The Comprehensive Kensai Magus Guide


Advice

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ZZTRaider wrote:

I don't have my book in front of me, but there's a couple of things there that are probably worthwhile for a Kensai.

The most notable ones I can think of are the new spell Longarm

That is a very interesting question. I was actually asking myself the question. Would this spell allows adding a good trip build without the need of investing into 2 feats (combat expertise & improved trip)...For example, this could allow to develop a build around frostbite/ bodyguard while adding a trip element to the build without those 2 feats by using longarm and then true strike wand and trip...

Thoughts?

Lantern Lodge

Works great until you fight creatures with reach, but then again, you never invested much into it, so nothing lost there. Longarm is just a darn good spell, and if possible, would be great to get with the Fluid Form (Too bad Fluid Form is a 6th level spell) for a 20 foot reach O.o.


I noticed you offered up a build to help allies using aid another however I believe you missed three useful items to help the build. A very good feat (Swift Aid) the benevolent weapon enhancement and Battlefield Disciple.

Swift Aid significantly increases action economy for the build by making the Aid Another a swift action at a penalty of -1 to the bonus. I believe a -1 to the benefit seems a reasonable expenditure to perform your normal attack actions.

I am surprised you never mentioned the benevolent weapon enhancement consider the Gloves of Arcane Striking other abilities. Adding a bonus to hit as well as damage for an ally seems a useful addition. I understand if it goes outside the protective aspect of the original build but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Battlefield Disciple adds a +1 to hit on aid another among other benefits. I am not sure if you want to add traits to your builds or if it wouldn't work within your concept but I thought it would be useful to mention it.


I misunderstood the bodyguard feat or got it confused with the Covering Defense or saving shield feats. After rereading the Bodyguard feat it appears to be better then swift aid in general with the only possible advantage of swift aid being that it is selectable and can possibly be performed at range. It still could be used to expand the utility of your Bodyguard build.


Benevolent is a nice little toy but it's generally not going to make a huge difference, and to take it you have to directly nerf yourself since your own weapon is now relatively less capable. It can be done in a /really/ dedicated build, but there's not really a reason to dedicate that much. Notably, the Benevolent /armor/ ability is mentioned... and I'm not sure that they'd stack, though strictly speaking I see no reason why not.

... And I'm not really sure where you're talking about adding a bonus to-hit as well as damage. That's not what Benevolent does?

Battlefield Disciple is nice, but unless the trait is absolutely crucial to the build, Frodo doesn't mention it in the guide. The only one mentioned is Magical Lineage for the SG setup.


Benevolent weapon applies to aid another to attack rolls; benevolent armour applies to aid another to AC. Gloves of Arcane Striking add your Arcane Strike damage to an ally's damage when you use aid another on their attack roll.

Battlefield Disciple is narrower than Helpful, and may not stack with Helpful. But if you've got an ability that changes, rather than increases, the base value of aid another, some GMs may not let it stack with Helpful, in which case Battlefield Disciple is more useful to you.


kestral287 wrote:
Benevolent is a nice little toy but it's generally not going to make a huge difference, and to take it you have to directly nerf yourself since your own weapon is now relatively less capable.

I offered it as a possible addition to the body guard build and I honestly don't consider a +8/+7 (depending on the feat used) to hit and +5 damage for an ally on their next attack for the low cost of a AoO or swift action to be a little toy. The best part is a Magus can easily reach the +8/+7 to hit and a +3 damage by 10th level consistently without breaking a sweat.

Now on a full bab class this might only be frosting on a already large cake but a bonus like that can really help any 3/4 bab class and even makes the occasional caster making a touch spell more likely to hit when they really need it. Such as when an enemy is breathing down their neck.

Lantern Lodge

I completely forgot to add traits into the guide O.o. From an optimizer's standpoint, what an unforgivable sin! Yet part of me doesn't want to add traits into the guide, since I'm used to the idea that traits are bonuses gained from your character background. Sometimes it feels too much like people pick traits, and then determine their background from that. I don't care much for people optimizing traits, but since it is an optimization guide, I'll throw that in.

