How does Precise Strike interact with Spell Combat?


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

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Question: How does Precise Strike interact with Spell Combat?

With the ACG, the magus class was given an an arcana that allows magi to pick up swashbuckler deeds. The first Deed that jumps out is one that requires the character to use a weapon in one hand while the other hand is empty (or holding a buckler, but we are discussing magi), the same restriction spell combat imposes.

Precise Strike wrote:
At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, a swashbuckler gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon (though not natural weapon attacks), adding her swashbuckler level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler. She can even use this ability with thrown light or one-handed piercing melee weapons, so long as the target is within 30 feet of her. Any creature that is immune to sneak attacks is immune to the additional damage granted by precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from the additional damage of a precise strike. This additional damage is precision damage, and isn't multiplied on a critical hit. As a swift action, a swashbuckler can spend 1 panache point to double her precise strike's damage bonus on the next attack. This benefit must be used before the end of her turn, or it is lost. This deed's cost cannot be reduced by any ability or effect that reduces the amount of panache points a deed costs (such as the Signature Deed feat).
Spell Combat wrote:
At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

Can a magus use both Precise Strike and Spell Combat in the same round?


Probably doesn't work based on this from spell combat

PRD wrote:


...but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast...

And precise strike requiring the other hand be free, which probably also means even if you cast a non-attack spell as part of spell combat then the hand is not really free during your full attack.

But not 100% clear.


On that note, I didn't see anything giving the effective swashbuckler level for the deeds picked through the arcana.


No, because the spell used by the off hand is considered a weapon used from that hand just like if you were two weapon fighting. It even says do in the description of spell combat.

Scarab Sages

Captain Netz wrote:
On that note, I didn't see anything giving the effective swashbuckler level for the deeds picked through the arcana.

I posted a separate question for this. Even if not usable in conjunction with Spell Combat, a higher level magus may choose to use Precise Strike instead of spamming Arcane Mark.

In response to the above posters, the relevant sentence is:

Quote:
To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand

There is no prohibition against holding a weapon in the off-hand, only attacking with the off-hand.

If I am casting, say Haste, I am not attacking with my spell in any capacity. If I cast Shocking Grasp and spellstrike, the attack is made using the weapon in my primary hand.

In neither case am I making an attack roll with my off-hand. The prohibition would come into effect if I attempted to make a touch attack with my off-hand after casting Shocking Grasp.

Grand Lodge

Spell combat wrote:
This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast

and

Precise strike wrote:
To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler

So IMOH since the wording of precise strike is rather clear Can not attack with off hand weapon. It would stack and work

1 st case: Spell combat and a buff like spell: ie Shield / bull Str etc...

You are not attacking with you're off hand weapon

(=> so it should stack)

2nd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostbite / Shocking grasp etc...

And use your off hand to make a touch attack

while you are attacking with off hand a spell isn't considered a weapon (even if you are considered armed because of the touch spell)

(=> so it should stack)

3 rd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostibe / Shocking grasp etc... Using spellstrike to deliver the spell
you are using the weapon in your main hand to deliver the spell casted. Therefore not attacking with a weapon in your off hand

(=> so it should stack)


I'd say you're alright with this combo so long as you're not making a direct attack spell. So casting Haste + Precise Strike should be OK while casting Hold Person, a Ray, etc. + Precise Strike wouldn't be. However, if the Precise Strike's use of the phrase "in your other hand" is referring to the abstraction of your "off-hand", it would include not only non-hand-associated weapons (ie. Boot Blade) but also the Magus's spell during Spell Combat which takes the place of an off-hand attack. In that case, even a Touch spell, despite being delivered with the main-hand weapon, is still an attack being made (cast) with the "other hand". We probably need a better criteria for parsing "in your other hand" because, it occurs to me, we have some contradiction in phrasing and explanation by the Devs; "in your hand" sometimes refers to the abstract attack economy which includes not only actual hands but also attacks made with non-hand-associated weapons, but other times as with Spell Combat, the weapon "in your other hand" specifically means a hand-associated weapon and is meant to rule out use of non-hand weapons.

Scarab Sages

Stirring the pot:
What if I use magic to gain additional hands?

