Player argued that Magus gets an extra attack with spellstrike


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding. But in my reading of spellstrike and spell combat.... (Assume level 2)

With spell combat the Magus gets one attack with their weapon, and one melee touch attack with their open hand both at a -2 (as though using TWF) along with a free cast of a spell in the empty hand.

Spellstrike in my understanding replaces the TWF stuff in Spell Combat with a free melee attack to deliver a spell with a range of touch through the weapon.

Now basically the problem is that a player in Society the other day tried to argue that the way the class features are written means that the Magus when doing spellstrike gets two melee attacks with the same weapon but with a -2 to each hit, along with a spellcast delivered through the weapon. That's wrong right? And this FAQ answer
http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fz#v5748eaic9r45 seems to suggest that he is wrong.

Quote:
Spellstrike: At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell.

And this clearly states "instead of the free melee touch attack" which is referring to Spell Combat. But he insisted that it doesn't specifically call out Spell Combat as being overridden, and insists it still gives him a free melee attack, but somehow it is transferred to his weapon instead of his empty hand.

I made a call and said no, but he continued to argue the point afterwards, and I told him that even if by RAW he is right (though I believe he is not), he will both draw the ire of GMs for arguing it and will have to argue over it every time he plays with a different GM.


He's right, actually.

Thanks to Spell Combat, he casts a spell as his off-hand attack... Touch spells themselves give the caster a free melee attack to attempt to touch the opponent... Spellstrike allows him to make this attack with his weapon, instead of of his hand, in which case he deals damage as normal, but no longer targets touch AC.

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I don't understand what you're describing here. Can you be a little clearer?

Essentially, when you use Spell Combat, you get your full attack (at level 2, it would just be 1 attack) with a -2 penalty, and you get to cast a spell. If that spell is a touch spell, you get to make a free touch attack, but Spellstrike lets you substitute it for a regular weapon attack. So in total, you get 2 attacks at -2.


Using Both Spell Combat and Spell Strike a Level 2 magus who is casting a touch attack spell and attacking will take a -2 to hit, require a concentration check if casting in melee, and get 2 total attacks.

One attack granted from BaB, and one from the free touch attack from the spell.

The magus can choose to either use the free touch attack as a touch attack and target touch AC but only get the spell effect, or can use the free touch attack through his/her weapon and target regular AC, gaining the effect of the spell and the weapon damage + modifiers.

Arcane mark is a popular cantrip for this.

Edit: Ninja'ed by a ninja! :-)


By RAW and intention he is correct, because the spellstrike ability allows you to replace any melee touch attack for a spell with a sword strike.

Spell combat lets you cast and attack as a full action.

As part of a casting of a touch attack spell, you get a free attempt to touch. Which can then, because you have Spellstrike, be with your sword.

Therefore, you hit them with your sword, cast, then try to hit them with your sword again to discharge the spell.

This is how it works.


Spell strike only calls out the free melee touch attack referring to ANY touch spell. Nothing to do with spell combat exclusively.
This is like arguing that you can't use power attack with two weapon fighting because they are both modifications to the way you attack.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the clarification. Clearly I had misread, it certainly doesn't help that everyone else in the group interpreted it the way I did. I always thought of spellstrike as allowing you to deliver the spell through your weapon instead of through your hand, thus avoiding the -2 penalty from Spell Combat but not granting an extra melee attack which deals full weapon damage. It still strikes me as very odd, allowing multiple attacks that are not iterative with the same weapon, but I'll go with how it is written.

EDIT: yeah I definitely got hung up on the "instead of the free melee attack" part, thinking it was referring to Spell Combat. I completely missed the last part which talks about using it with Spell Combat. It still strikes me as rather odd, that a Magus gets an extra attack like that. Considering that other more martially focused classes don't get an extra melee attack for free like that, and being able to cast a spell through your weapon (thus dealing weapon and spell damage) with no penalties is already powerful enough.
I would consider house ruling in a home campaign that spellstrike doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity either, but that it doesn't grant a free melee attack.

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A long explanation of all the moving parts

Your player has it right.

OP wrote:
And this clearly states "instead of the free melee touch attack" which is referring to Spell Combat.

