Magus STR build 20pts with katana


Advice


Heres the backstory for the character. I could use some advice on statting her up at 1st level.

Kimita Asahina
Kimita hails from the Minkai Empire of Tian Xia. She was apprentice to Miyamoto Musashi, master of the Five Rings and Grand Master of the arcane martial arts. Her sensei lived in an abandoned monastery atop a remote mountain.
Years ago Sensei Miyamoto decided that it was time he passes on his secrets to another. The word was spread that the great master was seeking an apprentice. Prospective students from all across the Dragon Empires came. Many demanding to be his student, others brought gifts and bribes, only one brought humility and kindness, Kimita waited for 101 days. While waiting she helped the elderly in a nearby village harvest their crops, mending fences, thatching roofs, and tending to many other needs. All of the others left, yet only Kimita waited patiently making no demands, offering no bribes, and made no threats.
Master Miyamoto chose Kimita to be his one apprentice; she alone would receive all of his guidance and training. Kimita took to the lessons quickly, working hard to learn everything she could. She would learn the way of the sword in all its forms, water, air, fire, earth, and the void.
On her fourth year of study her master was attacked by several Oni under the control of an evil warlord. A great battle ensued, all four demons tore at the master, yet they could not seem to harm him. Miyamoto counter attacked, striking down three of the demons. The demon seeing that its doom was inevitable began to laugh. Kimita drew her katana and ran to her master’s side but it was too late. The foul denizen of the abyss cast one last spell that ripped a hole in the prime material plane. The rift flung Kimita’s master into the void and she was flung through the rift to be deposited in Absalom. Strangely her raven black hair was turned stark white when she was flung through the rift. Kimita now seeks a way to bring her master back from the void.


Thats a really nice backstory!

Do you have any preference on archetype? The "master on the mountain" kind of says kensai to me in terms of flavor, but they really work better with a dex rather than strength build. I'll go with a standard Magus.

Also, are you set on the Katana? They are nice weapons, but not really "worth it" from an optimization standpoint (1 feat for +1 avg damage).

Here's one build which is flexible and standard:

Human
Str: 15 + 2
Dex: 12
Con: 14
Int: 14
Wis: 10
Cha: 10

Traits: Magical Lineage Shocking Grasp
Skill Trait of choice

Feats:
1: Exotic Weapon Prof: Katana OR Arcane Strike
1(human): Toughness
3: Weapon Focus OR Power Attack
3: Arcana: Flamboyant Arcana (Wand Wielder? Other?)
4: Ability Boost: Str
5: Intensify Spell
5(bonus): Extra Arcane Pool
6: Arcane Deed: Precise Strike (Other?)

This is a build that tries to strike a balance between the martial and spellcasting side of things, while also being survivable and not dump statting. Later levels focus more on spell casting.

For level 3, the choice depends on your allies. If they are buffing you or debuffing the enemy such that you can hit easily, then power attack is your friend. If you find yourself wishing you hit more, take weapon focus. The Arcana is totally up to you - Flamboyant Arcana is nice for a tax, which it is for the precise strike and later evasive swashbuckler deeds. I don't like Arcane Accuracy for this build - Int is only a +2 and it burns through arcana points very very fast.

I really like extra arcane pool at 5 because its just so flexible - its spells if you need them, more boosted combats per day, or extra defensive chances via Flamboyant Arcana's Opportune Parry and Riposte.

Lantern Lodge

Grand Master of the Arcane Martial Arts and Master of the Five Rings (elements?)...

Seems to me that your teacher leans a little bit more on the physical side of things, rather than mystical. However, not much, so I'd say either a vanilla Magus or a Kensai Magus, depending on your preference. Because you are strength based, going vanilla would be good, especially for the armor, whereas Katana proficiency comes with the Kensai (Along with weapon focus).

Your backstory also screams "Katana AND unarmed combat" to me personally. As you spent a good time being humble, helping the poor around you, I could easily see a first level dip into monk. You also came to learn, perhaps to learn a new style? Master of Many Styles fits that, and panther style/snake style (Snake style is better in my opinion) would be good options to take with the Kensai.

Do you want optimization more? Or do you want your character's choices to reflect his past?


