Machine Gun Magus - TWF / MWF Eldritch Archer?


Rules Questions


This is primarily a rules question, but I'm posting here since I feel it's way too corner-case for the rules forum and I'm mostly looking for potential additional info and related ideas anyway. (And since it's about an archetype from a Companion release it's also highly unlikely to ever get an official answer.)

Since Ranged Spell Combat doesn't require a free hand, I've been thinking about combining it with two guns. However, especially one FAQ on the standard SC has made doubt whether this is actually possible strictly according to RAW:

Quote:

Magus, Spell Combat: When using spell combat, do I specifically have to use the weapon in my other hand, or can I use a mixture of weapons (such as armor spikes and bites) so long as my casting hand remains free?

You specifically have to use the light or one-handed melee weapon in your other hand.

In the case of RSC, I guess "the light or one-handed melee weapon in your other hand" would be "the ranged weapon in your hands". Which prevents RSC with multiple guns due to the singular definitive "the ... weapon", even if my PC happened to have a million hands wielding a million guns and also be able to attack with all of them in a regular full attack.

But on the other hand (see what I did there?), I also believe it's perfectly reasonable to claim this FAQ entry isn't relevant in this case because:
1. The FAQ is about regular SC, not RSC (and the Paizo dev team have repeatedly stated FAQ entries are always specific).
2. The question being answered says "such as armor spikes and bites", which are not "weapons associated with a hand" and therefore not usable with SC anyway (see FAQ 1 in spoiler below).
3. The devs seem to assume a PC cannot ever attack with more than two "weapons associated with a hand" during one full attack, and regular SC does require two hands (of which only one may wield a weapon).

Regarding MWF, an eldritch archer may for example simply cast alter self and turn into a four-armed kashata (or they may be allowed to play one).

Can you use TWF/MWF with Ranged Spell Combat?

I would very much appreciate any input you may have to help me solve this conundrum!

For reference, here's the RSC RAW plus three additional FAQ entries concerning regular SC (which AFAICT are the only ones which may be relevant):

Spoiler:
Ranged Spell Combat
Instead of a light or one-handed melee weapon, an eldritch archer must use a ranged weapon for spell combat. She doesn't need a free hand for ranged spell combat. The eldritch archer cannot accept an attack penalty to gain a bonus on concentration checks to cast a spell defensively.

This ability modifies spell combat.

FAQ 1:Magus: When using spell combat, can the weapon in my other hand be an unarmed strike or a natural weapon?

Yes, so long as the weapon is a light or one-handed melee weapon and is associated with that hand. For example, unarmed strikes, claws, and slams are light melee weapons associated with a hand, and therefore are valid for use with spell combat. A tail slap is not associated with a hand, and therefore is not valid for use with spell combat.

FAQ 2:Magus, Spell Combat: Does spell combat count as making a full attack action for the purpose of haste and other effects?

Yes.

Edit 9/9/13: This is a revised ruling about how haste interacts with effects that are essentially a full attack, even though the creature isn't specifically using the full attack action (as required by haste). The earlier ruling did not allow the extra attack from haste when using spell combat.

FAQ 3:Magus, Spell Combat: If I use spell combat, how many weapon attacks can I make?

You can make as many weapon attacks as you would normally be able to make if you were making a full attack with that weapon. For example, if you are an 8th-level magus (BAB +6/+1), you could make two weapon attacks when using spell combat.

Edit 9/9/13: This is a revised ruling about how haste interacts with effects that are essentially a full attack, even though the creature isn't specifically using the full attack action (as required by haste). The earlier ruling implied that spell combat did not allow the extra attack from haste (because spell combat was not using the full attack action).

And for the record: no, I don't think it would be OP to allow TWF with RSC, since it requires such a stupidly gigantic investment in feats and items. Which means it cannot be done before high levels (probably 15+) and requires significant sacrifices are made in other areas, so it's most likely quite far from the most opted magus possible.


I think this is a rules question rather than advice? You're not asking whether it's overpowered, just what the rules say.

By RAW: under Ranged Spell Combat, "an eldritch archer must use a ranged weapon", singular.

