log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Giving the arcane gish an identity.


log in or register to remove this ad

ECMO3

Explorer
Agreed that bladesinger seems the closest "as is" that we have available right now mechanically, but for many people it's not "fighter-y" enough and the EK isn't "magic-y" enough, so people are looking for something in-between. Both of those are also missing aspects strongly associated with implementations from past editions and other genres.

Main question posed by this thread though is : what should the identity of this character concept (presume both mechanically & thematically unless OP says otherwise?) be, given how strong the demand for this type of playstyle is, and how many variations on the theme there are. And how do we strike a middle ground between too specific that restricts individual character stories and not enough story background to give it its own identity distinct from other classes. And how do we ensure that mechanical aspects sufficiently reinforce the thematic identity.

That's the challenge.
I really only think you should look at mechanics. In 5E thematics are not really part of the class beyond the basic mechanics IMO, themeatics are built by the player into his character based largely on background and other choices. The class may provide some loose bounds on what you can do, but the sandbox is, and should be, large for the player here.

One reason I think this concept has so much trouble is people are trying to role this type of thematic into a class instead of letting the player define his character and keeping the class about mechanics.

In this respect, I think the premise is a bit faulty as you can build a bladesinger to be more fighter-y than normal through his feats and abilities and you can similarly build an EK to be more magic-y by doing the same in reverse. By doing this, I think you can more than eliminate the middle ground that exists between them.

For example you can build an EK at 12th level that has 6 cantrips, 14 known spells and 13 total daily spell castings (7 slots, 6 once-a-days). That is the same number of cantrips, 1 more known spell and 3 less casts than a full blown sorcerer. That is without tapping any racial abilities at all.

Similarly you can build a bladesinger with feats like weapon master, GWM, fighting adept or tavern brawler to bring more martial to the character while having a lot of spell slots. It is even viable to dump intelligence, buff strength and constitution and pick up medium armor. You would have weak spell saves but a ton of spells to cast in combat on buffs, while still having the bladesinger extra attack for combining melee and magic as well as song of defense.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I really only think you should look at mechanics. In 5E thematics are not really part of the class beyond the basic mechanics IMO, themeatics are built by the player into his character based largely on background and other choices. The class may provide some loose bounds on what you can do, but the sandbox is, and should be, large for the player here.
Theme and flavor text is an important part of D&D 5e classes. There's a reason we have different classes for the Sorcerer (a person whose magic is innate) and the Warlock (a person that got their magic from a magical patron). If they didn't have different themes, they wouldn't warrant different classes, and even with this difference between them, some people argue that they are still too similar in theme to warrant different classes. (Which is why I have Sorcerers be CON-casters in my campaigns, not CHA.)
One reason I think this concept has so much trouble is people are trying to role this type of thematic into a class instead of letting the player define his character and keeping the class about mechanics.
A player decides who their character is, but their class decides how they do that. There's a difference between a pirate that is a Rogue, a pirate that is a Barbarian, and a pirate that is a Wizard, not just in mechanics, but also in theme and how the character is roleplayed. A wizard, a rogue, and a barbarian will all be roleplayed differently, even if they're all pirates. In a large part this is due to mechanics (like a Wizard using spells to help them at sea and a Barbarian being a furious, raging war-machine), but it will also be influenced by the theme of the class (Wizards being studiers of the arcane and Barbarians being primal warriors).
In this respect, I think the premise is a bit faulty as you can build a bladesinger to be more fighter-y than normal through his feats and abilities and you can similarly build an EK to be more magic-y by doing the same in reverse. By doing this, I think you can more than eliminate the middle ground that exists between them.
But that requires you to expend feats to play your character. Feats should be add-ons to your character identity, IMO, not how you achieve your character identity. That's why feats are optional and classes/subclasses aren't, because your class is a more integral part of your identity as a character than a feat is.
For example you can build an EK at 12th level that has 6 cantrips, 14 known spells and 13 total daily spell castings (7 slots, 6 once-a-days). That is the same number of cantrips, 1 more known spell and 3 less casts than a full blown sorcerer. That is without tapping any racial abilities at all.

Similarly you can build a bladesinger with feats like weapon master, GWM, fighting adept or tavern brawler to bring more martial to the character while having a lot of spell slots. It is even viable to dump intelligence, buff strength and constitution and pick up medium armor. You would have weak spell saves but a ton of spells to cast in combat on buffs, while still having the bladesinger extra attack for combining melee and magic as well as song of defense.
Bladesingers can't use half of the GWM feat, and Tavern Brawler is a really bad feat for a Bladesinger to take (assuming you're using BB/GFB). Furthermore, Bladesingers have a restriction on what armor (only light armor), weapons (only one-handed weapons), and shields (none) they can use, which severely detriments its ability to serve as a general "arcane gish" character. Why the heck shouldn't an Arcane Gish be allowed to wear heavy armor, use a Maul, and cast a fireball into their heavy weapon? Why should an Arcane Gish be forced to take feats to emulate their core identity when a Paladin or Ranger gets theirs from just doing their class?

