Has your perception of Striking Spell changed after testing? And, if so, how?

Magus Class

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I know we've had dozens of threads discussing potential Striking Spell fixes, its alleged and perceived problems, its merits and every issue it could possibly have had.

What I am aiming at, with this thread, is to get a glimpse on how you felt after playtesting it Do you still that it still needs a major overhaul? are you fine with it? Have you toyed with adjustments?

I'd like to attempt to propose that, instead of debating its merits, we each (if you'd like) post a single time about our perceptions, favorite fixes (if any) and positive aspects.

So I'm going to start.

Initial Perception Really disliked the action economy. I had a Wizard/Fighter that the GM had been letting run around with a HB version of the AoA Npc's Spellstrike, so, at first, I just couldn't be sold on it. I also thought and argued (strongly and insistently) that the crit mechanic had to go. Hated having to have two rolls for spell attacks.

My playtests (so far) I've played a level 1 Magus (encounter test run by myself), a level 12 Magus (thrice), a level 6 Magus (once), GM'ed for 6th level, 7th level and 15th level Magi (once). I've also had a 14th level NPC with the current Magus abilities.

My post-test perception Not bothered by the action economy or the crit mechanic that much.

As I tested, I found that what really bothered me was how the Magus' spell attack accuracy floated around compared to its martial one. Sometimes the gap is not that wide, but then it widens, then shortens.

What changed I had experiences in which Striking Spell worked and they felt good. Still had difficulties and problems that I'd like adressed.

These boards have really opened my eyes to some potential in having actions that could tie to the Striking part of Spellstrike (just check the more recent threads) and to a nice idea that I hope gets ported into the final version of the class: that the Magus somehow gets an ability to hold the charge longer and chooses on which Strike to deliver it.

In an ideal world I'd still like to see the two rolls folded into one, especially to incentivize cantrip use.

My favored fix right now Keep the action economy as is, the crit fishing mechanic as well and have Spell Atack rolls made through Striking Spell use the same bonus (proficiency, ability and item) as the martial roll, no MAP. (i.e. if your weapon has a to hit of 26, that is what you roll for your spell attack to deliver it through Striking Spell)

I favor this over just giving the spell attack a bonus because the spell is being delivered through the weapon and then the accuracy is always on par with the martial attack one, hence removing the problem of the Magus having points of their life in which they are almost as good at fighting and spell attacking and then they get worse.

You'd not be hitting automatically and would have paid a price in the action economy as you'd set up your Strike.

Save spells remain as they are and spell attacks made without the striking spell mechanic remain int and spell proficiency based. MCD characters also go this route for their Striking Spell (we already have a precedent for abilities working differently on MCD characters from the Investigator).

Could balance additionaly by having that second attack suffer a -2 penalty (hence, it will always be a -2 behind, not -2, then -4, then -5, then -2 again and so on)

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After playtesting it I still really don't like the double roll, even if the second had bonuses etc, it still feels wrong to me. I feel like I'm dual-wield a sword and a spell (which is also a Magus thing) but not doing a Spell Strike with a weapon charged with a spell. To me it feels like player a Pf1 Magus that never gets spellstrike at level 2 and only has spell combat.
It has merits and uses (being able to fling a second ranged attack after the first one at no MAP after killing the ennemy with the weapon strike for example would be pretty neat) but as of now it feels too restrictive, especially with that action economy making the magus feel...heavy? I fel like a big artillerry canon that can only fire at point blank range and cannot fire if it moves (unless using haste which is not possible at low level).

So yeah, I still don't like it and wish it was reworked a bit (though the current mechanic has elements worth keeping! I repeat! Don't just drop it ! Rework it and add to it!)

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My initial feelings have only worsened with play testing. But it is in regards to both action economy and much more so accuracy.

2 rolls feels bad. Feels like your spent 3 actions to just likely fail. So I feel forced to use save spells for that half damage on success Wich feels paltry but also required just to shore up how shit it is.

Love the ability to use it with other strike actions though.

If you give a class a scaling persistent damage boost feat is going to feel mandatory (energized strikes)

And a class who revolves around a 3 action activity, haste is going to get mandatory.

And a class that has accuracy issues, true strike is going to feel mandatory.

So these either need to be removed from the equation or given easier and more prevalent access to them.

As it is right now I foresee little variation of feat choices at certain levels, regardless of synthesis.

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Initial perception: I did not like the action economy. and thought there would be problems.

