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    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    San Francisco, CA

    Default 5E Swordmage (yes, another one, but hear me out...)

    Yup, there are a lot of homebrew 5e Swordmages out there, but the ones I've seen haven't fit the picture I've been going for. What I'd like to do is create something similar to a Fighter 11/Wizard 9, but as a single half caster class that combines spellcasting and melee attacks, balanced against EK/valor bard/paladin, is fun to play with at low and high levels, and that fits some of the flavor of 3.5E and 4E gishes.

    Here's my take, a half-caster arcane warrior with an offensive channeling archetype similar to the 3.5E Duskblade and a defensive shielding archetype similar to the 4E Swordmage. I'd originally posted this on the WotC forums and made a lot of changes (read: nerfs) based on the feedback. Would appreciate any comments and critiques from the folks here.

    A couple of balance notes in advance: Yes, Intelligent Blademaster increases SAD. However, it limits the class to one-handed weapons, thus removing GWF from the mix--and you're going to be more Con-dependent than other front-liners due to the d8 hit dice. Also, Eldritch Ward takes the place of a shield; you cannot use both at the same time, and indeed the Swordmage doesn't even get proficiency in normal shields to begin with. You trade a spellcasting "free" hand for the ability to use magic shields and the like.

    Here's the Google Doc link: 5E Swordmage Google Doc
    5E Swordmage

    Across the multiverse, there are unique individuals who strive to harmoniously combine the arts of blade and spell. Some are diligent soldiers who train as part of an ancient and hallowed tradition; others are self-taught wanderers who use their abilities to survive the perils of the wilderness. Regardless of their origin, swordmages are intelligent warriors who blend spells focused on combat and exploration with a precise and tactical form of melee combat.

    The term swordmage is a bit of a misnomer; while the elven bladesinger with longsword in hand is an iconic image, one may encounter a dwarven runic warrior wielding a battleaxe, or a human duskblade swinging a warhammer. Though dangerous front-line combatants, swordmages are often eternal students who seek out arcane lore and relics from long-forgotten civilizations.

    Level Prof Features Cantrips
    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
    1st +2 Weapon Bond, Intelligent Blademaster
    2nd +2 Eldritch Ward, Spellcasting 2 2 2
    3rd +2 Fighting Style 2 3 3
    4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2 4 3
    5th +3 Extra Attack 2 5 4 2
    6th +3 Armor Training 2 6 4 2
    7th +3 Archetype 2 7 4 3
    8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 2 8 4 3
    9th +4 2 9 5 3 2
    10th +4 Spellsword Flourish 3 10 5 3 2
    11th +4 Elemental Scourge 3 11 5 3 3
    12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 3 11 5 3 3
    13th +5 3 12 5 3 3 1
    14th +5 Archetype Feature 3 12 5 3 3 1
    15th +5 Eldritch Resistance 3 13 5 3 3 2
    16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 3 13 5 3 3 2
    17th +6 3 14 5 4 3 3 1
    18th +6 Archetype Feature 3 14 5 4 3 3 1
    19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 3 15 5 4 3 3 2
    20th +6 Spellsword Mastery 3 15 5 4 3 3 2

    Hit Points
    Hit Dice: 1d8 per swordmage level
    Hit Points at 1st level: 8 + Constitution modifier
    Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per swordmage level after 1st

    Armor: Light armor
    Weapons: Simple weapons, martial melee weapons
    Tools: None
    Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
    Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, and Perception
    Multiclassing: Gain light armor, simple weapons, martial melee weapons

    Your choice of:
    - (a) A longsword or (b) any martial melee weapon
    - (a) A dagger or (b) any simple melee or ranged weapon
    - (a) A scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
    - Studded leather armor

    Spoiler: Class Abilities
    Class Abilities

    Weapon Bond
    A swordmage’s weapon is no mere piece of steel; it is a partner-in-arms and an extension of the warrior’s own body. Weapon Bond works as per the Eldritch Knight ability, except:
    - You may bond only with a melee weapon.
    - Only one weapon may be bonded at a time.
    - Your bonded weapon can be used as a spellcasting focus for swordmage spells.

    Intelligent Blademaster
    Swordmages fight with a combination of precision strikes and practiced tactics. When wielding your bonded weapon in one hand, you may use your Intelligence modifier for melee attack rolls and damage instead of Strength or Dexterity.

    As wandering warriors, swordmages learn a subset of wizard spells focused on combat and exploration. Unlike wizards, swordmages commit their spells to memory, spending countless hours tracing arcane patterns like a blademaster might practice a series of strikes.
    - At 2nd level you learn 2 cantrips and gain spell slots/known as you advance.
    - Spells are cast spontaneously (no preparation necessary) from your list of spells known.
    - Intelligence is your primary spellcasting ability.
    - You can use Ritual Casting on any swordmage spells you know with the Ritual tag.

