My DM warns me that dipping into Magus is a death wish, HELP!


Advice


During a very long campaign, our characters have grown to level 11 only have our party of three slain by a Lindworm. The session didn't end there as we crawled our way out of death's grasp in order to be resurrected safely. By the god's grace we were empowered with 3 additional levels and my character had a lot to consider in where to apply this growth.

My character is a Half-Elf witch who used to specialize in torment and curses but since has given that up in favor of divine healing via the "Hex Channeler" archetype. Regardless, in both incarnations he was a backline caster who devoted to Debuffing, or more recently, healing. However when our Paladin was slain, first before our eyes, he decided this wasn't enough. He would have to step up and fight alongside to make sure this never happened again.

In this campaign, each of us are very committed to our characters and usually act in character at all times and never Meta or OOG. So when I had proposed this plan of leveling into Magus 3 my DM discouraged me.

Our party consists of:
- Holy Vindicator Paladin who wields a falcata and is our source of defense and damage.
- Void Wizard newly initiated as a Time Cleric who offers most of our De-Buff and magical damage
- Knifemaster Rogue who is another source of damage with two demonic weapons
- (Me) Hex Channeler witch who provides protection and healing

My spells mostly are used for story and healing or protection with channel positive energy and Healing Hexes. With 11 straight levels in the class I felt I needed to be more active in combat. Though my strength is low, I have decent Dex and high Con which proposed me to the idea of taking 3 levels in Magus in order to deal some additional damage and most importantly gain the Flamboyant Arcana for Swashbuckler's Parry. Though I was going back and forth on most of these details, my DM said OOG I should pick Swashbuckler instead as picking Magus was a much riskier move but did that whole "in the end its your decision." I honestly don't feel like Swashbuckler is a right pick for the character and I don't like meta gaming, but I obviously don't want to feel punished for playing the character I intended. Is there something I'm missing? Is there any advice someone can give? I'd be happy to provide any other details and information needed.


Your DM is not exaggerating the danger you are putting yourself in with the decision to move into a more combat role. Unless you have specifically built the character to perform in that role, you are going to struggle with trying to make a 1/2 BAB class perform like a full BAB class, or a 3/4 BAB class with combat enhancing abilities (aka, Magus with Arcane Pool). Using Parry/Risposte without having the attack bonus to back it up just means you are going to get hit and waste your resources.

Perhaps you could convince your DM to allow you to retrain INTO a Hexcrafter Magus so that you can retain some hexes, and perform the role you now want to step into.


With the equipment we've acquired, my weapon of choice was to be a Timeclaw Phoenix Dagger which gives a +19 to hit regardless of any other modifiers in combat and creates things into existence by using as a quill. I've begun to use it with ingenuity in combat before with things like Death from Above or Lightning bolt, I'd just be screwed if I ever lost that weapon as I'd go down to flat BAB which is a +7 with any spell bonuses.

I am apprehensive about asking him to retrain as I've already done so in this campaign from Demonsworn witch to Hex Channeler as a oath to the Goddess of the Moon. I understand the concerns of not being fully combative, but he kind of gives the impression that will be irrelevant if I take Swashbuckler 3. What is your opinion on that notion?


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WTF is a Timeclaw Phoenix Dagger?


It's probably a homebrew piece of equipment, but It's main use is as a quill. I have used it to uncover new knowledge and change the course of battle as some kind of Page-Master. "The Sea Dragon was far too enraged to think clearly about its battle strategy. It clawed recklessly to swat at our ship, but its talons dragged along the stony crags slowing its momentum."


Can you retrain into magus vmc and the parry that way? Was going to say you BAB will doom you, but obviously with a timeclaw phoenix that’s never an issue.

I don’t see a dip being as defensively awful as others (Kensai for the free AC maybe I guess), but it also has no synergy with whatever proactive strategy you are going for, which is the real problem to me.


What is VMC? And It's only never an issue as long as nothing happens to it. That's why I was praying for Spell-Combat to help in most regards like with True Strike or Fallback Strategy or Windy Escape.


VMC is an alternate multiclass system Paizo developed. You give up some of your feats to get some core class features from another class, instead of giving up levels in your primary class. Some options are pretty good, some are awful. The magus VMC is decent. You don’t get spell combat, but Spell Combat isn’t actually that great when you can’t cast defensively reliably (I assume, based on no personal experience).

here.


