Gouging Claw and Spellstrike with a reach or ranged weapon


Rules Discussion


I played some PFS yesterday for the first time with a very friendly group and a great and fun GM. My character is an inexorable Iron Magus with a Halberd and i rolled horribly that session, not landing a single spellstrike, but at least landing some normal blows.

In the last fight of the scenario i wanted to use Spellstrike with the Gouging Claw cantrip. The GM stopped me and told me he cant imagine Gouging Claw with the Halberd at 10 feet because the spell specifically mentions transforming your Arm into a claw and striking with it. I did argue that Gouging Claw is specifically mentioned in SoM as a cantrip you can spellstrike with, but that wasn't his problem with it. He argued that while you can definately spellstrike with it, he would say you can only do so when the enemy is in reach of your unarmed strikes, since the spell specifically mentions transforming your hand. I and another player argued for the weapon transforming into the claw, or the claw appearing as a spectral thing, but he said the spell is too specifically described as transforming a limb.

Now i dont want to discredit the GM or anything, he was great and pretty lenient otherwhise.

But i'd like some extra input on your thoughts on using gouging claw with a halberd at 10 feet range, or even with a ranged weapon. How would you handle it?

Personally, im mostly a GM, PFS was my first time as a pf2e player, but when i master, i generally handle spell descriptions as flavour and allow the players to flavour it as they like as long as the mechanic stays the same.

Just trying to get a feel of if this cantrip could become a rules discussion if further PFS games, because then id switch it out for telekinetic projectile, since its only mildly worse.

Sczarni

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What spells could work with Spellstrike, then?

Surely not produce flame, because you "make a melee attack against a creature in your unarmed reach".

Surely not shocking grasp, because you "shroud your hands in a crackling field of lightning".

Surely not... Oh, wait. What's this:

Reach: The coupled spell affects the target using the reach of the weapon or unarmed attack you make your Spellstrike with. For instance, shocking grasp would affect a creature beyond the reach of your hand if you used a weapon with reach

I would show them this quote if you end up playing under them again, and just chalk up this interaction to the Magus still being a new class and people being unfamiliar with their mechanics.

Silver Crusade

Nefreet is totally correct and the GM was flat out wrong. His interpretation would make spellstrike all but useless for reach and ranged weapons


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The difference between Gouging Claw and something like Produce Flame is that Gouging Claw has the morph trait and a specific description that it morphs your limb to deliver the strike.

It's a fair interpretation that the non-morph spells can be transferred through weapon, but something that specifically morphs your arm to deliver can't.


Nefreet wrote:

What spells could work with Spellstrike, then?

Surely not produce flame, because you "make a melee attack against a creature in your unarmed reach".

Surely not shocking grasp, because you "shroud your hands in a crackling field of lightning".

You make a very good point i wish i thought of. Other spells also specifically mention body parts but arent questioned if they work.

Thank you as well Asethe. I expected a lot of people agreeing with me here, but i kinda also wanna see the GMs side and also gauge if i might run into that ruling again with gouging claw. The morph trait is something that these other spells dont have.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Asethe wrote:


It's a fair interpretation that the non-morph spells can be transferred through weapon, but something that specifically morphs your arm to deliver can't.

I don't really agree it's a fair interpretation. There's nothing within the rules hinting at that and, as mentioned above, Gouging Claw is specifically called out as a spell you can channel through your weapon with spellstrike.

There's no logic in saying it's perfectly fine to channel gouging claw into a sword but not into a halberd.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Asethe wrote:


It's a fair interpretation that the non-morph spells can be transferred through weapon, but something that specifically morphs your arm to deliver can't.

I don't really agree it's a fair interpretation. There's nothing within the rules hinting at that and, as mentioned above, Gouging Claw is specifically called out as a spell you can channel through your weapon with spellstrike.

There's no logic in saying it's perfectly fine to channel gouging claw into a sword but not into a halberd.

Agreed, the rules are really clear on it. It even uses shocking grasp as an example. I think your GM is looking at the fluff too much, not the actual rules!


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I don't think even the fluff helps here, because the fluff says you channel your spell through your sword.

And, again, I don't really see a logic behind saying you can turn your Sword or Club into a gouging claw but not a halberd or whip.


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Asethe wrote:

The difference between Gouging Claw and something like Produce Flame is that Gouging Claw has the morph trait and a specific description that it morphs your limb to deliver the strike.

It's a fair interpretation that the non-morph spells can be transferred through weapon, but something that specifically morphs your arm to deliver can't.

Well, morph has no restrictions or interaction with range at all.

And spellstrike specifically increases (or decreases) the range of the spell.

So a starlit span casts spellstrike with gouging claw. So by raw, Morph trait activates and turns your hand into a claw, and then reaches out 60 feet and claws your enemy. You're welcome for that mental image.


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Sagiam wrote:
Asethe wrote:

The difference between Gouging Claw and something like Produce Flame is that Gouging Claw has the morph trait and a specific description that it morphs your limb to deliver the strike.

It's a fair interpretation that the non-morph spells can be transferred through weapon, but something that specifically morphs your arm to deliver can't.

Well, morph has no restrictions or interaction with range at all.

And spellstrike specifically increases (or decreases) the range of the spell.

So a starlit span casts spellstrike with gouging claw. So by raw, Morph trait activates and turns your hand into a claw, and then reaches out 60 feet and claws your enemy. You're welcome for that mental image.

Or, since you're casting the spell through your weapon since we're talking about Spellstrike, you shoot an arrow at the baddy and the arrow transforms in an eagle talon right as it strikes said baddy.


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I think it was more this, from the Morph trait description, that denied the Spellstrike:

Morph wrote:

Effects that slightly alter a creature's form have the morph trait. Any Strikes specifically granted by a morph effect are magical. You can be affected by multiple morph spells at once, but if you morph the same body part more than once, the second morph effect attempts to counteract the first (in the same manner as two polymorph effects, described in that trait).

Your morph effects might also end if you are polymorphed and the polymorph effect invalidates or overrides your morph effect. The GM determines which morph effects can be used together and which can't.

The reason I said the ruling was reasonable is that the Morph trait is something that uniquely affects the caster's body.

So, the Magus could choose to Spellstrike with an Unarmed attack, get their fist damage plus spell damage, but couldn't transfer it through a weapon, whether that be bow, sword, halberd, whip, fluffy feather duster on the end of a fishing pole, or whatever as a Morph spell couldn't change these things.

It's an odd interaction between trait and ability, but I imagine that this won't be the last time people run into it.


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The only incompatibility that I see isn't regarding the range of the spell. That is clearly overridden by Spellstrike.

My problem is with spells that say that they allow the caster to make a Strike. I see some people arguing that this means that they make the strike from spellstrike, the additional damage from the spell, and another strike because that is an additional effect from the spell.

No, the spell says that you make a strike because that is what allows you to roll a spell attack roll. You don't get another strike from the spell in addition to the spellstrike. One spellstrike: one strike, one spell damage.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Asethe wrote:
The reason I said the ruling was reasonable is that the Morph trait is something that uniquely affects the caster's body.

I don't think it was a reasonable ruling, as spellstrike specifically states that the range of the spell matches your spellstrike.

Maybe if you don't like it in a homegame and want to mess with it (although probably shouldn't) but in a PFS game you play the rules as written, you don't change stuff on the fly.

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