log in or register to remove this ad

 

The True Swordmage

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Spellbook was optional but a really good feat.

I think you left out "magically bond with your main weapon" (and/or "enchant you weapon yourself")

I could fluff this as coming form a lot of different power sources (wizardy-arcane, bardic-arcane, any sorcerer origin, most warlock patrons), although each would probably deserve a few specific abilities to reinforce the flavor - so there's your subclasses. I'd probably leave tanky/striker-y as build options from things like fighting style and spell selection.
Could do, but like with the cavalier fighter, you can do really interesting things with primary (sub)class features that are harder to do with spells or fighting styles, and can build on those to combine into a very strong focus, or can be used to split focus between roles, etc.

edit: as for the bonded weapon, yes! That’s one of my favorite bits! I made it a key pillar of my 5e Swordmage.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The swordmage is funky. Like most of the 4e role/ power source classes invented for that edition it was not particularly generic.
The teleporting element at minimum was not intended to be "generic" or not meant to be it was seemingly meant to carry the fey flavor.

Though strangely it works as generic in my own head space ... ie sword magic cuts through time and space and dimensions... and it drags elements along for the ride almost accidentally rather than as the focus.
 

jgsugden

Hero
The easiest way for you to accomplish your task would be to craft spells available to wizards that utilize a weapon in them - or just to refluff some of the existing spells to incorporate the weapon in how you describe them to work. For example, you might hurl your flaming sword and watch a Wall of Fire spring up behinf the path it travels.

However, I do think there is room to create a class that functions this way specifically and fundamentally - perhaps one that does not use spells at all. Something that functions more like a monk than a spellcaster. It would be on the short list of class designs that could truly add to what we already have.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The easiest way for you to accomplish your task would be to craft spells available to wizards that utilize a weapon in them - or just to refluff some of the existing spells to incorporate the weapon in how you describe them to work. For example, you might hurl your flaming sword and watch a Wall of Fire spring up behinf the path it travels.

However, I do think there is room to create a class that functions this way specifically and fundamentally - perhaps one that does not use spells at all. Something that functions more like a monk than a spellcaster. It would be on the short list of class designs that could truly add to what we already have.
I made soemthing like that, though it does use spells when the ability picture is basically already a spell.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The easiest way for you to accomplish your task would be to craft spells available to wizards that utilize a weapon in them - or just to refluff some of the existing spells to incorporate the weapon in how you describe them to work. For example, you might hurl your flaming sword and watch a Wall of Fire spring up behinf the path it travels.
Sure some of that is trivial and fine but I want those tactical teleports where I cut through reality.. I want a defender option with that shielding. I want intellect to actually be useful and core to how my character uses that weapon.
That intelligence based melee was even part of my character Alek CorDaren's origin where he takes out a bully without having undergone training at all. The oddity of being able to use a weapon with vivid predictive intelligence (see Sherlock Holmes planning the fight out to 8 attacks in advance style in the Robert Downey Junior movie) instead of strength.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yep, part of the concept for my SM is that they see the geometry of combat as it changes in real time, like a vector diagram. That’s why their defense is Int based. I left attack and damage alone so that the class is more like a Paladin in terms of stat layout, though using Int for attack and defense would be in line with full casters and non-casters. But half caster warriors need two main stats in 5e.
 

That isn’t a very specific concept, though. What you described is generic.
Not... really.

It's a generic swordmage but it's not something that could fill the role of a dozen sword-and-magic users seen in literature. It doesn't fit effortlessly into existing campaign settings with established fighter-mages being retconned into the class. It isn't a largely blank slate that people can customize or relfavour to fit their own character.
The 4e swordmade does very specific things other than "fight with sword and magic". And a 5e update of the swordmage should do those things, or just call itsell the "spellsword"or "mageknight".
 

So, what makes a Swordmage?

Ignoring the fact that classes don’t need to do all the same things between editions, let’s look at what a close conversion would need.