That actually sounds pretty desirable. Though progressing into Witch isn't the most important, I can progress my Channel dice to 8d6. I think Spell Combat Would've been nice as I could cast True Strike or something, but my BAB would go up to +7/+2. Can you show me or provide a link to the VMC Magus? I might just propose that.


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Melee characters have three things:

1. Good Fortitude saves to withstand poisons, diseases and other injury-induced afflictions.

2. Good CMD to survive trips and grabs.

3. Good HP matrix (a combination of raw HP, AC, DR, concealment and Evasion) to endure taking a beating.

If you don't have these in spades, avoid the frontline.

Being able to hit hard doesn't help at all if you're dead.


It's gotten to a point where enemies are so aggressive that they will crush our frontliner and come for us next. Our Paladin can't resist a 38 to grab, so if one is targeted at us, I figure I should be more prepared than spells and healing.


RandomNigel wrote:
It's gotten to a point where enemies are so aggressive that they will crush our frontliner and come for us next. Our Paladin can't resist a 38 to grab, so if one is targeted at us, I figure I should be more prepared than spells and healing.

That's the paladin weak spot, compensated by very good other defenses.

Having more utility spells that bolster these weaknesses (like freedom of movement for the Paladin or literally anything you can muster for the Rogue) will be better for your team than having another person that will require support from the backline.


RandomNigel wrote:
Regardless, in both incarnations he was a backline caster who devoted to Debuffing, or more recently, healing. However when our Paladin was slain, first before our eyes, he decided this wasn't enough. He would have to step up and fight alongside to make sure this never happened again.
RandomNigel wrote:
I understand the concerns of not being fully combative, but he kind of gives the impression that will be irrelevant if I take Swashbuckler 3. What is your opinion on that notion?
RandomNigel wrote:
It's gotten to a point where enemies are so aggressive that they will crush our frontliner and come for us next. Our Paladin can't resist a 38 to grab, so if one is targeted at us, I figure I should be more prepared than spells and healing.

Maybe your character realizes that although they have the best of intentions, there was a reason they didn't approach the frontlines earlier and that three levels of a martial class is unlikely to change this by level 11.

A change is apparently needed though, so you might entertain the idea of really buffing your frontliner. With the three levels you're now given, you could take the Bonded Mind feat and then Share Spells, granting Bonded Mind to your paladin with a Ring of Tactical Precision if they're unable to spare a feat slot. Which means you can now cast personal spells on them, such as Fey Form, to really boost their prowess.
Fey Form doesn't meld your gear into your body when you transform, so it's a very attractive offer for both the Paladin and the Rogue.

If there's someone with a Familiar (the Wizard, maybe) and it takes the Mascot archetype, you basically got another frontliner in addition to the Paladin.


RandomNigel wrote:
...when our Paladin was slain, first before our eyes....
Friends don't let friends' paladins not take Fey Foundling and Greater Mercy.
Quote:
Hex Channeler witch who provides protection and healing
You're a straight-caster. Do NOT multiclass.
Quote:
when I had proposed this plan of leveling into Magus 3 my DM discouraged me.
Your GM likes you. Listen to him.
Quote:
Our party consists of (snip):

If that wizard isn't controlling the battlefield properly, your witch is going to have to cover the role to the best of her ability. (My recommendation is that you and the wizard's player talk things over on how to best accomplish this. The wizard may be over-invested in blasting to the detriment of the party.)


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Spellstrike won't be very effective for a Witch 11/Magus 3 because you can only spellstrike with Magus spells. In other words, you'll be a 14th level character striking with the BAB of a wizard and the spell power of a 3rd level character.

You're better off either sticking with pure witch, or considering prestige classes that will give you more options. Anything that doesn't advance your witch's spell progression is not as strong of a choice as just adding 1 more level of witch considering every 2 levels you add a new spell level and that has more impact than adding a bunch of 1st level abilities ever will.

Try changing up your tactics. Use high level summon spells to create allies you don't need to heal. Think about sinking some feats towards Create Construct.

Create a homunculus with enough HD that it can act as a tank for your group. 14 HD would be 23k. A CR 14 monster can have 20 HD. Considering it only gets 5.5 Hp per HD and no con bonus plus bad defenses it needs extra HD. If you can afford 50k take it to 20HD (base 110 hp, 37k gp), and add in Acid Breath for 1500gp plus the ability to speak for 500gp just so the GM can have a little fun with your new pet.

