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D&D 5E Concepts for an arcane half-caster/gish

Einlanzer0

Explorer
So, this is something that has always been strangely absent from the base class roster in D&D, and when we've gotten it as an "advanced" class in prior editions it's always been a bit lame, like being called "swordmage" and having no interesting fantasy behind it other than being a combination fighter/wizard. Compare this to its closest analogue, the paladin, which is a very high fantasy concept inspired by and named after a group of individuals from real world history - the highest warriors of Charlemagne's court.

It's my opinion that creating an iconic fighter/mage concept that is more than just fighter/mage with a lame name is long overdue. The concept I'm looking to build on for a future homebrew class is called The Argonaut, which would represent individuals trained by professional venturing companies to mix martial training with arcane magical training to be as versatile and self-reliant as possible in their pursuit of bounty or completion of a personal quest, with their subclasses being tied to different Venturing Companies.

What ideas do you have?
 
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aco175

Legend
I like the idea, but I think it will lead to something too powerful over what we have already. Something with full spells and extra attack would be too powerful to me, but others may like it.

I would start with either fighter or mage as the primary and add casting and spells at higher levels. Sounds like a 3rd level path like bladedancer or something , but I think it can be a viable class be itself.

Another thing to think about is if it cannot be built already or by multi-classing.
 

Slit518

Explorer
The concept I'm looking to build on for a future homebrew class is called The Argonaut, which would represent individuals trained by professional venturing companies to mix martial training with arcane magical training to be as versatile and self-reliant as possible in their pursuit of bounty or completion of a personal quest, with their subclasses being tied to different Venturing Companies.

What ideas do you have?

But the name Argonaut doesn't scream any of that for me. It's simply a word defining those who go on a quest, or a member of a band of people on a quest. To me, that doesn't scream Fighter/Mage.

Maybe we can get away with Arcane Warrior? Or is that too generic?

Honestly, back in the day, before 3rd edition, it used to be -

Bard - Arcane
Paladin - Divine
Ranger - Nature

But now a days the Bard does Charm/Enchantment/Ilussionary magics.

Let's come up with some different names?
Battle-caster
Arcane Warrior
Duskblade
Witcher
[insert extra name ideas here]

I like the idea, but I think it will lead to something too powerful over what we have already. Something with full spells and extra attack would be too powerful to me, but others may like it.


I would start with either fighter or mage as the primary and add casting and spells at higher levels. Sounds like a 3rd level path like bladedancer or something , but I think it can be a viable class be itself.


Another thing to think about is if it cannot be built already or by multi-classing.

I assume it would have a similar spell progression to Paladin & Ranger, and only get Extra Attack at level 5. It would have access to Simple and Martial Weapons, All Armor and Shields, and 4 out of the 6 fighting styles.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I feel like we do have a number of versions of this already:

Valor Bard
Eldritch Knight
Swordmage
Bladelock

I've played all 4 of those - and each felt Gishy from the get go. I walked into melee battle and used a combination of magic and melee to get the job done with each.

Valor Bard - this is perhaps the most obvious blending of magic and might. Eldrtich knight - I played a human variant with a feat to get a spell at level one (and cantrips) - so it was very gishy.

Swordmage - Sword wielding spellcasting elf from level 1 on....

Bladelock - This was a bit less gishy for levels 1 and 2 - but we hit level 3 VERY quickly (I think it took about 10 hours of game play to get there).
 

aco175

Legend
I just feel that we been through this before and need to come up with something better than giving a bunch of fighter powers and a bunch of mage powers. It needs to have a role and purpose to make it viable. I feel like I am pooing on the thread instead of helping, not my intent.
 


Einlanzer0

Explorer
But the name Argonaut doesn't scream any of that for me. It's simply a word defining those who go on a quest, or a member of a band of people on a quest. To me, that doesn't scream Fighter/Mage.

Maybe we can get away with Arcane Warrior? Or is that too generic?

Honestly, back in the day, before 3rd edition, it used to be -

Bard - Arcane
Paladin - Divine
Ranger - Nature

But now a days the Bard does Charm/Enchantment/Ilussionary magics.

Let's come up with some different names?
Battle-caster
Arcane Warrior
Duskblade
Witcher
[insert extra name ideas here]



I assume it would have a similar spell progression to Paladin & Ranger, and only get Extra Attack at level 5. It would have access to Simple and Martial Weapons, All Armor and Shields, and 4 out of the 6 fighting styles.

My rebuttal to that is that paladin doesn't actually scream fighter/cleric either. The only reason you make that connection is because of concept link that D&D helped create which was very, very loosely based on the Paladins of Charlemagne's court. Why, then, could a fighter/mage archetype not be very, very loosely inspired by the companions that joined Jason on his quest?
That's kind of the point of my post.
 