@Narrater

Thanks for your input! At the time I wrote the bodyguard build section, swift actions were a very, very important resource for the Kensai, especially for using Arcane Accuracy, which greatly benefits the Bodyguard since Arcane Accuracy improves his ability to use the bodyguard feat. I've never really looked at the swift aid feat for that reason.

Considering the new line of thought, that taking Flamboyant Arcana -> Arcane Deed might be better than arcane accuracy (depending on various build factors). One benefit of Arcane Deed is that it frees up your swift actions, and so... yeah.

IF swift aid is taken, then getting the benevolent weapon enchant might be worth it... But looking at the wording of swift aid makes me wonder if giving the AC boon might be better in almost every circumstance, given a liberal interpretation:

Swift Aid wrote:
As a swift action, you can attempt the aid another action, granting your ally either a +1 bonus on his next attack roll or a +1 bonus to his AC.

The question to ask here is "How long does that AC bonus last?" It is probably intended to be just the next attack, but if it wasn't...

I'll add what we've discussed to the guide (probably at a later time, I'm going to wait a bit more for others to theorycraft options from the ACG more and work on my forthcoming poison guide instead), but my final thoughts are that Swift Aid isn't too great an option. Unless your getting combat expertise for another reason, your spending two feats (amoung other minor tidbits such as a benevolent weapon and traits) to give your ally +8 attack and +3 damage for 1 attack (his first). Or you could instead give ALL of your attacks +3 damage (4 attacks at level 10 hasted/spell strike, with some minor splash) or give ALL your attacks +5-8 attack (which spills over to AoO and helps you defend your allies better, for the price of 1 arcane pool and 1 arcana). I would find this much more useful if there was a way to aid another via an attack or AoO, like bodyguard.


Fair enough. I figured I would mention it since it seemed to fit the overall build.

I assume you are talking about arcane accuracy when talking about the +5-8 on attack. I have never been a fan of arcane accuracy because I really like the versatility of spell recall. Mainly run a vanilla Magus.

I personally view it as a natural progression when someone builds off of traits. If a person has a talent why wouldn't they build off of it. its not unlike someone who has a talent for drawing becoming an artist.

Lantern Lodge

Ah, Kensai lose access to spell recall, and this is a Kensai guide :P The traits are a great thing to mention and an overlook on my part, thanks for pointing that out. Really, thanks, it's pretty hard finding every little detail for every part of a class O.o.


One idea I have had is using Surge of Success to gain a some benefit from all the aid other actions since you have to make a attack roll it seems reasonable that a crit confirmation is possible even if it doesn't actual increase the affect however it would be something you need to talk with your DM about.


Fencing grace now makes rapiers a much more appealing weapon than before. A human kensai can now use dex for both to hit and damage starting at level one. Plus they work with the dueling enchantment. Yay!


I was looking over the Arcanist class and I had some questions. Would it merge well with Magus?

If so, rather than a dip as a wizard for the admixture school, you could pick such up via arcanist exploit but get the benefits of being an arcanist.

Would the blade adept archetype stack with the blade bound archetype to mean that you get full progression on black blade despite the dip?

Would arcane reservoir to increase the level of shocking grasp stack when cast through spell strike/combat? If so then it's a pretty easy way to add an extra 1d6 damage. It would also open up quite a few pretty cool exploits (Spell Tinkerer, Quick Study, Potent Magic) that might work well with a magus.

Also, I don't know if you mentioned or considered it but... a cracked opalescent white pyramid Ioun stone (1500gp) will let you treat any weapon (one specific of your choice) as a martial weapon. Since a Magus is proficient with ALL martial weapons... this would be a very easy way to pick up your reach weapon over a two level Barbarian Titan Mauler dip.

