Pathfinder Second and Gishes


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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If the Magus come back in the future I think that they will be completely different than the previous edition because of the new action economy, maybe even without spell slots, something like using focus spells to enchant the sword with a element for a minute to capitalize elemental weakness and if you wish can even release the enchant in a hit for increased damage.


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Yeah, a lot of these posts seem more interested in directly translating a 1e system rather than working with the new framework.
I highly doubt it’ll happen, but at the same time I’m looking forward to what could come out.


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Honestly, the main reason I've been imagining a Focus-based Magus is simply because of the basic contradiction that Magus is highly likely to come back and highly unlikely to be a full caster (and thus unlikely to be a caster at all by PF2e mechanics).

I hadn't considered making it cantrip-based, though. Now that you mention it, Magus having a combination of Bard-like cantrip powers and more powerful (but limited) Focus spells does seem likely.

Like, take Bard, strip out the spellcasting, increase martial proficiency, change the cantrips to be based around supplementing melee Strikes, and add a variety of Focus powers that can optionally be melee Strikes or not... That seems like a solid framework for a class.


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Just saying, if a Magus comes back and it can't cast spells *at least* as well as a bard, I'm going to burn it to the ground.

Focus powers should at most be an add-on to regular casting, either providing a means of elegantly combining spells and martial ability, or giving some extra magic pizzaz to weapon attacks.

Remember, the fantasy of a magus isn't "dude with an extra shiny sword". It's someone who has dedicated their life to both magical and martial study. If they can't crack a spell book to save their lives it's not meeting expectations, and even though they study combat that's not all their magic is for.


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Kyrone wrote:
If the Magus come back in the future I think that they will be completely different than the previous edition because of the new action economy, maybe even without spell slots, something like using focus spells to enchant the sword with a element for a minute to capitalize elemental weakness and if you wish can even release the enchant in a hit for increased damage.

Sort of like the Unleash Elements spell in World of Warcraft? Sounds good to me.

I'm personally increasingly in favor of a full caster Magus. I know that's not going to be everyone's thing, but more and more that's what I'd like to see. In fact, I'd go farther and say Magi could be the prepared "choose your own spell list" class, starting with four paths: Red Knight (occult), Black Knight (arcane), White Knight (divine), and Green Blue Knight (primal (edit: uses the aspects from the hunter and shifter classes))*. Allow them to steal everyone else's spellstrike feats like Bespell Weapon and Channel Strike, as well as having one or two of their own. GIve focus powers that temporarily buff their weapons with either elemental damage as Kyrone said, or adding weapon traits to their attacks. All paths should have the basic ability to cast spells and strike with the same attack roll, at range or in melee, though probably with no real action economy savings until higher level.

They don't necessarily need the same number of slots as a wizard or even cleric though. I'd be perfectly fine with them having 1-2 spells per level, especially since they can also multiclass for more spellcasting if they so desire.

*I imagined that sentence going VERY differently, but being able to say "I'm of the Black Knights of Westcrown is just too cool


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Separating this out from my other post, but regarding gishes in general, how well do we think the ability to cast a saving throw spell instead of striking a second or third time is going to balance out? Before the playtest, I assumed that wouldn't be something most could easily do, especially as a cantrip that a fighter might be able to pick up for a single MC feat. But now with touch attacks gone and at least some spells that used attack rolls now requiring a saving throw, perhaps I'm wrong.

We'd run the risk of losing the spell in the middle of melee, but with AoO no longer guaranteed, that might be alright. And if its a cantrip, you just go again I suppose.

Not sure I'm making sense. I guess what I'm trying to ask is, does the forum zeitgeist feel that fighters picking up a saving throw cantrip for higher level fights, so that they can use that instead of making second and third strikes that are likely to miss, make sense from a build perspective?


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AnimatedPaper wrote:

Separating this out from my other post, but regarding gishes in general, how well do we think the ability to cast a saving throw spell instead of striking a second or third time is going to balance out? Before the playtest, I assumed that wouldn't be something most could easily do, especially as a cantrip that a fighter might be able to pick up for a single MC feat. But now with touch attacks gone and at least some spells that used attack rolls now requiring a saving throw, perhaps I'm wrong.

We'd run the risk of losing the spell in the middle of melee, but with AoO no longer guaranteed, that might be alright. And if its a cantrip, you just go again I suppose.

Not sure I'm making sense. I guess what I'm trying to ask is, does the forum zeitgeist feel that fighters picking up a saving throw cantrip for higher level fights, so that they can use that instead of making second and third strikes that are likely to miss, make sense from a build perspective?

I guarantee it won't be a good idea, for a fighter especially. Their accuracy will be good enough for attacks, especially press attacks to be a better option. Now as a ranged option if they are melee it might be a good idea. And it definitely can be good for a caster with a weapon to do that.


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This is unpopular opinion, but with the PF2 make your own class approach with class feats, I think that most if not all hibrid classes don't even need to come back, one could easily put a spellstrike feat, or an thesis of "Stabbing with Shocking Grasp: Theory and Applications" for Wizards.

But I can see a class like MaxAstro suggested working with the system and give feats like "Basic Arcana Spellcasting" for limited spellcasting potential.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
Give focus powers that temporarily buff their weapons with either elemental damage as Kyrone said, or adding weapon traits to their attacks. All paths should have the basic ability to cast spells and strike with the same attack roll, at range or in melee, though probably with no real action economy savings until higher level.

