Eldritch Champion (Full BAB Arcane Caster Base Class)


Homebrew and House Rules


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Since the magus is a 3/4 BAB, 6 spell level base class, Pathfinder is missing an arcane warrior that compares to the paladin and ranger (full BAB, 4 spell levels). This is a gap that just begs to be filled, so here is my take on it.

Comments are welcome, but please keep it relevant:

This is a full BAB, 4 spell level class. If your heart is set on a Pathfinder version of the 3.5 duskblade, with full BAB and spell progression comparable to a bard, then this is probably not a class for you.

The class was designed to be somewhat comparable to the paladin, but with arcane casting. Also, the emphasis was on elemental Evocation effects (acid, cold, electricity, fire), not including sonic. Spell selection was mainly restricted to Abjuration, Evocation, Necromancy, and Transmutation, with a few Conjuration and Divination selections.

I tried to have abilities scale as the character gained levels.

The formatting the level table may not be perfect, but I tried to line things up. Hopefully it works.

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Int), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str). Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Level..BAB..........................Fort..Ref...Will...1st..2nd..3rd..4th.. ..Class Features
1........+1...........................+2....+0...+2.....-....-......-...... -.......Arcane Strike, Detect Magic,
........................................................................... ...........................Eldritch Weapon (+1d6)
2........+2...........................+3....+0...+3.....-....-......-...... -.......Eldritch Defense, Weapon Focus
3........+3...........................+3....+1...+3.....-....-......-...... -.......Arcane Bond (Weapon), Eldritch
........................................................................... ...........................Weapon Training
4........+4...........................+4....+1...+4.....0....-......-...... -.......Combat Casting, Eldritch Strike
5........+5...........................+4....+1...+4.....1....-......-...... -.......Eldritch Weapon (Burst)
6........+6/+1.....................+5....+2...+5.....1....-......-......-.. .....Imbue Weapon +1
7........+7/+2.....................+5....+2...+5.....1....0......-......-.. .....Eldritch Armor Training
8........+8/+3.....................+6....+2...+6.....1....1......-......-.. .....Arcane Sight
9........+9/+4.....................+6....+3...+6.....2....1......-......-.. .....Eldritch Strike (Target), Imbue
........................................................................... ...........................Weapon +2
10......+10/+5...................+7....+3...+7.....2....1......0......-.... ...Eldritch Weapon (+2d6)
11......+11/+6/+1.............+7....+3...+7.....2....1......1......-....... Eldritch Might 1x/day
12......+12/+7/+2.............+8....+4...+8.....2....2......1......-....... Imbue Weapon +3
13......+13/+8/+3.............+8....+4...+8.....3....2......1......0....... Eldritch Resistance
14......+14/+9/+4.............+9....+4...+9.....3....2......1......1....... Eldritch Armor Mastery, Eldritch
........................................................................... ............................Might 2x/day
15......+15/+10/+5...........+9....+5...+9.....3....2......2......1.......E ldritch Weapon (Imp. Burst),
........................................................................... ............................Imbue Weapon +4
16......+16/+11/+6/+1.....+10..+5..+10....3....3......2......1.......Greate r Arcane Sight
17......+17/+12/+7/+2.....+10..+5..+10....4....3......2......1.......Eldrit ch Might 3x/day
18......+18/+13/+8/+3.....+11..+6..+11....4....3......2......2.......Imbue Weapon +5
19......+19/+14/+9/+4.....+11..+6..+11....4....3......3......2.......Eldrit ch Strike (Any)
20......+20/+15/+10/+5...+12..+6..+12....4....4......3......3.......Eldritc h Weapon (+3d6), Greater
........................................................................... ............................Eldritch Might 4x/day

Weapons and Armor: The eldritch champion is proficient in all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Arcane Strike: At 1st level, the eldritch champion gains Arcane Strike as a bonus feat, even though they don't cast spells. The eldritch champion's effective caster level for the feat is equal to their class level.