Scarab Sages

The cracked opalescent white pyramid grants weapon familiarity, not weapon proficiency.


Hero Lab treats the two as the same at least in that 1 lvl arcanist and 2 levels magus opens up the black blade as if I had taken 3 levels straight magus.

Plus... the Blade Adept archetype gives you sword bond... which if I'm reading it right... lets you enchant your black blade as if it were a wizards arcane bond item. will let you use your black blade as if it were a wizards focus...

+1 damage to evocation spells via intense spells via admixture subschool is nice too.


Artanthos wrote:
The cracked opalescent white pyramid grants weapon familiarity, not weapon proficiency.

Ah... uh... care to remind me what the difference is and what such means?


Martain wrote:

Hero Lab treats the two as the same at least in that 1 lvl arcanist and 2 levels magus opens up the black blade as if I had taken 3 levels straight magus.

Plus... the Blade Adept archetype gives you sword bond... which if I'm reading it right... lets you enchant your black blade as if it were a wizards arcane bond item. will let you use your black blade as if it were a wizards focus...

+1 damage to evocation spells via intense spells via admixture subschool is nice too.

Going down that list:

1. Interesting, but not RAW. Hero Lab is not, in any way, a rules source.

2. You cannot enchant a Black Blade. This is well established. As an Arcane Bond item, you can use it to cast one extra Arcanist spell of any level you choose (here: first), since it's your Arcanist class's bonded item.

3. +1 damage for a full level of class features lost is, frankly, a terrible trade. Admixture's element-swapping ability is much better and still not really all that great for a Magus, who shouldn't be overspecializing to the point that they need that.

If it's a bonded item you're after, take Eldritch Heritage. If it's a bit more damage you're after, dip Sorcerer (Orc) for +1 damage per die on all of your spells. Alternately, take the -2 to your Will save for Crossblooded Orc/Blue Draconic for +1 damage per die and +1 damage per die of electricity spells (at cap, +20 damage on Shocking Grasp). Note that honestly neither one of these is a good option.


1. Understood but worth looking into in case they would stack
2. Then I'm not sure how the ability under Blade Adept Arcanist works
3. True but if you're dipping into wizard for admixture anyways... this might be a better pick.

Also, under the bodyguard build, was there a reason you didn't add in Helpful (halfling) trait that can be gained via the adopted (social) trait? It would change your base aid another to a 4.

Lantern Lodge

Mostly because I haven't done the traits section yet, and that I try to leave traits open to actually describe a character's background, not to powergame. But, that is a good suggestion, I'll put it in when next I get to the guide.


Here is my issue with the Magus class in general...

The magus is at its heart a Melee class with a smattering of spells. But take a look at their bonuses to hit. In my opinion they just have too many issues hitting. Look at them compared to other melee centric classes...

Fighter - Full BAB, Weapon Training, Gloves of Dueling
Paladin - Full BAB, Smite
Barbarian - Full BAB, Rage class feature
Slayer - Full BAB, Studied Target, Quarry
Ranger - Full BAB, Favored Enemy
Cavalier - Full BAB, Cavalier's Charge, Banner
Gunslinger - Full BAB, Attacks are touch attacks
Inquisitor - Mid BAB, Judgement, Bane, Slayer
Alchemist - Mid BAB, Attacks are touch attacks
Swashbuckler - Full BAB, Swashbuckler Weapon Training
Monk - Quasi Full BAB with Flurry with TWF penalties. (Also pretty weak)

Magus - Lets look at what it gets...

- Mid Bab, with TWF penalties due to spell combat
- You have a single arcana that boost attack for a single round at the cost of your most important resource.
- Forced to use a one handed weapon with only a single extra attack

As an example. Lets say you have a 20th level Two Hand Fighter and a 20th Level Magus in the same party. The fighter will have a total of +27 to hit (+21 after Power Attack) vs the Magus +15 (+13 after Spell Combat)

How does a DM balance an encounter with that wide of a gap in bonuses to hit. Simply put the Magus just falls behind. He will hit less and less as that gap gets larger. Burning through your arcane pool to keep up seems a sub par answer.