I would probably look at Crane over Snake if using a MoMS dip to do a whole style (use the bonus to take Crane3 and Crane1 together, grab Crane2 last), for a few reasons. Snake requires combat reflexes, dexterity and swift actions to properly utilize, and a strength based Magus' lower AC is a liability for triggering it as well. Crane also only works on a miss, and only works once, but the attack you're hoping misses is against a cumulative +9AC. And of course that's the other benefit; +1AC from dodge, +4 from the style and then +4 more once per round is kind of nice to have. Either way though, both are a major feat investment.


I appreciate the advice, thinking mostly going toward kensai but flavoring it with a kinda wu-jen shugenja kinda feel in role-play.

Remember though she is or was the student. I was thinking of going with the aldori dueling sword to take advantage of slashing grace while forgoing the strength part of the build.

As I read it the dueling swords only difference stat-wise is the crit range.

Lantern Lodge

Ah, your thread title said katana :P


Really, there are so many absurd advantages to a going Dex for a Magus it's just... well, both great and sad. The usual damage advantages of going strength are pretty much nothing when you're already using a weapon one-handed, can get dex-to-damage with it, AND can grab the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike.

Because of the huge importance of critical hits, Fencing Grace rapier or Dervish Dance scimitar are - now more than ever, (sigh) - the better choices for a Magus.


BadBird wrote:

Really, there are so many absurd advantages to a going Dex for a Magus it's just... well, both great and sad. The usual damage advantages of going strength are pretty much nothing when you're already using a weapon one-handed, can get dex-to-damage with it, AND can grab the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike.

Because of the huge importance of critical hits, Fencing Grace rapier or Dervish Dance scimitar are - now more than ever, (sigh) - the better choices for a Magus.

Disagree Strongly. All melee weapons default to strength for the low low cost of zero feats invested. For dex to damage to work you need weapon finesse minimum or weapon focus and weapon finesse. And magi can't get weapon focus until level 3 because of the +1 Bab prereq, unless your archetype gives it. Not saying dex builds are bad but many people discount the simplicity of stabbing someone with brutish abandon. Strength works from level one and does so if you are wielding a cricket bat or a rapier. Thog already knows how to use his best stat in combat after all.

Regards,
DRS


Str is by far the better option... when you can afford it.

For rolled stats where you roll well enough to afford some MAD issues, or if you have some other way to survive until level 7 (like starting there!), Str will shine as it offers more flexibility.

The problem is, point-buy really doesn't encourage MAD classes, which means trading in two-three feats can be worthwhile in order to have better basic functionality.


Well at low levels you really shouldn't worry about AC (sounds strange I know stick with me). You aren't using your nifty weapon of choice cause you are using the longspear because you aren't using spell combat that often. Why are you using a longspear? Because its pointy, and it kills things over there, and if they try to get near you it kills things over here too. By level 3 you have enough daily spells to afford to cast shield in nasty combats. Spell strike works with a two handed weapon, just not spell combat so you can still use the longspear as well. 1d8+ 1.5 str will kill most things in one shot at level 1 for most str based chars.

If you are really worried about AC (and are PFS) take tiefling as your race and Armor of the Pit as your first level feat. Studded + AotP + 13 dex = 16 ac which is survivable till level 7 when you fork over the cash for a mithril breastplate.

Regards,
DRS


*Shrug* That seems like good theory until the goblin steps in and bonks you on the head with a Morningstar.

And it seems like a really bad theory to stick with over six levels. If you're going to ignore the defining feature of the Magus for half of a PFS character's operative lifespan, it seems to me like you should be playing an Eldritch Knight.

Unless you eventually just drop the longspear and close to 5' range with 16 AC. Even if you can keep Shield up all the time, that's dangerous.


DRS3 wrote:
Disagree Strongly. All melee weapons default to strength for the low low cost of zero feats invested. For dex to damage to work you need weapon finesse minimum or weapon focus and weapon finesse. And magi can't get weapon focus until level 3 because of the +1 Bab prereq, unless your archetype gives it. Not saying dex builds are bad but many people discount the simplicity of stabbing someone with brutish abandon.

