Swordmage

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Contents

Swordmage.png
"My magic is a weapon, a keen edge brought to bear against the greatest of foes, and none shall best me in combat." --Nothoreon Kilnarok, Swordmage

The Swordmage is, at the essence, a fighter; he simply uses magic as his weapon instead of steel. While they may carry a mundane or magically enhanced weapon, their true weapon of choice is the constructs of arcana they can call upon at a moment's notice, to suit the situation at hand.

Unlike true spellcasters, the Swordmage is not limited in how many times per day he may use his powers, but unlike mundane warriors, he cannot rely on a single, reliable weapon at all times. His weapons are intensely ephemeral and temporary, and he must call upon new ones constantly, and in a lengthy battle he may find himself bereft of the weapons he needs most. Despite the name, the sword is only one of many weapons a Swordmage will employ in any given battle.

Becoming a Swordmage

A Swordmage is typically one with sorcerous or otherwise innate arcane talent, but more of a penchant for physical combat than magical. Though hardier than true mages, the Swordmage must rely on their arcane arms and armor in order to stand toe to toe with more solid fighters.

Abilities

Charisma is the most important ability for Swordmages; their force of personality dictates the efficacy of their Incantations, the reality of the blades the conjure and the weapons the evoke, as well as their martial skill with said weapons. At the same time, Swordmages are usually lightly armored and are somewhat fragile compared to more physical combatants, so Dexterity and Constitution are also very important. Swordmages also have a sizable class skill list but only average skill points per level, making Intelligence quite useful.

Alignment

Often Chaotic. Swordmages are not in any way constricted by alignment, but their fighting style appeals to those who are willing to change their strategy at a moment's notice.

Races

Given their penchant for magic and graceful combat, Elves are unsurprisingly often drawn to Swordmagic. Gnomes, as a naturally arcane race, and Halflings, enjoying as they do a bit of chaos, often favor the path of the Swordmage over the mundane warrior, as their small size is less of a hindrance when using Incantations. Humanity, of course, with its large population and adaptable nature, makes up not a small share of Swordmages.

Class Features of the Swordmage

Hit Die

d8.

Skills

Class Skills The class skills (and key ability modifier for each) of the Swordmage are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Tumble (Dex).

Skills at 1st Level (4 + Int modifier) ×4.

Skills per Level Thereafter 4 + Int modifier.

Table 1: The Swordmage
Level Base Attack
Bonus
Fortitude
Save
Reflex
Save
Willpower
Save
Special Incantations Readied
0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Combat Casting, Weaponized Arcana 4 2
2nd +2 +0 +0 +3 Masterful Cant 4 3
3rd +3 +1 +1 +3 4 3 2
4th +4 +1 +1 +4 Enhanced Cant +1 4 3 3
5th +5 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Feat 4 3 3 2
6th +6/+1 +2 +2 +5 Protective Personality 4 3 3 3
7th +7/+2 +2 +2 +5 4 3 3 3 2
8th +8/+3 +2 +2 +6 Enhanced Cant +2 4 3 3 3 3
9th +9/+4 +3 +3 +6 4 3 3 3 3 2
10th +10/+5 +3 +3 +7 Arcanized Weaponry, Bonus Feat 4 3 3 3 3 3
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +7 4 3 3 3 3 3 2
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +8 Enhanced Cant +3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +8 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Supercharging 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +9 Bonus Feat 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +10 Enhanced Cant +4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 3 3 3 3 3 3
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Avatar of True Arcana, Enhanced Cant +5, Bonus Feat 3 3 3 3 3
Armor and Weapon Proficiencies

Swordmages are considered proficient in all of the weapons they can conjure with their Incantations, and with all simple weapons as well. Swordmages are proficient with Light Armor, but not with Shields.

Incantations

Incantations are special, extremely short-lived arcane spells used as weapons by the Swordmage. In general, an Incantation takes an attack action to use, that is, they may be used as many times during a full attack action as the Swordmage has iteratives due to base attack bonus, and they may be used for attacks of opportunity. Unless specifically noted in the effect, effects that grant additional attacks may not be made with Incantations stronger than Cantrips.

Extraordinary Supernatural Spell-like Spells Incantations
Components No No No Yes No
Dispel No No Yes Yes Yes
Spell Resistance No No Yes Yes Yes
Attack of Opportunity No No Yes Yes No
Concentration No No Yes Yes No
Antimagic Field No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Incantations are not supernatural abilities, spell-like abilities, or spells, but they are similar to these. Like spells and spell-like abilities, they are generally subject to spell resistance, and can be dispelled, but unlike spells, they cannot be counterspelled. Like supernatural abilities, incantations neither provoke attacks of opportunity nor require concentration checks, but as mentioned they are subject to spell resistance and dispelling, unlike supernatural abilities. Like both spell-like abilities and supernatural abilities, incantations do not require any components per se, but enough freedom of movement is required to actually make the attack in order to use them. These features are summarized in the table to the right.

