Eldritch Knight: expectations / early entry


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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In the SLA reversal thread I noticed quite a lot of discussion about the Edlritch Knight prestige class. Some of it was about how the class was poorly designed and didn't achieve it's purpose, and some was about how the loss of an early entry made it ineffective.

This confused me, because the purpose of the class seems (to me) to be to fight better than a wizard (and be more durable as well), but retain higher level spell casting ability. In that sense, being at or near 3/4 BAB (yes it's lower at some levels, but anything higher than 1/2 is better at fighting than the wizard), and having access to all nine levels of spells achieves that purpose.

It was suggested by some that the class had too few features, which seems consistent with wizard (and fighter, to a degree) to me.

Early entry would certainly help with BAB progression, but not with lack of class features (as getting nothing early seems no better than getting nothing later).

What do you think the Eldritch Knight should be ideally? (As far as BAB, Casting ability, additional class features, so on)

Would a 3/4 BAB 9 level arcane caster class with more developed class features obsolete the 3/4 BAB 6 level casters?

Does early entry actually fix the current issues with the Eldritch Knight?


PRD: "An arcane spellcaster who augments his magical skills with combat to create a deadly combination of weapons and magic."
That technically doesn't happen until you get the prestige capstone ability as a 16th level character. Up to that point there is absolutely nothing about the class that focuses on combining magic and weapons.*

Oh, hold on, you already used your swift action to use arcane strike? You would need another swift action to use spell critical, then a third swift action to use arcane armor training...

I think perhaps EK is set up a little too broadly to satisfy what many people are looking for. I suspect people want a class that is about turning arcane abilities into attacking power, rather then maintaining full access to the wizard spell list. I think many people want a magus, or soulknife or whatever, rather then an old school fighter/magic-user.

*That does open the door for some options that let the EK focus on polymorphing, rather then weapons and armor, but I think that is a separate character concept, and not what people think of as a 'knight'.


BAB/casting wise it's fine. I wouldn't mind more class features but they should be relatively minor-- casting in light armor is certainly something I would like to see though; maybe medium at high levels. Even just walking up the Arcane Armor Training feat chain (and ending with the Mythic version of Arcane Armor Mastery, where it's always-on) would be nice. I would, however, love to ditch Spell Critical for something else, perhaps the aforementioned armor thing. Spell Critical is just uncontrollable and that doesn't really work.

However, I do think it should be enterable at level three. The early-entry makes it viable without making the character feel like he's playing catch-up for several levels. You're sitting a level of spells under the full casters, without the various accuracy boosters and such of the full martials, and without the often incredibly powerful class features of the 6th level casters, which makes a strong jack of all trades without being overpowering in any aspect.

Put this kind of EK up against a Barbarian, he won't fight as well but he should be able to hold his own. Put him up against a Wizard, he'll underperform-- but he's not too far behind. Put him up against a Magus, he has to compete against the insane action economy of the Magus, meaning that while he might hit better and he might cast better, the Magus can hit and cast together as well as he can do either, so we're good.


I am one of those who think the class is pretty good as is. I'm a grognard of sorts (started with B/X in 1983-ish) and perhaps that informs my opinion. I don't really care about the bells and whistles of the minor abilities -- the BAB and the Spells ARE the main class features, and EK gets those. I DO NOT mind so-called "dead levels" if you are getting BAB and casting advancement.

I don't see B/X or 3.0 as badwrongfun for having "dead levels" -- I see them as simpler and more elegant, with fewer little fiddly bits. Having more fiddly bits does not, for me, make a character more interesting or more fun to play. For others, it does.

PF has certainly gone in the direction of giving more and more fiddly little abilities, but it's still a game I enjoy despite that. OSR would probably be my first choice, but PFS is an enjoyable organized campaign.

For PF EK, given PF's focus on the "other" class features, I could see changing it so that you add half your class level to your arcane casting class for purposes of school abilities or bloodline abilities.


Early entry was a way to make the concept in your head actually play out more evenly instead of having a character who is basically a wizard with a permanent negative level for the first 6 levels.


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Why the Eldritch Knight is considered a poorly designed class:

The problem with the EK class design is that it supposedly shifts focus in a wizard build from arcane power to DPR (IE martial ability), but in practise it does not achieve this until very high levels. The EK has no class abilities that enable it to fulfill a frontline role better than a standard wizard other than the BAB increase. You are essentially trading a lot of spellcasting power (2 spell levels is significant) for a minor increase (1/2 to eventually 3/4 BAB) which is not enough to transform you into a frontline fighter for the majority of your adventuring career. 3/4 BAB classes with a DPR focus without strong class features such as the rogue and core monk are traditionally seen as awful classes, tier 4 or even pushing tier 5. The EK isn't this bad (it still has spellcasting!) but if you are dead set on hitting things with a sword past level ~3 you are going to feel pretty useless compared to the fighter and the wizard in your party.

On top of this, the EK suffers from extreme action economy issues which prevent it from performing optimally in its supposed role until it gets the 10th level capstone --- and then it has reverse synergy with previously useful feats such as arcane strike and arcane armour.

Yet even through all this, the EK still manages to do alright. Two spell levels behind is significant but not the end of the world.
The biggest problem with EK as a prestige class is that you are sacrificing those caster levels for.... not a lot until 10th level. You get to sit through the majority of your adventuring levels (~3-10) where you are a subpar caster and a subpar fighter --- all for a final power level which isn't much to write home about in the first place. This is bad class design.

How early entry helped:

a) it made the full BAB kick in sooner, giving a more tangible reward at low levels for the loss of two spellcasting levels

b) it removed the 'dead' levels from ~3-10 where you were just waiting around for your EK to actually come online but your concept of 'wizard-knight' didn't actually work.

c) it actually let you use your capstone at a level where it was powerful and meaningful.

All without significantly 'cheesing' the power level of the class - you still lost those two spellcaster levels which was the biggest drawback in the first place.

A critical look at the 'worth' of the class:

Is the EK a worthless prestige class? Well, that depends on whether you look at it in relation to all classes or in relation to what it is trying to achieve.

a) in relation to all classes, is the EK a worthless prestige class?

No. The EK is not worthless because even with a loss of two spellcasting levels, the EK still manages 9th level spells, albeit with delayed progression. This already puts it leagues ahead of other spell-less 3/4 BAB classes like the rogue and monk. It will never out-DPS a martial but it can definitely still contribute to an unoptimised party or an optimised tier 3-4 party just fine.

The EK isn't worthless because most parties are not perfectly optimised death machines, and their wizard spellcasting allows them to contribute decently regardless.

b) does the EK achieve, mechanically, what it thematically claims to do?

No. The EK is worthless because, fundamentally, it doesn't actually make the wizard a frontline fighter. 3/4 BAB and a d10 HD is not good enough to make a caster into a frontline fighter: in pathfinder you need some serious damage boosting class features AND spells to remain competitive as a 3/4 fighter: see bard or alchemist compared to monk or rogue.

Sure, you could make an EK without being a frontline fighter, and in fact this is a much more optimal strategy. The reason why EK is worthless is because if you aren't a frontline fighter the extra 2 spellcaster levels are going to be serving you a lot better than anything the EK can do for you anyway. It is never 'worth' going into the class to achieve your character concept.

Take home messages:

a) The EK is a poorly designed class because it is comprised of a bunch of 'dead' levels where you are not really competent at either fighting OR spellcasting and, without any real way to combine them like a magus, you are stuck being subpar at one or the other in any particular round.

b) early entry to EK alleviates this issue somewhat by reducing the number of 'dead levels' you have to wade through and making the extra BAB actually count for something in the early game.

c) The EK is not a worthless class by every measure, but it doesn't really succeed at what it sets out to do: to make a wizard who can actually fight better in close combat. This is why people have issues with the class.


Trogdar wrote:

Early entry was a way to make the concept in your head actually play out more evenly instead of having a character who is basically a wizard with a permanent negative level for the first 6 levels.

Part of my question though is "what is that concept?".

Is it "person who fights with sword and magic"? If so, aren't Magus or Blade Adept Arcanist, or even Bloodrager, ways to make that concept work more quickly/easily?

