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  1. #31
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    I'd support the creation of a true arcane half caster if you could explain how it is a different class from a wizard/fighter multi class with custom subclasses. Like unique class abilities or tying them into the world like the other classes.
    The answer is bonded weapon. (edit to add: which isn't just one you can summon, but something that grows in power as you gain levels, gaining invocation-like improvements every so often. Heck, summonability might not even be default. But this is a person who makes their living by channeling magic through their weapon - of course they're going to have a few permanent low-grade enchantments going.)

    I'm honestly ambivalent on an arcane half-caster class at this point: I don't think a new class really solves the issue, but I do feel it's justified to have for several reasons, all of which apply to paladins.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there's an ability not really present (enough) in the current rules: the ability to blend weapon attacks with spellcasting - not in the character, but in the action. It's not enough to be able to firebolt or stab - I want to fire-stab. And those spells are few and far between.

    Which means the real solution that targets the problem is: gish spells. As in spells for doing gishy things, like fire-stabs. There's like, three, in the current published works. There needs to be about 30.

    (Incidentally, I've come to believe that 4e got swordmages right by accident: they could not, due to how the game worked, just tell people to use the wizard list. They had to make a swordmage list, with spells designed for swordmages. The wizard list is designed for wizards, not swordmages, so using the wizard list won't produce a sowrdmage no matter how many spells slots or fighting styles are present.)

    Now, if the spells were available and on the wizard list, then you'd be fine with an EK/wizard multi to get there. It would create trap options for wizards, as there'd be spells on the wizard list not intended for wizrads, which is stupid, But the least-change answers is spells. But just as a fighter/cleric is not a paladin because it lacks divine smite, smite spells, find steed, and auras, the Eldritch Knight class would have gish spells, bonded weapons, and war magic.

    By making the EK it's own class, you also open up the option of doing well-balanced gishes with non-wizard-ish spellcasting - the hexblade should be a subclass of EK, as should dragon knight, psychic warrior, death knight, and warden. (Trying to make gishes out of full casters creates major balance issues because you give frontliner defense to ranged nova specialists.)
    Last edited by jmartkdr; Sunday, 3rd February, 2019 at 06:03 AM. Reason: add details
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmartkdr View Post
    The answer is bonded weapon. (edit to add: which isn't just one you can summon, but something that grows in power as you gain levels, gaining invocation-like improvements every so often. Heck, summonability might not even be default. But this is a person who makes their living by channeling magic through their weapon - of course they're going to have a few permanent low-grade enchantments going.)

    I'm honestly ambivalent on an arcane half-caster class at this point: I don't think a new class really solves the issue, but I do feel it's justified to have for several reasons, all of which apply to paladins.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there's an ability not really present (enough) in the current rules: the ability to blend weapon attacks with spellcasting - not in the character, but in the action. It's not enough to be able to firebolt or stab - I want to fire-stab. And those spells are few and far between.

    Which means the real solution that targets the problem is: gish spells. As in spells for doing gishy things, like fire-stabs. There's like, three, in the current published works. There needs to be about 30.

    (Incidentally, I've come to believe that 4e got swordmages right by accident: they could not, due to how the game worked, just tell people to use the wizard list. They had to make a swordmage list, with spells designed for swordmages. The wizard list is designed for wizards, not swordmages, so using the wizard list won't produce a sowrdmage no matter how many spells slots or fighting styles are present.)

    Now, if the spells were available and on the wizard list, then you'd be fine with an EK/wizard multi to get there. It would create trap options for wizards, as there'd be spells on the wizard list not intended for wizrads, which is stupid, But the least-change answers is spells. But just as a fighter/cleric is not a paladin because it lacks divine smite, smite spells, find steed, and auras, the Eldritch Knight class would have gish spells, bonded weapons, and war magic.