Detect Magic: At will, an eldritch champion can use detect magic, as the spell. An eldritch champion can, as a move action, concentrate on on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine the presence of an active or lingering magic aura, learning the aura's strength and (with a successful Knowledge (Arcana) check) the school of magic. A second consecutive round of concentration is required to identify the properties of a magic item (see the Spellcraft skill). While focusing on an individual or object, the eldritch champion does not detect evil in any other object or individual within range.
At 8th level, an eldritch champion can concentrate as a move action to observe all auras within line of sight as the spell arcane sight. Concentrating on a specific creature as a standard action lets the eldritch champion determine if the creature has spellcasting or spell-like abilities.
At 16th level, an eldritch champion can concentrate as a move action to observe all auras within line of sight as the spell greater arcane sight.

Eldritch Weapon: As a swift action, the eldritch champion can channel magical energy into a single weapon, granting an extra 1d6 of acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage to all successful attacks with that weapon for one round. If a weapon already does extra damage of the same type (i.e., corrosive, flaming, frost, or shock weapons, etc.), the damage does not stack. The eldritch champion can use the ability 3 times per day, plus the character's Int modifier, at first level. Each level after first adds an additional use per day.
In addition, the ability improves as the eldritch champion gains levels:
At 5th level, the weapon also does additional damage on a successful critical hit, based on the weapon's critical multiplier. A x2 weapon does an extra 1d10, a x3 weapon does an extra 2d10, and a x4 weapon does an extra 3d10.
At 10th level, the weapon does 2d6 extra damage, instead of 1d6, on each successful attack.
At 15th level, the weapon does increased additional damage on a successful critical hit. A x2 weapon does an extra 2d8, a x3 weapon does an extra 4d8, and a x4 weapon does an extra 6d8.
At 20th level, the weapon does 3d6 extra damage on each successful attack.

Eldritch Defense: At second level, the eldritch champion's study and understanding of magical effects grants a bonus equal to their Int modifier on all saving throws against spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural effects that mimic spells.

Weapon Focus: At 2nd level, the eldritch champion gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat.

Arcane Bond: At 3rd level, the eldritch champion establishes an arcane bond with a weapon, even though they cannot cast spells yet. This weapon must be of the same type that was selected with Weapon Focus at 2nd level. Treat the eldritch champion's class level as the caster level for determining if they meet the prerequisites for adding magic abilities to the bonded weapon.

Eldritch Weapon Training: The eldritch champion can qualify for fighter-only feats as a fighter of two less levels than total eldritch champion levels. If the character has levels in fighter (or gain a similar ability from another class), these levels stack.

Spells: Beginning at 4th level, an eldritch champion gains the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells from the eldritch champion spell list. An eldritch champion must choose and prepare their spells from those written in their spellbook.
To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the arcane champion must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an eldritch champion's spell is 10 + the spell level + the character's Int modifier. An eldritch champion's caster level is equal to their class level - 3.
An eldritch champion can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day, as shown on the above table. In addition, they receive bonus spells for high Intelligence.
An eldritch champion can cast spells in light armor and/or using a shield without a chance of arcane spell failure. In addition, they can cast spells without needing a free hand, as long as they are wielding their bonded weapon.
An eldritch champion can know any number of spells, but starts with only two 1st level spells, plus a number of additional 1st level spells equal to the character's Int modifier. At each new class level, the eldritch champion gains one additional spell of any level they can cast. The eldritch champion can copy or research more spells just like a wizard, using the same cost and time requirements. Eldritch champions can study a wizard's spellbook to learn any equivalent eldritch champion spell. Likewise, a wizard can study an eldritch champion's spellbook to learn any equivalent wizard spell. An eldritch champion must get 8 hours of sleep and spend 1 hour studying their spellbook to prepare spells.

Combat Casting: At 4th level, the eldritch champion gains Combat Casting as a bonus feat.

Eldritch Strike: At 4th level, the eldritch champion can, as a standard action that does not draw an attack of opportunity, cast a touch spell and make a single weapon attack, doing both normal weapon damage and the effect of the spell on a successful attack. You cannot "hold the charge" when using this ability.
At 9th level, the eldritch champion can cast any spell that affects a target or targets so that it takes effect on a successful weapon attack using this ability. If the spell would normally affect multiple targets, the victim only suffers a single instance (missile, ray, saving throw, etc.) from the spell.
At 19th level, the eldritch champion can cast any spell they have prepared to take effect on a successful weapon attack using this ability. Area spells only affect the target of a successful attack and most spells with a duration other than instantaneous become instantaneous.

