Swordmage class

Nivenus

First Post
Hey there. So this is my first attempt at cooking up a class from scratch for D&D 5th edition. It's the swordmage class, which first appeared in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide for 4th edition, although I also drew on similar archetypes like the duskblade class or bladesinger prestige class for 3rd edition while designing it. While I think the Eldritch Knight sub-class for fighters does a pretty good job at emulating the feel of an arcane warrior for 5th edition I felt some people (including one of my players, who played a swordmage in 4e and is looking to convert to 5e) might appreciate a full class dedicated to the concept.

So here you go [Link to Google Docs]

As with my tiefling rewrite I posted awhile back, this is open to feedback and criticism. I'm interested in fixing any balancing problems or other issues people might find.
 
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Khaalis

Adventurer
Ok, here is my full review based on my experiences writing materials so far and some personal opinion thrown in. I look forward to your thoughts.


1) Weapon Bond - I know this is direct from the EK archetype but to customize it slightly for the swordmage, I think I'd add the ability to use the mending cantrip as a Ritual Spell on the weapon. Its a nice magic flavor and power-wise its only a cantrip.


2) Swordmage Warding - Handing out AC bonuses is a tough choice in 5E. That said, if you keep this I think I'd make it a flat +2 bonus to AC.

However, I think I'd alter this to bring in the concept of the Aegis and wrap these two abilities into one. I would make something like this (see below), to have a more magical feel right from level 1, and to be more customizable for the player. It uses the spirit of 4E with 5E mechanics. I do realize this steals the Lev7 power, but I'll get to that later. Stick with me here. :)

Swordmage Aegis
Your martial magical techniques taught you a broad range of skills, but all swordmages specialize in one specific technique referred to as an aegis. Choose one of the following benefits.
  • Aegis of Assault. You gain one of the following cantrips as a Known Cantrip and can cast it normally: acid splash, chill touch, fire bolt, poison spray, ray of frost, and shocking grasp.
  • Aegis of Ensnarement. You can cast ensnaring strike on yourself once without expending a spell slot or material components. Once you have used this feature you cannot use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.
  • Aegis of Shielding. You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.


3) Fighting Style - Since this is homebrew material, might I entice you to add one of my homebrew Styles as its rather fitting?

PRECISION
When you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in one hand and no weapon in your off hand, you gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with that weapon.


Also, since you are offering Great Weapon style, this brings me back to Proficiencies. Considering that the original class included "military heavy blades", I would add Greatsword to the weapon proficiency list.


4) Mythical Recovery - Hmm. Wow.
  • Fluff - I'd alter the first sentence " magical wards" to "magical energy" or "eldritch focus".
  • Mech - charmed and frightened are ok out the gate as a lot of abilities already exist to give advantage or immunity to these 2. Blinded/Deafened might be uncommon enough to be ok. Now we get into the harder ones. Poisoned actually doesn't offer many forms of protection but they are there in the form of advantage. Paralyzed and Stunned are the two most questionable here due to power level. What we should be aiming for (generally) is Divine health (paladin 3), which is an immunity to a low effect condition (disease).

    Additonaly, you do not define the DC of the INT save required.
    * Is it the DC the effect originally had? Is it a flat DC based on your level to give you a 50-55% success rate?

    So, with all that said, this where I would go with this feature:

    Mythical Recovery
    Beging at 3rd level, you can center your eldritch focus within yourself in order to throw off ill effects. You have advantage on saving throws against effects that cause: Charmed, Frightened, and Poisoned. You also gain advantage against effects that cause: blindness and deafness at 10th level, and against effects that cause Paralyzed and Stunned at 17th level.


    5) Swordmage School - Good. Congrats. I feel you need at least 3 fully developed Subclasses to means the class concept is in fact a stable idea for a Stand Alone Class.


    6) Swordmage Aegis @ 7th Level - I applaud getting it into the game, but a tad late for how I see the class developing. However, what we CAN do is...

    IMPROVED AEGIS
    Beginning at 7th level, your chosen aegis improves as follows.
    • Aegis of Assault. Add this benefit: When you use your action to cast your cantrip, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
    • Aegis of Ensnarement. You can cast ensnaring strike on yourself once without expending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, you can cast it once using a Swordmage spell slot. Once you have used both of the triggers for this feature you cannot use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.
    • Aegis of Shielding. You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, you can cast it once on another using a Swordmage spell slot. Once you have used this feature on another you can't use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.


    7) Arcane Awareness - Hmm... At first read over I'm not to comfortable with altering the Surprise round. I think a better, more versatile option might be something like...

    Arcane Awareness
    Starting at 10th level, you can use your action magically increase your perception. When you do so, choose one of the following benefits, which last until you are incapacitated or you take a short or long rest. You can't use the feature again until you finish a rest.
    • Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, your range increases to 120 feet.
    • Eldritch Sight. You can cast detect magic at will, without expending a spell slot.
    • Danger Sense. You gain advantage on initiative rolls.


    8) Impenetrable Warding - If you stayed with your original version...I find this one rather confusing. Why not simply at 14th give them new Save Proficiencies? I'd suggest either...

    Impenetrable Warding[/p] (v1)
    Starting at 14th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw, the creature gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum bonus +1). You must be conscious to grant this bonus.
    ---OR---
    Impenetrable Warding[/p] (v2)
    Starting at 14th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw against spells, you gain advantage on that saving throw. You must be conscious to grant this bonus.


    9) Sudden Escape - Got the concept. One note though is that 5E isnt keen on "multiple uses = STAT mod. per rest". Most abilities of this ilk are 1/encounter. Here is my suggestion for this power....

    Sudden Escape
    At 18th level, you gain the ability to magically evade attacks by vanishing in a puff of smoke in response to harm. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to turn invisible and teleport up to 60 feet away to an unoccupied space you can see. You remain invisible until the end of your next turn or until you attack or cast a spell. Additionally, you have advantage on the first melee or spell attack you make before becoming visible. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.


    10) Maelstrom Blade - Effectively this is a divine smite. Pretty weak for a capstone. I'd make this more akin to the Paladin level 20 cap.
    Either...

    Eldritch Nimbus
    At 20th level, as an action, you can emanate an aura of raw eldritch power. For 1 minute, bright light shines from you in a 30-foot radius, and dim light for another 30 feet beyond that. Whenever an enemy creaturestarts its turn in the bright light, the creature takes 10 damage of a type you pick at activation from: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. In addition, for the duration, you have advantageon saving throws against spells. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.
    ---OR---
    Swordsage Avatar
    At 20th level, you can assume the form of an eldritch avenger. Using your action, you undergo a transformation. For 1 minute, you gain the following benefits:
    • Ethereal wings sprout from your back, granting you a flying speed of 60 feet.
    • You gain eldritch avatar protections. At the time you transform, choose either Magical Defense or Physical Defense.
      Magical Defense. You have advantage on saving throws from spells as well as resistance to damage from spells.
      Physical Defense. You have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.
    • Whenever you cast a Swordmage spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can cast it using a bonus action instead.


    Onto Schools....

