Myrrh, Frankincense, and Steel: Kurald Galain's Guide to the Magus


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Automatic Bonus Progression, or ABP for short, is an alternate rules option from Pathfinder Unchained that is intended to mitigate the gear dependency that is baked into the game. This reliance on magical equipment is sometimes also called the "Christmas Tree Effect", simply based off of how many magical items a character ends up wearing.

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Ouachitonian wrote:
It seems like kind of a waste to have two sets of scaling bonuses that don't stack.

It is, but you don't pay much for the effect. Also, it comboes nicely with Natural Spell Combat.

Quote:
Mostly just things like Spell Specialization, Varisian Tattoo, etc that have Spell Focus as a prerequisite. Magi can always use an extra feat or two, and taking OM gives you a jump on that.

That's a fair point. SS and VT have a mediocre rating in part because they have a mostly-useless feat (i.e. SF) as prerequisite. There are sufficient d6-per-level spells to make them worth it if you get SF for free; if you want one of these feats then Overwhelm is the better race trait.

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From Blood of the Ancients, added Jistkan Artificer archetype as yellow (1-13) and green (14-20, where its monk damage, free weapon, and AC bonus become substantially better than baseline); Shared Training spell (green, as hours-lasting party buffs are rare); and Aerial Roll feat (blue, as an excellent defense comparable to Flamboyant Arcana).


Thanks for the update.


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Currently trying to see if there is enough matter to do a separate Phantom Blade Spiritualist guide...

While Phantom Blade has truly a lot in common with the Bladebound magus, but I feel that compare it to a Magus on the field of being a striker is a loss battle from the start.
If just for the loss of Shicking Grasp and Blade Rush and metamagics, the Phantom Blade actualy lose the damage battle by a large margin.

However, the more I toy with this archetype during my current campaign, the more I feel it does a truly marvelous off-tank/battlefield controller.

First, it's a lot more resilient than a Magus:
- better saves (wisdom-based and special spells to help with saves)
- better hp sustain (false life and cure wounds spells)
- better counter-measure against magic (immunity to silence and feature spells like Spell Resistance)
- can wear an agile breastplate on top of a dex build with no penality

Second, the spiritualist spell list is stuffed with battlefield controls and debuffs absent from the magus list:
- 5 spells forcing opponents to fight each other
- 2 very strong debuffs for bosses (an Enervation-like spell with extra prejudice, and a strong curse you can deliver through spellstrike)
- 2 battlefield removals
- severals way to use the corpses of slain ennemies against their former allies


Moonheart, I would recommend you write the guide.


Well I could try, but I feel a good guide need reviewers, and I bet there is very few people able to curently discuss the spell list and feats...
That's the problem to write something for a niche archetype rather than a whole class.

I'm going to start writing a draft and see how it goes...


Ok, I started to write the Phantom Blade guide and it's progressing well.
However, a strange question came to my mind during the process, and I'd like your opinion.

It is a well-know fact right now that when wielding a buckler, a character can still use Spell Combat as this shield is strapped to his forarm and thus, allows him to keep his off-hand free, as requiered by the ability.
However, the buckler will not provide his AC bonus, because you use your hand to cast a spell.

At least, that's what we were thinking, but I took another look at the buckler rules, and this is the text I actualy found about the lost of AC while casting spells:
"You can cast a spell with somatic components using your shield arm, but you lose the buckler’s Armor Class bonus until your next turn."

Now, a Mindblade Magus or a Phantom Blade actually use -psychic- magic instead of arcane magic, and psychic magic doesn't have -any- somatic components.
So, doesn't it means that those Spell Combat archetypes actually allow to retain a buckler's AC at all times?


Seems to me that this should work, since a buckler doesn't tie up your hand. (Unfortunately, these archetypes do not get rid of the Spell Combat text that says you have to have a hand free even if using a spell that has no Somatic component -- otherwise, you could use any shield.)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes I think this is right. The tradeoff of no somatic components is in higher DC for concentration checks (with the option of a move action to reduce it but that’s not something a magus will typically want to do) as well as various effects that will s!%* down many psychic spells (emotion spells or fear effects like being frightened or shaken)


Rycaut wrote:
Yes I think this is right. The tradeoff of no somatic components is in higher DC for concentration checks (with the option of a move action to reduce it but that’s not something a magus will typically want to do) as well as various effects that will s**@ down many psychic spells (emotion spells or fear effects like being frightened or shaken)

That's one thing the Phantom Blade does better than a Mindblade: his phantom weapon assist him for concentration checks, allowing him to negate the penalty as a swift (or even free) action.

---------------

BTW, I finished to write the first version of my Phantom Blade guide.

You can read this first version on Google Docs

There is probably a lot of thing to critizice in it, as I didn't made a seconde reading for now.
I need a little break, because it took me a lot of hours to write all this base content already.


^Reading this now, and temporarily ignoring the grammar/word usage issues:

  • Armor Class: If you want to use a buckler, that's a dip or an extra feat to gain proficiency so that you don't have the buckler's Armor Check Penalty detracting from your attack rolls.
  • Spells: Burst of Insight: If you use this for your Will Saves, it seems that this would be VERY good despite the penalty -- 1 round of being Dazed is a lot less bad than who knows how many rounds of being Charmed, Confused, Cursed, Dominated, Feebleminded, or Possessed.
  • Spells: Cure-series spells: I would start downgrading these at the higher levels, because your casting of these falls progressively further behind a 9/9 caster. The obvious exceptions are the related spells Breath of Life and Heal -- you want to have these though you get them late relative to 9/9 casters.
  • Spells: Inflict Light Wounds: You write "You can use it just after you used Chill Touch as this one will last for several hits" -- assuming that you mean use it while Chill Touch is still in effect, according to Combat:Cast a Spell:Touch Spells in Combat:Holding the Charge, if you cast another spell, you lose the charge of the previous spell, and neither Phantom Blade Spiritualist nor the Magus that it is based upon have anything that overrides this.
  • Spells: Feeblemind: This will ruin almost any target's day, unless they are immune. It's just that arcane spellcasters take a penalty on the Save, whereas others don't.
  • Spells: Withdraw Affliction: It's not clear that you can Spellstrike with the withdrawn affliction (as opposed to having to make a normal Touch Attack), although the text "as if holding the charge for a touch spell" leads me to lean in favor of it. Expect table variation.
  • Spells: Spell Resistance: Your link goes to the monster ability instead of the spell. In addition, you have to be careful that you don't hose yourself by accidentally resisting a friendly spell (and you have to spend an action to lower spell resistance voluntarily).
  • Races: Some of these (including Human with Military Tradition) get additional weapon proficiencies that are actually useful.
  • Feats: I just realized that since you use your Phantom Blade Spiritualist level as your effective Base Attack Bonus for qualifying for these feats, you can actually benefit from the full Vital Strike feat chain, although you will be a bit late in getting each part of it.
  • Feats (again): Since when you harbor your phantom blade, you get Improved Unarmed Strike, or Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike) if you already have Improved Unarmed Strike, actually taking Improved Unarmed Strike might be not a bad idea, especially if you are going to harbor your phantom blade often.


