Why striking spell is the most PF2 mechanic ever designed, and how I've come to love it.


Magus Class

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I know that this is not a massively common opinion on these boards but I have thought on it more and I really want to try to put these thoughts together in one place, because I feel like the mechanic got blasted by math threads based upon a majorly suspect premise about how striking spell fits in game. Those threads are out there. I acknowledge that people are coming to the class with radically different expectations and play experiences and I know that the ultimate goal is that we all find a magus that is fun to play and can fulfill our fantasies of a character wielding spells through the use of their weapons.

Why I love striking spell for PF2:
The things that make PF2 my favorite fantasy roleplaying game are: 1.the 3 action economy; 2. the 4 tiers of success; 3. the ease of designing and redesigning content for the game, even on the fly; and 4. how tightly everything fits together, so that every level, and every bonus matters.

The designing and redesigning content (3.) is more of a GM thing than a player thing so I will leave that out of this analysis, but striking spell checks off all three of the other major boxes for me in what makes PF2 special, and while there may be some fine tuning necessary to dial it in, I sincerely hope that the core of the mechanic stays the same through the playtest.

1. A lot of critics say that striking spell doesn't interact with the 3 action economy because it becomes one block action that must be done every turn. Looking at the Magus this way can easily lead to frustration and disappointment. The magus class is loaded with great one action activities that are worth using once or more a combat, but don't need to be used every turn, and that is a great thing. They have great options available for them on rounds where they won't be casting a spell or won't be trying to rush in and attack right away. The magus works amazingly well as a class that holds a line and makes the enemy want to come to them.

In play, I don't feel like my magus has completely wasted an entire turn when I do miss on a single attack roll, instead it makes me want to double down on thinking tactically next turn to maximize my bonuses and make my next attack as accurate as possible. This is an interesting and fun consequence of having the striking spell mechanic not be an all or nothing activity like eldritch shot.

2. Some people look at the math of striking spell and say "it is terrible" because its base level DPR is so dependent upon the weapon strike accuracy, that it had to be tuned below other martials on the unmodified attack roll level. This is a very common critique of spell casting DPR generally: That it is too easy to miss with spells and the damage of them is so swingy that players get lured in by the massive spikes of potential in spells like disintegrate, that they don't realize that the trade off is having a pretty significant chance of missing/doing half or even a quarter of the damage output that they were imagining. This has carried over into how people are evaluating the striking spell mechanic and I actually think letting magus potency apply its item bonus to spell attack rolls for striking spell would be a really awesome way to make magus potency the perfect magus focus power (as long as the magus can get a 2 point refocus feat).

However, that swinginess, making the die roll matter is what makes PF2 a great system. Taking away crit confirmations and using the +/- 10 crit system makes critical awesomeness something that can reasonably be expected to happen at least once an encounter if not per session. It creates magical moments on both sides of the table and makes for much more memorable experiences than, I performed at close to exact average DPR expectations and my calculations of incoming and outgoing damage before the encounter paid off in victory. It shifts the tactical play back into the action by action decision making and responding to the changing situation on the battlefield in interesting and dynamic ways.

Striking spell embraces all the fun of this tactical system and embodies it into a mechanic that does exactly what the fiction says it should. You cast the spell into the weapon and then, when you hit with the weapon the spell discharges. I know that the 2 die rolls sits badly for a lot of folks and they want to see that condensed into 1. I trust Paizo's math team over the boards generally on figuring out what the consequences of that will be and how the numbers would have to be tweaked if they were to do it, so either it will happen or it won't, but with how powerful spells are, I struggle to believe that, with the easy of getting a crit chance of over 20% for a full martial in PF2, that the damage output of the magus is not going to sky rocket if it is all condensed into one roll. It also kills having the ability work with spells with saves, and I think the boosting the success of the spell in the caster's favor on a weapon crit makes a lot of the existing feast or famine spells that present in PF2 already a lot more interesting.

4. Never has there been a class released in PF2 yet that more clearly presents the value of every possible +1 you can get as the Magus. The nature of the Magus mechanic is to turn the first weapon strike of the round into a massive fulcrum of the classes entire damage potential. The Barbarian is very close to the magus in this, as they struggle mightily with accuracy if they are not getting support from the rest of the party but they don't lose out on how much damage the strike is going to do if it is the second strike that actually hits. MAP has no further effect on DPR than the initial roll. The magus mechanic on the other hand really encourages doing everything you can to "measure twice and cut once." yes you can get one second chance the following round, and that is great, but you are much better off spending the first two actions of that round moving into flanking, removing cover issues and lining up any potential circumstance or situation bonuses (or especially true strike) than you are on trying to attack 2 or three times to make it stick. An activity like double slice, (made with a weapon and a free hand weapon like an agile gauntlet) would be the one way around this since you would be able to make two weapon attacks and then your spell would go off with no MAP.

