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

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
okay, do we have anything else to bulk up the concept beyond the purely mechanical and ideally theme subclasses around?
I think we've got the core theme down; it's a warrior that trained both body and mind to merge spell and blade. Eldritch Knights are Fighter that have practiced a bit of War Magic (abjuration and evocation), Bladesingers are Wizards that have a bit of Martial Training in order to be both a decent warrior and full wizard. A Stabnerd/Arcane Gish would be a warrior that looked at both of those traditions, said "nah, I can do better", and spent years of their lives honing their body and mind to be able to flawlessly merge spell and weapon.

The subclass could be different traditions/styles of merging spell and blade. I say we take a note from the Bladesinger and Hexblade subclasses, and name some of the subclasses after previous editions' Arcane Gish classes. One can be called the Swordmage, and it would get teleporting abilities and extra prepared spell lists, another can be the Duskblade, and it would get buffs to Spell Striking, and another can be the Battlemage, which could be a 3/4ths caster with some Wizard abilities, like Arcane Recovery. I also think there should be a subclass that leans more into elemental damage types, so either an "Elementalist" or something like "Element Herald" for name would work, and another subclass for an "Antimage" or "Arcane/Eldritch Nullifier" subclass could also be cool. Something like a Death Knight from WoW could also work, getting spells that deal cold and necrotic damage and some necromancy spells.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You could be right there.

What about we assemble a starting list of the archetypes we need and see what that looks like?

My initial thoughts are :

• OD&D Elf race
• 4e Assault Swordmage
• 4e Shielding Swordmage
• Jedi (Knight only? Consular? Sentinel?)
• 3.5e dusk blade
• The Witcher (?)
• Bladesinger (?)
• Githyanki Gish (?)
• Wuxia Sword Saint (?)

What would you add or subtract from that list?
4e Shadow Assassin?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, this thread has made me reconsider my own Swordmage, and I'm likely going to take them more in a Jedi meets alternate Monk direction. I'm going to sort of rethink the monk and my existing Swordmage, and present a class that does what the Monk might do in a new iteration that tries to keep what makes the monk special while dropping the Orientalism, and replacing that orientalism with more broad esoterica via the mystical-scientific hermeticism that was shared and traded back and forth between Europe and Asia (especially South Asia) and (especially North) Africa over the last couple thousand years.
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
One thing people are forgetting is that spellstrike wasn't just a pure damage dealing mechanic. Sure, some options were damage, but many were not. Just making the mechanic '+ elemental damage' takes away half of what it's meant to be.

Giving options for strikes with effects like fear, blinding, paralysed, etc would go a long way to replicate earlier spellstriking gishes.
 

I think we've got the core theme down; it's a warrior that trained both body and mind to merge spell and blade. Eldritch Knights are Fighter that have practiced a bit of War Magic (abjuration and evocation), Bladesingers are Wizards that have a bit of Martial Training in order to be both a decent warrior and full wizard. A Stabnerd/Arcane Gish would be a warrior that looked at both of those traditions, said "nah, I can do better", and spent years of their lives honing their body and mind to be able to flawlessly merge spell and weapon.

The subclass could be different traditions/styles of merging spell and blade. I say we take a note from the Bladesinger and Hexblade subclasses, and name some of the subclasses after previous editions' Arcane Gish classes. One can be called the Swordmage, and it would get teleporting abilities and extra prepared spell lists, another can be the Duskblade, and it would get buffs to Spell Striking, and another can be the Battlemage, which could be a 3/4ths caster with some Wizard abilities, like Arcane Recovery. I also think there should be a subclass that leans more into elemental damage types, so either an "Elementalist" or something like "Element Herald" for name would work, and another subclass for an "Antimage" or "Arcane/Eldritch Nullifier" subclass could also be cool. Something like a Death Knight from WoW could also work, getting spells that deal cold and necrotic damage and some necromancy spells.
and how does it make them more than EK or blade dancer? we need it to have something more defined more iconic not just have power through generic training.
think the origin story.
One thing people are forgetting is that spellstrike wasn't just a pure damage dealing mechanic. Sure, some options were damage, but many were not. Just making the mechanic '+ elemental damage' takes away half of what it's meant to be.

Giving options for strikes with effects like fear, blinding, paralysed, etc would go a long way to replicate earlier spellstriking gishes.
good idea.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
One thing people are forgetting is that spellstrike wasn't just a pure damage dealing mechanic. Sure, some options were damage, but many were not. Just making the mechanic '+ elemental damage' takes away half of what it's meant to be.

