Questions about Magus Archetypes


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Hey all,

So I'm a brand new player to RPG's, and am starting up a campaign soon with friends. I'm primarily interested in the Magus class, but am trying to determine if either the Bladebound, Kensai, or a combination is a worthwhile path to take.

I am leaning towards playing as an Elf, using a Dervish Dance-based Dex build. Are group is also starting out at level 1, using the 15 point buy for ability scores.

From what I can tell, choosing Kensai seems to be a pretty big blow at the lower levels (really poor AC until you can fully use Canny Defense as you can't use armor - lack of spells to heal, combat cast, etc.). Are the later class attributes worth those negatives? Perfect Strike and Critical Perfection seem great, but I have no idea how useful Iaijutsu, etc. will be.

Along those lines, has anyone tried the Bladebound archetype and have an opinion? It seems more fun for the RPing aspect, but am unclear if it will hurt me in combat (lower arcane pool, etc.)

Thanks in advance for the help!


This is a quick summary and just my opinion -

Kensai - Only really show there stuff at the later levels. Low level games they just give up too much stuff. Really nice Archetype if you're planning on multi-classing and just grabbing a few levels in Magus.

Bladebound - Very nice in low level magic games. High magic games it depends a lot on what your GM will allow you to get away with for enchanting your weapon. Going by RAW, in high magic game the Bladebound weapon can start falling behind in power because of it lacking enchants.

Some people suggest you grab one level of the Devish Dancer, Bard Archetype so you can make full use of your DEX modifier with the scimitar.

There's a very good magus guide link in the stick "guide to the guides" in this Advice forum. Give it a quick read.


when I started playing 2 years ago I picked a magus too. while they are not the easiest class to start learning on they can be a lot of fun. the kensi isn't one I would pick to play you loss to many of the core classes abilities. but if done just right they can be devastating, the GM nearly killed half the party with one. the later abilities of the kensi look like they would work well with a dervish dancer if you make it to the later levels. losing greater spell access is something that doesn't appeal to me. I love pulling from the wizard spell list, the magus just doesn't seem to get as many touch spells as I think they need.
the bladebound is my favorite archetype but you are trapped with that weapon. but since you want to go the dervish dancer route pick a scimitar and you will be set. now with the history of the blade the GM can put you in a hard place if they want the extra work. there is great RP options with that archtype. if the GM wants to do something with that I would pick the bladebound every time


Thanks for the suggestions! I'm definitely leaning away from Kensai now (if only because I don't want to suck for the first 8-10 sessions of ever playing pathfinder).

Matt2VK wrote:
There's a very good magus guide link in the stick "guide to the guides" in this Advice forum. Give it a quick read.

I read "Walter's Guide to the Magus", and thought it was fantastic (and one of the main reasons I'm choosing Magus overall). Unfortunately, he doesn't go into a ton of detail about the different archetypes.

Deaths Adorable Apprentice wrote:
losing greater spell access is something that doesn't appeal to me. I love pulling from the wizard spell list, the magus just doesn't seem to get as many touch spells as I think they need.

For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure our GM isn't going to require us to stick to specific spell lists, so losing that ability as a Kensai doesn't actually change anything


Contrary to popular belief... the Kensai is actually quite devastating... even earlier on. Their "diminished spellcasting" is actually deceptive because (unlike normal magi) they tend to pump up their int ALOT (since it also cranks up their AC).

If you want a guide to the Kensai:

Kensai

The kensai is also AWESOME if you are going for more a super baddass swordsman feel (combine the spell Bladed Dash or Greater Bladed dash with spell combat and things get awesome!)

If you are still leaning for the Hexcrafter:

hexcrafter

The thing you have to remember about the Kensai is that he is actually more like a fighter than the Base Magus or the Hexcrafter. Additionally, very few people can outcrit a Kensai (between having access to more fighter feats earlier and that HUGE bonus to crit confirmations...)

