Tripping Staff Magus


Advice


Recently, the magus has caught my eye and sifting through the archtypes - the staff magus jumped out at me. Doing some digging, it seems to look like the the staff magus may not be as 'optimal' as the dervish dancer/scimitar build (which also looks fun!)

So looking around I stumbled upon the Tripping Staff feat. I've started build a PFS character and would love some input on tweaking and thoughts on viability in the PFS world, especially as tripping staff will only come online around level 8.

Human
STR 18, DEX 12, CON 15, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 7

1- quarterstaff master feat (archtype), combat expertise, toughness,
2- spell strike,
3- weapon focus (quarterstaff), magus arcana
4- attribute, spell recall,
5- Impr trip, weapon specializaton (quarterstaff)/combat reflexes? (cmb, item, metamagic),
6- magus arcana
7- weapon spc (quarterstaff)/combat refelexes, qs defense, knowledge pool,
8- improved spell combat,
9- tripping staff, magus arcana
10- staff weapon,
11- + feat, bonus feat (cmb, item, metamagic), improved fighter training,

Spells
lvl 1 - color spray, shocking grasp, true strike, shield, grease

I'd be playing the character as a grumpy hermit type. Possibly picking up a familiar at level 3, that he talks to constantly (mainly for rp purposes).

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Here you go, Magus handbook. The staff magus is in fact one of the better archetypes.

Note that the tripping staff feat is pointless: the trip quality on weapons doesn't really do anything, and you can already use spellstrike on trip attempts. Other than that, the concept of a maneuver magus is solid; the feat you actually want is Greater Trip.


Tripping Twirl, on the other hand, actually looks potentially useful (even though the Spellstrike+Trip part seems redundant), although as a Magus instead of a Rogue or Barbarian/Bloodrager, you will suffer from not eventually getting Improved Uncanny Dodge. Due to the BAB +12 requirement, it comes online really late, though, which hurts since Trip isn't so great at high levels unless you really go all-in with investment in it.


I recommend the WAND WIELDER arcana for a maneuver-magus.

Actually this is probably just something you should have for that archetype anyway.


^Although if you are going to be using a quarterstaff, you probably want an extra prehensile appendage (be a Tiefling with Prehensile Tail and/or Grasping Tail, or dip 2 levels of Alchemist(*) to get Vestigial Limb Discovery) to hold the wand in.

(*)Magical Knack trait becomes a must-have to compensate for caster level delay -- unfortunately doesn't compensate for spell casting progression delay.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Although if you are going to be using a quarterstaff, you probably want an extra prehensile appendage to hold the wand in

Staff magus gets QUARTERSTAFF MASTER for free at level 1

EDIT: Oh you mean to use with Tripping Twirl. Makes more sense now =P

(Actually I'm not sure what Magical Knack does either since a Magus gets full caster-level progression ... It is 6:30am here though, so it's possible I'll notice something I've missed after I sleep)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Tripping Twirl, on the other hand, actually looks potentially useful

...maybe.

Think about it though. A Magus of that level would normally make five attacks as a full-round action (three iteratives, haste, spellstrike). How often do you think it'll happen that you have five or more enemies adjacent to you? Is this likelihood worth a five-feat chain of feats? Even if you normally wouldn't take some of those feats?


Kurald Galain wrote:

Here you go, Magus handbook. The staff magus is in fact one of the better archetypes.

Note that the tripping staff feat is pointless: the trip quality on weapons doesn't really do anything, and you can already use spellstrike on trip attempts. Other than that, the concept of a maneuver magus is solid; the feat you actually want is Greater Trip.

Can you explain this further? You can trip with any weapon just by performing a combat maneuver?

Greater trip instead of tripping staff?


Iamrubocop wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:

Here you go, Magus handbook. The staff magus is in fact one of the better archetypes.

Note that the tripping staff feat is pointless: the trip quality on weapons doesn't really do anything, and you can already use spellstrike on trip attempts. Other than that, the concept of a maneuver magus is solid; the feat you actually want is Greater Trip.

Can you explain this further? You can trip with any weapon just by performing a combat maneuver?

Greater trip instead of tripping staff?

