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

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I look at the appeal of each class in its own right.

I view "niche protection" as problematic. If two classes partially overlap at a shared concept, both classes should use the same relevant mechanic for it.
im kind of on the fence, i do wish that there was less 'niche protection through class exclusivity' but i also think that the design ought to make sure not to tip too far into making things too easily available for everyone and anyone regardless of apropriateness.

like wildshape is exclusively for druid, you're only going to be able to wildshape if you have druid levels (barring potentially some niche boon or magic item existing that i'm not aware of), BUT, you could very easily make a ranger or perhaps sorcerer subclass with wildshape capabilities and it'd totally make sense for them to be able to have that! however i don't think that wildshape is the kind of thing that it would make sense to just be able to be picked up through something as easiliy accessible like a feat or a spell by any old fighter or wizard or rogue.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
im kind of on the fence, i do wish that there was less 'niche protection through class exclusivity' but i also think that the design ought to make sure not to tip too far into making things too easily available for everyone and anyone regardless of apropriateness.

like wildshape is exclusively for druid, you're only going to be able to wildshape if you have druid levels (barring potentially some niche boon or magic item existing that i'm not aware of), BUT, you could very easily make a ranger or perhaps sorcerer subclass with wildshape capabilities and it'd totally make sense for them to be able to have that! however i don't think that wildshape is the kind of thing that it would make sense to just be able to be picked up through something as easiliy accessible like a feat or a spell by any old fighter or wizard or rogue.
Personally, I am full on customization. So, I view everyone having access to the choices is good.

At the same time, I feel it is important that each class represents an interesting concept, that is both salient and versatile, with mechanics that actualize the concept well during gameplay. Even if all of the mechanics are made out of "default choices", and it is possible to swap part or all of it, that default is still vital. Every class needs to be a work of art.


Wildshape is an interesting example. The Druid class has a number of moving parts that are difficult to synergize or cohere conceptually: healer, elementalist weather witch, elementalist earth shaper, animal mage, plant mage, gish, shapeshifter. I want Wildshape to be more versatile − in order to focus a bit. For example, if I go all in for weather mage, I dont want to deal with animal shapeshifting, I would rather use the Wildshape to transform into an Air Elemental storming Lightning-Thunder. Oppositely, if I go all in for the shapeshifter, I dont want to deal with the weather magic or any elemental magic, so the spell slots need relevant spells that work with the concept. The healer is always nice and can work variously, like regenerating from shapeshifting or "positive material plane" energy from the harmony of the elements. I like the possibilities that the current Druid has, and would also like the option to narrow down some of the options focus more on concept. The default that is a little bit of everything is ok − I also want more customizability.

If Wildshape is a spell, it would suit the Bard, Ranger, Barbarian (!), and perhaps Sorcerer if there would be some kind of animal bloodline. Maybe even Ancients Paladin.
 


mellored

Legend
I kinda wanna see the Swordmage lean into Strength. Officially, the 4e Swordmage is to excel at agile Athletics.
I imagine the majority of Swordmage spells will involve attacks, not saves.

But I can't see why not offer the choice.

Choose Str or Dex as your casting ability modifier.
 

mellored

Legend
disagree on the specific premise that the things created for classes to work need to be spells, there are already a good few abilities that were made into spells that didn't need to be them (ranger spell list i'm looking at you) but even if swordmage is a magical class concept that still doesn't require that the abilities made for them are required to take the form of spells.
Agreed, more variety would be better.

But the class features could make use of already existing spells.

I.e.

You can cast Steel Wind Stike without expending a spell slot. Once you use this feature you can't use it again until you take a short or long rest.

Or

Spend 5 swordmange points to cast Steel Wind Strike.
 

mellored

Legend
It's not "fair" because it's a blazingly obvious example that doesn't even require a thought of mix-n-match CharOp resulting from other obviously incomplete areas of the rules*
What rule do you see as incomplete?

Level 5 Eldritch Knight with the Mobile feat can action surge to attack 4 people, move between each attack, and cast misty step.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
.
What rule do you see as incomplete?

