Is this Overpowered? And where is the limit?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

Hey all,
Just a quick check with you, because this seems horribly overpowered to me.

Consider a magus with the Bladebound and Myrmydarch archetypes

At level 9, the character has taken advanced weapon training and has selected warrior spirit (under 'advanced weapon training') with it.

Have this character wear gloves of dueling.

Now, it is my understanding that this character, at level 9, having spent only 15000 gp on an item, can boost its +3 black blade to a whopping +9 for only a swift and a standard action, adding a free action to up the damage another +3. All three abilities last one minute. The Warrior Spirit 3 points are completely free, so vicious or a targeted bane and/or blood-hunting is not excluded.

Am I right that this character can enter combat with a +5 shocking, bane, and holy weapon 3 times per day?

And if I'm correct. Does this all limit at +10? For that is the max for item creation. But how's it work with abilities like these?

Does this character get to +15 at level 20? Or +17 if VMC fighter?


My understanding is that +10 is the maximum items can be enchanted and that assumes a +5 enchantment bonus which is the max enchantment bonus short of epic (or its equivalent)

However the black blade abilities of energy attunement, extra +* to damage aren't described as enchantment bonuses so could stack with the +10.

It looks pretty broken to me.

Lantern Lodge

No. Warrior spirit only stacks up to a maximum of +5

Warrior spirit wrote:
While wielding this weapon, he can spend 1 point of spiritual energy to grant the weapon an enhancement bonus equal to his weapon training bonus. Enhancement bonuses gained by this advanced weapon training option stack with those of the weapon, to a maximum of +5

Black blade at level 9 is +3

Weapon Training 1, and gloves of duelling give a maximum weapon training bonus of +3. But as noted the bonus maxes out at +5.

So your rather one trick pony can three times a day get a +5 sword, yes. If she wants the special abilities they will reduce the bonus, by one for shocking, another one for bane and two more for holy.

Still a nice weapon, but not quite as nice as you suggest.


To be clear the enhancement bonus caps at +5 but the weapon can have another +5 of equivalent abilities on top of that right?

The black blade starts at +3 (or in a non blade bound magus they would typically have a +3 weapon or better by level 9)

The arcane pool then grants +3 in either enhancement bonus (or abilities)
The spirit then adds a further +3 in either enhancement bonus or abilities.

Totalling +9 which would have to have at least +4 worth of special abilities because +5 is the highest enhancement.

The +3 damage from spending the blades arcane point would stack
The energy damage could stack.

That's as far as I can see from the written rules but I've been wrong before. My question would be whether Myrmidons get advanced weapon training. I'm not sure it was clear.

Silver Crusade

As the Sword posts it.
+3 black blade
+3 magus arcana
+3 warrior spirit
And +3 damage from the blackblade ability.

That's how I read it and meant it in my post.

Besides. I would not, by far, call this high int, spellcasting character with the standard magus spell combat and spell strike a "one trick pony".
Geared for combat, maybe, but not even necessarily that.

Lantern Lodge

I believe the Warrior Spirit has a maximum bonus before taking into account any special abilities of +5. The full quote (with my emphesis) is:

Warrior Spirit wrote:
Warrior Spirit (Su) The fighter can forge a spiritual bond with a weapon that belongs to the associated weapon group, allowing him to unlock the weapon's potential. Each day, he designates one such weapon and gains a number of points of spiritual energy equal to 1 + his weapon training bonus. While wielding this weapon, he can spend 1 point of spiritual energy to grant the weapon an enhancement bonus equal to his weapon training bonus. Enhancement bonuses gained by this advanced weapon training option stack with those of the weapon, to a maximum of +5. The fighter can also imbue the weapon with any one weapon special ability with an equivalent enhancement bonus less than or equal to his maximum bonus by reducing the granted enhancement bonus by the amount of the equivalent enhancement bonus. The item must have an enhancement bonus of at least +1 (from the item itself or from warrior spirit) to gain a weapon special ability. In either case, these bonuses last for 1 minute.