Am I missing something here?


The arcane pool feature gives you higher enhance bonuses, and you can further improve yourself with buffs.

Also, that "one extra attack" is going to be a spell, which is often worth more than 2-3 attacks from any other class (even beyond damage, the ability to pounce or buff up while also attacking is pretty great). You can also debuff your enemy with a touch spell, that makes all your subsequent attacks more likely to hit.


LoneKnave wrote:

The arcane pool feature gives you higher enhance bonuses, and you can further improve yourself with buffs.

Also, that "one extra attack" is going to be a spell, which is often worth more than 2-3 attacks from any other class (even beyond damage, the ability to pounce or buff up while also attacking is pretty great). You can also debuff your enemy with a touch spell, that makes all your subsequent attacks more likely to hit.

The enhance bonus you can add doesn't stack past +5 which a fighter can get with a normal +5 weapon.

I understand the extra attack is a spell, but you have to actually HIT your opponent for it to matter. Granted your first attack is likely to hit but again look at my example...

+27/+22/+17/+12 vs +13/+13/+8/+3

A Magus's best attack is worse then every attack the fighter has other than the last. If a DM balances an encounter to give the Fighter's last attack a low chance to hit.... that means your BEST attack has a low chance to hit... the others are just laughable.

Stuns, Sicken, Flanking, ect... all those things can be accomplished by the other classes by using abilities such as crit feats or augmented by casters in the party. It just seems to me the magus lags behind for a front line fighter type. I have the same issue with Warpriest and Monk

Scarab Sages

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While I have yet to encounter a problem lagging behind full BAB classes, I have also not had a GM set opponent AC's according to what an optimized fighter can hit (at least, not while playing a magus).

That said, the Bladebound Kensai has a few options at higher level to help balance out.

  • Arcane Accuracy - +int to-hit
  • Vampiric Blade - refresh arcane pool, more uses of Arcane Accuracy
  • Greater Invisibility
  • Bane - +2 to-hit, +2d6 damage
  • Enduring Blade - 20 minute duration for weapon enchants

The Bladebound Kensai's best option is Greater Invisibility. Not only does hitting become much easier, the kensai adds intelligence to damage while foes are denied their dexterity bonus.

Bane should always be used for challenging encounters. At this level, adding bane + multiple other effects requires only a swift action and remains in place for 20 minutes (assuming Enduring Blade).

Lantern Lodge

Dragonamedrake wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:

The arcane pool feature gives you higher enhance bonuses, and you can further improve yourself with buffs.

Also, that "one extra attack" is going to be a spell, which is often worth more than 2-3 attacks from any other class (even beyond damage, the ability to pounce or buff up while also attacking is pretty great). You can also debuff your enemy with a touch spell, that makes all your subsequent attacks more likely to hit.

The enhance bonus you can add doesn't stack past +5 which a fighter can get with a normal +5 weapon.

I understand the extra attack is a spell, but you have to actually HIT your opponent for it to matter. Granted your first attack is likely to hit but again look at my example...

+27/+22/+17/+12 vs +13/+13/+8/+3

A Magus's best attack is worse then every attack the fighter has other than the last. If a DM balances an encounter to give the Fighter's last attack a low chance to hit.... that means your BEST attack has a low chance to hit... the others are just laughable.

Stuns, Sicken, Flanking, ect... all those things can be accomplished by the other classes by using abilities such as crit feats or augmented by casters in the party. It just seems to me the magus lags behind for a front line fighter type. I have the same issue with Warpriest and Monk

Discounting magic attacks, there are other aspects getting ignored.

First, while arcane pool bonuses don't get higher than the fighter can manage with magic items, the level 20 magus can essentially have a 10+ item for the cost of a 5+ item (add bane, keen, or just plain old vorpal). That's a 150k difference, which can buy any number of handy magic items that can easily mitigate the to-hit.