Look HERE for the rules on Tripping (the FAQ on the right).

Basically yes, you can trip with any weapon, the Trip quality just makes life easier if you fail. Since Greater Trip makes you less likely to fail, it's probably a better bet.

Using a weapon with the TRIP quality is good if (and only if) you're going to fail your trip attempts a lot, and you'd prefer to be disarmed than tripped when this happens.


MrCharisma wrote:
Iamrubocop wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:

Here you go, Magus handbook. The staff magus is in fact one of the better archetypes.

Note that the tripping staff feat is pointless: the trip quality on weapons doesn't really do anything, and you can already use spellstrike on trip attempts. Other than that, the concept of a maneuver magus is solid; the feat you actually want is Greater Trip.

Can you explain this further? You can trip with any weapon just by performing a combat maneuver?

Greater trip instead of tripping staff?

Look HERE for the rules on Tripping (the FAQ on the right).

Basically yes, you can trip with any weapon, the Trip quality just makes life easier if you fail. Since Greater Trip makes you less likely to fail, it's probably a better bet.

Using a weapon with the TRIP quality is good if (and only if) you're going to fail your trip attempts a lot, and you'd prefer to be disarmed than tripped when this happens.

As a staff magus though, the staff is the only viable weapon choice.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
As a staff magus though, the staff is the only viable weapon choice.

Not true, at later levels they can use a STAFF instead.


MrCharisma wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Although if you are going to be using a quarterstaff, you probably want an extra prehensile appendage to hold the wand in

Staff magus gets QUARTERSTAFF MASTER for free at level 1

EDIT: Oh you mean to use with Tripping Twirl. Makes more sense now =P

(Actually I'm not sure what Magical Knack does either since a Magus gets full caster-level progression ... It is 6:30am here though, so it's possible I'll notice something I've missed after I sleep)

Magical Knack is to offset caster level delay when you dip in something that doesn't progress your caster level, so a single-class Magus wouldn't benefit from it, but a Magus that dipped in Alchemist would (Alchemist progresses its own caster level, not the Magus caster level). (It also benefits classes such as Ranger and Paladin that have a built-in caster level delay.)

Kurald Galain wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Tripping Twirl, on the other hand, actually looks potentially useful

...maybe.

Think about it though. A Magus of that level would normally make five attacks as a full-round action (three iteratives, haste, spellstrike). How often do you think it'll happen that you have five or more enemies adjacent to you? Is this likelihood worth a five-feat chain of feats? Even if you normally wouldn't take some of those feats?

Combat Expertise: Improves your Armor Class (including Touch AC) while using Blade Tutor's Spirit to offset most of the attack penalty. This the only way I can think of to make Combat Expertise actually good, but it's not bad. Also serves as the prerequisite for Improved Trip -- normally Dirty Fighting would be a better way to satisfy that, but Blade Tutor's Spirit pushes that balance back to at least making Combat Expertise worthy of consideration.

Tripping Twirl: I'll semi-agree on this one, since it's semi-redundant (the useful part is that it gives you the Trip property on your staff, but that's not really worth a whole feat unless you're up against a lot of high CMB/CMD things often -- well, this could actually happen at high levels).

Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff): Not the greatest feat, but the extra accuracy doesn't hurt, and you might need this as a prerequisite for something else.

Weapon Specialization (Quarterstaff): I'll agree on this one, since it's just giving +2 damage per attack. Not nothing, but definitely not worth a whole feat unless you need it as the prerequisite for something else.

Improved Trip: Definitely need this.

BBBBUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT --

I just realized that a Staff Magus CAN'T take Weapon Specialization without a 4 level dip in Fighter, because Staff Magus trades out Fighter Training, and Weapon Specialization requires Fighter 4.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Iamrubocop wrote:
Can you explain this further? You can trip with any weapon just by performing a combat maneuver?

Yes. You can also disarm, bull rush, or grapple regardless of what weapon you're wielding. The only thing the 'disarm' ability does is give a +2 bonus, which is nice but not essential; and the 'trip' ability doesn't even do that.

