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Pathfinder 1E Let's talk Magus!

Lord Pendragon

First Post
So in our group's current campaign, a modified Eberron, I'm playing a non-archtyped magus who just hit 4th-level. I have to admit the road up to this point has been harsh, with me mostly taking a backseat to the group's large-sized reach-focused strength-built monk. He hits anything that moves within 20 feet of him...hard.

(Part of this was my own fault, since I refused to use Arcane Mark to activate Spell Combat. I do plan to research my own non-cheesy cantrip next level to have access to Spell Combat even when I don't want to expend a Shocking Grasp. Wish I'd done it at 1st-level.)

Now that we have hit 4th-level, I expect things to start getting better. Now that I have Spell Recall I'll be able to use my arcane pool to recall shocking grasps, allowing me to start employing Spell Combat more often. Also, Mirror Image should be a big boost in my PC's defenses.

Looking ahead, things seem very positive. Next level I'll be able to keen my weapon when I enhance it, so the crits will start rolling in, and down the road he's set to pick up a lot of Shocking Grasp focused metamagic and abilities, as well as feats boosting crits and useful outliers such as Lunge.

I have a feeling he'll be spending a lot of time under the effects of Monstrous Physique once he gains access to it, since except for a slightly weaker fly speed at level 1 you get a lot more out of it than Fly including a bonus to strength, flight, darkvision, and natural attacks. Although I can't use the natural attacks while making use of Spell Combat, there's also the option of foregoing Spell Combat versus electricity-immune foes and instead using Frostbite in conjunction with those natural attacks.

Against a foe that's both immune to electricity as well as nonlethal damage, there's always the Flame Blade from a scroll using UMD. :)

At high-levels, I'm looking forward to adding Quickened Shocking Grasps to my nova routine, as well as another Shocking Grasp through my weapon via Spell Storing. Even though a spell-stored Shocking Grasp won't benefit from my weapon's increased crit range, an extra 15d6 is nothing to sneeze at!

On top of all this, from level 7 on I will be able to add a lot of utility spells to my spellbook via Knowledge Pool. And I'm considering picking up Spell Blending as my level 12 magus arcana (the magus arcana in general are one of the weaker points of the class imo, but I'm trying to cherry pick as best I can). It's just a matter of whether there's a 4th-level or lower wizard spell that I really, really want.

So. How are the other magi out there doing? What have your experiences been in mid- to high-level play? What are your favorite magus tricks? What are the worst magus pitfalls you've encountered?

Let's talk magus! :)
 
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Lord Pendragon

First Post
Ah, well. Guess ENWorld isn't very active when it comes to Pathfinder. Wonder what all the ENWorlders are playing these days. 4e probably.... *shudder*
 


Lord Pendragon

First Post
Sorry, I've no experience with the Magus. I don't even know what Spell Combat is! But I've heard the class is pretty OP.

Our group is currently level 4, and so far I definitely haven't found it to be so. If anyone in the group could be said to be overpowered it'd be the large-sized monk, who's been built to combine reach and combat reflexes to devastating effect. Not that I think he's actually OP, but at our current level he's definitely our strongest offense.

That said I do think it's likely I'll begin to surpass him soon. I picked up Spell Recall at 4th-level and 3 pearls of power this last session, so I'm going to be able to start tossing out Shocking Grasps with more frequency. As we level those Shocking Grasps just get stronger and stronger. I'll also start putting keen on my weapon next level, so "hello, 15-20 threat range!" :)
 




Lord Pendragon

First Post
Yikes, that'll do it. Large size at level 1 is rough.

Indeed. And since he's a monk, his large size also knocked up his unarmed attack damage dice, which of course increase with class levels as well.

Combine that with my refusal to use Arcane Mark to activate Spell Combat, and we're talking about a solid 3 levels in his shadow. :p

That said, as I mentioned, I definitely feel myself starting to catch up to him. :)
 

tylermalan

First Post
Arcane Mark is the spell that just marks an object with your sign, right? And I'm guessing Spell Combat activates every time you cast a spell? So you're trying to activate it with Shocking Grasp, which is a tougher spell to get off.