Is it specifically "person who fights with sword and magic (up to level 9)"?


Scythia wrote:
Trogdar wrote:

Early entry was a way to make the concept in your head actually play out more evenly instead of having a character who is basically a wizard with a permanent negative level for the first 6 levels.

Part of my question though is "what is that concept?".

Is it "person who fights with sword and magic"? If so, aren't Magus or Blade Adept Arcanist, or even Bloodrager, ways to make that concept work more quickly/easily?

Is it specifically "person who fights with sword and magic (up to level 9)"?

I will address the magus specifically because I feel it is the only example you have given which actually competes directly with an EK concept. Blade adept is clearly designed to transition into EK anyway so that's a moot point, and bloodrager is a 4th level caster with limited casting utility like the paladin so not really comparable at all.

I think the appeal of the EK over the Magus is a few-fold:

a) The class, mechanically and thematically, feels closer to a 'wizard knight' than the Magus, which feels and plays like a separate entity entirely.

b) The magus has a very spellcombat orientated playstyle and spell list. I think a lot of people who create EKs have this idea of a more utility, buff-based mage who doesn't use spells to cause direct damage but rather to provide support as he or she wades in with the fighters.

c) The class is, in theory, more customisable than competitors. You could previously create interesting concepts like a holy dragonknight all the way to 20th level (Paladin/Sorc/EK and DD)

Regardless, 'other classes can do X concept already' shouldn't justify relegating previous classes into the dustbin. Ideally, all classes should be interesting, flavourful and balanced options that can be taken to give an individual their own spin on a character concept. The loss of early entry took us a little further from that ideal.

*edit*

Worth mentioning that I personally lament the loss of AT and MT as viable classes more than EK, which was a poor class but not absolutely awful like the other two. It's still part of the same parcel, though.


The EK seems mostly fine to me... I don't really care that the capstone is kind of gimped or uncontrolled, or that the class has less bells on it. The issue for me is that in simple, relative terms it just falls a bit short.

I tend to use level 9 as a sort of standard point for when things should be rolling along for a concept; this is when the EK will catch up to the 3/4BAB classes for the first time as far as BAB goes, but unlike a 3/4BAB class it's got nothing going for it otherwise. The Magus will have a very solid +3enhancement advantage even if we ignore all of the other Magus abilities; the Bard is running a more sympathetic spell list and has Inspire Courage; for that matter a Cleric can run Divine Power, and can even throw in it's own Inspire Courage on top of that with the Evangelist archetype.

So you end up (since to some degree you have to choose) with either a more physically oriented EK who, after 9 levels of patiently growing into it's BAB, is a far worse combatant than the 'pure' options, or you end up with a more casting-oriented EK who is pretty dismal in combat, with only a small edge in spellcasting - if any - over 3/4BAB classes (which indicates where it stands compared to a pure caster as well).

The nice thing about early entry was that not only did the +2BAB grant it a more even footing, but extra BAB and feats meant that its real 'class ability' was in doing more interesting combat feat stuff sooner than a 3/4BAB could. At least they gave the Arcanist a way to Spellstrike.

EDIT: Well, Blakmane basically said it all first. I guess someone had to do it.

Scarab Sages

EK is a prc. An early one, at that, in the development cycle of Pathfinder. It has always been a little weak due to a lack of additional abilities.

In the end, you trade one level of spell progression, all level progressed class abilities(including familiar), 2 free spells known per level; all for an increase in BAB, 3 free combat feats, sucky will saves and a swift action ability you might not be able to use. This is not enough to keep the class competitive.

For those who say you should be a magus if you want to be a front-line wizard... That is no different than saying EK should not exist. Since, its very theme is for allowing a strike wizard. The EK should not be made like a magus and the magus should not take the place of EK.

Now, if one is going to talk about a problem, they should also give some sort of solution. So, here is what I think.

It's okay to keep the EK simple since its access to spells can give you all the interesting attributes you need. He is a spellsword. He needs spells.. and a sword. That's the frills, folks.
As is, action economy will eat an EK alive. The first round of combat you are either going to be casting a spell to keep you alive(a thing your typical front line fighter doesn't need) or casting a spell to deal damage(which a full caster will do better).
Basically, you need to cover the distance between the EK and other front-line, always-on, classes. The spells do this pretty well, but as I said, action economy is the downfall.
I think spell critical has a good idea by giving an extra action for spell casting.
Even if I believe it shouldn't be a swift action due to competition for the swift action slot.
Perhaps a pool of swift action points per day to cast harmless(IE buff) spells. And, perhaps a buff to combat casting.
Since, what the EK needs to be competitive is to have the right spells on and the ability to cast them without failure while still being able to handle taking hits. All this while being able to use his weapon to deal damage.

There are other ways to handle the disparity, but it is hard to deny the disparity, I think.

One other thing, I don't see a reason why you need to be a 3rd spell level caster to get into the class. It just seems to be a way to lower the bab of the class more than any other reason.


First, another shot at remaking the Eldritch Knight as a prestige class.

Next, since some confusion exists about what you would want an Eldritch Knight for as opposed to a Magus, here's my main concept (actually one and a half concepts) that a Magus doesn't do very well, that Eldritch Knight would have done quite well before the new SLA FAQ nerf, but now will barely manage (copied and pasted with slight edits from my post in the SLA FAQ Reversal thread):

Reach Eldritch Knight (scroll down to "Third Character" about halfway through the post, and then read the next couple of posts for debugging). This would be the arcane equivalent of a Reach Cleric (link to guide). Oddly enough, Cleric is a class that has a lot of dead levels, although they don't come in stretches of 3 at a time like in the Eldritch Knight progression -- boring, but powerful. Reach Eldritch Knight is a build severely crippled by the new SLA FAQ -- it really needed the early entry to be good, although if you had a high enough point buy to be able to pump Dexterity as much as you need while still pumping Strength and Constitution through the roof, you could still pull it off by having your spellcasting base class be Orc Scarred Witch Doctor.

The post linked above also has a Ranged Sorcadin version (using the Snap Shot feat chain in place of a reach weapon to get AoOs at distance) that I didn't flesh out or debug as much. This really needed early entry to work at all, because even with early entry it would still take a long time to get online.

The vanilla Magus won't do this very well for a couple of reasons I can think of right off the bat, neither of which have to do with BAB:

1. The Magus spell list is more specialized than the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list, and is missing some of the battlefield control spells (most obviously the Summon Monster series, although those aren't necessarily the ones you want -- but still a missing option; I even thought about going Reach Summoner instead, but that is missing a bunch of other battlefield control spells -- still might be worthwhile anyway). Yes, you eventually get to add in some Sorcerer/Wizard spells through Greater Spell Access, but you have to wait all the way to **level 19** for this.

2. Using a two-handed weapon (almost all Reach weapons) crimps a Magus' style, since they need to have a free hand (except for the Skirnir, who has to be using a shield in the off-hand, and the Myrmidarch, which is just plain crippled). This also hoses two-weapon fighting concepts.

One possible alternative to an Eldritch Knight prestige class remake would be a Magus archetype that alleviates the above two problems. I can't think up all the details at this time, but this archetype should specialize in fighting with two-handed weapons, including polearms (replacing Spell Combat would be an acceptable tradeoff for this), fix the Swift Action economy problem that others have noted (although just being a Magus fixes at least 1/3 of this problem by not requiring the Arcane Armor Training feat), get Greater Spell Access a LOT earlier (and probably should be more extensive as well), and ideally have some boost to taking Attacks of Opportunity and making Combat Maneuvers. The Eldritch Knight's capstone ability Spell Critical is unique and rather powerful against opponents if you build for Critical fishing, but seems just tacked on, and runs into Swift Action Economy problems; rather than being an integral class feature, it should be made into a feat (and see some posts below for debugging) that could alternatively be taken as a Magus Arcana.


Blakmane wrote:


I will address the magus specifically because I feel it is the only example you have given which actually competes directly with an EK concept. Blade adept is clearly designed to transition into EK anyway so that's a moot point, and bloodrager is a 4th level caster with limited casting utility like the paladin so not really comparable at all.

