D&D (2024) How should the Swordmage be implemented in 1DnD?

This is the next in a series of threads about how to implement certain commonly requested class concepts in 1DnD, in order to see how people want certain class/subclass concepts handled in the new system. I'm focusing on the most suggested and talked about classes first, and maybe I'll move onto some more obscure ones later. I've avoided the swordmage for a while as I just know that this thread is going to start fires, but now I've covered the other popular suggestions, I guess it's time for the flames.

The concept of a spellsword has had a long and troubled history in DnD, appearing extremely early, but never successfully keeping its own identity unlike the paladin and ranger it has often been compared with. Even the class name has never been settled upon, and perhaps this is partly why it's never stuck around. The eldritch knight and bladesinger appeared early, but never moved the concept beyond 'person who hits and casts'. This was followed by the 3e duskblade which introduced spellstrike, a concept which proved such a hit that it got spun off into the pathfinder Magus. 4e reworked spellcasting, and introduced the swordmage as its attempt at a gish character. This was a teleporting warrior with a huge list of blade and strike type 'powers'.

To many, 5e has felt like a step backwards for the swordmage. Bringing in the eldritch knight and bladesinger again, but going all the way back to the 'person who hits things and casts wizard spells' from earlier editions, losing all the mechanical development gained over 3e and 4e. In its place, the Paladin has been moved in, gaining a much larger variety of smite spells to fill the role of 'magic warrior'. Despite this, the strong divine theme puts many off the class.

So in 1DnD, how should the concept of a swordmage/magus class be handled? Continue to split it among subclasses, or give it a dedicated class?

Previous threads:
Blood Hunter - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-blood-hunter-be-implemented-in-1dnd.695012/
Artificer - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-artificer-be-implemented-in-1dnd.696630/
Psion - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-psion-mystic-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697153/
Warlord - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-warlord-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697300/
Summoner - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-a-summoner-pet-class-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697591/
Shaman - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-shaman-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697756/
 

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Kurotowa

Legend
The bolded one. The One where D&D rarely understands the assignment.
Okay. Next question then, what counts as imbuing your weapon strikes with magic?

Is it switching up the damage type, like Blade Pact Warlock does in UA7? Is it passive damage buffs, like an elementally themed Barbarian Rage? Is it a limited use pool of special effect riders you can add to the attack, like a Battle Master Fighter but reskinned and rethemed for a more magical flavor? Or is it something else entirely?

Do keep in mind, we're working within the balance confines of 5e. If you're a weapon user with Extra Attack, you have a limited budget for adding more damage on top of that. Not "no budget", but we can't go crazy. Especially if we're going to try and fit it as a subclass and not a new base class.
 


aco175

Legend
I think it worked well in 4e when you had encounter powers to use every fight. In 5e those become short rest powers and are not as cool/versatile. Then you need to make the power a cantrip like green fire or booming blade to get things to work like you do. The class powers need to be right to make it work.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Some ideas:

  • 1d10, medium armor and shield, use Int +Dex +10 if unarmored, can still use shields.
  • 1/2 caster
  • change any spell requiring a ranged spell attack to a melee spell attack using INT.
  • Extra attack at 5th, can switch one attack for a Cantrip.
  • Add either + STR or DEX to spell damage if cast as a melee spell attack through a weapon.
  • Put a lot of teleportation, warding and wall spells on the list.
  • Cast Counterspell as a melee spell attack instead of an ability check
  • Advantage on saves against damage spells, can teleport after a save.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Due to not participating in the previous editions my standard of what defines a swordmage may differ from the DnD standard that seems to focus on short range teleportation to supplement standard attacks

My concept of a swordmage is one who’s weapon is used as the medium to deliver various magical strikes and effects, existing spells I would highlight would be booming blade, green flame blade, zephyr strike, lightning arrow and elemental weapon, some of the smite spells too, ice knife is close to their wheelhouse
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Okay. Next question then, what counts as imbuing your weapon strikes with magic?
Closer to this one:
Is it a limited use pool of special effect riders you can add to the attack, like a Battle Master Fighter but reskinned and rethemed for a more magical flavor? Or is it something else entirely?
Magical effects.

Like maybe it throws sparks in the target's eyes, or opens a crack in the earth under them, or doing an air cutter.

Do keep in mind, we're working within the balance confines of 5e.
Do we really? Swordmagi are casters. Balance is for martials. That's how 5e rolls.
 


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