What does Spell Combat do?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Ah, well. Guess ENWorld isn't very active when it comes to Pathfinder. Wonder what all the ENWorlders are playing these days. 4e probably.... *shudder*
It's a little quiet when it comes to specific play examples or theorycrafting for Pathfinder. Not sure why, I just think that audience has gone elsewhere. And I'll be sure to use an encounter power in your honor in my next 4e session. :)

I haven't seen the Magus in play personally, but IME, melee owns in low level Pathfinder. I have a 3rd level aasimar paladin who is absolutely wrecking things, and I only have 10 ft reach. At higher levels, though, your spell versatility is going to own the monk, a class that scales very badly, and really is only surpassing you to due to the low level size shenanigans.
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
It's a little quiet when it comes to specific play examples or theorycrafting for Pathfinder. Not sure why, I just think that audience has gone elsewhere. And I'll be sure to use an encounter power in your honor in my next 4e session. :)
hehe, appreciate it! :) I don't look down on folks who enjoy 4e. There's no wrong way to enjoy Roleplaying games. I just couldn't get into it myself. ;)

So, looking at magus armor options, originally I'd planned on going with a mithril chain shirt, but doing the numbers it looks like a mithril breastplate is actually the best option for a magus, aside from the ubiquitous +3 celestial armor of course. Luckily our alchemist has taken Craft Arms and Armor, so once I save up a bit of cash I should be able to trade in my +1 Studded Leather for a +1 or 2 Mithril Breastplate.
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
It's hard to compete with a Large brute designed around reach weapons - it's one of (if not the) most broken builds in 3.x history. You can't compete; just enjoy being you. :)
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
It's hard to compete with a Large brute designed around reach weapons - it's one of (if not the) most broken builds in 3.x history. You can't compete; just enjoy being you. :)

Well that was part of my problem. I hadn't really gotten my toys yet. No Spell Combat, no spellstrike...

Now that we're level 4, that's starting to change. Got to use both last combat, had my first taste of magus nova.

It was delicious. :devil:
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
It's looking like my goal for my weapon is going to look something like this:

Via arcane pool:

Enhancement (+3)
Bane (+1)
Keen (+1)

On the weapon:

Enhancement (+2)
Spell Storing (+1)

With the last +2 on the weapon being either Dispelling Burst or Holy. I'd love to hear folks' thoughts on which they think is better, or if there's an even better alternative to fill up that last +2 bonus.
 

ErrantX

First Post
I'm playing a 5th level bladebound magus in a game right now, and I fight more like a skirmisher. I took a trait to give me acrobatics as a class skill and got me some boots of striding and springing straight away. I use a longsword and have fairly good stats to go with it. In the group, nobody does more damage than me except MAYBE the fighter (we tie often). I judiciously move myself around alot to position myself for single powerful hits and move away (spring attack) and use Pool Strike and Shocking Grasps. I keep an expeditious retreat going on me in combats often times, and if I have time, I spell combat shield at the beginning of fights where I know I need to get a defensive edge. I love magus!
 

gamerprinter

Adventurer
I recently built a home-brew archetype for the magus for my home game - we're using an Old West/Weird West styled setting and I want to build a gunslinging magus with a specialty with revolvers. I didn't want to base it on the myrmidarch as my magus never ever plans to use a melee weapon so Spell Combat is unnecessary, but he needs Ranged Spell Combat, so this is what I built:



Shootist (magus archetype)
The shootist blends mystical arcane powers and masterful prowess with a weapon much like his kin the magus, however the shootist uses a firearm as his chosen weapon and a deck of cards as his spellbook. While he can use all simple and martial weapons, including firearms, pistols or revolvers, revolvers are his preferred weapon.


Alignment: Any.
Hit Die: d8.
Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp)
Class skills
The shootist’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.


Class Features


The following are class features of the shootist.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A shootist is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and all firearms. A shootist is also proficient with light armor. He can cast magus spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a shootist wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass shootist still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.


Spells
A shootist casts arcane spells drawn from the magus spell list. A shootist must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time.