The Hexcrafter does have a certain advantage when it comes to endurance though. The ability to use at will hexes is powerful... Oh... and teh Defiler build in the guide will make your GM hate you... just letting you know.


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If you combine bladebound and kensai you can dump almost all your wealth into stat boosting items and pearls of power which make up for what you traded away and then some. In a low magic or low wealth setting you can give no craps cause you will have a great weapon and no need for armor. You get awesome defensive spells like shield and mage armor as well as blur and mirror image so the low "always on" AC is a little misleading.

The one thing I will say against bladebound is that it can't gain spell storing which isn't that big but if you absolutely, positively have to explode it in one hit a keen spell storing intensified shocking grasp delivered with you other intensified shocking grasp on a crit is my favorite way to go. (41D6 + stat modifier at level 10)


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Torbyne wrote:

If you combine bladebound and kensai you can dump almost all your wealth into stat boosting items and pearls of power which make up for what you traded away and then some. In a low magic or low wealth setting you can give no craps cause you will have a great weapon and no need for armor. You get awesome defensive spells like shield and mage armor as well as blur and mirror image so the low "always on" AC is a little misleading.

The one thing I will say against bladebound is that it can't gain spell storing which isn't that big but if you absolutely, positively have to explode it in one hit a keen spell storing intensified shocking grasp delivered with you other intensified shocking grasp on a crit is my favorite way to go. (41D6 + stat modifier at level 10)

Funny thing actually...

The kensai will actually have MORE AC than his normal counterparts...

Since he does not experience Max Dex Limits, his Dex will be pumped up pretty high... Additionally, by pumping up his INT his AC will actually get pretty high. It is kind of like the Monk.

On top of that, his AC is all touch AC, which is HUGE (screw you casters and gunslingers)


Thanks everyone! So I guess one issue I have is that I feel that even if I can include my Dex and Int into AC (and I talked about this previously with Torbyne), given a 15 point build my Int and Dex won't be fantastic (17/17 or 16/18), so that gives me an AC of 18 once I reach level 8. Is that sufficient for the mid game?

I definitely understand that you can purchase stat boosting items and pearls of power to offset some of these, but at what point in the game do they start become economically feasible? (Again, I've never played an RPG before, so I have no idea how fast wealth accumulates - I just now I start out with very little). Again, it's short-sighted, but I'm mostly worried about not being completely worthless in the first 3-5 levels.

And in regards to casting defensive spells (like sheild and mage armor), won't that severely limit my ability to cast things like a shocking grasp given my diminished spell casting.

K177Y C47 wrote:
Their "diminished spellcasting" is actually deceptive because (unlike normal magi) they tend to pump up their int ALOT (since it also cranks up their AC).

Even with the idea of pumping up my Int to get extra spell slots it doesn't look like that occurs significantly (i.e. more than 1) until Int of 20 (which will be at least 8 levels away, if not more)


You burn one spell on defense per fight at early levels, you can trait your way into brand as a cantrip or just use Mark for unlimited spell combat. Everything else you can dedicate to nova spells, big damage single casting things like shocking grasp, or pseudo pounces like force hook charge or bladed dash. A level one pearl of power, which is where your bread and butter spells are at is only 1000 gold which will be small change shortly. If crafting is allowed than they are 500 gold each and you should have a few on hand early on. Check out the wealth by level table on the PRD for a guideline on what to expect. You also have that wonderful arcane pool to draw on for boosts. I haven't heard of any magus lacking for offense before.


part of the fun with classes like this is planning for later levels and figuring out how to survive lower and higher levels. remember everyone else will at the lower levels with you. its only my preference to avoid the kensi but that archetype could work wonderfully with a dervish dancer build. mostly remember to do what you will think you will enjoy the most.


As far as AC goes, 18 is low at level 8. But mage armor last eight hours by that point and you have all the pearls of power you could want. Shield bumps that up another four points if you want to spell combat to bring it up. There is 26 AC. You can also rock a ring of protection and amulet of natural armor for a few more points at that level. Plus you can drop mirror image which gives you a miss chance and that is better than AC in my opinion.