Also, don't overlook the benefits of magus arcanas. A level 20 Magus should have a +6 Int item, and I can't imagine building a magus with less than 14 Int to start with. Arcane accuracy translates that Int bonus into a +5 to hit. (Bringing your analysis to a 18-20 comparison, closer, but not there yet).

Arcane accuracy would turn the Magus's attacks into touch attacks, narrowing the gap by whatever the average AC difference between standard AC and touch AC is (though by level 20, I'd probably pick up the Ghost touch arcana instead and enhance my weapon with brilliant energy).

And this doesn't even begin to address the self-buff advantage of having the spells (not relying on friendly wizards), action economy advantage, and the flexibility granted by his arcana. Access to shocking grasp (+3 to hit against a large number of enemies), greater invisibility, greater magic weapon, flight, pounce spells, and so on make it worthwhile.

The only thing really to keep in mind is that the fighter can do it all day long. (Or as long as his healing holds out, which I've found limits him as much as any caster). The magus shines with Nova play, and by level 20 he can 'nova' for quite a long time. You're analysis was only looking at to-hit, did you look at average damage? Sure, his number of maximized-intensified shocking grasps are limited, but how many do you really need?

I have a level 12 Magus (Bladebound) in PFS right now - before any self buffing, he has a 20 to-hit (18 when spell combating). His damage is 1d6+12 per hit (+24 if his targets aren't immune to precision damage). He spends most combats with greater invisibility, he has 8 spells a day set aside that will do 10d6 extra damage (average 35). Once a day he'll hit for 15d6 (average 52). Depending on what he's facing, he spends every combat with a keen weapon (regularly doubling that spell damage above) and enhancing his weapon with an additional +2.

Lantern Lodge

@Dragonamedrake

I think that trying to compare DPS without builds etc... is kinda pointless (and involves a lot of heresay). As this is a Kensai guide, I'll quickly present a Kensai Build to fight against our beloved "Falchion Fred" (source is DPR olympics)
Falchion Fred's DPR = 59.25
Farshot Fallon's DPR = 68.25

Frostbite Magus:

Tiefling
Base plus Racial (Base uses the described stat array):
STR: 10 DEX: 16 CON: 13 INT: 17 WIS: 12 CHA: 6
With gear and levels
STR: 10 DEX: 22 CON: 13 INT: 19 WIS: 12 CHA: 6

Traits:
Magical Lineage: Frostbite
Bruising Intellect

Feats:
1. *Weapon Focus
1. Weapon Finesse
3. Dervish Dance
5. Extra Arcana
5. Empower Spell
7. Greater Weapon Focus
9. Critical Focus

Arcana: Arcane Accuracy, Flamboyant Arcana, Arcane Deed: Precise Strike

Gear (62,000 gold worth):
+2 Keen Scimitar 18,000(GMW will add +2)
+4 dexterity 16,000
+4 headband of intelligence 16,000
+1 Silken Ceremonial Robe 1,000
Cloak of Resistance +2 4,000
4 pearls of power (level 1) 4,000
leaving 3kish for other expenditures

DPR Calculations (using the h(d+s)+tchd formula)
Target: 24 AC
(buffs active: Greater Magic Weapon)
7/2 + 5 (dexterity) + 4 (weapon) + 1 (weapon focus) - 2 (spell combat) = 15/10/10, plus 4(critical focus) + 6 (intelligence) for confirming critical rolls
Damage per hit = 1d6(base) + 5(dex) + 10(precise strike) = 1d6+15 15-20x2, and 1/rd shocking grasp for 10d6

DPR first round (without arcane accuracy):
16 11d6+5 15-20x2 + 2d6+10, then 11/11 1d6+5 15-20x2 + 2d6+10 = 60.045 DPR without arcane accuracy

DPR second round (with arcane accuracy):
22 11d6+5 15-20x2 + 2d6+10, then 17/17 1d6+5 15-20x2 + 2d6+10 =
85.845 DPR with arcane accuracy


But wait, you know those builds that focus DPR don't provide much else to the team right? Well, these numbers ONLY use 1st level spells, as well as 1 3rd level self buff. You have all of your second level spells, most of your 3rd level spells, and your 4th level spells to provide utility and buff the entire party. Do you want to talk about the DPR implications of giving an entire party the haste buff?