This actually refers to the general rules on Spells. Anyone who casts a touch spell gets to make a free melee touch attack to deliver it.


Linky

Short answer is your player's right. Yeah, I was confused by the interaction when it came out too.

Is your player the one posting a few posts down? Or has the humble bundle unleashed the magus on an unsuspecting crop of new dms?


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The thing is. They aren't a full bab class and using the sword makes them target normal ac instead of touch. With the penalty from spell combat on top, you'd be surprised how often they miss. Of course, it is a renowned nova class. Dying to a magus is a Fate for solo big bads =)

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Linky

Short answer is your player's right. Yeah, I was confused by the interaction when it came out too.

Is your player the one posting a few posts down? Or has the humble bundle unleashed the magus on an unsuspecting crop of new dms?

I think he may be. And frankly I don't appreciate the onslaught of insults that are being tossed around in the thread at what may be my expense. Even the most experienced GMs in the group were unsure about it, as we all interpreted it as a substitute for Spell Combat. Additionally the FAQ answer which states that with Spell Combat you can make as many weapon attacks as you normally can with a full attack led us to believe that the Spellstrike shouldn't grant an extra weapon attacks with the same weapon.

And I love how they treat it as similar to Power Attack and a full attack... when it certainly isn't. It is blatantly clear, with no ambiguity of any kind and no uncertain intent that Power Attacks can be used as part of a full attack (but the penalty applies to all attack rolls and CMB checks that round)

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hasteroth wrote:

With spell combat the Magus gets one attack with their weapon, and one melee touch attack with their open hand both at a -2

when doing spellstrike gets two melee attacks with the same weapon but with a -2 to each hit, along with a spellcast delivered through the weapon.

You seem to agree but then disagree.

Do you agree with these examples:

A magus with BAB+5 casts haste using spell combat and makes 2 attacks with his weapon.

A magus with BAB+5 casts a melee touch spell and makes 2 attacks with his weapon and no other attacks (expending the touch spell.)

Is there some other example the player is asserting?


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The way you're talking I feel like you're misundertanding something:

Neither spell combat nor spellstrike grant an extra attack of any kind. Casting a spell with a range of touch grants a melee touch attack as a free action on that round. Spellstrike allows a magus to replace that melee touch attack with a weapon attack.

I strongly recommend reading the guide that KingOfAnything linked to. It's a great explanation of how the Magus works.


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hasteroth wrote:


I think he may be. And frankly I don't appreciate the onslaught of insults that are being tossed around in the thread at what may be my expense.

Wait, you mean people on the internet are GASP!... people!?!?!?!


Artoo wrote:


I strongly recommend reading the guide that KingOfAnything linked to. It's a great explanation of how the Magus works.

And the fact that its necessary shows that this isn't nearly as easy as some people think.

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Yeah, part of the issue with the magus is that it requires a thorough understanding of a part of the Core rules that a lot of folks barely even know exists, let alone truly and thoroughly comprehend. I remember when the magus first came out and we had threads about "My player says his wizard can cast a touch spell from 20ft away then walk up and deliver it in the same round; total cheese!" because nobody was reading those dark corners of the CRB until the magus pointed them in that direction.


I wouldn't take internet vehemence too badly, its part of existing in this Abaddon of Anonymity. People get charged about 'bad' gms 'nerfing' magi based on rule misunderstanding, because its been a problem for a long time. We kind of assume they don't listen to reason, which is obviously not the case with you since you came to ask about it and make sure.


Jiggy wrote:
Yeah, part of the issue with the magus is that it requires a thorough understanding of a part of the Core rules that a lot of folks barely even know exists, let alone truly and thoroughly comprehend.

...and if you swing through there, the free attack and the free action attack look like the peoples front of judea and the judean peoples front.

Liberty's Edge

Artoo wrote:

The way you're talking I feel like you're misundertanding something:

Neither spell combat nor spellstrike grant an extra attack of any kind. Casting a spell with a range of touch grants a melee touch attack as a free action on that round. Spellstrike allows a magus to replace that melee touch attack with a weapon attack.