Imbue Weapon: At 6th level, the eldritch champion can enhance their weapon as a standard action, imbuing it with magic energy for up to 1 minute per class level per day. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but must be used in 1 minute increments. When imbued with magic energy, the weapon shines as bright as a torch. At 6th level, the eldritch champion can imbue the weapon with a +1 enhancement bonus. For every three levels beyond 6th, the eldritch champion can imbue another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. These bonuses can be added to an existing magic weapon, stacking with inherent weapon bonuses to a maximum of +5, or they can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: corrosive, corrosive burst, cunning, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, and speed. Adding these properties consumes an amount equal to the property's cost. These bonuses are added to any properties the weapon has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. The bonus and properties are determined when the weapon is imbued and cannot be changed without re-imbuing the weapon. These bonuses apply to only a single weapon (or one end of a double weapon); imbuing a different weapon ends the effect.

Eldritch Armor Training: At 7th level, the eldritch champion can cast spells in medium armor without a chance of spell failure.

Eldritch Might: At 11th level, the eldritch champion can channel energy into their own body as a standard action, gaining a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, and one extra attack at their highest bonus on a full attack action (does not stack with Haste and/or Speed weapons). This energy lasts for a number of rounds equal to the character's eldritch champion levels, leaving the eldritch champion fatigued. If the eldritch champion was already fatigued, then they are exhausted; this ability cannot be used when exhausted. The eldritch champion can use this ability once per day at 11th level, twice per day at 14th level, three times per day at 17th level, and 4 times per day at 20th level.
At 20th level, the ability improves, granting a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, a +6 natural armor bonus to AC, DR 5/-, one extra attack, and a +2 competence bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks.

Eldritch Resistance: At 13th level, the eldritch champion gains spell resistance equal to their current class level + 10.

Eldritch Armor Mastery: At 14th level, the eldritch champion gains proficiency in heavy armor and can cast spells in heavy armor without a chance of spell failure.

Eldritch Champion Spells
1st level: burning hands, chill touch, endure elements, enlarge person, expeditious retreat, feather fall, flaming sphere, gravity bow, hydraulic push, [i]identify, jump, magic missile, magic weapon, mount, ray of enfeeblement, shield, shocking grasp, stone fist, touch of the sea, true strike
2nd level: acid arrow, arrow eruption, bear's endurance, bull's strength, cat's grace, dispel magic, elemental aura, false life, fire breath, fox's cunning, ghoul touch, gust of wind, haste, keen weapon, protection from arrows, resist energy, scorching ray, spectral hand
3rd level: aqueous orb, cloak of winds, elemental body I, fireball, fly, greater magic weapon, hydraulic torrent, lesser globe of invulnerability, lightning Bolt, nondetection, phantom steed, protection from energy, ray of exhaustion, vampiric touch, versatile weapon
4th level: arcane eye, ball lightning, detonate, elemental body II, enervation, fire shield, ice storm, resilient sphere, stoneskin, wall of fire, wall of ice, waves of fatigue

Scarab Sages

I like this. I also like that your Eldritch Strike remains a Standard action and does not work on full attacks.

However, I am worried about overall damage output. Where the Fighter gains +4 to hit and +4 to damage over the course of its class, your Eldritch Champion gets +5 to damage from Arcane Strike, +3d6 with +2d8 crits from Eldritch Weapon, something on the order of +3d6 with +2d10 crits from Imbue Weapon, and a cheaper magic weapon than the Fighter to begin with. That's a total of +26 damage with +20 extra on crits. On a single attack, add up to +30 damage (e.g. from a maximized shocking grasp). All of this is on top of power attacking with a Falchion or a Falcata with the best of them. Fighters are already supposed to be the kings of damage output -- see where this is going...?

Also, Imbue Weapon and Eldritch Weapon are basically the same ability, except that one needs preparation, and they stack. That feels rather redundant. Maybe change Imbue into another ability? Maybe a utility?

And finally: Flaming Sphere as a 1st level spell?


Arcane and Imbue Weapon are both swift actions that only last for the round used. As such, they are mutually exclusive for any given round.

Myself, I would make the Strike still provoke. Spell casting should still provoke unless you cast on the defensive- especially with you giving them combat casting as a free feat.

Just my .02 though.