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UAE, a masterwork (or mithral) buckler has no ACP. Unless you want to spend feats on it you don't have to.

Glancing at spell recs -

Message is so highly situational that you might use it once in a campaign? Really? Grave words might fall into that category but not message IMO.

Expeditious retreat is useful - just not for retreating. It's a waste once haste becomes available in your party, but until then it's useful for mobility in combat, chasing a fleeing target, even for jumping gaps between buildings. When someone last used it to escape in my group of friends there were expressions of shock.

Note that many of the conditions surmount affliction would beat will prevent you actually casting the spell. It's not as good as it looks.

Polyvalent in English does not mean what you think it means. I think you mean 'multipurpose' rather than 'able to form three or more chemical bonds per atom'.

I'm pretty sure that fencing grace & starry grace suffer from the same incompatibility with spell combat as slashing grace. Dervish dance is the one and only Paizo-produced dex to damage option for a phantom blade. Deadly agility out of Path of War is a simple 3rd party fix.

A scizore has a -1 to attack, I'd stick with other weapons.

'Dreadful' usually means 'bad' in English.

A handy haversack is almost always better than a bag of holding.


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I made changes to reflect all the points I'm agreeing on, here is a new link with a better presentation: New Google Doc

  • Spell Resistance: rating lowered since it prevent people to heal you
  • Withdraw Affliction: added a NB explaining why you don't get an extra attack with it
  • Offensive Feat: added Weapon Focus and Improved Unarmed Strikes
  • Message: rating up
  • Expeditious retreat: rating up and included in the Phantom Dragon build
  • Scizore removed from weapon recommandations
  • Handy Haversack replace the Bag of Holding in the encumbrance section

    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    ^Reading this now, and temporarily ignoring the grammar/word usage issues:

    Well, I'll be glad if some people could at least point out the recurring ones, because english is a foreign language to me, and I'd like to improve

    Quote:
    Burst of Insight: If you use this for your Will Saves, it seems that this would be VERY good despite the penalty -- 1 round of being Dazed is a lot less bad than who knows how many rounds of being Charmed, Confused, Cursed, Dominated, Feebleminded, or Possessed.

    You're absolutly right, but this spell is truly inferior to Burst of Adrenaline as it works for only 1 type of save, give a much severe condition and apply to your best save and not your worst one.... so I couldn't give it the same rating than Burst of Adrenaline.

    Quote:
    Cure-series spells: I would start downgrading these at the higher levels, because your casting of these falls progressively further behind a 9/9 caster. The obvious exceptions are the related spells Breath of Life and Heal -- you want to have these though you get them late relative to 9/9 casters.

    The rating is not made compared to level 9 spellcasters, but to what the Spiritualist spell list offer, and Cure spells are among the best spell you can pick at every spell level, believe it by my experience with this archetype.

    You'll never never never regret to have pick a Cure Wound spell as part of your spell known.

    Quote:
    Feeblemind: This will ruin almost any target's day, unless they are immune. It's just that arcane spellcasters take a penalty on the Save, whereas others don't.

    I don't truly see why, care to explain?

    Let's admit you have a barbarian in front of you... you cast Feeblemind on him and he fails his save. What does the fact his intelligence is reduced to 1 changes anything to his ability to split you in half with a 2H weapon?

    Quote:
    Withdraw Affliction: It's not clear that you can Spellstrike with the withdrawn affliction (as opposed to having to make a normal Touch Attack), although the text "as if holding the charge for a touch spell" leads me to lean in favor of it. Expect table variation.

    This FAQ explain that if a spell allows several touch attacks, Spellstrike allows you to deliver them all through your weapon.

    Withdraw Affliction allows 2 touch attacks: one harmless against yourself, and one harmful against an opponent. You can do both via Spellstrike, but since the first was made against yourself, you just don't gain an extra attack agaisnt your opponent when you cast this spell.

    Quote:
    Races: Some of these (including Human with Military Tradition) get additional weapon proficiencies that are actually useful.

    Well I couldn't find one light or one-handed exotic weapon proficiency given by those traits that was better in at least one way to my eye than a simple scimitar, that's why I didn't make any note of it.

    But if you have an example in mind, I'll gladly add them.

    Quote:
    Feats: I just realized that since you use your Phantom Blade Spiritualist level as your effective Base Attack Bonus for qualifying for these feats, you can actually benefit from the full Vital Strike feat chain, although you will be a bit late in getting each part of it.

    You can't use Vital Strike with Spell Combat.

    avr wrote:
    I'm pretty sure that fencing grace & starry grace suffer from the same incompatibility with spell combat as slashing grace. Dervish dance is the one and only Paizo-produced dex to damage option for a phantom blade. Deadly agility out of Path of War is a simple 3rd party fix.

    I'll trust Kurald on this one, as I didn't find any ruling preventing fencing grace to work with spell combat. Fencing Grace is in his magus guide too.


  • Moonheart wrote:

    I made changes to reflect all the points I'm agreeing on, here is a new link with a better presentation: {. . .}

    Quote:
    Burst of Insight: If you use this for your Will Saves, it seems that this would be VERY good despite the penalty -- 1 round of being Dazed is a lot less bad than who knows how many rounds of being Charmed, Confused, Cursed, Dominated, Feebleminded, or Possessed.
    You're absolutly right, but this spell is truly inferior to Burst of Adrenaline as it works for only 1 type of save, give a much severe condition and apply to your best save and not your worst one.... so I couldn't give it the same rating than Burst of Adrenaline.