The DC of saving throws for Incantations is equal to 10 + the Incantation's level + the Swordmage's Charisma modifier. The Swordmage also has an Arcane Caster Level equal to his class level, which may be used by Incantations to determine various effects.

Like a Beguiler, a Swordmage knows all of the Incantations on his list, and may cast them spontaneously. In addition to the Incantations specifically listed, he knows a Cantrip, or 0th level Incantation, for each weapon in which he is proficient: this Cantrip simply creates a copy of a perfectly average weapon, and makes a single attack with it. He may also know Cantrips in weapons with which he is not proficient; he is proficient with the "canted" version, but would not be with a physical specimen of the same weapon.

Unlike spellcasters, Swordmages may end up using any number of Incantations in a given day. However, they can only have a certain, small number of them, as listed in the table above, ready at any given time; readying these requires a mere five minutes of concentration, similar to the way a Sorcerer readies himself to use his magic for the day. A Swordmage may ready his Incantations whenever he likes, and may do so as often as he likes, provided he has the time to do so. When he does, he may ready any of his Incantations known, but none more than once.

Beginning at 14th, the Swordmage gains the ability to cast lower-level Incantations at will; these do not have to be readied before hand, and can simply be used in combat as desired - though the same Incantation cannot be used again once used until the encounter has ended or the Swordmage has Recovered (see below). The Incantations that may be used at will are indicated by a '∞' in the table above.

In combat, he may cast his Incantations, at which point they are expended. Recovering his expended Incantations is a full-round action, which he make at any time; in doing so, he provokes attacks of opportunity, and may be forced to make a Concentration check to avoid wasting his action, as if he were casting a spell. He may also recover his Incantations defensively, with the same rules as if he were casting a spell defensively. Upon successfully completing this action, all of his expended Incantations are again readied, but he may not change which Incantations he has readied.

An Incantation's effect is typically to create a "canted weapon" from pure arcana, and attack once with it. This attack typically has side-effects and other benefits associated with it. The weapon is considered magical for the purposes of overcoming Damage Reduction, but is otherwise identical to a perfectly average Medium-sized weapon of the appropriate type unless otherwise indicated by the Incantation's description, regardless of the Swordmage's own size. However, a Swordmage never suffers penalties due to wielding an inappropriately-sized canted weapon, unless the Incantation's description adds specific size penalties (and this penalty will be the same for Swordmages of all sizes).

A Swordmage threatens any squares he would threaten if wielding any of the weapons offered by his readied but unexpended Incantations.

Combat Casting

At 1st level, a swordmage gains Combat Casting as a bonus feat. This feat holds no particular benefit for a single-classed swordmage, as they do not require Concentration checks to cast Incantations, but swordmage training improves one's skill with Arcana such that swordmages who learn to cast spells have an easier time casting while under pressure. This also means a swordmage qualifies for any feats or prestige classes that require Combat Casting without having to actually take the feat.

Weaponized Arcana

In place of the usual Strength or Dexterity modifiers on attack and damage rolls, a Swordmage uses his Charisma modifier when using Incantations. If a weapon uses a multiplier on either the Strength or Dexterity modifier (exempli gratia, 1.5x Strength on a two-handed weapon, 0.5x Strength on an off-hand weapon), the same multiplier applies to his Charisma modifier.

Masterful Cant

At 2nd level, the Swordmage gains knowledge of a Cantrip for each martial weapon, and may use these even if not proficient with the actual weapons.

In addtion, all weapons created with Incantations are considered at least Masterwork.

Enhanced Cant

Starting at 4th level, all weapons from Incantations gain a +1 enhancement bonus. This bonus increases by +1 every four levels thereafter (+2 at 8th, +3 at 12th, +4 at 16th, and +5 at 20th). If an Incantation specifically gives the canted weapon an enhancement bonus, the two do not stack, simply use the greater of the two. Any special abilities of the canted weapon remain on the weapon.

Protective Personality

At 6th level, a Swordmage's constant use of Incantations has created a residual effect on him, and he can effortlessly surround himself in swirls of arcana to protect himself. He gains a Deflection bonus to AC equal to his Charisma modifier, so long as he has (or would have) his Dexterity bonus to AC. Furthermore, his Deflection bonus to AC due to Protective Personality cannot exceed his armor's Maximum Dexterity Bonus.

Bonus Feat

At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels, the Swordmage gains a bonus feat from the following list. He must meet all requirements for a feat in order to select it.