    BLADESINGER

    11) Sheltering Ward - Wording is a bit clumsy. Its also not that great a bower spending you Action to grant a +1 AC for 1 round. Might I suggest something a tad more magical?

    Sheltering Ward
    Beginning at 7th level, you can channel eldritch magic into a physical aura of shielding force that grants you and nearby allies a boost to defense. You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you gain a +2 bonus to AC. The aura remains in effect until you use a bonus action to dismiss it or you activate another aura in its place, until you become unconscious or until someone exits the aura's area of effect. Note that while this aura cannot be disrupted like a spell, you cannot hold the focus necessary to maintain a concentration spell while you have this warding aura active.


    12) Bladesong - This penalizes anyone who takes a Fighting Style other than Duelist. I also think the yet another compounding AC bonus is too much. I would reword this slightly to this. It binds the power to the weapon bond and links to fighting style, which reinforces cohesion of abilities.

    Bladesong
    Starting at 6th level, when you are wielding a bonded melee weapon (or weapons) that match your chosen Fighting Style, you can add your Intelligence modifier Minimum bonus +1) to any melee attacks you make.


    13) Song of Celerity - I just struggled with this concept myself. I think I have a cleaner way of stating it.

    Song of Celerity
    Starting at 11th level, you are able to cast magic at a speedier rate than other swordmages. When you use your action to cast a spell, you can cast a cantrip or make a melee attack as a bonus action.


    14) Ward of Force Assault - If you've kept the ward and not made it part of Aegis... I would reword this to:

    Ward of Force Assault
    Beginning at 15th level, you can deactivate your ward and cause it to explodes. As an action, you dispel your swordmage ward, causing all enemy creatures within 10 feet of you to make a Constitution saving throw. A failed save results in 4d10 force damage and the creature is pushed back 10 feet and knocked prone. On a sucessful save, the creature takes only half damage and is only pushed back 5 feet. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before using it again. Additionally, you cannot reactivate your Swordmage Ward again until the start of your next turn, as a bonus action.


    DUSKBLADE

    15) Bonus Proficiencies - Editing catch... "become Arcane Hunter" needs to change to "become Duskblade".


    16) Knowing Strike - This one feels a little weak to me. What resistances are you able to overcome, all? This seems like a corner case for the one time you say run into something with resistance to slashing vs your swords. I might just simply make this Improved Critical?


    17) Combat Casting - I might boost this slightly more by additionally adding you INT modifier as a bonus to such CON saves (as well as the advantage).


    18) Elemental Stance - Other than maybe changing the name to Inflict Eldritch Vulnerability or something. I think this ones ok.



    SHADOW STEEL

    19) Shadow Mage - Resistance to Necrotic is good. The Crit aspect is a bit weak. Instead I'd go with...

    Shadow Mage
    Beginning at 6th level the power of the Shadowfell begins to infuse your body, enhancing both your defenses and attacks. You gain resistance to necrotic damage. Additionally, once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack from a bonded weapon, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


    20) Shadow Shroud -Editing note "low-light" should be "dim light".


    21) Assassin Shadow - Since this is based off of Invoke Duplicity which is a level 2 feature, you might want to make this akin to Improved Duplicity (basically instead of 1 copy, you make 4). Makes it more level appropriate.


    Don't have the time to go over the new spells right now, but I hope I've given you something to chew on. Let me know your thoughts.


    PS - If you use any of my suggestions, any chance of a Co-By Line? :)
    Oh, I' also be willing to offer to reformat these like the classes I have on the download if you'd like and make the final into a pdf.
 

RhaezDaevan

Explorer
In addition to what Khaalis mentioned, there are also typos such as the school of the duskblade mentioning an arcane hunter and several mentions of minor actions which should be changed to bonus action.

I do enjoy the overall concept and wait in anticipation for a version 2.0
 

Nivenus

First Post
1) Weapon Bond - I know this is direct from the EK archetype but to customize it slightly for the swordmage, I think I'd add the ability to use the mending cantrip as a Ritual Spell on the weapon. Its a nice magic flavor and power-wise its only a cantrip.

Hmm... interesting idea. I chose not to alter Weapon Bond significantly because that seems to be the norm when classes share features in 5e and because it's a 3rd level feature in the Eldritch Knight archetype and I didn't want to overpower it for a 1st level feature. But if you think it wouldn't be too much (being a cantrip) I could add it.

2) Swordmage Warding - Handing out AC bonuses is a tough choice in 5E. That said, if you keep this I think I'd make it a flat +2 bonus to AC.

However, I think I'd alter this to bring in the concept of the Aegis and wrap these two abilities into one. I would make something like this (see below), to have a more magical feel right from level 1, and to be more customizable for the player. It uses the spirit of 4E with 5E mechanics. I do realize this steals the Lev7 power, but I'll get to that later. Stick with me here. :)

Swordmage Aegis
Your martial magical techniques taught you a broad range of skills, but all swordmages specialize in one specific technique referred to as an aegis. Choose one of the following benefits.
  • Aegis of Assault. You gain one of the following cantrips as a Known Cantrip and can cast it normally: acid splash, chill touch, fire bolt, poison spray, ray of frost, and shocking grasp.
  • Aegis of Ensnarement. You can cast ensnaring strike on yourself once without expending a spell slot or material components. Once you have used this feature you cannot use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.
  • Aegis of Shielding. You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

I did originally plan on implementing the aegis abilities earlier but given how two of them involve teleportation in 4e I thought that might be overpowered for 1st level. However, your suggested alterations do make them more balanced.

I kind of want to keep the swordmage ward feature though as it's explicitly designed to make up for the fact that swordmages by default can't use medium or heavy armor and so generally suffer from a weaker AC than paladins or fighters.

3) Fighting Style - Since this is homebrew material, might I entice you to add one of my homebrew Styles as its rather fitting?

PRECISION
When you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in one hand and no weapon in your off hand, you gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with that weapon.

I have no issue with this. In fact, it might be worth replacing the Defense fighting style with this one, since swordmages are by default lightly armored. I didn't want to utilize homebrew material produced by other people without asking but since you're explicitly suggesting it, I'd be fine with adding it.

Also, since you are offering Great Weapon style, this brings me back to Proficiencies. Considering that the original class included "military heavy blades", I would add Greatsword to the weapon proficiency list.

Hmm, good point. I overlooked this since Great Weapon style was a late addition for me (when I realize Protection wouldn't work since swordmages don't use shields). I'll change this.

4) Mythical Recovery - Hmm. Wow.
  • Fluff - I'd alter the first sentence " magical wards" to "magical energy" or "eldritch focus".
  • Mech - charmed and frightened are ok out the gate as a lot of abilities already exist to give advantage or immunity to these 2. Blinded/Deafened might be uncommon enough to be ok. Now we get into the harder ones. Poisoned actually doesn't offer many forms of protection but they are there in the form of advantage. Paralyzed and Stunned are the two most questionable here due to power level. What we should be aiming for (generally) is Divine health (paladin 3), which is an immunity to a low effect condition (disease).

    Additonaly, you do not define the DC of the INT save required.
    * Is it the DC the effect originally had? Is it a flat DC based on your level to give you a 50-55% success rate?