    Eldritch Ward
    Starting at 2nd level, when wielding your bonded weapon in one hand and nothing in the other, you generate a magical force field which protects you from harm. You gain a +2 AC bonus as if you were using a shield. When using the ward, you count as proficient in and wielding a shield for the purposes of feats and abilities.

    Fighting Styles
    At 3rd level, choose from Defense, Dueling, or Protection as described in the PHB.

    Ability Score Improvement
    At 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels, you can improve an ability score by 2, improve two separate ability scores by 1, or take a feat.

    Extra Attack
    Starting at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

    Armor Training
    At 6th level, you gain proficiency in Medium Armor.

    At 7th level, select a swordmage archetype (see below). You gain additional abilities from your archetype at 14th and 18th levels.

    Spellsword Flourish
    Starting at 10th level, when you use your action to cast a swordmage spell, you can make a single attack as a bonus action.

    Elemental Scourge
    Starting at 11th level, your bonded weapon becomes infused with elemental energy. It now deals an additional +1d8 of acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage. You may change this damage type when you finish a short or long rest.

    Eldritch Resistance
    Starting at 15th level, when wielding your bonded weapon in one hand and nothing in the other, your Eldritch Ward provides resistance to one type of damage. Magical weapons ignore this resistance. You may change this damage type when you finish a short or long rest.

    Spellsword Mastery
    You have reached the pinnacle of your blade and spell synthesis. At 20th level, you can activate this ability as a bonus action. For 1 minute, you gain the following benefits:
    - When you use the Attack action, you may cast a swordmage spell as a bonus action. You may cast the spell before or after you take the Attack action.
    - You gain advantage on melee weapon attack rolls with your bonded weapon.
    You can use Spellsword Mastery once per long rest.

    Spoiler: Archetypes

    While all swordmages are consummate magical warriors, most tend to fall into one of two categories: Channeling and Shielding. Channeling Swordmages are more offensive-minded and focus on infusing their bonded weapon with arcane energy. Shielding Swordmages are more defensive-oriented and develop their wards into a powerful aegis that can protect both themselves and their allies.

    Channeling Swordmage

    Channel Cantrip
    Starting at 7th level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack from your bonded weapon, you can choose to channel a cantrip through the attack. If the cantrip requires a single attack roll, it automatically succeeds and you deal damage and effects from both the weapon and the cantrip. However, if the cantrip requires a saving throw or additional attack rolls, resolve these separately. The cantrip will only affect the target hit by the weapon attack. You can use Channel Cantrip once per short or long rest.

    Flash Step
    Starting at 14th level, when you use Channel Cantrip, you can choose to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. You can teleport before or after using Channel Cantrip.

    Arcane Fury
    Starting at 18th level, you assault your foes with a blazing storm of blade strikes and flash steps. When you use this ability, you can make a number of melee attacks equal to your intelligence modifier. You can teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see before each attack. You can use this ability once per long rest.

    Shielding Swordmage

    Aegis of Shielding
    Starting at 7th level, as a reaction, you can impose disadvantage on an attack roll against you or against a target within 30 feet of you. You can use Aegis of Shielding once per short or long rest.

    Assaulting Aegis
    Starting at 14th level, when using your Aegis of Shielding, you can use choose to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied spot adjacent either to the target you have protected or to whatever made the attack roll. After teleporting, you can make an immediate melee attack.

    Total Aegis
    Starting at 18th level, you draw upon your arcane abilities to create a powerful barrier that protects your allies. As a reaction or a bonus action, you and all allies within 30 feet gain resistance to all types of damage. This ability lasts until the beginning of your next turn. You can use this ability once per long rest.

    Spoiler: Swordmage Spell List
    Swordmage Spell List

    Acid Splash
    Blade Ward
    Chill Touch
    Dancing Lights
    Fire Bolt
    Mage Hand
    Minor Illusion
    Poison Spray
    Ray of Frost
    Shocking Grasp
    True Strike

    1st Level:
    Burning Hands
    Chromatic Orb
    Detect Magic
    Expeditious Retreat
    Feather Fall
    Find Familiar
    Mage Armor
    Magic Missile
    Protection from Evil and Good

    2nd Level:
    Gust of Wind
    Hold Person
    Magic Weapon
    Melf’s Acid Arrow
    Mirror Image
    Misty Step
    Scorching Ray
    See Invisibility
    Spider Climb

    3rd Level:
    Dispel Magic
    Leomund’s Tiny Hut
    Lightning Bolt
    Protection from Energy
    Vampiric Touch
    Water Breathing

    4th Level:
    Arcane Eye
    Dimension Door
    Fire Shield
    Greater Invisibility
    Ice Storm
    Wall of Fire

    5th Level:
    Bigby’s Hand
    Cone of Cold
    Hold Monster
    Wall of Force
    Last edited by miburo; Yesterday at 09:20 PM.

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