Giving options for strikes with effects like fear, blinding, paralysed, etc would go a long way to replicate earlier spellstriking gishes.
Or, just straight up letting them cast a spell, but instead of its effects coming about as normal, its effects are trapped in a magic weapon they're holding until they hit something/someone with it, and then the spell is released. If you want to blind someone through Spell Strike, trap Blindness/Deafness or Darkness in your magic weapon. If you want to Paralyze them, do Hold Person/Monster. If you want to damage them, put a damaging spell in the weapon. Then you can add a clause that makes it so Spell Striking causes the initial saving throw for the spell to automatically fail (if it has a saving throw), and for its attack rolls to also hit the target you hit (assuming it has attack rolls), in order to give some mechanical incentive to use this feature.

I would also give them the ability to imbue a weapon as magical as a core feature (probably level 1 or 2), but it wouldn't be like Artificers, instead it would just count as magical for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance and immunities.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
and how does it make them more than EK or blade dancer? we need it to have something more defined more iconic not just have power through generic training.
think the origin story.
Why do we? What's the origin story for Rangers? They're just primal-magical hunters that go between the wilderness and civilization. Or Barbarians? Fighters? Rogues? Most of those are just "training origin stories". I don't see any reason to have to give them anything more specific. What sets them apart from EKs and bladesingers is that they see magic and blade as equals that can be merged, and that doing that is harder than just being a fighter that casts some magic or a wizard that swings some swords. Combining magic and weapon is the story for the class, how they do that doesn't need to be that much deeper, IMO.
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
Or, just straight up letting them cast a spell, but instead of its effects coming about as normal, its effects are trapped in a magic weapon they're holding until they hit something/someone with it, and then the spell is released. If you want to blind someone through Spell Strike, trap Blindness/Deafness or Darkness in your magic weapon. If you want to Paralyze them, do Hold Person/Monster. If you want to damage them, put a damaging spell in the weapon. Then you can add a clause that makes it so Spell Striking causes the initial saving throw for the spell to automatically fail (if it has a saving throw), and for its attack rolls to also hit the target you hit (assuming it has attack rolls).

I would also give them the ability to imbue a weapon as magical as a core feature (probably level 1 or 2), but it wouldn't be like Artificers, instead it would just count as magical for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance and immunities.
The issue is that 5e has redone how spells are categorised. And it's no longer as neat. It used to be touch spells, but most former touch spells no longer are, and most touch spells now are out of combat combat.

There are some spells which absolutely should not be coming out of a weapon.

I personally love how the paladin smite spells have been done. With a bonus action enchanting the weapon, and it discharging on the next hit.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
Giving options for strikes with effects like fear, blinding, paralysed, etc would go a long way to replicate earlier spellstriking gishes.

One thing to consider is that 5e has really cut down on conditions and what can bestow them compared to previous editions. This may be a response to the prolifieration of conditions and pain of tracking them from round to round in previous iterations of the game. Sure there is probably a spell that gives out most conditions, but many of them have been toned down or are somewhat of a sacred cow (sleep, hold person, Flesh to Stone). For example, outside of a monk's stunning strike, I can only think of Power Word Stun that gives out the stunned condition (and only for one round guaranteed).
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
Combining magic and weapon is the story for the class, how they do that doesn't need to be that much deeper, IMO.
And I believe that's the reason it's been thrown into a subclass rather than being a main class.

The arcane gish has always had cool spellstriking mechanics, but never anything beyond that. All it's ever been is 'fighter but also magic'. Now it's a fighter subclass with a bit of magic, or a wizard subclass with a bit of fighter. But with all the mechanics the spellstrike people loved removed as well.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
The issue is that 5e has redone how spells are categorised. And it's no longer as neat. It used to be touch spells, but most former touch spells no longer are, and most touch spells now are out of combat combat.
That could be an issue with 5e, but as I have never played any previous editions, I wouldn't know how they did it. However, that isn't to say it would be impossible in 5e to make a feature that works similarly. I already have a rough draft idea for how to get a Spell Strike feature (like the one I detailed above) to work.
There are some spells which absolutely should not be coming out of a weapon.
Then exclude those in the text of the Spell Strike feature. Fireball should be available to be put in a weapon through Spell Strike, but Shield should not. Some helpful limiters could be "the spell has to have a Casting Time of 1 Action", "it has to involve an attack roll or force a creature to make a saving throw", and so on. Then explain what happens for different types of spells, like how Spell Striking AoE spells is different from Spell Striking Chromatic Orb. The feature could be pretty complex because of this, but if organized through bulletin points and kept tidy, it could still work and be a good core feature for the class.
I personally love how the paladin smite spells have been done. With a bonus action enchanting the weapon, and it discharging on the next hit.
My main issue with that is Dual Wielding requiring a bonus action, and that they also all require concentration, but I do agree that the formula is good. However, if I were to give a Stabnerd/Arcane Gish their own "unique type of spells", like Paladins have for Auras and Smite Spells, I'd give them Aegis spells like Swordmages.
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
One thing to consider is that 5e has really cut down on conditions and what can bestow them compared to previous editions. This may be a response to the prolifieration of conditions and pain of tracking them from round to round in previous iterations of the game. Sure there is probably a spell that gives out most conditions, but many of them have been toned down or are somewhat of a sacred cow (sleep, hold person, Flesh to Stone). For example, outside of a monk's stunning strike, I can only think of Power Word Stun that gives out the stunned condition (and only for one round guaranteed).
Paladin and Ranger have plenty of smite/strike spells which inflict conditions. I'm not sure what's wrong with giving them to a similar arcane half caster class.

