The Magus, Revised Draft

Today we are happy to showcase the revised draft of our newest base class, the Magus. Equal parts mage and warrior, the Magus is designed to let you play any combination of magical and martial styles in one class. This revised draft contains many small editing revisions from the first draft but also includes a greatly revamped spell list including about 9 original spells.

Whether you’ve been following the Magus for awhile or this is your first time checking out the blog, we’re interested in hearing your feedback on where the class is at. We plan to publish the final version on the DM’s Guild and want to be sure its in the best shape it can be before then. While we’re open to any and all feedback, we do have a few questions in particular.

  • Concerning Mystic Mark. Currently the Magus gets their spellcasting ability + half their Magus level in Mystic Marks and they recharge on a long rest. Would it be preferable instead to give them their spellcasting modifier in Mystic Marks and have it recharge on a short rest instead?
  • Concerning Eldritch Armament. The current version of Eldritch Armament has Magus spend spell slots to gain benefits when using their weapon or shield. Does their ability to use spell slots in this way diminish their themes as mages as potentially Magus’ will spend their spell slots on things other than casting spells?
  • Concerning Spell Lists. We are especially interested in hearing any feedback on the Eldritch Society’s spell lists and the new spells.

With all that said, we present…

the Magus, Revised Draft

UPDATE: the Magus Class Now Available on the DM’s Guild

If you’re new to the Sterling Vermin and like what you’ve read here today we hope you’ll consider subscribing to our subreddit, following us on twitter, and most importantly supporting us on Patreon. If the Magus got you excited about the kinds of content the Sterling Vermin Adventuring Co. produces you can see some of the player options we’ve already made available on the DM’s Guild here, including our popular streetfighting class, the Pugilist.

6 thoughts on “The Magus, Revised Draft

  1. Overall, I’m really loving the subtle balance changes to several of the features, like Greater Spell Surge and the Spellsword Eldritch Armament. This new version is definitely an even better version of the class I was already enamored with.

    I like the idea of spellcasting modifier Mystic Marks recharging every short rest. The first reason is that people are used to the concept thanks to Bardic Inspiration, and it also prevents a gameplay style of blowing all of the Mystic marks as quickly as possible for huge combat bonuses and then wanting to long rest immediately afterwards. I also prefer to encourage players to take short rests more, as, in my experience, most parties entirely ignore short rests, especially when playing half-casters like the Magus.

    With Eldritch Armament, I prefer it using spell slots as it does now. For one, the effects feel worthy of a spell slot, and there is also established precedent of such effects using spell slots thanks to Divine Smite. The fact that the Magus has cantrips and ritual casting helps to keep the feel of it being a spellcasting-heavy class, and the Spell Surges at later levels ensure that using spell slots for effects like Eldritch Armament is not really an issue. Besides, people are not forced to use the Armament, just have it as a nice tool they can use reactively and treat like a spell.

    I still find myself concerned with the potential abuse cases of the Sylvan Circle’s Nature’s Mask, especially if later supplemental materials release higher CR beast creatures. If nothing else, I would highly recommend making it only usable once per long rest, as being able to turn into a Giant Ape every short rest at the level the feature is gained is a little overpowered.

    As to the new spells, I really like them. They add a bunch of unique effects that I could definitely see myself wanting. Just a quick and rather unimportant note: Arcane Artillery is incorrectly marked as being from the SCAG.

    With the spell lists, I really like Sylvan and Primordial, but I find myself extremely concerned by the Arcane Order, primarily concerning its cantrips. It is the lone Eldritch Society that gets “augmented attack” cantrips like Green-Flame Blade and Booming Blade, plus the new Arcane Artillery and Tail-Flame Arrow. Not only do these cantrips tend to deal more damage than other cantrips of the same level due to benefiting from the caster’s attack modifier and weapon damagecdie, but they also, unlike other cantrips, benefit from the effects of the Magus’s Mystic Mark Enspell. Especially when the Magus hits 5th level, I think these effects will be felt even more fully. For one, the cantrip scaling occurs, causing the attacks to deal even more damage, but now having those particular cantrips makes it feel as though the Magus has Extra Attack with one highly augmented attack per turn instead of War Magic. The biggest case of abuse, though, comes in the form of Booming Blade, especially given the Arcane Enspell. I will describe a turn that a 5th-level Arcane Magus can have with this cantrip, a greatsword, and the Mystic Marauder Eldritch Armament, even with only a +3 StrMod:

    “I use my bonus action to Enspell my greatsword, and then run up to use Booming Blade on the meanest looking melee enemy. I roll my attack with a +7 to hit, and when I hit, I decide to burn a 2nd-level spell slot to use Mystic Marauder. My attack deals 5d6 + 4 force damage plus 1d8 thunder damage, and I will burn my Enspell to attempt to push my target and knock it prone. It failed its save? Cool. If it willingly moves anywhere, it takes an additional 2d8 thunder damage.”