Are we talking about level 20? Because that opens a whole new can of worms...

EDIT: forgot formatting

Lantern Lodge

Hang on, I've seen mixed information around here, but no clear ruling: Does Greater Magic weapon add to a weapon's enhancement bonus, or does it replace it?

If a level 10 caster uses GMW on a +1 sword, does the sword become a +2 or a +3?

Sczarni

Ive got a hilarious thing going on with my kensai atm, its more of a gimmick but i just thought id share it:

Combine the butterfly sting feat with quick draw, and wield a keen rapier.

Then, if you confirm a crit on your first (or second attack if youre hasted), you pass on the crit to yourself. This is possible because you count as your own ally. Then, you drop your weapon as a free action and grab your +1 spell storing Tetsubo.

As a swift action spend 4 arcane points to gets its crit range up to x5 and hit touch ac.

You hit & crit with your last attack, dealing 5x 1d10+strength+power attack + the spell stored in your weapon. Profit.


Is it worth going Flowing Monk for 3 levels with a Kensai Magus build?

I know - multi-classing slows your BaB a lot by holding out for 3 levels of monk. I like the flavor of: +INT and +WIS on AC, and then an additional +1 AC for each adjacent opponent up to his WIS bonus. It is really cool concept-wise. But mechanically, I'm probably screwing myself.


Genuine wrote:

Hang on, I've seen mixed information around here, but no clear ruling: Does Greater Magic weapon add to a weapon's enhancement bonus, or does it replace it?

If a level 10 caster uses GMW on a +1 sword, does the sword become a +2 or a +3?

They are both enhancement bonuses so they do not add. Only the higher counts. So +2 in your example.


I've been very lucky and satisfied with my Bladebound-Kensai 7/Inspired Blade 1. I can buff myself to have almost unhittable AC and can parry attacks before I'm buffed. Having a threat range of 15-20 on both weapon & spells while doing my spellcombat-strike is awesome.

Not to mention tricks like Longarm, Bladed Dash, True Strike & Pilfering Hand. Tons more available to you too.

Lantern Lodge

For some odd reason, I always thought it was additive. Hrmm...

Doesn't make too much difference though, +5 keen is still achievable with a +3 weapon as a 10th level magus.

Lantern Lodge

Carla the Profane wrote:

Ive got a hilarious thing going on with my kensai atm, its more of a gimmick but i just thought id share it:

Combine the butterfly sting feat with quick draw, and wield a keen rapier.

Then, if you confirm a crit on your first (or second attack if youre hasted), you pass on the crit to yourself. This is possible because you count as your own ally. Then, you drop your weapon as a free action and grab your +1 spell storing Tetsubo.

As a swift action spend 4 arcane points to gets its crit range up to x5 and hit touch ac.

You hit & crit with your last attack, dealing 5x 1d10+strength+power attack + the spell stored in your weapon. Profit.

Firstly, you count as your own ally in most, not all, circumstances. Teamwork feats kinda bring up that "you are not your own ally" part of that faq.

Second, the spell only uses the critical range, not the critical multiplier :(

Sovereign Court

I'm considering creating a Kitsune Kensai for PFS and the Swashbuckler dip option is appealing to me. So far my point buy looks like:

STR: 10 (8 after -2 racial)
DEX: 14 (16)
CON: 12
INT: 16
WIS: 10
CHA: 13 (15)

I'm looking to use the Katana as my weapon.