What makes a Magus great at any of these is the spell True Strike. Start 5' away from an enemy, use Spell Combat to cast TS, step up to it and use any maneuver you like with a +20 bonus. Yeah, that's going to connect pretty much all the time, and if you have (e.g.) Mirror Image up you don't have to worry about taking an OA, either.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
I just realized that a Staff Magus CAN'T take Weapon Specialization without a 4 level dip in Fighter, because Staff Magus trades out Fighter Training, and Weapon Specialization requires Fighter 4.

Quarterstaff Master, which Staff Magus gets for free at 1st level, allows taking Weapon Specialization (Staff) even with NO levels in Fighter.

Given all the quarterstaff feats a Staff Magus is likely to have, they might want to look into Spear Dancing Sprial. They'd lose their 'Quarterstaff Defence' bonus to AC (unless the GM is very kind), but that might be worth it to increase the weapon selection to include all spears and polearms, add reach, and use Dex for damage bonus. Could always keep a regular staff on hand for when they need AC.


Quote:
In addition, you can use any feat or ability that functions with a quarterstaff with your chosen weapon.

quarterstaff defense should work fine with spiral


MrCharisma wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
As a staff magus though, the staff is the only viable weapon choice.
Not true, at later levels they can use a STAFF instead.

I have absolutely no idea what point you're trying to make.


CBDunkerson wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
I just realized that a Staff Magus CAN'T take Weapon Specialization without a 4 level dip in Fighter, because Staff Magus trades out Fighter Training, and Weapon Specialization requires Fighter 4.

Quarterstaff Master, which Staff Magus gets for free at 1st level, allows taking Weapon Specialization (Staff) even with NO levels in Fighter.

Given all the quarterstaff feats a Staff Magus is likely to have, they might want to look into Spear Dancing Sprial. They'd lose their 'Quarterstaff Defence' bonus to AC (unless the GM is very kind), but that might be worth it to increase the weapon selection to include all spears and polearms, add reach, and use Dex for damage bonus. Could always keep a regular staff on hand for when they need AC.

I forgot about the Quarterstaff Master free feat. I'll say: This archetype sure has a lot of things to get tripped up on . . . .


UnArcaneElection wrote:


I forgot about the Quarterstaff Master free feat. I'll say: This archetype sure has a lot of things to get tripped up on . . . .

You sir are fantastic!

UnArcaneElection wrote:


Combat Expertise: Improves your Armor Class (including Touch AC) while using Blade Tutor's Spirit to offset most of the attack penalty. This the only way I can think of to make Combat Expertise actually good, but it's not bad. Also serves as the prerequisite for Improved Trip -- normally Dirty Fighting would be a better way to satisfy that, but Blade Tutor's Spirit pushes that balance back to at least making Combat Expertise worthy of consideration.

Tripping Twirl: I'll semi-agree on this one, since it's semi-redundant (the useful part is that it gives you the Trip property on your staff, but that's not really worth a whole feat unless you're up against a lot of high CMB/CMD things often -- well, this could actually happen at high levels).

Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff): Not the greatest feat, but the extra accuracy doesn't hurt, and you might need this as a prerequisite for something else.

Weapon Specialization (Quarterstaff): I'll agree on this one, since it's just giving +2 damage per attack. Not nothing, but definitely not worth a whole feat unless you need it as the prerequisite for something else.

Improved Trip: Definitely need this.

Most of these are are prerequisites for the tripping chain -the exception being tripping twirl which I hadn't thought of before. As I look, the Maneuver mastery arcana could fit in quite nicely as well.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Bear in mind that a Magus already routinely takes an attack penalty (for spell combat), so if you're going to use BTS you'd be using it for that. That makes Dirty Fighting a better option than Combat Exp.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Bear in mind that a Magus already routinely takes an attack penalty (for spell combat), so if you're going to use BTS you'd be using it for that. That makes Dirty Fighting a better option than Combat Exp.

Sorry, there's a couple of places I'm not following as I'm still pretty new to all of this. What's BTS stand for?

And dirty fighting may be a better option, but combat expertise is a prereq for the tripping chain. Am I missing something? Thank you for your feed back, everyone!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

BTS = Blade Tutor's Spirit.

