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D&D General why do we not have an arcane half caster?

Well, it's literally called "swordmage," and where are you getting "unarmored" from? I gave it both light & medium armor, and an INT bonus to AC.



It's not a 1/2 arcane caster if it doesn't have access to the arcane spell list. EK is a great subclass. It works just fine if you choose the right spells.
Why do we only want a swordmage, and not a more open and universal arcane half caster class? No other class is nearly as restrictive in terms of flavor. If we don't want the 30+ classes of 4e, the classes need to be a lot broader in scope.

As for why not the wizard list: because the EK is proof it doesn't really work. If it did, this thread wouldn't exist. The EK is pigeonholed into a character with a ton of rp potential that you can't realize because the spells that would help you do so either don't exist or aren't on your spell list. You can be effective, but that's not the gap that needs to be filled.

The wizard list is built for wizards, who are back-line controllers and blasters who focus on intelligence and are supposed to avoid combat. Which is the opposite of what we want the class to do.

Plus not all arcane casters use the wizard list, which is why it's called "the wizard spell list' and not ;the arcane spell list.' Every class gets it's own list. Which is why paladins use the paladin list and not the cleric list. If paladins use the cleric list, they wouldn't get any smite spells, (or elemental weapon) which are key to paladins playing like paladins.
 

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Undrave

Hero
Level 1: If you are not using a shield, add 1/2 your INT bonus to AC, rounded up (maybe this should just be your INT bonus?). Gain 2 Wizard cantrips of your choice.

I think Cantrips should be an option like the Paladin and Ranger's fighting style that give them cantrip.

A possibility would be to have to pick between heavy armour or Cantrips. It's basically trading one feat for another.

I definitely don't think it should be limited to swords only. One of the main things I dislike is restricting players to one tiny vision of how they have to play the class, rather than how the player wants to build their character.

This really locks you in to a very specific take on the idea - unarmored, sword-only.

Also, don't use the wizard spell list. That's why the EK never worked in the first place: wizard spells are designed to let you play like a wizard, not a gish.

Agreed on both of you. What would a spell list for this guy look like?
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Even so, there are lots of great visuals and themes using other weapons, and swords are ridiculously overplayed.

Fighter's, EK's, Rangers, Paladins, Barbarians, none of these are limited in the weapons they can technically use (even if there is some clear favoritism going on in Paladins and Rangers) and so if this class is meant to stand with the other martials, it needs to be able to use axes, hammers, spears, bows, ect.

I'm not trying to make a generic gish class; I'm trying to somewhat translate 4e's Swordmage to 5e. Swordmage is a defender class in 4e (i.e. it's a hard-to-kill melee class). Also, while paladins and barbarians can technically use longbows, javelins, and handaxes, their signature class offensive abilities don't apply to them.

So while I really did just pull this sketch out of my ass with my 4e book handy, on a second draft, sure, I could expand its weapon list to all martials, but I'd on the same token revise its abilities to apply only to melee weapon attacks. The swordmage does have a few abilities that extend its reach, but (a) I've given it wizard cantrips and spells, and (b) I think some of those could be reimagined as class-specific spells (e.g. Whirling Blade, Thunder Riposte, etc).

Maybe it should use INT for weapon attacks like the 4e swordmage, or maybe that's too 4e-ish.
 

Frozen_Heart

Villager
Just giving it the wizard list doesn't work at all. If a swordmage official class arrived with only the wizard list, I'd just go paladin instead and reflavor as a swordmage.

Arcane spells don't have to mean copying the wizard list only. Paladin and cleric both have 'divine' themed lists, but with completely different spells. Likewise ranger and druid both have primal themed lists, but only ranger has the spells designed to mesh into martial combat.

If you're looking for a just something which can hit and then cast some arcane wizard spells while being a half caster, multiclass eldritch knight and wizard. Job done.
 

I think Cantrips should be an option like the Paladin and Ranger's fighting style that give them cantrip.