I believe you need to use a magus arcana to get mage armor as I think it's not on the magus spell list.

If you do pick up a level of Devish Dancer, you can grab yourself some Darkleaf Leather armor. It's +2 AC, 0% spell failure chance, and has a very high DEX modifier.


There are also silken ceremonial armor and armored kilts which are 0 check penalty and no spell failure. Only 1 AC but cheap to enchant and stacks with dex, int and shield spells.


Hexcrafter every time. That's HEXcrafter!

You get hexes! Awesome.

I'm playing one now with the 2 level dip in white haired witch and it rocks, debuffing the s#/t out of everything with 15ft reach, grab and constrict - damage output is very good and whatever you hit is going to be having a really, really bad day.


Go Strength, dex is a trap imo.
You want power attack.


You do know archetypes are optional, right? For a new player, I'd stick to the basic magus class, as you'll end up being just a bit more versatile, with less quirky rules to deal with.


Torbyne wrote:


The one thing I will say against bladebound is that it can't gain spell storing which isn't that big but if you absolutely, positively have to explode it in one hit a keen spell storing intensified shocking grasp delivered with you other intensified shocking grasp on a crit is my favorite way to go. (41D6 + stat modifier at level 10)

You don't get the crit multiplier on a spell cast from a spell storing weapon.


stuart haffenden wrote:

Go Strength, dex is a trap imo.

You want power attack.

Piranha Strike and the agile weapon property say hi. :)


Ashram wrote:


Piranha Strike and the agile weapon property say hi. :)

Which limits you to using a light weapon.


Robert Young wrote:
Ashram wrote:


Piranha Strike and the agile weapon property say hi. :)
Which limits you to using a light weapon.

If you're a kensai, there are plenty of crit-fisher light weapons.


Robert Young wrote:
Torbyne wrote:


The one thing I will say against bladebound is that it can't gain spell storing which isn't that big but if you absolutely, positively have to explode it in one hit a keen spell storing intensified shocking grasp delivered with you other intensified shocking grasp on a crit is my favorite way to go. (41D6 + stat modifier at level 10)
You don't get the crit multiplier on a spell cast from a spell storing weapon.

What, when did they nerf that one? I've never seen any text to prevent it :/

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
Robert Young wrote:
Torbyne wrote:


The one thing I will say against bladebound is that it can't gain spell storing which isn't that big but if you absolutely, positively have to explode it in one hit a keen spell storing intensified shocking grasp delivered with you other intensified shocking grasp on a crit is my favorite way to go. (41D6 + stat modifier at level 10)
You don't get the crit multiplier on a spell cast from a spell storing weapon.
What, when did they nerf that one? I've never seen any text to prevent it :/

As said always the burden is to find text that SUPPORTS it. Spells that crit only have a 2x multipliers, that last is established by text. The only thing a weapon gives you. (and it's a mighty important gift) is the extension of the crit range beyond just 20.


Oh, I think I see what your saying. But the idea isn't using the multiplier from a weapon, it's discharge Spell Storing as a free action plus Spell Strike on the same hit, delivering two intensified shocking grasps at once. It takes two spell slots and an extra action but pearls of power and charge the Spell Storing at the start of the day or after a fight and your good to go.


The spell storing spell doesn't crit because it doesn't require its own attack roll, it hits automatically, therefore it cannot roll a crit. It is triggered after something else has occurred, and is its own free action without an attack roll.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My first PF character was a bladebound kensai and I loved it. We had a 20 point buy and I was a tiefling so I had a bit more DEX and INT then you will, but when you don't spend money on a weapon you have quite a bit of extra cash. The first couple of levels are a bit rough, but even a 16 DEX with silk ceremonial armor gives you a 15 AC, not great but usually good enough to survive first level. By third when you are dervish dancing with your black blade things are pretty great.

I had a huge AC by the end of the game, thanks to stat bump items and other misc. AC boosts.