-S

Scarab Sages

Selgard wrote:
Arcane and Imbue Weapon are both swift actions that only last for the round used. As such, they are mutually exclusive for any given round.

Not as currently written. If they were, they'd be even more identical... my suggestions would be to just dump Imbue. It sounds uncomfortably close to the Paladin's bond anyway.

Quote:
Myself, I would make the Strike still provoke. Spell casting should still provoke unless you cast on the defensive- especially with you giving them combat casting as a free feat.

Not a bad idea. You'd have to cast, 5-foot step, and then deliver, like a regular caster. Then, once you're in melee, you'd have to cast defensively or focus on whacking.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Catharsis wrote:

However, I am worried about overall damage output. Where the Fighter gains +4 to hit and +4 to damage over the course of its class, your Eldritch Champion gets +5 to damage from Arcane Strike, +3d6 with +2d8 crits from Eldritch Weapon, something on the order of +3d6 with +2d10 crits from Imbue Weapon, and a cheaper magic weapon than the Fighter to begin with. That's a total of +26 damage with +20 extra on crits. On a single attack, add up to +30 damage (e.g. from a maximized shocking grasp). All of this is on top of power attacking with a Falchion or a Falcata with the best of them. Fighters are already supposed to be the kings of damage output -- see where this is going...?

Also, Imbue Weapon and Eldritch Weapon are basically the same ability, except that one needs preparation, and they stack. That feels rather redundant. Maybe change Imbue into another ability? Maybe a utility?

And finally: Flaming Sphere as a 1st level spell?

I was scaling the Eldritch Weapon power off of the paladin's Smite Evil in Pathfinder. With no bonus on attack rolls (and no spells to improve that other than true strike), the need to worry about elemental resistance/immunity (which is pretty darn common either innately or through magical protection), the limited uses (as opposed to unlimited uses against a limited number of enemies), and the fact that both Arcane Strike and Eldritch Weapon require a swift action (so they cannot both be in effect at the same time) to activate for the round I think it's close to the same level of power.

Using Imbue Weapon to add small amounts of damage from other elements is not going to matter in a high level game much when most foes have elemental resistances of at least 10 in multiple categories. In fact, that's the biggest drawback to the eldritch champion: the extreme focus on elemental damage. Ganted, against certain foes (those lacking elemental resistances), "going nova" will allow them to deal more damage than a fighter, but paladins do more damage than a fighter against "team evil" when Smiting and rangers do more damage against Favored Enemies, too. Eldritch Weapon and Imbue Weapon only stack when they use different elemental damage types ("If a weapon already does extra damage of the same type... the damage does not stack"), which are resisted separately. Just having 5 points of elemental resistance in each of acid, cold, electricity, and fire means a maximum of +3 damage (and likely no extra damage) from Imbue Weapon and at 20th level +5.5 on average from Eldritch Weapon, except on a critical hit; a critical hit with a falchion will do on average ((+1d6+1d10-5)x3)+(+3d6+2d8-5)=((3.5+5.5-5)x3)+(10.5+9-5)=(4x3)+14.5=12+14. 5=26.5 extra points of damage at 20th level. If the target has 10 points of elemental resistance in each of the four categories, the eldritch champion does around +0.5 damage on average with a normal hit and around +9.5 damage on a critcal hit. It is extremely easy to reduce the damage potential of Eldritch Weapon and Imbue Weapon. The falcata can do significantly more damage on a critical hit, but only threatens 20% of the time, even with Improved Critical or keen.

As far as the redundancy goes, Eldritch Weapon is "burst" damage of a single elemental type, while Imbue Weapon is a longer term, more general enhancement. You don't have to choose the elemental damage abilities; you can choose extra "plusses," cunning, keen, and/or speed.

Flaming sphere is a 1st level spell that you gain at 4th level. Also, "The sphere moves as long as you actively direct it (a move action for you); otherwise it merely stays at rest and burns. It can be extiguished by any means that would put out a normal fire of its size. The surface of the sphere has a spongy, yielding consistency and so does not cause damage except by its flame. It cannot push aside creatures or batter down large obstacles." Considering the above, that fire resistance is the most common resistance in the game, and the limitations on the sphere's movement (can't affect targets that are flying, levitating, etc.), I felt that waiting until 7th level to gain access would make it much less useful than other 2nd level spells.

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