That's one of the main problems I have with this argument. Bladesingers have too many spells and are too limited on their martial choices, Eldritch Knights are too limited with spell choices and frankly suck at merging arcane and martial power in any satisfying way, Artificers have too much baggage from their core class that forces an arcane gish to be a magical Eberron-style tinker, and Hexblades are too tied to the identity of the Warlock class. Paladins and Rangers don't have those kinds of restrictions to their identity, so why should an Arcane Gish?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's one of the main problems I have with this argument. Bladesingers have too many spells and are too limited on their martial choices, Eldritch Knights are too limited with spell choices and frankly suck at merging arcane and martial power in any satisfying way,
I agree but I have been wonder if allowing Eldritch Knights to dynamically swap out attacks or some self defense to enhance spells and similar things could introduce flexibility and similar methods.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Paladins and Rangers don't have those kinds of restrictions to their identity, so why should an Arcane Gish?

I think a difference between the ranger and paladin and the arcane gish is the ranger and paladin found their thematic and lore footing.

The ranger has magic to deal with supernatural wilderness and supernatural nondetection. The paladin is martial arm of a deity, church, oath, or ideology against its enemies. The paladin smites. The ranger marks.

I think finding the organic place and niche for the Arcane gish is extremely important to find its mechanical skeleton.
 

ECMO3

Explorer
Theme and flavor text is an important part of D&D 5e classes. There's a reason we have different classes for the Sorcerer (a person whose magic is innate) and the Warlock (a person that got their magic from a magical patron). If they didn't have different themes, they wouldn't warrant different classes, and even with this difference between them, some people argue that they are still too similar in theme to warrant different classes. (Which is why I have Sorcerers be CON-casters in my campaigns, not CHA.)

IMO, the Warlock is an exception to this because of the stupid Patron. There is a strong theme attached to the Warlock class, but it really is the only one.

I disagree. I think this is mostly a throwback to the older editions and while people tend to play to certain themes, I don't think they are engineered into the class for the most part.

The Bard and Sorcerer are both Charisma-based casters, but you can build almost any theme around either of them. Changing a sorcerer to Constitution doesn't really change the theme at all IMO, it just changes their spellcasting ability.

A player decides who their character is, but their class decides how they do that. There's a difference between a pirate that is a Rogue, a pirate that is a Barbarian, and a pirate that is a Wizard, not just in mechanics, but also in theme and how the character is roleplayed. A wizard, a rogue, and a barbarian will all be roleplayed differently, even if they're all pirates. In a large part this is due to mechanics (like a Wizard using spells to help them at sea and a Barbarian being a furious, raging war-machine), but it will also be influenced by the theme of the class (Wizards being studiers of the arcane and Barbarians being primal warriors)..
I don't think so. There is a difference in how they fight and some of them are easier to align to certain social aspects, but they are not exclusive. All three though get fearsome reputation ability and use it the same way.

The Rogue and Barbarian in particular can be very, very similar, I would argue even indistinguishable in terms of roleplay. You wouldn't know until combat started, and even after combat you might not know just from the description of it. You can easily make a Rogue that is a furious war machine and unless you listened to the mechanics with words like "Rage" or "Sneak Attack" there could be no thematic difference if that is what you wanted to do.

The wizard is a full caster and that is going to bring a different element, but it isn't going to be any different than another full caster like a Cleric or Sorcerer unless you make it so.


But that requires you to expend feats to play your character. Feats should be add-ons to your character identity, IMO, not how you achieve your character identity. That's why feats are optional and classes/subclasses aren't, because your class is a more integral part of your identity as a character than a feat is.

I think the class should not be the character identity. The background, backstory and potentially race should are your primary theme. IMO you should pick a class where the mechanics will work with those things and use the class features, INCLUDING feats to make that.

Remember feats are class features, they are in the class tables and are part of the feat chassis. Unless you play a variant human or custom lineage, your class is the only way to get a feat.

Bladesingers can't use half of the GWM feat, and Tavern Brawler is a really bad feat for a Bladesinger to take (assuming you're using BB/GFB). Furthermore, Bladesingers have a restriction on what armor (only light armor), weapons (only one-handed weapons), and shields (none) they can use, which severely detriments its ability to serve as a general "arcane gish" character. Why the heck shouldn't an Arcane Gish be allowed to wear heavy armor, use a Maul, and cast a fireball into their heavy weapon? Why should an Arcane Gish be forced to take feats to emulate their core identity when a Paladin or Ranger gets theirs from just doing their class?
There is nothing that prevents bladesingers from using the GWM feat, using shields or using medium/heavy armor or using any of those weapons. Take mountain Dwarf, trade one of your weapons for a maul, choose bladesinger subclass and at 4th level choose GWM. You are now a bladesinger that can wield a Maul using BB/GFB with GWM. Pick a different race without armoer and weapons and you can still do it all, it just takes more time to come online.

Now if you want shields too you will need another feat, but if you are wielding a maul you probably don't want that. Take medium armored feat at 4th level instead if you want to sword and board.

Assuming a 14 Dex with shield spell she has a 22AC while swinging a maul, when she hits 6th level she gets bladesinger extra attack combining an attack and magic as one action and can do it with a maul. There are other abilities she can't use, but if this is the character you want to build those other abilities she can't use are not really important anyway.

If that is what you want to build, then yes you should take feats to do it. As I noted above feats are part of the wizard chassis, they are class abilities, you get them from the wizard class. If you want to play an Arcane GISH and Ranger suits you better, then play a Ranger and take magic initiate as a Ranger feat to pick up booming blade and green flame blade. What I don't get is the argument that you should not have to use a feat when other classes do.

