Magus with a Dip (PFS)


Advice


So I have a level 1 Magus and quickly leveling him up. I like the Magus abilities, but I feel like the damage is low and the skills are hard to come by. I want to take him to level 3 as a Magus to get an Magus Arcana, but after that I am considering a 'dip' in to another level. What would you recommend a 'dip' into to boost damage & skills but still be 'magusy'?

Strength 10
Dexterity 18
Constitution 12
Intelligence 16
Wisdom 10
Charisma 10

Feat Progression
Lvl 1 Weapon Finesse
Lvl 3 Dervish Dancing


why do you feel his damage is low? but lets see, urban barbarian can boost your dex but you loose spellcasting for it. mutagen can boost your dex, works with the high int too. Maybe go towards Kirin style, it'll let you add your int to your damage. I guess bard maybe, inspire courage will give a damage boost and they get lots of skills.

I'm not really seeing how you'll increase your damage from a dip. You'll loose out on the higher level spells that do more damage, or you'll lose out on BAB which will make it harder to hit.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Wait, you're playing an INT-based class and saying you don't have enough skills? You're playing a magus, and you're not satisfied with damage?

I suggest a little patience. Play through your sessions at 3rd level, enjoying that Dervish Dance you're planning. Also, consider the spell frostbite. At 3rd level, that lets three of your attacks deal an extra 1d6+3 damage, and it keeps scaling up with your level. With Dervish Dance, that means at 3rd you can deal 2d6+7 per hit, three times per spell slot. Then at 4th it's 2d6+8, four times per spell. And so forth.

As for skills, keep in mind that you'll be boosting INT, gaining some more skill points. Also, what are you doing with your FCBs? If you're putting them into HP, consider taking Toughness and then spending FCBs on extra skill points.

Oh, and by the way, what race are you? I'm looking at your stats and having trouble figuring out how that's a 20pt buy...


He's an Elf. is pre-race his stats were 10, 16, 14, 14, 10, 10 and the elf puts them to what you see.

But I agree that he has the damage potential in magus, just needs to see what he's using to attack with to give a better option.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Ah, got it, thanks.

Yeah, I was a little stunned to see "I'm not doing enough damage with my magus". My wife is playing a kitsune magus who uses a rapier (so no Dervish Dance) with 10 STR (just like the OP), and she's doing just fine. Is it raging barbarian greatsword damage? No. But not too far behind, honestly.

Seriously: frostbite. It has limits, but it's soooo goooood.


Sorry - yes Elf. With 9 HP I have not engaged in Melee yet, using ranged attacks so far and spells. I am also using a rapier until level 3 when I break out the scimitar. Using an arcane point, I am only dealing weapon 1d6 +1 damage. I usually have grease and shocking grasp prepared, so that is a total possible of 1d6 +1 and 1d6 (I can only do that 1 time a day) with spell combat.

I have 5 skills + I put my FCB into a skill. I had to use one skill point on Perform (Dance) and I will have to do that again for DD

Scarab Sages

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"I have not engaged in Melee yet, using ranged attacks so far and spells"

You've got a melee-based character whose spells enhance his damage. You are instead using him as a really crappy mage. That's not the class's fault.


So yes, levels 1 and 2 will be rough for you damage wise, ranged or melee, but by the time you're thinking of multiclassing you'll be fine on the damage front. is there a cantrip you can use with spell combat?
also, you're fine to be in melee, you're not going to die in one hit and your ac with your dex and armor should be better then a fighters, so you'll be hit less often.

And I feel 5 skills isn't that bad, what skills are you needing? two knowlege skills, 2 dex skills and 1 left over. It's not like you have charisma or wisdom to help with your other skills, and you'd probably be better of letting someone else handle those skills. I think 5 is enough and that you should take FCB as HP if you're worried it's low.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Magus with a dip?

"I know the boys are pretty, but he's such an airhead!!"


Duiker wrote:


You've got a melee-based character whose spells enhance his damage. You are instead using him as a really crappy mage. That's not the class's fault.

So you would have recommend that I engage the half-orc with the Falchion using one shot of Shocking grasp at a 50% fail rate (cast defensively) and only a +2 to hit plus a +2 to hit with my rapier for a min damage of 3 max damage of 13? (most likely 5-6 hps)?


TheBobJones wrote:
Duiker wrote:


You've got a melee-based character whose spells enhance his damage. You are instead using him as a really crappy mage. That's not the class's fault.

So you would have recommend that I engage the half-orc with the Falchion using one shot of Shocking grasp at a 50% fail rate (cast defensively) and only a +2 to hit plus a +2 to hit with my rapier for a min damage of 3 max damage of 13? (most likely 5-6 hps)?

What level are you currently? Shocking grasp does 1d6/lvl (max 5d6). Elves also get +2 bonus to casting defensively. You can also use arcane mark (0-level spell) along with spell combat to effectively give you 2 attacks/round. Are you vanilla magus or pick up an archetype? What traits do you have?

