Firstime Pathfinder Player: Magus Recommendations


Advice


Hey all, like I said, first time playing Pathfinder, but did run a 3.5 campaign up to epic as an Abjurer so not entirely new.

I loved the flavour and mechanics of the Magus, and generally like finesse-style characters, so I went with the Kensai archetype. I'm loving how everything is interacting, and am pretty happy with how my character is progressing, but I've just hit level 5 and I'm not sure which of a couple options I want to take.

Our GM's been pretty great so far, a little light with magic weapons, and we're a fair ways behind the WBL curve right now, but it's more just situational fights in that we've been doing running engagements where we haven't managed to loot the dead, which he's acknowledged and it should get better in the next few games.

Elf Kensai Magus 5
NG, Ini +4

Offense
+1 Scimitar +9 (1d6+5, 18-20/x2)

Defense
AC: 20, touch 19, flat-footed 11 (Silk Ceremonial, Dex +4, Int +5)
HP 43 (5+5d8)
Fortitude +6, Reflex +6, Will +6

Spells
0th (3/day): Arcane Mark, Detect Magic, Light
1st (5/day): Shocking Grasp/Frostbite, Shocking Grasp, Reduce Person x2, Vanish
2nd (2/day): Mirror Image, Bladed Dash

Stats
STR 12, DEX 18, CON 13, INT 20, WIS 12, CHA12
BAB +3, CMB +4, CMD 18
Traits: Magical Lineage (Shocking Grasp), Arcane Focus (Elf Alternate Racial)
Feats/Abilities: Lvl 1)Weapon Finesse,Lvl 1) Kensai Bonus: Weapon Focus, Lvl 3)Dervish Dance, Lvl 3) Arcane Accuracy Arcana, Lvl 5) Intensified Spell, Lvl 5)TBD
Skills: Climb (+5), Fly (+8), Intimidate (+9), Knowledge (Arcana) (+13), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (+11), Knowledge (Planes) (+13), Linguistics (+7), Perception (+8), Perform (Dance) (+3), Profession (City Watch) +5, Ride (+8), Spellcraft (+13, +15 Defensive Casting), Swim (+5), UMD (+5)
Gear: +1 Scimitar, Cloak of Resistance +1

----

We have a Witch (mostly Slumber goodness so far), a Cleric (Mostly Healbot-ish) and a Two-Hander Paladin in the party as well. Between Reduce Person, and the Mage Armour the nice witch gives me for clutch fights, I have the highest AC by far in the group. I play a bit of a Striker/Off-Tank sort of role, and mostly focusing on using things like Reduce Person and Frostbite to increase overall damage as we've been fighting hordes of lower level goons spaced with a PC levelled boss (We did a naval boarding action last session where we dropped something like 45 goblins and a levelled Hobgoblin Monk; and in the session before 3 Goblin Vulture Riders, 10 Worg Riders and a Hobgoblin Lieutenant on a Winter Wolf); and the session before something like 50 Hobgoblins in Half-Plate; the last three sessions we sprung about 100 slaves from a Hobgoblin run slave camp and fought a running battle to get them back to safety).

I've got a little over 2k gold and a week's rest right now to pick up a magic item or two, and was thinking of duplicating some of my spellbook as well.

I was thinking either a couple lvl 1 pearls of power, a Handy Haversack, or holding onto it to save up for a Dex belt; but I'm not sure what might serve me best.

As far as feats, I'll be taking Empowered Spell, Critical Focus, and eventually Bleeding Critical and Spell Perfection, but looking at taking the Step Up feat chain, coupled with the Distruptive/Spellbreaker feats I can get through Arcana fits my character background, but I'm not sure what use I'll get out of them.

I was also considering taking an Improved Familiar as a Faerie Dragon to give me some utility, between it's casting and what wands I can supply it with.

Or even, just focusing on using a spell like Long Arm, taking Combat Reflexes, Improved initiative and Additional Traits (Warrior of Old [+2 Initiative] and Seeker [+1 Perception/Class Skill]), and maybe
Toughness.

Just asking for folks' experience in having used any of these options and what might they suggest? The party isn't extraordinarily optimised, but the DM seems pretty keen to keep a lot of our fights on the knife's edge, so I'd like an edge in being able to survive.


Warrior of Old and Seeker are both very solid choices.

Would not bother with improved initiative, soon enough your initiative will be so high you'll nearly always go first.

Dex belt is a must, pearls of power are nice to have, but not your highest priority.

Don't slack when it comes to a Cloak of Resistance, you'll want to upgrade to a +2 in another level or two.

Ring of Protection: soonish.


