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

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
this particular video came to mind as a good example of what i would expect of a swordmage, no spellcasting performed just Vivi directly channeling ice magic through an ordinary weapon to empower it (though it's possibly a bonded weapon), also displaying summon-to-hand capabilities for it and subsequent icestrike (1:26-1:47) as well as a stronger one at (2:50-2:58).
 

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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.
5e already has many archetypes that are 'person who casts and fights': The point of the swordmage is that they don't cast a spell and then make some weapon attacks like the many gishes in 5e do.
The swordmage is using magic to fight. Not like "cast a buff then start swinging". Like "project the spell through the sword."
There are a lot of existing spells that could represent this, but that is only because there are a lot of spells for everything.

You could represent the swordmage with standard spellcasting, but I think that it would be better to give the swordmage its own abilities that don't require the verbal, somatic and material components. (Many of the abilities might be "As the Steel Wind Strike spell" or similar.) I think that while they are magical, a Swordmage's abilities are probably not something that a wizard could just learn to do out of a book.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I feel at that point it's just a wizard subclass.

Sure, maybe one swordmage subclass could have a spellbook. But I don't think that suits many peoples ideas of what the entire class is.

I don't remember Eragon having to open up a spellbook every time he casts 'Brisinger'. His most known ways to use that spell are empowering his arrows, or setting his sword ablaze.

Tahu didn't have to leaf through a dusty tome to shoot fire blasts at Rahi. Instead he channels that power through his sword.

The Wrath of the Liche King trailer didn't have Arthas studying a book before raising an undead dragon from within the ice. Instead he slams his sword through the ground to let out that power.
I think the part you are missing is that in general a wizard physically and athletically cannot utilize this wizard spell.

It's not setting your sword on fire.

It's learning to fight while being constantly teleported or having a tether attached to your arm or seeing your illusions in your line of sight.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the part you are missing is that in general a wizard physically and athletically cannot utilize this wizard spell.

It's not setting your sword on fire.

It's learning to fight while being constantly teleported or having a tether attached to your arm or seeing your illusions in your line of sight.
Well that and you give the class its own features as well, because it’s a half caster.

You make a swordmage tough enough they don’t need 3 spells active to survive melee combat, and have room for utility spells alongside thier battle magic.
 


CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I’m going back from a page 1 note. At the end of the day the Paladin is the best swordmage to date. It attacks with magic through the sword, it can buff, it can heal itself in or after combat.

So the task is an arcane Paladin with out the holy flavors
true, the only other change i might make to their design is make their 'smites' more of an extended slower burn damage dealer rather than the spike damage of the paladin but that's just me, something like 'add XdY [element] damage to your next Z attacks that connect'
 

Stalker0

Legend
true, the only other change i might make to their design is make their 'smites' more of an extended slower burn damage dealer rather than the spike damage of the paladin but that's just me, something like 'add XdY [element] damage to your next Z attacks that connect'
My general list:

  • Smites using arcane energy. If you want to go elemental instead of radiant seems fine, but otherwise this is a complete steal from the paladin. Smites work, they work well...no need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Give medium armor and shield prof / d8 hp.
  • Wizard spell list (but half caster slots). Might consider giving them shield, misty step, and maybe some elemental attack spells as automatic spells known.
  • Can get temp hp through some mechanic. Kind of like the Abjurer's shield but different flavor, and different from the paladin who heals...but both have methods to deal with damage beyond AC.

This covers the core, you can add other fun elements for ribbons or things like more teleports or xyz.....but the stuff above will give you the core sword mage.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Well that and you give the class its own features as well, because it’s a half caster.

You make a swordmage tough enough they don’t need 3 spells active to survive melee combat, and have room for utility spells alongside thier battle magic.
This reminds me of the Dominions series of strategy games.

It's a battle Turn based 4x fantasy heavily based on gods, priests and mages.

There are many spells in Dominions. However there are many mages in there as well. However in battle many mages lack natural defense and offense. In their robes and armed with sticks, they are squishy and limp. However casting spells to boost their base offense or defense is often bad as it exhausts them.

But some warriors are spellcasters. They don't need spells and blesses to be killy tanks. They start with good offense and defense stats. The spells just make them scarier. The spells can be focused boosting and utilizing these stats. And some spells useless to a robe mage are scary coming from a glamoured elf or tanky legionnaire. No need to waste slots and power on AC and speed spells.

The swordmage would be that strong agile and tough mage who can and would cast those niche combat spells as well as know the same utility spells of a wizard or sorcerer.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
For my version, called the Arcknight I've:
  • Kept them as tough as the other combat oriented half-casters, so they have a d10 hit die.
  • Up to medium armour and shield.
  • Extra Attack at level 5 using the bladesinger extra attack that lets them replace one attack with a cantrip.
  • They have a rune weapon, like a bonded weapon that at its most basic adds their intelligence modifier to damage, dealing cold, fire, or lightning damage. The rune weapon gains improvements at higher levels, things like adding a +1 to hit and damage, making it finesse or heavy, or some other effect. Rune weapons also have the arcane property allowing the arcknight to use intelligence instead of strength or dexterity for attack/damage.
  • Attack cantrips are more versatile in that any which has a spell attack can be ranged or melee.
  • Currently experimenting with 2/3rd casting with a maximum spell level of 6 (1 slot only), but might go back to half-caster.
  • Subclasses are currently: death knight (loosely based on WoW class), aegis (steals abilities of 4e swordmage), bladesinger (moved from wizard to arcknight), arcane archer (moved from fighter to arcknight), elemental guardian (monk-cross), swordsage (gain expertise in an intelligence skill and bonuses related to said skill).
There's probably more but this is going off memory rather than me looking my onenote pages.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This reminds me of the Dominions series of strategy games.

It's a battle Turn based 4x fantasy heavily based on gods, priests and mages.

There are many spells in Dominions. However there are many mages in there as well. However in battle many mages lack natural defense and offense. In their robes and armed with sticks, they are squishy and limp. However casting spells to boost their base offense or defense is often bad as it exhausts them.

But some warriors are spellcasters. They don't need spells and blesses to be killy tanks. They start with good offense and defense stats. The spells just make them scarier. The spells can be focused boosting and utilizing these stats. And some spells useless to a robe mage are scary coming from a glamoured elf or tanky legionnaire. No need to waste slots and power on AC and speed spells.

The swordmage would be that strong agile and tough mage who can and would cast those niche combat spells as well as know the same utility spells of a wizard or sorcerer.
Absolutely.

My Aethernaut ended up not called Swordmage to separate it from anyone else’s expectations and to fit it more fully into my world and its vibe, so they are also alchemists and analytical observers, and ritualists. They have d10 hp, strong unarmored defense, and damage mitigation features, leaving them to focus on offense and mobility and utility with their Aether techniques (which they scribe in thier manuals esoterica and can teach eachother and anyone else that can learn techniques with the arcane tag).

And I’ve been considering moving them back closer to proper sword-magery. But techniques give me more freedom and allows that cross pollination between technique using classes.
 

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