Also the FAQ given is specific enough not to apply if there was anything positive on the side of using TWF or multiple weapons, but without anything in writing to support the more open alternative it probably closes off the possibility.


Well, it's sorta both a rules question and a request for advice. But mostly a rules question.

Regarding your interpretation of the RSC RAW, I unfortunately find it very shaky, since a large number of rules items uses a similar "a [something]" wording with the meaning "at least one" or "one or more". Since English isn't my first language, I might be wrong here, but isn't that "at least one" also the meaning of such a wording in general (outside of PF)?

Actually, I don't think I can find a single instance of a similar wording in the rules which means "one single only" without explicitly saying so (unless perhaps if the context makes it obvious, as in the case of the regular SC RAW "wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand").

What is your opinion on whether it would be OP or not?


You could play shadowrun


1) Eldritch Archer, ranged weapons typically require 2 hands to use thus all the hoop-la about stating you don't need a free hand when using your (singular) bonded weapon. Using a weapon that circumvents this (a revolver for example) doesn't follow the design assumptions. Guns are a part of the game, yes. The vast majority of material isn't actually written with them being assumed as implemented however. Things get hinky when you put them into the mix on a good day.

2) You are pushing into the grey area of intent as well. Magus are all about using that one weapon meshed with magical skill. Not a multiple weapon blur of destruction with magic. Do the rules outright say it? No. But absolutely everything thing published for them follows that design, what you are doing is basically looking for loop holes/justification for the idea because it doesn't explicitly say you cannot do it.

With those two things in mind, I would have to say no you cannot do it.

I am 100% certain the free hand requirement isn't being removed for you to have a free hand available to do whatever you want with it. It is there because the archetype would be unusable in the core rules for the intended weapons without it. You are effectively "stretching" the rules beyond the intent to get your desired effect. Context is an important part of the game, just like a conversation, take it out of it's context and things can be drastically different.


Spell Combat is still a full round action that isn't a full attack. So you can hold a gun in each hand and spell combat but you can't actually TWF because you're not actually full attacking.


Skylancer4 wrote:
1) Eldritch Archer, ranged weapons typically require 2 hands to use thus all the hoop-la about stating you don't need a free hand when using your (singular) bonded weapon. Using a weapon that circumvents this (a revolver for example) doesn't follow the design assumptions. Guns are a part of the game, yes. The vast majority of material isn't actually written with them being assumed as implemented however. Things get hinky when you put them into the mix on a good day.

So don't throw guns into the mix. Use for example hand crossbows or one of the quite large number of one-handed thrown weapons to test your argument instead. Meaning I would've agreed with this reasoning if one-handed guns actually stood out as the only ranged weapons not requiring two hands. Hence I do find it a bit odd to assume a designer would write a strictly ranged version of Spell Combat as if the rules for fighting with two weapons and the many one-handed ranged weapons simply didn't exist, regardless of whether guns are "assumed as implemented" or not.

Skylancer4 wrote:
2) You are pushing into the grey area of intent as well. Magus are all about using that one weapon meshed with magical skill. Not a multiple weapon blur of destruction with magic. Do the rules outright say it? No. But absolutely everything thing published for them follows that design, what you are doing is basically looking for loop holes/justification for the idea because it doesn't explicitly say you cannot do it.

Well, if you are capable of wielding multiple weapons in multiple hands, the "multiple weapon blur of destruction" is fully possible and very much supported by the rules. But yes, I otherwise totally agree with the principle "just be because the rules doesn't say you cannot, doesn't mean that you can".

Skylancer4 wrote:
I am 100% certain the free hand requirement isn't being removed for you to have a free hand available to do whatever you want with it. It is there because the archetype would be unusable in the core rules for the intended weapons without it. You are effectively "stretching" the rules beyond the intent to get your desired effect. Context is an important part of the game, just like a conversation, take it out of it's context and things can be drastically different.

This is probably my main concern, and it's unfortunately one which seems to be difficult to resolve without knowing the designer's intent. Until I happened to re-read the FAQ on regular SC mentioned in the OP, I honestly fully believed the intent was for RSC to function with TWF. Balance-wise it also seems perfectly reasonable IMO, considering the large attack penalties and huge investments required. (Less so with guns specifically due to their inherent accuracy, but that's an issue with guns, not RSC.)