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Slit518

Explorer
My rebuttal to that is that paladin doesn't actually scream fighter/cleric either. The only reason you make that connection is because of concept link that D&D helped create which was very, very loosely based on the Paladins of Charlemagne's court. Why, then, could a fighter/mage archetype not be very, very loosely inspired by the companions that joined Jason on his quest?
That's kind of the point of my post.

Wasn't he the Holy Roman Emperor? Wouldn't that make his nights "holy?" I don't think it's as much of a Paladin being a Fighter/Cleric as being a Knight imbued with the power of the faith, and the way they show that is with spells.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Wasn't he the Holy Roman Emperor? Wouldn't that make his nights "holy?" I don't think it's as much of a Paladin being a Fighter/Cleric as being a Knight imbued with the power of the faith, and the way they show that is with spells.

Not really. They were modeled after the knights of the round table, who were essentially just knights. Giving them divine magic was a way of making them more "exceptional" than the average fighter or knight, in the exact same way that naming a professional adventurer "argonaut" would make them exceptional. In my opinion, divine magic is no more implied with being an exceptional knight than arcane magic is with being an exceptional adventurer.
 

mellored

Explorer
IMO: If you just want to can both hit stuff with swords and cast fireball, then be a fighter/mage. Or some combo of that. A more intresting idea would be a class that actaully mixes the two.

And I think the best way to do that would be to expanding the monk's more mystical side.
Add stuff like the last airbender, ninjisu, the western holy monk, and dragon ball z (like sunsoul, but not crappy).

mystic_samurai__re_work__by_topunga_81-dahlv8f.jpg
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I feel like we do have a number of versions of this already:

Valor Bard
Eldritch Knight
Swordmage
Bladelock

I've played all 4 of those - and each felt Gishy from the get go. I walked into melee battle and used a combination of magic and melee to get the job done with each.

Valor Bard - this is perhaps the most obvious blending of magic and might. Eldrtich knight - I played a human variant with a feat to get a spell at level one (and cantrips) - so it was very gishy.

Swordmage - Sword wielding spellcasting elf from level 1 on....

Bladelock - This was a bit less gishy for levels 1 and 2 - but we hit level 3 VERY quickly (I think it took about 10 hours of game play to get there).

None of them are actually that good though and often flawed in some way RAW.

My concept is a half caste rlike paladin with the ability to sacrifice spells for more damage (probably advantage toi hit and less damage than a Paladins smite). Baked in would also be proficiency in con saves, heavy armor and the hand free ability of the warcaster feat.

It would be an arcane paladin more or less with a focus on buffing, damage, and better offensive spells vs smite, healing and aura.

I suppose you can also MC Paladin and Sorcerer together to get something similar (Paladin 6/Sorcerer XYZ takes a while to come online though).
 

Slit518

Explorer
Not really. They were modeled after the knights of the round table, who were essentially just knights. Giving them divine magic was a way of making them more "exceptional" than the average fighter or knight, in the exact same way that naming a professional adventurer "argonaut" would make them exceptional. In my opinion, divine magic is no more implied with being an exceptional knight than arcane magic is with being an exceptional adventurer.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table on the holy quest for the Holy Grail?

Jason and the Argonauts on a quest for The Book of Thoth?
 



steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
My only real thoughts that may or may not assist the creative process are as follows:

1. The name Argonuat makes no sense to me. Who among the Argonauts were spellcasters? Besdies the real world reference that an Argonaut was someone who journeyed with Jason on the Argo. That's all it means. Nothing "fighter/mage," or "arcane paladin" as you seem to desire, about it. Even Jason, himself, - and granted I haven't read their story in some time- didn't exhibit any spell use of his own. Medea, sure. Jason, not so much.

2. If you're looking for someone with historic or myth/legend fantasy basis to hang this concept on, the first/best person -of any pedigree- that comes to mind is Elric of Melnibone. Elric, however, was inarguably a Warlock by D&D's class concepts, particularly accurately portrayed as a Blade Pact Warlock.

Similarly, one could arguably make the case for Elrond (possibly Glorfindel) to be added to list, siting him[them] being the inspiration for the "fighting/magic-using elf-as-class" of early iterations (BX/BECM), as experienced respected warriors who knew magic (or at least the knowledge and wisdom to know about magical things).

I suppose if you want to make a stretch, Gilgamesh is usually noted for magical ability/knowledge as well as warrior prowess.

So, I think those are your primary literary inspirations and should draw your half-caster arcane warrior features from them.