After testing: The action economy is a minor problem but is still a problem. I am running through the slithering at level 5, 6 now, and I am constantly out damaged by the ranger with his animal companion and twin take down. But worst of all is the throwing multiple d20's on an attack. I have one for the initial, one for the spell, and one for evaluating strike recall knowledge roll which is the only 1 action strike we have other than the base, and rather vanilla and unfun, strike action. it would be nice if we had some 1 action attack feats that thematically play to the concept of blending martial and arcane strikes.

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Martialmasters wrote:
My initial feelings have only worsened with play testing. But it is in regards to both action economy and much more so accuracy.

Pretty much this. Action economy is BAD, but that isn't the worst part: the appalling accuracy issues are. The whole 'but just True Strike next round and play it over 2 rounds to crit fish' feels REALLY, REALLY bad to me. As/is you'd need staves, wands, potions ect in bulk to use every other round of combat to get your true strikes [and hastes] AND most likely constantly bother teammates to always buff you instead of others... [or buy EVEN MORE consumables/items for that too]

In conclusion, the most fun I had with the Magus was using Striking Spell with a Sustaining Steel magus for the extra temp HP and using Maul Strikes because I didn't want to go through the hoops of True Striking crit fishing multi-round Spell Striking. :P

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It has a major action economy issue, but now I'm really starting to feel like using actual spells with it is relatively clunky, I'd prefer a suite of tailored focus spells that are 'Striking Spells' to the Striking Spell feature we have, coupled with an oracle style focus progression.

Making it work like Eldritch Shot, e.g. the attack roll of the attack and the attack roll of the spell are the same roll, would probably be a good middle ground if the playerbase wouldn't like the focus Magus approach.

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

It has a major action economy issue, but now I'm really starting to feel like using actual spells with it is relatively clunky, I'd prefer a suite of tailored focus spells that are 'Striking Spells' to the Striking Spell feature we have, coupled with an oracle style focus progression.

Making it work like Eldritch Shot, e.g. the attack roll of the attack and the attack roll of the spell are the same roll, would probably be a good middle ground if the playerbase wouldn't like the focus Magus approach.

Magus needs a suite of 1-action spells that specifically call for a melee spell attack. It would clear up the action economy issues, while giving the "pure" spellcasters relatively nothing. These can be the Magus bread-and-butter "attacks." Some could do added damage, others apply debuffs, others can even buff, and I'm sure there's more imaginative uses, too. This spell-style could also be reason to get rid of the reduced spell slot thing that many dislike. If they're good enough, each spell level would see the Magus prepping one or even two of them. All around, this let's the Magus feel magical and do the whole "blending of swordplay and magic" while also not intruding on anyone's territory or seeing those other classes want to take Magus' bread and butter from them.

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Striking Spell is very bad, but the other parts of the class are pretty good. If you stop trying to make Striking Spell work and look at the class as a different flavor of Fighter/Wizard then it starts to feel better.

At early levels, being a normal warrior with a free +1 d12 weapon that can cast Magic Weapon to boot is hella strong. Later on you start feeling a bit below the curve, but you're still an okay warrior with some neat tricks.

Slide Casting is great... until you realize you need to use Striking Spell to make it do anything and Striking Spell sucks. Sustaining Steel at least does something for you sometimes. And if your enemy keeps moving then just walk up to them and hit them or cast a spell normally, because skipping turns trying to setup Striking Spell just isn't worth it.

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I will say that combat assessment is a nice combat trick for Magus to help ensure correct energized strikes.

The issue is the order of events required from it. Wich means you spell striking twice before selecting the correct option. Or instead. You don't use spell strike at all first round. In favor of combat assessment, to gain knowledge of a weakness and spell strike with the appropriate spell. But that feels like a sustaining steel strategy.

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I persoannly didn't have any issues about the action economy even from the 1st reading, but one of my players had.

On our own playtest session (12th level, 2 summoners+2 magi) his issues were alleviated.

Both magi did rely heavily on Haste, but i find this to be both flavorful and appropriate for magical swordsmen either way.

The real issues were the spell success rate vs level equivalent and level equivalent+ enemies, and for the shooting star magus the range being limited actually did impact his choice of attacking spells to a degree that i think was bordering "bad".

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I still think that both summoner and Magus could use some kind of font mechanic.

Summoner for summons as per mark suggested. But Magus could use something that could address an essential aspect of the class itself to help alleviate it's 4 spell Slots.

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I liked it less after playing than before playing.

Accuracy is a problem. The limitations preventing buffs from being used with Spell Combat is a problem. Critical fishing is a problem. The results of that critical fishing is a bigger problem, especially if they are going to allow NPCs to use something like this.