    So, with all that said, this where I would go with this feature:

    Mythical Recovery
    Beging at 3rd level, you can center your eldritch focus within yourself in order to throw off ill effects. You have advantage on saving throws against effects that cause: Charmed, Frightened, and Poisoned. You also gain advantage against effects that cause: blindness and deafness at 10th level, and against effects that cause Paralyzed and Stunned at 17th level.


  • That seems like a fair change. It's originally a 2nd level utility (encounter) power, so it probably could do with a little depowering. Advantage probably works instead of an Intelligence save as well (and is actually closer to the original text).

    As a side note it's "mythal recovery" (not a typo). Mythal is specifically a kind of magical ward used by elven mages in the Realms, and the name seems to imply the ability uses a lesser version of one.


    6) Swordmage Aegis @ 7th Level
    - I applaud getting it into the game, but a tad late for how I see the class developing. However, what we CAN do is...

    IMPROVED AEGIS

    Beginning at 7th level, your chosen aegis improves as follows.
    • Aegis of Assault. Add this benefit: When you use your action to cast your cantrip, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
    • Aegis of Ensnarement. You can cast ensnaring strike on yourself once without expending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, you can cast it once using a Swordmage spell slot. Once you have used both of the triggers for this feature you cannot use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.
    • Aegis of Shielding. You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, you can cast it once on another using a Swordmage spell slot. Once you have used this feature on another you can't use it again until you have completed a short or long rest.

    This makes a lot of sense and yeah, if I decide to move Aegis to 1st level as you suggest, I'll probably use something like this.

    7) Arcane Awareness - Hmm... At first read over I'm not to comfortable with altering the Surprise round. I think a better, more versatile option might be something like...

    Arcane Awareness
    Starting at 10th level, you can use your action magically increase your perception. When you do so, choose one of the following benefits, which last until you are incapacitated or you take a short or long rest. You can't use the feature again until you finish a rest.
    • Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, your range increases to 120 feet.
    • Eldritch Sight. You can cast detect magic at will, without expending a spell slot.
    • Danger Sense. You gain advantage on initiative rolls.

    Those are fine ideas, but I feel it's kind of a heavy alteration to what the (Level 10 encounter utility) power does in 4e, which is to make it so you do not
    grant advantage to any enemies until the end of the encounter. However, I'll consider your suggestion and think about maybe limiting arcane awareness in some way.

    8) Impenetrable Warding - If you stayed with your original version...I find this one rather confusing. Why not simply at 14th give them new Save Proficiencies? I'd suggest either...

    Impenetrable Warding[/p] (v1)
    Starting at 14th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw, the creature gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum bonus +1). You must be conscious to grant this bonus.
    ---OR---
    Impenetrable Warding[/p] (v2)
    Starting at 14th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw against spells, you gain advantage on that saving throw. You must be conscious to grant this bonus.


    I like the former, though I'd change it to Intelligence rather than Charisma (since Intelligence is a primary stat for swordmages).

    9) Sudden Escape - Got the concept. One note though is that 5E isnt keen on "multiple uses = STAT mod. per rest". Most abilities of this ilk are 1/encounter. Here is my suggestion for this power....

    Sudden Escape
    At 18th level, you gain the ability to magically evade attacks by vanishing in a puff of smoke in response to harm. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to turn invisible and teleport up to 60 feet away to an unoccupied space you can see. You remain invisible until the end of your next turn or until you attack or cast a spell. Additionally, you have advantage on the first melee or spell attack you make before becoming visible. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

    Fair enough. Adding invisibility and increasing the distance to 60 feet more than make up for decreasing the number of possible uses.

    10) Maelstrom Blade - Effectively this is a divine smite. Pretty weak for a capstone. I'd make this more akin to the Paladin level 20 cap.

    Yeah, that occurred to me. It's actually a level 27 (encounter) power originally, but I depowered it quite a bit since it felt too powerful in its original form, which made the damage, fire, lightning, and thunder all at once. I tried to make up for it by making it apply to every attack, but you're right that paladins get a very similar ability much earlier.

    Eldritch Nimbus
    At 20th level, as an action, you can emanate an aura of raw eldritch power. For 1 minute, bright light shines from you in a 30-foot radius, and dim light for another 30 feet beyond that. Whenever an enemy creature starts its turn in the bright light, the creature takes 10 damage of a type you pick at activation from: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. In addition, for the duration, you have advantage on saving throws against spells. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.
    ---OR---
    Swordsage Avatar
    At 20th level, you can assume the form of an eldritch avenger. Using your action, you undergo a transformation. For 1 minute, you gain the following benefits:
    • Ethereal wings sprout from your back, granting you a flying speed of 60 feet.
    • You gain eldritch avatar protections. At the time you transform, choose either Magical Defense or Physical Defense.
      Magical Defense. You have advantage on saving throws from spells as well as resistance to damage from spells.
      Physical Defense. You have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.
    • Whenever you cast a Swordmage spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can cast it using a bonus action instead.

    Hmm... I like both of these. Eldritch Nimbus is closer to what I was aiming for with Maelstrom Blade, but Swordsage Avatar's pretty similar to borrowed ascension, a level 22 utility power from Arcane Power. I'll think about this. They're definitely more like what a level 20 capstone feature typically looks like though.

    11) Sheltering Ward - Wording is a bit clumsy. Its also not that great a bower spending you Action to grant a +1 AC for 1 round. Might I suggest something a tad more magical?

    Sheltering Ward
    Beginning at 7th level, you can channel eldritch magic into a physical aura of shielding force that grants you and nearby allies a boost to defense. You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you gain a +2 bonus to AC. The aura remains in effect until you use a bonus action to dismiss it or you activate another aura in its place, until you become unconscious or until someone exits the aura's area of effect. Note that while this aura cannot be disrupted like a spell, you cannot hold the focus necessary to maintain a concentration spell while you have this warding aura active.

    Not a bad suggestion, but it's supposed to be a 3rd level feature not a 7th level one. Would that make it too powerful?

    12) Bladesong - This penalizes anyone who takes a Fighting Style other than Duelist. I also think the yet another compounding AC bonus is too much.

    Both good points.

    Bladesong
    Starting at 6th level, when you are wielding a bonded melee weapon (or weapons) that match your chosen Fighting Style, you can add your Intelligence modifier Minimum bonus +1) to any melee attacks you make.

    That makes sense and avoiding penalizing other Fighting Styles.

    13) Song of Celerity - I just struggled with this concept myself. I think I have a cleaner way of stating it.

    Song of Celerity
    Starting at 11th level, you are able to cast magic at a speedier rate than other swordmages. When you use your action to cast a spell, you can cast a cantrip or make a melee attack as a bonus action.

    If I incorporate your suggestion to add cantrips as part of the Aegis feature this makes sense. Otherwise, it seems a bit underpowered since swordmages don't have access to cantrips by default.

