I always wanted to play a puppetmaster magus in 1e and never got a chance. Also, the party needs a Face.
How would you make one in 2e? I’m looking at laughing shadow magus chassis, expansive spellstrike, and all-in on Captivator feats and starting with 16 charisma on an elf (+dex, int, cha).
Witch dedication is probably more efficient to get access to Occult spells, but the captivator feats more closely align with the 1e archetype (and the fast-tracked expert casting track is cool).
Build starts at 10 for a module and ends at 13/14:
Abilities: 12 str, 20 dex, 14 con, 18 int, 10 wis, 18 cha
2: Expansive Spellstrike
4: Captivator Dedication
6: Captivating Intensity
8: Heightened Captivation for Heroism
10: Expert Captivatot casting (Gurts losing the 10 laughing shadow feat)
12: Dimensional Disappearance
14: Effortless Captivation (sustain hideous laughter as a free action)
0: Daze, Infections Enthusiasm
1: Lose the Path
2: Hideous Laughter (remove AOOs even on success so I can spells strike!)
3: Heroism (Heightened when I access level 6 spells at 12)
4: Confusion (I wanna just spellstrike to confuse someone)
I don’t know if there’s any code to crack other than “just admit your magus will always be sub-optimized if you want to also use charisma."
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Charisma's not an impossible stat for a Magus; it improves one's innate spells, and IMO that's a good way to expand one's arsenal. But raising both Int & Cha would likely get you killed unless you switched to Starlit Span to stay out of melee, especially as an Elf w/ modest Con. Then one could also ignore Str (which you kind of need for damage on rounds where you can't get off a Spellstrike). It's a pity, since Laughing Shadow seems thematically more on point. (Also I dislike it!)
Personally, I'd go with a Bard MCD.
Also if there were another PC playing a face, I'd go with MCD Witch (if insistent on getting Occult) and push Int.
Heightened Captivation for Heroism wastes a feat, since it won't matter until you're 14th level and get 6th level spells from the archetype (not class). And then only once a day until you get 8th level spells!
Don't go 16 Cha to begin at 1st if starting at 10th and ending before 15th. Just 14, take it to 18.
Dex: 18 => 20
Int: 14 => 18
Cha: 14 => 18
This uses 14 out of 17 stat bumps, which IMO is inadequate for your other needs. Str 10, Con 16, Wis 10??? Would kind of need that to survive melee w/ a d8/med. armor class, yet I don't think the array pays off. Hence the recommendation for Starlit Span (especially if you want to Confuse an enemy w/ Spellstrike! Don't want them next to you, or an ally for that matter.)
So yeah... "just admit your magus will always be sub-optimized if you want to also use charisma AND intelligence"
Whoops, I started with 14 cha!
Level 10 ability scores will be just like you said: 12 str, 20 dex, 14 con, 18 int, 10 wis, 18 cha. Was hoping Toughness could make up for some squishiness (and it's a melee-heavy party).
Good catch on Heightened Captivation, thanks. That opens up another feat.
It's also bummer elves don't have any cool 1-h weapons. The branch spear and curve blade are 2-handed… also not great for Laughing Shadow. Probably better ancestries to choose from but I get the sense the GM for this game prefers the CRB's classic ancestries.
I've never built a 2e magus before so I appreciate the advice.
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Also feel obliged to add that using ranged spells that have saves w/ a melee Spellstrike (especially for this Magus whose weapon does mediocre damage) kind of undercuts the spells. Spellstrike gives the spell an extra failure chance and takes away range (which isn't just important w/ Confusion, but for one's safety).