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RAW, grabbing a 1-handed weapon in both hands is a free action, as is letting go of your weapons. I also know that it is generally accepted that you can take at least 1 free action (5 ft step) during a full-round action such as spell combat, and that the # of free actions you can take per round is more or less up to your DM's discretion.

Is it possible, as a Magus with a longsword, to do the following as part of spell combat?

  1. Cast touch spell with 1 hand free, per Spell Combat rules.
  2. As a free action, wield longsword in both hands (granting you access to 1.5x str to damage instead of 1x, and +3 damage on power attack per pt of BAB lost).
  3. deliver spell through free melee attack, per Spellstrike rules.
  4. Take full attack action at -2 penalty per the Spell Combat rules.
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An alternate interpretation perhaps, I have been told multiple times that while free actions can interrupt full-round actions, since the requirement for spell combat is having a free hand (not specifically for the casting but for the entire action ), changing your grip on the sword will immediately cause spell combat to end because you are no longer meeting the requirement that one hand remain free.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ An interesting take. Spell Combat explicitly is its own Full-Round action, rather than, say a free action touch spell and a Full Attack action. The real question here is: What happens if you lose the prerequisites for taking an action while taking said action? It's definitely valid for the charge action though... If it's consistent though all actions, you can lose prereqs without a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Aug 8 '14 at 8:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ While KRyan's correct in general (I mean, seriously, the dude's right a lot), spell combat says, "To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free ... while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, [a magus] can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast a spell..." There's no other way to use this ability except by doing what it says. If the creature's not doing what it says--and that includes two-handing his weapon--, the creature's not using spell combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 8 '14 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan "light weapon" and "one-handed weapon" are established types of weapons in the game. Weapons of the "one-handed weapon" type can be wielded with both hands, but doing so does not, in so far as the rules text is concerned, cause them to cease to be a "one-handed weapon". You would still lose the "one hand free" requirement, as Coxswain mentioned, but the "wielding a one-handed weapon" requirement would not be lost. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Aug 14 '14 at 23:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon Fair enough. Thus a magus with 3 or more hands could employ his 1-handed weapon 2-handed and use spell combat. I admit a lack of imagination prevented me from considering that, but, in my defense, the text for spell combat seems equally unimaginative. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 14 '14 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yea, the designers tend to write as though the core plus whatever book you're holding are the only books you'll ever use, and only at a very low optimization level. That expectation seems unwarranted to me, but then again, they probably have done more studying of the game's demographics than I have. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Aug 15 '14 at 0:11
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Yes, free actions may be made during other actions

Free Action

Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally.

(emphasis mine)

That includes during Spell Combat, so yes, you may receive this minor benefit on your Magus.

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No, you may not hold your weapon in two hands while using Spell Combat (unless you have a 3rd hand which remains free). Emphasis mine, especially the italics:

[Spell Combat] functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.

You can't change grips while using TWF. Your spell is essentially your off-hand weapon. Also note the phrase in the rules says "To use this ability," not "while casting". Using the ability includes the attacks.

Spellstrike has no such requirement as long as it is not done in conjunction with Spell Combat. Also, you may change grip before and after Spell Combat for the purpose of AoOs.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 5 '19 at 7:02
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You cannot use Spell Combat with a two-handed weapon

According to Spell Combat:

To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.

The moment your hand is no longer free, you cannot use Spell Combat. Spell Combat only works while you have a free hand (to cast the spell) and a one-handed (or light) weapon in your other hand, which will deliver the attacks. Otherwise, you are breaking the action economy by casting a spell as a free action (instead of a standard) and then making a Full Attack instead of using Spell Combat.

This has been clarified in a FAQ, you have to use a light or one-handed weapon with Spell Combat, not natural weapons, not unarmed attacks, not two-handed weapons:

When using spell combat, do I specifically have to use the weapon in my other hand, or can I use a mixture of weapons (such as armor spikes and bites) so long as my casting hand remains free?

You specifically have to use the light or one-handed melee weapon in your other hand.

The moment you switch to two-handed, the requirement is no longer met and you cannot deliver the spell using your weapon anymore.

Finally, this also has been clarified to not be the design intent (rules as intended) for the magus class by Paizo's Creative Director, James Jacobs:

James, a PC of mine wanted to know if the weapon limitations of a Bladebound Magus were for fluff or game balance? (Context : He wanted to have a greatsword as his Black Blade)

That's a Jason question... but overall, magi do not use two-handed weapons. They need to keep a hand free for spellcasting—they're not "fighter/wizards" as much as they are two weapon fighters who just happen to use spells as their off-hand weapon. So two-handed weapons are nonsensical in most cases—the staff magus is the only one I know of that breaks that rule.

