Magus and Arcane Duelist question


Rules Questions


I've tried to search this out, but not finding the results for which I'm looking. My question as follows.

When dealing with classes (archetypes) that have similar abilities (i.e. Magus Arcane Pool enchanting ability and the Arcane Duelist Bladethirst ability) does the enchantments stack with each other? Or do you simply have two separate abilities to enchant weapons? For example with a magus I spend an AP to put a +2 enchantment on my longsword, can I then use the Bladethirst ability to further add additional enchantment bonuses or special abilities?

I'm inclined to say they would stack as both abilities specifically state they do stack with existing enchantments; however, is there a specific rule or FAQ that I'm missing?


The general rule is that similar bonuses do not stack. However both the abilities mentioned explicitly say they do stack with existing enchantments. So they stack (within limitations of the abilities).

Not really sure how this would be exploited though since bladethirst is only obtained at lvl 6. Dipping into magus is not really optimal after that.


Avianfoo wrote:
Not really sure how this would be exploited though since bladethirst is only obtained at lvl 6. Dipping into magus is not really optimal after that.

It's more of a gestalt combo situation, as you are correct; for a standard PC this combo would not really work well. I figured RAW they would stack, but it seems.... cheesy (to me at least). Thanks for the reply, man.

Silver Crusade

It gets even cheesier when you consider that both would also stack with a masterwork weapon giving you a +2/+1 attack/damage situation.


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Bigdaddyjug wrote:
It gets even cheesier when you consider that both would also stack with a masterwork weapon giving you a +2/+1 attack/damage situation.

Arcane Pool does not stack with Masterwork, no enhancements do. The +1 to attack and damage replaces the +1 to attack from masterwork.

Silver Crusade

harzerkatze wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
It gets even cheesier when you consider that both would also stack with a masterwork weapon giving you a +2/+1 attack/damage situation.
Arcane Pool does not stack with Masterwork, no enhancements do. The +1 to attack and damage replaces the +1 to attack from masterwork.

Nope, it stacks. Masterwork is an enhancement bonus and arcane pool specifically says it stacks with other enhancement bonuses. Specific overrides general.

Liberty's Edge

Yes, it stacks with other magic enhancements, which masterwork weapons specifically state they are replaced by, which is why they again specifically list the maximum of +5. Trying to assume otherwise is at best a ridiculous reach and at worst willful ignoring of the established rules.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Fomsie wrote:
Yes, it stacks with other magic enhancements, which masterwork weapons specifically state they are replaced by, which is why they again specifically list the maximum of +5. Trying to assume otherwise is at best a ridiculous reach and at worst willful ignoring of the established rules.

Except that the Magus ability, unlike normal enhancement bonuses, explicitly says it stacks with other enhancement bonuses (and does not specify magical enhancement either). Masterwork is an enhancement bonus. Enhancement bonuses normally do not stack. However, the "do not stack" rule is overridden by the explicit exception in the unique Magus class feature.

They definitely stack. There's zero ambiguity here, just confusion by some people about how the rules work. The rules themselves are perfectly clear.

On a related note, while you can get to a +5/+4 with an Arcane Pool'd masterwork sword, you cannot get to a +6/+5 due to the "maximum of 5" clause.

Liberty's Edge

The wording in the Magus ability is in place to allow for the enhancing of an already magical weapon, which is further supported by the requirement that a weapon already have at least a +1 enhancement before the Magus can apply the additional effect options, such as Flaming and the like, and that bonus can either be already on the weapon, or come from usage of the Magus pool.

They definitely do not stack, and there is ambiguity caused only by those who would assume that the wording of the arcane pool ability is somehow a specific override of the Masterwork to Magic rules.


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The Morphling wrote:
Fomsie wrote:
Yes, it stacks with other magic enhancements, which masterwork weapons specifically state they are replaced by, which is why they again specifically list the maximum of +5. Trying to assume otherwise is at best a ridiculous reach and at worst willful ignoring of the established rules.

Except that the Magus ability, unlike normal enhancement bonuses, explicitly says it stacks with other enhancement bonuses (and does not specify magical enhancement either). Masterwork is an enhancement bonus. Enhancement bonuses normally do not stack. However, the "do not stack" rule is overridden by the explicit exception in the unique Magus class feature.

They definitely stack. There's zero ambiguity here, just confusion by some people about how the rules work. The rules themselves are perfectly clear.

On a related note, while you can get to a +5/+4 with an Arcane Pool'd masterwork sword, you cannot get to a +6/+5 due to the "maximum of 5" clause.

That is a pretty wild interpretation. Good luck finding a GM that will agree with you.

Magic Weapons wrote:
All magic weapons are also masterwork weapons, but their masterwork bonuses on attack rolls do not stack with their enhancement bonuses on attack rolls.

I'll play along with what you're doing though. The Arcane Pool ability never says that this enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Since it doesn't, you have to reference the rules for enhancement bonuses on weapons, which then states that masterwork bonuses and enhancement bonuses don't stack.