Squiggit wrote:
Spell Combat is still a full round action that isn't a full attack. So you can hold a gun in each hand and spell combat but you can't actually TWF because you're not actually full attacking.

No, you're not actually making a full attack, but nevertheless effects which apply to full attacks still apply to SC (and presumably RSC). Notably this includes effects which grant additional attacks during a full attack. Please see FAQ 2 and 3 in the spoiler in the OP.


upho wrote:
Regarding your interpretation of the RSC RAW, I unfortunately find it very shaky, since a large number of rules items uses a similar "a [something]" wording with the meaning "at least one" or "one or more". Since English isn't my first language, I might be wrong here, but isn't that "at least one" also the meaning of such a wording in general (outside of PF)?

Yes, you're wrong here. 'A' is singular, 'must' enforces that. Feel free to point out one of these rules items; I'd bet it wouldn't include the word 'must'.

Or, in general, to make any sort of positive argument. So far you're relying on knocking down other arguments without providing anything supporting your own position.

Quote:
What is your opinion on whether it would be OP or not?

Actually, I don't think it is OP. An eldritch archer magus isn't really set up to take advantage of multiple attacks with different weapons. If you start dipping trench fighter or something my opinion might change though.


upho wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
1) Eldritch Archer, ranged weapons typically require 2 hands to use thus all the hoop-la about stating you don't need a free hand when using your (singular) bonded weapon. Using a weapon that circumvents this (a revolver for example) doesn't follow the design assumptions. Guns are a part of the game, yes. The vast majority of material isn't actually written with them being assumed as implemented however. Things get hinky when you put them into the mix on a good day.
So don't throw guns into the mix. Use for example hand crossbows or one of the quite large number of one-handed thrown weapons to test your argument instead. Meaning I would've agreed with this reasoning if one-handed guns actually stood out as the only ranged weapons not requiring two hands. Hence I do find it a bit odd to assume a designer would write a strictly ranged version of Spell Combat as if the rules for fighting with two weapons and the many one-handed ranged weapons simply didn't exist, regardless of whether guns are "assumed as implemented" or not.

Hand crossbows would limit you to two attacks, as you need a hand to reload 'core'. And that is assuming it was preloaded and in hand ready to shoot.

Thrown weapons limit you to how many you have (effectively needing multiple enchanted weapons to work effectively), again 'core'.

Both make horrible options as written in the core rules (if not impossible), for the ability. If you have two hand crossbows you end up unable to make 4 attacks (2+2) as you cannot reload. It effectively isn't an option. The only effective way to make work is firearms as they come with a capacity beyond 1 (which is why I put revolver), as a basic weapon.

Sure there are splat books that expand on options, but that doesn't mean the designer knew of them and took them into consideration when writing the archtype, and actually assuming the designer knew of everything is a really stupid thing to do. But that is more an issue of "power creep" and splats vs anything else. Which again reinforces the whole "if I need this thing from this book, and this thing from that book, and use this from this book, I can make this work because it is a grey area", aka twisting/stretching things beyond the expectations/assumptions they were written under.

Ranged combat is generally not mixed with two weapon fighting, as evidenced by the whole Rapid shot, muli shot, etc feats. There is little to no reason to assume it would be a default option when designing something for ranged combat despite your objection or finding it odd. Which is just another of many 'red flags' about the concept.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

[QUOTE="avr"
Yes, you're wrong here. 'A' is singular, 'must' enforces that. Feel free to point out one of these rules items; I'd bet it wouldn't include the word 'must'.

Or, in general, to make any sort of positive argument. So far you're relying on knocking down other arguments without providing anything supporting your own position.

While true, it also omits several other restrictive words.

If you are wielding two ranged weapons (whether they are guns or crossbows), then you are meeting the condition of "must have a ranged weapon". You have two, so you naturally already met the prerequisite of having one. It doesn't say "only", "precisely", "exactly", or any other word that would imply having two weapons doesn't count.

However, despite this, the second weapon is more or less useless. A part of Spell Combat specifies:

Magus wrote:
As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).

