnus

I went Dex/Rapier, and decided his 'trick/schtick' was multiple blades all working for him at once. Basically trying to get mutltiple attack/round out of Arcana & Spells rather than maxing out individual attacks (Although I still plan on using Keen/etc to max Crits in a battle)

Took Quick Draw for getting multiple weapons out in one round,
Took extra Arcana and took 3PP 'Animate Weapon' as a separate arcana (which, in my rules-fu is right, can actually be used at the same time as the 'arcane pool', meaning at higher lvl I can have TWO dancing weapons at the same time, 1 'Animate' & 1 'Dancing'(Individual Arcanas do not (Or should not) count against the arcane pool 'limit to single weapon enhanced at once'. As far as I can tell.) ;P

For spells I am using/planning on ;
Warding Weapon(1), Wreath of Blades(4), Telekinesis (FOr the throwing a bunch of weapons at once) Mage's Blade, etc
There are not a lot of these types of spells, but enough that I should be able to add to the effect every couple of levels.

For example, at 5th lvl, He can cast Vanish for 5 rounds. Before it wears off, he can cast Warding Weapon, Animate a weapon, enhance his primary weapon with Arcane Pool, cast a multi-rnd spellstrike spell like Chill touch, all while shifting 5' each round to get into position, and then attack from invisibility. He can then continue the fight with his primary weapon, his animated weapon (which he cannot enhance or he'll lose the effects on his primary) and be protected by the Warding weapon from AoO's while casting.

Hardly maximizing on damage, But fun! :) And at mid/high levels has potential for multiple attacks/rnd, which should add to his average dmg/rnd because 'more att=more chances to hit'. Note that 'Animate' and 'Dancing' don't care if your even proficient with the weapons you use those abilities on, meaning you could animate Scythes/etc, (weapons most warriors don't carry around) for large weapon/dmg dealing, using your casting stat for the to-hit bonus.(I think)

Shadow Lodge

I'd reccomend being a strength based kensai with a katana/urumi/rhoka sword/falcata, arcane striking and 2 hand spell striking. Because Dervish Dance Crit Fisher magus is overdone. Also, if you are going to be fighting Cthulu, you will probably mythic, and I think there are some mythic things that let you ignore elemental IMMUNITY, let alone resistance. If you can burn fire elementals to death, you can certainly tazer Great Old Ones to death.


@ armored monk: I went for crit fishing dervish dancer because it's overdone, yet I wasnt able to find any full builds. Poor google-fu on my part probably. So I tried it out. Please read the first couple sentences next time.

And I've been looking through the mythic stuff, and plenty of people told me there are methods to get through that immunity, but I cant find them.

Silver Crusade

I don't think Quantum Steve is correct about needing a normal rod for a spell that is level 3, unless it has some other metamagic applied to it before you apply the rod bonus.

I am also building an Elven magus right now, but mine is going to be for PFS play so he will only get to level 12. I've only built him up to level 5 so far, but it looks remarkably similar to yours other than being a vanilla magus.


I wa really working towards the stereotype, and there are PLENTY of low-level builds out there that I used.

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