Do note that the Staff Magus he mentions actually wields staves as one-handed weapons, due to the Quarterstaff Master feat gained at first level, which says:

By employing a number of different stances and techniques, you can wield a quarterstaff as a one-handed weapon. At the start of your turn, you decide whether or not you are going to wield the quarterstaff as a one-handed or two-handed weapon. When you wield it as a one-handed weapon, your other hand is free, and you cannot use the staff as a double weapon.

So, if you figure out a way to use your desired weapon one-handedly (example: Titan Mauler archetype), you should be fine. Otherwise, you cannot combine Spell Combat with it.

But you can use Spellstrike with a two-handed weapon

Spellstrike, on the other hand, has no requirement of a free hand to deliver the touch spell, and according to this FAQ, it doesn't change how delivering touch spells work, it simply grants you another method of delivering them.

Can a magus use spellstrike (page 10) to cast a touch spell, move, and make a melee attack with a weapon to deliver the touch spell, all in the same round?

Yes. Other than deploying the spell with a melee weapon attack instead of a melee touch attack, the magus spellstrike ability doesn’t change the normal rules for using touch spells in combat (Core Rulebook page 185). So, just like casting a touch spell, a magus could use spellstrike to cast a touch spell, take a move toward an enemy, then (as a free action) make a melee attack with his weapon to deliver the spell.

On a related topic, the magus touching his held weapon doesn’t count as “touching anything or anyone” when determining if he discharges the spell. A magus could even use the spellstrike ability, miss with his melee attack to deliver the spell, be disarmed by an opponent (or drop the weapon voluntarily, for whatever reason), and still be holding the charge in his hand, just like a normal spellcaster. Furthermore, the weaponless magus could pick up a weapon (even that same weapon) with that hand without automatically discharging the spell, and then attempt to use the weapon to deliver the spell. However, if the magus touches anything other than a weapon with that hand (such as retrieving a potion), that discharges the spell as normal.

Basically, the spellstrike gives the magus more options when it comes to delivering touch spells; it’s not supposed to make it more difficult for the magus to use touch spells.

As such, a magus wielding a two-handed weapon could do the following:

  • Free: Switch to one-handed.
  • Standard: Cast shocking grasp;
  • Move: Approach enemy;
  • Free: Touch attack with held spell;
  • Free: Switch to two-handed.

But you may also check with your GM if that's ok, as the number of free actions you can take in a turn, according to this other FAQ, is entirely GM Fiat:

"Free actions don't take any time at all, though there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn."

In other words, the GM can allow more or fewer free actions as appropriate to the circumstances.

You may also make a Full Attack with a held charge

According to the FAQ I mentioned previously, holding your weapon or changing grips won't discharge the spell either, so you could cast the spell in one round, hold the charge for the next round, then change your grip and make your Full Attack normally.

But this is certainly not optimal, and you would deal far more damage by wielding a one-handed weapon and making two full round of attacks. However, if you happen to have missed all of your attacks, or got your Spell Combat action interrupted by something, keep in mind that you may switch your grip on your next action and deliver your full sequence of blows which will also discharge the held spell.

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As an adjunct to KRyan's answer - yes, you can do all you describe. In addition, you could have started the turn with the longsword gripped in both hands, and let go with your off-hand to cast the touch spell. The only real difference it all makes is if something causes you to make use of the longsword prior to re-gripping it.

So, for instance, if you were standing adjacent to an enemy spellcaster, who had a readied action to counterspell your touch spell with a Dispel Magic, but didn't do it defensively for some reason, then your AoO would get 1x Str mod damage, not 1.5x Str Mod.

In a similar vein, if you were getting a bonus to your AC for wielding a 2-handed weapon (no idea if anything exists for this - just an example), and you provoked by casting your touch spell, you wouldn't get the AC bonus against the AoO.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The same rule KRyan cited would let you regrip as part of the AoE, so you would still get the 1.5x bonus on the AoE. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Aug 6 '14 at 19:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ That rule would make no difference here - by definition, Spell Combat requires your off-hand to be free. If you are casting a spell, the hand must be empty. Therefore, you could not be gripping the weapon two-handed. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 6 '14 at 20:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon That kind of grip-switching is impossible because attacks of opportunity aren't actions; attacks of opportunity are their own separate thing, outside the game's usualy action economy. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 8 '14 at 13:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ My comment above was pointing out that, regardless of the action status of an Attack of Opportunity, it happens because of, and while you are, casting a spell, which requires you to have a hand free. Regripping would make no difference - even if you could, it would ruin the spell, since you could no longer cast. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 10 '14 at 23:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon The table doesn't include attacks of opportunity precisely because attacks of opportunity aren't actions. Even the No Action actions listed are performed on a creature's turn. Free actions--other than speaking--can't be taken off-turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 11 '14 at 0:36

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