    Right, but Will Saves are the absolute worst to fail, even if your initial probability to fail them is low.

    Moonheart wrote:
    Quote:
    Cure-series spells: I would start downgrading these at the higher levels, because your casting of these falls progressively further behind a 9/9 caster. The obvious exceptions are the related spells Breath of Life and Heal -- you want to have these though you get them late relative to 9/9 casters.

    The rating is not made compared to level 9 spellcasters, but to what the Spiritualist spell list offer, and Cure spells are among the best spell you can pick at every spell level, believe it by my experience with this archetype.

    You'll never never never regret to have pick a Cure Wound spell as part of your spell known.

    If you have a 9/9 caster in the party, the comparison actually does matter. You are better off letting them handle this, since they do it more efficiently, while you use your limited spells known for the other highly recommended spells in your list. A reasonable compromise might be to keep the 1st 1 or 2 levels of Cure Wounds, but then keep swapping out your highest known level for the next higher level until you get up to Breath of Life, since the reason you would want the highest level (although an inefficient use of your casting) would be to get your primary healer back on their feet if they go down, since if you have to do it in a battle you can't afford to wait for the time to dribble out successive Cure Light Wounds (which is the most efficient out of combat, unless you have a Wand of this, which is preferable if you need more than a couple of castings).

    Moonheart wrote:
    Quote:
    Feeblemind: This will ruin almost any target's day, unless they are immune. It's just that arcane spellcasters take a penalty on the Save, whereas others don't.

    I don't truly see why, care to explain?

    Let's admit you have a barbarian in front of you... you cast Feeblemind on him and he fails his save. What does the fact his intelligence is reduced to 1 changes anything to his ability to split you in half with a 2H weapon?

    While the Barbarian isn't ordinarily the preferred target for this spell(*), a Feebleminded Barbarian won't be able to figure out squat. They still have the ability to split you in half with a 2-handed weapon, but with Intelligence reduced to less than that of the average dog, they are unlikely to be able to use it wisely, and are more likely to get themselves killed in the attempt (they won't even be able to understand their party's warning calls to them).

    (*)If the Barbarian is the commander of the enemy forces, and you can't find an arcane caster to target among them, the Barbarian could actually be your best target. Likewise with other boss monsters and other casters (including Alchemists).

    Moonheart wrote:
    Quote:
    Withdraw Affliction: It's not clear that you can Spellstrike with the withdrawn affliction (as opposed to having to make a normal Touch Attack), although the text "as if holding the charge for a touch spell" leads me to lean in favor of it. Expect table variation.

    This FAQ explain that if a spell allows several touch attacks, Spellstrike allows you to deliver them all through your weapon.

    Withdraw Affliction allows 2 touch attacks: one harmless against yourself, and one harmful against an opponent. You can do both via Spellstrike, but since the first was made against yourself, you just don't gain an extra attack agaisnt your opponent when you cast this spell.

    I understand that part. The question is whether a spell that you pulled with Withdraw Affliction counts as a spell that you can use for Spellstrike, regardless of number of charges.

    Moonheart wrote:
    Quote:
    Races: Some of these (including Human with Military Tradition) get additional weapon proficiencies that are actually useful.

    Well I couldn't find one light or one-handed exotic weapon proficiency given by those traits that was better in at least one way to my eye than a simple scimitar, that's why I didn't make any note of it.

    But if you have an example in mind, I'll gladly add them.

    (Note: Most of the following assume that you actually have decent Strength, even if your focus is on Dexterity.)

    Dwarf: Waraxe (preferably the Double version, which despite its name is not actually a Double weapon, and helps if you are going for Cleaving) -- for you it's a One-Handed weapon, even though it is Two-Handed for most people, and it has pretty good base damage.

    Dwarf: Dorn-Dergar with Dorn-Dergar Master feat (feat-taxed and have to wait until 5th level -- bleah) -- get yourself One-Handed Reach.

    Elf: Elven Thornblade: The Elven Scimitar, but you get a bonus on confirming your Criticals (on the downside, no Dervish Dance).

    Human with Taldan Military Tradition or Half-Elf with Taldan Ancestral Arms: Falcata -- make your crit-fishing REALLY hurt.

    Human with Chelaxian or Nidalese Military Tradition, Half-Elf with Chelaxian or Nidalese Ancestral Arms, or Half-Orc with Beastmaster (I think some other combination gets you this as well, but I can't remember it): Whip (but only if you can afford the feats) -- get yourself One-Handed Reach.

    Human with Brevan/Issian/Rothlander Military Tradition or Half-Elf with Brevan/Issian/Rothlander Ancestral Arms: Dueling Sword -- useful if you use Dexterity to hit but still have enough Strength to make two-handing it worthwhile during rounds in which you aren't using Spell Combat.

    Moonheart wrote:
    Quote:
    Feats: I just realized that since you use your Phantom Blade Spiritualist level as your effective Base Attack Bonus for qualifying for these feats, you can actually benefit from the full Vital Strike feat chain, although you will be a bit late in getting each part of it.
    You can't use Vital Strike with Spell Combat.

    I forgot about the Attack Action vs Spell Combat Full Round Action clash, but even so, if you are mostly using spells that have a lot of charges (such as Chill Touch), you will only be using Spell Combat on a minority of your rounds, and so you will still get a fair amount of use out of damage-enhancing feats that are not compatible with Spell Combat.

    By the way, the above is also true of Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace, and Two-Weapon Fighting.


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    Well, that's good food for thoughts :)
    I'm going to ponder about all this, thanks for those informations.

    I'm however going to keep my stance on Cure Wound spells and Vital Strike, due to my own experience on in-game battles with the Phantom Blade:

  • Cure Wound spells: even with a full cleric behind me, I never regretted to pick any Cure Wound spells, during the whole campaign.

