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D&D 5E A sword sage

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I appreciate the suggestions, but I rather would not rely on homebrewed stuff. I want to try the class too, after all, and I'm not sure how comfortable the GM is with homebrew stuff.

One thing that is helping is that we are using a fairly generous stat array, and I am taking standard human to boost stats even more. My lowest are in strength and charisma - yes charisma is "good" for a teacher, but we've all met cranky teachers/professors who still were good at their job :). So with int magically boosted to 19 (the headband of intellect was my gm's "concession" to the character concept, one I am very grateful for) and a wisdom of 14... I think I'm good :)
Fair enough. I'm a fan of reskinning, as you've done in the OP, and I think you've done a good job of it. I'm not seeing anything major I can suggest to really improve the build. Fey Touched might not be a bad feat to consider for some extra "ancient mystical techniques" (and could explain why the old man is so spry!)

It is a shame, though, that non-spellcasters get steered so hard to Dexterity or Strength by the base classes; mental stat using non-casters is a niche in the game that I wholeheartedly recommend searching up good homebrew for, or just houseruling yourself.
 

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I can definitely see the appeal from a character optimisation point of view, particularly for a spellcaster character. However if 5e decided to rein things back a bit in a nod towards realism, I think sticking with Str as a basis for melee offence, and Dex for melee defence is a decent compromise.
I feel like the build diversity and flavor suffered for the switch back. We used to have Int-based weapon users and now we have, what, one subclass of one class in a splatbook that can do that? How many Wis based weapon users to do we have? Con based? No dedicated ones. We used to have a rainbow of different build sets that used magic, or charm, or will, or whatever, to fight with, and now we're just back to Dex and Str all over again, accept for BM and HB.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I feel like the build diversity and flavor suffered for the switch back. We used to have Int-based weapon users and now we have, what, one subclass of one class in a splatbook that can do that? How many Wis based weapon users to do we have? Con based? No dedicated ones. We used to have a rainbow of different build sets that used magic, or charm, or will, or whatever, to fight with, and now we're just back to Dex and Str all over again, accept for BM and HB.
I agree with you, but this was an argument advanced and eventually lost during the Next playtest. Fortunately, Hexblade opened up some stat replacement as a 1-level dip and a ton of homebrew adopted it as well once Hexblade signaled it was within WotC design parameters to do so.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Fair enough. I'm a fan of reskinning, as you've done in the OP, and I think you've done a good job of it. I'm not seeing anything major I can suggest to really improve the build. Fey Touched might not be a bad feat to consider for some extra "ancient mystical techniques" (and could explain why the old man is so spry!)

It is a shame, though, that non-spellcasters get steered so hard to Dexterity or Strength by the base classes; mental stat using non-casters is a niche in the game that I wholeheartedly recommend searching up good homebrew for, or just houseruling yourself.
I'm definitely thinking about "mystical" feats, but I was thinkin for a sage with a high arcana check, perhaps "ritual caster" would make a lot of sense. We don't have one in the party, and I can see him being able to cast spells if he's not rushed. As long as I can fill his spell book, he could provide a lot of "wizard utility" to the party...

edit: Also, one thing that D&D has not done well at all is the "one handed style" - with no shield, off hand weapon etc. It's "fixed" easily with a reflavor, but I'm not super thrilled about it.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'm definitely thinking about "mystical" feats, but I was thinkin for a sage with a high arcana check, perhaps "ritual caster" would make a lot of sense. We don't have one in the party, and I can see him being able to cast spells if he's not rushed. As long as I can fill his spell book, he could provide a lot of "wizard utility" to the party...

edit: Also, one thing that D&D has not done well at all is the "one handed style" - with no shield, off hand weapon etc. It's "fixed" easily with a reflavor, but I'm not super thrilled about it.
Considering your hexblade will probably have little room for utility invocations, any increase in noncombat utility is valuable. Ritual Caster does make a lot of sense.

Yea, one-hander/no shield is sadly weak, although I imagine some new fighting styles or a feat could rectify that pretty easily.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Considering your hexblade will probably have little room for utility invocations, any increase in noncombat utility is valuable. Ritual Caster does make a lot of sense.

Yea, one-hander/no shield is sadly weak, although I imagine some new fighting styles or a feat could rectify that pretty easily.
Yes - it's why I think the hexblade is not quite as good as people think, to really make it work you lose a lot of the versatility/trickiness of the base class. But again, it will really depend on if I can find more rituals. If all I have are 2 first level spells... boo.