Tavern brawler is a fine feat for a strength-based bladesinger if that is what you want. It gives you proficiency in improvised weapons which you can use to make an improvised weapon attack with vials of acid, poision, oil and holy water and it gives you a bonus-action grapple after that (which can be enhanced by spells). You can attack with a vial of oil and follow up with Green-flame blade and get the extra fire damage from the oil on the same turn while also getting a free grapple. You can also use holy water or acid to stop many opponents from regenerating in the same turn you hit them with your GFB (again in addition to grappling them). With the free grapple you can position enemies so your 2nd enemy GFB damage lands more often (in addition to all the other things you can do with a grappled creature). If you add the grappler feat to this you can potentially get advantage on all of your attacks after the first improvised weapon strike, which a huge damage boost. This lasts until the enemy uses an action to TRY to break it. I am not saying that is what you should play, but if you dump W/Ch and run a 14 intelligence this will be quite a powerful melee character.

That's one of the main problems I have with this argument. Bladesingers have too many spells and are too limited on their martial choices, Eldritch Knights are too limited with spell choices and frankly suck at merging arcane and martial power in any satisfying way, Artificers have too much baggage from their core class that forces an arcane gish to be a magical Eberron-style tinker, and Hexblades are too tied to the identity of the Warlock class. Paladins and Rangers don't have those kinds of restrictions to their identity, so why should an Arcane Gish?
I agree on the Warlock, and I have not played an Artificer, but I disagree on both the EK and the Bladesinger and if you find this to be the case I think it is because you didn't build your character out to do what you actually wanted to do and instead built to some predefined stereotype. You can play the character you claim you want to play with either of these.

I will say a Bladesinger can do GISH better than an EK, and honestly better than any other build, primarily because their extra attack feature is better and they get more spells, but there is nothing saying you need to take fireball and hypnotic pattern. Take spells that identify with the GISH character you want to be.
 
Last edited:

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think a difference between the ranger and paladin and the arcane gish is the ranger and paladin found their thematic and lore footing.

The ranger has magic to deal with supernatural wilderness and supernatural nondetection. The paladin is martial arm of a deity, church, oath, or ideology against its enemies. The paladin smites. The ranger marks.

I think finding the organic place and niche for the Arcane gish is extremely important to find its mechanical skeleton.
That's what I'm saying: the narrative side is underdeveloped.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
That's what I'm saying: the narrative side is underdeveloped.
And really only in D&D. Many TT, TCG, or VG RPGs have created narratives for the arcane gish..

And it think its really ddue to the hostility to swordmagc, bowmagic, shieldmagic and all forms or weaponmagic and armormagic.

Like I aid before, it makes total sense for wizards to sell knowledge of spells that would be in better user for the physically fit to warriors.

If the D&D wizard is a scrawny little nerd or feeble old man, do you think he's gonna be the one casting the "make my sword boomerang" 1st level spell he invented? No, he's teach it to the fighter.

That happens 12 more times and some knight is gonna collect all these swordbuffs, armor buffs, and whatever to protect the Empire/Kingdom from the forces of Evil/Chaos or something. Gishes in video games tend to be extraplanar slayers but that crosses with rangers and paladins a lot.

But I still think D&D could use a Constitution based Super Soldier class. Hoping dudes up with arcane spells, runes, artifice and potions to make a bunch of Captain Arcanas is another option.

The returning rebounding shield makes sense as a gish spell.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
IMO, the Warlock is an exception to this because of the stupid Patron. There is a strong theme attached to the Warlock class, but it really is the only one.

I disagree. I think this is mostly a throwback to the older editions and while people tend to play to certain themes, I don't think they are engineered into the class for the most part.

The Bard and Sorcerer are both Charisma-based casters, but you can build almost any theme around either of them. Changing a sorcerer to Constitution doesn't really change the theme at all IMO, it just changes their spellcasting ability.
Literally the only thing that separates the three Arcane Full-Casters (Full-Caster equivalent for the Warlock) is theme. Sorcerers get their power innately, either being born with it or being magically altered sometime while alive. Warlocks get their power from making a pact with a powerful, magical entity/creature. Wizards get their power from studying arcane magic and figuring out how it works. They only exist as different classes because they have different themes. The different mechanics would not exist in the first place if the flavor text didn't exist.

Making sorcerers use CON instead of CHA for their spellcasting ability would at least cement the idea that Sorcerers are innate casters and Warlocks are bargainers that had to sign/make a contract/deal to get their magic. That wouldn't make the theme a ton different, but it would at least make the mechanics match the theme.
I don't think so. There is a difference in how they fight and some of them are easier to align to certain social aspects, but they are not exclusive. All three though get fearsome reputation ability and use it the same way.

The Rogue and Barbarian in particular can be very, very similar, I would argue even indistinguishable in terms of roleplay. You wouldn't know until combat started, and even after combat you might not know just from the description of it. You can easily make a Rogue that is a furious war machine and unless you listened to the mechanics with words like "Rage" or "Sneak Attack" there could be no thematic difference if that is what you wanted to do.