Scarab Sages

TheBobJones wrote:
Duiker wrote:


You've got a melee-based character whose spells enhance his damage. You are instead using him as a really crappy mage. That's not the class's fault.

So you would have recommend that I engage the half-orc with the Falchion using one shot of Shocking grasp at a 50% fail rate (cast defensively) and only a +2 to hit plus a +2 to hit with my rapier for a min damage of 3 max damage of 13? (most likely 5-6 hps)?

Yes, that's exactly what I would have done.

If possible, I would cast the spell and then 5-foot in so that I didn't have to cast defensively, but barring that, yes, cast defensively and try to hit him with both.

A magus at range is just a low-powered wizard, which is in and of itself very weak at first level. Further, you have built around the type of magus that doesn't come into its own with dex-to-damage and such until several levels later. So you're going to have to live with being less powerful than martial characters until then, with a limited ability to nova. Refusing to use that ability because you don't want to risk taking hits in melee and do less damage than martials is going to render you completely ineffective in combat, which is what you are discovering.


what he's saying is your stats aren't good right now for combat. you don't have str and so you don't have damage. and you're two-weapon fighting, so you don't have accuracy. go ahead and do ranged for now if you want. You probably wont feel effective till you get into melee with dex to damage and can land your attacks.

also you can cast and then move into position and use it next round, since you can hold the charge of the spell.


KnotAguru wrote:


What level are you currently? Shocking grasp does 1d6/lvl (max 5d6). Elves also get +2 bonus to casting defensively. You can also use arcane mark (0-level spell) along with spell combat to effectively give you 2 attacks/round. Are you vanilla magus or pick up an archetype? What traits do you have?

1st level so I do 1d6

Yes I have the elven racial trait Arcane focus. To cast defensively:
1st level spell DC is 15+ 2 (caster level x2)=17
My concentration bonus is +2 (elven trait) +1 caster level +4 int bonus = +7 so it is a 50% fail rate.
How does Arcane Mark give me an extra attack?
From PRD:
Spoiler:

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

See invisibility, true seeing, a gem of seeing, or a robe of eyes likewise allows the user to see an invisible arcane mark. A read magic spell reveals the words, if any. The mark cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed by the caster or by an erase spell.

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, the effect gradually fades in about a month.

Arcane mark must be cast on an object prior to casting instant summons on the same object (see that spell description for details).

Vanilla
Anatomist
Magical Lineage Shocking Grasp


once you're level 2 and can use spellstrike you can use arcane mark and make a weapon attack for it. Thus getting you the 2 attacks a round.

I feel the advice you're going to get the most once they realize you're a lv1 dex magus is to wait a few levels and you'll be fine.


Chess Pwn wrote:

once you're level 2 and can use spellstrike you can use arcane mark and make a weapon attack for it. Thus getting you the 2 attacks a round.

I feel the advice you're going to get the most once they realize you're a lv1 dex magus is to wait a few levels and you'll be fine.

This ^^^

As you level, you'll be really glad you didn't dilute your caster levels. Be patient and the damage will come.


I'm making a swashbuckler/magus right now in PFS.

Levels are going to be
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler
Magus
Magus
Swashbuckler
Magus
Swashbuckler
Magus
Magus
Magus
Magus

I like the way it's coming together so far, and even though he ends up with more Magus then Swashbuckler levels he will be a 'swashbuckler' first.


Since you are still first level, you could opt to rebuild your character as a bard (dawnflower dervish) at first level, then resume magus for the rest of the character life. That "dip" gives you inspire courage +2 hit/damage and the dervish dance feat at first level. You would probably want to up your charisma to 12 and lower your wisdom or strength to 8.


Against the Half-Orc with a falchion I'd be spamming the hell out of Daze.

The first few levels are the roughest for a Magus. A lot of the trick to getting effective use out of the Magus is figuring out which spells work for you.

For the first two levels or so, do not use Shocking Grasp as your first level spell of choice. Look at your spell list. Look at Color Spray. Realize that the most threatening enemies to you are the ones with bad Will saves. Smile and profit.

Before the Magus gets the necessary tricks to start dishing out the good damage, you do your best work as a combat debuffer. There are three real standout cantrips on the Magus list, in my mind. Daze is one of my favorite cantrips; against the kind of early single opponents that'll be a pain to deal with because of their higher AC, because even if you only land half your Dazes you can be crippling. You should be nailing more than half easily.

Against generic, low-AC enemies, Arcane Mark is a pseudo Flurry of Blows. I honestly feel like it's a bit overrated, but it certainly has its uses.

Often I've found that if they have higher AC and you don't think you can break their Will saves though, Acid Orb is a good go-to. Quick and easy, 1d3 to touch. Can't argue with that.

Concentration checks are easy: don't make them. Do the 5' dance. If they're already point-blank to you, you declare spell combat, attack, then step back 5' and cast (though this doesn't work with Arcane Mark; one of the reasons I dislike it in practice). If they're 5' away, declare spell combat, cast, then step in. If they're more than that, don't walk into the full-attack. Step up to 10', drop a cantrip.