I would love something like this, because that was my favorite thing about the Arcane Pool feature, I would love to be swinging around a scimitar or bastard sword and suddenly give it Deadly or Agile for a minute/the round respectively. Or be like "Hey, now my sword is ON FIRE! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!". It could be worded something like ".> my poor man's action symbol Imbue Blade: (cost: 1 focus per tier?) Pick a property rune, act as if your weapon had this rune for the next minute" ".>Alter Blade: (cost: 1 focus) Pick a weapon trait from this list (I'm not making a list, I'm lazy), your weapon now has this trait for 1 minute"


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WatersLethe wrote:

Just saying, if a Magus comes back and it can't cast spells *at least* as well as a bard, I'm going to burn it to the ground.

Focus powers should at most be an add-on to regular casting, either providing a means of elegantly combining spells and martial ability, or giving some extra magic pizzaz to weapon attacks.

Remember, the fantasy of a magus isn't "dude with an extra shiny sword". It's someone who has dedicated their life to both magical and martial study. If they can't crack a spell book to save their lives it's not meeting expectations, and even though they study combat that's not all their magic is for.

That description sounds more like a thesis + class archetype for wizard than a separate base class to me. Lowering spell proficiency increases for increased weapon proficiencies, then allowing a new set of class feats/focus powers focused on adding magical effects to melee/ranged strikes.


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Garretmander wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Just saying, if a Magus comes back and it can't cast spells *at least* as well as a bard, I'm going to burn it to the ground.

Focus powers should at most be an add-on to regular casting, either providing a means of elegantly combining spells and martial ability, or giving some extra magic pizzaz to weapon attacks.

Remember, the fantasy of a magus isn't "dude with an extra shiny sword". It's someone who has dedicated their life to both magical and martial study. If they can't crack a spell book to save their lives it's not meeting expectations, and even though they study combat that's not all their magic is for.

That description sounds more like a thesis + class archetype for wizard than a separate base class to me. Lowering spell proficiency increases for increased weapon proficiencies, then allowing a new set of class feats/focus powers focused on adding magical effects to melee/ranged strikes.

This is exactly why I don't think Magus will be a full caster. If Magus as a class is strictly better than Wizard with Fighter multiclass, that's poor design.

And there isn't much room for "has the Wizard spell list but is a better martial combatant" without seriously stepping on Wizard's toes. You could do like Warpriest does and trade spell proficiency for martial proficiency, but at that point why not do like Warpriest does and be a class path instead of a base class?

I think the "gish" role in PF2e falls fully on the shoulders of multiclassing; Magus is much more likely to be a spellsword instead. Especially since that's how most people played the class, and a big thing in 2e send to be "have the class mechanics align with how people actually play the class".


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MaxAstro wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Just saying, if a Magus comes back and it can't cast spells *at least* as well as a bard, I'm going to burn it to the ground.

Focus powers should at most be an add-on to regular casting, either providing a means of elegantly combining spells and martial ability, or giving some extra magic pizzaz to weapon attacks.

Remember, the fantasy of a magus isn't "dude with an extra shiny sword". It's someone who has dedicated their life to both magical and martial study. If they can't crack a spell book to save their lives it's not meeting expectations, and even though they study combat that's not all their magic is for.

That description sounds more like a thesis + class archetype for wizard than a separate base class to me. Lowering spell proficiency increases for increased weapon proficiencies, then allowing a new set of class feats/focus powers focused on adding magical effects to melee/ranged strikes.

This is exactly why I don't think Magus will be a full caster. If Magus as a class is strictly better than Wizard with Fighter multiclass, that's poor design.

And there isn't much room for "has the Wizard spell list but is a better martial combatant" without seriously stepping on Wizard's toes. You could do like Warpriest does and trade spell proficiency for martial proficiency, but at that point why not do like Warpriest does and be a class path instead of a base class?

I think the "gish" role in PF2e falls fully on the shoulders of multiclassing; Magus is much more likely to be a spellsword instead. Especially since that's how most people played the class, and a big thing in 2e send to be "have the class mechanics align with how people actually play the class".

Wizards get 4 spells per level, clerics get 3 and so they have better class features. There's definitely room for a class that casts less than a wizard but still has spells and as more weapon oriented class features.


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I'd prefer if the Magus doesn't return rather than make it a weird, unrecognizable Magus.

Also, don't forget the Bard gets full casting and compositions, with the major adjustment being the spell list.

A Magus have Wizard casting but forbidden schools, fewer spells per level, a slower advancement in spell proficiency, fewer or delayed metamagic feat options, built-in restriction from multiclassing into wizard or fighter, or any number of other creative concepts to limit it.

I would also not be opposed to a Wizard archetype that turned them into a Magus.


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citricking wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

This is exactly why I don't think Magus will be a full caster. If Magus as a class is strictly better than Wizard with Fighter multiclass, that's poor design.

And there isn't much room for "has the Wizard spell list but is a better martial combatant" without seriously stepping on Wizard's toes. You could do like Warpriest does and trade spell proficiency for martial proficiency, but at that point why not do like Warpriest does and be a class path instead of a base class?

I think the "gish" role in PF2e falls fully on the shoulders of multiclassing; Magus is much more likely to be a spellsword instead. Especially since that's how most people played the class, and a big thing in 2e send to be "have the class mechanics align with how people actually play the class".

