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


Advice

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Ancient red dragon. CR 19, SR 30 (= CR + 11) which is a standard relationship between CR and SR.

If you fight this at level 15 it's supposed to be a very tough fight, APL +4. Assuming you have spell penetration and piercing spell (by feat or by rod) but no other caster level bonuses (like that orange ioun stone, or dweomer's essence, or spell specialization, or being an elf, etc.) you need to roll an 8 to penetrate its SR. That's unreliable but not actually hard. If you are an elf and you have greater spell pen you need to roll a 4 which is getting reliable. Don't overstate the problem.


Also, Frostbite would roll the resistance for each individual touch attack (4 in the first round, 3 in the second). More rolls means you end up closer to your expected damage value - hence, less all or nothing then attempting to 2-shot with calcific touch.

And I wouldn't learn all the elemental metamagic feats. At that level, a complete set of lesser metamagic rods for all elements costs a pittance.

Just flat out assuming you have a dedicated support-sorc/wiz seems like a bit of a stretch. But if you do, they would need to have the standard action available, and a means to deliver the spell without getting squished. Which actually makes me wonder: How does Calcific Touch interact with familiars? Can they multi-touch with it? If they can, maybe your build should make room for the Familiar arcana?

Scarab Sages

Caemar wrote:
Also, Frostbite would roll the resistance for each individual touch attack (4 in the first round, 3 in the second). More rolls means you end up closer to your expected damage value - hence, less all or nothing then attempting to 2-shot with calcific touch.

I'm pretty sure this is not correct. I don't remember where the example is for scorching ray, but it was clarified there that you roll resistance once against a spell the first time it would affect a creature. I don't think that changes with these spells. Certainly not for separate attacks made in the same round, but I don't think carrying over into the next round matters. Otherwise things like a creature standing in a wall of fire would require rolling every round.


I always interpreted that rule to refer to spells that continue to "independently" do stuff to the target, like acid arrow or (as you mention) wall of fire.

But if you interpret it to mean all effects of a single spell, then that means Calcific Touch and Frostbite are exactly equal in that regard - a failed SR check means a wasted cast, and a successful one that you don't have to roll again for subsequent attacks. (Incidentally, I figure this means it would be better to forgo the shocking grasp in the above example, and instead milking a successful Frostbite cast for the maximum number of attacks - assuming the target is still alive, which seems doubtful anyway)

Personally, I feel that's a tad too much randomness. Whether as DM or as PC, I dislike having the outcome of a fight routinely depend on 1-2 rolls (See also: initiative... :/).

Scarab Sages

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Found it. It's just in the Spell Resistance rules. Spell Resistance applies once per spell, not every time the target would be hit by the spell.

prd wrote:
Check spell resistance only once for any particular casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability. If spell resistance fails the first time, it fails each time the creature encounters that same casting of the spell. Likewise, if the spell resistance succeeds the first time, it always succeeds. If the creature has voluntarily lowered its spell resistance and is then subjected to a spell, the creature still has a single chance to resist that spell later, when its spell resistance is back up.

LINK


I've got a 16th level Magus character made but I'm hesitant on taking Quicken Arcana. It seems that 1/day is pretty limiting but on the other hand it seems you might be glad you've had it.

Has anyone really found that the Quicken Arcana has really saved their character or party? Or has it been just situationally useful and not a deal breaker?

I have magical lineage Shocking Grasp, Intensified Spell and Empowered Spell but I'm on the fence with Elemental Spell. How often is there creatures resistant to Electricity damage? If I do need it, is Acid the better choice here?

Next question is if a 31 AC on a Kensai Magus is good or barely adequate? Are saves of Fort 17, Ref 18, WIL 17 good or do I need higher?


I don't know about the AC and Saves question off the top of my head, but I'll take a shot at the others.

Quicken Arcana would normally be bad due to the limit of 1 use per day, but if you are planning to fight 1 Dragon per day and then go home, it would be decent -- hence my including it in the Whirling Calcifier build above.

Note that for a Hexcrafter (not you), taking actual Quicken Spell could be worthwhile once you hit 13th level, to enable you to cast Quickened Ill Omen (eventually repeatedly, which Quickened Magic won't let you do), to get off a No Save Misfortune effect; if you have this, then Quickened True Strike could also have its uses (in case you need to make sure that Spell Combat/Spellstrike of something else lands).

How common creatures resistant to electricity are depends upon your campaign. If you are up against a lot of Demons, they will be very common -- even Dretches and Quasits are immune to Electricity, and some are Immune to Fire. I have heard of Acid being the least-commonly resisted energy type overall, although Demons seem to have Resistance 10 to all energy types that they don't have Immunity to.