To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the shootist must have an Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shootist’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the shootists’s Charisma modifier.


A shootist can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given for the standard magus class. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.


A shootist may know any number of spells. He must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying his spell deck. While studying, the magus decides which spells to prepare.


Cantrips: A magus can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted with Magus under “Spells per Day.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.


Spell Decks: Instead of a spellbook, a shootist uses a spell deck that resembles an ornate playing card deck with cryptic symbols and formula hidden in the numbers, icons and border on each card's face.


A shootist must study his spell deck each day to prepare his spells. He cannot prepare any spell not recorded in his spell deck except for read magic, which all shootists can prepare from memory. A shootist begins play with a spell deck containing all 0-level magus spells plus three 1st-level magus spells of his choice. The shootist also selects a number of additional 1st-level magus spells equal to his Charisma modifier to add to his spell deck. At each new shootist level, he gains two new magus spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new shootist level) for his spell deck. At any time, a shootist can also add spells found in other spellbooks to his own.


A shootist can learn spells from a wizard’s spellbook, just as a wizard can from a shootist’s spell deck. The spells learned must be on the magus spell list, as normal. An alchemist can learn formulae from a shootist’s spell deck, if the spells are also on the alchemist spell list. A shootist cannot learn spells from an alchemist.
Arcane Pool (Su) – At 1st level, the shootist gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that he can draw upon to fuel his powers and enhance his weapon. At 1st level this arcane pool has a number of points equal to ½ his shootist level plus his Charisma modifier (minimum 1).


The pool refreshes once per day when the shootist prepares his spells. A shootist can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves. A shootist can also expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to gain deadeye or quick clear abilities (see below)


At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: brilliant, flaming, flaming burst, frost, ghost touch, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, or speed.


Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the shootist.


A shootist can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.


Deadeye (Su): At 1st level, the shootist can resolve an attack against touch AC instead of normal AC when firing beyond her firearm’s first range increment. Performing this costs 1 arcane point per range increment beyond the first. The shootist still takes the –2 penalty on attack rolls for each range increment beyond the first when she performs this action.


Quick Clear (Su): At 1st level, as a standard action, the shootist can remove the broken condition from a single firearm she is currently wielding, as long as that condition was gained by a firearm misfire. The shootist must have at least 1 arcane point to perform this action. Alternatively, if the shootist spends 1 arcane point to perform this action, she can perform quick clear as a move-equivalent action instead of a standard action.


Spell Combat (Ex) – At 1st level, a shootist 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. To use this ability, the shootist must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed pistol in the other hand. 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 (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Charisma bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A shootist can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.


Magus Arcana
As he gains levels, a shootist learns arcane secrets tailored to his specific way of blending martial puissance and magical skill. Starting at 3rd level, a shootist gains one magus arcana. He gains an additional magus arcana for every three levels of shootist attained after 3rd level. Unless specifically noted in a magus arcana’s description, a shootist cannot select a particular magus arcana more than once. Magus arcana that affect spells can only be used to modify spells from the magus spell list unless otherwise noted.


Ranged Spellstrike (Su) – at 2nd level a shootist can use ranged spellstrike to cast a single target touch attack range spell and deliver it through any gun attack. Even if the spell normally has multiple targets, only a single missile, ray or effect accompanies the attack. At 11th level whenever a shootist using a multiple target spell with this ability may deliver one ray or line of effect with each attack when using a full round action, up to the maximum allowed by the spell (in the case of ray effects). Any effects used in the round the spell is cast are lost. This replaces spellstrike.


Quickfire (Ex) – At 4th level a shootist gains the ability to draw and fire his firearm as a standard action. This ability replaces spell recall.


Bonus Feats – At 5th level, and every six levels thereafter, a shootist gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat, item creation, or metamagic feats. He must meet the prerequisites for these feats as normal.