Wizards get 4 spells per level, clerics get 3 and so they have better class features. There's definitely room for a class that casts less than a wizard but still has spells and as more weapon oriented class features.

Wizards also have the best spell list in the game, though.

Admittedly a lot of this hinges on if that is still true in the final version. If in the final version the Arcane list has been reduced in scope and Wizards are defined more by their class features than their access to the best spell list, that definitely leaves more room for a full caster Magus.

WatersLethe wrote:
I'd prefer if the Magus doesn't return rather than make it a weird, unrecognizable Magus.

I think your experience with the class is perhaps atypical. In my experience, for most people the defining class feature of Magus is Spellstrike. Yes, it gets Spell Combat first, but most people I've talked to about playing Magus are excited about hitting people with magic swords more than they are about casting a spell and attacking in the same turn.

WatersLethe wrote:
I would also not be opposed to a Wizard archetype that turned them into a Magus.

From your point of view, what would you want out of Magus that Wizard/Fighter or Fighter/Wizard doesn't already do?


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MaxAstro wrote:

From your point of view, what would you want out of Magus that Wizard/Fighter or Fighter/Wizard doesn't already do?

If a Magus class is made, and I'm not saying it has to be, I would want purpose built focus powers that enhance its ability to mesh casting and martial combat, and return some of the iconic capabilities of the PF1 Magus. It would be like a bard but instead of compositions you get things like a spellstrike, or add cantrip damage to an attack, or the ability to recast a spell you already spent through spellstrike.

There's lots and lots of design room to make an interesting, faithful take on the PF1 Magus for people who don't want to multiclass.

One of the goals of PF2 was to make sure that characters who were a certain class in PF1 don't wake up completely different in PF2. A Magus suddenly being unable to learn and cast spells from a spell book would constitute an unacceptable change in character. In other words, a PF1 Magus player should either be able to convert over to PF2 Magus without catastrophic changes to their character's lore, or they should find no Magus listed and build one from a Fighter/Wizard or something similar.

Now, I'm not saying you couldn't make a class that primarily uses focus powers to do magical things with weapons and doesn't cast like a Wizard, it just should not be called a Magus. Or it could be an archetype of a Magus class described previously.


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I suppose if all the spell lists wind up being balanced against each other for the sake of the sorcerer, the arcane list wouldn't be too strong for weapons and armor. So you could make a Magus the arcane equivalent of the cleric, druid, or bard. 3 spell slots a level and some degree of weapon and armor proficiency, plus some other features.

If we were going to introduce spell strike back, I wouldn't give it any action economy benefits. 3 actions to combine a normal spell and a strike. That's already pretty good for letting you combine damage onto your highest attack action. I'd probably also give them a 2 action cantrip which includes a weapon strike to act as their bread and butter, plus some focus spells.

Having their abilities work off combining multiple attacks into one would probably be the closest they come to the crit fishing vibe they had in PF1.


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WatersLethe wrote:
One of the goals of PF2 was to make sure that characters who were a certain class in PF1 don't wake up completely different in PF2. A Magus suddenly being unable to learn and cast spells from a spell book would constitute an unacceptable change in character.

We already have some of this, though, with Rangers waking up suddenly being unable to cast spells - effectively every Ranger now has the spell-less archetype. Every Magus waking up as the Eldritch Scion archetype is a change of about the same scale, imo*.

The other issue I see with Magus as a full caster is that it seems like the spells don't really support it. There are almost no touch range spells that require an attack roll in the playtest, and I'm not sure that's going to change in the final version.

*As an aside, if Magus does come back as a full caster, I hope it's spontaneous. Magus' playstyle meshed so much better with spontaneous casting than prepared.

...And I just realized that actually Arcanist-style casting would be a great fit for Magus, and that has me wondering if Paizo is set on full caster Magus, might it actually come back as an Arcanist archetype?


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MaxAstro wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
One of the goals of PF2 was to make sure that characters who were a certain class in PF1 don't wake up completely different in PF2. A Magus suddenly being unable to learn and cast spells from a spell book would constitute an unacceptable change in character.

We already have some of this, though, with Rangers waking up suddenly being unable to cast spells. Magus waking up as Eldritch Scions is a change of about the same scale, imo.

We do have some of that yes, and it's somewhat unavoidable. However, the spell-less ranger polled well, and the strong flavor of a wilderness warrior with a handful of spells was at least somewhat preserved through optional spell powers.

Casting is a much bigger part of the Magus' flavor, though, and I am willing to bet a similar poll would reject the notion of a non-caster magus.

Edit: As for Spontaneous Magus, I understand lots of people prefer that or Arcanist style, but at the very least I'd hope they'd preserve a Prepared option for those of us that prefer that.


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I guess the difference is that I wouldn't describe a cantrip-and-Focus-spell-based Magus as a "non-caster".


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MaxAstro wrote:

...And I just realized that actually Arcanist-style casting would be a great fit for Magus, and that has me wondering if Paizo is set on full caster Magus, might it actually come back as an Arcanist archetype?

I mean, there was the Blade Adept Arcanist archetype, they got the Magus Bound Blade, Spellstrike became one of their Exploits, and there were a few Magi Arcanum they could take as an Exploit. So the precedent isn't unfounded in that line of thinking, and it would actually feel rather nice, fusing two fan favorites into one super class, since both class's key identity has been stepped on in a minor way (Arcanist swapping out their spells mid day, Magi casting spells and thwacking with a sword in one around), just mush'em. I'd like that only as a last ditch effort if they can't rebuild either single class on a firm enough foundation for itself.