They aren't directly comparable, but they can all be described as "person who fights with sword and magic", which is what I was going for.

Blakmane wrote:


The magus has a very spellcombat orientated playstyle and spell list. I think a lot of people who create EKs have this idea of a more utility, buff-based mage who doesn't use spells to cause direct damage but rather to provide support as he or she wades in with the fighters.

Wouldn't "buffing/support & wade in with fighters" work better as a cleric? I'm not inputting that's the only way, it's just the class that comes to mind when I hear that description.

Blakmane wrote:


Regardless, 'other classes can do X concept already' shouldn't justify relegating previous classes into the dustbin. Ideally, all classes should be interesting, flavourful and balanced options that can be taken to give an individual their own spin on a character concept. The loss of early entry took us a little further from that ideal.

I'm not denigrating the idea of having multiple classes that can cover a concept, what I am wondering is why people would fight for one that they consider subpar. Or, alternately why someone who is concerned with a class being less than optimal wouldn't use one of the more optimal options.


Scythia wrote:
Is it "person who fights with sword and magic"? If so, aren't Magus or Blade Adept Arcanist, or even Bloodrager, ways to make that concept work more quickly/easily?

The closest build that comes to mind for what I'd like to see an EK do would be a Barbarian 1/ Sorcerer 4/ Dragon Disciple 4, only then followed by EK. Using that with a couple of Extra Rage means that by level 9 you've got the same -3BAB and -2CL, but you've also got a permanent +4 Strength buff, a 'class ability' +4 Strength buff, a nice HP and saves package from Disciple, a little armor, a free feat, and a bloodline arcana - with potentially a second bloodline arcana and customized powers if you want to go that way. The icing on the cake is that through the combination of a specially crafted weapon, a core spell and a class feature (Greater Magic Weapon + Furious, Couragous Weapon + Rage) your weapon makes a big leap in power, and then reflects some of that power right back into you. Sounds like something an "Eldritch Knight" should have.

Unlike the Magus, it doesn't weave spells into one-handed weapon combat; it casts buffs and/or throws in a few choice (probably no-save or damage-based) contributions via magic, and then moves in to hack things into unsympathetic giblets with a two-hander, backed by what could easily be flavored as 'magical' strength or prowess and maybe the Hurtful feat (screw spell combat, I want another 30+ 'magic muscles' wrecking ball).

It would be nice if it didn't require being a Dragon Barbarian to do this, but in general the ingredients are there for a better PrC when you've got a combination of continuing a useful class ability with a scattering of more directly useful ability. I mean "hey, here's some free direct combat effectiveness favoring a very different style than other 3/4 arcanes, and some armor and hp and saves" isn't rocket science but it sure works.


Scythia wrote:
Wouldn't "buffing/support & wade in with fighters" work better as a cleric? I'm not inputting that's the only way, it's just the class that comes to mind when I hear that description.

So... 'why not just go use a totally differently flavored class with a divine spell list instead of wanting an arcane one to do a similar thing reasonably well?'

Scythia wrote:
I'm not denigrating the idea of having multiple classes that can cover a concept, what I am wondering is why people would fight for one that they consider subpar. Or, alternately why someone who is concerned with a class being less than optimal wouldn't use one of the more optimal options.

So... 'why are people arguing for the improvement of an option which they like but which they consider subpar at the moment, when they could go and use something different in flavor and mechanics that worked better?'

Please don't think I'm being snide, but it seems like these questions are kind of chasing their own tails...


BadBird wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Wouldn't "buffing/support & wade in with fighters" work better as a cleric? I'm not inputting that's the only way, it's just the class that comes to mind when I hear that description.
So... 'why not just go use a totally differently flavored class with a divine spell list instead of wanting an arcane one to do a similar thing reasonably well?'

As I said, I'm not saying it's the only way, just what came to mind for me. In other words, if I wanted to be support and frontline combat, I would play a Cleric (or more likely Oracle). Nowhere in there do I say anyone else has to.

BadBird wrote:


Scythia wrote:
I'm not denigrating the idea of having multiple classes that can cover a concept, what I am wondering is why people would fight for one that they consider subpar. Or, alternately why someone who is concerned with a class being less than optimal wouldn't use one of the more optimal options.

So... 'why are people arguing for the improvement of an option which they like but which they consider subpar at the moment, when they could go and use something different in flavor and mechanics that worked better?'

Please don't think I'm being snide, but it seems like these questions are kind of chasing their own tails...

Please don't take it personally. I'm trying to understand why people want to use a class that they think is bad. I want to know what they want from the class, and figure out the difference they see between it and other options. I'm curious what concepts people are trying to create with this class, and why they use it specifically.

I'm not saying anyone is wrong to play this class, I'm asking why they choose it over mechanics that as you said "work better". I tend to think that "flavor" is what you make it, so for my own characters I use the mechanics that work best to fit the concept. I know that not everybody does that, and that's fine, but it also means I'm approaching this from a different perspective. I won't understand another perspective unless I learn about it.


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Scythia wrote:


I'm not saying anyone is wrong to play this class, I'm asking why they choose it over mechanics that as you said "work better".

That's exactly it. I would not expect many people to pick EK anymore. Thus why people are so angry with the SLA FAQ nerf. EK, MT and AT with early entry were 'ok' classes that were more than capable of contributing to an optimised party (ok, AT maybe not so much). With the nerf, there's really no reason to choose these classes anymore.

Surely you can agree that loss of mechanical diversity is a bad thing. Although you can create a similar concept using a magus or a witch or a bard, the EK, AT and MT occupied unique mechanical niches (9th level spellcasting martial, sneak attacking mage and dual divine/arcane spell progression) which are no longer viable except in low power games. The EK has it best -- the other two are really quite awful now rather than just mediocre like the EK.

By the sounds you are the type who likes to tweak interesting and viable mechanical concepts, reflavouring fluff if necessary: thus, hopefully you can understand that the loss of these classes from the 'good mechanics' means a little bit of fun is lost. Surely this is especially galling considering that mechanical depth has been lost in the name of an unnecessary 'fluff' change (SLA as prereqs not being 'realistic' or 'believable') which you yourself mention as being something that can be reflavoured if it doesn't suit.

*edit*

Worth mentioning:

a) early entry was available to these classes in core, where the pool of mechanical options was even more limited. Even in normal PFS you need to have the associated books, where before the CRB was enough. This is a huge hit for core and normal PFS players who don't or might not have the option to pick up magus.

b) you aren't allowed to refluff things except minor cosmetic changes in PFS --- so if you want to be a wizard knight you can't refluff a cleric, for example.

*double edit*

I haven't been insulted by any exchange in this thread, don't worry. Everything has been part of a more than reasonable debate!


You get 9 levels of spells, but have good hit points. In a situation where you are forced into combat, you're not terrible. Depending on your build, you might be able to pump out some big numbers with self-buffing in bursts. That's really it. I don't have a problem with the EK, and to this day, I prefer most EK builds to most magus builds. I can understand how other people might feel differently, but for me, the EK is where it's at.

I have only one real criticism of the EK: because of the way favored class now works, they end up missing out on a few hit points relative to single class characters.

Arcane Strike? Arcane Armor Mastery? No, thanks. I'll take mirror image and Power Attack. Arcane Strike, let's be real here, that's for bards. And if you want to Quick Spell, you can totally apply Still Spell to a lot of your repertoire, deal with having less slots, and still pick up plenty of spells all along the way that have no somatic components. Oh, and spell trigger items don't have spell failure, either, so excuse me while I'm standing here in my mithril breastplate with my staff of wizardry and casting power word kill and quickened dimension door. Or I'm just using mage armor an displacement while I cast summoning spells and counterspells.


Blakmane wrote:
Surely you can agree that loss of mechanical diversity is a bad thing. Although you can create a similar concept using a magus or a witch or a bard, the EK, AT and MT occupied unique mechanical niches (9th level spellcasting martial, sneak attacking mage and dual divine/arcane spell progression) which are no longer viable except in low power games. The EK has it best -- the other two are really quite awful now rather than just mediocre like the EK.