    14) Ward of Force Assault - If you've kept the ward and not made it part of Aegis... I would reword this to:

    Ward of Force Assault
    Beginning at 15th level, you can deactivate your ward and cause it to explodes. As an action, you dispel your swordmage ward, causing all enemy creatures within 10 feet of you to make a Constitution saving throw. A failed save results in 4d10 force damage and the creature is pushed back 10 feet and knocked prone. On a sucessful save, the creature takes only half damage and is only pushed back 5 feet. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before using it again. Additionally, you cannot reactivate your Swordmage Ward again until the start of your next turn, as a bonus action.

    Looks good to me.

    15) Bonus Proficiencies - Editing catch... "become Arcane Hunter" needs to change to "become Duskblade".

    Good catch. Fixed.

    16) Knowing Strike - This one feels a little weak to me. What resistances are you able to overcome, all? This seems like a corner case for the one time you say run into something with resistance to slashing vs your swords. I might just simply make this Improved Critical?

    Hmm, maybe. The flavor of the paragon path (arcane hunter) I lifted this from was explicitly designed around fighting magical monsters, but Improved Critical might be better.

    17) Combat Casting - I might boost this slightly more by additionally adding you INT modifier as a bonus to such CON saves (as well as the advantage).

    Good idea.

    19) Shadow Mage - Resistance to Necrotic is good. The Crit aspect is a bit weak. Instead I'd go with...

    Shadow Mage
    Beginning at 6th level the power of the Shadowfell begins to infuse your body, enhancing both your defenses and attacks. You gain resistance to necrotic damage. Additionally, once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack from a bonded weapon, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

    Works for me.

    20) Shadow Shroud -Editing note "low-light" should be "dim light".

    Fixed.

    21) Assassin Shadow - Since this is based off of Invoke Duplicity which is a level 2 feature, you might want to make this akin to Improved Duplicity (basically instead of 1 copy, you make 4). Makes it more level appropriate.

    Makes sense. I'll take a look at doing that.

    PS - If you use any of my suggestions, any chance of a Co-By Line? :)

    Of course! Your help and advice is much appreciated and you'll definitely deserve a credit if I use some of your alterations (which I probably will).

    Oh, I' also be willing to offer to reformat these like the classes I have on the download if you'd like and make the final into a pdf.

    Wow, that'd be great. I'd do it myself but I honestly have little experience with that sort of thing. Let's wait until the class is finished though ;) .
 
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Khaalis

Adventurer
nivenus said:
Hmm... interesting idea. I chose not to alter Weapon Bond significantly because that seems to be the norm when classes share features in 5e and because it's a 3rd level feature in the Eldritch Knight archetype and I didn't want to overpower it for a 1st level feature. But if you think it wouldn't be too much (being a cantrip) I could add it.
Honestly I don't think it breaks anything. Its a minor use cantrip that can in certain cases make the PC feel more "magical". However, if you are really worried about making it slightly different than the EK, you could tone down the summoning range from anywhere on the same plane to something like 100 miles a level. Its incredibly minute difference in reality, but it "technically" is less powerful for balancing adding the cantrip. Personally I really wouldn't bother. If I ever had someone say well the Swordmage gets this and the Ek doesn't, I'd just give it to the EK too. It really is very minor mechanically (unless you are in a highly gritty game where the Dm constantly makes people buy new weapons and makes it hard to do so by making money scarce), but makes up for it in the flavor of the ability.

I kind of want to keep the swordmage ward feature though as it's explicitly designed to make up for the fact that swordmages by default can't use medium or heavy armor and so generally suffer from a weaker AC than paladins or fighters.
I can understand this. I did write a light fighter class that explored that. However, I personally like the idea of being able to choose the focus of the class - (in 4E terms) Striker (Assault), Controller (Ensnarement), Defender (Shielding). I think its perfectly fair for there to be all different types of swordmages with some less concerned about defense and being more "roguish" in their fighting style all the way up to full defenders. Also, keep in mind Swordmages were not intended to have ACs equaling a Heavy Armor defender.

However, I did just notice something. Aegis of Shielding would have to change as I just reread mage armor. Shield of Faith is the spell I was thinking of, but it would be a new custom spell (Shielding Armor?) blending it and mage armor - effectively a self only, 8 hour spell that grants +2 AC.

For instance lets compare.
  • Very Light Defense AC = Light Armor (12+Dex)
  • Light Defense AC = Light Armor + Defense Fighting Style (13+Dex)
  • Light Moderate Defense AC = Light Armor + Shielding Armor (14+Dex)
  • Moderate Defense AC = Light Armor + Defense Fighting Style + Shielding Armor (15+Dex)
  • Heavy Defense AC = Light Armor + Defense Fighting Style + Shielding Armor + Shield (15+Dex; 20+Dex for 1 round)

JMHO though. I prefer the complexity and diversity of the choice. Especially since you've already baked in even more "Defense" into specific subclasses like the Duskblade.


I have no issue with this. In fact, it might be worth replacing the Defense fighting style with this one, since swordmages are by default lightly armored. I didn't want to utilize homebrew material produced by other people without asking but since you're explicitly suggesting it, I'd be fine with adding it.
See the list above on ACs. I wouldn't drop Defense. I'd leave it as an option for that player that really wants to milk a swordmage into more of a tank. As for the fighting style, I posted it in my Light Fighter class. I also make the assumption that I'm not publishing this material so once its released into the "wild" I have no more control over it. However, it is nice to be asked/credited for it, so sure, go ahead and use it. I'm just glad when people like something I've tossed out there. :)

That seems like a fair change. It's originally a 2nd level utility (encounter) power, so it probably could do with a little depowering. Advantage probably works instead of an Intelligence save as well (and is actually closer to the original text).
As a side note it's "mythal recovery" (not a typo). Mythal is specifically a kind of magical ward used by elven mages in the Realms, and the name seems to imply the ability uses a lesser version of one.
Again, glad you like it. I think its a lot more streamlined and embraces the 5E Advantage mechanic. As for the Mythal, thats just my bad reading. once you look at something it sometimes just sinks in wrong and for some reason I just kept seeing Mythical. Sorry.

On Arcane Awareness....
As it stands, if you want to stick to this idea of the original 4E source... then perhaps this?

Arcane Awareness
At 10th level, you're talent with divination alters your perceptions. You gain advantage on all Wisdom (Perception) checks to determine surprise. Additionally, when surprised, you can take a reaction at any time during the turn (not just the end of the turn).


I think this is more streamlined and more level appropriate middle ground?
Its not an immunity to surprise but again showcases the 5E Advantage mechanic and gives a slight edge even if surprised (such as being able to pop off shield).


Impenetrable Warding (v1)
I like the former, though I'd change it to Intelligence rather than Charisma (since Intelligence is a primary stat for swordmages).
Yeah, again my bad. Trying to pump out too much response in short order and checking myself since the inspiration source was CHA and I forgot Swordmage was INT. So it would be...

Impenetrable Warding (v1)
Starting at 14th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw, the creature gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum bonus +1). You must be conscious to grant this bonus.


Sudden Escape
Fair enough. Adding invisibility and increasing the distance to 60 feet more than make up for decreasing the number of possible uses.
Yeah, the power increase from the source 6th level ability is really actually small... instead of the original where Invisibility ends at the beginning of your next turn, this ends at the END of your next turn. That actually gives you a full turn of invisibility to set up a devastating attack with Advantage, even if you wouldn't normally get it.