    Cure Wounds spells are truly versatile;
    They prevent your healer to over-use his energy channels: often you are the only one wounded, and it's not truly a good idea that the healer come that close of you to cast his own Cure Wound spells, and at that time, you're happy to be able to close your scratchs yourself
    They also contribute to the out-of-combat healing, you can share the burden, so you always start fights in top condition.
    And then, there is the fact that if you have all the Cure Wounds spells, you are quite well prepare from the very basis to deal with undeads, since you ALWAYS have the option to spellstrike them with a good amount of positive energy

  • Vital Strike: There is two reasons why you will not use this even if you cast a spell like Chill Touch

    First one is: Chill Touch is a spell that has only value if you hit several times per round with it. Otherwise, better cast another spell.
    Second one is: Even if you don't want to cast a touch spell which would cancel the charges of Chill Touch, the Phantom Blade spell list is so full of goodies that you could find a relevant spell to cast from it every round of a twenty-round-long fight

    I, in fact, did a fight that lasted something like 18 rounds, and during which I only used touch spells twice.
    Still, I casted a spell every round of this fight.

    So... no, I would never have used Vital Strike once during the full campaign even if the DM gave me the full feat chain for free.


  • Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    I will point out that the utility of using cures against undead depends greatly on the monsters you face in your campaign - in a game without little undead enemies it isn't as useful - in a game where undead are common foes at many levels it would indeed be excellent (though some other spells might give greater damage for a given spell level - i.e. an intensified shocking grasp with a trait to keep it as a 1st level spell would be 10d6 electrical damage at level 10 while a first level cure light wounds would be 1d8+5.


    ^Not only that, but the Undead get a Will Save to take only half damage from an offensive Cure Light Wounds, whereas Shocking Grasp doesn't allow a Save. Although for a Phantom Blade Spiritualist, that's a moot point since Shocking Grasp isn't on their spell list.

    Speaking of which, anyone know of any ways for a Phantom Blade Spiritualist to snag off-list spells(*)? Only ones that comes to mind are the Daivrat and Pathfinder Savant prestige classes, but those aren't very good for this purpose, since in either case, you have to dip at least 2 levels to get the first of these, and you sacrifice BAB, hit points, AND spellcasting progression in so doing. (The great majority of prestige classes are bad for 6/9 casters anyway.)

    (*)One of the disadvantages of Phantom Blade Spiritualist relative to Magus: no Magus Arcana, including no Spell Blending. And even if you went VMC Magus(**) to get Spell Blending, at some tables it wouldn't work because the wording specifically refers to casting Magus spells, which a Phantom Blade Spiritualist doesn't have.

    (**)Bad idea anyway, since you already have the ability to enchant your weapon (and the wording suggests that it wouldn't stack with the VMC Magus ability), and you already have Spellstrike (and for sure you don't get any credit or refund for having that twice).


    What I've tried to explain in my guide is that the most important point to understand the Phantom Blade, is to understand what are the differences between Cleric spells and Wizard spells, since the Phantom Blade is based on the first one, unlike the Magus.

    The strong point of Cleric spells are sustainability: They usualy does a bit less damage than Wizard ones, but they help you to survive a lot more.
    However, damage done by Cleric spells are made mainly out of positive/negative damage, unlike the Wizard spells the Magus uses who are mainly made out of elemental damage.

    What it implies? Simply that the Phantom Blade spell list is almost split in half:

    • what works against living beings
    • what works against undead beings
    Spells working against the two are quite rare, and good ones even more.

    I do not know any campaign where you won't fight living beings, so the investment into anti-living spells is for me a no-brainer, and some avialable to the Phantom Blade are truly potent.
    However, as you said @Rycaut, the amount of undead encounters you will have is much more variable from campaign to compaign... making the investment into anti-undead spell a risk of wasting a known spell slot.

    What makes the Cure Wound spells great in this context is that they are FIRST excellent spells to emphasis the Cleric spells strong point, sustainability, and then, only second, a good option to deal postive energy damage whenever, and if, you encounter undeads.
    So, you cannot waste a spell slot by taking them, as they will always find an use.

    -----

    HOWEVER, I do understand your concern about the low damage, especially since those spells allow a save-or-half will save.

    In all honesty, I didn't use much those spells to spellstrike when I encountered undeads during my campain, prefering another use for them: I casted Chill Touch and Haste on myself, gave my Ghost Touch phantom weapon the Disruption and Ethereal qualities by spending ectoplasmic points... and then wacked this weapon at their faces while keeping myself alive with the Cure Spells.

    This strategy made me do up to 5 attacks per round, each resolving against touch AC, and each hit forcing the undeads to make a double save-or-suck throw to avoid to be forced to flee and/or to be immediatly destroyed.

    Still, no matter what is your approach to fight undeads with a Phantom Blade, I never see a case were you shouldn't have the Cure Spells... so yes, they deserve their rating in my guide, believe my experience on this.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    The Distant Realms splatbook has one notable feat for a Magus, and that is Magic Trick. Since the Floating Disk spell is on your list, this feat effectively gives you a fly speed at-need at level six, quite a lot earlier than Overland Flight comes online. For putting ranks in the Fly skill, Raven's Flight spell got you covered.

    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    Right, but Will Saves are the absolute worst to fail, even if your initial probability to fail them is low.

    I'm not so sure about that. Fort save against petrification or paralysis, anyone?

    Quote:
    While the Barbarian isn't ordinarily the preferred target for this spell(*), a Feebleminded Barbarian won't be able to figure out squat. They still have the ability to split you in half with a 2-handed weapon, but with Intelligence reduced to less than that of the average dog, they are unlikely to be able to use it wisely, and are more likely to get themselves killed in the attempt (they won't even be able to understand their party's warning calls to them).

    Sure, but Feeblemind is one of those spells that's much nastier against the PCs, than used by them. When facing an enemy in combat, you usually have better options. This is similar to how Spell Resistance is much better on monsters than on PCs.

    Quote:
    if you are mostly using spells that have a lot of charges (such as Chill Touch), you will only be using Spell Combat on a minority of your rounds, and so you will still get a fair amount of use out of damage-enhancing feats that are not compatible with Spell Combat.

    Well, on round one you cast Chill Touch and make 4-5 attacks, then on the second round you make 3-4 spell combat attacks and then cast a buff or Scorching Ray or whatnot. Then on the third round you cast Chill Touch again. By the time CT gives you 8 hits, you'll have plenty of slots for this; and doing this is better than foregoing spell combat.

    Quote:
    Not only that, but the Undead get a Will Save to take only half damage from an offensive Cure Light Wounds, whereas Shocking Grasp doesn't allow a Save.