Note the first chunk of bold text. That limits the maximum bonus to +5. The next bolded area then goes on to say you can reduce that bonus to instead have special abilities.

So you can get your +5 blade in a couple of different ways, but you can't get beyond that with Warrior Spirit or Arcane pool.

When you are designing your normal magic weapon you can have up to +10 worth of bonuses, with a maximum of +5 (and minimum of +1) before using up some of the other plusses for special abilities. The two features you are concerned about work in the same way, but with a limit that is +5 rather than +10, making them pretty handy at low level, but much less awesome at high levels. At least when combined with the Black Blade. They would work quite nicely with each other to let you have a +4 or +5 weapon at a much lower level than you could normally afford one.

While we are here, Arcane pool has a similar limit, so stacking that with the warrior spirit would seem to not work very well.

Arcane Pool wrote:


At 1st level, a magus can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.


Enhancement bonus and equivalent enhancement bonus aren't the same thing I believe. It is only the enhancement bonus, the pure + to the weapon's attack and damage that is limited to +5 anything over this can be used on equivalents for abilities. (Up to +10)

So if your weapon bonus is +3 and you can add a further +6 then you can choose to boost the weapon to +5 (using 2 points) and add a +4 equivalent ability for the rest.

Warrior Spirit could be read as you say it but it would be the only weapon enhancing power that stops at +5 and doesn't allow you to take the spare on as abilities (up to +10 in combination)

Silver Crusade

This is interesting.

One way of reading the text (mine and the sword's) gives a result of +9 (with the normal max of a +5 straight bonus). Our question should be: "holy crap, what power! Where does it stop? At +10?"

But now, a different reading comes up: the abilities in question do nothing beyond a total of abilities with a value of +5. This way of reading would bring the question:"whyever would you want to play a magus, warpriest, transmutation occultist, or fighter with warrior spirit beyond low level?"

Since the second reading nerfs at least four classes for no reason, I'm (still) inclined to believe that the first reading is correct. I truly wonder how you explain your second reading to disappointed magi, warpriests, occultists, and fighters in your own groups.


The Sword wrote:

Enhancement bonus and equivalent enhancement bonus aren't the same thing I believe. It is only the enhancement bonus, the pure + to the weapon's attack and damage that is limited to +5 anything over this can be used on equivalents for abilities. (Up to +10)

So if your weapon bonus is +3 and you can add a further +6 then you can choose to boost the weapon to +5 (using 2 points) and add a +4 equivalent ability for the rest.

Warrior Spirit could be read as you say it but it would be the only weapon enhancing power that stops at +5 and doesn't allow you to take the spare on as abilities (up to +10 in combination)

This is correct. As an example a +5 flaming sword has an enhancement total of +6 for purposes of determining the cap on the weapon, but for damage it does +5 damage, and gives a +5 to attack rolls, not including the 1d6 fire damage.


Viondar wrote:

This is interesting.

One way of reading the text (mine and the sword's) gives a result of +9 (with the normal max of a +5 straight bonus). Our question should be: "holy crap, what power! Where does it stop? At +10?"

But now, a different reading comes up: the abilities in question do nothing beyond a total of abilities with a value of +5. This way of reading would bring the question:"whyever would you want to play a magus, warpriest, transmutation occultist, or fighter with warrior spirit beyond low level?"

Since the second reading nerfs at least four classes for no reason, I'm (still) inclined to believe that the first reading is correct. I truly wonder how you explain your second reading to disappointed magi, warpriests, occultists, and fighters in your own groups.

Most people know the cap is at +10, and the cap for the actual enhancement is at +5, and most players, in my experience, have no problem accepting rules corrections.