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Eigengrau wrote:
Next question is if a 31 AC on a Kensai Magus is good or barely adequate? Are saves of Fort 17, Ref 18, WIL 17 good or do I need higher?

Check this page!

Average to-hit on a CR 18 monster is +27, so 31 AC is not very good. I believe AC gets to be largely irrelevant at this level; I have a caster with 38 AC and that's decent but still not great. Try going for other defenses, like Stoneskin or Ether Step.

Clicking on some random monsters I find DCs on their abilities anywhere between 18 and 30, so +17 on your saves strikes me as pretty good; and I find that my characters have comparable saves at that level.


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Kurald Galain wrote:
Check this page!

Actually, check this page! It provides benchmarks in three tiers (~ adequate/good/great), based on the monster creation guidelines, for 95%/70%/50% chance of success for attack roll, AC, and saves, and 80%/65%/50% chance of success for DCs. The link in the spreadsheet contains the full explanation.

Personally, I use a slightly more detailed version (four tiers, and additional benchmarks for CMB and CMD), plus I prefer to use AC based on martial-centric monsters, albeit at a reduced expectation. Here's a version with my numbers.

The spreadhseet you linked is severely outdated, by the way - here is a newer version I made.


A 16th level magus is at a level where they could have spell perfection and quicken spell, and if at all possible I'd prefer that over the arcana. Still, magi have a lot of use for swift or immediate actions and it's not a must-have.

If you'd rather not try to infer required values from the monsters, Derklord's spreadsheet does that for you.

Edit: and apparently Derklord is on hand right now, never mind.


Eigengrau wrote:
I've got a 16th level Magus character made but I'm hesitant on taking Quicken Arcana. It seems that 1/day is pretty limiting but on the other hand it seems you might be glad you've had it.

Since everything else seems to have been answered incredibly thoroughly (and I also use Derklord's spreadsheet, thanks Derklord), I'll weigh in on this.

One advantage of the Quicken Arcana is that it can quicken any spell on your list. A quickened 6th level spell would normally use a 10th level spell slot (which doesn't exist), so being able to do that could be incredibly valuable.

It IS possible to quicken a 6th level spell without this arcana, but it requires investment - Magical Lineage and Spell Perfection, and you'd have to choose one spell that's quicken-able for your character, rather than having the choice between any 6th (/5th/4th/etc) level spell as an option. It feels like a waste to use this arcana on lower level spells since you could quicken them anyway, but on the other hand it's nice to have the option if you need it, and heck - a quickened Vanish (or whatever) could save your bacon someday.

Is it so good an option that every Magus should take it? No, not really. There are a lot of other options competing for your arcana and feat choices, not to mention your swift actions.

Is it a good option that has the potential to impact important combats? Definitely. It just depends how you're likely to play (It's probably not great if you're someone who has trouble using resources because you're always saving them for later just in case).


Thank you everyone for the advice and links!
I'm going to hang on to the Quicken Arcana.

Still kinda on the fence with Elemental Spell though.

Boosting my AC with Ring of Protection +5 so now I'll be at 36 before Haste and shield spell or mirror image or blur etc. Hopefully I'll have chances to self buff before hand and I could cast Blade Tutor's Spirit and use my Combat Expertise if needed.


MrCharisma wrote:

{. . .]

It IS possible to quicken a 6th level spell without this arcana, but it requires investment - Magical Lineage and Spell Perfection, and you'd have to choose one spell that's quicken-able for your character, rather than having the choice between any 6th (/5th/4th/etc) level spell as an option. {. . .}

It is possible to quicken any 6th level spell or even any 9th level spell (if you're that kind of caster) up to 3 times per day without Quickened Magic or even a feat, but it requires INVESTMENT (that will break your bank account): For a 6th level spell, specifically 75,500 gp worth of investment, or 37,750 gp if you get a friendly party member to make it (or do it yourself).


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Yeah but they're not great for a Magus since they're not inherently compatible with Spell Combat. Yes there are ways around that, but they require investment as well.

Although you did remind me about METAMAGIC GEMS which (as far as I can tell) DON'T have any trouble with Spell Combat, they're just used as a part of casting the spell itself.

So pick some of those up as an emergency backup anyway.


Like I said, the investment would break your bank account. And so would Metamagic Gems, although these would take longer, and not require special measures (or special parentage) to work with Spell Combat/Spellstrike (although once you get Monstrous Physique, that becomes a lot less of an issue). Although if you're specializing in calcifying Dragons, you might be able to make it work out, since you're probably not going to need more than 2 or 3 per Boss Dragon fight, and the haul from the Dragon's hoard should more than make up for it (especially if you have a party member making the Metamagic Gems). Although if you can manage to save enough (which buying Metamagic Gems would hurt) while calcifying Dragons, eventually you could get the Metamagic Rod(s) you want, and it would certainly be up in the range where you would be able to cast Monstrous Physique.