Cantrips can serve you fine for solo opponents. Groups are what threaten the Magus... and they're wonderfully solved by Color Spray.

The other thing of note is that you need to realize that any judgements right now are kind of useless on the basis of your build. With 10 strength, until you get your Dex-to-Damage your output is going to suck. Deciding that the Magus needs a dip to bring up your damage output when it's going to naturally occur at 3rd level.

Grand Lodge

Uhh.

Dawnflower dervish 1/ magus X

You get skills, dervish dancer free, access to bard spells without UMD, and +2 to hit and damage.

That frees up 2 feats for Arcane Strike and something else.

Also take note that both arcane strike and b ardic performance works on weapon spells. It makes rays more deadly as ranged attacks.

Grand Lodge

Also are you cheesing on arcane mark for spellstriking? It is a touch spell.


Arcane Strike is kind of a miserable choice for a Magus. They have way too much to do with their Swift Actions.


I suppose its too late to change now but a stat array of Str 12, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 7 would have helped by giving +1 to damage at low levels, increased carrying capacity and +1 to will and perception.


He can change his character any way he likes until he advances it to 2nd level.


I agree with the posts that state losing levels of Magus isn't likely to be worth it for any fringe benefits. As soon as you have Dervish Dance you're looking at 1d6+1+6, or over double what you did before it.

If you must dip, a dip into Swashbuckler taking Slashing Grace has an advantage over Dawnflower in that its a +1BAB level instead of a 0 one. A single level of Bard gets you a tiny amount of performance, and you waste a move action starting it. Better to have more BAB.


Honestly, thank you everyone for the advice, it has given me lots to ponder. I have one more scenario before I settle in for the long haul.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how Arcane Mark works. How does that give me an extra attack?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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TheBobJones wrote:
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how Arcane Mark works. How does that give me an extra attack?

It's a touch spell. The rules for touch spells say that on the turn you cast it, you can deliver it with a touch attack as a free action. Spellstrike (once you get it) says that any time you're able to deliver a touch spell with a touch attack, you can deliver it through a sword attack instead.

So once you have Spellstrike, any time you cast a touch spell you can deliver that spell with your sword.

Now, combine that with Spell Combat, where you get your normal attack plus a spell. Have that spell be a touch spell, and the Core Rulebook says you get to make a touch attack, and Spellstrike replaces it with a sword attack.

So any time you use Spell Combat to attack and cast a touch spell, the touch spell can be channeled through your weapon for another attack. That's not actually unique to arcane mark; you can do this any time you use a touch spell with Spell Combat/Spellstrike. The only special thing about arcane mark is that it's a cantrip, so you're not losing resources when you do it.


Got it. So I can't use it until level 2 though.

Dark Archive

Are you set on being a Dex magus? If it were me, I'd focus on Strength instead. You'll be more fragile at low levels, but you'll free up the two feat slots you're wasting on making your Dex pretend to be Strength, so you can take Power Attack and significantly up your damage. Magus is my favourite class. I'm playing two of them in home games right now, and have three in PFS. I always have more fun with the Str-based ones. The best armour class is a dead monster.

Dark Archive

Oh, and eventually the dip you're going to want for a magus is crossblooded draconic/orc sorcerer, for +2 damage per dice to your shocking grasps (and a few extra 1st level buff spells per day if you can get your Charisma to 11 or higher with an ioun stone or something... shield perhaps?). Actually, on that note, don't forget that as a Str magus, you can always open combat by doing Spell Combat while casting shield on yourself. Having high Strength will mean you'll be doing plenty of damage without a spell, and shield makes up for the lost Dex to your AC except against touch attacks.


The problem with the Shield strategy (though I use the spell, it's very useful in the right situations) is that that means you're burning a first-level spell for every combat. Lots of little encounters will be a big problem. But maybe that's just my GM.

My going theory on the Magus is that you go Dex-based when you have to. When you have a relatively low point buy, when you're starting from low level (as those first levels will be /really/ rough otherwise), and arguably whenever you're a Kensai.

For more generous point-buys (or random rolls when you get good numbers), or for when you're starting at higher levels, Strength based comes out superior in my mind. You get to conserve precious precious feat slots.

The Sorc dip can be helpful, but it really depends on how dedicated you are to Shocking Grasp. The bog-standard Magus only needs one trait, one feat, and of course their spell slots to effectively use Shocking Grasp, and it's easily going to be competitive in damage with the other martial characters. If you really want to be helpful, then yeah you can do the dip... but be mindful of what the dip costs you. No progression on BAB, saves, spells (save getting some cantrips, which aren't going to be anywhere near the spells a level of Magus grants). If you really want to focus on Shocking Grasp though, it works. But you're giving a lot up for some more damage.


The other touch cantrip you can use for spellstrike is Light, which is useful in its own right.

I like the visual of "painting the target", too.


Light specifies its target as an object touched. Kind of a grey area there; I could see a GM allowing a Light-Sunder combo but not a Light-Attack.

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