As I have made clear, I really love this design for how well it works with the things PF2 does that are unique and interesting, but I do see how a lot of play testers have struggled to put it together effectively in play. I'd really encourage the developers to look for ways to add feats (like a double slice that isn't so tricky to figure out how to get and use for making the most accurate attack possible on the round after missing with the first striking spell opportunity), and spells and abilities that help guide players into effective use of the striking spell mechanic, rather than toss it aside for something that turns into "do the same thing every round or completely divorces the weapon attack from the spell, to the point that it is the same to just make an attack roll and cast a spell separately.


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Allow me to provide just one quick counterpoint to why I think spellstrike is, currently, a terrible design mechanically born from a neat thematic idea.

Double Slice.

I present to you, the spartan warrior. He uses a bossed shield and a shortsword, and double slices with his doubling rings (or just extra weapon runes on the sword/shield, as per what he chooses)

This is now, effectively, a better spellstrike with only one downside; no spell secondary effects/non-cantrip effects. However, this costs 1 less action, and the fighter can now raise his shield, and the Magus cannot... not that the Magus could anyway, because using anything but a buckler invalidates the different magus Synthesis...es...

Also the fighter has a +2 with the sword over every other martial, and if he crits (later on when he gets weapon spec. (edit: scratch that, I mean at level 5 with weapon mastery)) he'll make the opponent flatfooted until his next turn, at which point he's even more likely to crit and continue this chain.

if the Magus didn't have 4 spell slots or whatever it is, maybe I could see them competing in burst options (not that the saves/attacks from the spell would hit ever. I have a hard enough time as a sorcerer doing that.) but they can only attempt this burst 4 times. and I don't count the "well if they have a staff of divination..." crap. If you need a specific magic item to patch up a class, the class has a problem. (fundamental runes exempt, because fundamental.)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:

I know that this is not a massively common opinion on these boards but I have thought on it more and I really want to try to put these thoughts together in one place, because I feel like the mechanic got blasted by math threads based upon a majorly suspect premise about how striking spell fits in game. Those threads are out there. I acknowledge that people are coming to the class with radically different expectations and play experiences and I know that the ultimate goal is that we all find a magus that is fun to play and can fulfill our fantasies of a character wielding spells through the use of their weapons.

Why I love striking spell for PF2:
The things that make PF2 my favorite fantasy roleplaying game are: 1.the 3 action economy; 2. the 4 tiers of success; 3. the ease of designing and redesigning content for the game, even on the fly; and 4. how tightly everything fits together, so that every level, and every bonus matters.

The designing and redesigning content (3.) is more of a GM thing than a player thing so I will leave that out of this analysis, but striking spell checks off all three of the other major boxes for me in what makes PF2 special, and while there may be some fine tuning necessary to dial it in, I sincerely hope that the core of the mechanic stays the same through the playtest.

1. A lot of critics say that striking spell doesn't interact with the 3 action economy because it becomes one block action that must be done every turn. Looking at the Magus this way can easily lead to frustration and disappointment. The magus class is loaded with great one action activities that are worth using once or more a combat, but don't need to be used every turn, and that is a great thing. They have great options available for them on rounds where they won't be casting a spell or won't be trying to rush in and attack right away. The magus works amazingly well as a class that holds a line and makes the enemy want to come to them.

In play, I don't feel like my magus has completely wasted an...

You make fine points and I would be totally okay with the mechanic if they let us add weapon potency runes to spell attacks delivered through it. This bonus wouldn’t change the mechanics much and would make Magus more reliable. Does not interfere much with the crit mechanic (you’d still need a crit with the weapon to trigger it).

To use an analogy you have employed, you could still play the class as a chess, but then you would still have some consistency when you occasionally blunder your queen


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
richienvh wrote:

You make fine points and I would be totally okay with the mechanic if they let us add weapon potency runes to spell attacks delivered through it. This bonus wouldn’t change the mechanics much and would make Magus more reliable. Does not interfere much with the crit mechanic (you’d still need a crit with the weapon to trigger it).

To use an analogy you have employed, you could still play the class as a chess, but then you would still have some consistency when you occasionally blunder your queen

I like having this happen through the Magus potency focus power, as long as we get a 2 focus point refocus feat for folks who also want to use runic impressions.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kody1190 wrote:

Allow me to provide just one quick counterpoint to why I think spellstrike is, currently, a terrible design mechanically born from a neat thematic idea.

Double Slice.

I present to you, the spartan warrior. He uses a bossed shield and a shortsword, and double slices with his doubling rings (or just extra weapon runes on the sword/shield, as per what he chooses)

This is now, effectively, a better spellstrike with only one downside; no spell secondary effects/non-cantrip effects. However, this costs 1 less action, and the fighter can now raise his shield, and the Magus cannot... not that the Magus could anyway, because using anything but a buckler invalidates the different magus Synthesis...es...