Scarab Sages

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Although if you can manage to save enough (which buying Metamagic Gems would hurt) while calcifying Dragons, eventually you could get the Metamagic Rod(s) you want, and it would certainly be up in the range where you would be able to cast Monstrous Physique.

Or Aroden’s Spellsword. Just a reminder that its duration is 10 times that of monstrous physique, and this is exactly the kind of thing it’s useful for. Granted, if you’re casting Monstrous Physique anyway for the other benefits, you don’t need Aroden’s Spellsword for the metamagic rod. But if you did have both going, you could have access to two different rods (or 3, assuming 4 arms) without having to spend actions to swap them.


^Missed that one . . . and it's available earlier.


Just in case anybody didn't notice, Secrets of Magic is out, and on Archives of Nethys, including 2nd Edition Magus. Will need more study, but at first inspection it looks like the 2nd Edition Magus trades out variety (including ability to use Metamagic effectively) and utility and the action economy enhancement of Spell Combat in exchange for getting spells eventually all the way to 9th level (also starts with Light and Medium Armor, but never gains Heavy Armor). On the other hand, the Hybrid Studies do give a couple options that were very limited in 1st Edition, specifically Two-Handed weapon Spellstrike use (in 1st Edition generally meant shooting yourself in the foot with respect action economy, or getting to high level with the Mindblade archetype), Shield use (in 1st Edition restricted to the Skirnir archetype, which takes several levels to really get going), and ranged Spellstrike (in 1st Edition restricted to either the Eldritch Archer archetype or to shooting yourself in the foot with respect to action economy with the Card Caster or Myrmidarch archetypes).

Inexorable Iron = tanky two-handed Magus -- does not directly correspond to any 1st Edition archetypes.
Laughing Shadow = closest to generic 1st Edition Magus, but with a lean towards mobility and sneaking.
Sparkling Targe = rough approximation of a 1st Edition Skirnir Magus. (Also learned that "targe" is Old English for shield.)
Starlit Span = rough approximation of an 1st Edition Eldritch Archer Magus, but the range of Ranged Spellstrike is limited to your 1st weapon increment (unless some feat I missed lets you extend this); on the other hand, unlike the 1st Edition version, you aren't forbidden from doing a normal melee Spellstrike.
Twisting Tree = rough approximation of a 1st Edition Staff Magus.

All of the above really hollow out lower level spellcasting relative to 1st Edition (hence a large part of the loss of variety and utility), so if you want to get this back, add the Wizard Archetype, or if you want a an approximation of a Hexcrafter Magus, instead add the Witch Archetype (which has the added bonus of saving you a feat if you wanted to get a Familiar anyway).

Even aside from losing lower level spells, your upper level spells are also much more limited in number than for a 1st Edition Magus, so you will need careful management to get as much mileage out of one initiation of Spellstrike as you can (which is what you have to substitute for 1st Edition Spell Recall).

If you are something other than a Magus looking to get in on Magus abilities, the Magus Archetype seems really limited, but might be of use if you just want to be able to Spellstrike from the spells of some other spellcasting class that has decent melee capability (Warrior Muse Bard? Battle Oracle? Cleric? Druid?).

Anyway, given my choice, I'd rather stick with 1st Edition, including for Magus, but at least 2nd Edition doesn't seem to have hosed the Magus as badly as it hosed the Oracle and Witch.


So been away for a few years from this but is Paizo still going to make 1st edition stuff or only focusing on 2nd? I've done their playtest stuff where I bought the paperback book and didn't like it at all.


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Far as I know, Paizo have left first edition behind. Stuff is still available on the store, and 3PP are still in the game.


Eigengrau wrote:
So been away for a few years from this but is Paizo still going to make 1st edition stuff or only focusing on 2nd? I've done their playtest stuff where I bought the paperback book and didn't like it at all.

It's worth noting that the playtest is different from the actual game for PF2.

I still prefer 1E, but if your only experience with 2E is the playtest it might be worth revisiting.

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Thanks for noticing. However, this is explicitly the first-edition forum, and this is an first-edition guide. Given how completely different the editions are, it makes no sense to try and cover a 2E Magus in the same guide.


^I agree on not trying to cover the 2nd Edition Magus in the same guide, just giving me thoughts on what to do as a player if you are forced to "upgrade" (and I say that with a bad taste in my mouth, but not as much as if I had to do it for an Oracle or Witch).