This references using a particular weapon, and further complicated by a particular FAQ, which says, in part:

FAQ (Bold added) wrote:
You can make as many weapon attacks as you would normally be able to make if you were making a full attack with that weapon.

So you have to pick one of your weapons to be "your ranged weapon", and you only get as many attacks as if you were full attacking with that weapon. You can use Rapid Shot to augment it, but not Two Weapon Fighting since that's using a different weapon than "that weapon".


Quote:
What is your opinion on whether it would be OP or not?

I think it'd actually be pretty bad. You're losing damage per hit over a composite bow and your first TWF feat is basically just crappier manyshot. Nevermind the huge goldsink of keeping two weapons up to date. Slightly better for guns since the accuracy penalty doesn't hurt as much but then you're dipping or taking EWP which sets you back even farther.


avr wrote:
Yes, you're wrong here. 'A' is singular, 'must' enforces that. Feel free to point out one of these rules items; I'd bet it wouldn't include the word 'must'.
Saethori wrote pretty much exactly my thoughts on this:
Saethori wrote:

While true, it also omits several other restrictive words.

If you are wielding two ranged weapons (whether they are guns or crossbows), then you are meeting the condition of "must have a ranged weapon". You have two, so you naturally already met the prerequisite of having one. It doesn't say "only", "precisely", "exactly", or any other word that would imply having two weapons doesn't count.

avr wrote:
Or, in general, to make any sort of positive argument. So far you're relying on knocking down other arguments without providing anything supporting your own position.

I thought I did in the OP? And please note I would've taken the opposite position had most posters claimed "TWF with RSC is obviously allowed". This isn't in order to seek confrontation, it's in order to test which viewpoint is actually supported by the most convincing arguments.

avr wrote:
Actually, I don't think it is OP. An eldritch archer magus isn't really set up to take advantage of multiple attacks with different weapons. If you start dipping trench fighter or something my opinion might change though.

I think I agree here, although after having made a few test builds, I very much doubt even a dip for Dex to damage makes it objectively "better" than straight EA magus with a bow. The concept needs simply so damn many feats and such damn expensive items to get going at all, and then it's still a very costly combat style to keep up and improve. AFAICT, with a trench fighter dip it does of course end up giving you more pure DPR in high levels, but the trade-offs in other areas are very significant.

But the concept still simply oozes "uniquely cool" in my humble opinion... :D


Saethori wrote:

However, despite this, the second weapon is more or less useless. A part of Spell Combat specifies:

Magus wrote:
As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).

This references using a particular weapon, and further complicated by a particular FAQ, which says, in part:

FAQ (Bold added) wrote:
You can make as many weapon attacks as you would normally be able to make if you were making a full attack with that weapon.
So you have to pick one of your weapons to be "your ranged weapon", and you only get as many attacks as if you were full attacking with that weapon. You can use Rapid Shot to augment it, but not Two Weapon Fighting since that's using a different weapon than "that weapon".

As mentioned in the OP, I think at least the FAQ indeed makes for a potentially convincing argument against TWF.

But to continue playing the devil's advocate here, the arguments against this and the other more damning FAQ item applying to RSC are pretty convincing IMO (see OP).

In this case, I believe especially the fact your "spell-wielding" hand in all respects takes away your off-hand attack(s) when using regular SC makes the FAQ not applicable to RSC (which does NOT "function much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast").


Skylancer4 wrote:

Hand crossbows would limit you to two attacks, as you need a hand to reload 'core'. And that is assuming it was preloaded and in hand ready to shoot.

Thrown weapons limit you to how many you have (effectively needing multiple enchanted weapons to work effectively), again 'core'.

Both make horrible options as written in the core rules (if not impossible), for the ability. If you have two hand crossbows you end up unable to make 4 attacks (2+2) as you cannot reload. It effectively isn't an option.

I agree. If we assume the options found in "Player Companion: Heroes of the Streets" where designed with only the CRB and UM in mind, I think your reasoning makes perfect sense.

However, PC:HotS was published less than a year ago, and besides including several options which require books other than the CRB or UM, it's also primarily written for the Golarion setting which very much does include viable options to TWF with ranged weapons.