Maelstrom Blade
Hmm... I like both of these. Eldritch Nimbus is closer to what I was aiming for with Maelstrom Blade, but Swordsage Avatar's pretty similar to borrowed ascension, a level 22 utility power from Arcane Power. I'll think about this. They're definitely more like what a level 20 capstone feature typically looks like though.
Cool. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you finally settle on.

On a side note if you really like the Eldritch Nimbus you could alter it thusly to make it closer to the original concept.

Eldritch Nimbus
At 20th level, as an action, you can emanate an aura of raw eldritch power. For 1 minute, bright scintillating light shines from you in a 30-foot radius, and dim light for another 30 feet beyond that. Whenever an enemy creature starts its turn in the bright light, the creature takes 10 damage comprised of fire, lightning, and thunder damage types. In addition, for the duration, you have advantage on saving throws against spells. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.

This still only does 10 damage a round but a creature would have to have resistance to all 3 energy types to not take full damage.


Sheltering Ward
Not a bad suggestion, but it's supposed to be a 3rd level feature not a 7th level one. Would that make it too powerful?
Damnit! Simply a mistake on my part. I think I was getting tired. /sigh
I took this from something else I had written and completely forgot to edit it. It SHOULD read...

Sheltering Ward
Beginning at 3rd level, you can channel eldritch magic into a physical aura of shielding force that grants you and nearby allies a boost to defense. You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you gain a +2 bonus to AC. The aura remains in effect until you use a bonus action to dismiss it, until you become unconscious or until someone exits the aura's area of effect. Note that while this aura cannot be disrupted like a spell, you cannot hold the focus necessary to maintain a concentration spell while you have this warding aura active.


Song of Celerity
If I incorporate your suggestion to add cantrips as part of the Aegis feature this makes sense. Otherwise, it seems a bit underpowered since swordmages don't have access to cantrips by default.
Well you know my attitude on Aegis. ;)
With that said, even cutting cantrips and only allowling a melee attack, it might even be too much at 11th level considering its what an EK gets at 18th. However, with that said, for this specific class I can see it being doled out earlier than a EK, as a swormages focus is more on magic than martial pursuits while the EK is reversed.


Ward of Force Assault
Looks good to me.
Awesome. Glad you like it. I feel like I've actually been of decent help in this process. Makes my day. ;)

Knowing Strike
Hmm, maybe. The flavor of the paragon path (arcane hunter) I lifted this from was explicitly designed around fighting magical monsters, but Improved Critical might be better.
Hmm... if you want it to be tied to criticals, I think I'd just go with Improved Critical. If you want it to be more about Resistances. perhaps something like...

Knowing Strike
Beginning at 6th level, your arcane knowledge allows you to pinpoint and neutralize a creature's natural resistances. When you hit a creature that has Damage Resistances with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one swordmage spell slot to negate one of the creature's resistances per spell level of slot expended for a duration of concentration up to 1 minute.


{Example: Lets say you are fighting a gargoyle and the party is having a hard time dealing damage due to its resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing. At 6th level you could expend a 2nd-level spell slot to negate 2 of those resistances for up to 1 minute (similar to bestowing a curse).}


Of course! Your help and advice is much appreciated and you'll definitely deserve a credit if I use some of your alterations (which I probably will).
Wow, that'd be great. I'd do it myself but I honestly have little experience with that sort of thing. Let's wait until the class is finished though .
Cool. Glad to help. I obviously enjoy this sort of thing and I think collaboration tends to bring out more ideas. I really look forward to what you dish out as the v2. Always here if you want to toss around more thoughts.
 
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fireinthedust

Explorer
The problem I'm seeing is that lots of this seems to be transcribing 4e mechanics and powers into 5e, but I'm not sure if you've stopped to appreciate the effects on 5e of what you're suggesting.

1) Mythal Recovery: Advantage is huge. Khaalis is suggesting you get advantage on pretty much all the possible Conditions you can be affected with BY ANYTHING. This includes from poison, disease, environment (cold, heat waves), spells from arcane, divine, primal, and eventually psionic power sources; not to mention every magical item and monster power out there, traps, etc. Also I only see a limitation in your original entry. There's not a limit on the recharge, such as by rest or by Ki powers, etc, in the suggested upgrade.

2) Bladesinger: +Int to all your attacks?! That's on top of Strength, you realize. You just gave that Bladesinger an epic-level magical bonus on all their sword attacks for all time: if they max their Int and Str, you're looking at a gargantuan bonus at a fairly low level. If they use a Dex-based finesse weapon, like a rapier, it gets worse. A high elf with a rapier (+2 dex +1 Int) starts with, what, +3/+3 at first level? Plus the Dex bonus to AC? So by 6th level, when this kicks in, they'd have (+4 dex/+4 Int/+3Proficiency)+11 to hit WITHOUT MAGIC. And their base AC would be (10+4+4) 18 WITHOUT ARMOR. That's better than the CR17 Sphinx, btw. Now jump to full caster, because why wouldn't you, or something with more HP, better armour proficiency, self-healing, Sneak attacks, etc. ...

Bi-line: you can't rehash 4e material and claim originality.

I like the idea behind what you're doing. It's just heavily 4e-inspired. 4e is a fun game, but 5e is a different kitten. It's much more... rules-light? Or at least it's more "theatre of the mind" than 4e. The grid-map is an optional rule for 5e. My home group doesn't use a grid map (though I keep the maps on hand, and may illustrate for a complex fight scene).


What I'm trying to say is that this looks like a character made up of abilities all piled together at once. Way more than the other classes right now, plus spells.

Take a look at the other classes. Try using their mechanics rather than 4e to do this. If you have loads of powers, DON'T use loads of spells, and vice versa. The Ranger is a good example: it has spell slots, but can power its skills with them rather than using ranger spells. The monk has Ki points, which they can use to power spells or other abilities.

Spells, btw, are class powers. If you have them, you can do whatever it is you're suggesting X number of times per day. Yes, we treat them like an add-on to other abilities, but Wizards don't have much crunch to them other than spells.
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
My bias: I've got a Swordmage-type option for 5e, but it's a class archetype. For an elf I came up with. but last night! Stayed up, jotting him down.

I do like what you've done (and the art: great choices!)

Let me get some sleep, and let me go over the FR Swordmage, and the other, older sources (I don't know if I can find the 2e Bladesinger, which was way cool), and I'll get back to you.
 

Khaalis

Adventurer
fireinthedust said:
1) Mythal Recovery: Advantage is huge. Khaalis is suggesting you get advantage on pretty much all the possible Conditions you can be affected with BY ANYTHING. This includes from poison, disease, environment (cold, heat waves), spells from arcane, divine, primal, and eventually psionic power sources; not to mention every magical item and monster power out there, traps, etc. Also I only see a limitation in your original entry. There's not a limit on the recharge, such as by rest or by Ki powers, etc, in the suggested upgrade.

