D&D General What To Call A Gish?


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, recently I made a second version of my homebrew swordmage, which I've attached.

I like it so far, it's got good bones, especially for a rewrite that I did in a single 5-hour hyper-focus session.

The concept is a mystic or esoteric warrior whose defense is partly magical and partly a matter of analysis or awareness of their surroundings, who bonds a ritual weapon or makes themselves a weapon, reaching beyond what a mundane warrior can do. It's a rewrite both of the swordmage and the monk, using elements of both to solve eachother's problems.

But what the hell should I call it?

I've got a few words I really would love to conjugate into something useful as a proper noun.

Ritual knives of western hermetic mysticism: atheme, athame, artavo, artavus, arthana, artanus, arthany or arthame

Magic of enchanting items, or just a cool word for magic, or a word for dwarf magic: Dweomer, dweomercraeft, or the noun dweomerlak, maybe dweomerlock?

Central to the class, and referring to protection, as in "under the aegis of"; aegis.

My goal is to find a solid single word name. Failing that, might as well stick with swordmage.

Thoughts? Further suggestions?


  • Swordmage 2.0.pdf
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How about Dualist?

It's a pun but also literal. They wield physical weapons and magic simultaneously, and their fighting style is in the vein of what we think of as a "duelist" (e.g., a fencer).


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
How about Dualist?

It's a pun but also literal. They wield physical weapons and magic simultaneously, and their fighting style is in the vein of what we think of as a "duelist" (e.g., a fencer).
Part of the inspiration is occult-influenced swordmasters, especially of the Magic Circle school. This isn’t a bad take.


If you're hoping others will pick it up, the less esoteric the name the better. Swordmage is fine if it's descriptive.

I went with battlemage (warmage?) for my "gish" version (arcane archer, bladesinger, chi warrior, death warrior, duskblade, gish, golembound, janissary, mystic warrior and sorcerous blade [swordmage] are all subclasses the class has).

<Edit:> the linked document must be a work in progress - the "Rock" ability in the leveling chart and under Order of Elemental Aegis, the 7th level spell is Chocolate Chip...(and under Aegis Spells, Earth is mispelled)
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I never liked the term "gish". Ever. Not even during the heyday of 3e Char Op on the WotC forums. Swordmage always sounded better. The names of classes should be revealing. Eldritch Knight is too specific. Just considering the name, a Swordmage could wear heavy armor or none at all. If the "sword" part is off-putting because of its limitations that's completely understandable, but I still like it better than "gish" which basically conveys nothing. The word "gish" is an idioglossia of D&D lore and we can do better.

Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
Ranger. Then they'd finally have an identity that couldn't already be handled by "warrior class + outdoorsy background." (And there's a bit of precedent from the BECMI elf-trained "forester" class, which is a pure gish.)

(Hard no on any name that uses "sword" or "blade", though. We don't want to alienate any club casters, mace mages, or axe arcanists, do we?)
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Honestly I think it's a good idea to keep 'swordmage'.

Yeah it's a 'meh' name. But people know what it means, and it has an edition's worth of history behind that name. Changing the name every edition is a 100% sure way of ensuring that the class cannot ever establish an identity.


I would echo what @Stormonu said about keeping the name simple. Swordmage tells you that it is part of each. You could go with something like Arcane Blade or Mana Monk as well, but Swordmage is fine.

Something more can come from the campaign setting. Studied at the elven temple of the 4 winds and thinks of himself as a Windknife, fine. A dwarf that learned it from his grandfather and wants to be called a Thunderforge, fine. That is flavor and not what you need for the masses.

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