I'm not been keeping up with these forums so I don't know all the proposed fixes. What I can say is sliding the degree of success up one really makes it a killer in an NPCs hands since they usually have an edge in levels.

Liberty's Edge

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Initial Impression: sustaining steel seems almost useless; you should never use a spell with an attack roll over a spell with a save when using Striking Spell.

After Playtesting: sustaining steel was a lot less problematic than I thought and can work just fine; it's a different build than slide casting and feels different in play - you are a lot more about your weapon than your spells - but if that's what you are looking for, it works. In particular, I wasn't giving enough credit to the potential of a reach weapon in how it would impact the play experience.

My thoughts on attack rolls vs saves, though, haven't really changed, especially for spells cast from slots. Wasting a cantrip is moderately annoying, and a crit can sometimes redeem a miss, but it's just not worth counting on them when you only have four spell slots total. You have to make every one count.

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My opinion of Striking Spell, honestly is exactly the same as it was before. It was always my single favorite class ability in PF1, but in PF2 it doesn't work as intended.

The action economy issues are annoying, but can be worked around in a variety of ways.

The Accuracy is HORRIBLE and really encourages the Magus to not want to use it except to occasionally get the benefits of the Synthesis.

The rest of the class, honestly, is very nice. I love a lot of the flavorful feats and fascinating functions, and of course the fanciful fusions of fighting and forecasting.

But Striking Spell seemed to be the most awkward and under-preforming class feature from any class I've seen so far, and after playing with it for a bit...yeah, it is.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Initial Perception: Can make something work by buffing the heck out of myself and fishing for crit. Pretty awful when you just hit.

After playing: Well I have three play experiences with this. My initial magus was level 2 and dex based and it was wildly swingy. I’d hit for like 5-7 damage or crit for 25, because my weapon did no damage. I respecced into strength based and still feels wildly dainty, but hey at least my weapon does damage so if the spell was saved against (and it’s been crit saved against twice in the last two combats) I’d still do decent damage. Of course I can’t actually crit fish at low levels due to not having the slots.

At level 20, a player buffing themselves up and getting inspire heroics put on them really highlighted the problems. With whirlwind spell (+weird) against lower level enemies, she just slaughtered all of them with 3 actions. Against higher level enemies... striking spell mostly did nothing and the damage came mostly from the weapon.

I will say that magus is uniquely situated to be good against oozes.. immunity to critical hits only prevents the double damage, not other critical effects, so you can crit with your save spells and other stuff to your heart’s content for bonus effects.

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Initial perception: Seems fine. Probably it might have hard time on bosses if the magus decides to go with on hit spells.

After playing: Against lvl = -2/-1/0 is ridiculously strong. Being able to improve by one degree the spell result on a crit means soo many damage that's might be insulting to other classes. Even more than I thouht it'd be.

Against bosses I think it should not rely on "on hit" spells.
Hero points here could be the real deal ( 4 spells per day and 1 hero point per hour is enough ) to allow the magus to deal with on hit spells.

Since hero points are part of the game, I think it's not accurate to state that a class should not be also relying in them. Especially when it comes to a class with 4 spells per day. You are not required to, but you might decide to do so.

Now I am totally fine with it.
The only thing I'd work on would be giving shooting stars and slide casting as "fighting Style" ( the magus will choose if to fight melee or ranged ), while Sustaining steel and new stuff as Synthesis ( how to enhance its gameplay ).

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Initial Perception: After my first read of how striking spell works I thought it was a purely crit fishing damage mechanic that only "worked" on a slide casting magus that was hasted and using a divination staff. I was entirely focused on looking at the entire feature as a 1 turn routine that was impossible to pull off with regularity, especially with the magi's dependence on flanking to give the spell a chance of connecting.

After playing: at least in the playtest, the magus probably has too many options for increasing its damage as a pure martial character for it to have a solid class identity. What I mean by that is that energize strikes, magus potency and runic impression and are all competing for actions that can easily make a big impact on a magus' weapon damage output at different times in the magus career. Even more challenging, there are many times where you really could benefit from having all three going at once, but that wouldn't be happening effectively until the 3rd round of combat. This has a direct impact on the striking spell feature because, and especially with a 2 handed weapon, they are going to exceed what you are able to do with striking spell outside of the few times a day that you are attacking with your highest level spell slots. At the point that you spend so many rounds buffing, you just don't want to spend any more rounds casting and you are better off attacking as much as possible, or occasionally spending an action to help increase your survivability. (i.e the Graystone sustaining message gambit).