    By making the EK it's own class, you also open up the option of doing well-balanced gishes with non-wizard-ish spellcasting - the hexblade should be a subclass of EK, as should dragon knight, psychic warrior, death knight, and warden. (Trying to make gishes out of full casters creates major balance issues because you give frontliner defense to ranged nova specialists.)
    I can definitely see "mechanically" why a full class would help bring this to life. Giving the Fighter EK an ability to burn spell slots for other little effects would have been another way to do it, instead of the War Magic feature we got. I'd still like to know why they're different from someone who is just a Fighter/Wizard. It probably doesn't need to be too big of a thing, because the Paladin doesn't have too much story that separates them from a Fighter/Cleric. Heck, I used to support the "Prestige Paladin" back in 3E.

    This MIGHT go back to highlighting the problem with Fighters; fighters are really a catch all for everyone who isn't one of the other classes. It lacks identity of its own, and thus it's the class to add ontop of anyone who is learning more about general warrior stuff.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    Sort of. But that's ignoring my position that "Paladin" is based on a broader concept and archetype, the "Knight in Shining Armor", than the "Swordmage" is.
    I'm not ignoring your position, i'm very much trying to confront your position head on. In a game with no Paladin the Lawful Good fighter is the Knight in Shining Armor. If you really feel the need for your knight in shining armor to also have some divine abilities coming from his devotion to his God then a lawful good Fighter/Cleric fulfills that need. As this character levels he grows in fighting ability (like any knight, and this is represented by increasing Fighter Levels) and also in divine abilities due to an ever growing devotion to his God (represented by increasing cleric levels). This Fighter/Cleric perfectly fits the archetype you keep saying it doesn't.

    I mean isn't that exactly what a paladin is? A knight in shining armor that gets better at both fighting and divine abilities as you increase in level?

    So, again, what is the story of the Swordmage? How are they different from a Fighter/Wizard multiclass with unique subclasses? Is their magic a magical interpretation of a "martial artist"? Are they learning to wield pure magic as a weapon, rather than shaping it into spells? That's the kind of thinking I mean. What are they?
    A swordmage is all those things you just cited. Ideally the class would be broad enough to represent all those things and each particular flavor would be further defined by the subclass.

    It's simply impossible to tell you the differences in a Fighter/Wizard and a Swordmage without having a concrete swordmage class we can look at because there's a huge amount of possible implementations all of which could yield different answers to this question you keep asking. It's not that it can't ever be answered but rather that it can't be answered till we actually have a concrete Swordmage class fleshed out with all it's features and subclasses that we can look at.

  4. #34
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    Can I also say I hate compound word class names like "Duskblade", "Hexblade", and "Swordmage"? LOL

    But I'm not worried about mechanically why a Gish class is needed. I want to know what it is that's different from a Fighter/Wizard thematically, in the story.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pukunui View Post
    FWIW: lightning lure is one of the SCAG cantrips. Also, aren't all four of those cantrips (the others being green-flame blade, booming blade, and sword burst) based on 4e swordmage powers?
    Great catch! And yes, they are!

    Quote Originally Posted by LuisCarlos17f View Post
    How is the name: hexblade, duskblade or swordmage?
    Iíd go Swordmage or Spellblade, I donít like most other names for the concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by 200orcs View Post
    So why not use Wizard/Bladesinger as your class?
    because even with the SCAG cantrips, itís still 90% wizard. The Bladesinger is fun, but it doesnít have access to some of the things needed to make a solid gish that is singularly focused on magical melee combat with a weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by NaturalZero View Post
    Hexblade is pretty much the closest thing, right out of the box. It does damage and has access to utility, but doesn't really fully fill the swordmage's "I have 15 magical weapon powers that all do different things while teleporting every round" role as much as simply dealing some decent damage with eldritch smite while replicating some of the utility of wizard spells.

    I miss the swordmage and, more so, the battlemind. There were some pretty fun tactical builds and tricks that don't really exist in 5e, per se. I like how you can get easy access to more utility stuff now, but I miss playing a super hardy badass that can create a telekinetic vortex or toss anything I hit 20' on every single melee attack with a right build.
    Hexblade, especially with Tome Pact for extra cantrips IMO, is really close. Mage Armor works for me as an AC solution, though itís not perfect, and the X Hex Invocations help with having more options. As well, Warlock has fun spells like Armor of Agythis and Thunder Step, which help.