Actually I'm curious where you're getting this. as it stands my current suggestion was:

Mythal Recovery
Beging at 3rd level, you can center your eldritch focus within yourself in order to throw off ill effects. You have advantage on saving throws against effects that cause: Charmed, Frightened, and Poisoned. You also gain advantage against effects that cause: blindness and deafness at 10th level, and against effects that cause Paralyzed and Stunned at 17th level.

So its Advantage on:
* 3rd: charmed, frightend, poisoned
* 10th: blinded, deafened
* 17th: paralyzed, stunned

There are already options that grant Immunity to charmed, frightined, poisoned (and diseased, aging effects).

If it really needs to be toned down then it could be made into:

You can expend one swordmage spell slot to gain advantage against one of the following conditions per spell level of slot expended for a duration of concentration up to 1 minute.

However, for a spell slot you should get Immunity for the duration.


2) Bladesinger: +Int to all your attacks?! That's on top of Strength, you realize. You just gave that Bladesinger an epic-level magical bonus on all their sword attacks for all time: if they max their Int and Str, you're looking at a gargantuan bonus at a fairly low level. If they use a Dex-based finesse weapon, like a rapier, it gets worse. A high elf with a rapier (+2 dex +1 Int) starts with, what, +3/+3 at first level? Plus the Dex bonus to AC? So by 6th level, when this kicks in, they'd have (+4 dex/+4 Int/+3Proficiency)+11 to hit WITHOUT MAGIC. And their base AC would be (10+4+4) 18 WITHOUT ARMOR. That's better than the CR17 Sphinx, btw. Now jump to full caster, because why wouldn't you, or something with more HP, better armour proficiency, self-healing, Sneak attacks, etc. ...

Ok, on this I can see an issue. Besides its a typo anyway. It should have read.

Bladesong
Starting at 6th level, when you are wielding a bonded melee weapon (or weapons) that match your chosen Fighting Style, you can add your Intelligence modifier Minimum bonus +1) to any melee weapon damage rolls you make.


Bi-line: you can't rehash 4e material and claim originality.
This is a bit of a troll statement. I hate to tell you that everything in 5E is a rehash of older edition material. Yet it is new implementation, thus new content, thus original. The OP hasn't copied word-for-word anything from 4E, so yes he (and I, and anyone else who creates 5E material inspired by other material) can claim originality in the implementation of the conversion.


I like the idea behind what you're doing. It's just heavily 4e-inspired. 4e is a fun game, but 5e is a different kitten. It's much more... rules-light? Or at least it's more "theatre of the mind" than 4e. The grid-map is an optional rule for 5e. My home group doesn't use a grid map (though I keep the maps on hand, and may illustrate for a complex fight scene).
I fail to see how this applies to anything. Nothing in this class is any more complex than anything else presented in the PHB as far as combat complexity. None of the 4E grid-specific concepts are implemented. Where are you seeing that they are? I'm very confused.


What I'm trying to say is that this looks like a character made up of abilities all piled together at once. Way more than the other classes right now, plus spells.
I have no clue where you are getting this. The class is pretty much build directly on the Paladin frame. Same number of abilities. Basically the same spell.


Take a look at the other classes. Try using their mechanics rather than 4e to do this. If you have loads of powers, DON'T use loads of spells, and vice versa. The Ranger is a good example: it has spell slots, but can power its skills with them rather than using ranger spells. The monk has Ki points, which they can use to power spells or other abilities.
Have you even read the whole thread. We've already been discussing better ways to fit the 5E mechanics to the core concepts of the class, including spending spell slots on features. I don't get where you are seeing this "loads of powers" " loads of spells" thing. Like I said, this class is basically an arcane inspired cross between the Eldritch Knight and a Paladin as far as basic class structure.


Spells, btw, are class powers. If you have them, you can do whatever it is you're suggesting X number of times per day. Yes, we treat them like an add-on to other abilities, but Wizards don't have much crunch to them other than spells.
Wizards don't get "much" else in the way of "class features" because they have game altering access to spells that other classes don't. They're focus IS spells. Other classes like Paladin and Ranger and EK, spells are an add-on feature and are balanced as such.


My bias: I've got a Swordmage-type option for 5e, but it's a class archetype.
And that works for you. Congrats. The Eldritch Knight works for some people too. Those who want to dabble in a tiny bit of magic on their plate wearing fighter. The swordmage is a different design space entirely. Its for those who want a stronger "gish" feel to their character - a light fighter with magic (not just spells, but class features that "feel" like magic even if the mechanic is the same as any other "mundane" class.

Its the same reason my "Light Fighter" fills a different design space as an alternate fighter class than the core heavy armor fighter.
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
Mythal Recovery
Beging at 3rd level, you can center your eldritch focus within yourself in order to throw off ill effects. You have advantage on saving throws against effects that cause: Charmed, Frightened, and Poisoned. You also gain advantage against effects that cause: blindness and deafness at 10th level, and against effects that cause Paralyzed and Stunned at 17th level.

So its Advantage on:
* 3rd: charmed, frightend, poisoned
* 10th: blinded, deafened
* 17th: paralyzed, stunned

Yes! Look at it like this: you're giving immunity to the states, but not the causes of those states.

If it was magical blindness, fine. What if I covered our SM's eyes? Does the mythal grant them sight? That's immunity to blindness *the effect*.

Try to think like the GM of a group of power gamers who are using the rules loopholes in the wording. That's part of the group you're designing for.

You can expend one swordmage spell slot to gain advantage against one of the following conditions per spell level of slot expended for a duration of concentration up to 1 minute.

However, for a spell slot you should get Immunity for the duration.

Spell slots are good.

This is a bit of a troll statement. I hate to tell you that everything in 5E is a rehash of older edition material. Yet it is new implementation, thus new content, thus original. The OP hasn't copied word-for-word anything from 4E, so yes he (and I, and anyone else who creates 5E material inspired by other material) can claim originality in the implementation of the conversion.

Spell names, the class name, the names of the various abilities. Not trolling, nor flaming, just pointing out something important to keep in mind. "Designers of a home-brew" is different than "creators of something totally new". Wording is key.
 

