Levels 1-2 Bladebound Kensai Magus


Advice


The issue
* A Magus is a Dex build character.
* The only way to get Dex to damage is via Dervish Dance.
* Dervish Dance requires the use of a scimitar, which doesn't work with weapon finesse. This only can be taken at lvl 3.
* A Bladebound Kensai is not proficient with martial weapons. Only their 'chosen' weapon, which pretty much has to be a scimitar.
* If the Bladebound Kensai isn't holding a scimitar, he doesn't get Int to AC.
* So at lvls 1-2, the Bladebound Kensai either puts away his Scimitar and loses 1-3 points of AC, or uses it in combat very substandardly. This sucks.

The Idea...does it work?
(1) Hold a scimitar. Treat it like a heavy shield (at lvl 2 it is giving you +2 AC). Don't use it to attack.
(2) In the same hand, have a buckler (for a further +1 AC)
(3) In the other hand, have a spiked gauntlet. This way you have a weapon, but the hand counts as being "free"
(4) Cast the spell with the gauntlet hand being "free" and attack with it.

The Breakdown
* Assume that the character is an elf (for the tasty elven bonuses to overcoming MR and for casting defensively) with the following stats:
Str (9) Dex (18) Con (12) Int (16) Wis (10) Cha (7)

* The elf is lvl 2. He has the following equipment:
- Mundane Scimitar (+2 AC)
- +1 Haramaki (+2 AC)
- Mithril Buckler (+1 AC)
- Spiked Gauntlet (1d4 damage x2 crit)

* With the scimitar and buckler in one hand, he has AC 19 (not bad for lvl 2)

* Turn 1: The elf casts shocking grasp and then moves up. He attacks and misses.
* Turn 2: The elf uses spell combat and spell strike. He attacks with his gauntlet (+4 to hit from Dex, +1 from BaB, +3 for attacking someone with metal gear) for a total of +8. Because he is attacking twice, it becomes +6/+6.
* The elf hits. He now does 1d4+2d6-1 damage (1d4 from the gauntlet, 2d6 from the spell, -1 due to Str9)

Is this correct?

Why the worry?

Because a Bladebound Kensai is really cool. At lvl 3, when they can use their scimitar as an actual weapon, their power level jumps. In PFS where money is always scarce, at lvl 3 they get a free +1 weapon. This jumps up to a free +2 at lvl 5 and a free +3 at lvl 9. That comes out to be an extra 18,000 gold to spend on other items. It also means that you'll eventually be a character who can never lose his chosen weapon. So at lvl 3...

AC: 21 (once you get a cheap +1 to the buckler)
+8 to hit (+4 Dex, +2 BaB, free weapon focus, free +1 weapon)
Damage jumps from 1d4+2d6-1 (x2) to being 1d6+3d6+4 (18-20 x2)

And from their, AC just continues to rise. By lvl 5, you can spend the 8,000 gold that you would have spent on a weapon to instead get +2 Dex and +2 Int (that translates to another +2 AC, +1 hit and +1 damage).

Everything above though, is just an attempt to find a way to get through the 'hell levels' that are 1-2, when it looks like a bladebound kensai gets hit by a choice between using a crappy weapon, or losing out on alot of much needed AC.


There are lots of ways to get Dex to damage. You just can't always do everything at once.

Liberty's Edge

Wrong forum, you want the advice forum.


why do you say the only way? you can enchant it with agile.


vhok wrote:
why do you say the only way? you can enchant it with agile.

No you can't, you can't further enchant the black blade.


you can use your arcane points to give it enchantments can't you?


vhok wrote:
you can use your arcane points to give it enchantments can't you?

Yes, but, unfortunately agile is not an option (that I'm aware of).


Don't be an elf, be human, take some other feat and retrain it at lvl 2. That way you can have Dervish Dance one level sooner, and suck less.

Also... Canny Defense doesen't work with a shield, so your buckler plan might have a problem


Grumbaki wrote:

The issue

* A Magus is a Dex build character.
* The only way to get Dex to damage is via Dervish Dance.
* Dervish Dance requires the use of a scimitar, which doesn't work with weapon finesse. This only can be taken at lvl 3.
* A Bladebound Kensai is not proficient with martial weapons. Only their 'chosen' weapon, which pretty much has to be a scimitar.
* If the Bladebound Kensai isn't holding a scimitar, he doesn't get Int to AC.
* So at lvls 1-2, the Bladebound Kensai either puts away his Scimitar and loses 1-3 points of AC, or uses it in combat very substandardly. This sucks.

The Idea...does it work?
(1) Hold a scimitar. Treat it like a heavy shield (at lvl 2 it is giving you +2 AC). Don't use it to attack.
(2) In the same hand, have a buckler (for a further +1 AC)
(3) In the other hand, have a spiked gauntlet. This way you have a weapon, but the hand counts as being "free"
(4) Cast the spell with the gauntlet hand being "free" and attack with it.

The Breakdown
* Assume that the character is an elf (for the tasty elven bonuses to overcoming MR and for casting defensively) with the following stats:
Str (9) Dex (18) Con (12) Int (16) Wis (10) Cha (7)

* The elf is lvl 2. He has the following equipment:
- Mundane Scimitar (+2 AC)
- +1 Haramaki (+2 AC)
- Mithril Buckler (+1 AC)
- Spiked Gauntlet (1d4 damage x2 crit)

* With the scimitar and buckler in one hand, he has AC 19 (not bad for lvl 2)

* Turn 1: The elf casts shocking grasp and then moves up. He attacks and misses.
* Turn 2: The elf uses spell combat and spell strike. He attacks with his gauntlet (+4 to hit from Dex, +1 from BaB, +3 for attacking someone with metal gear) for a total of +8. Because he is attacking twice, it becomes +6/+6.
* The elf hits. He now does 1d4+2d6-1 damage (1d4 from the gauntlet, 2d6 from the spell, -1 due to Str9)

Is this correct?