Dirty Fighting explicitly counts as combat expertise for the purpose of prerequisites. Basically the reason DF exists is because many people dislike that CE is often required as prereq, while being a very weak option by itself.


Kurald Galain wrote:

BTS = Blade Tutor's Spirit.

Dirty Fighting explicitly counts as combat expertise for the purpose of prerequisites. Basically the reason DF exists is because many people dislike that CE is often required as prereq, while being a very weak option by itself.

Just took a look at both of these - way better than combat expertise and a good spell to help with hitting if it's becoming an issue. I guess you could spell strike, use BTS then can attack or trip away with less of a to hit penalty.


Kurald Galain wrote:

Here you go, Magus handbook. The staff magus is in fact one of the better archetypes.

Note that the tripping staff feat is pointless: the trip quality on weapons doesn't really do anything, and you can already use spellstrike on trip attempts. Other than that, the concept of a maneuver magus is solid; the feat you actually want is Greater Trip.

As far as I understand it, Tripping Staff is a prerequisite for Tripping Twirl.

Could you please explain, why Tripping Staff is pointless for a Magus with the staff Magus archetype? Granted, the trip weapon qualitiy is garbage, but using spellstrike? Spellstrike grants you a free attack with your weapon instead of the free touch attack that comes along with touch spells. If you use that attack to trip your opponent, you would deliver the spell's effect but -since it is a trip combat maneuver- not the weapon's damage (opponent is knocked prone instead). You would deal weapon and spell damage if you would have gone for a normal hit. With Tripping Staff or Tripping Twirl you can have that benefit again.
Well, that's at least my understanding. Please feel free to correct.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Rohadil wrote:
Could you please explain, why Tripping Staff is pointless for a Magus with the staff Magus archetype? Granted, the trip weapon qualitiy is garbage, but using spellstrike? Spellstrike grants you a free attack with your weapon instead of the free touch attack that comes along with touch spells. If you use that attack to trip your opponent, you would deliver the spell's effect but -since it is a trip combat maneuver- not the weapon's damage (opponent is knocked prone instead). You would deal weapon and spell damage if you would have gone for a normal hit. With Tripping Staff or Tripping Twirl you can have that benefit again.

As I understand it, the Tripping Staff feat lets you cast a touch spell and then deliver that spell via a trip maneuver - and the author of the feat overlooked the fact that you can already do that without the feat.

If the feat lets you follow up a trip maneuver with a free weapon attack (that delivers touch spell), then it would have been worded differently.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Rohadil wrote:
Could you please explain, why Tripping Staff is pointless for a Magus with the staff Magus archetype? Granted, the trip weapon qualitiy is garbage, but using spellstrike? Spellstrike grants you a free attack with your weapon instead of the free touch attack that comes along with touch spells. If you use that attack to trip your opponent, you would deliver the spell's effect but -since it is a trip combat maneuver- not the weapon's damage (opponent is knocked prone instead). You would deal weapon and spell damage if you would have gone for a normal hit. With Tripping Staff or Tripping Twirl you can have that benefit again.

As I understand it, the Tripping Staff feat lets you cast a touch spell and then deliver that spell via a trip maneuver - and the author of the feat overlooked the fact that you can already do that without the feat.

If the feat lets you follow up a trip maneuver with a free weapon attack (that delivers touch spell), then it would have been worded differently.

So, without the tripping staff feat, a staff magus can still use spellstrike to deliver a touch spell while tripping an enemy? Instead of damaging it and then spellstriking, it instead trips and then spell strikes?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Iamrubocop wrote:
So, without the tripping staff feat, a staff magus can still use spellstrike to deliver a touch spell while tripping an enemy? Instead of damaging it and then spellstriking, it instead trips and then spell strikes?

Precisely. The maneuver rules let you replace any regular attack with a trip, or for that matter a disarm or a sunder. You can, for example, sunder with a shocking grasp.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Iamrubocop wrote:
So, without the tripping staff feat, a staff magus can still use spellstrike to deliver a touch spell while tripping an enemy? Instead of damaging it and then spellstriking, it instead trips and then spell strikes?
Precisely. The maneuver rules let you replace any regular attack with a trip, or for that matter a disarm or a sunder. You can, for example, sunder with a shocking grasp.