Can someone refresh my memory on how Bladed Dash, Telekinetic Charge, Force Hook Charge and Flash Forward spells work with the Magus on his Spell Combat ability?


Eigengrau wrote:

Can someone refresh my memory on how Bladed Dash, Telekinetic Charge, Force Hook Charge and Flash Forward spells work with the Magus on his Spell Combat ability?

Bladed Dash and Force Hook Charge give you pounce (effectively), including the extra weapon attack from Bladed Dash or the ranged touch-attack from Force Hook Charge.

Telekinetic Charge does the same, but the bonus attack would use your immediate action (so if you're using it on your turn it would use your swift action). You would also need to add the spell to the Magus spell list.

I don't think Flash Forward really works though. You'd only be able to make 1 attack against your enemy before moving back to your starting position.

Bladed Dash is usually the best option. It gives an extra weapon attack as part of the spell, the movement doesn't provoke AoOs and it's a lower level spell.


I wrote:

^I agree on not trying to cover the 2nd Edition Magus in the same guide, just giving me thoughts on what to do as a player if you are forced to "upgrade" (and I say that with a bad taste in my mouth, but not as much as if I had to do it for an Oracle or Witch).

Now on the other hand, writing about backporting Magi from 2nd Edition to 1st Edition might not be a bad idea . . . .


Stumbled upon this trick that was meant for a normal Fighter, but that Myrmidarch Magus has the potential to use in the right build: Get Advanced Weapon Training (Warrior Spirit) as soon as possible (for a Myrmidarch Magus this will be 7th level, or 6th level if you do Retraining or if you dipped 1 level in something else), and then use Warrior Spirit to get the Training enhancement (it's only +1, so you qualify right away) to get yourself a Combat Feat that is different from the one you get with Tactical Adaptation (and if you are a Half-Elf, in turn different from the one you get with Paragon Surge). The one you get from the Training enhancement has the disadvantage of only lasting for 1 minute, but has the advantage of not having to be the same feat if you use this again later in the day (unless it got some Errata I haven't heard about). (You CAN change the Tactical Adaptation and Paragon Surge feats with Emergency Attunement, but that's another fixed feat you have to invest, it's potentially a good investment anyway, but Warrior Spirit makes it a less pressing need.) When you get 5 more levels, you could even use one of the flex feats (including the one from Training) to get Advanced Weapon Training (some other option). Since no other Magus archetype gets Weapon Training without going VMC Fighter (which takes all the way to 11th level to get Weapon Training), this is a significant plus for Myrmidarch.


Has anyone got an example of an Eldritch Archer (possibly also Hexcrafter) that uses a firearm? I'm curious to see if that's something that can be reasonably accomplished with just a couple of feats or if it requires a gunslinger dip.


^You could get Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Firearms)(*) at 3rd level (Exotic Weapon Proficiency requires BAB +1, so you don't qualify at 1st level). If you want Grit, you could add Amateur Gunslinger (you could even get it at 1st level, since it doesn't have a prerequisite other than having no levels in a class that has Grit/Panache), but that's yet another feat. Reportedly, Eldritch Archer works fine with firearms once you get the proficiency.

(*)Unlike most Exotic Weapon Proficiency choices, this gives you proficiency with all firearms instead of a particular type of firearm.


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You could also go Half-Elf and take the Ancestral Aems alternate racial trait to get proficiency from level 1.

The biggest problem with firearms in PF is the need for the Quick Clear deed. Without it, whenever you suffer a Misfire you have to spend 10 minutes fixing your gun or risk having it explode. 10 minutes is obviously not an in-combat option. You can of course take the AMATEUR GUNSLINGER feat to get Quick Clear, though this comes with 2 problems: 1) It costs a feet on an already feat-intensive build, and 2) You only get 1 Grit point, and can't hold more than 1 Grit in reserve at any time unless you spend another feat on Extra Grit (which costs even more feats).

The second problem with firearms for non-gunslingers is the lack of DEX-to-damage. Honestly I think this is completely overblown. DEX-to-damage on Gunslingers is very strong, but if you're playing a Magus you can add all sorts of damage to your weapon before even taking Spellstrike into account, so I wouldn't worry.

So the main thing a Gunslinger dip would save you is a few feats, but it's likely saving you 2 or 3 feats, which is a lot for a ranged build that also needs Rapid Reload, and the bonus deeds (eg. Deadeye) will be really nice occasionally.

