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

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
To be clear, part of why they aren’t called a swordmage is that they don’t have spell slots and all that. They still cast spells though, they just learn how to by learning a technique with the arcane spell or arcane ritual tag. It can be counterspelled, and it usually requires components (if casting with a focus allows you to ignore the material component, you can also perform the somatic component with your Dweomer Weapon), you can only prepare so many at a time, etc.

But the Anathemir (binder/witcher hybrid) also has a book (Goetic Key), as does the Witch (sort of a summoner/wizard/druid) has their own (Book of Shadows) along with their Fetch (advanced familiar bound for life to the witch, each trading part of thier soul to the other). Even the Astari (monk rewrite leaning more into the mystic esotericism a la Agrippa and Thibault) has a book where they keep esoteric knowledge and sword forms and techniques.

This helps make these classes more interoperable, without needing to multiclass. Instead there are MC feats, and you can learn techniques and/or spells from other classes if you find them.
 

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And those aren't Swordmages.

Also, having a spellbook doesn't mean using the spellbook to cast spells. That's...not what a spellbook is. Wizards don't currently use their book to cast spells.

The idea that anyone with a book has to be a wizard is unnecessarily restrictive nonsense. Like if literally having a spellbook and casting arcane spells makes it a wizard to you, there isn't much else to say past that. At that point everything is just two classes, at most. No. Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight should at least have the option of a spellbook, as well. Hell, it should be a common feature to most arcane characters, making multi-classing use the spellbook to smooth out wrinkles, while other caster groups can have other common features. But at the least, a class that is a mage should have the mage spellcasting feature.

If it isn't a mage, don't call it a swordmage. Make a monk subclass.
I've got no clue how you could argue that Eragorn, Arthas, and the Toa are monks and not swordmages. For all of them, a large part of what they do is casting through their weapons. Hell, all of them wear heavy or at least medium armour at some point or another.

The best way to create all of those characters would be as an arcane half caster, with access to martial weapons and armour profs.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I've got no clue how you could argue that Eragorn, Arthas, and the Toa are monks and not swordmages. For all of them, a large part of what they do is casting through their weapons. Hell, all of them wear heavy or at least medium armour at some point or another.

The best way to create all of those characters would be as an arcane half caster, with access to martial weapons and armour profs.
Irrelevant, IMO.

D&D doesnt try to exactly model pop culture characters (anymore). The swordmage should be casting actual arcane spells, and there no reason they shouldn’t prepare those spells and learn new spells while adventuring. Which generally means spellbook.

Feel free to go another way, I’m not bothered. Subclass or variant class. Monk, Warlock, Artificer, even the Paladin with arcane spells, whatever. The Forge Adept Artificer in Exploring Eberron is already damn close. Just add some new spells.

But if you want to tell me that an actual swordmage is just a wizard subclass because a WoW character doesn’t necessarily look the same…🤷‍♂️ I don’t know what you expect.


And like, again, wizards don’t cast spells using the spellbook. They don’t even need the book open or on them when they are casting. Why would a swordmage arbitrarily require it when wizards don’t?
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Irrelevant, IMO.

D&D doesnt try to exactly model pop culture characters (anymore). The swordmage should be casting actual arcane spells, and there no reason they shouldn’t prepare those spells and learn new spells while adventuring. Which generally means spellbook.

Feel free to go another way, I’m not bothered. Subclass or variant class. Monk, Warlock, Artificer, even the Paladin with arcane spells, whatever. The Forge Adept Artificer in Exploring Eberron is already damn close. Just add some new spells.

But if you want to tell me that an actual swordmage is just a wizard subclass because a WoW character doesn’t necessarily look the same…🤷‍♂️ I don’t know what you expect.


And like, again, wizards don’t cast spells using the spellbook. They don’t even need the book open or on them when they are casting. Why would a swordmage arbitrarily require it when wizards don’t?
i think an issue i'm having at least with this interpretation is that any swordmage who has to prepare their magic means they don't know it off by heart and that it's not fully, totally intergrated as part of their fighting style-which, for me at least, is the fundamental premise of the swordmage: martial skill and magic power combined seamlessly into a single combat style, a swordmage who has an extra list of spells on the side (in a spellbook or not) implies a separation of abilities, they're not a swordmage they're a mage with a sword.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
i think an issue i'm having at least with this interpretation is that any swordmage who has to prepare their magic means they don't know it off by heart and that it's not fully, totally intergrated as part of their fighting style-which, for me at least, is the fundamental premise of the swordmage: martial skill and magic power combined seamlessly into a single combat style, a swordmage who has an extra list of spells on the side (in a spellbook or not) implies a separation of abilities, they're not a swordmage they're a mage with a sword.
That isn’t what preparing spells means or represents, though.

