Alright first time Pathfinder player and first time poster here so bear with me.
I'm about to get into my first Pathfinder campaign, I want to play a Magus because Spell Combat sounds cool, I cast a spell I have prepared and make a weapon attack at the same time, cool.
The problem starts when another player insists that's not how the feature works, based on how two things are worded on the feature's description:
"At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast...."
"...As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action..."
To the other player this means:
Your spell-casting hand is considered a weapon and thus suffers the -2 penalty, but since only a few spells even make attack rolls where said penalty applies, you can ONLY use spell combat to cast said spells.
As an example, he says you wouldn;t be able to cast Shield using Spell Combat, because Shield is not an attack, you can't cast Fireball because it targets and area and doesn't roll attack.
To me that just sounds... dumb, only touch spells make attack rolls right? And casting touch spells and attacking is already covered by Spellstrike.
Can someone please explain how the feature works? And if it works the way I think it does how do I explain to my fellow player that he's wrong lol.
The part about two-weapon fighting is just for to make it easier to understand, it has absolutely no rule affect. The ability says it "functions much like" TWF. That term does not mean "works as" or "uses the rules of". Spell Combat doesn't use any part of the TWF rules, and it doesn't impose any restriction on what the spell cast has to be, save that it must come from the Magus spell list.
To the other player this means:
Your spell-casting hand is considered a weapon and thus suffers the -2 penalty
The ability specifies "his melee weapon". The writer of the class feature went out of his way to say "attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty" instead of just saying the Magus takes a -2 to attack rolls.
but since only a few spells even make attack rolls where said penalty applies, you can ONLY use spell combat to cast said spells.
This is just pure nonsense. If Spell Combat would only let you cast spells with an attack roll, it would say so.
There is an FAQ on what spell can be used with Spell Combat, and it doesn't mention attack rolls at all. The only limitation is this: "The spell you cast when using spell combat has to be a magus spell you know, and it must be a magus spell prepared with one of your magus spell slots."
it's pretty simple.
Spell combat: you can cast a spell and make all your regular attacks in the same round. all your attacks are at -2 (use this for Haste, fireball, stoneskin, etc)
Spell Strike adds to this: If that spell is a touch spell, you can make an attritional attack with your weapon and deliver the spell through the weapon. (again at -2) (use this for vampiric touch, shocking grasp, etc)