Ensnaring Strike - restrained.
Banishing Smite - incapacitated.
Blinding Smite - blinded.
Thunderous Smite - prone.
Wrathful Smite - frightened.
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
My main issue with that is Dual Wielding requiring a bonus action, and that they also all require concentration, but I do agree that the formula is good. However, if I were to give a Stabnerd/Arcane Gish their own "unique type of spells", like Paladins have for Auras and Smite Spells, I'd give them Aegis spells like Swordmages.
Yeah I think their unique 'class feature' should be aegis abilities. Probably gained at lvl 1-3 as its pretty core to their mechanics in 4e. Smite/Strike type spells are shared among multiple classes (but omitted from any arcane ones, go figure), so having multiple spells following that formula on their spell list is just a nice thing to have.

One ability I was playing with as their first lvl ability (equivalent to lay on hands or favoured foe) was this:

Arcane Warding
At 1st level, you are able to reflexively raise a barrier of magical force to deflect incoming blows. As a reaction which you can take when you are hit by an attack, you gain a +2 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack. This bonus lasts until the start of your next turn.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended uses.

At 14th level, this feature’s AC bonus increases to +3.


4e swordmage got a static bonus to ac, which 5e tries to avoid. So thought this was a fun compromise which required more thought. It also isn't limited to a weapon in one hand, in case you wanted to use other weapon types.
 


cbwjm

Hero
I'd probably make the arcane ward usable at will as it's a similar ability to the war mage. maybe give them a similar penalty of only being able to cast cantrips during the next turn.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Yeah I think their unique 'class feature' should be aegis abilities. Probably gained at lvl 1-3 as its pretty core to their mechanics in 4e. Smite/Strike type spells are shared among multiple classes (but omitted from any arcane ones, go figure), so having multiple spells following that formula on their spell list is just a nice thing to have.

One ability I was playing with as their first lvl ability (equivalent to lay on hands or favoured foe) was this:

Arcane Warding
At 1st level, you are able to reflexively raise a barrier of magical force to deflect incoming blows. As a reaction which you can take when you are hit by an attack, you gain a +2 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack. This bonus lasts until the start of your next turn.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended uses.

At 14th level, this feature’s AC bonus increases to +3.


4e swordmage got a static bonus to ac, which 5e tries to avoid. So thought this was a fun compromise which required more thought. It also isn't limited to a weapon in one hand, in case you wanted to use other weapon types.
I have a feature for my homebrew Arcane Gish class (the Arcknight) meant to accomplish a similar thing. It allows the Arcknight to use an action to touch a creature (they can use it on themselves) and grant the temporary hit points equal to their Arcknight level + their Intelligence modifier, and they can use this ability an amount of times equal to their Proficiency Bonus each long rest. A creature that takes damage and is concentrating on a spell while they has these temporary hit points doesn't have to make CON saves for concentration against taking that damage, unless they no longer have any more temporary hit points left.

It's similar to a Paladin's Lay on Hands, in that it's a support feature that you can give to yourself or allies, but it accomplishes something different (preventing damage instead of healing HP) and has an arcane spin (a limited amount of ignoring Concentration checks instead of curing poison/diseases), and also recharges very differently from Lay on Hands.

I personally prefer my feature to yours (although I'm definitely biased), and a reason for that is that I think that the "protection" part of the Arcane Gish class's identity shouldn't only be useful for themselves. IMO, they should be able to share it, and it should be a bit more interesting than just "+2 AC until the start of your next turn X times a day".