Aegis: magical protection that also has active abilities, usually but not always reactive.

Attacks with weapons that are spells. Smite/ensaring strike style spells work, but more complexity and variety is warranted. “Throw your weapon and make a Melee weapon attack against all creature within 10ft of your target, and then all creatures within that space have to save vs spell-level-appropriate lightning damage. Any creature hit by your weapon attack has disadvantage on the save.”

Tactical teleportation. New spells or a class feature can handle this fine.

A Spellbook? Or was that an optional thing with a feat? Either way, it would help set them apart from other gishes.

The ability to attack with Int, and have good defenses without armor. Easy enough in 5e.

I really don’t see the difficulty. Give it the same flavor as in 4e, but split some stuff off into the defender/tank focused subclass, and then lean in other directions for other subclasses.
Updating 4e classes is tricky because they have 1-2 things that are assumed and everything else is a power soup of optional powers. Three people couple play swordmages and have entirely different ideas of what the class should do.

Warding. Boosting AC via magic. This could be adding your Intelligence to AC when you have an empty hand and are wearing light armour. Which might be high, but they are meant to be a tanky... Or just boost AC by 2 with a special version of mage armour that still allows you to weak light armour.

Aegis. This might be the big feature, that works simmilar to smite, where you trigger it with a spell slot to teleport themselves or teleport a target.

Not sure if they should attack with Strength/ Dexterity or Intelligence. If the later, Warding should be reduced. With how the hexblade works, it wouldn't be impossible to have it hit off Int.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not... really.

It's a generic swordmage but it's not something that could fill the role of a dozen sword-and-magic users seen in literature. It doesn't fit effortlessly into existing campaign settings with established fighter-mages being retconned into the class. It isn't a largely blank slate that people can customize or relfavour to fit their own character.
The 4e swordmade does very specific things other than "fight with sword and magic". And a 5e update of the swordmage should do those things, or just call itsell the "spellsword"or "mageknight".
Absolutely not.

But even if I accepted the premise that a 5e Swordmage must do the same specific things a 4e Swordmage does, there is no reason a 5e Swordmage can’t do those things and quite ably fill a dozen or more archetypes in the process.

But also, it doesn’t need to be a largely blank slate. As I suggest earlier, of all the classes only maybe 3 fit that description. The only official post-phb class so far absolutely doesn’t fit that description.

Rather, a new class should have a distinct identity, and a 5e Swordmage should be less generic than the 4e Swordmage.
 

Absolutely not.

But even if I accepted the premise that a 5e Swordmage must do the same specific things a 4e Swordmage does, there is no reason a 5e Swordmage can’t do those things and quite ably fill a dozen or more archetypes in the process.
Sure. It could be the "spellsword" class with the swordmage as one of its subclasses.

But every time I had a similar conversation about the warlord and updating it to 4e I was hit by a dozen comments about how it simply had to do everything it did in 4e. So I'm assuming the same constriction here.

But also, it doesn’t need to be a largely blank slate. As I suggest earlier, of all the classes only maybe 3 fit that description. The only official post-phb class so far absolutely doesn’t fit that description.

Rather, a new class should have a distinct identity, and a 5e Swordmage should be less generic than the 4e Swordmage.
At least in terms of subclasses maybe. A generic one and ones with flavour.

But if you're making a class not for a specific world, you want to cast a wide net and make it as broad as possible to fit as many subclasses and character concepts as possible.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Updating 4e classes is tricky because they have 1-2 things that are assumed and everything else is a power soup of optional powers. Three people couple play swordmages and have entirely different ideas of what the class should do.

Warding. Boosting AC via magic. This could be adding your Intelligence to AC when you have an empty hand and are wearing light armour. Which might be high, but they are meant to be a tanky... Or just boost AC by 2 with a special version of mage armour that still allows you to weak light armour.

Aegis. This might be the big feature, that works simmilar to smite, where you trigger it with a spell slot to teleport themselves or teleport a target.