Dark Archive

Robert Young wrote:
The spell storing spell doesn't crit because it doesn't require its own attack roll, it hits automatically, therefore it cannot roll a crit. It is triggered after something else has occurred, and is its own free action without an attack roll.

Incorrect. If the weapon crits the effect from spellstoring crits as well. This has been discussed repeatedly.


Matt2VK wrote:

I believe you need to use a magus arcana to get mage armor as I think it's not on the magus spell list.

If you do pick up a level of Devish Dancer, you can grab yourself some Darkleaf Leather armor. It's +2 AC, 0% spell failure chance, and has a very high DEX modifier.

no..read the darkleaf material again, the minimum spell failure is 5%

the best armor is a Haramaki or the silken ceremonial armor. 1 AC, legitimate 0% spell failure chance, and there is no limit in the DEX.

And don't pay attention to Dervish haters, dumping Str is the best as a Kensai. the best thing of the kensai is that it makes the dervish build viable.


Is there a FAQ somewhere for the Spell Storing? Either way it was ruled, i am just curious now.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Incorrect. If the weapon crits the effect from spellstoring crits as well. This has been discussed repeatedly.

Yes, this has been discussed in multiple threads and the spell storing spell NOT critting is the general consensus within these threads. Perhaps you have found something different or more persuasive? I'm more than willing to listen/investigate.


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I feel we are on the verge of derailing this thread. While i would like to continue the conversation, perhaps someone could link the last great debate on spell storing and we could just necro that?

Dark Archive

Zilfrel Findadur wrote:
Matt2VK wrote:

I believe you need to use a magus arcana to get mage armor as I think it's not on the magus spell list.

If you do pick up a level of Devish Dancer, you can grab yourself some Darkleaf Leather armor. It's +2 AC, 0% spell failure chance, and has a very high DEX modifier.

no..read the darkleaf material again, the minimum spell failure is 5%

the best armor is a Haramaki or the silken ceremonial armor. 1 AC, legitimate 0% spell failure chance, and there is no limit in the DEX.

And don't pay attention to Dervish haters, dumping Str is the best as a Kensai. the best thing of the kensai is that it makes the dervish build viable.

any build where the strongest part of the class can be defeated by a simple darkness or invisibility spell is not something I consider very good. Heck a simple bluff check removes almost all of the Kensai's defensive ability.

To OP, anything that removes the Dex bonus also removes the int bonus from AC and with the lack of actual armor the Kensai becomes as hard to hit as any other mage. Throw on that a Disarm combat maneuver and the kensai loses all of it's fighter feats as well. And since the Kensai tanked his Strength he is extremely vulnerable to all combat maneuvers.
All of this can be taken from him in 1 round by any halfway decent martial build and almost every caster build.

But it's a game, play what you want.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Sczarni

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Consider 2 levels of shadowdancer (gives you uncanny dodge)

Dark Archive

Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.


Thanks everyone! After all this, I think I'm leaning towards going the non-Kensai Bladebound route, mostly because I think the benefits of the Kensai are probably beyond my level of playing right now

For those who are Kensai fans, what do you think are the main advantages? As someone who's never played before, a lot of these terms that are thrown out are a little over my head, so ideally the simpler the answer the better.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Dark Archive

Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it.

Oh and several of the published material out there has opponents using Feint as their written tactic, it's not that rare.

Scarab Sages

Torbyne wrote:
As far as AC goes, 18 is low at level 8. But mage armor last eight hours by that point and you have all the pearls of power you could want. Shield bumps that up another four points if you want to spell combat to bring it up. There is 26 AC. You can also rock a ring of protection and amulet of natural armor for a few more points at that level. Plus you can drop mirror image which gives you a miss chance and that is better than AC in my opinion.

At level 8, my bladebound kensai has a 28 with Mage as my only active buff. As soon as things get dicey, that goes to 32 with Shield. I could have gone higher, but I enjoy having a decent charisma and social skills.

By 9th level, my AC will go to 30 with just Mage Armor.