I adore options. In fact, part of my attempt to understand the draw of this class is so I can offer it as an option in my games. I don't like multi-classing, which tends to rule out prestige classes, but if a player is interested in one, I'm willing to either mix it's features into an existing class, like an archetype, or expand it into it's own 20 level class. To do that, I'll need to be clear on what it's "supposed" to do, and what needs fixing.

Blakmane wrote:


By the sounds you are the type who likes to tweak interesting and viable mechanical concepts, reflavouring fluff if necessary: thus, hopefully you can understand that the loss of these classes from the 'good mechanics' means a little bit of fun is lost. Surely this is especially galling considering that mechanical depth has been lost in the name of an unnecessary 'fluff' change (SLA as prereqs not being 'realistic' or 'believable') which you yourself mention as being something that can be reflavoured if it doesn't suit.

You're correct in your assessment. I tend to start with an idea for a character that would be interesting, then find the mechanics that will make it work.

I admit, I didn't use the first FAQ in my games, although not because of believability or concerns about power, but rather because qualifying isn't a hurdle in my games. I try to get a player set up to play their concept from level 1. I can definitely see how it would be limiting and frustrating if you were required to use it though. One reason I couldn't play PFS, even if it was to form in my area, is that I would find it stifling. My general view is that the rules are a decent starting point, not a conclusion.

Thanks for the constructive contributions.


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Honestly, the best way to fix the Eldritch Knight is to give him mundane class features that fix his problems.

On levels 3, 6, & 9, give him the ability to cast in Light, medium and heavy armor without suffering from ASF. At level 2, give him a free "Arcane Strike" feat, and at level 5, let him use it as a free action. Fill up the rest of the levels with his 3 combat feats and Spell Critical.

With that alone, you've solved almost all of his action economy issues and removed a ton of dead levels. Plus, it's more thematically filling because he's now halfway decent at actually being a warrior wizard without being ludicrously overpowered.


I see EK's more like Gandalf.

Extremely powerful wizards that can still twirl around lopping the heads off orcs.

The magus is an excellent martial, but it just cannot keep up with the EK's spellcasting both in terms of spell level and spell list.


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Blakmane wrote:
Scythia wrote:


I'm not saying anyone is wrong to play this class, I'm asking why they choose it over mechanics that as you said "work better".

That's exactly it. I would not expect many people to pick EK anymore. Thus why people are so angry with the SLA FAQ nerf. EK, MT and AT with early entry were 'ok' classes that were more than capable of contributing to an optimised party (ok, AT maybe not so much). With the nerf, there's really no reason to choose these classes anymore.

I think one thing that affects the way players react is they want to be able to play classes that are very like those they did in older D20 systems. And the Fighter/Magic User was around in the 1970s.

The old FAQ on SLAs gave a lot of people what they wanted and the new FAQ on SLAs took it away again.

I don't play in PFS so I am not an expert but I believe you could not use SLAs to enter PrCs in PFS anyway. And since there is a lot of consumer resistance to the new FAQ on SLAs people should be able to find a GM who agrees with them and ignore the issue.

Back to psychology, I think its the nostalgic desire to play classes or concepts from previous times that makes people want playable MTs and EKs.

There are lots of PrCs that have never had anything to reccomend them from a powergamer's viewpoint. And this does not cause civil disturbances among players.

I personally think that the Core Classes centered philosophy of the game designers is irritating. Why publish all the PrCs that nobody ever plays? [OK it makes money, I know the reason].

I would like fewer PrCs printed, with more time and effort put into testing, so they all have decent but not excessive power levels.

I have something to add to what most say about the EK suffering from not making it either as a caster or melee combatant. There is also the dividing of resources, right from the point buy for your character and the use of your level based feats.


Eldritch Knight Build:
Dual Talented Human Eldritch Knight||18 12 14 17 8 8|| Traits: Magical Knack, Seeker
F1 |Power Attack, Blind-Fight
W1 |Scribe Scroll, cantrips, Universalist School, Familiar(Valet)
W2 |Arcane Armor Training
W3 |
W4 |Arcane Strike
W5 |Craft Wondrous Item
EK1|Improved Familiar, Arcane Armor Mastery
EK2|
EK3|Vital Strike
EK4|
EK5|Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Furious Focus
EK6|
EK7|Craft Construct
EK8|
EK9|Craft Staff, Improved Vital Strike
EK10|Spell critical
W6| Quicken Spell
W7|
W8| Still Spell, Metamagic Mastery
F2|Greater Vital Strike, bravery +1


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Joynt Jezebel wrote:
I think one thing that affects the way players react is they want to be able to play classes that are very like those they did in older D20 systems. And the Fighter/Magic User was around in the 1970s.

That's me. I enjoy playing the newer classes, but nothing has ever matched the thrill of playing those first multi-class options from 1st edition. For me, playing an EK is a nostalgia trip.


Rhedyn wrote:

I see EK's more like Gandalf.

Extremely powerful wizards that can still twirl around lopping the heads off orcs.

The magus is an excellent martial, but it just cannot keep up with the EK's spellcasting both in terms of spell level and spell list.

This is a big concept for the class, I think. A full wizard but Saruman had the edge in magical telekinesis dueling. Able to wade in with a magic sword and have fun hacking but I expect Aragorn to be the better swordsman in the end.

An AD&D Fighter magic user who is a level or two behind straight classed characters but decent at his stuff. Or an AD&D human dual class character.

You could do Gandalf as a Magus, but the magic feels a lot less wizardish in flavor and Eldritch Knight feels a better fit there.

Elric with his occasional big summons and frequent sword swinging comes to mind, despite black blade magus being designed for his concept.

I've done my viking wizard as an EK build before and it offers lots of options on the magic. Using it to boost the combat with buffs, using ray spells and lightning bolts for my ranged attacks and arcane strike with sword for melee, using magic for utility to be the magical batman with a sword.

It can be a great solo concept or for short handed parties. 1 level of ranger then wizard to EK means cure light wounds wands for healing, a phyisically strong first level that can use weapons and fight, then wizard spells for magic utility.

It falls down significantly as a sword swinger in D&D for a broad range of levels though. Five levels early as a wizard hurts the warrior aspect for a long time with no armor, lower hp, and less BAB. Those mid-early levels the losses are felt hard and show up starkly in comparison to the opportunity costs.

Then the capstone does not play well with lots of stuff and you are left having to figure out the last few levels after capping out. High level wizard spells are a great ability even when slowed by two levels, but then the slow down on spells is felt when comparing to what could have been.

I've played the EK, but knew going in that it was very suboptimal and can not always meet the desired concept. Generally better than multiclassing caster warrior, but significantly underpowered in a lot of ways.


Gisher wrote:
Joynt Jezebel wrote:
I think one thing that affects the way players react is they want to be able to play classes that are very like those they did in older D20 systems. And the Fighter/Magic User was around in the 1970s.
That's me. I enjoy playing the newer classes, but nothing has ever matched the thrill of playing those first multi-class options from 1st edition. For me, playing an EK is a nostalgia trip.

Yes.

I have been trying to think through why people are so annoyed about the way some classes got nerfed recently when there are a lot of PCs that are just so weak.
And I suspect there are a lot of people like you, aptly named Gisher.


EK is Gandalf/Elric


Scythia wrote:
I'm not saying anyone is wrong to play this class, I'm asking why they choose it over mechanics that as you said "work better".

To be fair, there are options that the other classes can't duplicate. The notion of a magical archer was pitched above, briefly. You can't do that with a Magus (Myrmidarch is terrible as written), you can't really do it with a Bloodrager (they don't really make good archers)... so your options are what? Bard and EK*.

The Bard kind of has a lot of baggage attached with its class features that has turned off more than a few people I know, and its spell list is very different from the Wizard's so I can certainly understand people not wanting it.

So, there are mechanical niches that the EK fills. There's also TWF; again the Magus isn't really very good at TWF, the Bloodrager is better off two-handing, and the Bard is still rather out there. The weirder combat styles are where it shines.

*Also Arcane Archer, but given the Archer's entry costs you're probably best off doing something like Fighter 1/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight 2 to get access. With early-access on the table, Fighter 1/Wizard 1/EK 10/Arcane Archer 8 is honestly probably your best option.