My take is that you don't Need a Gunslinger dip, but it'll save you a lot of hastle and is probably worth it. I certainly wouldn't put more than 1 level into Gunslinger if you're going for Magus though

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ZanThrax wrote:
Has anyone got an example of an Eldritch Archer (possibly also Hexcrafter) that uses a firearm? I'm curious to see if that's something that can be reasonably accomplished with just a couple of feats or if it requires a gunslinger dip.

What Charisma said. And really, you'll be fine as a Magus with a one-level dip in something else. I've also got a Magus with a monk dip and a Magus with a cleric dip, it's unexpected but it works well.


Needed:
- a way to reload
- a way to handle or negate misfires
- proficiency if you reload manually

Wanted:
- Rapid Shot
- Deadly Aim

Good to have:
- proficiency if you have auto-loading
- Precise Shot

There're three ways to handle reload time: One-handed firearm with Rapid Reload and alchemical cartridges, a Shadowshooting or Shadowcraft fiream,
and the Spell Cartridges feat.
Since an eldritch archer can't switch weapons, ways to handle or negate misfires are: The Quick Clear gunslinger deed (via a dip or the Amateur Gunslinger feat), the Reliable or Greater Reliable weapon enchantments, and the Jury-Rig spell (which requires a way to repair the firearm later, e.g. with the Gunsmithing feat or the Mending cantrip (from a party member or grabbed with the Two-World Magic trait). If your GM is nice, you might be able to get a bonded firearm crafted with the Create Enhanced Firearm fight, or may find an NPC who can use it to modify your bonded firearm.


Thanks all. I built the character as a straight Magus without a dip, level 7, using a reliable dragoon musket, with the intent of primarily using Spell Cartridges to avoid misfire risk. Mending via Two World Magic and Jury Rig to deal with misfires that do happen. PBS & Rapid Shot to allow a decent number of force bullets per round.

I think he'll be okay without the proper gunslinger abilities, although not having any stats to damage means that those force bullets aren't going to hit very hard (1d4+4 or +5 if he enhances the gun before he starts using arcane strike every round)


First, double check your reload times. Even with Rapid Reload and Cartridges a lot of tye 2-handed firearms still take a move action to reload (which would mean you can't full attack). I'm not familiar with the Dragoon Musket though, so that weapon may actually be fine as you are (I'm not sure, but you should check).

Second, as a 7th level Magus you can spend 1 Arcane Pool point to add +2 to your weapon ... or - for example - add Flaming and Frost for +2d6 damage, bring you up to 1d4+4+2d6 (~12.5) damage. It's still not great but with Arcane Strike that's ~14.5 damage, and at level 9 with Deadly Aim and another +1 from your Arcane Pool that's 1d4+10+3d6 (~23) damage per shot.

Plus spells.


MrCharisma wrote:
First, double check your reload times. Even with Rapid Reload and Cartridges a lot of tye 2-handed firearms still take a move action to reload

Shadowshooting or Spell Cartridges take care of that. Otherwise, reloading a dragoon musket is a full-round or (with Rapid Reload) standard action that loads three shots.

And yeah, between temporary weapon enchantments, and spells, damage isn't an issue.


Derklord wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
First, double check your reload times. Even with Rapid Reload and Cartridges a lot of tye 2-handed firearms still take a move action to reload
Shadowshooting or Spell Cartridges take care of that. Otherwise, reloading a dragoon musket is a full-round or (with Rapid Reload) standard action that loads three shots.

*Thumbs up*


Oh, if you are going Arcane Strike I think Magi make much better use of RIVING STRIKE than other classes. The swift action is at a premium for Magi, but if you're already spending it to increase your damage then reducing the enemies' saves is a huge bonus to you and any other casters in the party.


I completely failed to consider that I could put two elemental damage boosts on the gun instead of increasing the straight enhancement. Now I just need to fight something besides daemons all day so that it can actually land.

If I get to play this guy, he's very likely to take Riving Strike at 9th. I just wish it helped with Supernatural abilities as well so it would affect his hexes. Blast an enemy with the gun, and then put them to sleep afterwards.


So Riving Strike wouldn't help with your hexes anyway.

Riving Strike lasts for 1 round. If you hit an enemy with Arcane Strike on your turn then the penalty to saves from Riving Strike will past until just before your next turn. When your next turn comes around and you go to cast a spell/hex/whatever on the enemy they will no longer have the penalty from Riving Strike.

This is one of the reasons I think Riving Strike is so good on a Magus. If a Bard uses Riving Strike they can't really make use of the penalty themself, they have to hope an ally casts a spell on their enemy to make it worthwhile. Bards CAN use Riving Strike, but you either have to make use of AoOs to deliver the Riving Strike debuff and then casting on their turn, or using multiple-round spells to give penalties after the first round the soell is cast.

