Excerpts: Swordmages


4th Edition

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Today we get a preview of the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide.

"Under the leaves of Myth Drannor I learned the ancient eladrin way of battle. Spells are my armor, and words of ruin are bound to my blade.”

Class Traits
Role: Defender. You are a melee combatant who uses spells to fight better.

Power Source: Arcane. You study ancient magical tradi¬tions and practice swordplay, developing arcane powers that work well with your physical attacks.

Key Abilities: Intelligence, Strength, Constitution

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather

Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military light blades, military heavy blades, simple ranged

Implements: Any light blade or heavy blade. Your blade adds its enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls and any extra damage granted by a property (if applicable) when used as an imple¬ment. You do not gain your weapon proficiency bonus to the attack roll when using your blade as an implement.

Bonus to Defense: +2 Will

Hit Points at 1st Level: 15 + Constitution modifier

Hit Points per Level Gained: 6

Healing Surges per Day: 8 + Constitution modifier

Trained Skills: Arcana. From the class skills list below, choose three more trained skills at 1st level.

Class Skills: Arcana (Int), Athletics (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Endurance (Con), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha)

Build Options: Assault swordmage, shielding swordmage

Class Features: Swordbond, Swordmage Aegis (aegis of assault or aegis of shielding), Swordmage Warding

Shielding Swordmage
You protect your allies with magical shields of force—and by keeping enemies away from them. This heritage is embodied by the Coronal Guard tradition (see page 48 for that paragon path), a discipline that can be traced over a thousand years to the armathors, the elite guards of the coronal of Myth Drannor.

Intelligence powers your attacks, so it should be your highest ability score. Constitution applies added effects to many of your attacks, so it should be your second-highest score. A good Strength lets you take advantage of assault swordmage powers (giving you some added offense) and keeps your basic attack decent. You’ll want to keep a hand free to get your AC bonus from Swordmage Warding class feature, so you should use a one-handed weapon such as a longsword or a scimitar.

Suggested Feat: Retributive Shield (Human feat: Student of Sword Magic)
Suggested Skills: Arcana, Diplomacy, History, Insight
Suggested At-Will Powers: booming blade, lightning lure
Suggested Encounter Power: chilling blow
Suggested Daily Power: frost backlash

Class Features

Aegis of Shielding Swordmage Feature
You create an arcane link between you and an enemy, allowing you to blunt its attacks against your allies.
At-Will*Arcane
Minor Action Close burst 2
Target: One creature in burst
Effect: You mark the target. The target remains marked until you use this power against another target. If you mark other creatures using other powers, the target is still marked. A creature can be subject to only one mark at a time. A new mark supersedes a mark that was already in place.

If your marked target makes an attack that doesn’t include you as a target, it takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls. If that attack hits and the marked target is within 10 squares of you, you can use an immediate interrupt to reduce the damage dealt by that attack to any one creature by an amount equal to 5 + your Constitution modifier.
At 11th level, reduce the damage dealt by 10 + your Constitution modifier. At 21st level, reduce the damage dealt by 15 + your Constitution modifier.

Level 1 At-Will Spells

Booming Blade Swordmage Attack 1
A field of sound punishes your enemy, and the sound becomes louder if your enemy tries to escape.
At-Will*Arcane, Thunder, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Intelligence modifier damage, and if the target is adjacent to you at the start of its turn and moves away, it takes 1d6 + Constitution modifier thunder damage.Increase damage to 2[W] + Intelligence modifier at 21st level.

Greenflame Blade Swordmage Attack 1
Each blow ignites your blade in deadly green fire.
At-Will*Arcane, Fire, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. ACH
it: 1[W] + Intelligence modifier fire damage, and you deal fire damage equal to your Strength modifier to all enemies adjacent to the target.Increase damage to 2[W] + Intelligence modifier at 21st level.

Lightning Lure Swordmage Attack 1
You lasso your foe with a leash of lightning and pull it into range of your blade.
At-Will*Arcane, Implement, Lightning
Standard Action Ranged 3
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier lightning damage, and you pull the target to the nearest unoccupied space adjacent to you.Increase damage to 2d6 + Intelligence modifier at 21st level.
Special: If you cannot pull the target to an adjacent square, this power fails and deals no damage.

Sword Burst Swordmage Attack 1
A sweep of your sword blasts those around you with force.
At-Will*Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Close burst 1
Target: Each enemy in burst
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier force damage.Increase damage to 2d6 + Intelligence modifier at 21st level.

