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

I have finished my design sprint for my Pendragon class, which is my int-half caster. Once I add the flavor text in tomorrow for the class intro and subclasses, I'll post it with a breakdown of why I went about doing what. I'm doing this because I think its good to make something when discussing theory around a concept, and in this case it's easier for me to share my ideas in the form of something more "complete."
 

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M_Natas

Hero
Which is not doing sword-magic.

It's doing swords, then doing magic.
So in effect, a swordmage could be a Wizard Subclass with the following feature?

"Martial Magic

You can use any (melee?) weapon as a spellcasting focus that replaces the verbal and Somatic components of a spell with a (melee?) weapon attack.

(Optiona or higher level feature: A target that is hit by the weapon attack has disadvantage on any saving throw of the spell that was cast with this weapon attack)"

So whenever you cast a spell that has a V or S component, you do one weapon attack as part of the casting.
 

mellored

Legend
So in effect, a swordmage could be a Wizard Subclass with the following feature?

"Martial Magic

You can use any (melee?) weapon as a spellcasting focus that replaces the verbal and Somatic components of a spell with a (melee?) weapon attack.

(Optiona or higher level feature: A target that is hit by the weapon attack has disadvantage on any saving throw of the spell that was cast with this weapon attack)"

So whenever you cast a spell that has a V or S component, you do one weapon attack as part of the casting.
I mainly want 20 or so more sword related effects. Could be features, could be spells. Could be a subclass that gives you get Thunderous Smite, Steel Wind Strike, and Ensnaring Strike together.

But stuff like...

Shadow Riposte.
Reaction
Trigger: You are attacked.
The attack has disadvantage. If it misses, teleport to a space next to the attacker and make a melee attack against it.

Aegis of Shielding
Bonus action
10'
1 minute
If the target creature deals damage to something that is not you, you can use your reaction go reduce it by 5.
 

So in effect, a swordmage could be a Wizard Subclass with the following feature?
It ought to be it's own class rather being a Wizard Subclass. That class already has the Bladesinger Wizard.

The first Swordmage could have been an adventurer who multiclassed as a Fighter (Eldritch Knight)/Wizard (Bladesinger). ;) They later refined what they had learned from both subclasses into what would later become the Swordmage class and passed this class onto their successors.
 

It ought to be it's own class rather being a Wizard Subclass. That class already has the Bladesinger Wizard.

The first Swordmage could have been an adventurer who multiclassed as a Fighter (Eldritch Knight)/Wizard (Bladesinger). ;) They later refined what they had learned from both subclasses into what would later become the Swordmage class and passed this class onto their successors.
Honestly I do feel that any potential swordmage class needs more of a 'class story' than 'person who casts and fights'. To me, that's one of the main reasons for which the class has never stuck around, or even kept a consistent class name.
 

Honestly I do feel that any potential swordmage class needs more of a 'class story' than 'person who casts and fights'. To me, that's one of the main reasons for which the class has never stuck around, or even kept a consistent class name.
Attached to this post is what I think is the answer to your question. I long searched for a "story" for the Spellblade. That led me to my idea of the Pendragon.

The Pendragon is the Sorcerer of the martial community. They were born with something special about them and called to a Mythic Weapon -- a weapon that likewise was special or born from something special. While the weapon isn't usually sentient -- these aren't hexblades -- it "chose" the Pendragon. Upon taking hold of the Mythic Weapon, the Pendragon has their innate arcaneness unlocked, and just as the Mythic Weapon called to them, so too does the Pendragon's innate arcaneness call to their destiny.

This means that the Pendragon, upon finding their weapon, finds at least one, usually several, mentors in their background that helped teach them how to use their power. This is why they are an Int-based half-caster; they use what they learned in tutelage to evolve the spark of power the Mythic Weapon brushed them with. The idea here is that the Pendragon's Destiny is the Paladin's Oath -- something they commit to and that by committing to it, they come into contact with things that helps "polish" them.

Think of like a wandering arcane warrior adrift in the world whose magical ability draws them to exciting things that they can learn from. These lessons -- the adventures they end up going on with the party -- lead them to becoming the best version of themselves physically, intellectually, and magically. Drawing on ideas of King Arthur of course, but also the huge catalog of mythic warriors with magical powers and their quests to find out who they are/to become better themselves.

It stands distinct from its cousin, the Fighter, since the Fighter can also fit the "random dude" archetype and make that into a compelling character. The Pendragon is still a bit of a random dude, but one with more purpose, again this being the chasing of a destiny they aren't even sure of just as a Paladin lives to fulfill their Oath.