    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    I'd go with something like an High Elf, Eladrin or Variant Human (to gain take weapon master as a feat).

    Str/Int build, take all SCAG cantrips + bladeward and true strike
    Abjuration Wizard (for the aegis) or Conjuration (for the transposition)

    Spend all spells on warding spells https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells?fil...ter-sub-class= or

    teleportation spells https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells?fil...ter-sub-class=

    Spend feats on Tough/Light Armor or take a multi in fighter.
    i think Iíd want to MC rogue on that build, rather than fighter. Swashbuckler rounds out the melee juice, combined with the higher speed of a Bladesinger. Arcane Trickster loses less in spell power, gets extra cantrips. A BS based gish is best off being hard to pin down, IMO, rather than worrying about armor.

    One thing that a Swordmage needs is a class feature to boost unarmored or lightly armored AC, and d8 or higher hit dice.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    BattleMaster superiority dice. While not magical in nature, when paired with something magical such as booming blade they can help you get a desired effect. For example you can Booming Blade + Pushing attack.

    Light Clerics eventually get the ability to impose disadvantage on an attack targeting your allies.
    Protection Fighting Style.
    Spiritual Guardians (even though its a cast on the initial turn you can attack every turn after)
    id love to just add some magical maneuvers to the Battlemaster, tbh.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    I would say paladin with a level dip into hexblade actually gets closer. Maybe add some sorcerer or fighter on there as well. Smite Spells the "15 different magical powers". Hexblade gives you booming blade and allows you to get straight for charisma as a main stat (much like the real swordmage used a single stat of int for his attacks).

    There's various ways to get misty step for you. Thunderstep can be a very thematic spell. With quicken spell you can even use it and booming blade on the same turn.
    the smite spells really are closer to Swordmage powers than most anything else. The problem for me with Hexadin is that I want invocation when I have a warlock. I want Relentless Hex, Armor of Shadows, Devilís Sight, Maddening Hex, etc, so I want to take more levels of Warlock; but I also want Auras, Smite Spells, and Improved Divine Smite.

    Basically, both classes are so damn good and fun, I donít wanna MC them...

    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    As long as you have divine smite and one of the melee cantrips and put most levels into full casters then you have a viable character. So you can probably get most of the abilities you are after. The bigger issue will be ASI's as you are going to be fairly mad to multiclass into all the classes
    You can do it with two classes, itís just gonna lose you some of the spells.

    I may may try to build a spellcasting Monk that gets most of the gish/Swordmage spells based on 4 elements, with reasonable ki cost and working better in general with playing a monk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    I'd support the creation of a true arcane half caster if you could explain how it is a different class from a wizard/fighter multi class with custom subclasses. Like unique class abilities or tying them into the world like the other classes.
    frog has been championing this one quite well, but is focused on mechanics while you are singularly concerned with story.

    The Swordmage is someone who has trained from the start as a magical warrior. Not a warrior who has learned some tricks, or a Mage who knows his way around a blade, but a focused path that is focused on using magic and martial prowess seemlessly together. Not only are their attacks magical, but their defenses, and they use magic to control the battlefield in various ways. An elite warrior from an exclusive school. A member of a secret or just exclusive order. For the Swordmage, the sword and the Weave are one, and their intellect is as much their weapon as either.