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MaxAstro wrote:
I guess the difference is that I wouldn't describe a cantrip-and-Focus-spell-based Magus as a "non-caster".

Just to give some perspective about where I'm coming from, I've had several campaigns with a Magus and a Wizard in the party.

In one, the Wizard was a multiclass, who picked up Wizard after a 1st level of fighter. The Magus was a highly disciplined, scholastically trained nerd who was the casting senpai. They shared notes, and the Magus taught the Wizard their spells and gave advice about spellbook layout and management. They had evenings copying spells and mornings preparing them together.

In another, the Wizard was a dragon scholar and the Magus was a spell-slinging mercenary. They had little in common except discipline and, being in the same party, an incentive to share spells with one another. Those scenes provided a lot of roleplay value and really let the players explore their different philosophical approaches to wielding the same cosmic forces.

In both cases, the Magus did a lot more than just channel spells into swords. Buffs and spell-based problem solving were common.

The idea that a Magus doesn't need a spellbook, they're all about just pouring magic into their swords, and go about magic in a totally different way than Wizards is... not my experience.

At the very, very least a cantrip-focus power Magus would need to have lots of spell-like options to do non-combat things like flight and invisibility, and at that point why not just use the normal casting rules?


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I definitely agree that Magus should have non-combat options for their magic, and that it's a thorny problem overall.

After some of the things mentioned in this thread, I can see how they potentially could do Magus as a full caster. My concern is that you'd lose the option to play Magus as a spellsword, and it would be a shame if there was no good spellsword class in 2e. In 1e, while you certainly could play it lots of other ways, Magus was definitely the class to use for spellsword concepts.


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Ediwir wrote:
graystone wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I agree with Max here. Shocking, I know. I think there's room to make regular spells in addition to focus spells that are designed to be used as part of a strike. Stuff like Weapon Storm. Between that and feats like Bespell Weapon there's a lot that can be done.
IMO, feats for focus spells would lead to frightfully tiny number of powers to use for a magus alone.

I mean, have you seen Shocking Grasp?

:P

Yes I did and I don't think it was a good or interesting thing. It was one combo of traits and metamagic to make a very powerful one trick pony. IMO, the magus that can use buff/utility spells and then bust out some attack spells attached to a weapon is far more engaging than 17 rounds of shocking grasp rapier hits.

Ediwir wrote:
My concern is that you'd lose the option to play Magus as a spellsword

IMO, magus without spells isn't much of a spellsword... Elemental sword, sure. Magic sword? ok. SPELLsword? IMO, no.

As far as cantrips + focus powers, well WatersLethe said it well: why reinvent focus powers to do what spells already do?

EDIT: I just had a thought: If you REALLY want magus focused on focus, why not combine the 2? Instead of slots, a magus spends focus on casting the spells they prepare for the day. Kind of like the old power points.


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graystone wrote:

IMO, magus without spells isn't much of a spellsword... Elemental sword, sure. Magic sword? ok. SPELLsword? IMO, no.

As far as cantrips + focus powers, well WatersLethe said it well: why reinvent focus powers to do what spells already do?

EDIT: I just had a thought: If you REALLY want magus focused on focus, why not combine the 2? Instead of slots, a magus spends focus on casting the spells they prepare for the day. Kind of like the old power points.

I'm not sure where I gave the impression I think Magus should be elemental-based; I don't feel that way at all. Also, Focus spells are spells. It's in the name. If you want to be pedantic. :P

As far as why use Focus powers, mostly because that seems to be where PF2e is headed, with Ranger and Paladin going that route.

To be fair, we have no idea what a proper "partial caster" is going to look like in PF2e other than strong indication that anyone able to cast actual spells from one of the four spell lists is going to be a full caster.

My assumption is that Focus spells are the new design space for partial casters, but that could well be unfounded. We won't know until classes like Summoner and Inquisitor make a comeback.


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Do we actually need the Magus in 2e though?

The Magus, as a class, fundamentally exists as a patch on 3.5 to deal with the action economy issues gishes have and the inability to make a properly functioning spellsword that both effectively blends its martial and magical halves and comes online at a reasonable time (both things the Eldritch Knight fails to do).

PF2 is building a much more robust multiclass and archetype system that seems specifically designed to allow for more modular character designs and PF2's action economy is much more flexible: casting spells and attacking is something you can just do by default.

Given that, is it really necessary to port over what's essentially a bandaid?

It's like asking for PF2 to have the dirty fighting feat instead of just fixing the problems that made the dirty fighting feat even needed to exist.

It just seems like anything you want the magus to do should be buildable with some combination of wizard dedications and fighter multiclass or vice versa and if you can't then PF2 has failed at one of its core design features and we have much bigger problems than whether or not you can play a Magus.


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swoosh wrote:

Do we actually need the Magus in 2e though?

The Magus, as a class, fundamentally exists as a patch on 3.5 to deal with the action economy issues gishes have and the inability to make a properly functioning spellsword that both effectively blends its martial and magical halves and comes online at a reasonable time (both things the Eldritch Knight fails to do).