From reading the thread I think the first four levels should go:
1st Kensai with WF: Katana and a feat I have yet to determine
2nd Swashbuckler to get Swashbuckler Finesse, Deeds, Panache
3rd Kensai, with Slashing Grace feat
4th Put stat point into CHA, gain 3rd panache point, now the rest of the focus can be on INT/DEX

My questions are:
1. How much will the negative 1 STR score impact the character?

2. If I wanted the Precise strike Deed I have to spend 2 Arcana (Flamboyant and Arcane Deed) The problem is Flamboyant Arcana would be largely a waste since I have a level in Swashbuckler. Is there some way around this?

3. Presuming I take the Flamboyant/Arcane Deed Arcane, I would have 2 seperate pools for Panache, right?

4. Is Charmed Life worth going a 2nd level of Swashbuckler?

Lantern Lodge

1. The strength penalty will be a minor issue after first couple of levels, though you may consider getting an option to help with carrying capacity (such as buying a mule, or getting muleback cords, etc...). The only other downfall of low strength is skills (climb [you can fly later], and swim), and CMB/CMD, but with a high dex and intelligence, CMD won't be an issue.

2. Unfortunately, there's no real way around it, especially in PFS. Consider it a feat tax for you, like combat expertise is for many combat maneuver oriented builds.

3.Yes. Best to use the second pool, since it recharges :)

4. I personally would say no. First, you already use a lot of swift actions. Second, your charisma isn't that high. And third, it's only a few times per day.


1. Your first level is going to suck. After that not a huge deal. Just don't carry a lot of gear around.

2. No.

3. You have one panache pool and one arcane pool. You can spend out of either for duplicated deeds but can't dip into Panache to fuel a higher-level deed taken by Arcane Deed.

4. Not even a little.

Sovereign Court

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Thanks for the answers. I'm working on the build to 12 now. It seems like taking the Extra Arcana feat will be the best way to go about dealing with the 'feat tax' of Flamboyant Arcana.

So the first 7 levels would look like:
Traits- Magical Lineage (Shocking Grasp)
???

1st Kensai with WF: Katana and a feat( thinking best options are Dodge, Arcane Strike, Toughness, or Piranha Strike[maybe])
2nd Swashbuckler to get Swashbuckler Finesse, Deeds, Panache
3rd Kensai, with Slashing Grace feat
4th Flamboyant Arcana
5th Feat-Extra Arcana: Arcane Deed(Precise Strike)
6th Bonus Feat
7th Arcana: Spell Blending or Maximize Spell, Feat-Extra Arcana:Arcane Accuracy

Any other recommendations for traits? I've looked at Arcane Revitalization, Arcane Temper, Reactive, Bladed Magic, and Indomitable Faith.

Thanks for the help,
G.Radio


The Spell-Scars Arcana from Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon seems interesting and not yet in the guide.
What do you think about it? Is it worth it? Better than simply picking scribe scroll?

Quote:

Benefit: The magus can use special scar-based tattoos called spell-scars on his skin to cast or prepare spells, much like scrolls. He can cast a spell from a spell-scar exactly like casting from a scroll; the ink and scars vanish when the spell is cast. The magus can also prepare spells from his spell-scars without expending them, similar to a wizard using the Spell Mastery feat.

The magus does not need to be able to see his spell-scar to use it. A magus has room on his skin for 18 total spell levels of spell-scars, which he can create using the rules for scribing scrolls (although they do not require the Scribe Scroll feat).


It's decidedly... okay.

The big problem you have is that it doesn't natively work with any of the Magus' other abilities. Thus you're incentivized to use it for either spells you're only going to use at range, or spells you're going to use out of combat.

But the former case fades pretty quickly unless you're really at range because the Magus gets some strong mobility options, and the latter raises the question of why you didn't just pick Scribe Scroll.

I tried for a long time to get it to work and just... really couldn't.

Sovereign Court

So now that the errata is out it is easy to determine now that Arcane Deed is not worth the pick. The question is now is Flamboyant Arcana worth taking for Opportune Parry and Riposte?