  • 1. Casting
  • 2. Attacking with weapon
  • 3. Buckler
  • 4. Unused

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Dot

Grand Lodge

how about my 3 different case of spell combat usage Kazaan ? the Swashbuckler specifically says: can not attack with a weapon in the other Hand


Artanthos wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Additional hands does nothing for you.


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Algar Lysandris wrote:
how about my 3 different case of spell combat usage Kazaan ? the Swashbuckler specifically says: can not attack with a weapon in the other Hand

If you parse that too keenly, you end up with a situation where a he can TWF with a Cestus or Spiked Gauntlet as his off-hand weapon because it isn't wielded "in" his hand (you wear such weapons "around" your hand). As I said, it boils down to how the mechanical term "in your hand" is meant to be parsed. On the one hand (no pun intended), it could refer specifically to a hand-associated weapon such as a dagger, cestus, etc. That would omit non-hand weapons such as Boot Blades and Boulder Helmets as well as Unarmed Strikes. This would also omit all spells other than Rays and other Weapon-like spells (ie. Flame Blade). On the other hand, if it's referring to the abstracted mechanical concept of making an off-hand attack, where the "weapon" used for the off-hand attack is replaced with a spell, that spell still logically serves as the "weapon" in your off-hand (the "in your other hand" they speak of). In that case, any spell, from a ray to a touch to an offensive non-attack-roll spell (fireball, hold person) to a non-attack spell (haste) would qualify as the virtual "weapon" "in your hand", as would any non-hand-associated weapons as, even though they aren't being wielded in a hand, they are being wielded in your off-hand as a mechanical rules element.

So...
1 st case: Spell combat and a buff like spell: ie Shield / bull Str etc...

If "in your hand" is your physical hand, it works.
If "in your hand" is your mechanical rules-element hand, no.

2nd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostbite / Shocking grasp etc...

And use your off hand to make a touch attack

while you are attacking with off hand a spell isn't considered a weapon (even if you are considered armed because of the touch spell)

Same as case 1

3 rd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostibe / Shocking grasp etc... Using spellstrike to deliver the spell
you are using the weapon in your main hand to deliver the spell casted. Therefore not attacking with a weapon in your off hand

Same as case 1

4th case: Spell Combat and Ray. Rays are considered weapons, mechanically speaking (you can take Weapon Focus Ray, for instance). So attacking with a Ray could be considered attacking with a weapon in your other hand.

No in either case

Grand Lodge

i defer to your expertise and Drats it would have been awesome :)

I think that the Flamboyant arcana that allows a magus to Opportune Parry and Riposte (Ex) and then the Evasive deed at level 11 are great ones to grab ...

Since precise strike is a no go...

---

Tks again for your input Kazaan :)


I wouldn't bury precise strike before we get a clarification.

Scarab Sages

Kazaan wrote:
On the one hand (no pun intended), it could refer specifically to a hand-associated weapon such as a dagger, cestus, etc. That would omit non-hand weapons such as Boot Blades and Boulder Helmets as well as Unarmed Strikes. This would also omit all spells other than Rays and other Weapon-like spells (ie. Flame Blade). On the other hand, if it's referring to the abstracted mechanical concept of making an off-hand attack, where the "weapon" used for the off-hand attack is replaced with a spell, that spell still logically serves as the "weapon" in your off-hand (the "in your other hand" they speak of). In that case, any spell, from a ray to a touch to an offensive non-attack-roll spell (fireball, hold person) to a non-attack spell (haste) would qualify as the virtual "weapon" "in your hand", as would any non-hand-associated weapons as, even though they aren't being wielded in a hand, they are being wielded in your off-hand as a mechanical rules element.

It should be noted. You can use precise strike while holding a weapon in your off hand, as long as you do not attack with it. This has nothing to do with spell combat, I can precise strike while holding a dagger in my off-hand.

Precise Strike wrote:
To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler.

If I use spell combat to cast Haste, is that an attack? The spell's classification as a weapon, or not, is not the limiting factor. (Haste is not an attack, it would not break invisibility.)