PF2 is building a much more robust multiclass and archetype system from the ground up that seems specifically designed to allow for more modular character designs and PF2's action economy is a lot more open ended, casting spells and attacking is something you can just do by default.

Given that, is it really necessary to port over what's essentially a bandaid?

It's like asking for PF2 to have the dirty fighting feat instead of just fixing the problems that made the dirty fighting feat even needed to exist.

It just seems like anything you want the magus to do should be buildable with some combination of wizard dedications and fighter multiclass or vice versa and if you can't then PF2 has failed at one of its core design features and we have much bigger problems than whether or not you can play a Magus.

This is basically exactly my point. Gish can be built with multiclass in PF2e; what you can't do is make a compelling spellsword. If Magus returns as a base class, I think it's much more likely to slot into the design space that hasn't yet been covered rather than retread space that has been covered.


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MaxAstro wrote:
I'm not sure where I gave the impression I think Magus should be elemental-based

I was giving examples of things that I thought COULD be done well with focus powers not making any comment on what you thought.

MaxAstro wrote:
As far as why use Focus powers, mostly because that seems to be where PF2e is headed, with Ranger and Paladin going that route.

The difference, IMO, is those two were the 1-4th level casting classes that always relied more on other abilities vs spells: heck, they didn't even have any casting until 4th level. 1st-6th level casters used both abilities and spells fairly equally.

MaxAstro wrote:
what you can't do is make a compelling spellsword

What exactly are your requirements for "a compelling spellsword"?


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Yeah that's a thing, multiclass is so core in PF2 that Rogue even have a feat that let them do Sneak Attack with spells and they don't even have spellcasting by default.


Honestly, from the sound of it that rogue feat is both great and a tax, since it sounds like you can sneak atk with any spell.

A pf 1e rogue could always sneak atk with anything that has an atk roll and is single target, no feat needed. But had a huge cost for other spells.


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swoosh wrote:

Do we actually need the Magus in 2e though?

The Magus, as a class, fundamentally exists as a patch on 3.5 to deal with the action economy issues gishes have and the inability to make a properly functioning spellsword that both effectively blends its martial and magical halves and comes online at a reasonable time (both things the Eldritch Knight fails to do).

PF2 is building a much more robust multiclass and archetype system that seems specifically designed to allow for more modular character designs and PF2's action economy is much more flexible: casting spells and attacking is something you can just do by default.

Given that, is it really necessary to port over what's essentially a bandaid?

It's like asking for PF2 to have the dirty fighting feat instead of just fixing the problems that made the dirty fighting feat even needed to exist.

It just seems like anything you want the magus to do should be buildable with some combination of wizard dedications and fighter multiclass or vice versa and if you can't then PF2 has failed at one of its core design features and we have much bigger problems than whether or not you can play a Magus.

For myself, this is not at all how I felt about the Magus in 1st Edition. When that class came out, I felt like there was finally a class i actually wanted to play. I never have liked the core classes in D&D or Pathfinder. I just don't. They don't inspire me or capture my imagination. (The alchemist coming out in 2nd edition will be an exception when the new core book comes out.) The Magus never felt like a bandaid to me. This is for thematic and game mechanic reasons. I have always wanted a hybrid of a caster and swordsman, not just someone who could do both separately. The Magus was it. It finally gave me a way that didn't just blend someone who could fight and cast a spell as separate actions in the same character, but someone who did it not only in the same turn, but could also channel it through his weapon. That is what I wanted. No other class did this in a way that was satisfactory.

So, obviously, I want the Magus to be a class in 2nd edition. With the playtest rules and what spoilers of 2nd edition I have seen so far, I don't feel that the multiclass of fighter and wizard (either version) adequately captures what I want to play in a Magus. It needs to be a class in 2nd edition. Furthermore, I forget which panel it was, but could swear I saw a PaizoCon panel on twitch where the designers stated that they will eventually find a way to bring along the favorite classes of 1st edition into 2nd edition somehow; and Magus was always in the top percentile of those popularity polls. So, I am confident they will do so at some point.

The only other classes I enjoyed playing in Pathfinder were some of the classes that came later, but for different reasons, usually for a good theme with decently flavored rules that supported the theme. Those classes were the alchemist, inquisitor, oracle, witch, and kineticist. Summoner was cool, too, but it needed some work to balance it better. I always wanted to play the vigilante, but never got a chance to. Most of those classes find some way to blend magic and combat in some interesting way, which is why I like them.


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graystone wrote:
What exactly are your requirements for "a compelling spellsword"?

As I said on the last page, exactly what MusicAddict was talking about. A class focused on melee Strikes with a versatile variety of magical rider effects - ideally also with a few standalone powers to supplement.


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Should Magus be a class?
After taking a quick look at the 1e Archtypes, i actually feel much more strongly for this than against. For whatever reason they created the class, Magus has become something unique that can’t be recreated through MC; in the end it will most likely feel ramshackled or too taxing for certain niche concepts.

Modular Spell list choice?
There actually is an Archetype that allows you to choose from the Druid spell list, so maybe allowing them a choice like a mix of Champion path and Bloodlines wouldn’t be out of the question.

Spontaneous or Prepared?
Both. Magus had a Spontaneous Archetype; Eldritch Sion.

Spells or Focus-Spells?
Right now Focus-Spells are 1:1 in that one class feat : one Focus-Spell. This is a real hang up for those that really like 1e Magus. Though if you give more than one Focus-Spell per Class Feat for the Magus than MCing into the class starts becoming the obvious optimization option.

