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The True Swordmage

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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."
D&D had multi-classing a long long time where spells for a swordsman had next to nothing to do with him being a swordsman ie that has existed a long time
The swordmages magic being distinct out of the box and not exactly the same stuff every caster does is why I feel more supported than yourself in that regards. D&D has always allowed flexibility in flavor and it works up to a point I felt the Swordmage brought something new to the table out of the box a sense of deeper integration (for one thing Intelligent Blademastery the attacks based on Intellect).
And the Eldritch Knight really doesn't do much any of it for me the magic seems obviously pasted on.
Additionally that flavor one hand magic one hand weapon (if not necessarily effectiveness) is served so easily in 5e ville just by taking levels in 2 classes, shrug. The 5e flavor one is still primarily using brawn and muscle power to make his weapon use work.
That's exactly how I have flavored my 4e swordmage.
Hybrid does I think make a much better match though plying the MC especially if you were picking up rituals ought I think gets a long ways there. (while completely functional)
Hybrids finished popping the top off in 4e character design flexibility.
Hybriding those two really works ummm almost too well, and really does give more of that duality to you.

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
Fast thinking renaissance man who analyses everything tallying up scores almost in advance but also after the fact and who's approach even in physical arenas is highly unusual ... but sure dashing when the situation arises :p. /bows

Alek CorDaren will also be found jotting notes in the margins of his inherited book of techniques.
 

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Mirtek

Adventurer
D&D had multi-classing a long long time where spells for a swordsman had next to nothing to do with him being a swordsman ie that has existed a long time
The swordmages magic being distinct out of the box and not exactly the same stuff every caster does is why I feel more supported than yourself in that regards. D&D has always allowed flexibility in flavor and it works up to a point I felt the Swordmage brought something new to the table out of the box a sense of deeper integration (for one thing Intelligent Blademastery the attacks based on Intellect).
And the Eldritch Knight really doesn't do much any of it for me the magic seems obviously pasted on.
Additionally that flavor one hand magic one hand weapon (if not necessarily effectiveness) is served so easily in 5e ville just by taking levels in 2 classes, shrug. The 5e flavor one is still primarily using brawn and muscle power to make his weapon use work.

Hybrid does I think make a much better match though plying the MC especially if you were picking up rituals ought I think gets a long ways there. (while completely functional)
Hybrids finished popping the top off in 4e character design flexibility.
Hybriding those two really works ummm almost too well, and really does give more of that duality to you.


Fast thinking renaissance man who analyses everything tallying up scores almost in advance but also after the fact and who's approach even in physical arenas is highly unusual ... but sure dashing when the situation arises :p. /bows

Alek CorDaren will also be found jotting notes in the margins of his inherited book of techniques.
Yes, goes without saying that this character knew every ritual up to his level that was ever printed (I even hunted down the special cards at Cons that allowed to learn the rituals from the supplements that otherwise were not LFR legal).

Too bad I never made it to epic levels, as you actually meet Corellon Larethian in one of the epic LFR mods that ended the campaign.

I would have loved to have my character do a most epic arcana check to meticulously explain to Corellon why the current cosmic structure of elven high magic is inefficient and what he can do to fix those flaws :)
 


5E is literally the most Gish friendly edition of DnD ever. Between Blade pact Warlocks (in particular the Hexblade), Eldritch knights, Bladesingers, Valor and Swords Bards, Sorcadins, Fighter/ Wizard MC's, Battle Smith artificers and so forth its bonkers how many warrior mages there are.