Silver Crusade

I GM PFS a lot and I'd allow it. I'll also expect the people who GM PFS for me to allow it since it is clearly RAW and not subject to interpretation. If it gets FAQed and becomes not RAW then I'll stop allowing it and stop expecting it.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Fomsie wrote:
They definitely do not stack, and there is ambiguity caused only by those who would assume that the wording of the arcane pool ability is somehow a specific override of the Masterwork to Magic rules.

Arcane Pool could not possibly be clearer. It says it stacks, so it stacks.

We have the following situation here. We have one rule that says "they stack." We have zero rules saying "they don't stack."

And you say "they don't stack."

Understand my confusion why you want to intentionally ignore rules?

I know why you're confused. You saw the line in Masterwork Weapons that says that the enhancement bonuses on masterwork weapons don't stack with magical enhancement bonuses. That's not an exception to the rule - it's a reminder of a rule that already exists. It's a reminder that enhancement bonuses never stack with each other, unless there's some kind of clause that changes this general rule. A clause that just so happens to appear in the Magus class ability known as Arcane Pool. The magus ability overrides the masterwork rule because it says that it does.

Robert A Matthews wrote:
That is a pretty wild interpretation.

Interpreting the rules as written literally is wild now?

Robert A Matthews wrote:
Good luck finding a GM that will agree with you.

Not hard. Every GM I've ever played with agrees with me, and as a GM myself, I too agree that the rules should be interpreted as written. If you want to houserule it away, but I play PFS so not only am I required to run it correctly, I can count on other GMs to run it correctly too.

And unlike your argument, mine can be backed up by actually referencing the rules of the game we're playing. When an ability says it stacks, that means it stacks, end of statement. Arcane Pool is an exception to the rule that enhancement bonuses don't stack with each other. Not because of some opinion I have, but because the ability literally says it does.


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Robert A Matthews wrote:
I'll play along with what you're doing though. The Arcane Pool ability never says that this enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Since it doesn't, you have to reference the rules for enhancement bonuses on weapons, which then states that masterwork bonuses and enhancement bonuses don't stack.

There is no such thing as a masterwork bonus. The masterwork quality grants an enhancement bonus to a weapon.

Enhancement bonuses do not normally stack. This is reiterated in the section regarding enhancement bonuses from the masterwork quality and from magical enchantment.

The Arcane Pool ability states that it allows for stacking with enhancement bonuses. It does not add any qualifier as to the type of enhancement bonus with which it stacks; without further qualifier, that means by RAW it stacks with those bonuses provided by the masterwork quality, from magical enchantment, and from any other source that grants an enhancement bonus to the weapon.

As it stands, there is a conflict in RAW, and more succinctly, there is a conflict between a specific class feature and a specific section of rules text that is based upon a more general rule:

The general rule is that enhancement bonuses don't stack; a specific variant of that rule is that the bonuses from masterwork and enchantment don't stack; and finally we have a specific class ability that states that it stacks with any and all (since there is no qualifier) enhancement bonuses.

I actually agree that RAI it was not intended to stack with the bonus from a masterwork quality weapon. As written, I would give greater weight to the specific language of a class feature than of a variant\clarification of a general rule, and so RAW I believe they would stack.


Masterwork weapons do have a specific rule as well:

"The enhancement bonus granted by the masterwork quality doesn't stack with the enhancement bonus provided by the weapon's magic."

Nowhere does this say it is a reminder, or clarification. If you are going strictly by what is written, it is a specific rule for the enhancement bonus granted by the masterwork quality of a weapon.

So the magus ability can stack just fine with an existing enhancement bonus, but the masterwork enhancement bonus cannot stack with the magical enhancement provided by the magus arcane pool.


Xaratherus wrote:
Robert A Matthews wrote:
I'll play along with what you're doing though. The Arcane Pool ability never says that this enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Since it doesn't, you have to reference the rules for enhancement bonuses on weapons, which then states that masterwork bonuses and enhancement bonuses don't stack.

There is no such thing as a masterwork bonus. The masterwork quality grants an enhancement bonus to a weapon.

I quoted it right from the Magic Weapons section. That is the exact verbiage.

Magic Weapons wrote:
All magic weapons are also masterwork weapons, but their masterwork bonuses on attack rolls do not stack with their enhancement bonuses on attack rolls.

Even if you rule that the enhancement bonus stacks, the stacked bonus doesn't apply to his attack rolls because of this rule and the Arcane Pool ability doesn't say that this stacked enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Word games are fun.

Silver Crusade

Dave Justus wrote:

Masterwork weapons do have a specific rule as well:

"The enhancement bonus granted by the masterwork quality doesn't stack with the enhancement bonus provided by the weapon's magic."

Nowhere does this say it is a reminder, or clarification. If you are going strictly by what is written, it is a specific rule for the enhancement bonus granted by the masterwork quality of a weapon.

So the magus ability can stack just fine with an existing enhancement bonus, but the masterwork enhancement bonus cannot stack with the magical enhancement provided by the magus arcane pool.

