Can a Magus choose his ancestral weapon to be his black blade? The result would be a small buff to the black blade -- making it either cold steel or alchemical silver.

In terms of flavor it's a perfect fit (from black blade description):

Sometimes a black blade is passed down generation to generation in an ongoing search for a magus who can unlock its true potential.

But I'm not sure if it's allowed RAW.


Officially, no you cannot

As you've identified, the rules text seem to contradict themselves.

From the Bladebound archetype

At 3rd level, the bladebound magus’ gains a powerful sentient weapon called a black blade, whose weapon type is chosen by the magus (see sidebar). A magus with this class feature cannot take the familiar magus arcana, and cannot have a familiar of any kind, even from another class.

but the Black Blade sidebar

A black blade is a particular form of intelligent weapon gained by a magus with the bladebound archetype. There are several ways a magus might gain this weapon. Sometimes it just appears among the magus’s possessions, and its origin is a mystery. Other times the magus finds a black blade during an adventure or event of some kind. Sometimes a black blade is passed down generation to generation in an ongoing search for a magus who can unlock its true potential.

RAW, the specific rules overwrite the more general Black Blade information. You "must" randomly gain your Blade at 3rd level. If you're playing Pathfinder Society (I doubt you are based on another of your questions, but this is directed at other players) then you should expect to have your Ancestral weapon replaced.

Honestly, most GM's should allow this

The sidebar is clearly intending to allow just this sort of interaction, and almost explicitly states that this is a thing that you can do. It's a cool interaction of abilities, and for only a moderate functional increase.

Within 2 levels, any Bladebound Magus can overcome DR Silver, Cold Iron, and Adamantine by spending from their Arcane Pool. The +1 to hit is significant but not balance altering.

Be upfront about your desire for the two abilities to coincide, and I believe most GM's will acknowledge that the Bladebound text has enough wiggle room to allow this.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that the gm should allow this. It could easily be explained as the black blade hasn't awoken until you hit 3. A pathfinder society game is hyper RAW yes but I'd personally have no problem allowing it. \$\endgroup\$ – Kronos106 Feb 10 '20 at 14:55

My reading of the bladebound text implies that a magus would obtain a fresh weapon, rather than having an existing weapon become a black blade. Under this interpretation, this would not work for a bladebound magus, except possibly in the case where you start play (when you get the Ancestral Weapon) at at least level 3 (though I would likely not allow this for consistency reasons).

That said, if you're willing to take a different starting class, there's an option 100% within the rules. The Blade Adept arcanist explicitly does cause an existing weapon to become a black blade, and thus has no reason not to work with a trait that gives you said weapon.

At 1st level, a blade adept develops a bond with a blade and infuses it with arcane power. This ability works like a wizard’s arcane bond ability save that the blade adept must bond to a one-handed piercing or slashing melee weapon.


At 3rd level, the blade adept’s bonded sword becomes a powerful, sentient black blade.The blade advances as a black blade using the blade adept’s class level in place of the magus’s class level and points from her arcane reservoir in place of the magus’s arcane pool.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What language is your reading based on? It's good to include reasons. \$\endgroup\$ – JoshuaD Feb 10 '20 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, especially when OP quotes Black Blade indicating that it could be passed down \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 10 '20 at 4:44

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