But a Magus can use Spell Combat to attack first with Riving Strike and then cast a spell all in the same action. So you can more easily use Riving Strike to lower the saves against your own spells.


Derklord wrote:

{. . .}

Since an eldritch archer can't switch weapons, {. . .}

This isn't totally impossible. The sticking point is the Eldritch Archer's Bonded Weapon working (partly) like a Wizard's Bonded Object, making casting difficult when not holding it. But the other Eldritch Archer Magus abilities aren't tied to it, so in an emergency (or even just to save on expensive and/or depleted ammunition until you can get something like the Arcane Strike --> Spell Cartridges feat chain) you could use some other ranged weapon with your abilities, as long as you can either plow through the Concentration check (if you actually don't have your Bonded Weapon) or hold your Bonded Weapon in your other hand(*) while firing the ranged weapon one-handed (Works with a Light Crossbow or a Stonebow for only a -2 penalty -- hurts, but better than nothing; works with a Hand Crossbow without penalty if you somehow get proficiency with that; even works with a Blowgun without penalty).

(*)The Wizard Bonded Object rules say you have to hold your weapon, but they don't say it has to be unholstered. The Eldritch Archer Magus rules say you get a Bonded Object that works like a Wizard's Bonded Object, except that it must be a ranged weapon, and you can't use it to cast a spell once per day.

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ZanThrax wrote:
Now I just need to fight something besides daemons all day so that it can actually land.

In a few levels you'll be able to put Holy on your gun. In fact, if you're going to fight a lot of daemons, flat-out buying a gun with the Holy or EvilOutsiderBane enchantment is a very good deal.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
The Wizard Bonded Object rules say you have to hold your weapon, but they don't say it has to be unholstered.

If it's holstered, the you're not holding it. That's what "holding" means.


Kurald Galain wrote:

{. . .}

UnArcaneElection wrote:
The Wizard Bonded Object rules say you have to hold your weapon, but they don't say it has to be unholstered.
If it's holstered, the you're not holding it. That's what "holding" means.

You could be holding it while it is holstered. (This has to be possible because you have to do so for a brief period of time when you are drawing or holstering the weapon.)


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Derklord wrote:
{. . .}Since an eldritch archer can't switch weapons, {. . .}
This isn't totally impossible.

You're right, if you don't (foreseeably) need to cast for the remainder of the fight, dropping a misfired firearm and drawing a new one still works, even for a Eldritch Archer Magus. It's not as big a deal without Quick Draw (which a Magus probably doesn't have the feats for even with retraining), and there's a good chance you won't even end up with Gunsmithing to craft firearms at half price, but it's still not a bad idea to have a firearm or two extra.


^You can also use a different type of ranged weapon. In some cases, this might even be advantageous, since Firearms are very noisy -- when you need to take a quiet shot, pull out and load up your Blowgun, imbue the Blowgun Dart with your spell of choice while holding onto your Bonded Firearm with one hand (with it in the holster so you can drop it back in or draw it out as you need), and then shoot off the imbued Blowgun Dart.


I started trying to think of ways (other than the obvious mobility increase) for a Magus to make good use of being mounted, so now I have a question: How do Bladed Dash and its Greater version interact with a mounted Magus (including the Mount)? (I think I have the answer but want to make sure I have it right.) Since Bladed Dash is Instantaneous, you can't use Improved Share Spells on it (it's on you or your Mount but not both), and a Magus doesn't even have a good way to get Improved Share Spells anyway (Animal Ally is a feat, not a class feature), unless the Magus is small and uses Undersized Mount to make the Familiar be the Mount (and still doesn't work for Bladed Dash). I guess at high levels you could use normal Share Spells to cast Quickened Bladed Dash on your Mount and then Greater Bladed Dash on yourself. Maybe better to get a Mount (preferably one that has Pounce), have it Charge, and then do your normal Spell Combat/Spellstrike thing since Fight with a Combat-Trained Mount is a Free Action for you. You won't get the option to attack everything in a line, but you will do a lot of damage (and potential other debilitating effects) to whatever is at the end of a charge.

Small Magus first choice: Can still go where most Medium characters can go while mounted. Easy entry via Familiar Magus Arcana or Beastblade archetype; get a Mauler Familiar (at 3rd level), and get Undersized Mount at the same time, and then get Mauler's Endurance as soon as you can (or switch these feats if you don't mind a couple of levels of not riding it when it isn't in Battle Form; or if you only want to be mounted while in combat, skimp out on the Undersized Mount feat altogether). (Caution: Mauler trades out Deliver Touch Spells, so this partly negates the advantage of the Beastblade archetype.) A Medium Magus can also do this, but absolutely has to have Undersized Mount to be able to ride the Familiar when it is in Battle Form, and that is the only way to ride it at all.