Also the fighter has a +2 with the sword over every other martial, and if he crits (later on when he gets weapon spec. (edit: scratch that, I mean at level 5 with weapon mastery)) he'll make the opponent flatfooted until his next turn, at which point he's even more likely to crit and continue this chain.

if the Magus didn't have 4 spell slots or whatever it is, maybe I could see them competing in burst options (not that the saves/attacks from the spell would hit ever. I have a hard enough time as a sorcerer doing that.) but they can only attempt this burst 4 times. and I don't count the "well if they have a staff of divination..." crap. If you need a specific magic item to patch up a class, the class has a problem. (fundamental runes exempt, because fundamental.)

I don't really see double strike as a counter to my feelings about striking spell, but as an opportunity. Double strike is actually a great feat for a sliding spell magus with a gauntlet as it really increases the accuracy of the spell going off on the second round. Rather than have to bend over backwards to get it, AND to incentivize a weapon and fist style, I think a level 2 feat that works similarly but just requires a free hand instead of 2 weapons and maybe allows the second strike to be a shove (that discharges the spell) instead of a fist strike, but still takes two actions, would show that the expectation is that the magus is not striking spell every turn, but a unique blend of switch hitter that combines strikes and spells as most tactically advantageous.

When you really look closely at the magus, it is only about 1.5 points of accuracy behind a fighter, and only for the specific weapons in their weapon group for the vast majority of play. Accuracy is queen in PF2 so that is not nothing, but the magus gets a lot of great damage boosts that are full of magical flavor to go along with being "near fighter" in many other martial criteria. I don't think the whole class is perfect, but I think the striking spell mechanic is just about perfect, with the right tweaks around it to bring up the accuracy of the spell just a touch and more feat support for the styles of play that are most fun with the class.

Trying to be a caster that also swings a sword is very disappointing in play, but I don't think that is really a magus build.


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Unicore wrote:
Kody1190 wrote:

Allow me to provide just one quick counterpoint to why I think spellstrike is, currently, a terrible design mechanically born from a neat thematic idea.

Double Slice.

I present to you, the spartan warrior. He uses a bossed shield and a shortsword, and double slices with his doubling rings (or just extra weapon runes on the sword/shield, as per what he chooses)

This is now, effectively, a better spellstrike with only one downside; no spell secondary effects/non-cantrip effects. However, this costs 1 less action, and the fighter can now raise his shield, and the Magus cannot... not that the Magus could anyway, because using anything but a buckler invalidates the different magus Synthesis...es...

Also the fighter has a +2 with the sword over every other martial, and if he crits (later on when he gets weapon spec. (edit: scratch that, I mean at level 5 with weapon mastery)) he'll make the opponent flatfooted until his next turn, at which point he's even more likely to crit and continue this chain.

if the Magus didn't have 4 spell slots or whatever it is, maybe I could see them competing in burst options (not that the saves/attacks from the spell would hit ever. I have a hard enough time as a sorcerer doing that.) but they can only attempt this burst 4 times. and I don't count the "well if they have a staff of divination..." crap. If you need a specific magic item to patch up a class, the class has a problem. (fundamental runes exempt, because fundamental.)

Double strike is actually a great feat for a sliding spell magus with a gauntlet as it really increases the accuracy of the spell going off on the second round. Rather than have to bend over backwards to get it

You understand because you bind the spell to a specific weapon you cannot, therefore, use it properly with double slice as only one of those weapons has a spell stored in it, yes? Also using a gauntlet as a weapon would cause issues with all of the Magus types, 2 handed couldn't work, ranged would be weird, and one-handed would debatabley work but you'd probably get angry GM noises as you flip back and forth between free hand and weapon at will and constantly as needed (not that that's against RAW, I think)


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ill be honest, if the focus power applied its bonus to spells i actually think that would be BAD for the magus gameplay.

why?

because you start with 1, you only ever get to 3, and it would eat up all my focus every day, every combat, thats not fun, its binary, its re ductive to what makes this s ystem potentially great, the options you have from round to round.

dont, i repeat paizo, DONT limit our round to round actions to no brainer action tax upkeep abilities, its not good for the class or the game.

i like spell strike for its open endedness in what attacks you can use to apply with spell strike. that is a elegant thing that keeps it open ended.

however, i dislike the 2 rolls to hit of spell strike. and i really hate the critical cascade effect it has. because it makes it a pain to balance and will result in a scaling nightmare for you paizo as times moves on just as true strike is becoming an issue in being a reductive choice for multiclass and blaster casters alike.

ive checked the player generated math, and if paizo wants to double check and make sure it lines up. What we want is to remove the critical effect and make it one roll to hit. along with barring it from working with true strike.