Nivenus

First Post
Alright, version 1.1 is up now. The changes are noted below:

  • I gave Khaalis a credit at the document's start, as thanks for the changes suggested.
  • I added greatswords to the available weapon proficiencies, in order to better support the Great Weapon Fighting Style. I removed scimitars to keep the number of weapons consistent, but am willing to add them back in if people greatly desire it.
  • Similarly, I changed the scimitar given as an option in starting equipment to a longsword
  • I altered the Weapon Bond feature to include Khaalis' suggested use of the mending spell as a ritual. As a counterweight to this (and in order to not make it too much more attractive than waiting two levels for a similar feature as a Fighter) I reduced the range of recall to 100 miles. As a side note, the original version of the feature in 4e was limited to 50 feet, but that seems incredibly paltry compared to the EK's version.
  • I changed Swordmage Warding to provide only a +1 AC bonus while fighting with a bonded weapon and +2 with one hand free.
  • I added Khaalis' Precision Fighting Style to the list of Styles available to Swordmages. I thought above swapping out one of the other Fighting Styles to keep the number available constant, but since it's a homebrew style I left the others in if people would rather just use vanilla features.
  • I changed Mythal Recovery to Khaalis' suggested style, granting advantage against effects the cause charm, frightened, or poisoned states at 3rd level, followed by blindness and deafness at 10th, followed by paralyzed and stunned at 17th.
  • I changed Arcane Awareness as Khaalis suggested, granting advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks against surprise and allowing surprised swordmages to take their reaction at any point during a surprise round, rather than at the end.
  • I changed Impenetrable Warding as Khaalis suggested, so that any creature within 30 feet of a swordmage gains advantage on saving throws, with an additional bonus to their roll equal to the swordmage's Intelligence bonus (with a minimum of one).
  • I changed Sudden Escape as Khaalis suggested, so that you can only use it once before a short or long rest and so that you can move up to 60 feet instead of 10 feet and also gain invisibility until the end of your next turn. I retained the earlier restriction, however, that you must choose to use Sudden Escape before you know whether or not the enemy attack hit (modeled after Bardic Inspiration).
  • I changed Maelstrom Blade to something somewhat similar to Khaalis' suggested Eldritch Nimbus' feature, with some alterations to bring it closer to my original concept. The swordmage becomes an elemental champion and takes on an appearance resembling one or more elements. They gain immunity to cold and fire and resistance to thunder and lightning and can deal extra 2d6 damage to every attack they make from either acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage types. These effects last for 1 minute.
  • I altered Sheltering Ward as Khaalis suggested, changing it so it grants a +2 bonus within 10 feet rather than a +1 bonus within 25 feet as well as requiring you to maintain concentration on the effect.
  • As Khaalis suggested, Bladesong has been altered to discriminate against none of the available Fighting Styles.
  • I altered Ward of Force as suggested, dealing 4d10 damage within 10 feet and pushing the affected creatures 10 feet (as well as knocking them prone), with a saving throw that reduces both effects by half.
  • Knowing Strike has been altered to fit with Khaalis' suggestion, wherein you can use a spell slot to cut through a creature's resistances. The number of resistances you dispel is equal to the level of slot you expend and the effect lasts for 1 minute with concentration.
  • Combat Casting was altered so that you not only have advantage on concentration saving throws but also are able to add your Intelligence modifier (with a minimum of one) to the result.
  • As suggested Shadow Mage now deals 1d10 extra necrotic damage once per turn, rather than necrotic damage on a critical hti.
  • Assassin Shadow now allows you to project the shadow (with concentration) for up to 1 hour.

There were a few things I thought about implementing but ultimately chose not to. I rather like the Swordmage Warding feature, which feels sort of essential to the class so I decided to keep it and there didn't seem to be any reasonable way to depower the Swordmage Aegis variants enough to bring them to 1st level without significantly altering its flavor and nature, so I left them in place at 7th level. It's important to recall that the primary purpose of the Swordmage Aegis (as implied by its name, "aegis") is to defend other characters and so it doesn't really make sense as just another means of casting spells—it has to have a distinctly defensive flavor to it.

For similar reasons, I didn't change Song of Celerity: since swordmages don't have cantrips there's no point to giving them a feature that utilizes them. There may still be an issue of balance as it is similar to a much later feature, Improved War Magic, for Eldritch Knights, but there is a slight difference in how they're implement. Firstly, Improved War Magic lets you use an action to cast a spell, followed by a bonus action for an attack. Song of Celerity (which is modeled here after the 3e version of the feature), instead lets you use a spell with a casting time of 1 action or less as a bonus action. This is arguably superior, but it does come with a caveat: you can only use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (with a minimum of one) before you finish a long rest, whereas Improved War Magic has unlimited uses.
 


Khaalis

Adventurer
Without seeing it all, here are just a few comments on the notes posted.
Oh, and thanks for the co-cred. :) I just hope my suggestions are agreeable to moving the class in the right direction.

I added greatswords to the available weapon proficiencies, in order to better support the Great Weapon Fighting Style. I removed scimitars to keep the number of weapons consistent, but am willing to add them back in if people greatly desire it.
May as well leave them in. I think continuity of the design is more important than the specific number of weapon choice. You could simply state "all swords" as well rather than naming every sword proficiency (especially for those who will use additional swords like Katana in their games, even if just as reskins).

Similarly, I changed the scimitar given as an option in starting equipment to a longsword.
Even with adding scimitars (or all swords) back in, I'd keep this as longswords are by far the most common. If an individual game is say running in an arabian setting the DM can change that on the fly.

I changed Swordmage Warding to provide only a +1 AC bonus while fighting with a bonded weapon and +2 with one hand free.
Without seeing the full text, this basically sounds like just another Fighting Style. Knid of a cros between Defense and Dueling. This might just actually be better as a Swordmage only Fighting Style that replaces Defense.

I'll read it over in more detail once I have access.
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
1st point: glad to see you're both posting to this. I was worried my suggestions killed the thread!

2) Writing out my own variant, I'm finding this is a challenging class to work up. Lots of options, lots of history to draw from, hard to keep it together. I see now the Paladin approach, and it's not bad.

3) If Khaalis is getting credit, I'll have to work hard to get my two cents in, too! ;)

On that note, let me show you two what I've been working on so far. Filling in the gaps of an arcane tradition is hard enough, so good on you!
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
Here's what I've got so far: Spellblade Wizard Arcane Tradition:

It's got my favourite Swordmage features, admittedly. Arcane Aegis may be a bit of an issue, as it's adding Int bonus to anything whenever you're holding your sword. I think some kind of restrictions should be in place, like you must have spell slots, or only when you are aware of a target, that sort of thing.

I prefer my Swordmages to have the ability to learn lots of spells, like Wizards, due to their Int bonus (otherwise it should just be Charisma, like a Sorcerer or Bard). EK bothers me for that reason. Magic is magic, you're studying it, and they won't be more powerful simply due to variety if they have limited spell slots or spell levels. And having a type of treasure to collect is a bonus, so why gimp *every* class other than Wizard?
BTW: that's what bothered me about 4e: limit to what Wizards and others can know on top of the limited resources per day of powers they can use. If you can only do, say, 3 powers a day, giving players who show up a wider range of powers to choose from for those 3 is just good business.


That said: I didn't see last time if you had Smite on there for your version, and I strongly suggest that feature for a Swordmage. Like the Paladin, smiting people is basically what they do. If they're frontline, Swordmages will need 1d10HD, too, considering they don't have much armor, and the Aegis was meant to give them the benefit of Plate, like the Paladin.
 

Nivenus

First Post
Quick FYI, do you realize that the doc is locked? I sent a permission request.

My bad. I thought I set it to public. It should be fixed now.

Without seeing it all, here are just a few comments on the notes posted.
Oh, and thanks for the co-cred. :) I just hope my suggestions are agreeable to moving the class in the right direction.

May as well leave them in. I think continuity of the design is more important than the specific number of weapon choice. You could simply state "all swords" as well rather than naming every sword proficiency (especially for those who will use additional swords like Katana in their games, even if just as reskins).