Following monster advancement guidelines the 20 HD homunculus should qualify for some free abilities.

Size: When a monster gains 50% HD it qualifies for a size increase. I'd estimate that is qualifies each time it gains 50% based on the last increase. So a 3, 5, 8, 12 and 18HD it could be increased in size for a total of 5 increases from Tiny. I think having a Huge sized companion would be inconvenient. Large is the largest I'd want myself, and for tanking purposes you want this thing as large as possible since it should gain more hp that way. Though constructs don't have a con stat, but gain extra HP from size. Large would be 30 hp. Also +16 str, -6 dex, and +2 natural armor.

For advancing 18 HD the homunculus would gain 4 points in stat increases. That is a total of 4 +1 point increases divided as you see fit. I'd be tempted to put it all towards dex but honestly this creature is just going to be a punching bag. The homunculus' defense is so pittiful that you won't be able to bring it up to challenging unless the GM allows you to give it equipment like an adventurer. Well, considering it is large enough and you can determine its appearance when created, maybe you can convince the GM to allow that. The homunculus also gains 9 feats. If you are going to give it equipment, I'd highly recommend buying armor and weapon proficiency. Also increasing its int and then giving it UMD, or an int headband with UMD as a skill would allow the homunculus to use most magic items.

According to advancement a tiny creature with a 1d4 bite should have a 2d6 bite at large size. If you spend feats to make the creature proficient with weapons, they should be able to wield a single weapon and wear a shield (for maximum tanking, need to pay for proficiency) and still bite as a secondary attack (-5 to hit).

Now you should let the GM adjust the final numbers for all stats. The homunculus should be close to the average of a 20 HD monster. According to the accumulated changes from the Monster Advancement table the to hit should be in the +19-27 range. Honestly I wouldn't worry about it too much since this is suppose to be an expensive road bump to help keep your paladin alive, not an actual threat.

Grand Lodge

Magus dipping might make sense with a class like Inquisitor which is naturally built into attack (either melee or ranged). With Broad Study, there's possibly using the cleric spells into the spell combat.

The GM isn't wrong telling multiclassing witch and magus is bad (I should write it in capital letters), bad BAB, low saves and low HP.

Nothing wrong in wanting to play the character the way wanted, but only if the mechanical part of it follows, it's a balance to match.


I'd recommend just playing your character how you like and don't worry about optimization. It's stressed too much on this board and unless you're playing with some mad power gamers, it won't be a problem. If you are stuck with some mad munchkins then you have other problems to worry about and should just play what you like in turn.

Grand Lodge

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PFRPGrognard wrote:
I'd recommend just playing your character how you like and don't worry about optimization. It's stressed too much on this board and unless you're playing with some mad power gamers, it won't be a problem. If you are stuck with some mad munchkins then you have other problems to worry about and should just play what you like in turn.

Keeping on opposing RP and mechanics is on Stormwind Fallacy or godwin level. Vocabulary is on a rude level either. Merely two sides of the same (I should use capital letters) coin.


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RandomNigel wrote:
My spells mostly are used for story and healing or protection with channel positive energy and Healing Hexes. With 11 straight levels in the class I felt I needed to be more active in combat.

If you want to be "more active in combat", how about using offensive spells? Doesn't cripple your character, is pretty active, and if going Magus is an option, using offensive spells surely won't be out-of-character.

RandomNigel wrote:
most importantly gain the Flamboyant Arcana for Swashbuckler's Parry.

I think you're overrating how good the deed is (presumign you mean Opportune Parry and Reposte). You only have a limited pool (unlike a Swashbuckler who replenishes the pool) of Intmod+1, and you need to surpass the opponent's attack roll to parry the attack. Let's say you're fighting a large average CR11 monster. It too has an attack roll of +19, and it needs a 6 to hit you. That's a 16.5% chance to parry an attack that would have hit. Remember, you only have like 8 uses per day, and it's once per round.

PFRPGrognard wrote:
I'd recommend just playing your character how you like and don't worry about optimization. It's stressed too much on this board and unless you're playing with some mad power gamers, it won't be a problem.

If the GM warns you against doing something that weakens the character too much, it will be a problem.

Grand Lodge

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Derklord wrote:
PFRPGrognard wrote:
I'd recommend just playing your character how you like and don't worry about optimization. It's stressed too much on this board and unless you're playing with some mad power gamers, it won't be a problem.
If the GM warns you against doing something that weakens the character too much, it will be a problem.