Class abilities don't tend to break rules unless it is very obvious that they intent to bypass the rule. If these are new players I would ask them to not get to attached to new combos until they are verified. If you as the GM are also new to the rule feel free to post here to verify things. :)


Language Parsing:

Well, looking at the CRB definition for magic weapons we have two ways of referring to enhancement bonus.

crb, ch 15: magic items, weapons wrote:
Magic weapons have enhancement bonuses ranging from +1 to +5.

We have the standard (+1)--(+5) enhancement bonus which grants additional attack and damage values. This means that in all further instances when referring to magical weapon bonuses, "enhancement bonus(es)" refers to the attack and damage modifiers, not anything else.

crb, ch 15: magic items, weapons wrote:
Some magic weapons have special abilities. Special abilities count as additional bonuses for determining the market value of the item, but do not modify attack or damage bonuses (except where specifically noted). A single weapon cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalents, including from character abilities and spells) higher than +10.

We also have "special ability (bonus[es])," these refer to all abilities which are not merely a flat bonus to all attack and damage modifiers, and range from +1 to +5 with many varying effects. I add the word bonus, because this is what they're referred to in the rest of the text and tables (see footnote 4 of table 15-9: melee weapon special abilities).

Finally there's the "modified bonus" which includes enhancements and special abilities; referring to the item's total cap, not just the bonuses which grant static attack and damage modifiers (enhancement bonuses), nor just those which grant the item's special abilities (special ability bonuses).

What does this mean?

When we look at the issue of class abilities which provide either enhancement bonuses, or special ability bonuses, which explicitly stack, they in fact do so to a modified bonus cap of +10. The 'pool' of the bonus, either enhancement or special ability, can be split freely amongst the two to the total bonus stated in the class description.

In plain English: Yes, your +3 black blade stacks with your arcane pool, which stacks with your weapon spirit to a maximum modified bonus of +9 at the stated level given your stated conditions. The absolute maximum remains a +10 modified bonus (unless you have an ability which specifies otherwise), which you will of course achieve shortly.

Silver Crusade

Wraithstrike, your way of reading it is not the second (nerfed) way. It would be weird if people wouldn't accept that.

I'm inclined to believe the cap of +10, because it's reasonable. But... The +10 max rule is explained in magical weapon creation. Where is it stated or implied that temporary abilities cannot further enhance a weapon?

Incidentally, this discussion has made me read that the warrior spirit and transmutation implement powers specify any one weapon special ability, as opposed to the magus's and warpriest's any of the following weapon special abilities. So, occultists and fighters are worse off than I thought.

Still, a character with high int or wis would hardly go wrong with a one-leveldip in occultist or relic hunter for a +2 enhancement to any physical score and the ability to add bane to a weapon multiple times per day :)

Silver Crusade

Thanks, Trekkie90909. Your explanation clarifies a lot of this discussion. Its viability would up from 9/10 to 10/10 if you would use rules quotes ;)

Now I wonder if all the rules I used are pfs legal. That doesn't go beyond level 12 anyway :)
I'll have to check that out

Lantern Lodge

You can read it how you like. I know how normal bonuses max out at an "effective" +10 and specifically enhancement bonus +5. That is not how either of those abilities are written.

You noted the abilities appear broken when used together, and I simply quoted the text which is pretty clear about saying they max out at +5 before saying anything about substituting those pluses into other properties.

If a developer wants to come in and say "no, we just mean the actual enhancement bonus itself can't be higher than plus five, but your pool of enhancements can be higher" I've got no issue with it. But I rather think they are written this way so as to not make acquisition of a real magical weapon irrelevant.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

GM Aerondor the enhancement bonus stack to a maximum of +5, but you still get the full bonus from the Warrior Spirit ability, even it it is higher than what can be applied. Simply the part that would push the weapon enhancement above +5 do nothing, unless spent to buy other abilities.

The ability text don't say that the bonus isn't received, it say that it don't stack.


There's a FAQ that even special things like arcane bond can't push a weapon past the +10 cap.