Level 27 Encounter Spells

Dimensional Charge Swordmage Attack 27
Your blade opens a rift in reality, and you leap through to attack your enemy.
Encounter*Arcane, Fire, Lightning, Teleportation, Thunder, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Effect: Before making the attack, you can teleport 10 squares to a space adjacent to the target. If you do, the attack is a charge.
Attack: Intelligence vs. AC
Hit: 4[W] + Intelligence modifier fire, lightning, and thunder damage.

Level 29 Daily Spells
Vorpal Doom Swordmage Attack 29
Your weapon becomes razor-sharp and takes on a silvery sheen.
Daily*Arcane, Reliable, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. AC
Hit: 7[W] + Intelligence modifier damage.
Effect: Until the end of the encounter, your melee attacks with this weapon, including this attack, can score critical hits if your attack roll is a natural 19 or 20.


Very interesting. No mention of the Swordmage's Shielding ability ... wonder if that was dropped or just not included?

Their Marking ability seems a tad strong, but it is an Immediate Interrupt, so they could sometimes not be able to use it ...

I think I'd want to see it in play though ... that is a lot of protection to offer someone (although not as useful vs. targets with AEs ...)

Cheers! :)

PS: Thanks for this excerpt and the other one Laz ... going to read that one now! :)


Well, Swordmage Warding is called out (the magical shield effect), as is aegis of assault (the immediate teleport-attack). I dont see anything that is really different from the FRPG preview that came out awhile ago.

Having playtested it, the marking ability was useful, but limited: having only one immediate action per round sucks when your daily is also an immediate action. :-(


Antioch wrote:

Well, Swordmage Warding is called out (the magical shield effect), as is aegis of assault (the immediate teleport-attack). I dont see anything that is really different from the FRPG preview that came out awhile ago.

Having playtested it, the marking ability was useful, but limited: having only one immediate action per round sucks when your daily is also an immediate action. :-(

Ah, I totally missed it in Class Features. Good eye!

Re: your second point, that is precisely how I was thinking they might try to limit what is otherwise a pretty solid Defender ability. The more I think on it, I think my first reaction might have been a little too hard on it. I still want to see it in battle though.

Cheers! :)


I have a player in my Scales of War group that runs a swordmage (ever seince the preview came out six weeks ago). As the DM, I get a bit frustrated because he marks and runs away. Often, leaving squishies alone - a strange thing for a defender to do. NPCs and creatures literally have to chase him around. It's annoying and I thought they'd "fix" that to match the paladin's divine challenge.

Don (Greyson)


Greyson wrote:

I have a player in my Scales of War group that runs a swordmage (ever seince the preview came out six weeks ago). As the DM, I get a bit frustrated because he marks and runs away. Often, leaving squishies alone - a strange thing for a defender to do. NPCs and creatures literally have to chase him around. It's annoying and I thought they'd "fix" that to match the paladin's divine challenge.

Don (Greyson)

Hmm, that's one of my concerns about the class. Do you find ranged/AE attackers have less of a problem? When he moves back have you tried rushing melee forward to break through the line?

Cheers! :)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Hmm, interesting

*Begins to ponder a set of spells available to the eldrich knight only, to put some shine on the 3.x prestige class.*


David Marks wrote:
Do you find ranged/AE attackers have less of a problem? When he moves back have you tried rushing melee forward to break through the line?

Ranged attacks and area attacks are a good way to go. I have to contend with a high armor class, as Swordmage Warding offers +3 to AC, which seems a bit much for an early class feature. So, my best hope is to have creatures that attack will. Scales of War has a couple of undead that do that, but not much (deathlock wight, and one or two more I cannot recall). Other good attacks against him are immobilizing and slowing attacks.

I do exactly as you mention - when the swordmage wanders away after marking, I rush the rest of the party. This party does have a paladin that bravely does his job as defender, but I don't mind him.

I hate to whine about the swordmage. It just seems like a pansy way to be a defender. To be fair, Lightning Lure and Booming Blade work well and are wholly appropriate to the class. Of course, the player loves it because he rarely gets hit as he bounces around. But, sometimes it's at the cost of a 'softer' character getting hit. This player often says, "I guess I better get back in there to fight." Is that something a defender should have to admit?