That tension between striking spell and magically supercharged martial basher is going to make it really difficult for players to figure out what they are supposed to be doing in combat or how to get the most out of their feats.

Now personally, I really like the martial basher, for whom striking spell is a once ever second or third round option for punishing an enemy that ignores you in combat. You don't really need to be doing your striking spell everyround as sustaining steel magi, but if the enemy tries to "beat" you by moving around a lot, then you use striking spell to juice yourself up, instead of trying to chase them around the battlefield, and then deliver unto them all of the pain of your truestrike power attack, runed up shifted divination staff, made into the most punishing weapon necessary for the situation at hand. You do this once and enemies are very likely to try to stay on you like glue, and then swinging away as often as possible, using something like message to have a one action synthesis trigger is largely like casting shield , only you can keep doing it after it gets destroyed the first time.

But that is a rather complicated tactical build to be a baseline expectation for the class. Which leaves a lot of players looking at slide magus as manditory, so that you can fit the cast/move/strike into one round, and the magus is only accurate enough for that to be satisfying against lower level or equal level foes.

However, Most players of caster have very similar complaints about higher level enemies and level +2 or +3 enemies TPK players most frequently when players don't change their tactics away from "rush and swing." Maybe part of the problem is that other casters can figure this out and have back up plans that can be very successful against higher level opposition, but that is often only possible because they have enough spell slots to be able to spread out their resources. Fear and slow have become iconically useful lower level spells that are very good against higher level opposition, because you get a good enough effect on a successful save to make it worth the action. The magus is in double trouble against higher level foes because they are missing lower level slots, their general spell accuracy is even worse than other casters, and having to rely on weapon accuracy to get much effect out of a spell that would otherwise have a save effect makes it impossible to feel worth casting your higher level spell slots on.

I have found that this is exactly where the striking scroll level 1 fear/goblin pox option is wonderful, because you don't really feel like you are wasting any valuable resource, and because they are spells that have good successful save effects, but also great critical failure effects, with just mildly better failure effects. I definitely want to see more spells like that spread throughout the spell levels if the the striking mechanic remains similar to its playtest incarnation.

I also share concerns about the range issues on the shooting star magus and how it just feels entirely superseded by the eldritch archer because saving throw spells are typically very short range. And there are a lot of minor tweaks I want to see, including boosting spell casting accuracy in some fashion on the striking spell mechanic, but overall I think that the current version is closer to what people want than a lot of them realize, because of the accuracy issues against higher level enemies being a problem with spell casting generally, and perhaps something that needs a different option than striking spell to be the magi's solution to that problem, and a real lack of spells at many levels that can be useful against many different kinds of foes.

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Initial Perception: Not a great use of your actions and not much better than not using it.

After: Message + Strike Sustaining Steel is a decent reason to do it. It's good against low-level combatants and when your teammates are helping you with debuffs and flanking. The two rolls on Spell Attack Rolls is abysmal and I don't like that players feel encouraged to attempt it when it's almost always a bad idea. The best turn my Magus had was to just use Electric Arc and getting a critical failure and a failure with a regular strike. As a "nice when it lines up" ability, it's great, but it's written to seem like more than that to me.

Initial Thought- Ugh the accuracy is going to hurt and the Action Economy is going to feel clunky.

Playtest thoughts- Accuracy is meh as long as you have Flanking if not then yea it hurts alot, though the Crit Rider helped in 1 instance turning a hit into a crit on a Produce Flame. Action Economy is still Clunky and it really isnt a benefit cost wise, just now my spell has more points of failure.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Initial Thought: "Why are they trying to recreate PF1 spell strike in PF2 when the whole paradigm for casting has changed between editions?"
After playtesting: "Still don't like it, but I can see some ways it can work. Would prefer it as an option rather than the baseline ability (one of several spellstrike variations that emphasized different mechanical aspects would work).

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Initial thoughts: I thought it looked great. I was a little concerned with the double attack roll and the accuracy issues, but didn't think it would be that big a deal. My biggest issue was the lack of spells.

Now: Playing level 3, Even with a 1 handed magus the action economy was terrible. So often I would use striking spell on one turn, miss, and then just use my action to cast a spell without striking the next round. Also, the accuracy was MUCH worse than I feared. Having to make two consecutive attack rolls with the second one at a substantially lower bonus that also blew resources was just.... bad.

At this point I am firmly convinced that either the strike needs to be included in the 2 action cast, or that the spell attack roll/save needs to just be eliminated entirely.

Oddly, the lack of spells, which I thought would be my main issue never really came up.

Something needs to happen to clear up both the action economy AND the accuracy issues.

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