It means they can focus on certain spells for the day, with limits to how many they can actively hold “ready” at a time. They truly fully know all their spells.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
That isn’t what preparing spells means or represents, though.

It means they can focus on certain spells for the day, with limits to how many they can actively hold “ready” at a time. They truly fully know all their spells.
sure yes okay they're not actually 'forgetting' those spells but it's still the same basic principle, those are spells they can't access that day, a swordsman never needs to 'prepare' themselves to parry or feint or counterattack any given day, they either know how to do that or they don't (and i know being able to swap out known maneuvres subverts this idea but that's a different issue), and that's something i feel should roll over into the swordmage, their magical techniques being intergrated into their swordplay to such a degree that they just know how to do something or they don't, and by that same measure, swordplay is how they perform their magic, the arcs of their arm, the sound of blade on armour and their measured breaths in battle making up the components of how they cast, a 'shadowstrike' isn't just them casting invisibility and attacking while in combat, making their magic 'spells' is antithetical to the idea of a swordmage to me.
 
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Another reason I'm completely again a spellbook being in their core class is because that's the wizards only unique and signature feature. It's like making core cleric have divine smite, or core ranger have wildshape, or core warlock have metamagic.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
i think an issue i'm having at least with this interpretation is that any swordmage who has to prepare their magic means they don't know it off by heart and that it's not fully, totally intergrated as part of their fighting style-which, for me at least, is the fundamental premise of the swordmage: martial skill and magic power combined seamlessly into a single combat style, a swordmage who has an extra list of spells on the side (in a spellbook or not) implies a separation of abilities, they're not a swordmage they're a mage with a sword.
I don't think they have to know the spells by heart.

Swordmages have trained in antigrav fields to learn to fight while teleported.

Doesn't mean they need to know a specific teleport spell.

The point is the swordmage is the only class that trained to fight while teleported.

Any teleport works.
Any afterimage spell works.
Any energy drain spell works
Any skin spell works.
 

Rystefn

Explorer
Another reason I'm completely again a spellbook being in their core class is because that's the wizards only unique and signature feature. It's like making core cleric have divine smite, or core ranger have wildshape, or core warlock have metamagic.
Metamagic was the wizard's thing when it was invented. None of this is carved in stone.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
sure yes okay they're not actually 'forgetting' those spells but it's still the same basic principle, those are spells they can't access that day, a swordsman never needs to 'prepare' themselves to parry or feint or counterattack any given day, they either know how to do that or they don't (and i know being able to swap out known maneuvres subverts this idea but that's a different issue), and that's something i feel should roll over into the swordmage, their magical techniques being intergrated into their swordplay to such a degree that they just know how to do something or they don't, and by that same measure, swordplay is how they perform their magic, the arcs of their arm, the sound of blade on armour and their measured breaths in battle making up the components of how they cast, a 'shadowstrike' isn't just them casting invisibility and attacking while in combat, making their magic 'spells' is antithetical to the idea of a swordmage to me.
So use the weapon as the Spellcasting focus.

Seriously dude if it isn’t casting spells it should be called something else. Forget the spellbook for the moment. If spells are antithetical to your idea of a swordmage, your idea of a swordmage needs a different name.

You gonna try to tell me swordmages can’t cast utility spells? Because you want them to be built of entirely new parts from the ground up for some reason?

And while a swordfighter should have the fundamentals as class features or at-wills, advanced moves don’t just stay in the muscle memory forever if you are not using and practicing them. I care much more that they can learn new moves from other swordmages than that they have perfect verisimilitude in how muscle memory works.

And to @Minigiant ’s point, you can give them features modify types of spells. When they teleport as a bonus action they can add Int mod to damage on thier next hit. When they teleport as an action they can make an attack as part of the same action. If they fall onto an enemy, such as after teleporting above them, they can reduce the falling damage and deal that damage to the enemy instead.

Then give them at-will modifiers to attacks or let them cast a cantrip as an attack.

Boom, dimension door allows them to booming blade an enemy on the other side.

Let them change the range of spells with attacks to either melee, and add weapon damage to the spell’s effect, or range x/y and they throw thier weapon to hit someone with the spell.

Then give them new spells. You were gonna have to do this design work either way, but now you can do less of it and get the same result.
 

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