A possibility would be to have to pick between heavy armour or Cantrips. It's basically trading one feat for another.





Agreed on both of you. What would a spell list for this guy look like?
The 4e swordmage list would be a good pace to start.

Several spells at each level that work off weapon attack. Lots of mobility-boosting effects. Lots of reaction options (defensive and counter-attacking, for yourself and sometimes allies). Lots of elemental effects that synergize with weapons attacks. Some basic utility.
 

Undrave

Hero
The 4e swordmage list would be a good pace to start.

Several spells at each level that work off weapon attack. Lots of mobility-boosting effects. Lots of reaction options (defensive and counter-attacking, for yourself and sometimes allies). Lots of elemental effects that synergize with weapons attacks. Some basic utility.
And out of the spells we already DO have, which ones would you pick?
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Do they need to be spells (per the D&D definition) or can the magic abilities take the format used for battlemaster/rune knight/arcane archer?

As for spells from any spell list:
the 3 blade cantrip, blade ward, true strike, a few ''attack roll'' ranged cantrips.
Smites spells from the paladin list.
Bow spells from the ranger list.
Entangling strikes, zephyr strike, steel wind strike, thunder step.
Misty Step, Far step, arcane door.
Self buff: Jump, Expeditious retreat, stone skins, magic weapon, elemental weapon, flame blade, shadow blade.
Shield, blink, mirror image, blur.
Some leveled ''attack roll'' spells: acid arrows, flaming rays etc
 

It's not a 1/2 arcane caster if it doesn't have access to the arcane spell list. EK is a great subclass. It works just fine if you choose the right spells.
Frankly, I'm not sure if a half-caster is the best template for a Swordmage. My image of a swordmage is that they don't chant and wriggle their fingers and cast one spell in a combat then just beat on stuff with a weapon. Instead they are shooting fire out of their weapon as they attack with it, and are blinking through space as they move for the entire combat.

And look, I get it. Swords are cool. But can we not focus on yet more classes that exclusively use swords? We've got plenty of those
Which classes are those?
 

Frozen_Heart

Villager
And out of the spells we already DO have, which ones would you pick?
GFB, BB, Sword Burst, Ensnaring Strike, Zepher Strike, Searing Smite, Thunderous Smite, Elemental Weapon, Shield, Blur, Some of the less powerful blaster spells like burning hands, Detect Magic, Magic Weapon, Misty Step, Dispel Magic, Banishment, Steel Wind Strike.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Frankly, I'm not sure if a half-caster is the best template for a Swordmage. My image of a swordmage is that they don't chant and wriggle their fingers and cast one spell in a combat then just beat on stuff with a weapon. Instead they are shooting fire out of their weapon as they attack with it, and are blinking through space as they move for the entire combat.
MFOV's Warmage (found here) is basically a warrior that uses cantrips as their primary attack, and gets a bunch of warlock style invocations that boost their cantrips. It's a good template for a non-casting swordmage.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Why do we only want a swordmage, and not a more open and universal arcane half caster class?

You can do that pretty easily with what I wrote.

1. Highlight the whole thing
2. Hit CTRL-C on your keyboard
3. Go to your favorite text editor
4. Hit CTRL-V
5. Change whatever you don't like to what you like

As for why not the wizard list: because the EK is proof it doesn't really work. If it did, this thread wouldn't exist.

EK is able to choose exactly 4 spells from the full wizard spell list. The big criticism of the class is that Evocation spells are quite possibly the worst choice for a gish; some of the best spells are in the Illusion and Enchantment schools.

Plus not all arcane casters use the wizard list, which is why it's called "the wizard spell list' and not ;the arcane spell list.' Every class gets it's own list. Which is why paladins use the paladin list and not the cleric list. If paladins use the cleric list, they wouldn't get any smite spells, (or elemental weapon) which are key to paladins playing like paladins.