Forgot to add, it is common sense, and not even power gaming. And wouldn't be surprised to see otherwise reasonable players showing and voicing unhappiness when being hindered by a bad apple. Teamwork has limits, and others aren't forced to cover for the weakness of one past a point.


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PFRPGrognard wrote:
I'd recommend just playing your character how you like and don't worry about optimization.

I guess you skimmed over the first post? It's literally an optimization question.

It can be summarized as:
"Our party got wiped, so I need to be more active in combat. My plan was to dip three levels into Magus on my lv 11 Witch. Is this a bad idea?"


I agree with your GM that dipping Magus is a trap. But I don't think swashbuckler is the answer either. Opportune parry & riposte needs full bab to maximize its effectiveness as well as being limited uses per day.

I'll throw out a couple of ideas:
1. focus on de-buffing (this is the witches wheel house).
2. grab the prehensile hair hex and make touch attacks with reach (to avoid attacks of opportunity).
3. get into the eldritch knight prc and use a high crit weapon (lots of options to get martial weapon proficiency to qualify).

Some spells you could use with reach touch attacks or the eldritch knight spell critical ability:

Vampiric touch, frost bite, and bestow curse. Probably a few others but I am not that familiar with the witches spell list.


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If your front liner is getting overrun, get more front liners. By your level, Summon Monster is awesome. It does everything. Melee, buffing, healing, blasting. You have only 4 PCs so you're suffering a bit on action economy. You're a full caster just reaching your game-breaking destiny. Embrace it.

Silver Crusade

Your best bet, IMHO, is three more witch levels! Make sure to take Quicken Spell, so you can cast quickened Ill Omen, followed by your favorite save or suck spell.


RandomNigel wrote:
...I don't like meta gaming, but I obviously don't want to feel punished for playing the character I intended.

There's plenty of useful advice on here. Spreading yourself too thin will make things harder for you, not better.

Why do you dislike metagaming, though? And more specifically, what do you consider to be metagaming?


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When the NFL players are in the huddle before going to the line-of-scrimmage, they're metagaming.


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I would listen to you DM.

Your damage is going to be meh because your 11 levels of witch won’t really compliment the damage from 3 levels of Magus very well. And that is the least of your worries,

You will also be, extremely, extremely fragile.

If you’re worried about a fragile frontline I would suggest your character look into summoning.

Also a 14th Level witch is a powerful thing, especially I would suggest looking into the split hex feat for action economy.

Double fortune on your rogue and your paladin with split hex in one action is strong.

Also a rather fun strategy to look into might be the what I call “toad in the hole”.

Basically you scar your familiar, then put it in some kind of container, leave it in the hands of your front liner and then you can bounce split hexes off of them. Scar allows you to hex from further than 30ft away. So you can hex the familiar and bounce the hex to another enemy on the front line with split hex.

Means you can cast and hex from a further range.


To build on the other advice here, it's not that dipping into magus is a death-trap. It's that fighting on the frontline as a D6 class is playing on hardcore, and a few levels of magus has minimal impact on that, while having a significant negative impact on what your main class is good at.

For some benchmarks, at level 11 physical monsters will typically have:
>An AC in the 23-27 range
>A first-attack to-hit bonus of +19 (this is also a reasonable bonus for a level 11 frontline PC to have)
>A single attack average damage of around 30-35, with around 3 times that in their full attack set if all their blows land

It is possible to play a D6 class into this numerical headwind, but you will have to get used to 1 round of attention from a single enemy eating over half your maximum hit points. The disadvantage will get worse every level as the gap between your 1/2 BAB progression and full BAB grows, and a dip into magus will do almost nothing to patch this up.

Instead of trying to do things the way your class is built to be worst at, it would probably be more effective to use the strengths and shortcuts it can access in resourceful ways. Here are some examples:

>Get bracers of armour with a +1 (cus it's required) and spell-storing for 4,000 gold. Flip the script on the enemy and make how well they can hit you have consequences for them by sticking the nastiest level 0-3 touch spell you can find in them. You don't have to fill it yourself either, the wizard might have some touch spells on his list they wouldn't normally learn, but with you as a vector it might change their mind. If nothing else an intensified shocking grasp for 10d6 is still relevant damage at level 11.

>Get a simple weapon, like a dagger, and enhance it with a +1 and menacing for around 8,300ish gold. You have a rogue in your party, so I imagine your frontline strives to flank. Anyone who manages to will get an extra +2 to hit against foes you threaten with this nifty knife.