The wizard is a full caster and that is going to bring a different element, but it isn't going to be any different than another full caster like a Cleric or Sorcerer unless you make it so.
Barbarians don't get Cunning Action and have to focus on melee weapons, while rogues have to focus on Finesse/ranged weapons and have way less HP/ability to take a hit than Barbarians. Yes, they can be roleplayed similarly, but they are played in distinct ways and the mechanics influence how the characters are roleplayed.

You quite literally said "mechanics don't influence roleplaying" and moved the goalposts to "well, except for spellcasters, because that's different".
1) I think the class should not be the character identity. The background, backstory and potentially race should are your primary theme. IMO you should pick a class where the mechanics will work with those things and use the class features, INCLUDING feats to make that.

2) Remember feats are class features, they are in the class tables and are part of the feat chassis. Unless you play a variant human or custom lineage, your class is the only way to get a feat.
1) It is not your whole character identity, but it is your core mechanical identity. Race, background, feats, that's all just extras that you add to your character idea to build onto it. There's a reason classes are the most mechanics-heavy of the 3 defining character-building options (race, class, background).

2) No, they're not. ASIs are class features. Feats aren't. They're optional, ASIs aren't. Variant humans are also optional, as are Custom Lineages, as is made quite clear in their text. Feats are optional, classes aren't (yes, DMs can exclude certain classes, but the class system as a whole is a core part of 5e that cannot be taken out without completely changing the game, while feats can).
There is nothing that prevents bladesingers from using the GWM feat, using shields or using medium/heavy armor or using any of those weapons.
Yes, "something" does. Read the Bladesong feature, please. It cannot be activated while you're wearing medium/heavy armor or a shield, and you cannot wield two-handed weapons (or versatile weapons with two-hands) while using Bladesong. They are quite literally incompatible RAW. That's one of my major complaints with the "just play a bladesinger!" argument, because the Bladesinger heavily restricts the possible themes that a true, complete Arcane Gish class/subclass should be able to use (medium/heavy armor, shields, two-handed weapons, etc).
Take mountain Dwarf, trade one of your weapons for a maul, choose bladesinger subclass and at 4th level choose GWM. You are now a bladesinger that can wield a Maul using BB/GFB with GWM. Pick a different race without armoer and weapons and you can still do it all, it just takes more time to come online. You are now a bladesinger that can wield a Maul using BB/GFB with GWM. Pick a different race without armoer and weapons and you can still do it all, it just takes more time to come online.

Now if you want shields too you will need another feat, but if you are wielding a maul you probably don't want that. Take medium armored feat at 4th level instead if you want to sword and board.

Assuming a 14 Dex with shield spell she has a 22AC while swinging a maul, when she hits 6th level she gets bladesinger extra attack combining an attack and magic as one action and can do it with a maul. There are other abilities she can't use, but if this is the character you want to build those other abilities she can't use are not really important anyway.

If that is what you want to build, then yes you should take feats to do it. As I noted above feats are part of the wizard chassis, they are class abilities, you get them from the wizard class. If you want to play an Arcane GISH and Ranger suits you better, then play a Ranger and take magic initiate as a Ranger feat to pick up booming blade and green flame blade. What I don't get is the argument that you should not have to use a feat when other classes do.
I addressed all of this above. Again, read Bladesong to see why all of this is wrong.
Tavern brawler is a fine feat for a strength-based bladesinger if that is what you want. It gives you proficiency in improvised weapons which you can use to make an improvised weapon attack with vials of acid, poision, oil and holy water and it gives you a bonus-action grapple after that (which can be enhanced by spells). You can attack with a vial of oil and follow up with Green-flame blade and get the extra fire damage from the oil on the same turn while also getting a free grapple. You can also use holy water or acid to stop many opponents from regenerating in the same turn you hit them with your GFB (again in addition to grappling them). With the free grapple you can position enemies so your 2nd enemy GFB damage lands more often (in addition to all the other things you can do with a grappled creature). If you add the grappler feat to this you can potentially get advantage on all of your attacks after the first improvised weapon strike, which a huge damage boost. This lasts until the enemy uses an action to TRY to break it. I am not saying that is what you should play, and you will need to either run a relatively low intelligence or dump social skills completely to do it well but it is totally viable as a play style
Tavern Brawler a) doesn't turn a Bladesinger into the Arcane Gish that we want, and b) even if it did, it would take a feat to do so. Paladins don't require feats to be paladins, so neither should Stabnerds.
I agree on the Warlock, and I have not played an Artificer, but I disagree on both the EK and the Bladesinger and if you find this to be the case I think it is because you didn't build your character out to do what you actually wanted to do and instead built to some predefined stereotype. You can play the character you claim you want to play with either of these.


I will say a Bladesinger can do GISH better than an EK, and honestly better than any other build, primarily because their extra attack feature is better and they get more spells, but there is nothing saying you need to take fireball and hypnotic pattern. Take spells that identify with the GISH character you want to be.
Thank you so very much for telling me that I didn't think about my character build enough. That truly means a lot.

Please do mind the causticity, though I do feel that it's warranted. It is quite rude to say "if you aren't satisfied with the options available to you, it's because you did it wrong!", and I very much do not appreciate that and will ask you to never do that again to me or anyone else in the future.