Again, it depends on how Spell Combat is intended to be parsed. It's supposed to be an adaptation of two-weapon fighting (which, inherently, involves attacking with two separate weapons) in which your "attack with an off-hand weapon" is replaced with "casting a spell". So if "cast a spell" = "attack with an off-hand weapon" for purposes of Spell Combat, then it doesn't really matter what kind of spell it is; attack spell or otherwise, the act of casting the spell virtually equates to attacking with an off-hand weapon. This is why you take TWF penalties regardless of whether you cast Haste, Scorching Ray, Fireball, Shocking Grasp, or whatever. Yes, you can make a Precise Strike while holding, but not attacking with, a dagger in your other hand. But you're not just "holding a magic spell in your other hand"; it's a bit more involved which breaks your focus and prevents you from striking precisely.

Scarab Sages

Kazaan wrote:
Again, it depends on how Spell Combat is intended to be parsed. It's supposed to be an adaptation of two-weapon fighting (which, inherently, involves attacking with two separate weapons) in which your "attack with an off-hand weapon" is replaced with "casting a spell". So if "cast a spell" = "attack with an off-hand weapon" for purposes of Spell Combat, then it doesn't really matter what kind of spell it is; attack spell or otherwise, the act of casting the spell virtually equates to attacking with an off-hand weapon. This is why you take TWF penalties regardless of whether you cast Haste, Scorching Ray, Fireball, Shocking Grasp, or whatever. Yes, you can make a Precise Strike while holding, but not attacking with, a dagger in your other hand. But you're not just "holding a magic spell in your other hand"; it's a bit more involved which breaks your focus and prevents you from striking precisely.

Which is why I created this thread.

That interpretation is not defined anywhere in the rules, and cannot be resolved by pointing at RAW. It is strictly up to DM interpretation, which WILL vary from table to table.


if you allow precise strike to be used in conjunction with spell combat, then you are asking for the "but if the spell isn't an attack spell, then i shouldn't take the -2 penalty when i cast a buff" argument to hold some water, which it currently does not.

if you have no choice but to take the penalty when casting a spell, regardless of the type of spell cast, then it is being used as an "Attack" for this purpose. this was clearly the intent of spell combat as it was written and as it has been argued and ruled upon by dev's in the past with regard to combining other things with it.

simply put: casting a spell is equivalent to making an attack, regardless of what type of spell you cast. therefore, you cannot combine precise strike with spell combat. and while i dont think that this combo is entirely overpowered, i do feel that allowing it to work would open up a can of worms with spell combat i'd rather not have to see.


Algar Lysandris wrote:
Spell combat wrote:
This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast

and

Precise strike wrote:
To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler

So IMOH since the wording of precise strike is rather clear Can not attack with off hand weapon. It would stack and work

1 st case: Spell combat and a buff like spell: ie Shield / bull Str etc...

You are not attacking with you're off hand weapon

(=> so it should stack)

2nd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostbite / Shocking grasp etc...

And use your off hand to make a touch attack

while you are attacking with off hand a spell isn't considered a weapon (even if you are considered armed because of the touch spell)

(=> so it should stack)

3 rd case: Spell combat and attack spell : ie Frostibe / Shocking grasp etc... Using spellstrike to deliver the spell
you are using the weapon in your main hand to deliver the spell casted. Therefore not attacking with a weapon in your off hand

(=> so it should stack)

Personally I believe that in case 2 it doesn't work. Case 1 should be expanded to include spells that don't have an attack roll associated with them such as obscuring mist (which would likely turn off precision damage anyway but that's another argument) in short the spell doesn't force a save or have a save as the only possible defense against it then precise strike works because the criteria have been met.

With spellstrike it works because the criteria have been met (only 1 weapon making the attacks).

It doesn't work with non spell striked touches because now you are attacking with two different 'weapons'.

At least thats my take on it.

Regards,
DRS


How about a dip into the Free Hand Fighter archetype with a magus? This is another build that raises the "free hand" question.

While I think it makes sense that the free hand used for magus abilities would actually be in use, there seems to be many instances where the magus might not need that hand and free it up for the other classes and abilities. Thus any restriction could be based on the situation at hand, pardon the pun.

Now if the use of the hand is to do the motions and grab the components, what happens when the spell is Verbal-only? (Perhaps further assisted with meta-magic and eschew materials.)


This is exactly why we need a Pathfinder 2.0 which completely re-writes the system from ground-up and addresses the inconsistency of language, conflation of terms, and follows a codified mechanical framework on which every single rules element is anchored.

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Has this gotten a straight answer yet?

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