I really dont think we need another Gish class.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
I think dissatisfaction came more from spell choice and overall game mechanic.
having concentration on defensive spell is a meh,
EK would benefit a lot of paladin spells like the various smite spell,
VSM is nice for fluff and flavor, but applied strictly it can mess up the game feeling of a gish,
combat are very short, and tend to favor big explosive nova, rather than build up strategy,
for a high level EK its number of attacks, make all other 1 action option very meh,
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think dissatisfaction came more from spell choice and overall game mechanic.
having concentration on defensive spell is a meh,
Particularly bad for a defender who is supposed to be in melee and attract enemies away from their allies as a default function.
EK would benefit a lot of paladin spells like the various smite spell,
maybe or ways to pump an extra attack into expanding a spells area of effect.
Or using it to blink like real swordmage.
VSM is nice for fluff and flavor, but applied strictly it can mess up the game feeling of a gish,
combat are very short, and tend to favor big explosive nova, rather than build up strategy,
for a high level EK its number of attacks, make all other 1 action option very meh,
I think supporting nova is fine if most everyone can do it.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
Particularly bad for a defender who is supposed to be in melee and attract enemies away from their allies as a default function.

maybe or ways to pump an extra attack into expanding a spells area of effect.
Or using it to blink like real swordmage.

I think supporting nova is fine if most everyone can do it.
I think there is still a lot work to do to have a swordmage. Spread apart we have different cantrip and spell that have interesting feature for a sword mage. From booming blade, to thorn whip, misty step, mirror image, blink, even the vicious mockery disadvantage effect would serve well a sword mage, but all that stuff still need to be wrap up, and have a more fluid use.
 

jmartkdr2

Explorer
I think there is still a lot work to do to have a swordmage. Spread apart we have different cantrip and spell that have interesting feature for a sword mage. From booming blade, to thorn whip, misty step, mirror image, blink, even the vicious mockery disadvantage effect would serve well a sword mage, but all that stuff still need to be wrap up, and have a more fluid use.
Also, you need to get a few levels in several different classes to get access to all of those (since they're spread across several spell lists), so you can't really play a character who plays 'like a swordmage' until late-game.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
5E is literally the most Gish friendly edition of DnD ever. Between Blade pact Warlocks (in particular the Hexblade), Eldritch knights, Bladesingers, Valor and Swords Bards, Sorcadins, Fighter/ Wizard MC's, Battle Smith artificers and so forth its bonkers how many warrior mages there are.

I really dont think we need another Gish class.
And yet, there aren’t very many options that actually do what Garth described and what the Swordmage did in 4e. There are a handful of spells and 2 cantrips, and...that’s really it.
 

Booming/Greenflame.
Blade Ward.
Shadow Blade.
Misty Step.
Shield.
Smites.
Thorn Whip.
Lightning Lure
Sword Burst
Absorb Elements
Arcane Weapon
True Strike
Armor of Agys
Compelled Duel
Ensaring Strike
Mage Armor
Zephyr Strike
Blur
Enlarge/Reduce
Flame Blade
Magic Weapon
Mirror Image
Warding Bond
Elemental Weapon
Enemies Abound
Haste
Spirit Guardians
Death Ward
Confusion
Dimension Door
Fire Shield
Freedom of Movement
etc

Problem is, this sword mage falls into "class as a conbat style" problem. It needs a better story hanging off it.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Also, you need to get a few levels in several different classes to get access to all of those (since they're spread across several spell lists), so you can't really play a character who plays 'like a swordmage' until late-game.
Bet its also a serious nerfing
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Honestly a single class draconic or shadow sorcerer using Shadowblade + SCAG cantrips with either Twin Spell or Quicken is probably too good in melee. They are much more of a mobile striker than a defender. Battle smith artificers can be solid tanks.
 



How do we turn it from a "you are use a sword and magic" into a story?

Wizard story: "you collect and find magic and study it".
Rogue story is subclass based.
Paladin has a story.
Barbarian has a (default) story.
Ranger, Druid, Cleric all have stories.
Monk, Warlock, Sorcerer all have stories.
Bard, Artificer has a story.
Fighter is a big light on story (even with subclasses). "You know how to fight" and "here is how you fight".

Do we go Rogue, and attach the story to subclasses? Make the base class something like "Spellguard" -- you use magic with weapons.