One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this is the impact on other prestige classes like Arcane Archer and Dragon Disciple.

Fighter 1/Wizard 1/Eldritch Knight 5/Arcane Archer X was a really solid "Mage Archer" build that really felt different from anything else available. I suppose the ability to launch Anti-Magic Fields was considered too strong for 15th level or something, but I did like this concept.

Barbarian 1/Sorcerer 1/Eldritch Knight X/Dragon Disciple X is going to be stronger than with more sorcerer levels reducing BAB early and never catching up.

Eldritch Knight not only fulfilled the visions of some peoples characters by itself, it strengthened other prestige class builds without messing up the flavor.

EDIT: ninja'd


Joynt Jezebel wrote:


I don't play in PFS so I am not an expert but I believe you could not use SLAs to enter PrCs in PFS anyway. And since there is a lot of consumer resistance to the new FAQ on SLAs people should be able to find a GM who agrees with them and ignore the issue.

You could use SLAs to enter PrCs in PFS: this is actually the main reason people are so angry about the FAQ reversal, because there are a bunch of characters at levels 1-4 built for early access that now basically have to be chucked into the dustbin. It also sucks for the core stream PFS, because you could use a few tricks to get early access for PRCs in core which opened up a bunch of options.

Joynt Jezebel wrote:


I personally think that the Core Classes centered philosophy of the game designers is irritating. Why publish all the PrCs that nobody ever plays? [OK it makes money, I know the reason].

I agree. I'm most irritated by how much of a waste of space the CRB PrCs are now. Paizo found a janky but ultimately workable solution to allow for those CRB PrC pages to actually get some use without changing anything in core (which they almost never do). Now those pages are mostly worthless again.


Rhedyn wrote:
Eldritch Knight Build:

Cross-posting from the other thread in case you would prefer to reply here:

Spoiler:

This is an awful build.

Some quick cliff-notes:

a) Arcane armour training is a complete waste of feats. Just use mage armour/shield. If you are planning a polymorph build it is even more useless as you won't be spending more than maybe a surprise round in armour, and mage armour etc carries through to your new form whilst your armour doesn't. If you are moving in first round to vital strike, you aren't casting so you don't need AAT. If you are polymorphing on your first turn and then moving in you don't need AAT because you are polymorphed. If you are polymorphing before battle you don't need AAT because you are polymorphed. You also can't use your capstone and AAT meaning you will always have spell failure unless polymorphed -- at which point you don't need AAT!

b) Vital strike is similarly awful. EK doesn't have an issue with move and attack turns because they can always cast a spell as they move up (probably the polymorph or a buff). This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the limitations of the EK chassis. You would do much better picking up something to boost your to-hit or magic. You even drop an entire spellcaster level at 20th for it - this confuses me greatly.

c) You take still spell at 19th level well past the time it would actually be useful in your build. It's also unnecessary on a polymorph chassis and you shouldn't be in heavy armour to begin with anyway.

d) metamagic mastery is a 3rd party feat. You also don't meet the prereqs.

e) You don't use any fighter archetypes. Lore warden and mutation warrior are a direct upgrade for absolutely free. Again I mention you also take a fighter level at level 20, when the extra spellcaster level means another 9th level spell which is at the very least another shapechange or time stop. I really don't understand why you would ever do this.

f) You go universalist. EK needs spell slots desperately. Universalist is a bad choice - even if you didn't want the spell slot, you should at least be picking up an archetype that trades out spell school (exploiter wizard or spell sage maybe?).... but the spell slot really is too valuable for that. Your justification is the opposite reality: as an EK you desperately have to specialise as you have limited slots and spell levels to play around with. There is absolutely no point trying to throw fireballs or save-or-sucks around: you will have awful DCs and no good metamagic. Evocation is a free drop for an EK (I would probably drop enchantment too - you have better things to spend 3rd level spell slots on than heroism like haste or greater invis, and by late levels you can just put it a staff or some scrolls). Transmutation is the obvious specialty choice.

g) You take your crafting feats far too late. Always pick them up at their minimum level so as to maximise WBL gains.

Like I said in the other thread, you are never going to be useless because you are still a party level-2 wizard, but as far as EKs go this build is doing almost everything wrong in terms of EK optimisation. Not only do you fall into all the usual traps, you have this weird reverse-synergy going on between your capstone, armour training, arcane strike, vital strike and polymorphing.


As Scythia touches on here: What is it you want out of a Prestige Class EK? Should they be as good a swordsman as a dedicated (single-class) fighter? Should they be equal to a dedicated wizard?

For me, it's the having to "qualify" for a character class that - because it is trying to do 2 tasks at once isn't as good at either of them - I find disappointing.

"Prestige" - for me - means "few qualify, and those who DO are exceptional!" That's the problem I have with almost all the CRB PrC's. You have to meet prereqs only to end up weaker than a single-class character.


Otherwhere wrote:

As Scythia touches on here: What is it you want out of a Prestige Class EK? Should they be as good a swordsman as a dedicated (single-class) fighter? Should they be equal to a dedicated wizard?

For me, it's the having to "qualify" for a character class that - because it is trying to do 2 tasks at once isn't as good at either of them - I find disappointing.

"Prestige" - for me - means "few qualify, and those who DO are exceptional!" That's the problem I have with almost all the CRB PrC's. You have to meet prereqs only to end up weaker than a single-class character.

In the vein of expectation and comparison, if the Eldritch Knight were available as a 20 level base class, with a 3/4 BAB, d8HD, 2+Int skills, all Simple & Martial, Light Armor, and has class features such as bonus feat every 4 (combat or metamagic), 10% ASF reduction every 6th level, fighter feat qualification at 1/2 HD, an ability to do somatic components while holding a weapon, and the spell critical ability the prestige class has, would you find it an acceptable trade to have a slowed spell progression/casting ability that either tops off at lv 8, or only reaches lv 9 at 20?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I like eldritch knight as a npc. It's simple and mean that I don't have to go look up rules here and there.

Now for a pc...eldritch knight is one of these prcs, you would need to plan decently for it, to be able to use it efficiently, which is something that I frankly don't do anymore. Planning for something to eventually happen, has left many of my characters in the dust doing nothing for awhile.


Scythia wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:

As Scythia touches on here: What is it you want out of a Prestige Class EK? Should they be as good a swordsman as a dedicated (single-class) fighter? Should they be equal to a dedicated wizard?

For me, it's the having to "qualify" for a character class that - because it is trying to do 2 tasks at once isn't as good at either of them - I find disappointing.

"Prestige" - for me - means "few qualify, and those who DO are exceptional!" That's the problem I have with almost all the CRB PrC's. You have to meet prereqs only to end up weaker than a single-class character.

In the vein of expectation and comparison, if the Eldritch Knight were available as a 20 level base class, with a 3/4 BAB, d8HD, 2+Int skills, all Simple & Martial, Light Armor, and has class features such as bonus feat every 4 (combat or metamagic), 10% ASF reduction every 6th level, fighter feat qualification at 1/2 HD, an ability to do somatic components while holding a weapon, and the spell critical ability the prestige class has, would you find it an acceptable trade to have a slowed spell progression/casting ability that either tops off at lv 8, or only reaches lv 9 at 20?

One conceptual problem with most of the Core prestige classes (and some of the other prestige classes that are really Core but got introduced late) is that regardless of their entry requirements, they don't have any prestige in them, but instead serve as advanced classes to let you do something that would just not work very well if you multiclassed with only base classes (Fighter 10/Wizard 10 is a still-serviceable but not very good 20th level Fighter and an unserviceably bad 20th level Wizard). Classes that serve to alleviate this but are not tied to an organization (or set of organizations) should get a different name (Advanced Class or something like that) to reflect what they do. The Core prestige classes other than Pathfinder Chronicler fall into this group. Prestige Classes should have uh . . . prestige. Hellknights (both types) and Pathfinder Chronicler actually have this.

With respect to mechanics, Eldritch Knight (which is one of the Core prestige classes) might be better done by a Magus archetype (or alternate/hybrid class) as I posted above.