I'll add scimitars back in. Theoretically I could say "all swords" but the 5e rules don't actually define swords per se (unlike 4e which had weapon type as well as proficiency type) so it'd require some fudging. All "melee slashing weapons" might work, but then that leaves out rapiers and shortswords and adds in battleaxes, greataxes, whips, and glaives.

Without seeing the full text, this basically sounds like just another Fighting Style. Knid of a cros between Defense and Dueling. This might just actually be better as a Swordmage only Fighting Style that replaces Defense.

Hmm... I'll see if I can give it a more magical feel than. It's pretty close to the original feature as it stands in 4e but I see your point.

1st point: glad to see you're both posting to this. I was worried my suggestions killed the thread!

Oh no worries; I've just been very, very busy with a lot of oth

2) Writing out my own variant, I'm finding this is a challenging class to work up. Lots of options, lots of history to draw from, hard to keep it together. I see now the Paladin approach, and it's not bad.

As far as 5e inspiration goes (rather than 4e or 3e, which are also in there) paladin's definitely the main model, though I also looked at the Eldritch Knight archetype, rangers (another magical warrior class), wizards (Int-based magic), and bards (the only case so far in 5e of an arcane caster with significant non-magical features). I also took a brief look over the magus class from Pathfinder, which is another take on doing an arcane warrior class, though I didn't really end up using very much from it.


Pretty good. It's more similar to the 4e bladesinger (a wizard variant) than what I'm going for but it's not a bad take on its own. My approach is to make the swordmage class more like paladins or rangers in the sense that it sacrifices some spellcasting ability in exchange for martial features, but just as the Eldritch Knight is a good approach for someone who wants to add some magic to their fighter, your idea for Spellblade isn't a bad choice for those who want a wizard who could hold their own a bit more in a melee.

It's got my favourite Swordmage features, admittedly. Arcane Aegis may be a bit of an issue, as it's adding Int bonus to anything whenever you're holding your sword. I think some kind of restrictions should be in place, like you must have spell slots, or only when you are aware of a target, that sort of thing.

Hmm... your take on Arcane Aegis might provide a way to make Swordmage Warding feel more magical and not just like an extra Fighting Style. I'll think on this.

I prefer my Swordmages to have the ability to learn lots of spells, like Wizards, due to their Int bonus (otherwise it should just be Charisma, like a Sorcerer or Bard). EK bothers me for that reason. Magic is magic, you're studying it, and they won't be more powerful simply due to variety if they have limited spell slots or spell levels. And having a type of treasure to collect is a bonus, so why gimp *every* class other than Wizard?

I went back and forth in my original design over whether or not to make swordmages more like wizards or sorcerers/bard when it came to casting. On the one hand, I agree with you that the Intelligence basis for magic sort of makes it seem like they should be versatile. On the other hand, the swordmage's entire schtick is casting magic in combat and that feels an awful lot like spontaneous casting to me. Ultimately, I chose to go with spontaneous casting and a limited number of spells known (rather than versatile casting like clerics, paladins, druids, or wizards), because it's what the duskblade class (the closest thing to a 3e swordmage) went with. Also, swordmages have never had spellbooks.

That said: I didn't see last time if you had Smite on there for your version, and I strongly suggest that feature for a Swordmage. Like the Paladin, smiting people is basically what they do.

A large part of that is that I don't want to make swordmages too similar to paladins, otherwise you might as well just reflavor a paladin as an arcane caster. The other reason is that I gave swordmages a lot of spells that basically fulfill a similar function.

If they're frontline, Swordmages will need 1d10HD, too, considering they don't have much armor, and the Aegis was meant to give them the benefit of Plate, like the Paladin.

Giving swordmages d8 hit dice was largely to compensate for them having a pretty powerful 1st class feature in weapon bond. But if you think they're a bit underpowered without it I could boost them back up to d10. Or I could bring Swordmage Warding back up to +2/+3 to provide them with a little bit of extra protection.
 

Khaalis

Adventurer
Ok, going over it again I think we've nailed down a lot of the class. Just a few sticking points. This is where I think we'll veer off and have to slightly different final versions.


on SwordMage Warding...
You can project a magical ward around yourself, affording you some extra protection against enemy attacks. You gain a +1 bonus to AC while conscious and wielding a martial weapon. This bonus increases to +2 if you are wielding the weapon in one hand and the other hand is free.
I understand that you feel on some level that this is an archtypical feature of the class, and its one thing we have to disagree on. I really don't see it as anything special at all when compared to Fighting Styles.
* I'd simply rename it Warding Defense and put it under Fighting Styles as is, while removing the normal Defense option.
* I personally can't see where this as a class feature is better or more "magically evocative" than Aegis, which is what I'd use as the level feature here. It gives customization of the type of swordmage to play (offense, defense, control).
* I also still don't understand why a class feature you feel is Central to the class - discriminates against users of 2-handed weapons.
* Even raising the bonuses to +2/+3, with the restrictions listed, this just isnt a good enough class feature.


Honestly, I think this will push me to doing my "minor variant" version, starting with this change, then adding Aegis in as the class feature for my version.

FIGHTING STYLE
Eldtrich Warding
Starting at 1st level, using your magic combined with the magic of your Weapon Bond feature, you can project a magical ward around yourself. At all times you gain a +1 bonus to AC while conscious. If you are wielding your bonded weapon, this bonus increases to +2.

NOTE: This would replace the standard Fighter's Defense fighting style option.



However, if you are heart set on SWORDMAGE WARDING as a 1st level iconic feature, it needs work. So lets see...

Eldritch Warding
Starting at 1st level, as a reaction to being attacked, you can activate a magical ward of defense on yourself. This force ward lasts until you lose Concentration or 10 minutes whichever comes first, till you dismiss it as part of any other Action, or you fall unconscious. This ward grants you a magical bonus to AC equal to your Proficiency bonus.
Additionally, when you take the Dodge action on subsequent turns, you can make a melee weapon attack as a bonus action.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.


* It now acts like a concentration spell, not a fighting style.
* It scales with level, making it more iconic and useful.
* Give a slight edge when using Dodge. Cant get more "defendery" than that.
* Limited by 1/encounter (short rest).
 
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RhaezDaevan

Explorer
I think the point of giving a bigger boost to AC when you have a free hand is because the swordmage is often depicted without a shield, so without a greater boost to AC everyone will just use two-handed weapons as there's no reason not to.
 

Khaalis

Adventurer
I think the point of giving a bigger boost to AC when you have a free hand is because the swordmage is often depicted without a shield, so without a greater boost to AC everyone will just use two-handed weapons as there's no reason not to.
What about Dueling< Precision and Two-Weapon fighting styles?
 

RhaezDaevan

Explorer
What about Dueling< Precision and Two-Weapon fighting styles?

Well with two-weapon style you're in the same boat as with two-handed weapons. Dueling/precision would normally be used with a shield if a fighter were using them, which brings it back to swordmage not normally using a shield. Essentially you trade the ability to use a stronger shield (i.e. a +1 or greater magic shield) for the ward that is sort of an innate shield that's always on, but never gets any better.
 


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