Adamantine Incantations*, Align Incantations*, Arcane Mastery2, 6, Blind Fight, Cloak Dance, Cloudy Conjuration3, 7, Combat Expertise, Combat Intuition1, Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense1, Dazzling Illusion3, 7, Defensive Strike4, Dodge, Energy Abjuration3, 7, Evasive Reflexes5, Expert Tactician1, Eyes in the Back of Your Head4, Exotic Incantations*, Favored Incantation*, Fearsome Necromancy3, 7, Fleet of Foot, Force of Personality1, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Combat Expertise4, Improved Initiative, Improved Toughness4, Incantation of Choice*, Incantation Focus*, Incantation Specialization*, Innate Cant*, Insightful Divination3, 7, Iron Incantations*, Martial Study5, Martial Stance5, Metacantation*, Mobility, Piercing Evocation3, 7, Prone Attack4, Run, Sidestep Charge, Silver Incantations*, Spell Penetration, Spring Attack, Superior Expertise, Toughening Transmutation3, 7, Weapon Focus
1 Complete Adventurer 2 Complete Arcane 3 Complete Mage 4 Complete Warrior 5 Tome of Battle
6 Arcane Mastery may be qualified for with the ability to cast Incantations as well as the ability to cast spells.
7 Cloudy Conjuration, Dazzling Illusion, Energy Abjuration, Fearsome Necromancy, Insightful Divination, Piercing Evocation, and Toughening Transmutation may be triggered by casting Incantations from the appropriate school, in addition to spells.
* New Feat.

The new feats designed for the Swordmage may be found at Swordmage Feats.

Arcanized Weaponry

Starting at 10th level, a Swordmage may, while casting an Incantation, apply any enhancement bonuses or special abilities found on any actual weapon he is wielding, to the weapon granted by the Incantation. The canted weapon's enhancement bonus cannot exceed +5, nor can its total equivalent enhancement bonus exceed +10. The weapon is considered as if it does not have these bonuses or abilities until the beginning of the Swordmage's next turn. During the Incantation, the physical weapon is absorbed into the canted weapon, and returned to the Swordmage's hand afterwards. Ammunition may never be used for Arcanized Weaponry.

If an Incantation creates more than one weapon, only one may receive the effects of any given weapon. The Swordmage may transfer the effects of other weapons, if he has them in hand, to additional canted weapons, if he desires. However, any single target can only be affected by a Special Ability added through Arcanized Weaponry once in a single Incantation, even if that Incantation would attack the target repeatedly. The Special Abilities listed in individual Incantation descriptions may be applied to a target as many times as the target is hit.

Supercharging

Beginning at 14th level, when a Swordmage recovers his Incantations, he gains a bonus on checks to pierce spell resistance equal to his Charisma bonus for three rounds.

Avatar of True Arcana (Ex)

At 20th level, a Swordmage becomes a living, breathing being of pure magical force. His type changes to Outsider, and he is considered native to every plane that has magic (so he may only gain the Extraplanar subtype if he is on a plane with the Dead Magic trait, he otherwise has the Native subtype). Unlike most Outsiders, the Swordmage may be affected by life restoring magic such as Raise Dead, is immune to being affected by spells of the Conjuration (Calling) subschool, and cannot be banished from any plane except those with the Dead Magic trait.

In addition, twice per day but no more than once per encounter, a 20th level Swordmage may, as a Free Action, channel enormous amounts of Arcana through his body, supercharging all of his Incantations. For one round, all of his Incantations are considered Extraordinary Abilities, that is, are unaffected by Spell Resistance, cannot be Dispelled, and may be used within Antimagic Fields and Dead Magic Zones, and furthermore all attack rolls made with Incantations are considered Touch Attacks (ranged or not as is appropriate to the Incantation). Incantations with a duration lasting longer than 1 round are Extraordinary during this round of Arcana channeling (even if originally canted before the Swordmage used this ability), and revert to Spell-like (i.e. immediately end if in an Anti-Magic Field or Dead Magic Zone, and are vulnerable to dispelling otherwise) once the round is over.

Multiclass Swordmages

Swordmagic is at the crossroads between true arcane spellcasting and mundane martial maneuvers. As such, Swordmages are known to be excellent at both pursuits: one adds ¾ of his Swordmage level to all his Initiator Levels, instead of ½, and one also adds ½ his Swordmage level to any other Arcane Caster Levels (unless the Caster Level in question is already adding more than ½; this would not stack, for example, with a bonus akin to the Ur-Priest's). Note that this is considered to be a part of the base Initiator and Caster Levels, not bonuses, and so they are always added before any bonuses and penalties (most notably Practiced Spellcaster).

Swordmages can also qualify for any Prestige Class that requires a Caster Level or the ability to cast Spells of a particular level, by having the appropriate Caster Level or being able to cast Incantations of the same level. He does not, however, have Spell Slots, so he cannot cast any spells that he might gain as Spells Known through Prestige Classes.