    That is a fair point. Cure and Inflict are rather poor choices as offensive spells because they require both a successful attack roll AND a failed save. I'd primarily use them against the rare undead that are immune to most anything else.

    Oh, and Fencing Grace has been errata'ed to not work with spell combat. The expectation is that if Dervish Dance ever gets reprinted, it will no longer work either; but that hasn't happened yet.


    Kurald Galain wrote:

    The Distant Realms splatbook has one notable feat for a Magus, and that is Magic Trick. Since the Floating Disk spell is on your list, this feat effectively gives you a fly speed at-need at level six, quite a lot earlier than Overland Flight comes online. For putting ranks in the Fly skill, Raven's Flight spell got you covered.

    I have visions of a Silver Surfer style Magus. Great addition to the guide.


    Kurald Galain wrote:
    The Distant Realms splatbook has one notable feat for a Magus, and that is Magic Trick. Since the Floating Disk spell is on your list, this feat effectively gives you a fly speed at-need at level six, quite a lot earlier than Overland Flight comes online. For putting ranks in the Fly skill, Raven's Flight spell got you covered.

    Interesting. I wonder if we will get Magik Trick for any spells other than Floating Disk before Pathfinder 2nd Edition comes out and hoses all further development on 1st Edition.

    Kurald Galain wrote:
    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    Right, but Will Saves are the absolute worst to fail, even if your initial probability to fail them is low.

    I'm not so sure about that. Fort save against petrification or paralysis, anyone?

    {. . .}

    Even worse than getting petrified or paralyzed: Betraying your party.


    UnArcaneElection wrote:


    Kurald Galain wrote:
    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    Right, but Will Saves are the absolute worst to fail, even if your initial probability to fail them is low.

    I'm not so sure about that. Fort save against petrification or paralysis, anyone?

    {. . .}

    Even worse than getting petrified or paralyzed: Betraying your party.

    Yes, but Burst of Insight is trading a 20% increased chance (at best, and assuming you don't have an enhancement bonus to Wis already) to avoid such an affect for an absolutely guaranteed round of standing around doing nothing. In the 80% of outcomes where casting this spell didn't matter (because you would have saved anyway or your failed anyway) you'd wish you saved both the spell slot and (if you would have saved) your next turn.

    If a 20% chance of avoiding a mind controlling affect is worth a 100% chance not to contribute in combat, I have an even more effective solution - retire your character! He still can't contribute, but he's guaranteed never to turn against the party.


    It isn't 100% chance not to contribute in the whole combat, just the next round . . . compared to a 20%(?) chance to be a deadly detriment to your party for the rest of the combat, and possibly beyond. (Or in the case of Feeblemind, while it wouldn't turn you against the rest of the party, it would DEFINITELY last beyond the rest of the combat.) Of course, it depends upon the situation -- but if you're going up against somebody like Sorshen, you better have EVERY defense against getting turned to your opposition.


    UnArcaneElection wrote:

    It isn't 100% chance not to contribute in the whole combat, just the next round . . .

    That was really nice of the enemy not to cast a second mind affecting spell on you during the round you were dazed and unable to repeat a casting of Burst of Insight.


    ^At least you cut down the ratio of their chances of success to the number of spells they had to cast (and usually the number of Standard Actions they had to spend, in some cases while your Barbarian friend is hacking the way through to them). If you're up against a prepared spellcaster, they might not be able to recast the same mind-affecting spell.


    Perhaps, UnArcaneElection, but you know, I've played a whole campaign with the Phantom Blade, and what my experience learned me with Burst of Insight, is that even when you learned it, you most often decide to -NOT- use it than to use it.

    Burst spells are bets: you are betting that you will fail your saving by less than 4, and thus, need that +4, even at the cost of a penalty.
    In the case of Burst of Adrenaline, if you fail, you just get a -2 penalty for a round for strictly nothing... but in the case of Burst of Insight, what you get is losing a whole round for nothing which could cost the life of one of your teamate.

    To give you an exemple, in the campaign where I played the Phantom Blade, we met a specter who started a surprise round by throwing a confusion aoe.
    My Phantom Blade, having the best will save of the party, resisted it. ALL my teammates failed and started to hit each other (which means a total lockdown, if you're a bit familiar with confusion rules)

    If at that time, I lost a round dazed because I had been over-cautionous and casted Burst of Insight, we probably had lost one or two party members... but I didn't cast it, which allowed me to rush to close-quarter and block the creature before she could reach my disabled allies, and I held it here until the confusion wore off

    To put it in a metaphoric way: Burst of Adrenaline is like going to a casino game and betting 100 bucks on a dice throw... but Bust of Insight is like going to a casino game and betting your whole house on the table.


    Hey Kurald,

    The Magus Guide you have made is awesome with a lot of content and a heap of information to help someone build a magus. Though much of what you have mentioned I may not use. However, it has given me a lot to think about. I do have a question regarding my lvl 5 bonus feat though, I shall be playing a front line blackblade and I'm tossing up to choose either Empower Spell (metamagic) or Extra Arcane (either wand wielder or arcane accuracy). Which do you think would be a better choice? Or am I barking up a completely different tree and should look at some other alternatives? I am still at lvl 2 with my magus at the moment, so there is still plenty of time to choose. But I like planning ahead.

    -Wolven


    Wolven18259 wrote:

    Hey Kurald,

    ...I do have a question regarding my lvl 5 bonus feat ... I'm tossing up to choose either Empower Spell (metamagic) or Extra Arcane (either wand wielder or arcane accuracy).
    -Wolven

    I can help you out a bit here.

    You bonus feats have to be either Combat feats, Item-Creation feats or Metamagic feats, which means you can't take Extra Arcana as a bonus feat.

    My favourite thing to do at level 5 is take Heighten Spell as your bonus feat and Preferred Spell (Shocking Grasp) as your normal 5th level feat. Yes this makes you a "cookie cutter" magus, but it also means you never have to actually prepare shocking grasp, so you can focus entirely on utility if you want to.

    If you want a more specific answer you'll probably have to provide more details about your character.

    Hope that helped.


    Moonheart wrote:

    Perhaps, UnArcaneElection, but you know, I've played a whole campaign with the Phantom Blade, and what my experience learned me with Burst of Insight, is that even when you learned it, you most often decide to -NOT- use it than to use it.