Dual Pistols (Ex) – At 7th level, the shootist learns how to use his magical abilities to effectively blend two one-handed firearms fighting and casting spells. When holding two one-handed firearms in separate hands, the shootist may spend a shootist pool point as a swift action to count one of his hands (shootist's choice) as free for the purposes of casting spells and delivering touch attacks. The shootist may also use this hand to cast spells for the spell combat class ability (but then cannot fire the firearm the hand is holding as a part of spell combat). This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to the shootist's Charisma modifier. This ability replaces the medium armor ability..


Knowledge Pool (Su) – At 7th level, when a shootist prepares his magus spells, he can decide to expend 1 or more points from his arcane pool, up to his Charisma bonus. For each point he expends, he can treat any one spell from the magus spell list as if it were in his spell deck and can prepare that spell as normal that day. If he does not cast spells prepared in this way before the next time he prepares spells, he loses those spells. He can also cast spells added in this way using his spell recall ability, but only until he prepares spells again.


Improved Spell Combat (Su) – At 8th level, the shootist’s ability to cast spells and make range attacks improves. When using the spell combat ability, the shootist receives a +2 circumstance bonus on concentration checks, in addition to any bonus granted by taking an additional penalty on the attack roll.


Fighter Training (Ex) – Starting at 10th level, a shootist counts 1/2 his total magus level as his fighter level for the purpose of qualifying for feats. If he has levels in fighter, these levels stack.


Swerve Bullet (Su) – At 11th level, the shootist gains the ability to alter the trajectory of bullet fired at him by sheer force of will, working as deflect arrow feat, but with magic instead of your hand. This ability replaces improved spell recall.


Lightening Reload (Ex) – At 13th level, as long as the shootist has at least 1 arcane point left in his pool, he can reload a single barrel or chamber of a one-handed or two-handed firearm as a swift action once per round. If he has the rapid reload feat or is using an alchemical cartridge (or both), he can reload a single barrel or chamber as a free action. Further more using this ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This ability replaces heavy armor.


Greater Spell Combat (Su) – Starting at 14th level, a shootist gains the ability to seamlessly cast spells and make ranged attacks. Whenever he uses the spell combat ability, his concentration check bonus equals double the amount of the attack penalty taken..


Counterstrike (Ex) – At 16th level, whenever an enemy within reach of the shootist successfully casts a spell defensively, that enemy provokes an attack of opportunity from the shootist after the spell is complete. This attack of opportunity cannot disrupt the spell.


Greater Spell Access (Su) – at 19th level, a shootist gains access to an expanded spell list. He learns and places 14 spells from the Bard spell list into his spell deck as magus spells of their bard level. He gains two of each of the spells from the Bard list, not on the magus spell list: 0 level, 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd level, 4th level, 5th level and 6th level.


He can ignore the somatic components of these spells, casting them without normal chance of failure.


True Shootist (Su) – At 20th level, the shootist becomes a master of spells and combat. Whenever he uses his spell combat ability, he does not need to make a concentration check to cast the spell defensively. Whenever the shootist uses spell combat and his spell targets the same creature as his melee attacks, he can choose to either increase the DC to resist the spell by +2, grant himself a +2 circumstance bonus on any checks made to overcome spell resistance, or grant himself a +2 circumstance bonus on all attack rolls made against the target during his turn.


Suggested Magus Arcana
Arcane Accuracy, Bane Blade, Close Range, Critical Strike, and Ghost Blade. Note: Bane Blade and Ghost Blade can be applied to firearms for the shootist.
 

Empirate

First Post
For Metamagic, I strongly recommend Intensified Spell, as your 7th level feat sounds about right. That way, your Shocking Grasp will stay relevant for a long, long time. 10d6 bonus damage for a 2nd level spell slot? Sign me up.

Also, at higher levels, Dazing Spell absolutely owns the game. It's slightly weak on Shocking Grasp, though, so consider putting it on a 2nd level spell. 2 rounds of daze are usually enough to finish any combat against the now nigh-on defenseless monster. That's a high level plan, though. But you were talking about Quicken Spell yourself, so you clearly expect this game to go a long while.

Should you encounter many electricity-resistant monsters, Elemental Spell might be nice - I don't consider it a strong feat per se, but depending on your DM and campaign environment, it could come in handy.