Bard was also in the same position as Magus with a 3/4 BAB and 6th level spells; it became a full caster with some real drawbacks, but unique enough class features to make it an equal option to an Aberrant Sorcerer.

I am in favor of a Magus Base Class, and feel it should be unique enough to be a viable contender as a Gish, and rather than poach feats and abilities from casters and martials to ramshackle something togeather, give it its own flavor so it would feel completely different to say a Fighter/Wizard or Wizard/Fighter.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If Magus does end up being Focus spell based, I don't expect it to need to spend feats to gain Focus spells; rather I expect it to have some other kind of progression. Maybe some feats that grant specific Focus spells, but otherwise I think either picking from a list or gaining at certain levels... basically think Warlock, really, or PF1e Kineticist. "Spellcaster with a very unique and limited spell list".

But having to spend class feats to gain your basic class features would feel really bad.


MaxAstro wrote:

If Magus does end up being Focus spell based, I don't expect it to need to spend feats to gain Focus spells; rather I expect it to have some other kind of progression. Maybe some feats that grant specific Focus spells, but otherwise I think either picking from a list or gaining at certain levels... basically think Warlock, really, or PF1e Kineticist. "Spellcaster with a very unique and limited spell list".

But having to spend class feats to gain your basic class features would feel really bad.

Warlock from which edition? I’ve heard a bit of how 5e Warlock works and i remember a bit of how 3.5 Warlock worked.

Also, unless they changed it in the final print, Bards had to grab a feat for each new composition. Some of them didn’t have prerequisites so you could grab some and leave others.

“Spellcasters with a very unique and limited spell list.”

This one sounds eerily similar to ‘Class Spell List’, which i personally detested with a passion. One of the things that makes Focus-Spell okay for me is the fact that, even though they are currently class specific in most cases, you can copy and paste them elsewhere w/o any issue. For example, if there was a Dragon Disciple Archetype you could give it access to the powers in the Draconic Bloodline and every class would benefit from it with only one Sorc Bloodline finding it redundant.


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I had an idea while I was reading this thread. So I do think that the Magus could be a good fill for the "mystic warrior" niche that channels magic through the self and sword. Self buffing and magical strikes is a really cool flavor and mechanical niche. However, with the advent of PF2 multiclassing, there is some crowded space for "spell swords" specifically.

So here is the idea. The Magus is largely focused on focus points and some at will abilities. Keeping it open to different fighting styles and the like. Though, like the Arcane Trickster Rogue feat, there could be feats that could interact with spells gained from other classes. Feats that synergize with multiclassing and allow the Magus to pick their preferred casting style.

This way we don't have to create tons of archetypes to do other types of casting (like Mindblade or Edlritch Scion) and have some flexibility with how the base class is designed.


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To be honest I find easier for Magus to return as an class archetype for the Wizard. The School and the Thesis go out for better armor and weapon proficiency and the obligatory lvl 2 feat of the archetype gives the Spellstrike, then instead of getting better spellcasting they get expert/master armor proficiency as they level up.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kyrone wrote:
To be honest I find easier for Magus to return as an class archetype for the Wizard. The School and the Thesis go out for better armor and weapon proficiency and the obligatory lvl 2 feat of the archetype gives the Spellstrike, then instead of getting better spellcasting they get expert/master armor proficiency as they level up.

Kind of at issue, though, is "what would spellstrike even do in second edition?"


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MaxAstro wrote:
graystone wrote:
What exactly are your requirements for "a compelling spellsword"?
As I said on the last page, exactly what MusicAddict was talking about. A class focused on melee Strikes with a versatile variety of magical rider effects - ideally also with a few standalone powers to supplement.

I just wanted to make sure. That, IMO, isn't what I'd think of as a magus. That's what I'd call a magical sword: using various powers and not spells. It's like calling a 'airbender' type bender a spellcaster. For me, it's not the same thing. In PF1 terms, you're calling a Kinetic Knight Aether Kineticist a spellsword because it used magic on a sword, while I'm looking at a class that actually casts spells, like the magus, as one.

I'm not sure someone like me would see that that type of focused character as either "a compelling spellsword" or a "compelling" magus.

MaxAstro wrote:
If Magus does end up being Focus spell based, I don't expect it to need to spend feats to gain Focus spells; rather I expect it to have some other kind of progression.

If you're thinking a "progression" with "picking from a list or gaining at certain levels"... That sounds like spells to me. If you make a large enough list to be "compelling" and it works the same way why reinvent the wheel?: This is especially true if, like me, you'd want the class to have utility/buff abilities and not just 'sword swing + magic effect' powers.

Albatoonoe wrote:
is largely focused on focus points and some at will abilities.

That sounds like a "PF1e Kineticist".


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It has occurred to me that there is a lot of design space overlap between a theoretical Focus spell Magus and Kineticist, yes. The main difference I see is that Magus wouldn't have the strong elemental theme.

As far as why Focus spells instead of full casting: Other than the problems I've mentioned with making a martially competent Arcane full caster, I feel like PF1e Magus had something of an issue with having a lot of spells that just weren't very in theme with the rest of the class' abilities. And certainly the full Arcane list is WAY more broad than I think Magus will actually use.

I'd much prefer a class built around a handful of spells to a class with a giant spell list, out of which only a handful synergize with your class features.

