Help for making a magus with Kensai, Bladebound or Hexcrafter (or a combination of 2 of them)


Advice


Hi guys! First time in the forums so sorry if something is bad or incorrect.

My friends and I are gonna be playing a short campaign starting at lvl 1 to 13, 20 point buy and I decided to try a Magus(or magi) since the last time I played one (the normal one, with no archetypes) was a bit disappointed about it. So, I started reading the guides on the web like Walter's, Kurald Galain's and a few more about the HExcrafter and the Kensai. I dont know what campaign we are gonna be playing, but our GM told us that we were gonna have all the loot in gold (so, no items in loot) and it is possible to obtain 20% more gold than the estimated gold per level number.

I have spent at least 7hs or more reading and thinking and I cant come to a conclusion about what of all the archetypes use or what combination of them to use. It seems that it is pretty common the Kensai Bladebound magus but I have some doubts about it:

Kensai:

-You lose 2 arcanas, 1 spell slot per lvl, spell recall and knowledge pool plus you dont have armor proficiency. I know that later you recieve the INT to AC but I dont know if I would be able to reach that lvls in the campaign alive! Until lvl 3-4 you basically depend on your Shield spell and it is a very limited resource (unless wand) and even though you dont get a high AC, just normal AC with low hp. The Kensai gets really awesome bonuses later on (lvl 7+) but I dont know if it is worth it. When you reach 6th lvl your AC should be pretty nice but you are giving up some really cool things too..

Bladebound:

-The thing that hurts me about this archetype is three things: you lose 1 arcana, have a smaller arcane pool (1/3 instead of 1/2 but the blade has its own pool too) and you cant enchant your black blade, which is reaally bad in my opinion, since it makes you more dependant of your arcane pool to do things like Keen, Elemental 1d6 dmg, etc. Since you already have a lower pool, you cant enchant your blade and your best swift action buff consumes 1 point from your pool (arcane acurracy: 1 point to add INT to hit for 1 round as swift), I dont think it pays off that trade, specially since it is probably that we are gonna have a little more gold than normal (which reduces the benefit of the black blade, which is to save you money).

I really wanted to make it work, because I think that it has an incredible RP potential and some of its abilities are awesome (lvl 5 energy damage looks really cool) but I dont find the benefits overcome the weaknesses of this archetype. Is it worth the save in money for the loss of Arcane pool points and losing the posibility of enchanting your weapon(specially since it is a posibility that in this campaign we are gonna have a bit more gold than usual?)

Finally, the last archetype, the Hexcrafter

-This is the one that I like the most, you just lose spell recall at 4th lvl, but you gain an extra arcana. You also get lots of spells from the witch list (some of which are really awesome.. bestow curse, brand for the extra attack with spellstrike without wasting resources) and you get hexes which some of them IMHO are really cool (flight, evil eye and slumber for minor ones and ice tomb for major). It is the most complete of the 3 archetypes and allows you to do more than one thing rather good. The DC's of hexes increase with lvl/2 so they stay relevant. The only downside that keeps me from going with this one is the fact that I have to spend almost 2 feats to get 2 more arcanas (arcane acurracy, evil eye, flight and slumber) which reduces the number of feats you can use.

I read on the guides about the combo with Frostbite + Enforcer + Rime spell to have a nice debuff option with spellcombat and I was thinking if this combo is better than going the Evil Eye + Slumber (next turn) route, since it save me arcanas. What do you guys think about that?

And the final doubt is about going DEX or STR based. DEX seems the obvious one to me since reflex is the bad save, more AC, initiative and stuff. STR gives more damage without using feats or enchantments (which is a real problem if you go Bladebound because you have to take W.Finesse + D.Dance since Agile is off the table and you end up using 2 feats).

I really dont know what to choose. I dont want to be another one-trick pony whose only ability is to critfish with Shocking Grasp really well.

Has someone played any of those archetypes? What experiences/problems did you have? Am I wrong or looking at things in the wrong way? Am I missing the point or something important? I really want to hear your critics, comments and advice about them, it helps me to learn new things and realize about any mistakes I've made when planning the build so please feel free to comment your thoughts about it :)

Thanks in advance and sorry for the bad english :(


Personal experience, but a str hexcrafter with frostbite is loads of fun. Rime frostbite for extra damage (that gets multiplied on criticals) plus debuff, flight hex in a no-brainer, slumber is awesome and doesn't specifically need evil eye to work, but both are good.