Level 5 Eldritch Knight with the Mobile feat can action surge to attack 4 people, move between each attack, and cast misty step.
I pointed it out in the asterisk'd point in the post you quoted but I'm going to quote myself to save a lot of effortbecause I previously collected the rules disaster in one post here.
Often only under the most tortured reading of the rules. In 2e & 3.x it might have even been a bit of an extreme case of rules lawyering to claim that. Here are the relevant rules. It starts out with some talk about action costs & similar but nothing relevant to focus items so I'll skip ahead to where it begins to near focus items.

A spell's components are the physical requirements you must meet in order to cast it. Each spell's description indicates whether it requires verbal (V), somatic (S), or material (M) components. If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell.
Thank you Mario but the princess is in another castle! This says almost nothing mechanically so far.
Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren't the source of the spell's power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion. Thus, a character who is gagged or in an area of silence, such as one created by the silence spell, can't cast a spell with a verbal component.
You can't be silenced or gagged if the spell has a verbal component. This leaves out the important bit that past editions made sure to be clear on though & says nothing about loudly strong voice or so on & as a result practically begs for a battle between player & GM if the player really really wants free silent spell by simply declaring they want to whisper the verbal component if the GM disagrees. Still nothing about focus items.
Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures.
Again nothing about focus items. You are left a free hand while wielding the vast majority of weapons, so far almost the entire "casting a spell" section has been useless words for the sake of words & even the sections covered tend to create as many problems as they solve.
Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry. A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in “Equipment”) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell. A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components -- or to hold a spellcasting focus -- but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.
Player:"well I have a component pouch on my belt & my rapier leaves me with a free hand so I'm good right?" -> facepalming GM:..
Component Pouch. A component pouch is a small, watertight leather belt pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell's description).
No. You do not need a focus to cast spells & even spells with a somatic or a material component you only need to have a free hand & a component pouch in your pack/belt. Without once present elements like ASF & ACP that connected to some of those three VSM components it's almost guaranteed that nobody is tracking what gish friendly spells use what parts of VSM & nongish builds aren't considering how they would be impacted to not just equip their PC under the time saving assumption that all spells use all parts of VSM so it probably doesn't even matter what a spell uses as long as the caster is proficient with their armor choice.

.
.
.

That mess was actually made worse rather than changing or adding literally anything at all to improve that with things like a clear requirement written into the magic action itself or by adding a section to/alongside in parallel to the weapons table for different types of focus items meeting the needs & wants of different flavors of spellcaster role/niche. Doing a quick ctrl-F to all of the onednd UA packets the word "focus item" was found exactly zero times but it became explicitly trivial to juggle a focus item in/out of active use in quite a few packets. That trivialization means that it's not possible to have something like a hard to juggle & maybe awkward focus item built for the needs & wants of heavy duty casters who are the most "castery of casters"* without also giving it to less castery gish or even dabbler types because gish types & dabblers don't have needs & wants for things like ease of swapping, discretion, or whatever.

*as Crawford might say
 
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mellored

Legend
I pointed it out in the asterisk'd point in the post you quoted but I'm going to quote myself to save a lot of effortbecause I previously collected the rules disaster in one post here.
Oh. Then either

Components: S, M (a melee weapon worth at least 1 sp)
-though that limits unarmed

Components: V

Sword Casting: You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.


I wouldn't mind those rules to be cleared up, but i also don't know anyone who follows then either.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
I imagine the majority of Swordmage spells will involve attacks, not saves.

But I can't see why not offer the choice.

Choose Str or Dex as your casting ability modifier.
Even better, both Strength and Dexterity can grant the AC ability bonus. Similar to how any ability can be the casting ability bonus.

So, investing in Strength actually matters for any class.


When using Strength as a casting ability, I need to think about what that flavor is. I vaguely remember 4e doing something like that. It wasnt that one need to be strong or mobile or agile in order to cast a spell, it was that the magic empowered ones body. Thus mastering the casting caused the body to become stronger.
 
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