You can find a Kensai Magus guide here. Take note of the Frostbite build, if you want to use that as your signature spell; if you continue to fight Mook armies it would be a reasonable choice. You only need to hit them once and they will either end up with status: Dead or be so weak they couldn't punch their way out of a paper bag, either way their threat is ended.

You are lucky in that you can use your Arcane Pool to enhance your weapon, meaning you don't have to invest so much into it and can concentrate on other magic items.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As you are Level 5 already it may be prudent to purchase a 1st-level Pearl of Power for the friendly witch so they can cast Mage Armor on you at no cost to their spells per day. That lasts 5 hours per cast already and is much more efficient than looking for a Ring of Protection or magic armor.

You will want a +2 Cloak soon-ish, but since you're a Dex Magus who didn't dump Wisdom your saves are pretty decent. Get a cloak if saves are coming up often, but otherwise save that 3k for other things. My recommendation is a 1st-levels Pearl of Power (for the witch) and save the other 1k towards a belt - without Power Attack or similar feats you need all the static damage you can get, and boosting AC and Reflex in addition is a nice bonus.

Given you appear to be using Shocking Grasp with Magical Lineage, consider Elemental Spell (Acid) - Resist Energy and its ilk should be showing up sooner or later and you'll be glad you have another damage type then. Normally I'd say "just buy a rod" but as a magus you wouldn't have a free hand to use it with anyway.


I've looked at that guide pretty exhaustively, and to be honest, sort of regretted not going the strength route because of the feat investment at this point. There's lots of things I'd like to do and not enough feat slots to do it. Which makes the Frostbite build difficult because it won't come online for several levels.

The Pearl of Power to the Witch works well actually, she also happens to be my IRL wife, so that's a fantastic idea that I hadn't thought of. And yeah, I need that belt pretty badly.

On the topic of saves, my DM is one who enjoys playing skill monkeys and is getting us to roll lots of skills pretty regularly. Between my high Dex and Int I've been coming off alright, but would it be worthwhile to take a 1 or 2 level dip into Monk and pick up +2 to saves, a nice class skill list, stunning fist, a couple of bonus feats and evasion? I'm aware of the general imperative to not lose casting levels, but considering a lot of my baseline damage is coming from martial abilities it might not be too punitive.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Osiris101 wrote:
On the topic of saves, my DM is one who enjoys playing skill monkeys and is getting us to roll lots of skills pretty regularly. Between my high Dex and Int I've been coming off alright, but would it be worthwhile to take a 1 or 2 level dip into Monk and pick up +2 to saves, a nice class skill list, stunning fist, a couple of bonus feats and evasion? I'm aware of the general imperative to not lose casting levels, but considering a lot of my baseline damage is coming from martial abilities it might not be too punitive.

What skills are you needing?

Magus has strong Fort and Will saves, and with a Dex build your Reflex save is probably good as well. I do not think it is worth multi classing for the saving throws.


Well, thinking Acrobatics, Escape Artist, Perception, Sense Motive and Stealth in particular, of I took 2 levels I'd get evasion and at that point (if I increased my Cloak to +2) a +10 on all my saves.

But yeah it does seem a bit of a tradeoff.

Liberty's Edge

(1) You should have 2 traits but only have one, namely magical lineage with shocking grasp. The arcane focus from elf you have replaces weapon familiarity and is an alternate racial trait. Confusing, I know, but the summary of things is that you get one more trait.

(2) I would go either shocking grasp or frostbite in a build, not both (or at least don't spend feats on both.) Since you already have the trait for shocking grasp and intensified spell, you have apparently decided on shocking grasp. You could certainly easily switch things around, however, to a frostbite build if you wanted to.

Sovereign Court

A single level of swashbuckler is a common dip as well, though since you are invested into a scimitar you wouldn't want to go inspired blade. It gets int and cha for its panache pool. You would get you all of the skills you mentioned except stealth. But it would be focused on a rapier, and some overlap with kensai, they both get weapon focus. But it would free up weapon finesse at least. Fencing Grace is similar to dervish dance, Dex to Damage. Just make sure to check if your GM has any hangups abut the hand being free and work combat.

The whirling dervish archetype for Swashbuckler is able to use the scimitar for the Swashbuckler abilities, giving you the weapon finesse feat for free.

But it really wouldn't help you much in the saves department.


Yeah, my DM doesn't really use traits, but I convinced him to let me use Magical Lineage. He'll be fine me using a feat to get a few more though, just didn't really want us to have them for free.

My understanding is they errata'd Fencing/Slashing Grace to not work with Spell Combat, so I think Dervish Dance is my only option.

I was looking at the unchained rogue as well, I'd be able to retrain weapon finesse and it would give me more skills, effectively 2 feats, and evasion as well, though my saves wouldn't be great, as well as a little bit of sneak attack.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Firstime Pathfinder Player: Magus Recommendations All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.