With your gm giving everything in gp, I would heavily recommend going str based. You don't need a specific magic weapon property to function and save on feats so you can grab extra arcana more often.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

Personal experience, but a str hexcrafter with frostbite is loads of fun. Rime frostbite for extra damage (that gets multiplied on criticals) plus debuff, flight hex in a no-brainer, slumber is awesome and doesn't specifically need evil eye to work, but both are good.

With your gm giving everything in gp, I would heavily recommend going str based. You don't need a specific magic weapon property to function and save on feats so you can grab extra arcana more often.

Thanks for sharing experience! You are right on that and I just have some doubts.. do you recommend going Bladebound + Hexcrafter or just Hexcrafter? And the last thing is if do you think that low AC is gonna be a problem for the STR build? Thanks


I don't know if it could interest you, but since the last year, another alternative appeared for to build a magus-like character: the Phantom Blade Spiritualist

I recently completed the first version of a guide on it (a few days ago, in fact) after playing it for a long time in the Strange Aeons campagin: The Guide

Little summary of what the archetype does:
- Similar to the Bladebloud Magus you get a magical sentient weapon that automatically improve with levels for free
- Features Spell Combat and Spellstrike as the Magus, but Arcanas are remplaced by another power allowing you to morph and adapt your weapon to the current needs of a fight (for exemple, you can make it resolve its attacks against touch AC...)
- Use psychic magic instead of arcane magic, which allow it to use armors and shield without penalties
- Feature a spell list so different of the Magus it open a fully different realm of strategies and tactics
- Can fight "unarmed", the phantom then inhabiting his fists instead of taking the shape of a steel weapon, and making them almost more deadly than the ones of a monk (they improve automatically with levels up to 2d10 + 5 with permanent Ghost Touch quality)

Since you were disappointed with your first try with the Magus, I thought you could be interested by something at the same time similar, but also quite different in some ways

I personnaly loved to spellstrike with a blade that resolve againsy touch AC and banish people into hell on a failed will save :)


dragonslayer587 wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

Personal experience, but a str hexcrafter with frostbite is loads of fun. Rime frostbite for extra damage (that gets multiplied on criticals) plus debuff, flight hex in a no-brainer, slumber is awesome and doesn't specifically need evil eye to work, but both are good.

With your gm giving everything in gp, I would heavily recommend going str based. You don't need a specific magic weapon property to function and save on feats so you can grab extra arcana more often.

Thanks for sharing experience! You are right on that and I just have some doubts.. do you recommend going Bladebound + Hexcrafter or just Hexcrafter? And the last thing is if do you think that low AC is gonna be a problem for the STR build? Thanks

I don't know enough about bladebound to comment on it.

AC is fine if you invest your wealth smart and remember to keep some good emergency spells like shield, mirror image, blur, etc prepared. A chain shirt to start and then upgrade to a mithril breastplate at 7th when you get proficiency.

Fun fact, you can spell combat with a buff spell, take a 5 ft step, then finish your attacks.

One thing I forgot to mention on the str vs dex debate is that most of the dex-to-damage options are specifically worded so that they don't function with spell combat. Or doing literally anything with your off hand.


For that campaign, a lot depends on how you'll be allowed to spend all that gold.
If you've got normal shopping opportunities, bladebound would probably be a downgrade compared to what you can buy. If all that money is just for consumables, or if there's no magic-marts at all and it's for plot stuff, bladebound
or the like is practically required.

In general, I think hexcrafter is the funnest magus. It lends itself to avoid the standard SG crit-fisher, although you can do that too, and the extra money in your campaign can go towards pearls of power.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
dragonslayer587 wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

Personal experience, but a str hexcrafter with frostbite is loads of fun. Rime frostbite for extra damage (that gets multiplied on criticals) plus debuff, flight hex in a no-brainer, slumber is awesome and doesn't specifically need evil eye to work, but both are good.

With your gm giving everything in gp, I would heavily recommend going str based. You don't need a specific magic weapon property to function and save on feats so you can grab extra arcana more often.

Thanks for sharing experience! You are right on that and I just have some doubts.. do you recommend going Bladebound + Hexcrafter or just Hexcrafter? And the last thing is if do you think that low AC is gonna be a problem for the STR build? Thanks

I don't know enough about bladebound to comment on it.

AC is fine if you invest your wealth smart and remember to keep some good emergency spells like shield, mirror image, blur, etc prepared. A chain shirt to start and then upgrade to a mithril breastplate at 7th when you get proficiency.