Just my opinion, though. Feel free to ignore it if you want, or pick and choose any parts of it you may agree with/like.
 

Frozen_Heart

Explorer
@Frozen_Heart I would make the Arcane Warding uses equal prof bonus times per long rest, rather than key it off a stat.
Too easy to abuse for multiclass munchkins. Grab a 1 level dip and you have an endlessly scaling feature to stack onto your hexsorsadinlock. I don't mind prof scaling stuff around lvl 3 and above, as you actually have to invest significantly in the class to grab it. But imo lvl 1 features should never use proficiency bonus.

I have a feature for my homebrew Arcane Gish class (the Arcknight) meant to accomplish a similar thing. It allows the Arcknight to use an action to touch a creature (they can use it on themselves) and grant the temporary hit points equal to their Arcknight level + their Intelligence modifier, and they can use this ability an amount of times equal to their Proficiency Bonus each long rest. A creature that takes damage and is concentrating on a spell while they has these temporary hit points doesn't have to make CON saves for concentration against taking that damage, unless they no longer have any more temporary hit points left.

It's similar to a Paladin's Lay on Hands, in that it's a support feature that you can give to yourself or allies, but it accomplishes something different (preventing damage instead of healing HP) and has an arcane spin (a limited amount of ignoring Concentration checks instead of curing poison/diseases), and also recharges very differently from Lay on Hands.

I personally prefer my feature to yours (although I'm definitely biased), and a reason for that is that I think that the "protection" part of the Arcane Gish class's identity shouldn't only be useful for themselves. IMO, they should be able to share it, and it should be a bit more interesting than just "+2 AC until the start of your next turn X times a day".

Just my opinion, though. Feel free to ignore it if you want, or pick and choose any parts of it you may agree with/like.
I was essentially trying to just nab the 4e version and convert it as directly as I could to 5e, while trying to retain the design conventions 5e uses. In 4e it was just 'you have more AC, and even more AC if you have a weapon in one hand'.
 

ECMO3

Explorer
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 respectgully disagree. We don't play it that way at my table, but if you do at yours that is ok.

There are boundaries defined by the class certainly, but IMO those boundaries are very broad and using feats gives you ample space to be well outside those stereotypes for all classes other than Warlock. For some classes, like Rogue, you can be anything.

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.

The classes are a thing because of the mechanics. Let me put it this way. I could bring my character to the game and play for weeks, RAW, without you knowing if the character was a Warlock or a Wizard. If when you did figure it out it would be because you counted number of times I said "sorcery points" or keyed in on words like "arcane recovery".


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.
Background, race or feats can do this for any class though, any character can be sneaky. It is easier for a Rogue because parts of it (specifically expertise and for sneaky cunning action) is built in to the class without considering feats but any character class can be not jsut good but outstanding at these things. When you consider the so called "optional rules" every class has mechanics they can use to make them outstanding. Your barbarian can get expertise in slight of hand. He can get expertise in stealth too and if he does those things and rolls or invests in a high dexterity he will be better than the vast majority of Rogues walking around, not better than all of them, but better than most of them.


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".
IMO, the mechanics ensure a modicum of balance, but there is no problem with ignoring the intended or stereotypical "theme"


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).
But why does that matter? You can still use the only feature that really matters to the build (bladesinger extra attack). With GWM your character will do A LOT more damage in melee than a "traditional" bladesinger and the tradeoff will be a slightly lower max AC (at 2nd level 2 points lower in max AC compared to a traditional bladesinger in bladesong and 1 point higher when out of bladesong). Also compared to a "traditional" bladesinger you can dump intelligence and bump constitution to make up for the slight AC difference.

I get that they are abilities you can't use, but they are abilities you don't need with your build either, so why does it matter?

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)".
We had a Rogue who played in my group several years ago and she found a girdle of giant strangth and a lengendary warpick and she stopped using finesse weapons once that happened. Now that is a bit unfair because it was not part of the original build theme but we had fun and she did more damage then if she had kept using her short sword.

The bladesinger is different than this Rogue example though. There is a huge mechanical advantage to sneak attack so there is a big opportunity cost to not using it. There is no equivalent penalty to not using bladesong if you equip armor and use a great weapon.

A bladesinger not using bladesong because she is in half-plate is the equivalent of a battlemaster not using his artisans tool proficiency. They have that ability, but it is a ribbon feature on that particular build. Now if that battlemaster was a high-wisdom, high-charisma guy with approriate skills who wanted to use it for whatever it would be a different story.


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.
Yeah. You have to build the character you want to play in order to play the character you want to play.