I'd try and get Greater Magic Weapon spells from your trusty Wizard/Cleric every morning. That way, your weapon will always be +2 or higher in base enchantment, without you spending arcane pool points. If your party mates aren't into buffing much, offer to buy them a Pearl of Power III to make up for the spell slot spent on buffing you. Well worth it, especially at higher levels!

The Mithril Breastplate is obviously your best armor choice. Don't spend too much on armor alone, though. It's always cheaper to tack an Amulet of NA, Ring of Protection and Animated Shield onto just OK armor, than enchanting the armor itself to similar levels of protection. In fact, the Animated Shield is probably the biggest AC boost you can get on top of armor. Then there's Gloves of Dexterity, but Str items should come first IMO. Hitting more often and harder means you yourself don't get hit as often.
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
For Metamagic, I strongly recommend Intensified Spell
I strongly agree. Along with that I highly recommend any (non-archtyped) magus work towards Spell Perfection for use with Quicken Spell. I went with Intensify, Empower, and Quicken, though you could replace Empower with something else if you prefer, such as Maximize.

Also, at higher levels, Dazing Spell absolutely owns the game. It's slightly weak on Shocking Grasp, though, so consider putting it on a 2nd level spell. 2 rounds of daze are usually enough to finish any combat against the now nigh-on defenseless monster.

Dazing is definitely strong, although it's expensive (+3 higher spell slot). Also nothing in the description says it makes the target "nigh-on defenseless." As far as I can tell it merely loses its actions, but does not lose its defenses in any way.

Still, not a bad option. I'm now considering dropping Greater Weapon Focus for it at level 17. Just need to figure out what the best spell to attach it to would be. At a +3 higher spell slot, at best I could tack it onto a 3rd-level spell in a 6th-level slot, though that seems weak compared to some of my 6th-level options.

Far better might be to snag a lesser metamagic rod of dazing spell. That'd let me tack it onto a 3rd-level spell three times a day for free, and get 3 rounds of dazing, not bad at all!

Should you encounter many electricity-resistant monsters, Elemental Spell might be nice - I don't consider it a strong feat per se, but depending on your DM and campaign environment, it could come in handy.
It could. And if I didn't have so many other feats I wanted I'd consider it. In the end I decided to use Spell Research to invent a spell to deal with foes that are electricity resistant. It's got a fun visual that I like, and hopefully won't be necessary too often. :)

I'd try and get Greater Magic Weapon spells from your trusty Wizard/Cleric every morning. That way, your weapon will always be +2 or higher in base enchantment, without you spending arcane pool points.
While we do have 2 clerics in the party, I'm hesitant to impose on them this way. If I ask for it, I imagine everyone will, and I'm not sure they'd appreciate that kind of claiming of their spell slots. We have a big party, so it would start to get sticky.

Besides which, I already kinda try and get them to prepare certain spells such as Bless and eventually Blessing of Fervor that are party aids, so I don't want to make a nuissance of myself in- or out-of-character.

If your party mates aren't into buffing much, offer to buy them a Pearl of Power III to make up for the spell slot spent on buffing you. Well worth it, especially at higher levels!
Now that's an idea I hadn't considered, especially if they were going to prep the spell for themselves anyway. We don't have the money at this point for a level 3 pearl, but it's definitely something to look at, long-term.

The Mithril Breastplate is obviously your best armor choice. Don't spend too much on armor alone, though. It's always cheaper to tack an Amulet of NA, Ring of Protection and Animated Shield onto just OK armor, than enchanting the armor itself to similar levels of protection.
You're preaching to the choir on this one. I've long known that the most economic way to boost AC is to cover all your bases (deflection, AC, natural, resistance) at +1, then start upgrading to +2, then +3 etc. :)

In fact, the Animated Shield is probably the biggest AC boost you can get on top of armor. Then there's Gloves of Dexterity, but Str items should come first IMO. Hitting more often and harder means you yourself don't get hit as often.
Hrm. I hadn't considered an Animated Shield. That might be fun at mid- to high-levels when it could provide more than the Shield spell, which is what I'm using now. My magus is dex-based, so actually the gloves of dex provide AC, to hit, and damage. I have a base 13 strength and am not likely to boost that unless I happen across one of those new-fangled multi-physical-stat belts. :p
 