Thus spell strike can maintain in line scaling with other martials with the only true spikes it has being when it uses its spell slots. and cantrip spells trikes become your bread and butter.

i maintain that the potency baseline focus spell is a poor one and should be replaced with a situational but powerful one where if you would lose your spell without landing it you can extend the hold by 1 round, that is a situational math fixer that helps shore up the feel bad rounds for a magus and keeps it from being overly swingy while still utilizing a limited resource. similar in how cackle works in play.

as for double slice, from my understanding that wouldnt work, because you have to imbue your body with the spell (unarmed strikes) or your weapon(not plural).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I always get tripped up about double strike requiring a weapon and not fists so it doesn’t work as is, but would make an awesome magus feat that did, even at 2 actions, for that second round, make sure it goes off ability


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Unicore, thank you for writing this out. I agree with all of your points about the magus class highlighting action economy and degrees of success, but I like most that it emphasizes that every bonus matters. Tactics and team play are crucial, and that makes for a fun game to play.


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I mentioned to you in another thread on my problem with this interpretation, in that Magus has a lack of direction on the "Goal 1" of acquiring their bonuses/advantages before the use of Striking Spell. There is no clear communication to the Magus how to take advantage of their ability properly.

If that incentive was more clearly incentivized, such as with the bonus to spell attack rolls from their magic weapon (as you propose) or bonuses to landing spells with their Class Path in some form, or any other number of things, I could see that working.

Still not crazy about the critical aspect, would rather it be flat bonus increases, but in the grand scheme of wanting to retain the "two roll" system entirely I could grow to like that with the right treatment.

Overall you make decent points, I just don't know that I like the feast/famine aspect and no real direction on how a Magus is meant to take advantage of Striking Spell.


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RexAliquid wrote:
Unicore, thank you for writing this out. I agree with all of your points about the magus class highlighting action economy and degrees of success, but I like most that it emphasizes that every bonus matters. Tactics and team play are crucial, and that makes for a fun game to play.

this is actually dependant upon the playgroup, just as some prefer flavor over mechanics and vice versa, different groups operate at different skill levels.

what i dont like hte idea of, is that a class that underperforms unless you leverage the well oiled machine tactics of a veteran group of players that have played together for a while.

to me, thats not fun, thats frustrating.


There is a hint toward thinking tactically in the class write-up.

Magus wrote:


You Might

  • Continually refine your spell and item selections to improve your personal style, or prepare battle plans and spell lists for a variety of situations.
  • Socialize with both scholars of magic and veteran combatants alike, and otherwise learn from people of different backgrounds.
  • Overreach with ambitious plans that pull you into too many directions at once.
  • But in reality, most tactics come down to just communicating well with the other players. You don't need everyone to have a tactical warmind, just make sure other people know your plans and ask if they can help.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    While I do not disagree that tactics should factor into the equation, a class needs tools to at least do well without them or, like Midnight Joker pointed out, that needs to be stated up front.

    There are groups that do not use or do not mind them. Sure, the encounters are gonna get harder, but I feel Magi would suffer more in that situation.

    Take the rogue as an example, when you start to play one, you are told that you need to get flat-footed for your main feature to work. Yet, however, they still get feats and abilities that they can utilize to generate that condition on their own.

    Magus needs the same bonuses, even more, I seem to feel they depend on them much more than Barbarians and Rogues due to their caster half. Yet they do not have a clear path to getting them outside of relying on their party.

    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.

    This is why, although my position is entirely in line with MartialMasters’, I feel that potency runes to spells are the least they can do for the class, and that is also the reason why I think that, if Paizo ultimately decides on keeping the current striking spell mechanism, they should consider allowing Magi to have feats like Double Slice and an adapted version of Twin Feint which grants flat-footed against the spell attack


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    RexAliquid wrote:

    There is a hint toward thinking tactically in the class write-up.

    Magus wrote:


    You Might

  • Continually refine your spell and item selections to improve your personal style, or prepare battle plans and spell lists for a variety of situations.
  • Socialize with both scholars of magic and veteran combatants alike, and otherwise learn from people of different backgrounds.
  • Overreach with ambitious plans that pull you into too many directions at once.
  • so? still doesnt change what i said, nor should it change how paizo constructs classes.


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    richienvh wrote:

    While I do not disagree that tactics should factor into the equation, a class needs tools to at least do well without them or, like Midnight Joker pointed out, that needs to be stated up front.

    There are groups that do not use or do not mind them. Sure, the encounters are gonna get harder, but I feel Magi would suffer more in that situation.

    Take the rogue as an example, when you start to play one, you are told that you need to get flat-footed for your main feature to work. Yet, however, they still get feats and abilities that they can utilize to generate that condition on their own.

    Magus needs the same bonuses, even more, I seem to feel they depend on them much more than Barbarians and Rogues due to their caster half. Yet they do not have a clear path to getting them outside of relying on their party.

    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.