And it is not a "ton of feats", it is two feats - medium armor proficiency and weapon master and only then if you pick a race that does not have these. And you don't even need that feat with some races.

Just to be clear - Any character that wants the GWM feat needs to take a feat to get it, so that is no different for a bladesinger. So when you consider that, the bladesinger is exactly 1 feat behind a character of a class that comes with medium armor, if they don't choose a race that gets this for free.


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. If you want to play an arcane gish (and that term itself is debatable), then build they arcane GISH you want to play and don't worry about the abilities you are not using.


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.
If you want to play an armored GISH mixing magic and melee with his weapons it is.

Going back to a fighter example - A fighter using plate and a greatsword, a battle axe and javelins is not using 97% of the weapons he is proficient in and 92% of the armor he is proficient in.

Another example - a Forest Ranger who follows the party out of the forrest and into a city/desert/dungeon is not using his natural explorer ability. He should just tell the party he can't do that because his character theme is based on being in the forrest. Moreover he must be a Ranger because he wants to play in the forrest, he can't be a Ranger because he wants a subclass feature that gets to be invisible in darkness.

Focus on the character you want to play, not the character you are not playing. There is nothing at all weak about an armored bladesinger. It is still a very powerful melee character.

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.


Do you honestly think it would be balanced to have a 6th-level GISH that can let loose a GWM attack with a lightning bolt kicker 3 times a day? That is FAR more powerful than a paladin smite at 6th level. At 11th level you can actually do this up to two times a day with a bladesinger (assuming a day of rest before adventuring), which is about right, and is STILL way ahead of a Paladin smite in terms of damage, both on that turn and throughout the day.

A 12th-level Paladin going Nova can do weapon damagex2+strx2+8d8 to a single foe. This is normal weapon damage+36 to a single foe. He can do this on ONE turn in an entire day, every time after that turn he smites for less damage. The second time he does this it is +31.5, the third time he does this it is +27 extra. After the third time he does this, he has three first level smites left and at that point he is actually doing LESS damage with a "nova smite" than an 11th-level bladesinger is doing with his always on extra attack green flame blade (assuming the same weapons and ability scores).

An 11th-level bladesinger using contingency and and a 5th-level lightning bolt as above could hit in a single round for weapon damageX2, +Strx2, +2d8fire, +10d6 lightning bolt. This is 44+weapon damage in a single turn. He also does 2d8+int to a second creature, bringing the total to about an extra 55 damage (depending on intelligence). Further the lightning bolt can hit numerous foes, meaning 35 of this would be multiplied many times over.

A Bladesinger can do this once a day every single day, or twice in one day with one day of rest beforehand. A Paladin on a Nova turn smites ONE foe a SINGLE time for 20 less damage. He can do it a second time for 24.5 less damage. At this point he is 44 points behind the bladesinger for the day. He can double smite a third time for about 7 more than a bladesinger, so he is 37 behind. From then on the bladesinger will outrun him for the rest of the day and increase his lead from then on.


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).

GFB combined with extra attack stacks very well compared to smite. At level 5-10 GFB is doing more extra fire damage than a smite using a first level spell slot and can do that extra damage all day. At level 11th it is doing more extra than a 3rd level smite. Comparing Green Flame Blade to smite (assumes 14 intelligence, identical strength and weapons, using attack+GFB and smite+smite where 2 attacks take place):

level 1: GFB 2 more

Level 4: Smite 7 more 3 times a day. Paladin attack is 2 less every other attack for the day

level 6: Smite is doing 16 more on 1 turn, 7 more on 2 turns, after 3rd turn it is 11 less for the rest of the day

Level 11: Smite is doing 16 more on 1 turn, 11.5 more on 1 turn, 7 more on 1 turn, 2 less while still smiting for 2 turns, Paladin doing 20 less per turn for the rest of the day

So in terms of damage the Paladin using smite will be beating the bladesinger by a maximum of about 16 damage and beating him in damage for 4 turns or so the entire adventuring day at most levels. It varies and is more than that at level 5 and 10, less than that at most other levels.

Now there is a lot of caveats to all that in terms of positioning, damage resistance, using smite on hits only and exactly which level you are talking about, but on the other hand it is also with a relatively low intelligence and using no damage-boosting spells (which a GISH themed character should be doing). The point is; with the exception of level 5, the bladesinger using just GFB and extra attack is doing consistently more total damage on the entire day and doing more after just a few nova turns by the Paladin which are overcome probably by the 2nd battle. What is also abundantly clear, is that a character regularly throwing fireballs on top of that damage is not anywhere near a Paladin or any other class in 5E for that matter. You are playing an entirely different game at that point.
 