    Given my way, it would include fighting styles, ranged and melee weapons spells, unarmored defense or a class feature shield equivalent if you are wearing light or no armor, and Mage Armor as an always prepared spell, and at least the full on classic Swordmage one would have ritual casting and a spell-book. 3 skill class

    That at is just as coherent a story foundation as a ranger or paladin, and just as prevalent in fantasy games and media.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu View Post
    I feel like you could create this pretty well with an eldritch knight just by ignoring or changing the spell school limitations, couldn't you? There aren't any major balance considerations; the designers have already said those school limitations are for flavor, and for the most part a 3rd-level spell is a 3rd-level spell.
    That would get you closer, once you look at Xanathars, SCAG, and probably the EE players resource spells. To me

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauln6 View Post
    Maybe two levels of high elf wizard (bladesinger) and the remainder as fighter (eldritch knight)?
    It gets most of the way. I want Amror of Agythis on it, and spells like the Smite Spells, and the two core classes work a bit at cross purposes, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azzy View Post
    Could this general issue be (soft) solved by the introduction of higher-level spells that affect and/or can be used alongside melee attacks (much like the SCAG cantrips and paladin smite spells)?
    It would help, certainly!

    Quote Originally Posted by cbwjm View Post
    Currently I think the best way to make a swordmage in 5e, to capture the feel of the 4e class is as an eldritch knight/abjurer. The problem is that it takes a while to really get the feel of the swordmage. Eldritch knight gets weapon bond and, eventually, war magic. Abjurer gets arcane ward and at 6th level can use it to protect others.

    Multiclassing can do a lot but sometimes you need a dedicated class to really get the feel of previous editions from when you first start playing your character.
    Agreed. Iím fine with waiting to third, even 6th, for the concept to really come fully online, as long as it doesnít feel like playing a different concept before then, but waiting till after 10 is, for me, the same as the concept just not existing in the game.
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  6. #36
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    @doctorbadwolf: Have you looked at the stone sorcerer from Unearthed Arcana? I seem to recall that it was something of a swordmage in disguise. It had the swordmage's aegis class feature, and it also enabled you to take the paladin's weapon-based smite spells, among other things.
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctorbadwolf View Post
    Great catch! And yes, they are!


    Iíd go Swordmage or Spellblade, I donít like most other names for the concept.


    because even with the SCAG cantrips, itís still 90% wizard. The Bladesinger is fun, but it doesnít have access to some of the things needed to make a solid gish that is singularly focused on magical melee combat with a weapon.



    Hexblade, especially with Tome Pact for extra cantrips IMO, is really close. Mage Armor works for me as an AC solution, though itís not perfect, and the X Hex Invocations help with having more options. As well, Warlock has fun spells like Armor of Agythis and Thunder Step, which help.



    i think Iíd want to MC rogue on that build, rather than fighter. Swashbuckler rounds out the melee juice, combined with the higher speed of a Bladesinger. Arcane Trickster loses less in spell power, gets extra cantrips. A BS based gish is best off being hard to pin down, IMO, rather than worrying about armor.

    One thing that a Swordmage needs is a class feature to boost unarmored or lightly armored AC, and d8 or higher hit dice.



    id love to just add some magical maneuvers to the Battlemaster, tbh.


    the smite spells really are closer to Swordmage powers than most anything else. The problem for me with Hexadin is that I want invocation when I have a warlock. I want Relentless Hex, Armor of Shadows, Devilís Sight, Maddening Hex, etc, so I want to take more levels of Warlock; but I also want Auras, Smite Spells, and Improved Divine Smite.

    Basically, both classes are so damn good and fun, I donít wanna MC them...


    You can do it with two classes, itís just gonna lose you some of the spells.

    I may may try to build a spellcasting Monk that gets most of the gish/Swordmage spells based on 4 elements, with reasonable ki cost and working better in general with playing a monk.



    frog has been championing this one quite well, but is focused on mechanics while you are singularly concerned with story.

    The Swordmage is someone who has trained from the start as a magical warrior. Not a warrior who has learned some tricks, or a Mage who knows his way around a blade, but a focused path that is focused on using magic and martial prowess seemlessly together. Not only are their attacks magical, but their defenses, and they use magic to control the battlefield in various ways. An elite warrior from an exclusive school. A member of a secret or just exclusive order. For the Swordmage, the sword and the Weave are one, and their intellect is as much their weapon as either.