    This is why, although my position is entirely in line with MartialMasters’, I feel that potency runes to spells are the least they can do for the class, and that is also the reason why I think that, if Paizo ultimately decides on keeping the current striking spell mechanism, they should consider allowing Magi to have feats like Double Slice and an adapted version of Twin Feint which grants flat-footed against the spell attack

    im not strictly against potency runes applying to our spell strikes, im against our potency focus spell being the only way to do that.


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    richienvh wrote:
    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.

    What the magus requires more than the rogue and barbarian is communication with your team. If you tell the barbarian what you want to do, they will likely choose to flank with you to get a spell off. I would rather encourage that kind of cooperative and communicative gameplay than build a bonus into the class that obviates the role of a cleric or bard in the party.


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    GM OfAnything wrote:
    richienvh wrote:
    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.
    What the magus requires more than the rogue and barbarian is communication with your team. If you tell the barbarian what you want to do, they will likely choose to flank with you to get a spell off. I would rather encourage that kind of cooperative and communicative gameplay than build a bonus into the class that obviates the role of a cleric or bard in the party.

    there is a middle ground,something we have currentlyu in game.

    have it scale similarly with teamwork as every other class, instead of changing that scaling to being underpowered without and on par with.

    then you dont obviate anything either.


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    I appreciate Unicore's writeup, this kind of feedback is certainly valuable.

    All of that being said, though, I didn't find Striking Spell fun in play and that's enough for me to want to change it or bin it.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Martialmasters wrote:
    richienvh wrote:

    While I do not disagree that tactics should factor into the equation, a class needs tools to at least do well without them or, like Midnight Joker pointed out, that needs to be stated up front.

    There are groups that do not use or do not mind them. Sure, the encounters are gonna get harder, but I feel Magi would suffer more in that situation.

    Take the rogue as an example, when you start to play one, you are told that you need to get flat-footed for your main feature to work. Yet, however, they still get feats and abilities that they can utilize to generate that condition on their own.

    Magus needs the same bonuses, even more, I seem to feel they depend on them much more than Barbarians and Rogues due to their caster half. Yet they do not have a clear path to getting them outside of relying on their party.

    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.

    This is why, although my position is entirely in line with MartialMasters’, I feel that potency runes to spells are the least they can do for the class, and that is also the reason why I think that, if Paizo ultimately decides on keeping the current striking spell mechanism, they should consider allowing Magi to have feats like Double Slice and an adapted version of Twin Feint which grants flat-footed against the spell attack

    im not strictly against potency runes applying to our spell strikes, im against our potency focus spell being the only way to do that.

    I agree. I would much rather it be baked into a potential new striking spell write up than in (another) resource and action economy tax


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    GM OfAnything wrote:
    richienvh wrote:
    I have said this once and will say it again. What makes the Magus suboptimal is not its routine per se, but that it relies too much on specific tactics and conditions. What if the Barbarian and Rogue decide to flank between them and leave you out of it? What if the enemy moves out of your own flank? What if the cleric favors another routine than just blessing.
    What the magus requires more than the rogue and barbarian is communication with your team. If you tell the barbarian what you want to do, they will likely choose to flank with you to get a spell off. I would rather encourage that kind of cooperative and communicative gameplay than build a bonus into the class that obviates the role of a cleric or bard in the party.

    You don’t have to necessarily invalidate them. Just have hitting with the striking spell’s melee strike leave the target flat-footed in regards to the spell attack. Does no alter the crit rider, does not invalidate buffers and does not even change things if the Magus was already flanking.

    And it makes narrative sense.


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    I'm not convinced. I'm glad you like it, but on its face and in play it's a terribly frustrating and clunky mechanic.

    You might say it's "the most PF2 mechanic ever designed," but I think it reads and plays more like a bad PF1 mechanic. In fact, it's worse than the Magus' PF1 mechanic, which at least allowed a move action within the sequence.

    Again, I'm glad you like it, and I'm glad it's inspired you to write paragraphs trying to convince people, but it's still not a good mechanic, and it's still not a PF2 mechanic.

    "But you have to use tactics for it to work!" isn't PF2.

    "It works smoothly and well and tactics make it better!" is PF2.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Puna'chong wrote:

    I'm not convinced. I'm glad you like it, but on its face and in play it's a terribly frustrating and clunky mechanic.

    You might say it's "the most PF2 mechanic ever designed," but I think it reads and plays more like a bad PF1 mechanic. In fact, it's worse than the Magus' PF1 mechanic, which at least allowed a move action within the sequence.

    Again, I'm glad you like it, and I'm glad it's inspired you to write paragraphs trying to convince people, but it's still not a good mechanic, and it's still not a PF2 mechanic.

    "But you have to use tactics for it to work!" isn't PF2.

    "It works smoothly and well and tactics make it better!" is PF2.

    This!

    There’s a huge difference between ‘hey, let’s get these tactics and kick this creature’ and ‘I really need you to buff/help me, otherwise this might not work at all’


    Thought:

    What if Striking Spell had the requirement of wielding a magical weapon and then it applied the bonus to the Spell Attack Roll from the Potency as well?