I detailed why Bladesingers don't work (and explained why they didn't work how you thought they did). I detailed why Eldritch Knights don't work (largely because of them being restricted to only 4th level spells, them automatically gaining cantrips, even though Rangers and Paladins don't, them being restricted to basically just two schools of magic from the Wizard spell list, and they can't prepare spells the way that a true practitioner of merging spell and sword should be able to (in my mind, anyway), and they're not at all good at merging spells with swords in any form (and no, just spamming Shadow-Blade and GFB/BB doesn't count).

I can't play a mediumly-armored Elf that puts a lightning bolt into a scimitar that is released when the spell hits, or a Dwarf with a dwarven thrower that releases a fireball when it hits a giant in the face, or anything else that screams "merging arcane spell and weapon with each other".
 

ECMO3

Explorer
Literally the only thing that separates the three Arcane Full-Casters (Full-Caster equivalent for the Warlock) is theme. Sorcerers get their power innately, either being born with it or being magically altered sometime while alive. Warlocks get their power from making a pact with a powerful, magical entity/creature. Wizards get their power from studying arcane magic and figuring out how it works.
That is not true for wizards and sorcerers as long as you meet the mechanical rues for the class and subclass you can make the character any theme you want.

You are making things up if you think the wizard has to be some guy with a Robe a pointy hat and a beard who spends his spare time studying and pouring over books.


They only exist as different classes because they have different themes. The different mechanics would not exist in the first place if the flavor text didn't exist.
Not true. The mechanics are entirely different and there is nothing in the rules that states your sorcerer did not experiment or study to learn how to use his abilities.

Making sorcerers use CON instead of CHA for their spellcasting ability would at least cement the idea that Sorcerers are innate casters and Warlocks are bargainers that had to sign/make a contract/deal to get their magic. That wouldn't make the theme a ton different, but it would at least make the mechanics match the theme.
Or you could make all 6 full caster classes strength based and make the exact same argument. This bit of homebrew is fine, but it is words in the rules with a secondary mechanical effect base don the ability you choose. It has little or nothing to do with the theme of the character or how you play them.

Barbarians don't get Cunning Action and have to focus on melee weapons, while rogues have to focus on Finesse/ranged weapons and have way less HP/ability to take a hit than Barbarians. Yes, they can be roleplayed similarly, but they are played in distinct ways and the mechanics influence how the characters are roleplayed.
You can have either player be a bruising mass of destruction and you can have barbarians use finesse weapons and both Rogues and Barbarians can use strength for damage on melee finesse weapons. I did not say you had to play the characters essentially the same, and the Rogue has a lot more options but you can play the characters essentially the same. It is technical words only related to the mechanics that separates them.

How they are played is entirely up to you, but you can have a bruising hulking melee Rogue who does just fine.


You quite literally said "mechanics don't influence roleplaying" and moved the goalposts to "well, except for spellcasters, because that's different".
Ok. Characters who are not spellcasters can not cast spells. That is true. Call it moving the goalposts if you want.


2) No, they're not. ASIs are class features. Feats aren't. They're optional, ASIs aren't. Variant humans are also optional, as are Custom Lineages, as is made quite clear in their text.
Ok then you have the "option" to use your class abilities to take feats and develop the character you want to develop.

Whether it is optional or not it is rules as written and I find it disingenuous to use the lame excuse that something RAW is "optional" in an argument on why we need an entirely new homebrew class added to the game.

Yes, "something" does. Read the Bladesong feature, please. It cannot be activated while you're wearing medium/heavy armor or a shield, and you cannot wield two-handed weapons (or versatile weapons with two-hands) while using Bladesong. They are quite literally incompatible RAW. That's one of my major complaints with the "just play a bladesinger!" argument, because the Bladesinger heavily restricts the possible themes that a true, complete Arcane Gish class/subclass should be able to use (medium/heavy armor, shields, two-handed weapons, etc).
Nothing stops a bladesinger from using a heavy weapon, using medium (or even heavy) armor or a shield. All it stops is the bladesong and song defense ability while in/using these.

Now if you think the "theme" of your bladesinger must absolutely include using the bladesong ability, then you are right you can't do that but nothing says your bladesinger must use bladesong. It is a myth that a bladesinger has to be played that way. Saying a bladesinger MUST use bladesong because she has that ability is like saying a fighter MUST use a blowgun because he has blowgun proficiency. It is not true. Yes it is an ability every bladesinger has, but it is not something you need to use and with medium armor the bladesinger can still have a very high AC without ever using bladesong.

What a bladesinger does have while using armor and a heavy weapons is what you say matters - mixing attacks and spells with their special extra attack feature.



I addressed all of this above. Again, read Bladesong to see why all of this is wrong.

Again I am not wrong, you are. RAW the only class (or subclass) restricted from certain armors is the Druid and none of the classes are restricted from using certain weapons.

Please cite the page number and exact text where it states someone who has taken the bladesong subclass can never use medium/heavy armor or any two-handed weapon.

I even said in my post above "There are other abilities she can't use, but if this is the character you want to build those other abilities she can't use are not really important anyway."


I detailed why Bladesingers don't work (and explained why they didn't work how you thought they did).
No you haven't, not really. You cited something that is not true about the bladesinger and then articulated that you don't think you should have to use class-given feats to build the character you want.