I strongly recommend reading the guide that KingOfAnything linked to. It's a great explanation of how the Magus works.

Well I get that NOW. But that's the thing, it's kind of a part of the spells rules that not every single player necessarily has a full and thorough understanding of.

And the insistence that I don't listen to reason that some people seem to be making... is a bit much given I came on the forum to find out if I was wrong, since I wasn't sure if I was or not. I think the post where the player said he'd have to reroll the character is part of the problem, as he himself had stated he wanted to reroll, that was never something I said he should do.


If i could offer an alternative solution for surviving the rules forums?

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If i could offer an alternative solution for surviving the rules forums?

Bahaha, well I've never been a fan of blocking people for "making me upset." While I don't appreciate the insults, they only have a small piece of the story so I can't fault them too much for jumping to the most extreme conclusion (that I'm basically incompetent, the insinuation that I lack reading comprehension skills is what upset me most really).

Considering I've run into many GMs who misunderstood rules that I thought were simple... I've learned to be fairly easy-going with GMs, and I always make sure if I've got something that sounds vaguely rules lawyery that I explain it to them before the session even starts.

One minor example is an animal companion with Scent and the Detect trick from Animal Archive... I've had GMs who refused to let my companion alert me to danger it could smell (within 30 feet) even when I specifically commanded my companion to Detect. The rules regarding Scent and Detect are pretty darn clear, but sometimes even a very experienced GM just hasn't read it before.


Wait until he figures out that he can pre-cast shocking grasp and use Spellstrike twice in a round...

Liberty's Edge

Doomed Hero wrote:
Wait until he figures out that he can pre-cast shocking grasp and use Spellstrike twice in a round...

Hadn't thought of that. How would that even work?

If I'm not mistaken you can't delay the attack part of a touch spell into a later round so casting in the previous round wouldn't grant an extra spellstrike in the next round. And Spell Combat doesn't let you cast a spell twice, it's specifically a free spellcast in addition to the regular melee attacks. And casting shocking grasp is a standard action...

EDIT: Oh I got it, you meant discharging it from the weapon as the regular melee attack in Spell Combat as though he had missed the attack when casting it in the previous round.


hasteroth, if you cast shocking grasp you are holding the charge until you discharge it. Spell Combat does not change this.

A couple examples of how this works:
1) I cast shocking grasp and miss my touch attack. Next round I can try to touch again.

2) I am a Magus and cast shocking grasp, I miss with my 2 sword attacks. Next round my attack hits and discharges the spell. (Note: I won't have a second attack because I wasn't using spell combat.)

3) I cast Shocking Grasp before combat, I am holding the charge. A couple rounds later combat starts and my first hit (either touch attack or through my weapon if I am a Magus) discharges the shocking grasp into the target.

Liberty's Edge

Gauss wrote:

hasteroth, if you cast shocking grasp you are holding the charge until you discharge it. Spell Combat does not change this.

A couple examples of how this works:
1) I cast shocking grasp and miss my touch attack. Next round I can try to touch again.

2) I am a Magus and cast shocking grasp, I miss with my 2 sword attacks. Next round my attack hits and discharges the spell. (Note: I won't have a second attack because I wasn't using spell combat.)

3) I cast Shocking Grasp before combat, I am holding the charge. A couple rounds later combat starts and my first hit (either touch attack or through my weapon if I am a Magus) discharges the shocking grasp into the target.

Well if you read my post you'd see I didn't really miss that at all. I kind of already got that a spell can be discharged through a later attack (not something I had ever misunderstood). If my understanding is correct though you wouldn't be able to take an additional free melee attack to deliver the spell on top of the free melee attack being granted by casting another spell through Spell Combat and Spellstrike (for a total of 3 weapon attacks and 2 shocking grasps in the round following the pre-cast) but rather you could deliver the spell through your weapon as part of your first melee attack in Spell Combat (For a total of 2 weapon attacks and 2 shocking grasps).


Correct, you don't get a second free action attack.

Liberty's Edge

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There's an existing FAQ on Spellstrike with spells that allow multiple touch attacks. Basically, subsequent normal weapon attacks deliver one 'charge' each.

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