>Ask if variant multiclassing (also called VMC) is allowed in the campaign. If so, there are a handful of juicy options you could trade out 3 feats currently (5 if you get to level 19) for:

>>Bard is a fantastic way to bring martial power to your party without fighting directly, and that's not all. At level 3 you get bardic knowledge, adding half your character level to all knowledge skills and being able to use them untrained. As an int-based class, you've got a lot of potential here to branch out into being a knowledge library for the party - the wizard might already do this, but it rarely hurts to have 2 people rolling on the important ones. At level 7 you get inspire courage (and inspire competence), which at level 11 for you is +2 to hit and to damage for everyone, plus other stuff, and you might not get many extra rounds if your cha is low (and with your archetype, it might be good), but 11 rounds is still plenty for most adventuring days. Versatile performance at 11 is just more skills goodness, and the 2 at higher levels are nice as well.

>>Druid the code of conduct might not suit you, but adding a full-progression animal companion may make a decent contribution to the party's front ranks.

>>Alchemist you don't get int to bomb damage, and they're obviously not meant for melee, but you'd have a fair number. More significantly, mutagen is a solid way to boost one of your physical stats, most likely str for offence, dex for AC or con to make up the gap between you and a D10 class.

>>Cavalier another code, but a good mix of order selection and teamwork feat from tactician can really carry a lot of weight. For example, you could take order of the dragon, which has flavour that suits well, since this whole thing was triggered by seeing your ally fall, and I quote: "Cavaliers belonging to the order of the dragon dedicate themselves to a group of like-minded individuals, be it a mercenary company or a small band of adventurers. These cavaliers believe in loyalty and friendship, and are willing to lay down their lives to protect their allies". You only get 1 challenge a day, but when you lay it down you're giving all your allies a +3 circumstance bonus to hit in melee so long as you threaten the target, which'll progress to +5 by level 18. Tactician can push this further, for example by taking outflank to add another +2 to flanking bonuses, which at your level you can dish out 3 times a day for 8 rounds each go. You get that ability at level 11, so even at half BAB there's a lot of good teamwork feats you can qualify for.

>>Magus you can do this without losing out on witch levels! Again, as an int-based character, you'll get a lot of arcane pool points. Using it for simple weapon enhancements is cheap, but likely not to be highly effective. Instead, I would peruse the list of arcana, which has some extremely nice options, and you get 3 of them at levels 7, 15 and 19. Personally I would suggest arcane accuracy at level 7, which is a swift action for 1 arcane pool point to add your int mod to your attack rolls (as an insight bonus) for 1 round. This won't make your to-hit disadvantage vanish, but it's a big boost in a clutch moment. What you really want though is accurate strike. This is similar to arcane accuracy, except it costs 2 arcane pool points and lets you resolve your melee weapon attacks against touch AC. Now, this requires magus level 9th (your character level counts as your magus level when you VMC into magus). Although you qualify for that now, you wouldn't have when you got the arcana option at level 7, so your GM might not feel comfortable letting you retrain into it. However, it's possibly fair game to take Extra Arcana at level 9, and retrain to pick it up that way. Worst case scenario, if you make it to level 15, you can pick it up then, and once you do accuracy concerns vanish as long as you can fund the arcana. Get a spell storing weapon (like I covered earlier), stick a nasty touch spell in it in advance, spellstrike another nasty spell through it during a battle and hit an enemy at touch AC for weapon damage and a pair of pieces of bad news. I'm leaning into this since it's closest to your original idea, but there's a lot of potential here.


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If you want melee, check out reach tactics. It gives you some more survivability because you are farther away. It acts somewhat as a controller because you have a larger AoO area.

That said, Summon Monster VII has some good stuff. If you can get standard action summons, even better. Animate Object provides another body for combat.

Hold Monster and Feeblemind are great ways to slow down the enemy. Cloudkill is great for getting minions.

/cevah


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Definitely agree with the above posts, the only time you should dip magus is if you're planning and building into it from the beginning; not as a attempt to create a stop gap mid game. Talk with your wizard and see about trying to compliment each other's spell lists I think a good roster of battlefield control and buff spell should have your enemies lined up upside down flanked by your glass cannon and bsf who have turned into an adamantine chain gun and a colossal stupid fighter on crack respectively and see if this makes things a bit easier

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