Mind over Metal: A Look at the Spells in Path of Iron

Spells are easily the most versatile tool a character can have at his disposal, and one of my favorite aspects of Pathfinder. I admit I'm a sucker for spellcasters in general in all the games I play, especially the ubiquitous "battlemage" type of character, one who uses spells in either a direct, aggressive form like a fireball or enhances his own capabilities to better go toe-to-toe with his enemies. So when it came time to write out some new spells for Path of Iron, I thought about what sorts of spells would that character use while sticking to the book's theme.

Most of the spells you'll find in Path of Iron have a pretty direct combat application, though there will be several that are used for crafting and artifice. Spells such as alter weapon can change the form of a weapon you're using while dancing steel can have the weapon fight for you. Squire's aid can help a group pack their belongings and don their combat gear instantly to respond to an ambush. The aptly-named spikes spell causes metallic spikes to grow out of nearly anything and has a variety of applications: put it on a weapon or natural attack to have it deal piercing damage and cause bleeding damage, or onto the floor to cover it in painful barbs, just to name a few. More powerful spells such as greater replicate can create an exact, but temporary, copy of a nearby object (including all of its magical properties), while the mighty field of blades summons innumerable weapons around you that you can wield and manipulate.

Here's a few examples of some low-level spells you'll find within Path of Iron:


School transmutation [metal]; Level bloodrager 1, magus 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, vanguard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range touch
Target weapon touched
Duration 10 min./level (D)
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object); Spell Resistance yes (object)
With a firm hand you grasp a weapon and remake it into something new. Alter weapon changes the shape of the touched weapon into another weapon of your choice. The new form for the weapon must have the same size and handedness as the original; a greatsword could be turned into a halberd, but a dagger could not be made into a longsword. A ranged weapon can be altered, such as a longbow into a shortbow or a hand crossbow into a pistol, but this only alters the weapon, not its ammunition. The targeted weapon and its new form cannot be improvised weapons.
The weapon maintains its special material properties. If you target a magic weapon, the new form retains all special abilities of the original, if applicable (a keen greatsword, for example, would no longer been keen if altered into a greatclub). If you target a double weapon that has both ends enchanted, only the bonuses for one end of the weapon are granted to the new form, unless the new form is also a double weapon, in which case the enhancements apply to each respective end of the weapon. If a non-double magic weapon is altered into a double weapon, the bonuses only apply to one end of the double weapon, chosen when the spell is cast.
This spell cannot target an unarmed strike or natural weapon, even if it would normally count as a manufactured weapon for the purpose of spells (such as for a monk or brawler).


School transmutation [metal]; Level bloodrager 2, magus 2, vanguard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a melee weapon)
Range see text
Area see text
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw None; Spell Resistance no
You finish the quick incantation and let go of the weapon, the magic flinging the blade against your foes. Upon finishing the casting of this spell, the weapon you used as a focus for blade spiral flies forth to attack. You can choose one of two different attack forms, as described below:
Forward Spiral: The weapon spins forth in a 60 foot line in front of you.
Centered Spiral: The weapon spins around you in a 10 foot radius, centered on you.
You make a single weapon attack against each foe in the area as if striking the target with a melee attack with that weapon, including any bonuses you would gain from feats or special abilities such as Weapon Focus. You roll separately for each target. Once you finish making the attacks, the weapon immediately flies back to your hand, regardless of whether it hit or missed its targets.
Despite the spell’s name, any sort of weapon can be used with blade spiral, not just bladed ones.

The Metal Descriptor

As you can see above, both of these spells have a descriptor not currently in Pathfinder, the "metal" descriptor. This is a new descriptor found in Path of Iron that applies to spells that either use metal directly (such as iron body and chill metal) or are used to target weapons and armor (such as alter weapon above). Some class features, feats, magic items, and archetypes found within Path of Iron will make use of this descriptor directly, such as the Metal Focus feat which increases the DC of any metal spells by +1. The book will include rules on how to incorporate this descriptor into your game's magic system, as well as a thorough list of all spells from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line that gain the metal descriptor.

Keep an eye out for the next preview, where I'll go into the new rune magic system introduced in Path of Iron, as well as the archivist base class that goes with it!