Another consideration is that each new class with access to a spell list in some ways limits the design space for that list. Each new Arcane spell would have to be balanced with "is this overpowered for Magus?" in mind.


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I dont see why that can't be part of the thinking when creating new abilities. It's the dev's job to think of "balanced, interesting, and fun abilities". Why does adding 1 more question matter, when every book they add 10+?

This is also why I liked class based lists as you can just exclude spells that dont fit. But oh well the portal has already opened for simplicity island. (Ship has sailed joke).


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MaxAstro wrote:
Another consideration is that each new class with access to a spell list in some ways limits the design space for that list. Each new Arcane spell would have to be balanced with "is this overpowered for Magus?" in mind.

The flipside is, do you want to make a dozen new 'powers' that are functionally very close to existing spells? For instance, do we need a fly spell and a flying power?

MaxAstro wrote:
I'd much prefer a class built around a handful of spells to a class with a giant spell list, out of which only a handful synergize with your class features.

IMO, casting spells [real/full ones and not focus ones] IS one of the "class features" required for a spellsword. The last thing I'd want to see is a class that's JUST physical attack + small effect.

MaxAstro wrote:
The main difference I see is that Magus wouldn't have the strong elemental theme.

Out of curiosity, what other effects are there going to be that's added to a weapon attack that isn't covered by the current Kineticist? What's the magic? Add different types of damage? Check. Movement? check. Conditions/poison/disease? check.


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Temperans wrote:

I dont see why that can't be part of the thinking when creating new abilities. It's the dev's job to think of "balanced, interesting, and fun abilities". Why does adding 1 more question matter, when every book they add 10+?

This is also why I liked class based lists as you can just exclude spells that dont fit. But oh well the portal has already opened for simplicity island. (Ship has sailed joke).

I can see why some people could like class tailored spell lists; a friend never saw an issue with it. I absolutely loathed the concept since the Warmage in d&d 3e. People have talked quite a bit about ‘vilrimisitude‘ and seriously, nothing irks me more than an arcane caster unable to learn a Wizard spell cause ‘they’re not a wizard’. Consolidated spell lists aren’t shearly for ‘simplicity’. Balance also isn’t that much of an issue as long as the foundation is solid. The real balance issues would be in designing the feats and class features rather than the spells themselves. Actually, with consolidated spell lists balance becomes much easier with less moving parts involved.

MaxAstro wrote:

As far as why Focus spells instead of full casting: Other than the problems I've mentioned with making a martially competent Arcane full caster, I feel like PF1e Magus had something of an issue with having a lot of spells that just weren't very in theme with the rest of the class' abilities. And certainly the full Arcane list is WAY more broad than I think Magus will actually use.

I'd much prefer a class built around a handful of spells to a class with a giant spell list, out of which only a handful synergize with your class features.

*bold for emphasis

Now we’re getting to an understanding, at least for me personally. This is the complete opposite of how some, such as Greystone and myself, would like Magus to be implemented. This way in particular is what i would like to be avoided.

This is probably the main difference in those that want an actual ‘Caster’ Magus vs a ‘Focus-Spell’ based Magus.

@Kyrone - The one issue i have with Magus as an Archetype the more we’ve been talking about it, is it seems Class Archetypes will still need a Dedication feat, which will be available and taken at level 2. This means the first real modular feat you can take will be is at 4th level. I don’t know how much, or if it even will, affect a character build. We’ll be able to figure out how well they work when we get our hands on one, but until then my worry will remain on the feat tax this would involve for such concepts and builds.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Temperans wrote:
I dont see why that can't be part of the thinking when creating new abilities. It's the dev's job to think of "balanced, interesting, and fun abilities". Why does adding 1 more question matter, when every book they add 10+?

"Developing new material is already a hard job, what's the harm in making it harder?" is a strange argument to make, in my opinion.


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Yeah when you put it that way it does sound strange. I sincerely am sorry if it came of as mean, but I do believe 1 extra balance point doesn't hurt.


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A thought, suppose the Magus comes back with as much casting as the bard, but the class is slightly reflavored to emphasize the black blade, mind blade, etc. concept. Specifically you possess a unique weapon which is tied to your soul, you can enhance this weapon via focus points to do cool stuff, but you can also use it to cast spells.

But "casting magic through your sword" requires you to only use spells that affect what is directly on the either end of your sword. So you could cast shocking grasp, or mirror image, but never fireball, reverse gravity, stinking cloud, wish, gate, antimagic field, cone of cold, etc.

I'm not sure how to quickly identify these spells, but maybe something like "personal spells, and single target spells with the range of touch."


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

A thought, suppose the Magus comes back with as much casting as the bard, but the class is slightly reflavored to emphasize the black blade, mind blade, etc. concept. Specifically you possess a unique weapon which is tied to your soul, you can enhance this weapon via focus points to do cool stuff, but you can also use it to cast spells.

But "casting magic through your sword" requires you to only use spells that affect what is directly on the either end of your sword. So you could cast shocking grasp, or mirror image, but never fireball, reverse gravity, stinking cloud, wish, gate, antimagic field, cone of cold, etc.

I'm not sure how to quickly identify these spells, but maybe something like "personal spells, and single target spells with the range of touch."

I like that idea, but I don't think any spells from the arcane list should be denied to the Magus, but rather place a limiter on them, such as "casting area-effect spells like fireball requires the Magus to expend an additional action in order for the Magus to cast it (maximum of 3 actions)".