I can't play a mediumly-armored Elf that puts a lightning bolt into a scimitar that is released when the spell hits, or a Dwarf with a dwarven thrower that releases a fireball when it hits a giant in the face, or anything else that screams "merging arcane spell and weapon with each other".

Yes you can do this RAW.

Cast contingency with lighting bolt or fireball and make the stipulation "released when the weapon hits" or "releases a fireball when I hit something in the face while screaming merging arcane spell and weapon with each other". It is totally doable, and gets you exactly what you say you are after in both thematics AND mechanics.

In terms of thematics I think you get the same effect from the attack cantrips or for that matter absorb elements.
 
Last edited:

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
That is not true for wizards and sorcerers as long as you meet the mechanical rues for the class and subclass you can make the character any theme you want.

You are making things up if you think the wizard has to be some guy with a Robe a pointy hat and a beard who spends his spare time studying and pouring over books.
Theme is a part of the class. Certain classes are more open with their theme (Fighter, Artificer, Wizard), and some are more closed off/strict (Warlock, Paladin, Cleric). I'm not saying that wizards have to be the literal embodiment of every D&D wizard stereotype in the game, I'm saying, as 5e is written, they have to have studied magic to get their power. Warlocks have to make a pact with an otherworldly being to get their magic. Sorcerers have to be born with their magic/transformed by magic in order to get their powers. There are thematic differences between classes, while there are also space for plenty of different character options using these classes. However, that is no argument against adding a new class. "Reflavor it" is not and never has been a valid argument against adding a new class. If it were, we would only need one class in the game, and every ability could literally be anything you want it to be, you just have to reflavor it to be what you want.
Not true. The mechanics are entirely different and there is nothing in the rules that states your sorcerer did not experiment to learn how to use his abilities.
The sorcerer and warlock classes literally would not be a thing if thematic differences weren't an important part of class identity. There would be absolutely no reason to have them. Mechanics is how you differentiate the classes based on their theme. Theme is how you make a class, mechanics is how you get it to work.
Or you could make all 6 full caster classes strength based and make the exact same argument. This bit of homebrew is fine, but it is words in the rules with a secondary mechanical effect. It has nothing to do with the theme of the character or how you play them.
Like I said above, mechanics are how your class shows its theme. If the Rogue was said to be "sneaky and good at sleight of hand" but had absolutely no mechanics to show this bit of flavor text, that would be a problem. IMO, the same applies to Sorcerers, with their magic coming innately, and CON being the ability score that best shows "innate ability", IMO. It is a mechanical effect to help show the theme of the class. Mechanics exist to show the theme of the class. That's why Wizards are Intelligence based, that's why Bards are Charisma based, and that's why Rogues are Dexterity based.
You can have either player be a bruising mass of destruction and you can have barbarians use finesse weapons and both Rogues and Barbarians can use strength for damage on melee weapons. I did not say you had to play the characters essentially the same, and the Rogue has a lot more options but you can play the characters essentially the same. It is technical words only related to the mechanics that separates them.

How they are played is entirely up to you, but you can have a bruising melee Rogue who does just fine.
Reflavoring is all fine and dandy, but there is a line to draw. If I reflavored the Attack action to being psionic-attacks and a Greatsword to be a mental focus, that's entirely possible through reflavoring, but that seems like crossing that line to me. I also feel that reflavoring another class as an Arcane Gish class is crossing the line, especially when the mechanics of the class/subclass that is being used that way to also be crossing the line of "great reflavoring!" to "that's too far/too much reflavoring".

You can definitely have a brutish, melee rogue, but they still have the rogue abilities. You can have a stealthy, silent barbarian, but they still have the barbarian abilities. There's only so much reflavoring that you can do before it is too much. Sure, Conan the Barbarian works as either a Rogue or Barbarian (even a Fighter), but others don't work.
Ok. Characters who are not spellcasters can not cast spells. That is true. Call it moving the goalposts if you want.
I mean, yeah, that's like the definition of Moving the Goalposts.

Yes, spellcasters are different from non-spellcasters. It is also easier to differentiate spellcasting classes from other spellcasting classes than it is to differentiate non-spellcasting classes from other non-spellcasting classes in 5e (different spellcasting abilities, different spell lists, different amount of spell slots and how to regain spell slots, etc), but that doesn't make what I said wrong.
1) Again feats are part of your class!

2) Ok then you have the "option" to use your class abilities to take feats and develop the character you want to develop.

3) Whether it is optional or not it is rules as written and I find it disingenuous to use the lame excuse that something RAW is "optional" in an arguement on why we need an entirely new homebrew class that isn't RAW added to the game.
More goalposts being moved.

1) No, they're not. If they were, they would be in your class. That's like saying dunamancy spells are a part of the Wizard class, because they're an option that certain types of wizards can take.

2) Yep! It's an option. Not all tables use them, and I have seen tables that don't use them (even though I personally do). Furthermore, no other class identity relies on feats to be played. In the PHB, in the Ranger class section, they don't just have a sticky note that says "just play the Rogue with the Magic Initiate (Druid) and Fey Touched (Wis, Hunter's Mark) feats". Or, it's like saying "no classes should get armor/weapon proficiencies, because they can just take feats to get them!"