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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I respectgully disagree. We don't play it that way at my table, but if you do at yours that is ok.

There are boundaries defined by the class certainly, but IMO those boundaries are very broad and using feats gives you ample space to be well outside those stereotypes for all classes other than Warlock. For some classes, like Rogue, you can be anything.
Here's a quote from the PHB's "Classes" section:
Class is the primary definition of what your character can do. It’s more than a profession; it’s your character’s calling. Class shapes the way you think about the world and interact with it and your relationship with other people and powers in the multiverse. A fighter, for example, might view the world in pragmatic terms of strategy and maneuvering, and see herself as just a pawn in a much larger game. A cleric, by contrast, might see himself as a willing servant in a god’s unfolding plan or a conflict brewing among various deities. While the fighter has contacts in a mercenary company or army, the cleric might know a number of priests, paladins, and devotees who share his faith.
*See the emboldened parts that prove my point, and then the examples below it for even more proof that theme/flavor is a part of your class. If you need even more, see the table below that shows the 12 different classes and gives a completely theme/flavor-based "Description" section of the table.

Your table runs it differently from how the game is written. That's fine. Just don't try to use your table's playstyle/houserule to try and invalidate my argument anymore, please.
The classes are a thing because of the mechanics. Let me put it this way. I could bring my character to the game and play for weeks, RAW, without you knowing if the character was a Warlock or a Wizard. If when you did figure it out it would be because you counted number of times I said "sorcery points" or keyed in on words like "arcane recovery".
I think you got that confused, as Warlocks recharge spells on a short rest and don't have sorcery points. I would know what class you are automatically when you use one of your abilities. Even if you went out of your way to avoid saying them, I could eventually narrow it down based on the spells you cast and how you recharged your spell slots.

Even if you mentioned absolutely no class features or spells, made no mention of your hit dice or anything else mechanical that could give you away, if you played it by the books, I could figure out what class you were at the first time you or anyone else said "Spellbook", "Tome of Shadows", "Imp/Quasit/Sprite/Pseudodragon familiar", "Pact Weapon", "Talisman", or "Otherworldly Patron".

Classes are a thing because of flavor. If there was no flavor or theme, it would just be mechanics and characters would only be chosen based on who was the most mechanically effective. Classes were made not to give a pool of different mechanics, they were made to give mechanics to fulfill a theme/idea that someone had for a class. This isn't some "chicken or the egg" riddle (the answer to that is egg), it's "do people create classes to have different mechanics, or do they create mechanics to fill different classes' thematic niches?", to which the answer is undeniably the latter.
Background, race or feats can do this for any class though, any character can be sneaky. It is easier for a Rogue because parts of it (specifically expertise and for sneaky cunning action) is built in to the class without considering feats but any character class can be not jsut good but outstanding at these things. When you consider the so called "optional rules" every class has mechanics they can use to make them outstanding. Your barbarian can get expertise in slight of hand. He can get expertise in stealth too and if he does those things and rolls or invests in a high dexterity he will be better than the vast majority of Rogues walking around, not better than all of them, but better than most of them.
Dude (and I mean this as a gender-neutral dude, I was raised by a Californian mother), you're comparing Apples (Classes), Oranges (backgrounds), Bananas (feats), Blueberries (skills), and Strawberries (race), and trying to replace all parts of a fruit salad with just one or two fruits.

Like in my example, if the Rogue class said "Rogues are sneaky and good at sleight of hand", but gave them no features that let them take the Stealth or Sleight of Hand skills, and someone was complaining about that, it would not be a valid argument to say "well, just choose X-background/race/feat!". Dude, just no. That's not how it works. The class says that it's sneaky and quick with their hands, so the class should have a mechanic that let's them do that. It would be even more disingenuous to say "well, just wait X-levels to choose X-feat instead of actually improving your rogue features if you want that part of the rogue theme!", hopefully for obvious reasons. If a class's flavor text gives you a theme, the class's mechanics should give you that theme.