Medium Magus first choice: More physically durable (but worse Will Save) and higher damage output Animal Companion via Nature Soul + Animal Ally + Boon Companion. Animal Companion can gain its own feats. Costs 3 feats instead of 2 feats + 1 Magus Arcana, and leaves open the possibility of getting a Familiar for non-Mount/non-Mauler purposes, or of taking a Magus archetype (like Black Blade) that is incompatible with having a Familiar. A Small Magus can also do this, but might want the better Will Save that a Familiar will have.

Note: Evolved Companion excludes Pounce, whereas Evolved Familiar doesn't, but depends upon having access to pre-Unchained Eidolon Evolutions (Unchained has Pounce, but it's a 3-pointer instead of a 1-pointer).

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
I started trying to think of ways (other than the obvious mobility increase) for a Magus to make good use of being mounted

I would note that a lance is a one-handed weapon while mounted, meaning it qualifies for spell combat; plus it does double damage on a charge. You can spellstrike on a charge, and that's a pretty good combo. Augment this with standard charger feats. And it's really ok if it doesn't always work; you've got a ton of versatiliy to fall back on when you can't charge, so you don't need to be a one-trick pony (pun totally intended).

I would also consider using the Mount and/or Phantom Steed spells, because I'm not too impressed by the durability of mauler familiars.


Yes, I saw Lance in your guide, so I didn't think to mention it again, although I did think about it. The Lance does have the disadvantage for a Magus (shared with most other Spears) that its Criticals are deep (which won't help with your Spell Criticals) but not wide (which would help with your Spell Criticals).

I thought about Mount/Phantom Steed, although with those, you will also probably be unhorsed pretty quickly (although in some cases, that may be perfectly workable if you wanted a temporary mount anyway, as long as you are ready to take a tumble and recover from it quickly).

While looking through the comments in the discussion thread for IluzryMage's new Paladin/Antipaladin guide, I saw somebody pointed out Linebreaker, which is also on the Magus spell list but that I had somehow missed before. Although since it is a Standard Action to cast and has a target of "You", you either need to use it on yourself unmounted or have a Mount that is durable enough that you aren't likely to get deprived of it and manage to get the Share Spells ability so that you can cast this spell on it (I think Animal Ally covers that).

Trying to find "Charger Feats", I come up with:

The Dimensional Agility/Dimensional Assault/Dimensional Dervish feat chain, which is pretty good even if you aren't mounted, and your mount's speed may make even better; gives you the ability to approximate a slightly cheapo Greater Bladed Dash. You wouldn't want to spend all those feats just for that, but since they're good to have in their own right, might as well make use of them for this purpose if you have them anyway.

Forceful Charge (requires actual Animal Companion -- Mount, Phantom Steed, or Mauler Familiar won't cut it; also requires Power Attack and Improved Bull Rush). Improves your action economy if you want to Charge something to do damage (including Spell Combat/Spellstrike) and Bull Rush it at the same time. If you are a Skirnir, Guarded Charge requires Shield Focus but gets you off the hook for Power Attack and Strength 13, and gives you the effect of Improved Bull Rush but also stacks with its bonus, thereby making Forceful Charge even better. Improved Forceful Charge makes this better yet.

Ride-By Attack (requires Mounted Combat, which will actually help keep your Mount alive, so it's not just a feat tax). Only drawback is it's competing with Bladed Dash, which doesn't require any feats, and this requires Two feats, so even though they aren't bad feats, you might want to skip them. Alternatively, get them early, and then retrain to the Dimensional Agility/Dimensional Assault/Dimensional Dervish feat chain when you become able to cast Dimension Door more than once per day. On the other hand yet again, if you are going for Spirited Charge, that has these feats as a prerequisite, and it is available as soon as you can put all the feats together, without having to wait for Dimension Door. Spirited Charge gets better if you are allowed to have and spend Stamina Points, especially if you are using a Lance. Unfortunately, Spirited Charge won't increase the damage of your Spell Criticals.

Vigilant Charger (requires you to have both decent Strength and Dexterity and have Combat Reflexes, although if you have decent Dexterity, you're probably going to want to have Combat Reflexes anyway). Ready an action to charge -- good to be able to do, although it seems to me like one of those things that shouldn't be a feat. Probably better overall than the somewhat similar Rhino Charge.