    That’s an average of 35 damage in a single turn off of a small resource and a 2nd-level spell slot, plus a potentially prone enemy that your allies can go to town on with advantage. If the Enspell was already active from a previous turn, add another 11 (2d6 + 4) force damage for the bonus action attack granted by War Caster (if the player waited to burn the Enspell until after the second attack), plus potentially another usage of Mystic Marauder for even more damage. 46 average damage (or even more with another Mystic Marauder use) in a single turn from a level 5 character with only a +3 StrMod is absolutely insane, especially off of damage that very few creatures resist.

    I wanted to go into all of that detail because I love the class and want to see it succeed. The Arcane Order spell list just concerns me greatly.

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  2. Just a note about the Primordial Enspell: You cant technically ever remove immunity since you have to deal damage to proc the effect and immunity makes you take no damage. Sort of a Catch-22 on that.

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  3. Looks really nice except for a few problems. The spells are labeled wrong from what source they came from. Such as.. New Spells and SCAG. You should be specific when it comes to the New Spells so that people don’t go looking in the wrong books for things like, “Arcane Artillery” like I did. Thinking it was in the SCAG.

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  4. This looks really good, well done.

    Spell Sword: Unlike Eldritch Archer and Mystic Marauder(which also require a hit), this doesn’t require an Enspell weapon, why is that? Also the disadvantage to saving throws seems very strong and rare, so should probably be limited to your spells, not just anyone’s.

    Battlemage: You’ve got a weapon and shield option, and a two-handed weapon option, so it seems like the Warcaster feat is borderline mandatory if you want to cast a spell as opposed to using slots for Eldritch Armament. Warcaster also grants adv on the Con saves for concentration, and allows the Magus to use melee cantrips (eg. Green-Flame Blade) on OA’s. Battlemage would be pointless. I think Battlemage should grant the Warcaster feat, or the exact benefits of the feat if you want to leave feats out of it. I don’t know anyone not using feats, but I’m sure they exist.

    Amethyst Mark: 30ft seems a bit much. Something that pushes you 30ft feels like it should be doing damage, the force required to push you that far would hurt imo. 15ft seems more appropriate, especially given how often you can do it.

    Arcane Aegis: This feels excessive to me. Whether its the Casting Mod + 1/2 lvl per long rest, or the proposed Casting Mod per short rest, thats a +1AC to allies to start with, then a 30ft teleport and attack with a reaction on top(which then ends, but you can re-up it with a bonus action). Maybe one or the other? Teleport adjacent to the ally(or enemy who hit them) if within 30ft, or attack if the enemy is within reach. Or perhaps you can attack the enemy if they are within 30ft with your melee weapon(4th ed had something like that from memory, basically opening a small brief portal to stab through). Or maybe switch places with the ally if within 30ft as a reaction, and you are now the target of that attack.

    Occult Savant: Lacks a little compared to the options in the other society’s. At level 7 its two lvl 2 spells chosen from the society’s. Maybe add Potent Spellcasting(add Int modifier to the damage of any Arcane Order cantrip).

    Nature’s Mask: Polymorph doesn’t seem right, both as a 4th level spell 1/short rest, or that its self only yet still changes your mental stats. Wildshape 1/short would work, and considered a druid of half your Magus level when working out what forms you can take.

    Font of Life: This seems OP. At lvl 14, your level 1 spell slot heals 14+1d12 to all allies in a 30ft radius. Thats about the average equivalent of Mass Cure Wounds(5th level spell), without the limit of how many allies, as a 1st level slot. I see its once per short rest, and slots are more limited. Maybe it wouldn’t be an issue, would need to see it in play.

    The Primordial Seal: Flavor wouldn’t fit the games I play in, I’d have to change it to just Elementalist or something.

    Primordial Enspell: Comparing it to the other Society’s equivalent, this gives you a variety of damage options instead of one, but it fits the flavor. The others have a temporary thing like prone or restrained, and the longest it lasts is one round. Primordial Enspell not only removes resistance, but immunity as well. Most creatures won’t have either, so they are vulnerable. I guess this could get OP depending on party makeup. The biggest issue is it lasts for 1 minute instead of one round like the others.

    Flame-Tail Arrow: Components should probably read V, M(Weapon), instead of V, S

    Give Life: A much needed heal type cantrip, love it 🙂

    Really good work, a pleasure to read through. Can’t wait to see the final product.

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  5. First, it must be said, I’m loving it. Hoping to start play testing it soon.

    A couple of things stand out to me though, one is the fact that you can only take one weapon, leaving you with only a melee or only a ranged weapon. This would be fine if all archetypes had at least one ranged dmg cantrip and at least one melee dmg cantrip, but they don’t. For example, if you go Arcane Order and decide to take a sword at level 1, there is no ranged cantrip option. This leaves you with no way of damaging an enemy at range, a plight which no other class can possibly suffer from. You see a similar issue with both the Sylvan Circle and Arcane Order if they take a bow at level 1, there is no cantrip available to them which is designed for melee range. Their only option is to attack with ranged attacks and spells at disadvantage.

    The second thing that jumps out at me is that the class has the ability to wear medium armour but can only take hide at level 1. All other medium armour classes can take a chain shirt. And that is a pretty sizable difference when if you want to be in melee and you only have d8 hit dice…

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