    Given my way, it would include fighting styles, ranged and melee weapons spells, unarmored defense or a class feature shield equivalent if you are wearing light or no armor, and Mage Armor as an always prepared spell, and at least the full on classic Swordmage one would have ritual casting and a spell-book. 3 skill class

    That at is just as coherent a story foundation as a ranger or paladin, and just as prevalent in fantasy games and media.

    That would get you closer, once you look at Xanathars, SCAG, and probably the EE players resource spells. To me

    It gets most of the way. I want Amror of Agythis on it, and spells like the Smite Spells, and the two core classes work a bit at cross purposes, IMO.

    It would help, certainly!


    Agreed. Iím fine with waiting to third, even 6th, for the concept to really come fully online, as long as it doesnít feel like playing a different concept before then, but waiting till after 10 is, for me, the same as the concept just not existing in the game.
    I suppose you could take a feat to gain Armour of Agathys but you'd end up being cantrip heavy (not necessarily a bad thing if you want utility and pick Warlock non attack cantrips). I think the eldritch Knight ability to cast cantrips as a bonus action at higher levels should be as much fun as a paladin Smite. I should imagine your nova potential while under bladesong is quite impressive.
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  8. #38
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    So, I still say that I don't believe that the "Swordmage", or whatever it's called (please hivemind a better name, please please please no compound words), suffers from not being based on an old literary concept like the other classes, but it could be based on newer concepts. And the more I think on it, the more "using magic as a weapon" feels like it could be a broad enough concept to base a class around. By making it a half-caster, it would be deserving of it's own unique spells, as well as possibly stealing some of the Warlock and Paladin's stuff.

    Weapon Bond could be a good central point for the class. Taking some ideas from Book of Nine Swords could also work, though I feel like that could step on the toes of the expansions I'm building for the Monk. A class built around creating a magic weapon in a game that doesn't assume magic items could offer a lot of opportunity.
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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    So, I still say that I don't believe that the "Swordmage", or whatever it's called (please hivemind a better name, please please please no compound words), suffers from not being based on an old literary concept like the other classes, but it could be based on newer concepts. And the more I think on it, the more "using magic as a weapon" feels like it could be a broad enough concept to base a class around. By making it a half-caster, it would be deserving of it's own unique spells, as well as possibly stealing some of the Warlock and Paladin's stuff.

    Weapon Bond could be a good central point for the class. Taking some ideas from Book of Nine Swords could also work, though I feel like that could step on the toes of the expansions I'm building for the Monk. A class built around creating a magic weapon in a game that doesn't assume magic items could offer a lot of opportunity.
    I'm partial to Eldritch Knight as the class name - you'd want to get rid of that subclass anyways - but mostly because it's vaguer, and DnD classes should be kind of vague, since we expect a lot of variance inside the class. It needs to be as broad a concept as "wizard."

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    I'm actually fine with compound word names for the concept, because it compliments the compound nature of the concept. You're more than a fighter, more than a wizard. You're a Duskblade/Swordmage/Spellsword/whatever. But the best non-compound name I've seen was Pathfinder's Magus, which is a perfectly fine name.

    And I would also love to see the concept get a truly dedicated class. It's an amazing concept, and one that I almost always try to build in some manner whenever I play DnD. Heck, I've got a Final Fantasy Red Mage tattoo on my back (2nd highest Black Magic, 2nd highest White Magic, can use most weapons and armor). I've always adored the jack of all trades character.

    As far as building one, I actually came reasonably close with Hexblade 1/Sorcerer X with the SCAG cantrips for melee damage, and blasty spells for, well, blasting. I went Divine Soul Sorcerer which also got me a 1/short rest bump to any saving through, and having access to the shield spell made me deceptively tanky. Even tankier thanks to my Divine Soul Sorcerer healing spells. You could play an Eladrin Elf for a 1/short rest teleport, take misty step, and really pump out some mobile damage, or if you manifest Spring Eladrin you can teleport allies to safety. It's a pretty versatile build and it's the best thing in 5e I've found that scratches that Red Mage itch.
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