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Thundarr the Barbarian wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

A thought, suppose the Magus comes back with as much casting as the bard, but the class is slightly reflavored to emphasize the black blade, mind blade, etc. concept. Specifically you possess a unique weapon which is tied to your soul, you can enhance this weapon via focus points to do cool stuff, but you can also use it to cast spells.

But "casting magic through your sword" requires you to only use spells that affect what is directly on the either end of your sword. So you could cast shocking grasp, or mirror image, but never fireball, reverse gravity, stinking cloud, wish, gate, antimagic field, cone of cold, etc.

I'm not sure how to quickly identify these spells, but maybe something like "personal spells, and single target spells with the range of touch."

I like that idea, but I don't think any spells from the arcane list should be denied to the Magus, but rather place a limiter on them, such as "casting area-effect spells like fireball requires the Magus to expend an additional action in order for the Magus to cast it (maximum of 3 actions)".

I think Cabbage means, ‘can not Cast Fireball through the Sword’. I feel that’s a reasonable assumption; though correct me if i’m wrong. The Blade bit is a nice touch. It could work similar to Paladins’ Blade Ally. With the addition of: ‘When you cast a spell with the range of ‘Touch’ you may deliver it with a Melee Strike using your Bound Blade*. You must still spend the actions it cost to cast the spell normally. If you crit you must choose the spell or the blade for the critical effect; not both. The spell slot is expended on a success, critical success, or a critical failure.


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WatersLethe wrote:

Just saying, if a Magus comes back and it can't cast spells *at least* as well as a bard, I'm going to burn it to the ground.

Focus powers should at most be an add-on to regular casting, either providing a means of elegantly combining spells and martial ability, or giving some extra magic pizzaz to weapon attacks.

Remember, the fantasy of a magus isn't "dude with an extra shiny sword". It's someone who has dedicated their life to both magical and martial study. If they can't crack a spell book to save their lives it's not meeting expectations, and even though they study combat that's not all their magic is for.

Yeah. A focus power based magus just doesn't cut it for me either. Focus powers aren't even close to real spells. Focus powers are fine for 4 level casters like the Paladin and Ranger, classes who's magic use was a really minor part of their identity. They tended to have a lot of problems with their magic just not being potent enough to be useful all that often, and were better off doing their main thing than wasting their time casting spells. The Magus on the other hand was defined by combining magic and melee. And mechanically, spells let you pick from hundreds of effects and have possibly a couple of dozen or so ready of various power levels, while focus powers are more like there are a dozen available and you might have at most three or four. A level 20 magus with only a handful of magical effects they can do is uninspiring. Especially since with Focus powers you also have to dump most of your class feats into them to have them.

I'm not sure the Magus needs to be a seperate class, rather than a few feats to take on a multiclass fighter/wizard (or wizard/fighter). I think I'd probably prefer a full class because it would give the options for different styles of magus like there are in PF1, Black Blade being a favorite of mine (I see it as almost the default actually). But Focus based sound like the exact wrong approach. It feels like using 'balance' as an excuse to destroy the entire point of the class. The best focus spell users are already full casters anyway, so I don't think it quite balances in that regard either.


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Thundarr the Barbarian wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

A thought, suppose the Magus comes back with as much casting as the bard, but the class is slightly reflavored to emphasize the black blade, mind blade, etc. concept. Specifically you possess a unique weapon which is tied to your soul, you can enhance this weapon via focus points to do cool stuff, but you can also use it to cast spells.

But "casting magic through your sword" requires you to only use spells that affect what is directly on the either end of your sword. So you could cast shocking grasp, or mirror image, but never fireball, reverse gravity, stinking cloud, wish, gate, antimagic field, cone of cold, etc.

I'm not sure how to quickly identify these spells, but maybe something like "personal spells, and single target spells with the range of touch."

I like that idea, but I don't think any spells from the arcane list should be denied to the Magus, but rather place a limiter on them, such as "casting area-effect spells like fireball requires the Magus to expend an additional action in order for the Magus to cast it (maximum of 3 actions)".
I think Cabbage means, ‘can not Cast Fireball through the Sword’. I feel that’s a reasonable assumption; though correct me if i’m wrong. The Blade bit is a nice touch. It could work similar to Paladins’ Blade Ally. With the addition of: ‘When you cast a spell with the range of ‘Touch’ you may deliver it with a Melee Strike using your Bound Blade*. You must still spend the actions it cost to cast the spell normally. If you crit you must choose the spell or the blade for the critical effect; not both. The spell slot is expended on a success, critical success, or a critical failure.

I like all of that, EXCEPT for the “pick the spell or sword to crit with”. One of the massively fun parts of Spellstrike was letting the spell use the weapon’s crit range and nuking people with a 16-20 crit SG. Otherwise those are all amazing ideas


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:


I think Cabbage means, ‘can not Cast Fireball through the Sword’. I feel that’s a reasonable assumption; though correct me if i’m wrong.

Personally, I WOULD like the ability to cast area spells through a sword. Or more accurately, through a bow, but hey if you want to blow yourself up as a character concept, I can think of a couple literary precedents.

I see no reason the “Magus” concept, however it gets implemented, can’t also cover the “Arcane Archer” prestige class. There’s already some archetypes in PF1 that wander around it.

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