(edited)
Has anyone played with it [the swordmage] yet enough to determine if the class seems balanced?
What reaction is there from the CharOps section of the WotC boards?
If their response to this class is unrestricted glee, then the spiral of ever increasing power in classes seems to have started disappointingly early.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Has anyone played with it [the swordmage] yet enough to determine if the class seems balanced? What reaction is there from the CharOps section of the WotC boards?

As noted above, I've only been the DM of a person playing a swordmage. I think I've been a little hard in my views of the swordmage. My only real issue is the mark and the fact that the class can walk away from a marked creature (far away).

The swordmage has the potential to be better at defending with Lightning Lure. Neither the paladin nor the fighter can pull enemies to them. I think that's a benefit over other defenders. And, swordmage warding seems a bit much to me. I know it's suppose to make up for not wearing medium or heavy armor. It just seems like a bit much.

The people at Wizards of the Coast's CharOp message boards seem to be waiting to see all of the classes powers. There are a few questions as to whether or not the swordmage is a defender. It looks like it on paper, but in game play, it seems like a skirmisher/controller mix with some defender added in by virtue of its Aegis mark and Booming Blade.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

(edited)

Has anyone played with it [the swordmage] yet enough to determine if the class seems balanced?
What reaction is there from the CharOps section of the WotC boards?
If their response to this class is unrestricted glee, then the spiral of ever increasing power in classes seems to have started disappointingly early.

There is a Sword Mage in our party but I've not really noticed him to be more important then the other characters. I'm honestly not well versed in the Sword Mages abilities as I play the Cleric but we have not had any issue with the Sword Mage running away. That might be because the ability to run away does not really work if your uncovering the squichies in the party. I mean if the Sword Mage uncovers the actual mage and we now have to all work to save the mages ass the Sword Mages player is going to hear about it. The mage player will be pissed and my Cleric will be pissed if I'm being forced to try and keep the Mage alive, he can only really take two hits - once the monsters land one blow we are immediately in a crisis, so uncovering the mage on purpose is really a no no. We also have a Paladin in the party and I should be using my healing to keep the Paladin going not the mage. Especially if I'm also being forced to play back up fighter and heal two characters because the Sword Mage has run off. That said a party without squishies might not mind the Sword Mage running off.

In actual play the Sword Mage is often our least mobile player since the Paladin has to do double duty as a back up healer and therefore sometimes needs to pull back from the front line.

Our Sword Mages AC is very good but the Paladin's is slightly better. +3 to AC rocks but he can't wear heavy armour so it kind of cancels out.

The Lasso power has been the most stand out ability of the Sword Mage. We have used that to pull enemies off other players, especially the Mage, or to create an opening in the defencive line of the enemies allowing the Paladin to get at the soft targets in the back.


Lightning Lure while great, has a fairly short range of 3. I have been playing a Swordmage for 3 levels now, and I have never ran away from a squishy, nor have I ever gotten to use my defender ability. :( Everytime I think I will get an opportunity to use it the monster dies. I stay up front with a fighter and I play off tank and move around to set up opportunities to use the ability while being another line of defense in front of the squishes.

On a side not, I am using a Glaive since it is considered a sword type weapon, and I love the reach on this character.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
If their response to this class is unrestricted glee, then the spiral of ever increasing power in classes seems to have started disappointingly early.

I was pretty relaxed about this class, but it would fit my setting like a charm, so I read it. My immediate reaction was it reads as very, very evocative; I'd play one, but I don't see it being overpowered. No way a first level swordmage could cover anyone elses job except the defenders. It will be great to throw a few of these at my players in the main plot arc of paragon tier.


detritus wrote:

Lightning Lure while great, has a fairly short range of 3. I have been playing a Swordmage for 3 levels now, and I have never ran away from a squishy, nor have I ever gotten to use my defender ability. :( Everytime I think I will get an opportunity to use it the monster dies. I stay up front with a fighter and I play off tank and move around to set up opportunities to use the ability while being another line of defense in front of the squishes.

On a side not, I am using a Glaive since it is considered a sword type weapon, and I love the reach on this character.

I've got a group with two strikers, but I can't imagine how tough a group with two defenders would be to budge. That must make for some awesome fight scenes.


Michael Brisbois wrote:
I've got a group with two strikers, but I can't imagine how tough a group with two defenders would be to budge. That must make for some awesome fight scenes.

We have a Fighter, Swordmage, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlord. I am multi-classed with wizard so and with the glaive I do pretty good short range control of minions. Also I am a dragonborn so I have AE flowing out.

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