Except where in the description of Arcane Pool does it say this is a magical bonus? I would agree with you it this was magic weapon or greater magic weapon, but it's not. The magus' arcane pool ability says it stacks with existing enhancement bonuses. Masterwork quality on a weapon grants an enhancement bonus, therefore it stacks.

Paizo PRD wrote:
A masterwork weapon is a finely crafted version of a normal weapon. Wielding it provides a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls.

So no Robert, a masterwork weapon does not grant a masterwork bonus, it grants an enhancement bonus. And as has been said numerous times, the magus' arcane pool ability states it stacks with existing enhancement bonuses.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Except where in the description of Arcane Pool does it say this is a magical bonus?

Arcane pool is a supernatural ability. Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like.

Silver Crusade

Dave Justus wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Except where in the description of Arcane Pool does it say this is a magical bonus?
Arcane pool is a supernatural ability. Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like.

Ok, fair enough since I worded my question poorly. Would you say that magus arcane pool and the spell magic weapon are the same? Do they stack? If arcane pool overwrites the enhancement bonus provided by masterwork property, why doesn't it say so? They made sure to point this out in the text of the magic weapon spell.


Robert A Matthews wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
Robert A Matthews wrote:
I'll play along with what you're doing though. The Arcane Pool ability never says that this enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Since it doesn't, you have to reference the rules for enhancement bonuses on weapons, which then states that masterwork bonuses and enhancement bonuses don't stack.

There is no such thing as a masterwork bonus. The masterwork quality grants an enhancement bonus to a weapon.

I quoted it right from the Magic Weapons section. That is the exact verbiage.

Yup, I'm aware of that. I'm also aware that in other locations - even in that same general section - they refer to the bonus provided by a masterwork weapon as an enhancement bonus.

'Masterwork' also doesn't appear on the list of varying bonus types.

So one of the two places is wrong. I believe they use 'masterwork bonus' as shorthand for 'masterwork enhancement bonus' because it doesn't require the adding of a new type of bonus, and that the text that BigDaddyJug quoted makes it clear that the bonus provided by a masterwork weapon is an enhancement bonus.

Robert A Matthews wrote:
Even if you rule that the enhancement bonus stacks, the stacked bonus doesn't apply to his attack rolls because of this rule and the Arcane Pool ability doesn't say that this stacked enhancement bonus applies to attack rolls. Word games are fun.

The stacked bonus does apply because the Arcane Pool ability explicitly says that it does. The fact that you have to reference back to this rule does not change what the class feature says.

There's no word games here. I readily admitted that there is a contradiction between two specific rules. My opinion is that the class feature would be given higher priority. You are taking the other specific rule to be higher priority; I disagree with that because it requires the addition of a qualifier to the class feature where none exists.

Specific trumps general. In this case, I believe more specific trumps less specific, and the class feature is more specific. I don't think that was the intention but I also disagree that the RAW is clear of contradictions in this instance.


Arcane pool and magic weapon are not the same, although there are similarities. Arcane pool will stack with magic weapon because arcane pool says that it stacks with other enhancement bonuses. No problem.

Arcane pool itself doesn't have a problem with the enhancement bonus from the masterwork weapon quality, it is the masterwork quality that says its enhancement bonus won't stack with any magical enhancement bonus. So AP would stack with masterwork, but masterwork won't stack with arcane pool, leaving you with them not stacking.

As to why they didn't specifically say that when they published ultimate magic I don't know. Perhaps they assumed that people buying this book would already understand. Perhaps they didn't want to waste space once again clarifying how the masterwork quality works. Perhaps it was an oversight.

Failure to clarify something generally cannot be taken as proof that a rule doesn't apply. And of course, that particular text in the spell goes back to 3.5 making lack of similar clarifying text in other places even less proof.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

At this point the discussion has devolved into those quoting the rules, and those alleging to be oracles capable of divining unwritten and unknowable intent within the rules, so I think we're done here.

I'll just count myself lucky that my local GMs interpret it correctly, and hope most other groups do too.


Faelyn wrote:
Avianfoo wrote:
Not really sure how this would be exploited though since bladethirst is only obtained at lvl 6. Dipping into magus is not really optimal after that.
It's more of a gestalt combo situation, as you are correct; for a standard PC this combo would not really work well. I figured RAW they would stack, but it seems.... cheesy (to me at least). Thanks for the reply, man.

It's gestalt. Every item on the menu is cheese. : D


blahpers wrote:
It's gestalt. Every item on the menu is cheese. : D

But what delicious cheese it is. :P

Advanced Class Guide says what? ;)


Xaratherus wrote:
I actually agree that RAI it was not intended to stack with the bonus from a masterwork quality weapon. As written, I would give greater weight to the specific language of a class feature than of a variant\clarification of a general rule, and so RAW I believe they would stack.

I can agree to that reasoning. There is an ambiguity in the wording that I believe was unintentional, but leads to strict RAW reading allowing this.

I believe the effect on game balance is small, so it's OK with me.

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