Pathfinder RPG How does the magus perform at high levels? - Page 2





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  1. #11
    Well, Bladed Dash is in Inner Sea Magic.

    The Magus has great versatility. The Extra Arcane Feat once or twice can give you a good pool. The trick is simple resource management.

    A Magus can dominate an encounter or two, but can burn through Arcane and spells pretty fast.

    I use a Battleaxe and focus on the casting, melee aspect at the same time. Arcane Shield is my bestest friend, but it burns through my pool something fierce.

 

  • #12
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    You speak of limited spells and arcana and then...say you use the terribad Arcane Shield feat. WTF?

    Math Time!

    Ring of Protection +5 gives you +5 deflection to AC, all day long.

    Arcane Shield will cost an immediate action and last one round, and give you a deflect bonus equal to the spell you sacrifice. Magus only GETS up to level 6 spell slots. YEAH....

    Also, you should switch to a 18-20/x2 weapon, not a great axe. Spellstrike gives you the threat range, not the crit multiplier, of the weapon, so you're shooting yourself in the foot big time there.
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  • #13
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    Found a pretty nice magus guide over on the Paizo messageboard that helped point out a few things.

    At this point I am leaning towards a strength-based magus and playing with various options.

    It does appear that resource management will be key. Even at mid to high levels, it seems like I'd be able to put out a couple of rounds of extreme damage, but outside of that much less.

    It could be interesting to have to think of *when* to deal damage and *to whom* to this degree. In past games my characters' damage has been generally static, so I haven't had to consider where to drop the burst.
    signed Jere, Lord of Pendragon

    "Raven dark but beautiful, in a malevolent sort of way;
    With eyes that speak of wonders on the other side of Day.
    She dances in the shadows where others fear to tread;
    But though her touch may kill you, it's her love that you should dread."

  • #14
    I started at 9th level with my character, as he was a replacement for an old character that I retired. As you stated, I went with Str/Int as highest, then Con. My dump stat was Wisdom - obviously not a min-maxed choice, since it drops your Will save, but it made sense for my character to be impulsive and relatively weak-willed. Half-orc is obviously not an optimal choice for any caster; human or dwarf would probably be better for a Strength-based magus.

    My build was...

    Feat1 - Combat Casting
    Feat3 - Power Attack
    Feat5 - Furious Focus
    Magus5 Bonus Feat - Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword)
    Feat7 - Intensified Spell
    Feat9 - Extra Arcane Pool
    Magus11 Bonus Feat - Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword)
    Feat11 - Extra Arcana (Empowered Magic)

    Magus Arcana went...
    3 - Pool Strike - This is usually regarded as a very sub-optimal pick. It always sucks in comparison to Shocking Grasp damage-wise... unless you're fighting lots of things that have elemental resistances and you have enough Knowledge skills in the party to figure out what works and what doesn't. I faced a lot of cold and electricity immune things, and the ability to choose a different element, even at a lower damage output, was helpful several times. Cold and electricity have the best touch attack spells for a magus, in my opinion, but this is a decent choice if you need extra damage against something immune to both.
    6 - Spell Blending (Elemental Speech and Resist Energy). Elemental Speech was a flavor pick - I was playing my character as an elementalist. Having Resist Energy on my spell list saved my character's bacon several times. There are much more powergamey things you can do with Spell Blending - it's a very powerful arcana.
    9 - Accurate Strike - Highly recommended for a Strength-based magus. High-level monsters usually have terrible touch ACs, so this is more or less an automatic hit with every attack on a full attack. Power Attack + Empowered Intensified Shocking Grasp + touch attack killed a pretty major boss in one full attack at one point; it can be brutal.
    11 - Empowered Magic - It was nice to be able to do this on the fly, but limited to once per day. That sucked. It might have been more efficient to take the normal feat. A 4th level slot for an Intensified Empowered Shocking Grasp for 10d6x1.5 would have still been worth it.
    12 - Arcing Pool Strike - This was just a flat waste. I regretted taking it. Thought it would be more useful.

    Equipment-wise, I used a +2 spell storing bastard sword. I typically kept a vampiric touch in there, and triggered it if I needed hit points. My character was something of a glass cannon, so being able to grab some HP and do damage at the same time worked out well. Armor was the most enchanted mithral breastplate I could pick up.

