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When holding a charge, whether because the initial touch attack missed or was not used, does Spellstrike allow for the use of the Magus' weapon for subsequent attempts? For instance,

  1. Casts Shocking Grasp
  2. Uses Spellstrike to deliver spell through sword
  3. Misses with attack roll

Would the Magus then be forced to deliver the spell via a standard touch attack?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, he can try again with his weapon melee attack. Per spellstrike,

At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the magus makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

There are two separate clauses here - "he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack" and "Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon." It seems to me that if the attack misses, the charge is held (just like if you were to miss with a touch attack on the same spell, it would be held) and you can try again with your own attacks, just like with normal spell touch attacks. The statement about the freebie doesn't say it's your only chance, in fact it takes pains to make it parallel with the usual free touch attack.

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Good point. Unfortunately, the clauses are ambiguous and can be interpreted any way you want. It's sad that Paizo (or the beta testing community) overlooked this issue, and didn't add a fail-clause. That being said, there are two options now: either house-rule it one of the two suggested ways, or post the same question on the Paizo forums and hope we get an official response. –  Sektor Nov 25 '11 at 8:52
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I think the intent isn't that ambiguous, given that you get one free touch attack as part of a normal touch spell and it doesn't cause fretting about this... But then I'm not one who is awfully concerned about official rulings on every ambiguity from a publisher. –  mxyzplk Nov 26 '11 at 15:32
    
Paizo just released a preview of their FAQ, in which this very question is answered. This answer is right (and mine was wrong). I suggest to elect this answer as the accepted one. –  Sektor Feb 8 '12 at 8:41
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According to the rules as written in the Spellstrike description ...

Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell.

... I would say you can't try another Spellstrike attack with the same held charge. The description implies that you only have one chance to use your weapon to deliver the spell. If that attack fails, you're still holding the charge but can only deliver it with a standard touch attack.

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According to an official Paizo FAQ preview, this answer is incorrect. You do get another chance of striking with your weapon (or even any other weapon). –  Sektor Feb 8 '12 at 8:45
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