I was reading up on the Magus class and I have some conflicts about how the Arcane Pool ability is used.

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.

To my reading this suggests that the Magus should never be able to add vorpal, because its a +5 ability and with a weapon needing the +1 enhancement, it just cant work. Did I misunderstand something here?


As noted in your quote, the bonuses stack with existing weapon enhancements - therefore everything works just fine if the magus was holding (say) a +1 longsword before using his arcane pool.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note also that the limit of +5 enhancement bonus doesn't restrict weapon properties directly, in case that was confusing. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jun 2 '15 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had a misunderstanding then. I read the +5 at level 17 meaning that was as powerful as it could go even with the magic weapons existing abilities. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jun 2 '15 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fering my interpretation of that is that you can't make a +6 weapon with arcane pool, just as you can't with any other method (excluding epic stuff in 3.5). But you can use it to make a +5 flaming weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Philip Kendall Jun 2 '15 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but the topic is that if the weapon is +1, then its still valid/legal to make it vorpal using the arcane pool ability. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jun 2 '15 at 19:00

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