    I liked the bastard sword because I was almost always Enlarged, so the jump from 1d10 to 2d8 (5.5 to 9 avg) was nicer than the jump from 1d8 to 2d6 (4.5 to 7 avg). EWP/Weapon Focus was a slight loss in damage potential from WF/WS would have been, but since you can't take WS until 11th level, it didn't seem worth it to me. There are better options at that power level, I think. Improved Crit didn't make sense to me because I almost always had a keen weapon from my arcane pool.

    Here's my character sheet at 11th level; that's the highest-level version I have on hand.
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    Thank you Steel, that's an extremely helpful post. I'm definitely loving the complexity of the magus. I'm just barely starting to work out the basics I may go with, and haven't even started delving into metamagic rods and other magic items that might be ideal for a magus.

    The DM has indicated that the game is likely to be either "high magic" or "over the top magic" (....... ) so there's likely to be a lot of opportunity to gear up.

    I'm thinking from what you were saying about glass cannons and the lack of a shield, that I may finally have a character who tries out one of those force shield items.
    signed Jere, Lord of Pendragon

    "Raven dark but beautiful, in a malevolent sort of way;
    With eyes that speak of wonders on the other side of Day.
    She dances in the shadows where others fear to tread;
    But though her touch may kill you, it's her love that you should dread."

  • #16
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    So I've been thinking more about Combat Casting, and I'm wondering if it's a feat I can do without.

    At low levels, it'd mean casting defensively would fail over 50% of the time, which is why I wanted to pick it up early to begin with. But then it occurred to me that at low levels, I'm not going to have the spells to spellstrike every round anyway (or even the ability until level 2).

    Given that, and the fact that I can cast my spell before or after taking my full attacks, I can just take a 5' step away from the mob to cast a spell after I've attacked, and be out of range of most foe's AoOs, and not have to cast defensively in the first place.

    Now doing this shuffle means I can only spellstrike every other round, but again it'll be a while before I have the spell slots for back-to-back-to-back spellstrikes anyway. At that point perhaps Combat Casting will look better.

    What have folks experiences been regarding casting defensively as a magus? Is it something you've had to do often? Did you have Combat Casting? If not, did you wish you'd had it?

    At high levels I can definitely see situations where you'd want to burn a boss or special target as quickly as possible, and spellstrike every round until the critter is dead. By then though, hopefully I'd have a +4 or +6 int item, and possibly another +2 class bonus to Concentration. And the ability to dump attack bonus into concentration if need be...
    signed Jere, Lord of Pendragon

    "Raven dark but beautiful, in a malevolent sort of way;
    With eyes that speak of wonders on the other side of Day.
    She dances in the shadows where others fear to tread;
    But though her touch may kill you, it's her love that you should dread."

  • #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Pendragon View Post
    I'm thinking from what you were saying about glass cannons and the lack of a shield, that I may finally have a character who tries out one of those force shield items.
    The shield spell is likely a better choice, in my opinion. You can cast it pretty easily even in the middle of combat. I played a swashbuckler with one of those rings once, and the inability to upgrade it over time hurts. If you can convince your DM to allow you to upgrade the thing it'd be worthwhile, though. You did say it was a high-magic game.
    http://steeldraco.wordpress.com: Pathfinder and Savage Worlds blog

  • #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Pendragon View Post
    What have folks experiences been regarding casting defensively as a magus? Is it something you've had to do often? Did you have Combat Casting? If not, did you wish you'd had it?
    I had it, and I barely ever failed to cast defensively... I think I had a +23 concentration roll by the end of the game, and the highest DC I ever had to make was DC 23 to cast a 4th-level spell. I failed only on a natural 1. You can shuffle in and out of combat for a little while, until you start facing lots of foes that have reach - how soon that happens depends on your GM, but you can be confident that it will happen.

    Personally, I would take it with a Strength-based magus, and probably pass on it for a feat-heavy and more mobile build like the Dervish Dance/Crane Wing Style build that StreamOfTheSky is endorsing. For what I played, the only really important feats were Power Attack, Combat Casting, and Intensified Spell. Furious Focus and EWP could have been swapped out without affecting the character much. Playing a half-elf (Ancestral Arms) or a tengu would get you the Exotic Weapon Proficiency for free, if you decide you want to go that way.
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  • #19
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    Ignore StreamOfTheSky
    A Magus, just like a wizard, can use a +5 mithral buckler w/o ANY drawback.