I'm not going to go 1 by 1 through the full spell list, evaluate each individually, compile them all in a list, then write and playtest a bunch of unique spells, for a forum post.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Frankly, I'm not sure if a half-caster is the best template for a Swordmage. My image of a swordmage is that they don't chant and wriggle their fingers and cast one spell in a combat then just beat on stuff with a weapon. Instead they are shooting fire out of their weapon as they attack with it, and are blinking through space as they move for the entire combat.

If I were to develop this fully, I'd write spells akin to spell smites to do something along those lines, and have said so several times.

People are reacting to something I wrote in 5 minutes like it's a release product in a $50 book. Of course it's incomplete, I didn't spend any time on it. I even told you so. I don't work for WotC, so I'm really not going to spend a few weeks working on this.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Do they need to be spells (per the D&D definition) or can the magic abilities take the format used for battlemaster/rune knight/arcane archer?

As for spells from any spell list:
the 3 blade cantrip, blade ward, true strike, a few ''attack roll'' ranged cantrips.
Smites spells from the paladin list.
Bow spells from the ranger list.
Entangling strikes, zephyr strike, steel wind strike, thunder step.
Misty Step, Far step, arcane door.
Self buff: Jump, Expeditious retreat, stone skins, magic weapon, elemental weapon, flame blade, shadow blade.
Shield, blink, mirror image, blur.
Some leveled ''attack roll'' spells: acid arrows, flaming rays etc
My swordmage has esoteric techniques. Some are "cast X spell", others are more like BM manuevers, others mix common spell effects with some sort of martial action, whether an attack, movement, shove, trip, grapple, etc. My favorite example is a 2nd level technique that creates a lower powered lightning bolt (2d6 IIRC), and you teleport to the end of the line of lightning damage, after damage is dealt. Because of the wording of the classes main features, you can then make a melee weapon attack as a bonus action.

Eventually you get a feature (prolly level 11) where any time you spend aether to activate an ability that deals damage, you gain +1d8 damage of that type on your next weapon attack that hits.

Another teleport ability is one hwere you throw your weapon (regardless of what it is, it has a thrown range), and teleport to within 5 ft of the target, weapon appearing in your hand. If you spend extra aether, the weapon can arc and hit multiple targets, and you teleport to whichever target it attacks last.

Another fun one is your weapon shatters into a dozen shards, spins around you, deals minor damage to enemies within 10ft of you until the spell ends. Also until the spell ends, you can make attacks with the shards, including as a reaction when you're attacked by someone within 20ft. Once you've done so 3 times, the spell ends and the weapon reassembles itself in your hand. Haven't dialed in the damage and thus the level on that one yet.
 

If I were to develop this fully, I'd write spells akin to spell smites to do something along those lines, and have said so several times.

People are reacting to something I wrote in 5 minutes like it's a release product in a $50 book. Of course it's incomplete, I didn't spend any time on it. I even told you so. I don't work for WotC, so I'm really not going to spend a few weeks working on this.
I wasn't specifically criticising you or your suggestion. I just picked your post because it was the most recent to place the swordmage as a half-caster. I do not think that half-casters have enough spells if people are representing the swordmage as casting spells: The swordmage is a character I see using magic every round of a fight, so would probably use innate abilities or an expansion on cantrips rather than spell slots.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I think we might want to be careful with giving a potential AHC all the "best" offensive/defensive spells of a given level. Just because a spell does direct HP damage or has defensive benefits, it doesn't mean it should automatically be on the list. There is such a thing as stepping on the Wizard/Sorcerer's toes. Sure, the Wizard will have more utility magic, but if the AHC gets all the best combat spells, it leaves less of a place for the Wizard. For instance, I would be careful with even ranged Cantrips, and low level spells like Burning Hands, Shield, Banishment (Banishing Smite might be more appropriate here) & Acid Arrow. Not that those spells are too powerful or don't fit certain AHC concepts, but there should be a little bit of envy for being a pure wizard.