    Burst spells are bets: you are betting that you will fail your saving by less than 4, and thus, need that +4, even at the cost of a penalty.
    In the case of Burst of Adrenaline, if you fail, you just get a -2 penalty for a round for strictly nothing... but in the case of Burst of Insight, what you get is losing a whole round for nothing which could cost the life of one of your teamate.
    {. . .}

    According to all 3 pages for Burst of Insight (and all 3 pages for Burst of Adrenaline) that I could find online, the bonus you get on your d20 roll (including Save) is +8, which, for instance, can get you from 50% chance of failure down to 10% chance of failure. In addition, in the case of Burst of Adrenaline, if you fail your Save anyway, the Daze means that your enemy also can't use you for a round. This doesn't make being Dazed good overall, but the cloud does have a silver lining to it. Still, if you could find a way to become immune to the Dazed condition, you could improve your overall ability to get good use of this spell.

    MrCharisma wrote:

    {. . .}

    My favourite thing to do at level 5 is take Heighten Spell as your bonus feat and Preferred Spell (Shocking Grasp) as your normal 5th level feat. Yes this makes you a "cookie cutter" magus, but it also means you never have to actually prepare shocking grasp, so you can focus entirely on utility if you want to. {. . .}

    Interesting idea, although Heighten Spell itself is mostly a feat tax on a 6/9 caster (unless you are frequently coming up against things like Globes of Invulnerability).


    Thank you for the help. That looks like an awesome combo MrCharisma, however I was thinking about using a feat for Craft Magic Arms and Armour (which will compliment my character's story and help the party). But I do like the idea of Heightened Spell and I may use that instead of Empower Spell. I'm not sure what my character will come up against UnArcaneElection, would you have another idea?

    My stats are:
    STR 15
    DEX 12
    CON 13
    INT 18
    WIS 10
    CHA 8

    As I said, I'm expecting him to be a front-liner as he would want to protect everyone in the party (and I don't think we have anyone else that'll fill that role).


    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    According to all 3 pages for Burst of Insight (and all 3 pages for Burst of Adrenaline) that I could find online, the bonus you get on your d20 roll (including Save) is +8,
    Burst of insight wrote:
    You plumb the depths of your mind for insight, leaving you momentarily frazzled. When you are about to make a d20 roll based on Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, you can cast this spell to gain a +8 enhancement bonus to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma for that roll, but you are dazed for 1 round afterward.

    A +8 enhancement bonus to wisdom increases the modifier by 4. It's dumb, but that's how D&D 3.x/PF does it.


    Wolven18259 wrote:

    Thank you for the help. That looks like an awesome combo MrCharisma, however I was thinking about using a feat for Craft Magic Arms and Armour (which will compliment my character's story and help the party). But I do like the idea of Heightened Spell and I may use that instead of Empower Spell. I'm not sure what my character will come up against UnArcaneElection, would you have another idea?

    My stats are:
    STR 15
    DEX 12
    CON 13
    INT 18
    WIS 10
    CHA 8
    As I said, I'm expecting him to be a front-liner as he would want to protect everyone in the party (and I don't think we have anyone else that'll fill that role).

    You can absolutely take Craft Magic Arms and Armour. Great feat too. If you're expecting to be a front-liner I'd definitely put your level 4 stat point into Strength. The Arcane Accuracy arcana looks really great for those stats, but I am a huge fan of Wand Wielder (get yourself a wand of Vanish and a wand of True Strike). Any of those options look good to me.

    EDIT: I just noticed that Con score. If you're the only front-liner you might want to put that level 4 stat point into constitution instead. Your magic can deal the damage but you can only take so much damage yourself. The Toughness feat might be good, and I'm more of a fan of Wand Wielder (and a wand of Vanish) if you're the only front-liner. You can attack then cast then 5 foot step every round and the enemies can't see you to target you. It's a pretty great strategy for avoiding death.

    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    MrCharisma wrote:
    My favourite thing to do at level 5 is take Heighten Spell as your bonus feat and Preferred Spell (Shocking Grasp) as your normal 5th level feat. Yes this makes you a "cookie cutter" magus, but it also means you never have to actually prepare shocking grasp, so you can focus entirely on utility if you want to.
    Interesting idea, although Heighten Spell itself is mostly a feat tax on a 6/9 caster (unless you are frequently coming up against things like Globes of Invulnerability).

    Yeah Heighten Spell is pretty much a feat-tax, but 2 feats for pseudo-spontaneous casting (with all the advantages of a prepared caster) has been a pretty good deal.

    Combining spontaneous Shocking Grasp with Spell Recall means that you can prepare all your utility spells, then cross them off as you need to attack enemies. If you ever need to use that utility spell you just recall it as a swift action (or as a standard action with a pearl of power if you're not in combat). I played a thieves guild 1-shot with this combo and my most useful spells were Vanish and Monkey/Fish. I recalled both of them a couple of times during the adventure, then at the end I was able to Nova like crazy by spontaneously casting Shocking Grasp with my unused spells. It played pretty much like a sorcerer, but with crazy sword skills.


    avr wrote:
    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    According to all 3 pages for Burst of Insight (and all 3 pages for Burst of Adrenaline) that I could find online, the bonus you get on your d20 roll (including Save) is +8,
    Burst of insight wrote:
    You plumb the depths of your mind for insight, leaving you momentarily frazzled. When you are about to make a d20 roll based on Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, you can cast this spell to gain a +8 enhancement bonus to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma for that roll, but you are dazed for 1 round afterward.
    A +8 enhancement bonus to wisdom increases the modifier by 4. It's dumb, but that's how D&D 3.x/PF does it.

    Aargghh, you're right! I could have sworn it said a +8 enhancement bonus to your {whatever stat} modifier . . . And now I'm even more disappointed that Pathfinder 2nd Edition isn't getting rid of ability scores in favor of modifiers the way Mutants & Masterminds did. (While we're at it, I'm also disappointed that Pathfinder 2nd Edition seems to be getting rid of 6/9 and 4/9 casters.)


    Advise the best bloodline for Eldritch Scion at the moment?


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    PhD. Okkam wrote:
    Advise the best bloodline for Eldritch Scion at the moment?