    That actually feels a lot like the old Magus in that you want to get Potency/Magic Weapons up pretty much on your first turn (Arcane Pool activation was basically always my turn 1).

    It would help drive that incentive I think is missing.


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    Puna'chong wrote:

    I'm not convinced. I'm glad you like it, but on its face and in play it's a terribly frustrating and clunky mechanic.

    You might say it's "the most PF2 mechanic ever designed," but I think it reads and plays more like a bad PF1 mechanic. In fact, it's worse than the Magus' PF1 mechanic, which at least allowed a move action within the sequence.

    Again, I'm glad you like it, and I'm glad it's inspired you to write paragraphs trying to convince people, but it's still not a good mechanic, and it's still not a PF2 mechanic.

    "But you have to use tactics for it to work!" isn't PF2.

    "It works smoothly and well and tactics make it better!" is PF2.

    I agree. If anything, the whole stacking support to reach extreme heights feels far more 1e than 2e to me. Chasing every single bonus was an aspect of 1e I was hoping was being left behind.

    Another problem I have with the whole critical fishing aspect is that it is not immeditely apparent to a player despite everything being balanced around it: a player with less system mastery might try to build a Magus because it fits their character concept or because they think the class is interesting, only to find themselves be less effective than the rest of the party because they thought the crit rider on Striking Spell was simply a nice side bonus that would trigger from time to time instead of the core feature of the class around which they were expected to build. Once again, this kind of unintuitive, gatekeep-y design that reduces a class to a single goal reminds me far more of 1e than I would like.


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    im against the potency cantrip turning into a every combat action tax just for the magus to function in line with others, its not fun or interesting, its reductive in your choices and the tactical decisions of when and how to use your focus powers.


    Lightdroplet wrote:
    Another problem I have with the whole critical fishing aspect is that it is not immeditely apparent to a player despite everything being balanced around it: a player with less system mastery might try to build a Magus because it fits their character concept or because they think the class is interesting, only to find themselves be less effective than the rest of the party because they thought the crit rider on Striking Spell was simply a nice side bonus that would trigger from time to time instead of the core feature of the class around which they were expected to build.

    I don't think it is at all necessary to build around Striking Spell. It is necessary to play around Striking Spell. One of those you can adjust at the gaming table, the other you are stuck with until you can retrain or bring in a new character.


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    Everything you mention as a positive is something I hate about the mechanic.

    1) You don't need to use it every turn.
    -Yeah, because realistically you can't use it every turn. Everyone else can do their thing every turn, why does the Magus have to be built so that it's either bad or impossible?

    2) Massive swinginess makes successes feel better!
    -Also makes failures more common, and failures feel bad. An unlucky run just feels terrible. Also a nightmare to balance for the GM, when a boss might die in 1 hit or destroy the party because one player can't hurt them.

    4) Every +1 matters more!
    -Again, balance Nightmare.


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    I'm so bored of seeing people say "But trying to stack every advantage under the sun to reach a baseline competency everyone else already has is fun!" And seeing swathes of people explain that it's bad design to deaf ears.


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    Puna'chong wrote:

    "But you have to use tactics for it to work!" isn't PF2.

    "It works smoothly and well and tactics make it better!" is PF2.

    This should go on a wall mural within the Paizo offices. It's an absolutely wonderful encapsulation of the target to aim for regarding a class's effectiveness.

    Regarding the Magus, we're firmly in the former and this is why the class is shoddy.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    GM OfAnything wrote:
    I would rather encourage that kind of cooperative and communicative gameplay than build a bonus into the class that obviates the role of a cleric or bard in the party.

    That's an entirely faulty premise that doesn't line up remotely with the realities of the game.

    RexAliquid wrote:
    I don't think it is at all necessary to build around Striking Spell. It is necessary to play around Striking Spell. One of those you can adjust at the gaming table, the other you are stuck with until you can retrain or bring in a new character.

    One of the big assertions here is having access to certain buffs and features in order to push up your numbers. You don't need to build around Striking Spell, but you do, to some extent, need the rest of your party to build around it.

    That's arguably even worse, though.


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    Unicore wrote:
    In play, I don't feel like my magus has completely wasted an entire turn when I do miss on a single attack roll, instead it makes me want to double down on thinking tactically next turn to maximize my bonuses and make my next attack as accurate as possible. This is an interesting and fun consequence of having the striking spell mechanic not be an all or nothing activity like eldritch shot.

    Then you're being irrational. Look at the actual numbers, not meaningless things like how something makes you "Feel". Even if you had unlimited spell slots, Striking Spell would still be way behind the damage of other martials. Missing just makes it even worse.


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    Is it just me or do a lot of people talk about the magus as though it doesn't get cantrips?