Not sure if they should attack with Strength/ Dexterity or Intelligence. If the later, Warding should be reduced. With how the hexblade works, it wouldn't be impossible to have it hit off Int.
In my version you just get an AC calculation that allows a shield, equal to 12+Int mod. The class has no particular leaning toward strength or Dex, that way. The plan is to have some techniques require a free hand, and possibly have an option to get a +1 to AC if you fight with only one weapon and no shield. This is the primary Aegis. You also get an Elemental Aegis, which gives a secondary passive benefit, usually involving movement, and an active damage or defense or protection buff, and determines your primary Esoteric Techniques.

Teleportation comes in primarily with the techniques, but I’ve considered making one of the Elemental Aegises focus on it. Probably Lightning (Might change to “storm” so it includes thunder). Lots of good flavor for Teleporting while hitting stuff, force-teleporting enemies, teleport-swapping, etc. imagine a weakish Lightning Bolt where you teleport to the target space after damage is dealt! Imagine if you throw your weapon to create the lightning bolt!

In the next draft, it will support everything from the 4e tank Swordmage, including the teleporting-focuses builds, to an AoE focused stormblade, to a nerdy ritual-expert who excels with time to plan ahead and in exploration and interaction challenges, to an arcane archer, and more.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure. It could be the "spellsword" class with the swordmage as one of its subclasses.

But every time I had a similar conversation about the warlord and updating it to 4e I was hit by a dozen comments about how it simply had to do everything it did in 4e. So I'm assuming the same constriction here.


At least in terms of subclasses maybe. A generic one and ones with flavour.

But if you're making a class not for a specific world, you want to cast a wide net and make it as broad as possible to fit as many subclasses and character concepts as possible.
No, you don’t, though. Other than Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard, which 5e classes cast a wide net? My answer is that none of them do. Not a single one. And honestly even Wizard is questionable. It’s pretty specific. The subclasses are variations within a fairly narrow band.

There is no reason not to use the Swordmage as the name. It’s a good name for a gish class. As long as it has some degree of Elemental focus, magical defenses in place of heavy armor, weapon bond, and an aegis that does magical defense and/or offense stuff, it will fit the name.

And the discussion around the Swordmage isn’t the same as that around the warlord, nor would I even agree that your characterization of warlord discussions is accurate.
 

So, as an idea for a 5eish Swordmage, what if when they cast a spell that doesn't do damage as an action, you get to do a melee attack with the sword?

What inspired that was blade ward as the "swordmage warding" from 3e.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I'm still not convinced that Swordmage is the best name for this concept, because it's a lazy portmanteau (as is Spellsword, though at least that one sounds like a pun on Sellsword, and suggests a more mercenary concept).

I think we also need to think about a name that encompasses many different magic weapon martial arts, so you could be a "Bowmage" or a "Spearmage" and still feel like the same thing.

It shouldn't need to use a shield to protect itself - that's what the Aegis and Warding are - magical force shielding. This is a common warrior-mage trope, and easily fits in the generic concept.

I'd give the other big feature as being able to channel spells prepared through the weapon of choice - burning the spell slot to do various special effects akin to the spell, or else to change the target of the spell to be "hit by weapon attack you make using your bonded weapon."

I think there exists room for a generic "Warrior-Mage" half-caster that's separate and stands alongside the 1/3 caster Eldritch Knight, and the Bladesinger, Hexblade, Battlesmith, etc martially-oriented arcane subclasses. But it's got to be done right, and finding the room for those specific genre tropes of esoteric "swordmages" is important. Those can carry a lot of class abilities.