    Entirely IMO - arcane. Casting two spells (effectively) and making a full attack in the same round is still good, whatever the other limitations of the scion. I'd be tempted to make a human with the improvisation feats to get around the total lack of skill points.

    That said abyssal still makes you huge and aberrant still gives you reach and occasional staggered enemies, and an eldritch scion might get more use out of shapechanger than an actual bloodrager due to having more spells. Options exist.


    MrCharisma wrote:
    Wolven18259 wrote:

    Thank you for the help. That looks like an awesome combo MrCharisma, however I was thinking about using a feat for Craft Magic Arms and Armour (which will compliment my character's story and help the party). But I do like the idea of Heightened Spell and I may use that instead of Empower Spell. I'm not sure what my character will come up against UnArcaneElection, would you have another idea?

    My stats are:
    STR 15
    DEX 12
    CON 13
    INT 18
    WIS 10
    CHA 8
    As I said, I'm expecting him to be a front-liner as he would want to protect everyone in the party (and I don't think we have anyone else that'll fill that role).

    You can absolutely take Craft Magic Arms and Armour. Great feat too. If you're expecting to be a front-liner I'd definitely put your level 4 stat point into Strength. The Arcane Accuracy arcana looks really great for those stats, but I am a huge fan of Wand Wielder (get yourself a wand of Vanish and a wand of True Strike). Any of those options look good to me.

    EDIT: I just noticed that Con score. If you're the only front-liner you might want to put that level 4 stat point into constitution instead. Your magic can deal the damage but you can only take so much damage yourself. The Toughness feat might be good, and I'm more of a fan of Wand Wielder (and a wand of Vanish) if you're the only front-liner. You can attack then cast then 5 foot step every round and the enemies can't see you to target you. It's a pretty great strategy for avoiding death.

    UnArcaneElection wrote:
    MrCharisma wrote:
    My favourite thing to do at level 5 is take Heighten Spell as your bonus feat and Preferred Spell (Shocking Grasp) as your normal 5th level feat. Yes this makes you a "cookie cutter" magus, but it also means you never have to actually prepare shocking grasp, so you can focus entirely on utility if you want to.
    Interesting idea, although Heighten Spell itself is mostly a feat tax on a 6/9 caster (unless you are frequently coming up against things like
    ...

    nice one


    This might not work, but I just had a thought: What if a 10th level Staff Magus spends a feat on Weapon Proficiency: Scimitar? If they hold the staff in the off hand and the scimitar with the main hand do they count as wielding both weapons? If they use Wand Wielder to cast using the staff and attack with the Scimitar do they keep the shield bonus? I just thought of this and haven't thought it through yet, so it may not work at all, but I thought I'd put it out there.

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    PhD. Okkam wrote:
    Advise the best bloodline for Eldritch Scion at the moment?

    Arcane (three buffs as a single swift action? Sold!), Aberrant (free reach, stagger on every crit, and numerous immunities), or Destined (numerical bonuses to everything, and a get-out-of-death-free card).

    MrCharisma wrote:
    This might not work, but I just had a thought: What if a 10th level Staff Magus spends a feat on Weapon Proficiency: Scimitar? If they hold the staff in the off hand and the scimitar with the main hand do they count as wielding both weapons?

    Yes, but spell combat requires a free hand. For the Magus, any option that's incompatible with spell combat is probably not such a great idea.


    Kurald Galain wrote:
    MrCharisma wrote:
    This might not work, but I just had a thought: What if a 10th level Staff Magus spends a feat on Weapon Proficiency: Scimitar? If they hold the staff in the off hand and the scimitar with the main hand do they count as wielding both weapons?
    Yes, but spell combat requires a free hand. For the Magus, any option that's incompatible with spell combat is probably not such a great idea.

    What about if I had a GLOVE OF STORING? Free action shrink my staff, full-round action spell-combat, free action grow my staff...?

    Seriously though this does seem like it's just 1 feat away from not losing anything* compared to a normal magus, am I right there? (For the record I VERY rarely play above level 10, so this is unlikely to affect me. I just want to know for curiosity's sake)

    *(except fighter training)

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    MrCharisma wrote:
    What about if I had a GLOVE OF STORING? Free action shrink my staff, full-round action spell-combat, free action grow my staff...?

    Yes, that should work; the main issue is that staves are massively overpriced for what they do. If you're not using the staff's power (and frankly, for most staves you probably won't) then you're paying through the nose for a small AC boost. For instance, at level 10 you get +2 AC for one feat and 17200 gold (10k for the glove, 7200 for the cheapest staff); whereas ring of protection, amulet of natural armor, or plain ol' magic armor are much cheaper. The cheapest staff with caster level 12+ is the Staff of Speaking (57200 gp); the cheapest with CL 16+ is the fairly useless Staff of 100 Hands, at 180200 gp. There are no staves at CL 20+.

    At level 13, you get a free +3 AC on top of that, which makes the combo fairly decent. On the off chance that you have a swift action to spare (which, again, you probably won't), you can add another +3 by enchanting your staff with arcane pool. So +5 to +8 AC for one feat and 17k gp.

    So Staff Magus works better with a regular quarterstaff that you're actually attacking with.


    Kurald Galain wrote:
    MrCharisma wrote:
    What about if I had a GLOVE OF STORING? Free action shrink my staff, full-round action spell-combat, free action grow my staff...?

    Yes, that should work; the main issue is that staves are massively overpriced for what they do ... +2 AC for one feat and 17200 gold ... There are no staves at CL 20+.

    At level 13, you get a free +3 AC on top of that, which makes the combo fairly decent.
    So Staff Magus works better with a regular quarterstaff that you're actually attacking with.

    Yeah fair enough. I guess I'll save the glove of storing idea for higher levels when that kind of money is incidental.


    Kurald, I've noticed you've given lunge a blue rating, would you care to elaborate, as I've never felt the need for it.

    One argument that I've heard is that it helps you don't have to cast defensively. Not sure how true is that considering that since level 9 and afterwards more and more monsters will have reach. Anyways defensive casting should be an auto-success most of the time for a magus at that level and later.

    As mentioned, monsters will have reach so getting into the melee usually provokes, but magus has spells he can use to circumvent that (bladed dash, storm step, dimension door + dimensional agility).