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Empirate

First Post
Dazing makes foes "nigh-on defenseless" in that they can't do anything. Sure, they don't get a penalty to AC or saves or anything, but not being able to act is among the strongest debuffs in the game. At high levels, it is equivalent to quick, painful death. A 6th level slot for three rounds of dazing might not sound great, but rest assured, that enemy is out of the fight for good if they fail the save. They might as well save vs. instant death (although you'll still have to spend those actions to actually kill them, of course). Such is the nature of high level play.

Two rounds of dazing for a 5th level slot is the more economical option, and will most of the time be enough. Just think about how much any normal battle changes over the course of two rounds. That's how long the other guy won't be able to: kill your friends or yourself with a PA full attack, cast a horrible battlefield control or debuff on your party, summon extraplanar reinforcements, dominate your best fighter, do horrible horrible breath weapon damage, mind blast your party to oblivion, swallow your party wizard whole, or just teleport to safety...


I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a metamagic rod of Dazing Spell. Sounds like a custom item to me.
EDIT: found it! Only 14,000 gp?! Are they being serious??!! This is the most unbalanced item I've seen in a long time. Insta-buy.


If your party Clerics (both of them!) don't cast long-term buffs on the party's strongest fighter types, they're not doing their jobs. Buffing is among their most powerful specialties! Are they leery of healing you after the fight, as well? A simple GMW once per day might save a lot on healing, long-term! Casters who don't want to use their spell slots to enhance party mates... I hate that. Selfish brats. This is a team game! It's even more fun as a team game!
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Dazing makes foes "nigh-on defenseless" in that they can't do anything. Sure, they don't get a penalty to AC or saves or anything, but not being able to act is among the strongest debuffs in the game.
I don't disagree that it's a strong debuff, it just has nothing to do with defenselessness. Sorry if you feel that's a nitpick. :)

At high levels, it is equivalent to quick, painful death. A 6th level slot for three rounds of dazing might not sound great, but rest assured, that enemy is out of the fight for good if they fail the save. They might as well save vs. instant death (although you'll still have to spend those actions to actually kill them, of course). Such is the nature of high level play.
Mmm. I think part of this may have to do with the nature of the campaign. In our games, we rarely face one or two powerful foes. We usually face 8-10 "fairly powerful" foes. This means a couple of things. Firstly, that the entire party can rarely gang up on a single foe until late in the fight. Secondly, that taking one foe out of combat for a couple rounds isn't going to shift the entire combat.

That's not to say it isn't a very strong option though, especially if you can identify a target of critical importance, like a single spellcaster, or a single healer.

I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a metamagic rod of Dazing Spell. Sounds like a custom item to me.
EDIT: found it! Only 14,000 gp?! Are they being serious??!! This is the most unbalanced item I've seen in a long time. Insta-buy.
My current plan is to have my magus carrying two metamagic rods. The first will be lesser maximize, and the second will be lesser dazing. :) As I mentioned above, I don't envision it completely wrecking the game, but I do think it will come in handy plenty often.

If your party Clerics (both of them!) don't cast long-term buffs on the party's strongest fighter types, they're not doing their jobs. Buffing is among their most powerful specialties!
If they choose that specialty, sure. Just like if a wizard chooses buffing or battlefield control, great. But there are other ways to choose to play a cleric or wizard. Our clerics are both mainly melee tanks. They don't shy away from healing or, at my request, carrying certain buff spells, but their general enjoyment comes from wading in and smacking the bad guys with their weapons.

Casters who don't want to use their spell slots to enhance party mates... I hate that. Selfish brats. This is a team game! It's even more fun as a team game!
I wouldn't call them selfish. We all want to play our own PCs, not have someone else play them for us. If I were really bothered by it, I could always take Leadership and pick up a cleric cohort who would do exactly what I tell them. They are having fun playing cleric-tanks, and I respect that. And as I said, to be fair, they do often accommodate my requests for certain buff spells. :)
 

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