Skylancer4 wrote:
The only effective way to make work is firearms as they come with a capacity beyond 1 (which is why I put revolver), as a basic weapon.

I might've completely missed something, but at least if we're talking about a setting like Golarion which doesn't have advanced firearms, what you're saying here doesn't seem right.

First, early guns with a capacity beyond 2, (ie the pepperbox) still requires a free hand to turn the chamber. Second, by the time the concept becomes at least somewhat decent in comparison to using a bow, something like a pepperbox doesn't have the capacity to last through more than one or maybe two full attacks, so you'd still need to be able to reload as a free action. So you gain very little but have to deal with an increased risk of misfires in comparison to pistols.

IOW, the larger capacity of certain guns doesn't help and is certainly not "the only effective way to make work". Gun Twirling or a third limb able to hold items, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload and alchemical cartridges are very much required regardless of the type of early gun used, while hand crossbows or thrown weapons actually have less requirements. (None of my test builds would use anything but pistols and maybe one double-barreled pistol in high levels, but only because the seraphic pistol is one.)

The one thing that make guns preferable to hand crossbows and probably thrown weapons, and only in higher levels, is their accuracy (making it possible to stack TWF, Rapid Shot and RSC and still be able to hit reasonably well despite the massive -8 attack penalty).

Skylancer4 wrote:
Sure there are splat books that expand on options, but that doesn't mean the designer knew of them and took them into consideration when writing the archtype, and actually assuming the designer knew of everything is a really stupid thing to do.

Yes that would indeed be a really stupid thing to do. But would it be stupid to assume the designer knew about the ranged options in a setting when specifically writing a ranged archetype for the setting?

I don't know, but considering for example that the archetype actually could've been written years ago and just happened not to make it into a publication before -15 (and the editors where sloppy updating it), I think you do have a point here.

Skylancer4 wrote:
But that is more an issue of "power creep" and splats vs anything else.

Slightly OT, but are you actually saying a game allowing all PC options published by Paizo is generally less balanced than one limited to the CRB?

If so, I very much disagree. With a few noteworthy exceptions (like Sacred Geometry), I'd say none-CRB material generally helps not only vastly increase the number of viable character concepts possible, but also to significantly improve the frankly horrible balance established by the CRB. For example Unchained, the "Toolbox" Player Companion series, Weapon Master's Handbook and a large majority of the non-CRB classes make for a better, more fun game less prone to have serious balance issues IME.

As far as I've seen, the power creep caused by "splats" are mostly in areas where power creep is an improvement, not an issue. (In my own game, the very few things from Paizo I actually don't allow as written are almost exclusively found in the CRB.)

Skylancer4 wrote:
Which again reinforces the whole "if I need this thing from this book, and this thing from that book, and use this from this book, I can make this work because it is a grey area", aka twisting/stretching things beyond the expectations/assumptions they were written under.

While I don't see anything wrong per se with a PC having options from several different sources, I generally do agree about the larger risk of ending up with something clearly not intended, and especially about the "I can make this work because it is a grey area" part. (Which is largely why I started this thread in the first place.)

Skylancer4 wrote:
Ranged combat is generally not mixed with two weapon fighting, as evidenced by the whole Rapid shot, muli shot, etc feats. There is little to no reason to assume it would be a default option when designing something for ranged combat despite your objection or finding it odd. Which is just another of many 'red flags' about the concept.

I'm not saying I assume it would be a "default option", just "an option". But I think we can at the very least agree that making any assumptions about the designer's intentions are risky at best, and that those intentions might very well not take nearly as many options into account as I do.


Squiggit wrote:
Quote:
What is your opinion on whether it would be OP or not?
I think it'd actually be pretty bad. You're losing damage per hit over a composite bow and your first TWF feat is basically just crappier manyshot. Nevermind the huge goldsink of keeping two weapons up to date. Slightly better for guns since the accuracy penalty doesn't hurt as much but then you're dipping or taking EWP which sets you back even farther.

Yeah, I think you're pretty much spot-on here. It does get a lot better in high levels though, but the price you pay is huge.

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