Scythia wrote:
In the vein of expectation and comparison, if the Eldritch Knight were available as a 20 level base class, with a 3/4 BAB, d8HD, 2+Int skills, all Simple & Martial, Light Armor, and has class features such as bonus feat every 4 (combat or metamagic), 10% ASF reduction every 6th level, fighter feat qualification at 1/2 HD, an ability to do somatic components while holding a weapon, and the spell critical ability the prestige class has, would you find it an acceptable trade to have a slowed spell progression/casting ability that either tops off at lv 8, or only reaches lv 9 at 20?

Half-jokingly: No - I'd just play a Magus.

Seriously: IF Pathfinder reworked the EK to be as functional as a Hybrid or Archetype, I'd be more interested in playing one. As it stands, no - not interested. It takes all kinds of house-ruling to make it work.


Scythia wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:

As Scythia touches on here: What is it you want out of a Prestige Class EK? Should they be as good a swordsman as a dedicated (single-class) fighter? Should they be equal to a dedicated wizard?

For me, it's the having to "qualify" for a character class that - because it is trying to do 2 tasks at once isn't as good at either of them - I find disappointing.

"Prestige" - for me - means "few qualify, and those who DO are exceptional!" That's the problem I have with almost all the CRB PrC's. You have to meet prereqs only to end up weaker than a single-class character.

In the vein of expectation and comparison, if the Eldritch Knight were available as a 20 level base class, with a 3/4 BAB, d8HD, 2+Int skills, all Simple & Martial, Light Armor, and has class features such as bonus feat every 4 (combat or metamagic), 10% ASF reduction every 6th level, fighter feat qualification at 1/2 HD, an ability to do somatic components while holding a weapon, and the spell critical ability the prestige class has, would you find it an acceptable trade to have a slowed spell progression/casting ability that either tops off at lv 8, or only reaches lv 9 at 20?

The usual way they deal with it in archetypes, you have fewer spell known at each level and/or forsakes schools of magic. A combination of the two would work the best IMO: I'd like as full a CL as possible even is it's at the cost of less spells and/or less variety.


My players played EK PC's before SLA's were allowed for early entry.

They played early entry EK PC's for the last year.

They will continue to play EK PC's in the future.

The EK functions just fine at both the table that I run and the table where I play. Again, they play, perform and prosper at these tables just fine.

I wish the very best of luck to all of you who are having problems with this class.

Please be aware that this is a non-issue at many tables.


Since there's been some rekindled interest in EK due to the SLA FAQ reversal, I figured I'd cross-post this post made in the PFS section of the forum regarding the difference between a poorly-planned character who happens to be an Eldritch Knight and an Eldritch Knight that uses the same non-optimal base but does much better due to good planning.

=======

An example of an actual "deoptimized" character, a character that is going to have a very difficult time of things without planning ahead at Tier 7-11 would be a Gnome Transmuter who plans to enter Eldritch Knight. Let's go as generic as possible and say Wizard 5 / Fighter 1 / Eldritch Knight X. Note that this character is still fairly "strong" because they are a spellcaster, and with a little bit of planning could still contribute just fine to a 7-11 scenario-- but a lack of preparation would be deadly.

=======

Deoptimized Gnome EK:
If our Eldritch Knight avoids dumping statistics as much as possible, he would have a 15 / 12 / 12 / 15 / 10 / 10 at level 1. At level 8 he would have 16 / 12 / 12 / 16 / 10 / 10, or 18 / 12 / 12 / 16 / 10 if he assigns his Physical Enhancement bonus to STR. Sadly he lacks Change Shape for the bonuses he could gain since he only has 5 wizard levels.

He probably still takes Magical Knack as long as he knows about the trait, so he has a full CL but is a spell level behind (casting only 3rd level spells at level 8). He also only has a BAB of +5, 1 BAB behind a 3/4 progression character and lacking an iterative at level 8. He has little HP due to his d6 levels, 12 CON, and lack of a FCB for his Eldritch Knight levels. His to-hit is boosted slightly by his small size, but the damage die on his weapon decreases. He lacks the statistics or the feats to engage in Archery, so is stuck with his single melee attack.

Even worse, he may have been tricked into taking the Arcane Armor feat line, tying up his swift action each round he wants to cast (precluding Quickening at higher levels) and reducing his total number of combat feats. He also spends a lot of money upgrading his armor and other defensive items to try to offset his low HP, and doesn't have many consumable items beyond a basic healing wand and maybe some alchemical splash weapons.

Typically he casts Fly or Fireball in combat, and memorizes Heroism but doesn't take any special steps such as Extend metamagic rods to try to always have it "up." He is able to cast Glitterdust in combat but is no more likely to have See Invisibility up than Heroism.

=======

I was going to compare this to an "optimized" straight Transmuter Wizard, but I don't need to really. Just to show the difference a little bit of planning ahead makes, let's not change overmuch at all about the character (stick with Eldritch Knight, don't do anything drastic like put an 18 in a statistic, or change the race, etc.) but noticeably increase its effectiveness.

=======

Optimized Gnome EK:
tl;dr: 20-26 STR vs. ~18 STR, 16-20 CON vs. ~12 CON, 2-7 attacks vs. 1-2 and comparable AC, greatly increased versatility.

First, obviously, we reexamine the point buy. Some people hate decreasing any statistics below 10 but that's never made sense to me, as people in real life (even exceptional people) rarely are at least average in everything. A very minor change could be reducing CHA to 9 at level 1, which gives just enough points to bump CON to 14 due to racial bonuses. We've lost basically nothing in exchange for our level in bonus hit points and a +1 to a common save that frontliners face, Fortitude.

Now lets take a look at level progression. We'll trade the base Transmutation school for the Shapechange school, which loses a power we would never use in exchange for the ability to grow a magical natural attack as a swift action. Instead of assigning our +2 Enhancement bonus to STR, now we'll assign it to CON, so we have a respectable 16 CON. We'll spend money on a +4 STR belt, giving us a much more impressive 20 STR.

Instead of baseline Fighter, we can take an archetype, either of Fighter or a different martial class. If we took a level of Gendarme Cavalier, we would gain the same benefit as a level of Fighter (martial weapon proficiency, Power Attack as a bonus feat) and gain a useful 1/day Challenge and a basic mount for overland travel. Or we could take a level of Blood Conduit Bloodrager, giving the ability to rage for ~10 rounds a day, the proficiencies we need, and Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat which is useful for our attack plan and helps qualify for Grapple feats.

Instead of spending feats on Arcane Armor Training, let's stick with Mage Armor (easily Extended to last all day), and look to get our armor bonus from another source. Let's also buy a Wand of Shield and use it liberally. As an effectively level 6 Wizard, we can cast Monstrous Physique I several times a day (or Alter Self from lower-level slots). Either spell will let us avoid having our gear meld into our body, and grant a number of natural attacks and statistic boosts, and/or useful abilities like Flight.

Since we took the Shapechange subschool, we could assume a form like the Witchwyrd which has 4 Slam attacks. That's a total of 6 attacks before Haste, if we make an Unarmed Strike, 4 Slams, and use our Shapechange school power! No matter what form we assume, Small or Medium, we could use an Extend rod to increase duration to a nice 16 minutes at level 8, and we gain +2 STR or +2 DEX and some amount of natural armor.

Even if we didn't take the Shapechange subschool, we could pick up Arcane Strike to add a nice damage boost to all of our natural attacks, which is a lot more valuable than when we only had 1 attack with our weapon of choice, or 2 with Haste.

In combat, this character tries to have Heroism and See Invisibility up as often as possible, while retaining the ability to Glitterdust; he can potentially use scrolls of these spells as needed. He does not memorize Fly, but gains Flight from his polymorph abilities, and trusts other martial characters in the party to have their own means of flight (not that he has the spell slots to hand out free magic without using scrolls). Instead of Fireball, he could have Burst of Radiance prepared in one of his free second-level slots, targeting a notoriously easy save (Reflex) vs. Blindness, and guaranteeing damage against hordes of evil foes.

