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Can a magus who uses unarmed attacks use his Arcane Pool on his fists? Does the answer change if he has monk levels? What if he has natural attacks (claws or some such) instead of unarmed attack?

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The rules are unclear, but I would be tempted to say yes, with some caveats.

For most characters and purposes, an unarmed strike is not a natural weapon (or a weapon of any kind). Some effects, like the monk's unarmed strike class feature, make an unarmed strike equivalent to a natural weapon, but this is not the normal state of affairs, and the magus class doesn't have this feature. If that were the only factor in play, I'd be tempted to say that no; you cannot use your fists.

However, there are other rules around the Magus that treat unarmed strikes as weapons. Most notably, you can use an unarmed strike as the "off-hand weapon" for Spell Combat, and in Paizo's own FAQ they explicitly treat unarmed strikes as "light melee weapons associated with the hand". It is, however, worth noting that they disallow natural attacks NOT associated with the hand: for example, tail slaps are not allowed to be used as the "weapon hand" in spell combat.

Because other magus class features can treat unarmed strikes as weapons, I would be tempted to say that the Arcane Pool does too, with a few caveats:

  • This is not like the monk's unarmed strike. Paizo seems to be very picky about associating the magic of the magus with your hands, so I follow suit: you cannot use any part of your body the way a monk can. You also don't get the benefits of Improved Unarmed Strike, unless you take that as a feat (which you probably intend to anyway, if you're building an unarmed Magus).
  • A hand being used as an unarmed strike still has to be unoccupied. A monk can make unarmed strikes with his hands full because he can use other parts of his body to make the strike. This isn't stated for any other class, and the magus in particular is bound to his hands.
  • To use Spell Combat with unarmed strikes, both hands must be free. This is because the hand making an unarmed strike must be free (so that it can be used as an unarmed strike), and the other hand has to be free to cast the spell.
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So what if I have a natural weapon from my race? Same deal or are there extra considerations there? – Yamikuronue Feb 28 '14 at 20:11
Since we're going off of likely intent anyway, I'd be tempted to say it's the same deal: you can enchant natural weapons associated with your hands (claw, slam, etc) but not other natural weapons (tail slap, etc). Why Paizo is so explicitly picky about hands, I don't know, but I'll roll with it. – The Spooniest Feb 28 '14 at 20:31

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