I know there are similar Magus questions on SE, but I don't believe any address my specific question.

Say I have a level 5+ Bladebound Magus. Bladebound Magus gains the the Black Blade ability at level 3:

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. Instead of the normal arcane pool amount, the bladebound magus’s arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/3 his level (minimum 1) plus his Intelligence bonus. This ability changes the Arcane Pool class feature and replaces the magus arcana gained at 3rd level.

In the base Magus class, the following description is given for the Arcane Pool ability:

At 1st level, the magus gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that he can draw upon to fuel his powers and enhance his weapon. This arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/2 his magus level (minimum 1) + his Intelligence modifier. The pool refreshes once per day when the magus prepares his spells.

At 1st level, a magus can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal.

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the magus.

Emphasis my own. The crux of my question lays within the final sentence of the Black Blade ability, where it states that the ability changes the Arcane Pool class feature. My question is, does the Black Blade ability replace the enhancement features of Arcane Pool, or does a Bladebound Magus still have access to the weapon enhancement features?

For example: At level 5, my enhancement bonus on my black blade would be +2. Would I then be able to spend 1 arcane pool point as per the base Arcane Pool ability in order to apply an additional +2 bonus to my black blade, for a total of +4 enhancement?


1 Answer 1


Black blade changes only what it says it changes, namely how you calculate the size of your arcane pool. It doesn’t change anything it doesn’t say it changes, and therefore yes, a bladebound magus can still use the enhancement feature of the arcane pool.

As a bit of circumstantial evidence, consider this FAQ entry, which says,

Magus, Black Blade: Can I use Craft Magic Arms and Armor to increase my blade's enhancement bonus?

No, nor can you use that feat to add other properties (such as flaming) to the black blade. You can use your arcane pool to temporarily add abilities to your black blade.

(emphasis mine)

The term “abilities” here is a little awkward—that isn’t really the term for anything you add to a weapon. Those are usually termed “enhancements” or “special properties,” as, for example, in the previous sentence. And you might be forgiven for thinking it refers to properties, and not enhancements, since those are more “ability”-like. But ultimately the magus’s ability to add properties via arcane pool hinges on the ability to add enhancements—you spend that enhancement on the properties you want. So this should also cover enhancement bonuses to the weapon.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspected this might be the case, but I was running into a similar issue. The more specific, the better. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodwind
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there maybe a way to compare something like "expected number of features"? As in, if you take "changes" to mean "replaces", do we end up with one less feature than other non-bladebound Magi? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Wouldn’t mean anything; archetypes increase or decrease the number of features all the time. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it isn't like 5e where all the subclasses of a class follow the same pattern of progression? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Its a bit roundabout, but this FAQ: mentions that the arcane pool can still be used to add abilities. This implies that the text of the arcane pool class feature is still valid except for the specific parts that were changed for the bladebound magus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:43

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