Spellguard -- Exemplar (1/3 paladin, you are specialist trained by an order to execute their will.)
Spellguard -- Bodyguard (1/3 fighter, you where trained in arcane magic to protect someone.)
Spellguard -- Bounty Hunter (1/3 ranger, you are an expert at tracking down and capturing people.)
Spellguard -- Cursed (1/3 warlock, your magic comes from your cursed blade.)
Spellguard -- Dancer (1/3 bard, you are a trained entertainer with magic.)

that is a possible framework.

Make it a 1/2 caster, and fill the subclass with appropriate utility spells.

For a unique mechanic, allow it to learn a limited list of concentration spells to imbue its weapon with. Also, make a melee attack as part the action to cast a spell (including a cantrip); sort of like EK on steroids that way (but doesn't get the rest of the fighter chassis, like extra attacks at 11 and 20).
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Booming/Greenflame.
Blade Ward.
Shadow Blade.
Misty Step.
Shield.
Smites.
Thorn Whip.
Lightning Lure
Sword Burst
Absorb Elements
Arcane Weapon
True Strike
Armor of Agys
Compelled Duel
Ensaring Strike
Mage Armor
Zephyr Strike
Blur
Enlarge/Reduce
Flame Blade
Magic Weapon
Mirror Image
Warding Bond
Elemental Weapon
Enemies Abound
Haste
Spirit Guardians
Death Ward
Confusion
Dimension Door
Fire Shield
Freedom of Movement
etc

Problem is, this sword mage falls into "class as a conbat style" problem. It needs a better story hanging off it.
Not really. Several people have expanded on the story of the class.
 

Feature thoughts:

Possible defensive features:
  • 10+int+dex AC (like monk) (Swordmage Warding)
  • Ability to cast Blade Ward as a bonus action, or make an attack when casting Blade Ward
  • Some kind of active parry
  • A defensive boost when one hand is not using a weapon (Swordmage Warding)

Possible protective features:
  • Reduce damage to an ally (Aegis of Shielding)
  • Trap enemies who attack allies (Aegis of Ensnarement)
  • Push/pull magic to defend allies
  • Point-blank AOEs that are ally-friendly and create enemy-hostile "zones", making enemies want to disengage.

Possible offensive features:
  • Ability to make a melee attack when casting a spell (Leveled? Cantrip? Both?)
  • Ability to cast spells through melee attacks
  • Ability to "bond" your weapon with what is normally a concentration buff
  • Teleport-and-strike (Aegis of Assault/Eladrin Swordmage Advance)
  • Snare (Aegis of Ensnarement) or movement restriction
  • Preventing enemy teleports (feyslaughter)

Ribbons:

  • Sword bond
  • Spellbook
  • Rituals
  • Light/no armor with good AC

Steal from 4e Optimized builds:
  • White Lotus stuff is really fun with a swordmage, especially white lotus (master) riposte
  • Eldrich Strike, where you slide enemies you hit, is also fun

Mechanical thoughts:
  • Have more on the sword than just sword bond. Concentration idea above.
  • Steal from Avenger -- their Oath mechanic is fun, and might be appropriate for an offensive one
  • Steal from EK, but not too much. Maybe make the EK be a 1/3 this class.
  • A rhythm mechanic, where you do a setup on round 1, and execute on round 2 while doing a setup for round 3 at the same time.
  • Int-based. I don't know if we want to permit Int to attack and damage (like 4e); maybe just Int to attack but not damage? That keeps str or dex important. We want both Str and Dex swordmages; Dex will have hand-free and higher AC, Str swordmages need something.
  • Story-based subclass means it should definitely be a level 1 choice
  • We don't have to duplicate the mark mechanic. An Aegis (shield) ability will do even without it.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Mechanical thoughts:
  • A rhythm mechanic, where you do a setup on round 1, and execute on round 2 while doing a setup for round 3 at the same time.
One of my favorite ideas to enable ... multi-setups is to also allow an aftermath the bumped effect of a 3 round is in the middle. The aftermath of a damaging magic might be taking some of the hit yourself.
 
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