You're absolutely right about prerequisites being a cost, but it's a question of value for cost. You can spend your first two feats on a combo that grants you a considerable bonus to AC, initiative, reflex saves and so on - and the bonus gets larger and larger by level as your primary ability stat grows. Or, you can spend your first two feats on...? There are certainly other options, but they simply pale in comparison to being able to ignore strength. Believe me, I wish it wasn't so.

You can use various strategies to compensate for the lower AC, but that's just using resources less efficiently; not to mention that those same strategies can be pursued by the guy with already high AC for even higher AC anyways. A dex-based Magus can 'waste' some of his AC advantage by picking up a mithril breastplate for the +1 net AC, and he's still got a major advantage in three areas.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Consider swapping Cha and Int and taking the Eldritch Scion archetype from ACG.

This makes you a spontaneous caster, which qualifies you for Dragon Disciple and its handy boost to Str.

Also, remember you can two-hand your katana when not using spell combat, this includes when spellstriking. The boost to damage is not to be denied.


Depending on how you want to augment your background, you could have your sword (what ever it is) become a Black Blade. That would save on costs down the road.


Quote:

You're absolutely right about prerequisites being a cost, but it's a question of value for cost. You can spend your first two feats on a combo that grants you a considerable bonus to AC, initiative, reflex saves and so on - and the bonus gets larger and larger by level as your primary ability stat grows. Or, you can spend your first two feats on...? There are certainly other options, but they simply pale in comparison to being able to ignore strength. Believe me, I wish it wasn't so.

You can use various strategies to compensate for the lower AC, but that's just using resources less efficiently; not to mention that those same strategies can be pursued by the guy with already high AC for even higher AC anyways. A dex-based Magus can 'waste' some of his AC advantage by picking up a mithril breastplate for the +1 net AC, and he's still got a major advantage in three areas.

Strength is never wasted, a Str based magus will probably have around 13 dex, and about 16-18 str, depending on point buy. Dex based melee fighters can't ignore strength, this makes them vulnerable to generalized stat damage out of the gate. Strength also helps carrying capacity which for some reason people forget is still a thing and armor is heavy.

I find that not being able to get Dex to damage off the ground until level 5 (Weapon finesse at one, Focus at 3, Fencing grace at 5) to be crap. Now kensai (which has its own issues with casting) get around this with bonus weapon focus but they can't wear armor so are naturally more inclined to be dex based. So for the low cost of 3 feats and 5 levels you are finally able to do what the strength magus has been doing since level 1. Meanwhile at level 3 the strength magus takes extra arcana and precise strike so he's doing more damage then too. And he does more damage when he uses thrown weaponry. If his rapier gets disarmed or sundered and he draws his backup weapon bam his best offensive combat statistic still works.

Furthermore magus are very VERY feint-able given their bab unless you are dropping points in sense motive at every level which you probably aren't. Which is a big nasty thing when most of your ac is based off dex. Yeah he'll have better reflex saves than the strength magus. 9 times out of 10 if you asked me which save I would be okay with failing its going to be reflex. Fort you die, Will you kill your friends, reflex you take more damage than you could have.

Now I'm not saying that dex based magus or dex based anything suck, but what I am arguing is that they aren't hands down the 'optimal' choice.

Regards,
DRS


DRS3 wrote:
I find that not being able to get Dex to damage off the ground until level 5 (Weapon finesse at one, Focus at 3, Fencing grace at 5) to be crap. Now kensai (which has its own issues with casting) get around this with bonus weapon focus but they can't wear armor so are naturally more inclined to be dex based. So for the low cost of 3 feats and 5 levels you are finally able to do what the strength magus has been doing since level 1...

I agree that strength dumping is stupid; regardless, it's at best a straight switch of strength for dexterity since 18/12 doesn't cost any less than 12/18.

Devish Dance gets any dex-Magus primed by 3, which sadly just reinforces scimitar-clone-syndrome. It's true that Precise Strike comes a little sooner for strength, but Precise Strike also wiped out the one possible damage advantage strength had unless you count a 1-point weapon improvement. As far as backup weapons go, I'm not sure why a Magus focused on a specific weapon type would carry a different backup.

Anyhow I'm not saying to never have a strength-based Magus, or that it's 'bad'... just that it's pretty hard to find any real advantage to strength that's nearly comparable beyond the early levels.

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