    In fact I think the intention is for the limited spell slots to almost never be used with Striking Spell. They even emphasise the importance of primarily using cantrips:

    SoM Playest During Combat Encounters wrote:
    You place spells into your weapon or body to hit enemies with a powerful Strike and spell combination. Because your spells per day are limited, you rely on trusty, carefully chosen cantrips.

    You save the spell slots for spells like Lightning Bolt and Fire Shield.

    People talk about Double Slice being better, but Double Slice doesn't deal negative energy damage and enfeeble or mental damage and stun.

    The magus absolutely needs work (hence they playtest), I wouldn't be against letting the to hit bonus from runes apply to spells and Raise a Tome needs a rework. I'd also consider giving a magus a couple of extra cantrips since they make up the core of the magus' spellcasting.

    Silver Crusade

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    Strill wrote:
    Unicore wrote:
    In play, I don't feel like my magus has completely wasted an entire turn when I do miss on a single attack roll, instead it makes me want to double down on thinking tactically next turn to maximize my bonuses and make my next attack as accurate as possible. This is an interesting and fun consequence of having the striking spell mechanic not be an all or nothing activity like eldritch shot.
    Then you're being irrational. Look at the actual numbers, not meaningless things like how something makes you "Feel". Even if you had unlimited spell slots, Striking Spell would still be way behind the damage of other martials. Missing just makes it even worse.

    How a class feels to play is the exact opposite of meaningless.

    If it feels bad or is boring then it's a bad class, it doesn't matter how "good" the numbers are.


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    Well we do take cantrips into account, but as it stands rn it's often not very useful to use them with spellstrike.


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    Decimus Drake wrote:
    Is it just me or do a lot of people talk about the magus as though it doesn't get cantrips?

    As it has been shown multiple times, using cantrips with it lowers your damage beyond what you could do by spending the same number of actions on Strikes, which is unsurprising since cantrips were made to be weaker than weapon attacks by design, even on full casters, which the Magus isn't.

    And yes, some cantrips do have nice critical effects like you mentionned, but the cantrip is essentially a second attack with an agile weapon as far as accuracy is concerned due to Magus' lower proficiencies and lack of a key stat boosting casting, meaning you won't crit nearly enough for them to be worth it, unless you build a perfect theorycrafted setup around crit-fishing.

    Also, doing negative energy damage or mental damage instead of physical is far from a positive. Both of these damage types are far more widely resisted than any of the three physical damage types, with both having rather common monster traits (Undead and Mindless) granting complete immunity and nearly no monsters with weaknesses to either of them.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Lightdroplet wrote:
    Decimus Drake wrote:
    Is it just me or do a lot of people talk about the magus as though it doesn't get cantrips?

    As it has been shown multiple times, using cantrips with it lowers your damage beyond what you could do by spending the same number of actions on Strikes, which is unsurprising since cantrips were made to be weaker than weapon attacks by design, even on full casters, which the Magus isn't.

    And yes, some cantrips do have nice critical effects like you mentionned, but the cantrip is essentially a second attack with an agile weapon as far as accuracy is concerned due to Magus' lower proficiencies and lack of a key stat boosting casting, meaning you won't crit nearly enough for them to be worth it, unless you build a perfect theorycrafted setup around crit-fishing.

    Also, doing negative energy damage or mental damage instead of physical is far from a positive. Both of these damage types are far more widely resisted than any of the three physical damage types, with both having rather common monster traits (Undead and Mindless) granting complete immunity and nearly no monsters with weaknesses to either of them.

    I got this exact result while GM'ing a session that had 2 lv. 7 Magi and Summoners last night. All players were familiar with 2e and with the 1e versions of their classes.

    One player got a Staff of Divination that they used with Magus Potency and they just kept spamming True Strike and various attacks. They just used it twice with Produce Flame to get Energize Strikes and kept playing like they were a fighter/wizard.

    Later, I asked them why they did not use the ability with any of their slots and they just said it felt more intuitive to keep striking than to set up a complicated scheme of actions just to get a cantrip off with the crit rider.

    I don't know the math, but neither did them and their choices where based on how they felt about the class.


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    If a core mechanic has the base reliability of spellstrike and is balanced around your party being a well oil machine or you having a shifted divination staff.......then it's bad, at least in my opinion. It means that the mechanic was not made with regular use in mind. Bc when I tested the magus over a couple sessions I quickly stopped trying to spellstrike after 5 or 6 tries bc it simply was not a good use of actions. The return on investment was almost never there. It was heartbreaking


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    Ressy wrote:

    1) You don't need to use it every turn.

    -Yeah, because realistically you can't use it every turn. Everyone else can do their thing every turn, why does the Magus have to be built so that it's either bad or impossible?

    This! I keep seeing people saying that maybe the Magus isn't designed to Spellstrike nearly every turn, but Spellstriking is what makes the Magus what they are, isn't it?