3) I also assume you think it would be a "lame excuse" to say "not all tables allow/use multiclassing" if someone said that they wanted an arcane gish class, and you or someone else said "just multiclass Wizard 10/Fighter 10". Also, if you argue against adding a class because it isn't official yet . . . 🤷‍♂️ that's a never-ending circular argument. If "we shouldn't add a new class because you can use these optional features to do something similar to that, and then you would be adding a class that would be optional" is true, we never would have gotten the Artificer, and we will never get any more new classes in D&D 5e ever. That's just . . . not a valid argument.
1) Nothing stops a bladesinger from using a heavy weapon, using medium (or even heavy) armor or a shield. All it stops is the bladesong and song defense ability while in/using these.

2) Now if you think the "theme" of your bladesinger must absolutely include using the bladesong ability, then you are right you can't do that but nothing says your bladesinger must use bladesong. It is a myth that a bladesinger has to be played that way. Saying a bladesinger MUST use bladesong because she has that ability is like saying a fighter MUST use a blowgun because he has blowgun proficiency. It is not true. Yes it is an ability every bladesinger has, but it is not something you need to use and with medium armor the bladesinger can still have a very high AC without ever using bladesong.

3) What a bladesinger does have while using armor and a heavy weapons is what you say matters - mixing attacks and spells with their special extra attack feature.
1) Yes. "All it stops is Bladesong" (and Song of Defense and Song of Victory). It literally stops you from being able to use 3/5ths of the subclass's features (and that is counting Training in War and Song as one that they get to use, which is a very minor feature).

2) I mean, yeah, I would like to be able to use the main feature of my subclass if I'm going to play that subclass. No one plays Rogue and then chooses to only use melee weapons without the Finesse property, unless they're playing it ironically. No one is like "ooh! That subclass/class feature is awesome! I can't wait to never use it!". It's absolutely not like saying "fighters have to use blowguns because they have blowgun proficiency", it's like saying "fighters should be able to take the Attack action while wielding their weapon(s)".

3) But in order to get the benefits of a Bladesinger's Extra Attack (which then is limited to only using two cantrips to fit this theme, and only those two cantrips), they have to give up their main subclass feature (Bladesong), and their level 10 and level 14 features, as well as a ton of feats to get proficiency with medium/heavy armor and two-handed weapons.
Again I am not wrong, you are. RAW the only class (or subclass) restricted from certain armors is the Druid and none of the classes are restricted from using certain weapons.

Please cite the page number and exact text where it states someone who has taken the bladesong subclass can never use medium/heavy armor or any two-handed weapon.

I even said in my post above "There are other abilities she can't use, but if this is the character you want to build those other abilities she can't use are not really important anyway."
🤦‍♂️
Is it really so unreasonable for you to accept my suggestion that if you're choosing a subclass in order to replicate the theme of an Arcane Gish, that you should at least be able to use all of that subclass's main features while replicating the theme of the Arcane Gish? Really? That's the hill you choose to die on? "Just be a Bladesinger, but only use one of the Bladesinger's feature!/Literally change out of your weapons/armor whenever you want to use those abilities."
No you haven't, not really. You cited something that is not true about the bladesinger and then articulated that you don't think you should have to use class-given feats to build the character you want.
Yeah, I did, you just chose to make the stance that it is totally reasonable for a Bladesinger to not be able to use 60% of their features while being the Arcane Gish that they want to be.
Yes you can do this RAW.

Cast contingency with lighting bolt or fireball and make the stipulation "released when the weapon hits" or "releases a fireball when I hit something in the face while screaming merging arcane spell and weapon with each other". It is totally doable, and gets you exactly what you say you are after in both thematics AND mechanics.

In terms of thematics I think you get the same effect from the attack cantrips or for that matter absorb elements.
Contingency is a 6th level spell, it takes prep ahead of time to be able to use a theme that is very common for Arcane-Gish type characters, and it takes resources from a beforehand to use later on. Full casters get that at level 11. Now you're doing the equivalent of demanding that a Paladin waits until level 11 to be able to use Divine Smite (their main class feature), or that an Artificer be unable to create Infusions until level 11, and only if they spend a week of downtime beforehand to create a +1 weapon for a minute.

Also, there are only 2 attack cantrips in the game, and those are only cantrips, so they can never be the same in power and scope that a true spell-strike feature would (like I detailed above, by merging a spell like lightning bolt or fireball with a weapon).
 
Last edited:

And really only in D&D. Many TT, TCG, or VG RPGs have created narratives for the arcane gish..

And it think its really ddue to the hostility to swordmagc, bowmagic, shieldmagic and all forms or weaponmagic and armormagic.

Like I aid before, it makes total sense for wizards to sell knowledge of spells that would be in better user for the physically fit to warriors.

If the D&D wizard is a scrawny little nerd or feeble old man, do you think he's gonna be the one casting the "make my sword boomerang" 1st level spell he invented? No, he's teach it to the fighter.

That happens 12 more times and some knight is gonna collect all these swordbuffs, armor buffs, and whatever to protect the Empire/Kingdom from the forces of Evil/Chaos or something. Gishes in video games tend to be extraplanar slayers but that crosses with rangers and paladins a lot.

But I still think D&D could use a Constitution based Super Soldier class. Hoping dudes up with arcane spells, runes, artifice and potions to make a bunch of Captain Arcanas is another option.