Fun fact, you can spell combat with a buff spell, take a 5 ft step, then finish your attacks.

One thing I forgot to mention on the str vs dex debate is that most of the dex-to-damage options are specifically worded so that they don't function with spell combat. Or doing literally anything with your off hand.

Yes, the dex-to-damage build eats two feats to allow that and I thinking that maybe getting Rime and Intensified Spell, Enforcer and an extra arcana is a better choice?(I really like the Spell-scars arcana since I dont need to use action to pull out scroll)


Cult of Vorg wrote:

For that campaign, a lot depends on how you'll be allowed to spend all that gold.

If you've got normal shopping opportunities, bladebound would probably be a downgrade compared to what you can buy. If all that money is just for consumables, or if there's no magic-marts at all and it's for plot stuff, bladebound
or the like is practically required.

In general, I think hexcrafter is the funnest magus. It lends itself to avoid the standard SG crit-fisher, although you can do that too, and the extra money in your campaign can go towards pearls of power.

Our GM told us we are gonna be able to buy everything we need so following your advice here I dont think Bladebound is the better choice here.

I agree on the Hexcrafter, it is a real funny and versatile magus. I still thing the Eldritch Archer is the most potent of all archetypes (because archer = full round attacks easy + a spell.. I enjoyed a lot playing it) but the Hexcrafter has more versatility imo(could combine them maybe?)


evil eye + hex strike + imp unarmed strike + enforcer.
you attack and share so much debuffs.

if the party also have a unachined rogue... you close a foe down


Definitely Hexcrafter. While you lose Improved Spell Recall and delay Spell Recall having access to debuff and utility hexes such as Evil Eye and Flight (I suggest you take at least these two hexes) I think more than offset being able to cast spells repeatedly. The Hexcrafter is a natural pairing for the Bladebound as the smaller Arcane Pool doesn't hurt so much since you won't be using points for Spell Recall. I think the Hexcrafter works nicely with feats such as Cornugon Smash (cast Blade Tutor's Spirit to negate the penaly to power attack) and Dazzling display for some serious debuffing.

The weapon of the Bladebound isn't totally bad and offers some nice rp opportunities. Even though you're not restricted in what you can buy and get extra gold, I'd still consider the benefits of not having to spend gp on a weapon; use the extra gp to buy even better armour, wands, defensive and ability enhancing items etc.

What races are you considering and do you know what classes others might be playing?

Scarab Sages

Double check with you GM that Bladebound and Hexcrafter will stack if that is an option you consider. I have see rulings that based on the FAQ they do not. Since Hexcrafter adds options for you to select with your arcana and Bladebound replaces your first arcana they both modify that feature and therefore do not stack.


Interesting. Where's the faq?

While an argument can certainly be made that the Bladebound and hexcrafter cannot be stacked Imo people probably shouldn't play with GMs who disallow fun and interesting options on the basis of such absurd technicalities.

Scarab Sages

Decimus Drake wrote:

Interesting. Where's the faq?

While an argument can certainly be made that the Bladebound and hexcrafter cannot be stacked Imo people probably shouldn't play with GMs who disallow fun and interesting options on the basis of such absurd technicalities.

I mean, if it’s the rule, it’s the rule. And it does appear to be the rule.

LINK

FAQ wrote:

Archetype Stacking and Altering: What exactly counts as altering a class feature for the purpose of stacking archetypes?

In general, if a class feature grants multiple subfeatures, it’s OK to take two archetypes that only change two separate subfeatures. This includes two bard archetypes that alter or replace different bardic performances (even though bardic performance is technically a single class feature) or two fighter archetypes that replace the weapon training gained at different levels (sometimes referred to as “weapon training I, II, III, or IV”) even though those all fall under the class feature weapon training. However, if something alters the way the parent class feature works, such as a mime archetype that makes all bardic performances completely silent, with only visual components instead of auditory, you can’t take that archetype with an archetype that alters or replaces any of the sub-features. This even applies for something as small as adding 1 extra round of bardic performance each day, adding an additional bonus feat to the list of bonus feats you can select, or adding an additional class skill to the class. As always, individual GMs should feel free to houserule to allow small overlaps on a case by case basis, but the underlying rule exists due to the unpredictability of combining these changes.

posted June 2015

It seems pretty much consistent with the example they give. As noted, a GM can allow it, but it becomes an ask your GM situation, not something that’s part of the base game.

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