I have a Barbarian 2 / Magus 4 character with Lore seeker and Magical Knack traits.

Magical Knack Your caster level gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn’t raise your caster level above your current Hit Dice.

Lore Seeker You are particularly adept at casting 3 selected spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.

My HD is 6, caster level is 4, and shocking grasp is one the spells I chose for Lore Seeker.

Does this means that I get 6d6 when casting shocking grasp?


1 Answer 1


I could see arguments for either 6th caster level or 7th caster level, but either way, your Shocking Grasp would only do 5d6 damage.

Caster Level 6th

You have two traits that add to caster level. Thus, you have two trait bonuses to caster level. However, trait bonuses do not stack:

A trait bonus is a bonus granted via a character trait. Character traits are an optional additional character defining feature like feats but less powerful (typically about half as strong as a feat.) As with other named bonuses, trait bonuses do not "stack" with other trait bonuses.

Therefore, your caster level takes the higher of the two bonuses (which is from Magical Knack) and is 6th. (4 Magus + 2 Magical Knack)

Caster Level 7th

If you can convince your DM that Lore Seeker's effect is not a trait bonus - after all, the word "bonus" is never used to describe the caster level modifier. Then you could further argue that Magical Knack applies first and Lore seeker second, and if your DM buys all of that, you can get an extra caster level.

If I were your DM, I would not allow that logic. Your mileage may vary.

...And none of that matters for Shocking Grasp anyway

Shocking Grasp is capped at 5d6, regardless of what your caster level is.

Your successful melee touch attack deals 1d6 points of electricity damage per caster level (maximum 5d6). When delivering the jolt, you gain a +3 bonus on attack rolls if the opponent is wearing metal armor (or is carrying a metal weapon or is made of metal).

Might be useful for other spells, though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for a good answer. However, it's not capped per say. Without any feats or traits, it caps at 5d6. But if you select Intensified Spell (Metamagic), it increases damage dice by 5 levels, thus giving you 10d6. Following that logic, I'm thinking that Lore Seeker gives me additional level because I'm *particularly adept at casting that spell * \$\endgroup\$
    – Steven
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ "the word "bonus" never appears in its description" - Well, sort of "their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus." But that's not directly related. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 23:46
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Steven If that were the intent of the trait, it would say so. Intensified Spell is specifically worded as saying it increases the Maximum; there is no such wording in Lore seeker. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Lore Seeker bonuses aren't named bonuses - a named bonus is always described as a "+N foo bonus" - so they'd stack. Your caster level for Shocking Grasp would be 7, and 7th level casters get 5d6 damage. This could matter, however - when interacting with spell resistance you'd be rolling d20+7, for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – RAOF
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Steven note that an Intensified Shocking Grasp doesn't necessarily do 10d6 damage - it's a 2nd level spell, so you can cast it at 3rd level, and it'll do the same 3d6 damage as a normal Shocking Grasp. From the description: You must actually have sufficient caster levels to surpass the maximum in order to benefit from this feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – RAOF
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 4:34

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