Finally, this Eldritch Knight makes a point of leveraging his Wizard abilities and purchases a number of scrolls and wands to help open up his options. Glitterdust, Haste, Protection from Evil, Heroism, sure, but also Tongues, Air Bubble, etc. are all things this EK looks into, and can afford due to the money freed up from not focusing on upgrading magical armor and other defensive items.

=======

Now obviously the second build is more complicated than the first, and takes more preplanning. But making any number of the choices in the second build provides a demonstrable effectiveness boost over the choices of the first build, while detracting nothing from roleplaying and even adding some cool additional "hooks" for the character. It's still not a character a monstrous "minmaxer" would bring to the table, but I'd be totally happy to play it or see it played at my table in a normal 7-11.


I had some time before class, so I wrote up a more complete version of what I envision as a base class (20 level, not prestige, no multiclass) version of the Eldritch Knight.

Since I don't use prestige classes (or multiclassing in general) in my games, I'm looking at ways to offer what the Eldritch Knight allows. My concern is that it would overwhelm the Magus and other 3/4 BAB 6 level casters (since I've given it actual class features). Give it a look and let me know if you think it fits as an Eldritch Knight, and if it seems too powerful.

Spoiler:

Eldritch Knight

¾ BAB d8HD
good Fort and Will
Int + 2 Skils
Proficient with All Simple and Martial weapons, Light Armor

Class Features:

Armor Adjustment – While wearing armor or using a shield they are proficient with, an Eldritch Knight may reduce the total Arcane Spell Failure chance by 5%. If this reduces it to 0, there is no risk of losing a spell. This ability does not stack with the Arcane Armor Training feat.

Bonus Feat – These feats may be chosen from Combat Feats or Metamagic Feats. The Eldritch Knight must meet all requirements of the feat. At every even level, one feat may be reassigned.

Fighter Training – Count half of the character’s Eldritch Knight Levels as Fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats.

Arcane Combatant – While wielding a magical weapon that they have Weapon Focus for, an Eldritch Knight adds the listed bonus to attack rolls.

Combat Somatics – Spells cast using Eldritch Knight spell slots allow Somatic (S) components to be performed with a hand that is holding a weapon or shield.

Improved Armor Adjustment – Increases the amount ASF is reduced to 15%, and grants proficiency with Light and Heavy Shield

Spell Critical – When they confirm a Critical Hit with a melee or ranged weapon that they have Weapon Focus for, an Eldritch Knight may cast a single spell as a free action. The spell must target, and be valid to target the creature that was struck by the confirmed crit. A spell that would normally target multiple creatures only targets the struck creature, and multiple uses or charges are lost. This ability may only be used once per round.

Advanced Armor Adjustment – Increases the ASF reduction to 25%, and grants proficiency with Medium Armor.

Spell Critical Focus – The spell cast using the Spell Critical ability adds ½ of the character’s Eldritch Knight level (round down) to the DC.

Superior Armor Adjustment – Increases the ASF reduction to 35%, and grants proficiency with Heavy Armor.

Spell Critical Mastery – The spell cast using the Spell Critical ability is not consumed.

1 - Armor Adjustment (5%), Bonus Feat
2 - Fighter Training
3 - Arcane Combatant +1
4 - Bonus Feat
5 - Combat Somatics
6 - Improved Armor Adjustment (15%, Shields)
7 - Arcane Combatant +2
8 - Bonus Feat
9 -
10 - Spell Critical
11 - Arcane Combatant +3
12 - Advanced Armor Adjustment (25%, Medium), Bonus Feat
13 -
14 -
15 - Spell Critical Focus, Arcane Combatant +4
16 - Bonus Feat
17 -
18 - Superior Armor Adjustment (35%, Heavy)
19 - Arcane Combatant +5
20 - Spell Critical Mastery, Bonus Feat

Lv Sp
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 3
2 4
3 4 0
4 4 1
5 4 1 0
6 5 2 1
7 5 2 1 0
8 5 2 2 1
9 5 2 2 1 0
10 6 3 2 2 1
11 6 3 2 2 1 0
12 6 3 3 2 2 1
13 6 3 3 2 2 1 0
14 6 3 3 3 2 2 1
15 6 3 3 3 2 2 1 0
16 6 3 3 3 3 2 2 1
17 6 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 0
18 6 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1
19 6 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 0
20 6 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1


Scythia wrote:

Give it a look and let me know if you think it fits as an Eldritch Knight, and if it seems too powerful.

** spoiler omitted **...

I feel that it's a pretty good class, though I suggest starting their lv1 spells at 1, like the magus and wizard both do.

Another option to think of instead of the arcane combatant is that they can burn a spell as a swift action and get it's level to attack and damage for rounds equal to spell level. This gives more to the idea of spells powering their martial powers.

Another Idea to weaken more if it's seen too strong (especially compared to the magus) would be to lower it's caster level, like at 6th and every 6 it's CL doesn't increase.

Move the first bonus feat to second level and the medium armor to lv9, the magus gets it at lv7.

Is there a reason to reduce the ASF instead of ignoring it like the magus?


Chess Pwn wrote:
Another option to think of instead of the arcane combatant is that they can burn a spell as a swift action and get it's level to attack and damage for rounds equal to spell level. This gives more to the idea of spells powering their martial powers.

Myself, I'd rather not see that. Swift action abilities are at a premium and most often the bonuses+ duration are worse than if you actually cast a spell at that level. Maybe make it a type if you want to weaken it.

Chess Pwn wrote:
Another Idea to weaken more if it's seen too strong (especially compared to the magus) would be to lower it's caster level, like at 6th and every 6 it's CL doesn't increase.

This is another idea I'm not thrilled with. It just makes you worse at casting, like getting through spell resistance. I'd rather have less spells vs more spells that fail to overcome spell resistance.

Chess Pwn wrote:
I feel that it's a pretty good class, though I suggest starting their lv1 spells at 1, like the magus and wizard both do.

I actually like that as it sets them apart. They can cast a few cantrips plus use wands and such and work up to real casting. For me, it fits in perfect.


I would suggest turning the spell failure to five percent at first and give more for every two levels thereafter. It frees up design space and its really not that important later on.

Also, if your going to give them shield access, just give it to them up front because you can't really build for something you don't have access to until really late. In essence, if you give them proficiency that late you may as well not offer it in the first place.


Hmmm... I'd had a post I made about Scythia's class but it's not here...
Since I don't think I said anything to get it taken down, I'm going to assume it just got eaten...

I'm going to say that it has the perfect feel for me and I'd play it as-is. Two thumbs up.


Scythia wrote:
EK write-up

I'm... honestly not sure what to think.

Immediate thoughts first I suppose:

Armor Adjustment: Oddly complex for no real reason I can see. Why not just steal the Magus' armor trainings? There's little sense in reinventing the wheel to accomplish the same ends.

Bonus feat: Why does it have the feat-swapping ability?

Arcane Combatant: I'd personally advise shifting these back a level so that it basically just gets +1 to-hit per level (assuming you take Weapon Focus at level one). That's easier to track.

Spell Critical: ... Free action? Are we sure?

It's far, far too easy to get to the chance where you're more likely to crit on a full attack than not. A Keen Scimitar, with four attacks per round (level 15+Haste), has a 75.99% chance of scoring at least one crit. Even at three attacks (level 8+Haste) it achieves a 65.7% chance to crit at least once.

Worse would be a TWF build, which would manage an 83.19% chance to crit at least once.

This makes it incredibly easy for the Eldritch Knight to start casting and full attacking consistently. Now, that's not inherently broken (see: Spell Combat), but the EK also has higher-level spell slots (easier to Quicken spells for double-casting), presumably a better spell list (much better spells to work with, as the Magus list kind of sucks), and a better to-hit (the Magus can boost past the EK, but only by expending a resource and their swift action on Arcane Accuracy or Accurate Strikes; the Arcane Pool is offset by Arcane Combatant, and then you factor in Spell Combat).

I realize that Spell Critical is kind of terrible as a swift action, but to me that says we should look elsewhere rather than doing that. What worries me most is that you massively encourage crit-fishing, which is going to push the EK to use the Rapier, the Scimitar, and the Katana... which is pretty much Magus 101.