This changes to Slashing Grace make a big difference to Kensai builds. If you want to use Spell Combat, get Dex to damage, and have to Duelling special ability then Rapiers are now your only choice. (Other than taking 3 levels in Unchained Rogue.)

Sovereign Court

Reading the phrase "anytime another hand is otherwise occupied" in Slashing Grace's errata makes it sound like it isn't compatible with spell combat and therefore, the magus in general.

They may as well add to Slashing Grace's prerequisites to tie your other hand behind your back.


The Swordlord prestige class can still get Dex to damage with a 1 level dip if you're using a Aldori Dueling sword. The prerequisites aren't too bad either, just really requiring Dazzling Display outside of your normal feats.


G.Radio wrote:
Reading the phrase "anytime another hand is otherwise occupied" in Slashing Grace's errata makes it sound like it isn't compatible with spell combat and therefore, the magus in general.

You are correct. Slashing Grace definitely is not compatible with Spell Combat.


Fencing Grace and Dervish Dance is fun.

Lantern Lodge

Dex to damage will be harder to come by. I guess they really wanted it to be a rogue thing, as can be seen with the unchained rogue. Agile weapons are still a thing if you want something other than a scimitar and you want Dec to damage.

As a heads up, the guide is going to be replaced by a broader scoped guide in just a little bit.


FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:

Dex to damage will be harder to come by. I guess they really wanted it to be a rogue thing, as can be seen with the unchained rogue. Agile weapons are still a thing if you want something other than a scimitar and you want Dec to damage.

As a heads up, the guide is going to be replaced by a broader scoped guide in just a little bit.

Looking forward to your new guide.

Silver Crusade

You know, all of this consternation about Slashing Grace highlights one of the flaws in the 3.5 OGL system that Pathfinder is based on. And that is, when a system like this gets more and more rule books that add incremental changes to the game, it gets to the point where it is so rules crunchy that you crack a tooth on it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Pathfinder, but because i love playing it I don't want to see it go the way of D&D 3.5. I really think that the system can be streamlined without losing what makes it Pathfinder. Things like Dex-to-damage shouldn't need a multitude of feats or class abilities to pull off. Instead of having multiple sources of damage types, why not just have one feat that allows you to do Precision damage regardless of what class you are? And more importantly, don't load the feat down with various qualifiers and exceptions.

One of the major flaws of the 3.5 OGL system is that because of how it was written, it became less like reading a game book and more like reading a legal document. But hey, what do I know, Pathfinder is still the #1 game system out there, even with streamlined d20 games. Maybe I'm just experiencing system fatigue with all of these endless debates about how one feat or ability interacts with the nuances of another obscure rule and all of the errata and everything.

Sorry for the rambling ranty post. I'm not complaining about the discussions, I'm complaining about the reason the discussions exist, while not really giving any ways of fixing it. Again, I think I'm just getting burned out.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I noticed a good spell from the new Occult Adventures that I plan on taking on my Kensai: anticipate thoughts

It's a 2nd-level spell for a guaranteed +2 insight bonus to AC against the targeted creature, and the same bonus to attacks and damage against it on a failed save. Additionally, whenever that target misses you with an attack, the bonuses go up by 1 (up to +5).

So for a tanky, high-Int Kensai, it boosts your defenses even more, and has a decent chance of boosting offense as well.


Gisher wrote:
G.Radio wrote:
Reading the phrase "anytime another hand is otherwise occupied" in Slashing Grace's errata makes it sound like it isn't compatible with spell combat and therefore, the magus in general.
You are correct. Slashing Grace definitely is not compatible with Spell Combat.

So why does Paizo hate the Kensai so much? They kill its sustainability by nerfing Flamboyant Arcana/Arcane Deed into a trap option, then they kill every weapon option other than rapier and scimitar by doing this.


Because you should have gone STR-based on the first place.

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