    Monk's the only poor sap that can't use a shield.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelDraco View Post
    Personally, I would take it with a Strength-based magus, and probably pass on it for a feat-heavy and more mobile build like the Dervish Dance/Crane Wing Style build that StreamOfTheSky is endorsing. For what I played, the only really important feats were Power Attack, Combat Casting, and Intensified Spell.
    There's nothing about Crane Wing that lends itself to str magus or dex magus only. In fact, since str magus isn't spending 2 feats on finesse and dervish dance, he's better poised to spend those 4 feats for crane wing.

    Sadly, Paizo hates the idea of the genius bruiser trope, I don't think there's any str/int boosting races, unless you look to 3rd party. Not many races that boost str + something else at all, really... I think even after advanced race guide, the only options are str/wis and str/cha.

    As for feats, that list sounds good, though I'd drop Combat Casting for the trait that gives +2 on all concentration checks, and add Improved Familiar and Lunge. Magus has a lot of hp, skills, and BAB to share with a familiar, that arcana's a great deal for them. And Lunge can be really pivotal to hit someone you otherwise could not have gotten to w/ your full attack, or to simply use to avoid needing to cast defensively in the first place.

    Str Magus's list of "core build feats" is probably Power Attack, Intensified Spell, Improved Familiar, and Lunge. And NEVER use power attack on a round you're using spell strike, only rounds where you're using spell combat for a non-offensive spell, like Blur, or when you're not using spell combat / spellstrike at all.

    (Arcana for keen makes Imp. Crit pointless, otherwise it'd be on the list, too)
    Last edited by StreamOfTheSky; Sunday, 12th August, 2012 at 02:37 PM.
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  • #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreamOfTheSky View Post
    A Magus, just like a wizard, can use a +5 mithral buckler w/o ANY drawback.
    If I'm reading it correctly, the magus, like a wizard, would lose the shield bonus on any round in which they cast a spell. Which for a magus is quite often. I'm thinking the Shield spell is definitely my best bet. At low levels that's not an issue at all, I can cast it as I engage. At higher levels I may want to spend that engagement spot casting something else, so the opportunity cost will rise.

    There's nothing about Crane Wing that lends itself to str magus or dex magus only. In fact, since str magus isn't spending 2 feats on finesse and dervish dance, he's better poised to spend those 4 feats for crane wing.
    While Crane Wing is awesome, 4 feats is wildly expensive. I've statted out a proto-build up to level 10, and certainly didn't have 4 free slots.

    Then again, I could still easily pick it up in the back 10. Might have to wait until I hit 11 and see how much of the incoming melee damage my guy is expected to handle for the group, my hp, etc.

    Sadly, Paizo hates the idea of the genius bruiser trope, I don't think there's any str/int boosting races, unless you look to 3rd party. Not many races that boost str + something else at all, really... I think even after advanced race guide, the only options are str/wis and str/cha.
    Heh, I totally looked and yeah, couldn't find one that was str/int. So many repeats of dex/something too. My proto-build is human. I liked the extra feat early on. I also originally thought the extra skill point would be helpful, but now that I understand how skills work in Pathfinder, might see about swapping the bonus skill point out if that's an option.

    Edit to add: Just noticed that you can swap out your bonus feat and skill point to get an extra +2 to a chosen stat as an alternative racial attribute for humans. Woot!

    As for feats, that list sounds good, though I'd drop Combat Casting for the trait that gives +2 on all concentration checks, and add Improved Familiar and Lunge. Magus has a lot of hp, skills, and BAB to share with a familiar, that arcana's a great deal for them. And Lunge can be really pivotal to hit someone you otherwise could not have gotten to w/ your full attack, or to simply use to avoid needing to cast defensively in the first place.
    My proto-build has Lunge, Power Attack, and Intensified Spell, so it looks like I'm getting my bases covered, which is great.

    And NEVER use power attack on a round you're using spell strike, only rounds where you're using spell combat for a non-offensive spell, like Blur, or when you're not using spell combat / spellstrike at all.
    Why do you say that? My thinking had been to combo spell combat with spellstrike, Power Attack, and Arcane Accuracy. That'd give the extra melee attack from spellstrike the damage bonus from Power Attack and the attack bonus from Arcane Accuracy to offset it...?
    Last edited by Lord Pendragon; Sunday, 12th August, 2012 at 08:07 PM.
    signed Jere, Lord of Pendragon

    "Raven dark but beautiful, in a malevolent sort of way;
    With eyes that speak of wonders on the other side of Day.
    She dances in the shadows where others fear to tread;
    But though her touch may kill you, it's her love that you should dread."

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