The returning rebounding shield makes sense as a gish spell.
so a spell like the destiny Sentinal titan ability? I have a video for it but it is a bit grainy
has anyone taken stock of what we have so far as going through 19 pages is difficult for condensing ideas wise?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
so a spell like the destiny Sentinal titan ability? I have a video for it but it is a bit grainy
has anyone taken stock of what we have so far as going through 19 pages is difficult for condensing ideas wise?
Something like that.

In my mind:
The paladin smites. They channel magic into divine damage to harm the enemy.
The ranger marks. They channel magic into a mark to better find and kill the enemy.
The gish (insert word). They channel magic into their weapon and armor to protect themselves and their allies.

Buffing your shield into a throwable weapon that ricochets around the battlefield and returns after hit or miss feels very gish.

That feels like a 2nd level spell or what you'd get for burning one.
 

Something like that.

In my mind:
The paladin smites. They channel magic into divine damage to harm the enemy.
The ranger marks. They channel magic into a mark to better find and kill the enemy.
The gish (insert word). They channel magic into their weapon and armor to protect themselves and their allies.

Buffing your shield into a throwable weapon that ricochets around the battlefield and returns after hit or miss feels very gish.

That feels like a 2nd level spell or what you'd get for burning one.
how spectacular can we make it?
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I think a difference between the ranger and paladin and the arcane gish is the ranger and paladin found their thematic and lore footing.

The ranger has magic to deal with supernatural wilderness and supernatural nondetection. The paladin is martial arm of a deity, church, oath, or ideology against its enemies. The paladin smites. The ranger marks.

I think finding the organic place and niche for the Arcane gish is extremely important to find its mechanical skeleton.
If I may follow a bit on this... I think one can safely -and accurately- trace the "arcane warrior" archetype back to Moorcock's "Elric of Melnibone." What, if any, literary inspirations there might be before that falls into the realm of myths and legends, I think.

The mystical/magical connections of King Arthur (though we can all agree, Arthur, himself, is not trained in magic use). Gilgamesh was said to be a powerful magic worker along with his physical prowess. (It's early and I've only on coffee one, so that's all coming to mind at the moment.) Oo! The mythic Yellow [first] Emperor of China was said to possess magic powers (along with command armies and battlefields). From there, really, there's no where to go except deific beings who wielded what could be translated into D&D/fantasy RPG terms as "arcane" magic and weapons.

So, working from Elric - we've got "special connection/relationship with their sword" [not that all arcane warriors should have a soul-stealing uber weapon]. We've got conjurer/dealer with elementals, and accomplished worker of spells. We've got armor, nimble/fast around the battlefield, and deft in hand-to-hand combat (specifically swordplay).

Sounds pretty arcane warrior fighter/magey to me.

I also like/appreciate you note "paladins smite. rangers mark." Which leads me immediately to, you're quite right, the arcane warrior class (whatever its name, which is still a problem), needs it's own "signature" feature/mechanic for its flavor damage boosting.

Naturally, this needs to include the use of magic/sorcery/energy to increase their effectiveness/damage output. Falling back into Elric lore, plus the added bonus of a term familiar and immediately recognized by D&D players, what immediately came to my mind was "Evocation." Damage dealing magic.

"The Swordmage [for example's sake] evokes." Calling upon/out the supernatural to do your bidding/assistance.

Signature feature [again, name is purely for example's sake]: "Spellstrike Evocations": add energy types to your damage. Add bonuses to your attack roll! Add bonus to your initiative or give yourself a burst of speed [extra movement] to "get the jump" on a foe. Zap prone or magically trip or shove a target on a successful hit. etc... But you get them when paladins/rangers get their signature moves. Increases/choose new ones at whatever levels rangers add enemies or smite damage increases. So, really doesn't have to be a long list of options built into the class (always leave the DMs/players room to homebrew up their own)

All of them need to be directly related to actions you take while in combat. All of them the direct reaction of applying arcane energy to your attack/move.

The paladin smites. The ranger marks. The swordmage evokes.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The Bard and Sorcerer are both Charisma-based casters, but you can build almost any theme around either of them. Changing a sorcerer to Constitution doesn't really change the theme at all IMO, it just changes their spellcasting ability.
I agree it is not a theme but it can be part of demonstrating/showing a theme for instance it implies the sorcerers power has more to do with biology ie as in a bloodline concept. Changing a Warlock/Channelers casting ability to con might be used to imply it has a physical element for instance maybe the power is painful/pleasurable and that holding focus precision is a physiological.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Something like that.

In my mind:
The paladin smites. They channel magic into divine damage to harm the enemy.
The ranger marks. They channel magic into a mark to better find and kill the enemy.
The gish (insert word). They channel magic into their weapon and armor to protect themselves and their allies.
Strikes/Spell Strikes. Paladins use Divine Smite, Rangers use Hunter's Mark, Arcane Gishes Spell Strike.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
okay, do we have anything else to bulk up the concept beyond the purely mechanical and ideally theme subclasses around?

I still say arcane enhanced super soldiers.

Each subclass is another Arcanist or Arcane culture (Elvish spells, Dwarves Runes, Gnomish Artifice) attempting to enhance the warrior artificially.

Sorta like warlocks but the parton is a tradition and you use swords and axes.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top