Scarab Sages

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also...

It takes a two feat investment in Feint, plush the skill points invested. Not something I have ever encountered in a PFS scenario. It may exist, but would be exceedingly rare. Shadows and Greater Shadows, with their incorporeal touch attacks are far more common.

PFS GM's do not have the ability to modify encounters to block a specific player tactic. No loading scenarios with Greater Feint to kill the kensai. No loading the scenario with Greater Shadows to kill characters boosting their AC with normal armor.

*At higher levels, a bladebound magus can teleport his weapon to his hand for free.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also...

You might as well stop hating on the Kensai, for real. your argument has been proven invalid a lot of times, if you're a GM we can already see you're the metagaming type.

*add blur and mirror image to that 30 AC @arthanos. boom! yeah right glass cannon. my mirror images saved the group just by taking blows millions of times.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Zilfrel Findadur wrote:
Matt2VK wrote:

I believe you need to use a magus arcana to get mage armor as I think it's not on the magus spell list.

If you do pick up a level of Devish Dancer, you can grab yourself some Darkleaf Leather armor. It's +2 AC, 0% spell failure chance, and has a very high DEX modifier.

no..read the darkleaf material again, the minimum spell failure is 5%

the best armor is a Haramaki or the silken ceremonial armor. 1 AC, legitimate 0% spell failure chance, and there is no limit in the DEX.

And don't pay attention to Dervish haters, dumping Str is the best as a Kensai. the best thing of the kensai is that it makes the dervish build viable.

any build where the strongest part of the class can be defeated by a simple darkness or invisibility spell is not something I consider very good. Heck a simple bluff check removes almost all of the Kensai's defensive ability.

So what you're saying is that every Kensai should take Blind Fight (keeps you from losing Dex bonus to AC against opponents you can't see) and put skill points in Sense Motive (to oppose Feint checks)? Easy enough.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.


LazarX wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.

True, as with all the magical buffs providing other defenses, which are mitigating factor's of the Kensai's weaknesses. Mathwei is merely pointing out a potential and widely available option that any Kensai worth his salt, will have to account for in a battle situation. You can argue that GMs don't do it, or that the layered defenses of blur and mirror image render that tactic obsolete, but then you are saying, "I'm going to spend significant resources covering up a basic weakness of my class that EVERYONE can exploit."

Furthermore I take offense to the argument that the diminished spellcasting is not a significant drawback. All Magi pump Int to a great degree so unless you are a base race that starts with +4 or more int (not one to my knowledge that most gms would approve) you are probably within two points of any other magus build in what amounts to a large loss in spell casting "legs" so to speak. Furthermore you are going to need at minimum dex and con if you go the dervish route which is icky because you know not having your low level feats sucks, but if you don't go that route you've just added STR to the list of stats you need. If the archetype didn't have diminished spellcasting, I'd say the Kensai was a good, just different feeling magus, with it, I think its weaker than the base class.

Regards,
DRS

P.S. Responding to the whole thread not just the portion 'replied' to.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DRS3 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also Feints aren't a build, it's a standard action that requires no investment to use, any combatant can do it at will. The feats and skill points are there simply to make it more efficient.
ANY opponent that a Kensai meets who thinks about it for 2 seconds can destroy that Kensai with no problem if they take these actions, the only difference is the one who doesn't invest in this feat needs 2 rounds to do it instead of one. That's it..

The Feint can be countered by anyone trained in Sense Motive. Further more for a serious combat the Kensai is probably whipping up spells like Mirror Image and/or Displacement as part of his defense.

Plus if the character isn't built for feinting, he's spending his standard action to bluff and he's hoping he'll survive into the next round where he can actually make use of that vulnerability, in the meantime doing NO damage at all. If he repeats this process, he'll be spending half his rounds doing no damage while the kensai destroys him.