The presence of the ability puts pressure away from the styles that the Magus can't work with, with the sole exception of TWF. Right now, I like the EK for doing things that the Magus never can. I want a reason to give a Wizard a greatsword, or a longbow, or something other than the two-three combat styles that the Magus really supports (one-handed crit-fishing, whip, and a very limited subset of Magi can pull off an unarmed strike build).

Spell Critical Focus/Mastery: Insane, given the crit rates above.


If you wanted to change Spell Critical so that it wasn't just a magus clone and perhaps had a wider range of weapons, you could say that a spell delivered through Spell Critical with a x3 weapon has +2 DC, and for a x4 weapon has +4 DC

Personally I like the concept of a dwarven EK with a waraxe.


Aldizog wrote:

If you wanted to change Spell Critical so that it wasn't just a magus clone and perhaps had a wider range of weapons, you could say that a spell delivered through Spell Critical with a x3 weapon has +2 DC, and for a x4 weapon has +4 DC

Personally I like the concept of a dwarven EK with a waraxe.

That'd require changing Spell Critical Focus, since if I can get a +7 to my DCs three of four rounds I'll take that over the +8 every other round that a longbow grants (assuming Haste + Manyshot + Rapid Shot at level 15, with Bracer's of Falcon's Aim, you have a 46.86% chance of critting with a longbow at least once per round).


Scythia wrote:
{Eldritch Knight Base Class . . .}

Another possibility instead of making the Eldritch Knight Base Class a 9 level caster would be to make it a 6 level caster, but using the union of the Sorcerer/Wizard and Magus spell lists (like Hunter does for the Druid and Ranger spell lists). I think almost everything that is on the Magus spell list is also on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list (I could have sworn to 1 or 2 exceptions but can't remember what they are), so this just basically makes a few spells early entry (nowhere near as much as the Summoner spell list does). Also give an Arcane Bond, and at 19th level allow the Arcane Bond (object version; not sure what to do for the Familiar version) to cast 1 7th level spell per day (if not used for casting some other spell). For that matter, give Arcane School (including specialization and Arcane School abilities) as well.

I would also buff the Fighter Training to more than 1/2 (make it 3/4, maybe?).

Spell Critical is a cool ability if you build right for it, but it should be a feat (and see some posts below that for debugging) rather than a class feature.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Scythia wrote:
{Eldritch Knight Base Class . . .}

Another possibility instead of making the Eldritch Knight Base Class a 9 level caster would be to make it a 6 level caster, but using the union of the Sorcerer/Wizard and Magus spell lists (like Hunter does for the Druid and Ranger spell lists). I think almost everything that is on the Magus spell list is also on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list (I could have sworn to 1 or 2 exceptions but can't remember what they are), so this just basically makes a few spells early entry (nowhere near as much as the Summoner spell list does). Also give an Arcane Bond, and at 19th level allow the Arcane Bond (object version; not sure what to do for the Familiar version) to cast 1 7th level spell per day (if not used for casting some other spell). For that matter, give Arcane School (including specialization and Arcane School abilities) as well.

I would also buff the Fighter Training to more than 1/2 (make it 3/4, maybe?).

Spell Critical is a cool ability if you build right for it, but it should be a feat (and see some posts below that for debugging) rather than a class feature.

The Magus gets less than half a dozen spells that the Wizard doesn't (I can only name three off-hand) and so far as I'm aware gets zero spells at a lower level than the Wizard.


Graystone, I can see your other post as well, thanks.

kestral287 wrote:
Scythia wrote:
EK write-up

I'm... honestly not sure what to think.

Immediate thoughts first I suppose:

Armor Adjustment: Oddly complex for no real reason I can see. Why not just steal the Magus' armor trainings? There's little sense in reinventing the wheel to accomplish the same ends.

The goal was to make it similar to Arcane Armor Training, but built in rather than requiring an action, also doing it based on percentage rather than armor type will encourge coices based on a different metric.

kestral287 wrote:


Bonus feat: Why does it have the feat-swapping ability?

Two reasons: Because fighters get something similar, and the bonus feats are inspired by the Fighter feature. Also to address another point: they can use a bonus feat to pick up (early) somthing that they'll get later (i.e shield or an armor prof) and then swap it out.

kestral287 wrote:


Arcane Combatant: I'd personally advise shifting these back a level so that it basically just gets +1 to-hit per level (assuming you take Weapon Focus at level one). That's easier to track.

This could be workable.

kestral287 wrote:


Spell Critical: ... Free action? Are we sure?

Having it as a swift action seems, from a design standpoint, to serve two purposes. It makes sure you can only use it once a round, which mine has baked in, and it prevents using it in the same round as a quickened spell. With the reduced spell slots, higher slots will be useful for things other than quickened spells, although if they wanted to burn a high level slot to cast an extra weaker spell, I can't say that that seems so bad. Less threatening than casting a level appropriate and therefore more powerful spell.

Given the increase in swift action options, it seemed backwards to have an ability that required your swift action while you were attacking, as most other swift actions are chosen before. It presented a situation in which the abiltiy could be disappointingly locked out on a regular basis.

kestral287 wrote:


It's far, far too easy to get to the chance where you're more likely to crit on a full attack than not. A Keen Scimitar, with four attacks per round (level 15+Haste), has a 75.99% chance of scoring at least one crit. Even at three attacks (level 8+Haste) it achieves a 65.7% chance to crit at least once.

Worse would be a TWF build, which would manage an 83.19% chance to crit at least once.

This makes it incredibly easy for the Eldritch Knight to start casting and full attacking consistently. Now, that's not inherently broken (see: Spell Combat), but the EK also has higher-level spell slots (easier to Quicken spells for double-casting), presumably a better spell list (much better spells to work with, as the Magus list kind of sucks), and a better to-hit (the Magus can boost past the EK, but only by expending a resource and their swift action on Arcane Accuracy or Accurate Strikes; the Arcane Pool is offset by Arcane Combatant, and then you factor in Spell Combat).

I realize that Spell Critical is kind of terrible as a swift action, but to me that says we should look elsewhere rather than doing that. What worries me most is that you massively encourage crit-fishing, which is going to push the EK to use the Rapier, the Scimitar, and the Katana... which is pretty much Magus 101.

The presence of the ability puts pressure away from the styles that the Magus can't work with, with the sole exception of TWF....

Remember that they have more limited spell slots from which to cast these Spell Critical spells (Until lv 20), and the ability is limited to once per round, so multiple crits are wasted. If they are crit fishing, they will use up their slots rapidly. That's a viable character choice, but not the only one. For those who want to play as a Two hand weapon, archer, or sword and sheld type that can effectively self buff or set down a little battlefield control, this allows them an option for more punishing crits to bestow a status effect or other debuff. That in and of itself is a different niche from the Magus, which is almost entirely damage focused.

That last segment is one of the things I'm concerned about though. Part of my thinking is that this could work better (for some games) as a Magus archetype, trading out Spell Combat for Combat Somatics, and Spellstrike for Spell Critical, and allowing them to select spells from the Wizard list. Improvements to Spell Combat would instead improve Spell Critical.


In and of itself, I'm not-- too-- worried about Spell Critical being a free action. It's nasty, but the ability just doesn't work for the EK as anything else.

What is a problem is what the ability itself encourages. "When you crit, X awesome thing happens" is the sum total of why Magi like crit-fishing. For the Magus, it's double damage on a spell they're already casting. For the EK, it's an auto-Quicken. So-- the EK actually has more incentive to crit-fish than the Magus (and keep in mind that while Spell Combat can only trigger once a round, the same is true for critting with Spellstrike at its most powerful).

My immediate thought was to try to turn the class into an archer... but I would be half again as effective as a caster if I went for an 18-20/x2 weapon and twice as effective with TWF 18-20/x2 weapons. That's not the kind of flavor I think you want to encourage.

As a Magus archetype it can work, but it's not really adding a lot that's new I don't think. If I was going to get another Magus archetype I'd just want one that's dedicated to using two-handed weapons or dedicated to using bows (and actually works right. The Myrmidarch does not count).

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