We've had threads about that a few years ago - in this case it was about the "light/fast 2-handed weapons" like a longsword or katana (the versatile weapons basically) and it it's surprisingly difficult to get right. +1 is not enough, +2 is too much, etc etc.
 

squibbles

Adventurer
I'm going to be starting playing in a 5e campaign starting at level 5 soon. I've come up upon a concept - a "sword sage", an old wandering scholar who has studied the way of the blade.

(Some of you may note, and I wouldn't argue with them, that a kensei monk would be perfect for this concept, and I would not disagree. However, I played a monk in the last game, so I decided not to repeat that. )

So I made him a fighter, psi knight to be exact. He's going to be the party tank, so I'm going with a dex build (a "hulking" sage doesn't fit my mental image), with a fast slim blade (ah la jian, so an "alt rapier") and a "shield" which is a heavy iron pipe (similar to the japanese kiseru).

All the "psi powers" are reflavored as "ancient mystical techniques". Things like "Twin River strike!" or "Cloud conceals the cunning cobra!" can "explain" his powered psi-strikes. Others (like the protective field acting at a distance) are "inner strenght" powers, where with a wave of his hand the sage causes a cloud of dust that partially fouls the blow of a foe upon an ally.

I think there is potential humor in some of the limitations of the powers - like he can "boost up" an ally to throw them up on a wall... but then has to ask them to lower a rope - he can't jump that high, he's old!

For the sage specialty, I will take alchemist. To give this more "substance", and because the party is a bit low on support, I'm going to take the Chef feat to boost my con and heal the party a bit - but instead of treats and meals, it's going to be tonics and ointments (and gain the alchemical tool proficiency).

Those are my ideas so far, but I'm sure you have some too!
Just a thought, but what about a Ranger? Some of the ranger spells scream Kung-Fu--absorb elements, zephyr strike--and others--goodberry, or even lesser restoration--fit the alchemy theme pretty well.

horizon walker is probably the best match
planar warrior is comparable to to Psi Warrior's psionic strike
blink and haste are on the spell list--sudden, lightning movement
ethereal step is reskinnable as a mystic discipline
and distant strike, well, just read it:
"At 11th level, you gain the ability to pass between the planes in the blink of an eye. When you take the Attack action, you can teleport up to 10 feet before each attack to an unoccupied space you can see. If you attack at least two different creatures with the action, you can make one additional attack with it against a third creature."​

And, another thought, wouldn't blind fighting be the thematic way to go with the fighting style? Ranger's have fog cloud to make it brokenly good too.

I should mention that this was not an attempt to duplicate an earlier edition class, but bringing a concept to life (not trying to start edition wars here haha).

I haven't spoken to the GM yet, but I think I'll ask if this can be the main weapon instead of a rapier: https://lkchensword.com/magnificent-chu-jian
One thing about jian, they always have tassels. And, though this might be a bridge too far for your DM, some jian use an extra long tassel in a way sort of like a chain whip (something between this and this, i think). If you were feelin' it, you might be able to pitch that as your shield-equivalent.

How many Wis based weapon users to do we have?
/snark

Druids, nature clerics, all post-TCE rangers, and any PC that picks shillelagh with the magic initiate feat... so, 3... or all of them.

/endsnark

[...] Also, one thing that D&D has not done well at all is the "one handed style" - with no shield, off hand weapon etc. It's "fixed" easily with a reflavor, but I'm not super thrilled about it.
You just gotta have something to do that it's worth keeping that hand free for--spellcasting (pre/sans-warcaster), grappling, interacting with objects (with a thief's fast hands), etc.

But ya, could be better.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Just a thought, but what about a Ranger? Some of the ranger spells scream Kung-Fu--absorb elements, zephyr strike--and others--goodberry, or even lesser restoration--fit the alchemy theme pretty well.
I hadn't thought about ranger, and you are right that it could make a compelling character.

However, I am going to be the party tank, so fighter works better IMO. Plus I've given elaborate names to my psi powers already. Twin River Strike! Scholar's Rebuke! etc etc :)
 




Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I don't have much input for you, but I really like this character concept and may steal it one day!
I would be honored if you do - and please let me know how it turns out. Your version will not be quite the same as mine, and those differences can be quite interesting.

Heck, you could do it as a kensei monk :D
 





Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
See, I would rule it situationally. The way I see it, the power probably is a slow lift and people have the time to get out of the way.

Now... if the victim doesn't know about the boulder, this is an ambush... then I would allow for some damage. It's just a different way of dropping large rocks on foes.

2 more things about this

1: a large object can be MASSIVE. This could be a 8 foot wide boulder....

2: could you build a raft (I think we can agree a "large object-sized raft" is doable right?) and then move it with people sitting on the raft?
 

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