3. If what you are looking for is an arcane paladin, just play a paladin and use arcane spells and bonus spells. Swap out Channel Divinity (or any other feature that doesn't fit the flavor) for some wizard or sorcerer or warlock magic-usery feature(s).
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
You have to start with the thematic space this class fits in. What is their purpose? Their reason for existence? A paladin is a holy knight that has sworn an oath to uphold a particular set of ideals. A ranger is a wilderness warrior dedicated to protect nature and the denizens within. What does your X class do? Come up with an answer with that first before worrying about game mechanics. It's not enough to just want an "arcane half-caster" just because we already have a divine one and a primal one. The paladin and ranger don't exist because we had half-caster spaces to fill... they exist because of their archetype and their mechanics just happen to be half-casters. Give us this class's archetype first, then you can figure out the best way to represent it.
 

Not really. They were modeled after the knights of the round table, who were essentially just knights. Giving them divine magic was a way of making them more "exceptional" than the average fighter or knight, in the exact same way that naming a professional adventurer "argonaut" would make them exceptional. In my opinion, divine magic is no more implied with being an exceptional knight than arcane magic is with being an exceptional adventurer.
I'm sorry, but this really is a stretch. The Paladins, and the Knights of the Round Table, were held up as exemplars of Christian virtue. You can draw a straight line from that to D&D divine magic and alignment. It is not difficult to imagine a Galahad-like character working miracles on behalf of his god. This is not the case with the Argonauts. Imagining Heracles casting fireball is a much bigger ask. If anything, I would expect an "argonaut" class to be some sort of maritime warrior -- the Argonauts were sailors, and the word just means "sailor on the Argo". It's kind of like you decided to call this class "pirate" or "marine" for no particular reason.

You can name your class whatever you like, of course. But if you have in mind an intended audience other than yourself, then I advise you to step back, take a serious look at the feedback you're getting here about the connotations of "argonaut", and reconsider. Because it is likely that, if you were to post or publish a fighter-mage class by that name, you would get the same "What? That doesn't make sense" reaction from your readers. And you will not be able to argue the point with all of them the way you're doing here, nor would it be a good idea to do so even if you could.
 

If you're looking for ideas, there was a class in 3.5's Dungeonscape that portrayed a similar concept of the versatile, self-reliant professional adventurer. It's called the "factotum". I'd describe it as more a of rogue- or bardlike jack-of-all-trades than what you envision, though.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd go with the name Janissary. It feels the idea of a re-interpretation of a real world concept, but within the D&D lore. In 4e, there's was a paragon path (think prestige class) where it explained one of the major school of swordmage was in the Elemental Planes where Janissary served as arcane bodyguard for genie lords. In the FR lore for 4e, swordmages were often depicted as coronal guard of the fey lords or even the long lost Netherese lords, always with the theme of protecting VIP of high arcane societies/nations.

I'd go with a mix of Valord bard and Paladin: Extra attack at lvl 6, full spellcasting from the spell list composed of elemental invocation spells, some elemental conjuration, and many spells from the divination and abjuration school to represent the idea of protecting and contacting a planar power.
1d8 HP
Light, Medium armor
Aegis: add Int to AC, can move it to an ally within 15' as a bonus action, who can use it as a reaction, but lose the AC until start of next turn.
Archetype: Bond of Djinn, Bond of the Effrit , Bond of the Marid, Bond of the Dao
Elemental Aegis: Give resistance to elemental damage with Aegis feature.
Planar Envoy: portal related ribbon
Limited Wish: Similar to the cleric feature.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
[MENTION=6788934]Einlanzer0[/MENTION] Argonaut is a terrible nonsensical name for a fighter-mage. If you're serious about designing this, I'd look to (1) myths, (2) literature, and (3) films with characters that fit the fighter-mage archetype. Shoot for, say, 3 examples of each and then look for patterns – what features do they share?

For example...

(Myth) Sun Wukong / The Monkey King. Described in the classic Journey to the West, but undoubtedly part of Chinese culture long before its publication, dating back to at least the Song Dynasty. The Monkey King was a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices, becoming a warrior, magician, and trickster. He was charming and mischievous, betting with Buddha, and otherwise stealing the spotlight with his over the top persona. His alignment might be described as Chaotic Neutral; he is playful, irreverent, and likes proving his superior skill/cunning/fighting prowess. Among some of his powers are super-strength, jumping ridiculous distances, transforming into a variety of animals and objects, amazing fighting skill allowing him to overcome heaven's best warriors, creating clones of himself with strands of his hair (which can also be turned into animals/weapons/objects btw), commanding the elements, and creating magic circles to protect against demons.

Compare him to another fighter-mage of myth/literature/film, and see if any patterns emerge! If you need a starting point, you could try TV Tropes (Magic Knight).
 

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