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I have a level 3 character (arcanist 2/rogue 1) with 25 HP. I wanted to pick up Magical Knack but was confused about the hit die portion of the rule:

Pick a class when you gain this trait—your caster level in that class gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn't raise your caster level above your current Hit Dice.

I was brought to this answer which said that the caster level can't exceed the hit die. It was clear until they defined HD as always is just a fancier way of saying "total levels". I always assumed HD was the dice you used to figure out how much hit points you get every level of a particular class. For an arcanist, that would be d6.

So a level 2 arcanist with Magical Knack would make spell learned at caster level 2 be cast as if my caster level was 4. But what happens when I'm level 8? Since my HD is d6, the bonus would only work on spells learned from a caster level of 1 (operates as if caster level 3) to 4 (operates as if caster level 6). Does that mean a spell learned at caster level 8 wouldn't benefit from the bonus?

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Common Terms defines Hit Dice as follows:

Hit Dice represent a creature’s general level of power and skill. As a creature gains levels, it gains additional Hit Dice. Monsters, on the other hand, gain racial Hit Dice, which represent the monster’s general prowess and ability. Hit Dice are represented by the number the creature possesses followed by a type of die, such as “3d8.” This value is used to determine a creature’s total hit points. In this example, the creature has 3 Hit Dice. When rolling for this creature’s hit points, you would roll a d8 three times and add the results together, along with other modifiers.

A creature's Hit Dice are the number of dice that are rolled to determine the creature's hit points. It's that number of dice rather than the kind of dice that the trait Magical Knack can't exceed.

Thus an arcanist 2 that possesses the trait Magical Knack (arcanist) casts arcanist spells at caster level 2 because he has 2 HD, the same arcanist 8 casts arcanist spells at caster level 8 because he has 8 HD, and the same arcanist 8/rogue 1 that possesses the trait Magical Knack (arcanist) casts arcanist spells at caster level 9 because he has 9 HD.

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How Magical Knack works.

If we look at magical knack, it states:

Pick a class when you gain this trait—your caster level in that class gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn’t raise your caster level above your current Hit Dice.

Hit Dice are defined as:

Hit Dice represent a creature’s general level of power and skill. As a creature gains levels, it gains additional Hit Dice. Monsters, on the other hand, gain racial Hit Dice, which represent the monster’s general prowess and ability. Hit Dice are represented by the number the creature possesses followed by a type of die, such as “3d8.” This value is used to determine a creature’s total hit points. In this example, the creature has 3 Hit Dice. When rolling for this creature’s hit points, you would roll a d8 three times and add the results together, along with other modifiers.

So as an Arcanist 2/Rogue 1 you gain:

  • 2 Hit Dice from Arcanist (1d6 twice for 2d6).
  • 1 Hit Dice from Rogue (1d8).

This gives you a total of 3 Hit dice, and a caster level of 2 for Arcanist.

If we look at Magical knack, you get a +2 trait bonus to caster level for Arcanist as long as it would not raise your caster level above your total hit dice.

Unfortunately, 2 + 2 = 4, and 4 > 3. This means that magical knack will have no effect on your caster level currently.


You seem to be confused on how Caster level works.

o a level 2 arcanist with Magical Knack would make spell learned at caster level 2 be cast as if my caster level was 4. But what happens when I'm level 8? Since my HD is d6, the bonus would only work on spells learned from a caster level of 1 (operates as if caster level 3) to 4 (operates as if caster level 6). Does that mean a spell learned at caster level 8 wouldn't benefit from the bonus?

You don't learn spells at a specific caster level, a spell is cast at the caster level of the class that is casting the spell.

Casting spells:

A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters is equal to her class level in the class she’s using to cast the spell.


As a side note, I recommend that you take Unchained Rogue over rogue. It's just a better class overall.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, so am I right to say that it would be more beneficial to get more levels in rogue (or unchained rogue) so I can get the full benefit of Magical Knack? So if I have arcanist 2/(unchained) rogue 2, I'd be level 4, so caster level 2 + 2 (benefit from Magical Knack) = 4, which is equal to my character level, so my spells operate as if I'm caster level 4? \$\endgroup\$ – Lalochezia Nov 2 '19 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lalochezia Yes, your spells operate at the caster level of the class that is casting them, not the level you gain the spells at. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Nov 2 '19 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The primary use for magical knack is to allow multi-class caster to maintain power levels when they have to level dip for a prestige class.. Note that magical knack only affects one class per. So a two level dip to grab a prestige requirement, though you are lacking in spell access, are not falling behind in saving throw potential. \$\endgroup\$ – Play Patrice Nov 3 '19 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lalochezia It's also worth noting that you increase your Caster Level (CL), but not your ability to cast spells. For example, an arcanist 3/rogue 1 would have a CL of 4 but only 4x 1st level spell slots (as opposed to 4x 1st level and 2x 2nd level if they were an arcanist 4) \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 4 '19 at 2:58

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