Why the worry?

Because a Bladebound Kensai is really cool. At lvl 3, when they can use their scimitar as an actual...

Can't use buckler with dervish dance


Grumbaki wrote:

The issue

* A Magus is a Dex build character.
* The only way to get Dex to damage is via Dervish Dance.
* Dervish Dance requires the use of a scimitar, which doesn't work with weapon finesse. This only can be taken at lvl 3.
* A Bladebound Kensai is not proficient with martial weapons. Only their 'chosen' weapon, which pretty much has to be a scimitar.
* If the Bladebound Kensai isn't holding a scimitar, he doesn't get Int to AC.
* So at lvls 1-2, the Bladebound Kensai either puts away his Scimitar and loses 1-3 points of AC, or uses it in combat very substandardly. This sucks.

The Idea...does it work?
(1) Hold a scimitar. Treat it like a heavy shield (at lvl 2 it is giving you +2 AC). Don't use it to attack.
(2) In the same hand, have a buckler (for a further +1 AC)
(3) In the other hand, have a spiked gauntlet. This way you have a weapon, but the hand counts as being "free"
(4) Cast the spell with the gauntlet hand being "free" and attack with it.

[

Wrong in just about every way conceivable.

1. A scimitar is not a shield, no matter how you hold it, barring some mechanics I don't know about.
2. Even if you could use your scimitar to get a sheild bonus, you can't use your buckler at the same time as two shield bonuses do not stack. Also if you're using a weapon in the same hand/arm as the buckler, you don't get the buckler's protection anyway.
3. If you are using a hand to attack with, it is not "free" in any sense of the word.
4. See 3 above.


Well then, I've learned a few things here. Thanks guys


666bender wrote:
Can't use buckler with dervish dance.

Yes, you can.

Dervish Dance, like both Slashing Grace and Fencing Grace, only limits shields held in the hand.

Dervish Dance wrote:
You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand.

Emphasis mine.

Bucklers have been clarified; they are not held in the hand.

FAQ wrote:
Slashing Grace does not allow most shields, but bucklers work because they don’t occupy the hand

Emphasis mine.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not getting why you can't use the scimitar as an 'actual weapon' at levels 1 & 2. What makes attacking with a spiked gauntlet better?

Canny Defense gives you a dodge (not shield) bonus to AC equal to the lesser of your Int bonus and level so long as you have; light or no armor, no shield, and a melee weapon.

Combine that with Dex bonus and a +2 armor bonus from the +1 Haramaki and you've still got AC 18 at 2nd level... along with a perfectly good scimitar that does more damage (with a higher crit range) than the spiked gauntlet.

Basically, forget about the spiked gauntlet and buckler. Your AC will only suffer one point and you'll do more damage.


Snowlilly wrote:
666bender wrote:
Can't use buckler with dervish dance.

Yes, you can.

Dervish Dance, like both Slashing Grace and Fencing Grace, only limits shields held in the hand.

Dervish Dance wrote:
You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand.

Emphasis mine.

Bucklers have been clarified; they are not held in the hand.

FAQ wrote:
Slashing Grace does not allow most shields, but bucklers work because they don’t occupy the hand
Emphasis mine.

why have they emphasized the buckler in slashing grace and not dervish?

also, will spell combat work?


also, you lose the shield bonus whenever you cast a spell, as a magus, it's most rounds.

Liberty's Edge

Buckler allowed with: Dervish Dance, Slashing Grace, Fencing Grace, Precise Strike & anything else which requires a free hand

Buckler loses AC bonus with: Spell Combat & anything else that uses the hand

Buckler NOT allowed with: Canny Defense & anything else which prohibits shields

So, given that this build wants to use Spell Combat and Canny Defense, a buckler won't work... even though it is fine for Dervish Dance.

Note: The Unhindering Shield feat would remove these restrictions, allowing a buckler to be used with Canny Defense AND retain it's AC bonus while using Spell Combat.


CBDunkerson wrote:

Buckler allowed with: Dervish Dance, Slashing Grace, Fencing Grace, Precise Strike & anything else which requires a free hand

Buckler loses AC bonus with: Spell Combat & anything else that uses the hand

Buckler NOT allowed with: Canny Defense & anything else which prohibits shields

So, given that this build wants to use Spell Combat and Canny Defense, a buckler won't work... even though it is fine for Dervish Dance.

Note: The Unhindering Shield feat would remove these restrictions, allowing a buckler to be used with Canny Defense AND retain it's AC bonus while using Spell Combat.

Correct on all points.

Dervish Dance works while using a buckler, but a kensai will not be able to use Spell Combat or Canny Defense without investing in Unhindering Shield.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Grumbaki wrote:
The issue

Not all of your assumptions hold up in practice.

* The Magus can be a Dex build character but is equally viable as a Str build character, and you can pull off a few exotic tricks like a Cha build.
* You don't need Dex to damage per se, although it is certainly useful. Ways to get Dex to damage include but are not limited to the Agile enchantment.
* Dervish Dance can be taken earlier than level 3 via retraining.
* MANY builds or classes are not fully effective at level 1 or 2 yet; this is basically the point of leveling up.
* So what exactly is the problem you're trying to solve here?

And yeah, as pointed out above, to the Magus spell combat is just more valuable than a buckler, and the two don't normally mix.


Don't dump STR and go with

STR 12 DEX 17 CON 12 INT 16 WIS 10 CHA 7


I usually hide in the back during combat and chain cast Acid Splash until Dervish Dance comes online.

Given I usually have plenty of skills out of combat, I'm not entirely useless, just less effective at killing.

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