This leaves room for certain Archetypes that can break this rule, like a Swordmage could have more movement based spells, a nature based Archetype could have Speak With Animals, a special demonic warrior could have Firebolt and/or Burning Hands, etc.
 

I'm not trying to make a generic gish class; I'm trying to somewhat translate 4e's Swordmage to 5e. Swordmage is a defender class in 4e (i.e. it's a hard-to-kill melee class). Also, while paladins and barbarians can technically use longbows, javelins, and handaxes, their signature class offensive abilities don't apply to them.

So while I really did just pull this sketch out of my ass with my 4e book handy, on a second draft, sure, I could expand its weapon list to all martials, but I'd on the same token revise its abilities to apply only to melee weapon attacks. The swordmage does have a few abilities that extend its reach, but (a) I've given it wizard cantrips and spells, and (b) I think some of those could be reimagined as class-specific spells (e.g. Whirling Blade, Thunder Riposte, etc).

Maybe it should use INT for weapon attacks like the 4e swordmage, or maybe that's too 4e-ish.

I think that is fair for your design, but the thread is discussing (and has been quite specific) in making something like a generic gish class. So, putting forth your swordmage in a thread discussing a generic gish is going to get exactly this sort of pushback.
 

Which classes are those?

Not full classes, per say, but it is really telling to see how common it is to get swords as your only martial weapons.

Bards get Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords. With Swords bard also getting Scimitar.
Rogues get Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords again.
Monks get Simple weapons and shortswords

And then you have the Bladesinging wizard who I was pretty sure was just swords, but it seems I was mistaken. However, much like the "swordmage" they are almost exclusively shown and talked about using swords.

And the number of classes that get Axes or Hammers and nothing else? None.
 

I think we might want to be careful with giving a potential AHC all the "best" offensive/defensive spells of a given level. Just because a spell does direct HP damage or has defensive benefits, it doesn't mean it should automatically be on the list. There is such a thing as stepping on the Wizard/Sorcerer's toes. Sure, the Wizard will have more utility magic, but if the AHC gets all the best combat spells, it leaves less of a place for the Wizard. For instance, I would be careful with even ranged Cantrips, and low level spells like Burning Hands, Shield, Banishment (Banishing Smite might be more appropriate here) & Acid Arrow. Not that those spells are too powerful or don't fit certain AHC concepts, but there should be a little bit of envy for being a pure wizard.

This leaves room for certain Archetypes that can break this rule, like a Swordmage could have more movement based spells, a nature based Archetype could have Speak With Animals, a special demonic warrior could have Firebolt and/or Burning Hands, etc.

Part of this can be balanced out by the AHC being a half caster and getting them later. Clerics get Bless at 1st level, Paladins at 2nd. Lesser Restoration is 3rd for Clerics, but 5th for Paladin. So, it ends up working out to a degree that even if they get a real good spell, they get it a lot later than the wizard does.
 

I think we might want to be careful with giving a potential AHC all the "best" offensive/defensive spells of a given level. Just because a spell does direct HP damage or has defensive benefits, it doesn't mean it should automatically be on the list. There is such a thing as stepping on the Wizard/Sorcerer's toes. Sure, the Wizard will have more utility magic, but if the AHC gets all the best combat spells, it leaves less of a place for the Wizard. For instance, I would be careful with even ranged Cantrips, and low level spells like Burning Hands, Shield, Banishment (Banishing Smite might be more appropriate here) & Acid Arrow. Not that those spells are too powerful or don't fit certain AHC concepts, but there should be a little bit of envy for being a pure wizard.

This leaves room for certain Archetypes that can break this rule, like a Swordmage could have more movement based spells, a nature based Archetype could have Speak With Animals, a special demonic warrior could have Firebolt and/or Burning Hands, etc.
a nature one would literally be robbing the ranger of what little it has left.
 


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