Yes this build gets a HUGE spike here getting their best weapons so much earlier than others, but it does cap out there. once it reached a +12 or whatnot there will be wasted points involved.


The abilities to stack, to a maximum of +9 total. Enhancement bonus caps at +5, with the remaining +4 available for weapon properties.

This character is very front-loaded. He will hit the +10 cap sooner than a normal, but cannot exceed the +10 ceiling for combined weapon enhancement + weapon properties.


Ok one question here:

do the bonus from both arcane pool AND warrior spirit stack together.

According to CRB p.13:

Stacking: Stacking refers to the act of adding together
bonuses or penalties that apply to one particular check or
statistic. Generally speaking, most bonuses of the same
type do not stack. Instead, only the highest bonus applies.

Most penalties do stack, meaning that their values are
added together. Penalties and bonuses generally stack with
one another, meaning that the penalties might negate

So for a +3 blackblade, both class features adds an enhancement bonus to the weapon that can be used either for direct enhancement bonus or for special abilities...

But do they stack? It would appear that only the highest of the two bonus would apply here....No???

Thoughts???


yes, since both abilities say they increase off of what is already there.


I'm curious now as to how well the character would progress through the early levels. Levels 1-2 seem like you would just be a 2/3 BAB Fighter with cantrips and maybe one 1st-level spell, getting another at 2. I would assume that you'd get a pretty decent increase in power at 3, gaining your black blade and a full point added to your arcane pool, but having not spent more than 5 minutes looking at this build and having never played a Magus, I'm not sure how your progression would go from there.


Captain Battletoad wrote:
I'm curious now as to how well the character would progress through the early levels. Levels 1-2 seem like you would just be a 2/3 BAB Fighter with cantrips and maybe one 1st-level spell, getting another at 2. I would assume that you'd get a pretty decent increase in power at 3, gaining your black blade and a full point added to your arcane pool, but having not spent more than 5 minutes looking at this build and having never played a Magus, I'm not sure how your progression would go from there.

Arcane Pool adds a +1 enhancement bonus from level 1, so even at 1st level you are as accurate as a full BAB class and hit a little harder.


Snowlilly wrote:
Captain Battletoad wrote:
I'm curious now as to how well the character would progress through the early levels. Levels 1-2 seem like you would just be a 2/3 BAB Fighter with cantrips and maybe one 1st-level spell, getting another at 2. I would assume that you'd get a pretty decent increase in power at 3, gaining your black blade and a full point added to your arcane pool, but having not spent more than 5 minutes looking at this build and having never played a Magus, I'm not sure how your progression would go from there.
Arcane Pool adds a +1 enhancement bonus from level 1, so even at 1st level you are as accurate as a full BAB class and hit a little harder.

That's true, I forgot about that. Unfortunately you can only have that for 1 + INT minutes/day, but given an INT of 16+ that should be enough for most encounters in a given game day.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Losing 1 spell/level and spell recall, plus 1 arcana, are serious drawback.
On the other hand this trait can help:
Bladed Magic: You have an innate talent for using magical weaponry and those weapons capable of becoming magical. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Craft checks made to craft magic or masterwork weapons. In addition, when you use your arcane pool class ability to grant a weapon an enhancement bonus, that bonus lasts for 2 minutes instead of 1.

Note that even with the reduced number of spells you still get the bonus spells for high intelligence, so, unless you start with an intelligence of 11 or less, you still start with at least 1 first level spell.

3 cantrips (or maybe 4, as they aren't part of the spell feature) and 1 spell still are enough to get shield and spell combat/spellstrike with Arcane mark at level 2.


Hmmm how would this compare to a Mindblade Magus with a one-level dip in Battle Host Occultist, taking Transmutation as your school for the +2 physical score bonus and Legacy Weapon, and choosing masterwork full plate as your implement (Mindblade makes casting psychic based which means armor doesn't interfere, but at the cost of a much higher concentration DC)?


it'd be a similar idea but a lot weaker

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