And, again, you keep pretending like feats aren't optional, or at least are accepting it in the most grating way possible. I've been in campaigns where feats weren't allowed, I have friends that don't allow feats in their campaigns, and I've even met some players that hate playing with feats (which I absolutely cannot fathom from the standpoint of a PC).
IMO, the mechanics ensure a modicum of balance, but there is no problem with ignoring the intended or stereotypical "theme"
And I never said there was anything inherently wrong with that. I just said that there is a line and that there are circumstances where it can be crossed. I even gave examples on circumstances where I feel that it would be unacceptable to say "just reflavor it".
But why does that matter? You can still use the only feature that really matters to the build (bladesinger extra attack). With GWM your character will do A LOT more damage in melee than a "traditional" bladesinger and the tradeoff will be a slightly lower max AC (at 2nd level 2 points lower in max AC compared to a traditional bladesinger in bladesong and 1 point higher when out of bladesong). Also compared to a "traditional" bladesinger you can dump intelligence and bump constitution to make up for the slight AC difference.

I get that they are abilities you can't use, but they are abilities you don't need with your build either, so why does it matter?
First off, you're highly understating the tradeoff. You're trading bladesong (+10 movement speed, +INT mod to AC, +INT to Concentration saves, and the minor benefit of advantage on Acrobatics), Song of Defense (negating damage with spell slots as a reaction), and Song of Victory (+Int to damage while bladesinging). It matters because you're trading all of that in order to get one feature (two if you count the minor benefit of the light armor proficiency to make it easier to get medium/heavy armor proficiency). That's a huge tradeoff to be able to kind-of replicate your theme, and not even in the way that I want. I don't want to play a bladesinger, if I did, I would play one. I want to play a spell-striking Gish, which the Bladesinger does not do a good job at replicating.
1) We had a Rogue who played in my group several years ago and she found a girdle of giant strangth and a lengendary warpick and she stopped using finesse weapons once that happened. Now that is a bit unfair because it was not part of the original build theme but we had fun and she did more damage then if she had kept using her short sword.

2) The bladesinger is different than this Rogue example though. There is a huge mechanical advantage to sneak attack so there is a big opportunity cost to not using it. There is no equivalent penalty to not using bladesong if you equip armor and use a great weapon.

3) A bladesinger not using bladesong because she is in half-plate is the equivalent of a battlemaster not using his artisans tool proficiency. They have that ability, but it is a ribbon feature on that particular build. Now if that battlemaster was a high-wisdom, high-charisma guy with approriate skills who wanted to use it for whatever it would be a different story.
1) Are you really going to force me to amend my statement to "ooh! Awesome rogue features! I can't wait to use them until the DM gives me two high-level magic items that let me be more effective ignoring my class features than actually use them in tandem with my magic items!!!"? That anecdote, although very strange, doesn't contradict my point. The PC didn't ask to do that, they didn't know that the DM was going to give them those items. I assume that most people that do know that their DM is going to give their specific characters certain magic items upon character creation are going to choose to create characters that would better benefit from using those magic items. If the DM says at character creation "You're going to get a Staff of the Magi at X-level", the player's almost definitely not going to say "Okay! I'll play a Barbarian!!!".

2) There's a huge mechanical advantage to Bladesong (+INT mod to AC and Concentration checks, +10 speed, access to the 10th and 14th level features), too. Maybe Sneak Attack isn't a good comparison, I think Rage is more equivalent. Someone that wants to play a barbarian with a high AC almost definitely won't wear Heavy Armor, because that prevents them from using Rage, Relentless Rage, and a ton of subclass features.

3) You keep using false equivalencies. This one is slightly more accurate than the "blowgun" argument of your previous post, but it's still wildly wrong. Tool proficiencies have no in-combat effects for fighters, but Bladesong has a ton. A more accurate equivalency would be telling a character that wants to play a Juggernaut that they have to be a Barbarian wearing Heavy Armor, even though they can't use Rage and tons of other features. Bladesong is a core feature of the Bladesinger subclass (it's in the name of the subclass, for goodness' sake!), just like Rage is a core feature of the Barbarian class, but the tool proficiency feature of Battlemasters is by no means a core feature of the subclass.
Yeah. You have to build the character you want to play in order to play the character you want to play.
No one told the Hexblade that if you want to play a martial Warlock that we already have the Pact of the Blade, and thus we don't need any more martial warlock options. No one told the Unarmed Fighting Fighting Style that if you want to use unarmed strikes in combat that you have to be a Monk or race with natural weapons. No one told the Swords Bard that it couldn't exist because you could just reflavor the Battlemaster fighter as singing while using team-buffing maneuvers, or for that matter, that the College of Valor subclass already existed, and thus that it couldn't exist. Or the Chronurgy Wizard for Divination Wizards, or Oath of the Watchers Paladins for Horizon Walker Rangers, and so on, and so on. No one said "choose the original option, but use weapons/armor that make you sub-optimal" to any of them, so why should they now? "You have to build the character you want to play in order to play the character you want to play" is being directed very specifically to this class that people in this thread and others are asking for, but not any of the in-game official examples of some overlap that was allowed to exist in 5e. Why should an Arcane Gish be forced to specifically choose backgrounds and races to allow for their character concept to exist when no one told the Oath of the Watchers Paladin that it doesn't get to exist because "it can just get heavy armor with a feat, and is allowed to use melee weapons if they want"?
And it is not a "ton of feats", it is two feats - medium armor proficiency and weapon master and only then if you pick a race that does not have these. And you don't even need that feat with some races.
I did say "heavy armor", didn't I? Just checked. Yes, I did. That's 3 feats. Wizards get 5 ASIs. That's 60% of your ASIs and 12 levels that you have to use to just get the armor/shield/weapon proficiencies that an Arcane Gish class would give you in 1 level. Even if you say "just be a Variant Human/Mountain Dwarf/Githyanki/Custom Lineage!", that's 2 feats (well, still three for a Mountain Dwarf or Githyanki that wants Shields) that you have to use that otherwise could have gone to GWM, Crusher/Slasher/Piercer, Fey-Touched, capping out your INT score, or another feat. Additionally, an Arcane Gish class would give you a Fighting Style at level 2, so in order to replicate that, you'd have to expend another feat (and that wouldn't include the Arcane Warrior fighting style that the class would get, which would be a Wizard version of Divine/Druidic Warrior from TCoE).