Thus this makes tripping staff redundant for the most part. I can see now why Greater Trip is a nicer choice. Thanks for all the input!


Kurald Galain wrote:
Bear in mind that a Magus already routinely takes an attack penalty (for spell combat), so if you're going to use BTS you'd be using it for that. That makes Dirty Fighting a better option than Combat Exp.

Thought about this for a while . . . this is true, except that if you aren't using Spell Combat during a fairly high percentage of your combat rounds (for instance, you are using a spell that applies to several attacks and doesn't require you to use it all in one round(*)), it would be nice to have something else to apply Blade Tutor's Spirit to while gaining some benefit in return.

(*)For instance, Chill Touch or Frostbite.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

UnArcaneElection wrote:
(for instance, you are using a spell that applies to several attacks and doesn't require you to use it all in one round(*))

Well, I'd do something like this. Turn one: cast Frostbite, 5', make four attacks (iteratives + haste + spell combat). Maybe an OA or riposte out of turn. Turn two: make three more attacks, then 5' back and cast another spell.

Because by the time you have more than seven hits from Frostbite, you should have sufficient L1 spell slots (plus pearls plus spell recall) that you don't need to worry about this.


Kurald Galain wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
(for instance, you are using a spell that applies to several attacks and doesn't require you to use it all in one round(*))

Well, I'd do something like this. Turn one: cast Frostbite, 5', make four attacks (iteratives + haste + spell combat). Maybe an OA or riposte out of turn. Turn two: make three more attacks, then 5' back and cast another spell.

Because by the time you have more than seven hits from Frostbite, you should have sufficient L1 spell slots (plus pearls plus spell recall) that you don't need to worry about this.

You've both mentioned frostbite here and typically i've seen shocking grasp as the bread and butter spell for magi. I'm guessing it's more than a random spell you picked off the top of your head?


^Not every Magus player goes with spamming Shocking Grasp. For one thing, you need to have something else in case you run up against something that's immune to Electricity (for instance, Demons), and for another, it's useful (sometimes more useful) to be able to debuff enemies so that the hard-core martials can clean them up without taking too much damage in return. Frostbite and Chill Touch are examples of low level debuffing spells of this type, and once you get past 1st level, they also give you more than 1 application per casting, each of which you apply with a separate attack.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Not every Magus player goes with spamming Shocking Grasp. For one thing, you need to have something else in case you run up against something that's immune to Electricity (for instance, Demons), and for another, it's useful (sometimes more useful) to be able to debuff enemies so that the hard-core martials can clean them up without taking too much damage in return. Frostbite and Chill Touch are examples of low level debuffing spells of this type, and once you get past 1st level, they also give you more than 1 application per casting, each of which you apply with a separate attack.

Iamrubocop : Frostbite is awesome as it has NO saving throw. It automatically (unless the creature has SR) fatigues it. (can't run/charge and -2 STR + Dex).

Now...if you combine this with Rime Metamagic + Frostbite : does all the above AND gives them the entangled condition. (Moves at half speed, -2 attack and -4 dex) and makes them have to roll a concentration check to cast a spell (DC = 15 + lvl of spell)

Now...if you combine those two above with Enforcer feat = All the above two + free action to demoralize (intimidate). IF successful it is also shaken (-2 attacks, saving throws, skill checks, ability checks)...and if it was a critical hit, they are also frightened (-2 STR and Dex)

All of that mumbo jumbo means a total of :

1.) -2 Str (-4 if frightened)
2.) -5 to attacks (-6 if frightened)
3.) -6 Dex (-8 if frightened)
4.) -3 AC (-4 if frightened)
5.) Can't run/charge and 1/2 movement
6.) CMD drops by 4
7.) Concentration Check (15 + Spell)
8.) -4 Saving throws

Not bad for a first level spell + 1 feat + 1 trait (Magical Lineage) or you can use it in a second level slot if you didn't take the trait.

Combine this with disarm/trip and a whip (reach) or the staff as you originally asked.


RE: Needing a fighter dip: QuarterStaff Master actually converts this to 4HD IIRC

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