I don't think a spellbook should be required, these should be less the elite scholars at the academy and more the Football quarterbacks who have to keep up that B+ GPA to keep their scholarship.
 

jmartkdr2

Explorer
I'm still not convinced that Swordmage is the best name for this concept, because it's a lazy portmanteau (as is Spellsword, though at least that one sounds like a pun on Sellsword, and suggests a more mercenary concept).

snip

I think there exists room for a generic "Warrior-Mage" half-caster that's separate and stands alongside the 1/3 caster Eldritch Knight, and the Bladesinger, Hexblade, Battlesmith, etc martially-oriented arcane subclasses. But it's got to be done right, and finding the room for those specific genre tropes of esoteric "swordmages" is important. Those can carry a lot of class abilities.
I think the best name for such a class is: Eldritch Knight. It implies magicalness without saying what kind, and weapon use without favoring any type of weapon in particular. Which is of course taken, although with such a class in play it doesn't make sense to have a fighter subclass that sort-of does what a base class does. just like we wouldn't want a 1/3 divine casting fighter subclass when paladin exists.

I also think it should absorb a lot of the existing attempts at gishes, rather than just being added to them. Bladesing, hexblade, arcane archer should be EK subclasses. On the other hand, some options (like battlesmith and Rune Knight) should stay where they are.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'm still not convinced that Swordmage is the best name for this concept, because it's a lazy portmanteau (as is Spellsword, though at least that one sounds like a pun on Sellsword, and suggests a more mercenary concept).

I think we also need to think about a name that encompasses many different magic weapon martial arts, so you could be a "Bowmage" or a "Spearmage" and still feel like the same thing.

It shouldn't need to use a shield to protect itself - that's what the Aegis and Warding are - magical force shielding. This is a common warrior-mage trope, and easily fits in the generic concept.

I'd give the other big feature as being able to channel spells prepared through the weapon of choice - burning the spell slot to do various special effects akin to the spell, or else to change the target of the spell to be "hit by weapon attack you make using your bonded weapon."

I think there exists room for a generic "Warrior-Mage" half-caster that's separate and stands alongside the 1/3 caster Eldritch Knight, and the Bladesinger, Hexblade, Battlesmith, etc martially-oriented arcane subclasses. But it's got to be done right, and finding the room for those specific genre tropes of esoteric "swordmages" is important. Those can carry a lot of class abilities.
Philosophically the swordmage stands at the meld point between magic and martial and so half-caster feels right allah eldritch paladin.

I think the 4e swordmage was not actually as fey as it would have been if they had emphasized illusionry and warping of forms which they did not.

Warrior-Mage may be the generic superclass also at that meld point.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The 4e swordmade does very specific things other than "fight with sword and magic". And a 5e update of the swordmage should do those things, or just call itsell the "spellsword"or "mageknight".
Mageknight as a parent class with the swordmage being pretty close to the 4e swordmage subclass of that kind of works for me name wise.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
But every time I had a similar conversation about the warlord and updating it to 4e I was hit by a dozen comments about how it simply had to do everything it did in 4e. So I'm assuming the same constriction here.
Generally the 5e Warlord ought to be able to do that AND more... The 4e Warlord had role designations and was able to do fair defender function but had plenty of potential design space for the controller that was peaking from behind the curtains and never quite expressed itself.

A Fey Knight archetype could be an illusions to dazzle and morphing and archery Mageknight / Warrior Mage...and might still have the bending through the plane of faery but less elements and less defending
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
yes it might have been an illusion but isn’t that roleplaying?
See that's the beauty of it. For me it was the exact opposite. I always envisioned a swordmage as someone who " happens to hold a sword in one hand while using the other for weaving of spells."

That's exactly how I have flavored my 4e swordmage. Also why I took the wizard MC feat (would have done a Swordmage/Wizard hybrid if the rules for hybrid classes had been out at the beginning) and heavily flavored and roleplayed him as much as a boring academic who answered the most simple questions about magic with a lengthy boring rant about the basic "maths" behind the most exciting phenomenon (I sure had maxed my arcana skill to 11, would have gone for Sage of Ages if I had ever reached epic levels) than a dashing swordman
 

Most Liked Threads

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top