True, as with all the magical buffs providing other defenses, which are mitigating factor's of the Kensai's weaknesses. Mathwei is merely pointing out a potential and widely available option that any Kensai worth his salt, will have to account for in a battle situation. You can argue that GMs don't do it, or that the layered defenses of blur and mirror image render that tactic obsolete, but then you are saying, "I'm going to spend significant resources covering up a basic weakness of my class that EVERYONE can exploit."

Furthermore I take offense to the arguement that the diminished spellcasting is not a significant drawback. All Magi pump Int to a great degree so unless you are a base race that starts with +4 or more int (not one to my knowledge that most gms would approve) you are probably within two points of any other magus build in what...

It's definitely a drawback, that's why my PFS Bladebound magus isn't a Bladebound Kensai, I didn't want to take that much magic away from her. It's not just the diminished spell slots, it's the sacrifice of spell recall as well. It's an acceptable loss if you want to emphasize the martial side that much more.


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Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The Kensai might have poor strength, but he is adding his int to CMD (as a dodge bonus) so he isn't all that vulnerable to disarm.

Having the ability to see in the dark and see invisible are good plans for a Kensai though (and I'd argue that while Kensai might be slightly more screwed when they can't see, pretty much any character is screwed enough by not being able to see that the difference is neglible).

Which is why we said to use Bluff. A simple bluff (feint) strips the Kensai of his dex & his Int dropping his CMD against a disarm to 10+bab+str and as a 3/4 bab class with the tanked Strength most Kensai have it's pretty much an automatic disarm (or trip, or bullrush or literally any combat maneuver you want). With every realistic combat maneuver build taking improved feint it's always a sad day for Kensai's.

For a 2 feat investment (improved feint & Greater Feint) a Kensai is effectively a sitting duck for the entire opposing team.

No, with all the glaring weaknesses the Kensai archetype has it's at best a glass cannon with a huge crack in it and if you yell boo at it it shatters.

This argument only makes any sense assuming PvP or something. I've been playing 3.x since the day it launched, across dozens of campaigns, and I've never been feinted once. Basically the DM has to build a Kensai killing NPC for any of this to make any sense.

Which entry in which Bestiary or Codex has these two feats? Even if there are any it's an incredibly niche case. You can put forward any character and we could hash out the perfect NPC to kill it, but that's never going to happen in actual play. Realistically there are a lot of builds that will simply OHKO any magus (or any character) if he loses initiative. But again, never going to happen in actual play.

Just because your GM doesn't use the options that the game has put out there doesn't make the weakness any less glaring.

Also...

I swear.... every time I see your comments they are always rude and honestly, really dumb....

NEVER have I seen Feint being used by a GM... and Darkvision is fairly standard fare....


Using black blade on a swordcane pistol makes a finessable enchantable item with an opening for a second item to enchant.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dustyboy wrote:
Using black blade on a swordcane pistol makes a finessable enchantable item with an opening for a second item to enchant.

That's really pushing it, especially with a DM like me who does not allow any enchantment of blackblades.


LazarX wrote:
Dustyboy wrote:
Using black blade on a swordcane pistol makes a finessable enchantable item with an opening for a second item to enchant.
That's really pushing it, especially with a DM like me who does not allow any enchantment of blackblades.

Think of it as the pistol was attached later to the swordcane

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
This Side wrote:


For those who are Kensai fans, what do you think are the main advantages? As someone who's never played before, a lot of these terms that are thrown out are a little over my head, so ideally the simpler the answer the better.

It's not a matter of "advantage" as I don't think there is a meaningful one. It's a matter of style. To go Kensai means you're putting more of your eggs into your martial skills basket. You trade away magic for impressive sword tricks.

It's a choice of what you want more... the sword and speed tricks, or the magic you trade away to get them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dustyboy wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Dustyboy wrote:
Using black blade on a swordcane pistol makes a finessable enchantable item with an opening for a second item to enchant.
That's really pushing it, especially with a DM like me who does not allow any enchantment of blackblades.
Think of it as the pistol was attached later to the swordcane

It's pushing it... intelligent weapons generally aren't that thrilled about being "mutilated" in such ways.

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