    Also there is a long arm spell (level 1) that also gives reach. So I'm really interested in what makes lunge so good and how to use it?

    Also, what do you think about taking critical focus (level 13) and then using tactical adaptation to get critical feats, such as staggering critical. Frigid touch is similar but has SR, and costs multiple level 2 spells to keep it going for more rounds (unless you crit, you should crit once per round at that level, but may not be on a frigid touch attack), so this gives you a good chance at stagger-locking enemies and you can cast other spells.


    Hello. I have a viability question about a Magus build, and this seemed like a good place to ask.

    What I'd like to know is whether Bloodrager and Eldritch Scion Magus bloodlines stack together. For example, if I have a Bloodrager 1/Eldritch Scion 3, do I get 4th level bloodline powers when I use Bloodrage or Mystic Focus?

    The writing on the Eldritch Scion is a little vague, but specifically calls out that a cross-class needs to have the same bloodline, so I'd assume it stacks. That makes this cross a lot more viable as a build, and it wasn't specifically mentioned in the guide when Bloodrager dip was so I though I'd ask.

    Still need to figure a good fatigue management technique for the build, if it's viable. Of course, if using the Aberrant bloodline, the obvious method is to cycle from Rage to Mystic Focus and use that to wipe out the fatigue once you get the immunity from the bloodline. At early levels, the build's Rage pool should improve the staying power and mitigate the use of Pool points. Of course, the rage rounds will always be subpar, but you can't have everything.

    Also, on an aside, I noticed a feat called Flumefire Rage in the guide, sounded weird so I looked it up, and wowza, that's crazy. I assume someone has made a weird blaster sorcerer with that which deals +5 damage per die on fire spells?

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    Hamenaglar wrote:
    Kurald, I've noticed you've given lunge a blue rating, would you care to elaborate, as I've never felt the need for it.

    Certainly. The reason is that reach is extremely useful on a melee character. You want to make full attacks as often as possible, so what about if an enemy is just out of reach, or flying when you're not, or you drop an enemy and have attacks left in your sequence? Being able to reach an extra square will significantly expand your options there.

    And of course it's a good way to negate the advantage of an enemy who has reach. Alternatively, if you're a debuff or maneuver build and want to hit as many enemies as possible, reach also helps a lot with that.

    A key difference is that Long Arm and Bladed Dash cost an action (or a part of spell combat) whereas Lunge does not, meaning you can use it in addition to casting anything else. Action economy advantage is a big deal.

    Quote:
    Also, what do you think about taking critical focus (level 13) and then using tactical adaptation to get critical feats, such as staggering critical.

    Well, you don't need to stagger-lock an enemy for multiple rounds, as an enemy who's eating your full attacks is not going to live for multiple rounds. And at level 13 you'd have level-2 spell slots to spare. I use Frigid Touch when I don't get a full attack.

    Ltd_Fox wrote:
    What I'd like to know is whether Bloodrager and Eldritch Scion Magus bloodlines stack together.

    They do; the Scion's ability says so. You'd want the Mad Magic feat so you can cast Magus spells while raging. For fatigue management, I'd either spend the entire combat raging OR spend the entire combat focusing, then alternate between combats; this way it's not an issue. Yes, this is very much a viable build.

    Quote:
    Also, on an aside, I noticed a feat called Flumefire Rage in the guide, sounded weird so I looked it up, and wowza, that's crazy.

    Yeah, it sounds like prime errata-bait.


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    "Errata-bait" can only be read in the voice of a Dalek in my head.

    Edit: this contributes nothing to the conversation. My apologies.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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    I've had some time to look over the Planar Adventures book, and it has a number of interesting feats.

    * Authoritative Spell is interesting. If used with a spell that doesn't give a saving throw (e.g. Ray of Frost) then the feat doesn't give a save either. Also available as metarod.
    * Blissful Spell is a decent buff or debuff on every spell you cast. Also available as metarod.
    * Chaos Reigns is nice for a polymorph-based Magus; whenever you're in a form without hands, this gives you an extra attack.
    * Crypt Spell adds an automatic debuff for undead to all your spells; probably best as a metarod.
    * Grasping Tail is decent on any race with a tail (e.g. kitsune) that doesn't have the tiefling's or vanara's tail ability.
    * Planar Infusion is a good feat but it's more flexible to use the Bestow Planar Infusion spell for it.
    * Tidal Swiftness basically gives you +10' movement rate whenever you have time to prepare for combat.
    * Wanderer's Fortune feat gives you freedom of movement at-need as a swift action. Wow.

    Heroes of the Fringe has one interesting feat, which is Gifts from the Sea. As written it appears to bypass the restriction on what spells can be potions. If this feat can give you e.g. Monkey Fish or Longstrider 1/d then it's an interesting pick. If not, it is immediately obsoleted by some cheap actual potions.


    Something that I haven't seen pointed out on the guide or this thread is the fact that Nature-Bonded can stack with Staff Magus. I wasn't too sold on the Nature-Bonded Archetype until I noticed this fact, and the fact that this Archetype combination is one of the highest defensive options in the game - in lieu of being Light Armor.

    Oaken Staff - albeit expensive - seems to be one of the best items with the Nature-Bonded/Staff Magus combination.

    I'm still going over numbers, but it seems like it would be fun to play. How long would it take to receive 40k gold in PFS? lmao


    Chaos Reigns is tailor-made for an ID Rager (which I don't recommend) in that it gives you the slam attack you need to use the abilities of a lot of the emotional focuses.

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    TheMonkeyFish wrote:
    Something that I haven't seen pointed out on the guide or this thread is the fact that Nature-Bonded can stack with Staff Magus.

    True... I've only listed combinations if both archetypes are rated green or better. I suppose you refer to the staff's AC bonus and the naturebond's Barkskin spell and merged familiar. It takes quite a lot of levels to get going, though. You might get a more effective defense with the Spell Shield or Flamboyant arcana, neither of which the naturebond can use...

    Quote:
    Oaken Staff - albeit expensive - seems to be one of the best items with the Nature-Bonded/Staff Magus combination.

    Why is that, though? Staff Magus works better with a regular staff, and Barkskin is already on the naturebond's list.

    Quote:
    How long would it take to receive 40k gold in PFS?

    Around level 8.

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