    Monks only need one action to Flurry, Rangers have two different feats available at Level 1 to Strike twice with one action versus Hunted Prey, Fighters can Double Slice for 2 actions. Fighters and Barbs can Sudden Charge(God I love that feat). Rogues just get Sneak Attack when someone is flat-footed and they get Twin Feint. For the current Magus to have options on its turn, it either has to Strike once/twice OR cast a spell. If you find yourself doing that most of the time, then why on Golarian are you a Magus?

    The Spellstrike needs to be no more than 2 actions. That one action left is so important for so many reasons. You could normal Strike one more time and hope for a high roll, you can Stride to your target or away, you can Step, you can Raise a Shield, you can cast Shield. No one wants to have an entire turns worth of actions reliant on a single roll.


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    Zero the Nothing wrote:

    This! I keep seeing people saying that maybe the Magus isn't designed to Spellstrike nearly every turn, but Spellstriking is what makes the Magus what they are, isn't it?

    I find a Magus to be much more than spellstrike, personally.

    That said, I find a Ranger to be much more than Hunting Prey, but they can still do that every turn realistically.


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    In a game where the rogue can stride, tumble behind, attack with sneak attack, and then nimble dodge as a reaction, the magus having to use 4 actions just to move and striking spell (3 if they have sliding) is a pretty terrible way to work in the 3 action economy. And even at the point where the magus finally uses those 4 actions to hit the enemy and somehow rolls well enough to get their spell off, they are doing less damage than a typical fighter, ranger, or barbarian. The only way to make up this damage is spending another action casting true strike, and now even the sliding magus is spending 5 actions (since you can't use true strike the round before the strike) to hit once with their 4 per day limited resource. Having to spend almost 2 rounds worth of actions just to get a single attack that does slightly better damage than other martials can do in a single round is not good design.


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    Fun comes first, numbers can be adjusted later or house ruled.


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    Dude, the game isn't just about powergaming. Power Attack may not be optimal (though you can likely create builds or setups around it, and when you have little chances landing more than 1 hit it's valuable) and so what ? Should we remove all other Hunter Edges other than Flurry ?
    Should we remove everything that isn't "the best" ?


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    Kalaam wrote:

    Dude, the game isn't just about powergaming. Power Attack may not be optimal (though you can likely create builds or setups around it, and when you have little chances landing more than 1 hit it's valuable) and so what ? Should we remove all other Hunter Edges other than Flurry ?

    Should we remove everything that isn't "the best" ?

    You should definitely remove stuff that actively penalizes you, like Striking Spell + cantrip.


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    Strill wrote:
    Kalaam wrote:

    Dude, the game isn't just about powergaming. Power Attack may not be optimal (though you can likely create builds or setups around it, and when you have little chances landing more than 1 hit it's valuable) and so what ? Should we remove all other Hunter Edges other than Flurry ?

    Should we remove everything that isn't "the best" ?
    You should definitely remove stuff that actively penalizes you, like Striking Spell + cantrip.

    This is not what I was talking about.

    Striking Spell as it is needs rework because it's both sub-optimal(both mechanically and number-wise), and doesn't feel good to play.

    What I meant is that it's non-sensical to ask for stuff like Power Attack to be removed from the game because it's not the strongest action you can take.

    It's role playing game. If my fighter is supposed to be a swordmaster that only ever deal a single strike per round with all his focus because he hates the idea of wasting movements or his philosophy is that you should always strike with all your might. I'll take Power Attack and build around that. And that's my character. You play yours as you wish, take whatever feats you like. As long as a feat is not mechanically broken and un-fun, there is no reason to complain or request for it to be removed. Numbers can be tweaked.


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    Kalaam wrote:
    Strill wrote:
    Kalaam wrote:

    Dude, the game isn't just about powergaming. Power Attack may not be optimal (though you can likely create builds or setups around it, and when you have little chances landing more than 1 hit it's valuable) and so what ? Should we remove all other Hunter Edges other than Flurry ?

    Should we remove everything that isn't "the best" ?
    You should definitely remove stuff that actively penalizes you, like Striking Spell + cantrip.

    This is not what I was talking about.

    Striking Spell as it is needs rework because it's both sub-optimal(both mechanically and number-wise), and doesn't feel good to play.

    What I meant is that it's non-sensical to ask for stuff like Power Attack to be removed from the game because it's not the strongest action you can take.

    That's not what I said. Power attack being worse than Double Slice is fine. Power attack being worse than (Strike, Strike) is unacceptable, because it's deceitful for the game designer to present it as something beneficial. If your DM gives you Power attack for free, then once you get your first Striking Rune, you are better off never using it because it can only harm you. It's the same as how Striking Spell + Cantrip is worse than Strike, Strike, Strike.

    Feats and abilities that are worse than the default should be errata'd out of the game.


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    Unless you're afraid of missing that second attack or crit-fishing. But as I said, numbers can be tweaked.

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