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Yep. Well if you want to go bull rushing I'd add on Greater Bull Rush, and maybe find a way to get Charge Through on your mount. Wheeling Charge may also be helpful.

It's a shame about crit range, but a lance with arcane pool enchant, frostbite spell, and spirited charge hits hard.


I am following this with interest, a mounted Magus sounds awesome.

I do not have very much to add so I will let your wiser minds continue to scheme.

My only thought was to be a Half-Elf for Paragon Surge and Tactical Adaptation; allowing you to pick up the final feat when mounted combat is needed or a non mounted combat feat when in tight spaces. Planned flexibility if you will.

An Archery Cavalrymagi would surely be suited for flexibility (No stable Gallop with a Phantom Steed though)

P.S I do love the image of a Magus using a Phantom Steed


Kurald Galain wrote:
Yep. Well if you want to go bull rushing I'd add on Greater Bull Rush, and maybe find a way to get Charge Through on your mount. Wheeling Charge may also be helpful.

I thought about Greater Bull Rush and Wheeling Charge, although you'll want to get in some of the other stuff above first to get basically online before you get these, so I listed the other stuff first. Although getting your Mount to take feats once it gets enough Intelligence is not a bad idea if you have a real Animal Companion (Mauler Familiar, the Mount spell, and Phantom Steed won't cut it for this).

Kurald Galain wrote:
It's a shame about crit range, but a lance with arcane pool enchant, frostbite spell, and spirited charge hits hard.

a Lance Charge would also be a good candidate for Shocking Grasp or Vampiric Touch; I don't think that Charge damage multiples the spell damage or the number of Temporary Hit Points awarded by Vampiric Touch (except awarding the normal x2 Critical if you manage to get it), but it still adds up, and the Temporary Hit Points will be nice to have while your Armor Class is suffering from the Charge.

Minigiant wrote:

I am following this with interest, a mounted Magus sounds awesome.

I do not have very much to add so I will let your wiser minds continue to scheme.

I'm not necessarily wiser, just more wizened.

Minigiant wrote:
My only thought was to be a Half-Elf for Paragon Surge and Tactical Adaptation; allowing you to pick up the final feat when mounted combat is needed or a non mounted combat feat when in tight spaces. Planned flexibility if you will.

Paragon Surge has certainly occurred to me many times, and because of it Half-Elf is very often the best thing to be as a Magus, unless you really need that 1st level bonus feat and/or extra skill ranks. But also remember Tactical Adaptation, which ISN'T restricted to Half-Elves. Of course, it's better to have both, and while Tactical Adaptation is strictly restricted to Combat Feats, Paragon Surge isn't, which means you could use it to get something like Extra Magus Arcana (Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush)), which isn't technically a Combat Feat even though you would be using it for combat. You can even use both spells to get a feat and its prerequisite that you don't have. Emergency Attunement lets you switch the effect of both spells at the cost of halving the remaining duration and needing to spend a Standard Action. If you are allowed to have and use Stamina Points, it would even be tempting to get the Barroom Brawler feat on top of the spells -- the limited uses per day really hurts, but you can spend Stamina Points to activate it as a Swift Action instead of a Move Action, unlike the spells. Of course, if you are trying to specialize in something like mounted combat, spending too many feats on flexibility could actually shoot you in the foot due to depriving you of the fixed feats that you need to have online all the time; it's looking like mounted combat is pretty feat-intensive, so be careful about spending too many feats for flexibility or upgrades before you have the basics online. If you really need a 3rd source of Martial Flexibility, it might be worthwhile to take a single level dip in Brawler, which will get you more uses per day than Barroom Brawler, and has the added perk of giving you bonus Improved Unarmed Strike, which is the prerequisite for some other Charge-related feats that I didn't mention above (although you would still need Stamina Points and Barroom Brawler to get Swift Action Martial Flexibility), as well as starting you off with BAB +1 so that you aren't locked out at 1st level from feats that have that as a prerequisite; it also gives you proficiency in a few decent Exotic Weapons in the Close group, which are nice to have as backups (although this is semi-redundant with Improved Unarmed Strike).

Minigiant wrote:

An Archery Cavalrymagi would surely be suited for flexibility (No stable Gallop with a Phantom Steed though)

P.S I do love the image of a Magus using a Phantom Steed

If you are regularly doing archery, you probably won't be charging, and you won't need the fixed feats for those, so using Mount and later Phantom Steed (or a Mauler Familiar if you are Small) are actually viable. For making an Arcane Horse Archer, an Eldritch Archer Magus becomes attractive Archery itself is pretty feat-intensive, so again be careful about spending too many feats for flexibility or upgrades before you have the basics online.

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