THE PENDRAGON CLASS <--- Here is the Pendragon I mocked up. Flavor text is still rough draft, but everything else here is what I've been thinking about. Some design notes:

  • I used Laserllama's Sorcerer as the model for the spellcasting. He created a Sorcerer that only uses Sorcery points for everything, including casting. It has been through hundreds of playtests, so I considered it a strong model that aligned with my gameplay goals. I took his Sorcerer's progression and cut it in half to fit a half-caster.
  • I created 33 spells for this class to function in addition to 4 cantrips gotten through class features. The idea is that the Pendragon fights mainly with its cantrips, which involve weapon attacks, as do many of its spells.
  • At 5th level it gets a special Extra Attack where, if it hits with the first attack, it can change the second to a cantrip. This is what I found to be a fun way of doing the spell-and-sword gameplay I wanted the Pendragon to have.
  • The Pendragon's Arcane Tactics make it a class that gets most of its power when allies have spellcasting OR are fighting in tandem with it. Just like how the Paladin has auras, the Artificer creates magic items, and the Ranger makes survival easy, the Pendragon uses allied spellcasting to create tactical advantages OR uses its own spellcasting to create openings for other party members.
  • I used some of the new language from Mearls patreon and One D&D's playtests, calling spells by terms like "Level 1" or "Level 2" instead of 1st-level or 2nd-level (but I left this original terminology for class features so it was clear via syntax that these are different things).
  • I made four subclasses. These inspirations come from more contemporary media; the Abysswalker is from Dark Souls, the Dragoon is in a lot of stuff starting with Final Fantasy, Knight of the Round is your typical Pendragon, and the Spellblade is, well, a Spellblade!
  • The 33 spells come from Elden Ring, some animanga sources, and other contemporary fantasy ideas I thought would fit. The rest of the spell list is meant to help this and also give the Spellblade some special options to use.
  • I use a handful of original conditions. Find them below.

Tagging @Quickleaf and @Minigiant.

What does everyone think about this kind of swordmage class?
 
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Note: I also have a list of what othe rclasses could get those Pendragon spells. Only a tight handful of Pendragon only, the rest went to different halfcasters and acouple to warlock.
 

I also use a host of orignal conditions. Here are their descriptions that I forgot to put into the document:

Bleeding
A creature that is bleeding takes 1d4 necrotic damage at the start of each of its turns. This condition ends when the creature regains hit points or after a possible stated duration ends. This condition can be suffered multiple times, increasing the damage by +1d4 time for each individual instance of bleeding. When a stack of bleeding is removed, all other stacks are also removed.

Crippled
A creature that is crippled can only take either an action or bonus action on its turn, not both. This condition ends when the creature regains hit points or after the stated duration ends.

Disoriented
A creature that is disoriented cannot use reactions or Cataclysmic Actions. This condition lasts until the end of the creature’s next turn.

Doomed
A creature that is doomed takes an additional 1d8 damage the next time it is damaged by the creature that doomed it. This damage is of the same type as the triggering damage. This condition ends after the bonus damage is dealt or after the stated duration ends. If a creature is doomed by everything, this damage is triggered whenever the target suffers damage, no matter the origin.





Impaired
A creature that is impaired lowers its speed by -10 and has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. This condition ends when the creature regains hit points or after the stated duration ends.

Provoked
A creature that is provoked disadvantage on all attacks except the creature that provoked it. This condition ends after the provoking creature is killed, or after the stated duration ends.

Staggered
A creature that is staggered temporarily lowers its AC by -2. This condition ends when the creature suffers damage, or at the end of the creature’s next turn.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
@Shardstone I was only able to quickly read the first 8 pages. I like the feel of "Destined warrior with powerful bonded weapon" – it may not be what everyone wants in a swordmage/spellblade, but it is very coherent and clear. The use of magical striking cantrips is smart.

I was very confused about their spellcasting. Is your chart saying that a 17th level Pendragon prepares TWELVE spells of 5th level or less? I couldn't parse the overwritten text under spellcasting to figure out the answer - but if the answer is "yes" (I hope not), that would obviously be broken.
 

@Shardstone I was only able to quickly read the first 8 pages. I like the feel of "Destined warrior with powerful bonded weapon" – it may not be what everyone wants in a swordmage/spellblade, but it is very coherent and clear. The use of magical striking cantrips is smart.

I was very confused about their spellcasting. Is your chart saying that a 17th level Pendragon prepares TWELVE spells of 5th level or less? I couldn't parse the overwritten text under spellcasting to figure out the answer - but if the answer is "yes" (I hope not), that would obviously be broken.
They could only cast 4 spells with their spell points is they were all 5th level and then they would have no spells remaining for the day. I'll note the text I used is from Laserllama partially, but also the One D&D text, which I feel is also overwritten for the Sorcerer. If you have suggestions for fixing the reading of that section, I'd love to hear it!
 

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