Even so, this is completely besides the point. The nitpick in me forced myself to point out your error with counting the amount of feats required. This tangent is now becoming a red herring, because a class would solve all of this with one level and not require any ASIs to be used on the class identity.
Just to be clear - Any character that wants the GWM feat needs to take a feat to get it, so that is no different for a bladesinger. So when you consider that, the bladesinger is exactly 1 feat behind a character of a class that comes with medium armor, if they don't choose a race that gets this for free.
I am aware. However, for a Bladesinger to benefit from all of GWM, they have to expend another feat to get proficiency with at least one heavy weapon. That's two feats behind, or three if they're going for Heavy Armor (like I said), or four behind to get a fighting style.

FEATS ARE NO SUBSTITUTION FOR CLASS FEATURES
(Not yelling, just making my point clear.)
No. If you want to play an arcane gish (and that term itself is debatable), then build they arcane GISH you want to play and don't worry about the abilities you are not using.
Arcane gish is a catchall. I'm not debating that term, as that debate and a discussion of it would be a red herring.

I want a class. I have gone in-depth about how a class could accomplish things that the current subclasses couldn't (all armor, shield, simple/martial weapon, Fighting Style with an Arcane Warrior Fighting Style, different subclasses of the class that use the same base features (spell strike) but in different ways and with different spells, an arcane ward class feature, and so on).
If you want to play an armored GISH mixing magic and melee with his weapons it is.
Why? Why is that a "reasonable stance"? I cannot understand it at all. By the same argument, why aren't Rangers a Druid or Rogue or Fighter subclass? Why aren't Paladins a Cleric or Fighter subclass? Why is it reasonable to let a Primal Gish class exist (Ranger), a Divine Gish class exist (Paladin), but not an Arcane Gish?

Does that not seem contradictory to you? Does it not seem gatekeep-y?
Do you honestly think it would be balanced to have a 6th-level GISH that can let loose a GWM attack with a lightning bolt kicker 3 times a day? That is FAR more powerful than a paladin smite at 6th level. At 11th level you can actually do this up to two times a day with a bladesinger (assuming a day of rest before adventuring), which is about right, and is STILL way ahead of a Paladin smite in terms of damage, both on that turn and throughout the day.
No, because I didn't say that. I said that they should be able to Spell-Strike before level 11, not that they have to be able to use Lightning-Bolt in Spell Strike before 11th level (or if I did say that, I misspoke, and meant that spellstrike should be available before level 11, not the specific "lightning bolt-spell strike" combination).

It would not be OP unless you made it be so. I already have a rough-draft for a Spell-Strike feature that would make the feature not be OP (taking an action (eventually just a bonus action) beforehand to cast the spell, requiring concentration, giving the option of losing the spell if you miss enough, etc). Chromatic Orb is just one d8 higher in damage than a Divine Smite (and it's a more commonly-resisted/immune damage type), so I don't think that allowing a level 2 Arcane Gish use an action beforehand to store Chromatic Orb inside of their weapon to automatically deal its damage on the next turn to any target it hits would be OP.

I'm not going to address the rest of your math, because it's doing math on false assumptions about the feature's mechanics.
 

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