Incantations

Unless otherwise noted, all Incantations have a duration of Instantaneous. Incantations do not have components of any kind, do not provoke attacks of opportunity, are affected by spell resistance, can be dispelled, cannot be counterspelled, do not require Concentration checks, and do not work in antimagic fields or dead magic zones.

Spell resistance, in particular, behaves uniquely with many Incantations. Unless the Incantation specifies "Spell Resistance: Yes" (in which case it does nothing if it fails to breach spell resistance) or "No" (in which case spell resistance has no effect), an Incantation that fails against spell resistance does not gain any of its special properties, including any feats the Swordmage is said to have for the Incantation, and is instead treated as a completely normal attack with the specified weapon (including its magic properties, from the Incantation itself or from feats or class features that add to them).

Swordmage Arts

Some Incantations have the [Art] descriptor. Incantations with this descriptor synergize with other Incantations that have the descriptor: if the Swordmage uses any two Swordmage Arts in a single round, all additional Arts he uses in that round gain extra features, as described in their entry.

0th Level Incantations

  • Cantrips - Summon a weapon and attack once with it.

1st Level Incantations

  • Berserker Axe - Attack with Power Attack, scare witnesses.
  • Blinkplate - Gain 8 Armor AC against three attacks of your choice.
  • Charge Breaker - Attack with a halberd and prepare for a charge.
  • Charged Arcana - Make a Ride-By Attack Charge.
  • Critical Point - Make an attack with Rapier and Improved Critical, and critical threats automatically confirm.
  • Daggerhail - Conjure a burst of small knives to lacerate foes in an area.
  • Grappling Hook - Attack a foe at range and drag them to you or you to it.
  • Light Bow - Attack a foe with a glowing arrow that illuminates the area and causes dazzle.
  • Piercing Spear - Spear attack ignores damage reduction, cover, and concealment.
  • Rending Claws - Attack with a pair of punchdaggers, deal extra damage if both hit.
  • Rope Cant - Thrown bola entangles foes.
  • Sable Whip - Illusionary whip convinces foes they've been disarmed.
  • Scourge - Attack with a holy flail that Turns Undead.
  • Soul Harvester - Attack with the Cleave feat, gain extra damage on Cleave attack based on first foe's former HP.
  • Sword and Board - Gain a Sword for a single attack and a Shield for the round.
  • Upender - Trip with Improved Trip.

2nd Level Incantations

  • Bleed Out - Spiked gauntlets leave a foe bleeding profusely.
  • Blink Dagger - Teleport to foe and stab them.
  • Cleaving Axe - Attack with the Cleave feat, use different Incantation on follow-up.
  • Fellfrost Cross - Attack with two shortswords, leave foes suffering from frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Iron of the Mind - Attack with a crossbow that uses Cold Iron bolts.
  • Purification - Attack with a silver longsword or warhammer.
  • Megaton Hammer - Giant hammer staggers enemies.

3rd Level Incantations

  • Balmung - With this dragonslayer's sword, dragons no longer seem so frightening.
  • Blade of Woe - Those killed after feeling this blade briefly rise again as zombies or skeletons under your command.
  • Blinkplate, Greater - Gain better armor than with Blinkplate.
  • Burn (Art) - Whirlwind attack with a flaming sword.
  • Disruptive Discharge - Interrupt spellcasting with an electric arrow.
  • Enchanted Gladius - This stout and sturdy sword stands stalwart against the subtle sinistry of abberations.
  • Everdark (Art) - Sling fires a vile bullet that blinds foes.
  • Frost (Art) - Icy gauntlet chills foes to the bone, limiting their actions.
  • Purify (Art) - Divine bow destroys the undead.
  • Sherwood Bow - This hunter's bow can attack twice as fast, and brings down mighty beasts quickly.
  • Shock (Art) - Throw a shocking dagger that can paralyze foes.
  • Silence Glaive - This spear can Silence enemies.
  • Quickblade - A single attack with this dagger makes you faster.
  • Radiance - This golden blade of light ignores armor and burns foes.
  • Sever Gravity - Allows you to Fly, as the spell.
  • Stonehew - This enormous pick goes through earth and stone like butter.
  • Sunder - A blow from this hammer damages constructs, leaving a weak spot for follow-up attacks.

4th Level Incantations

5th Level Incantations

6th Level Incantations

  • Assassin's Guile - Sneak a bit of extra damage to those who have been attacked by your teleportation effects.
  • Blaze (Art) - Punch out foes with a flaming gauntlet, cause an explosion.
  • Brilliance (Art) - A shining blade of justice blinds all but the purest of hearts.
  • Dance of Blades - Summon longswords to surround you and fight for you.
  • Ice (Art) - Shatter an icy flail and the resulting blizzard freezes an area and batters foes.
  • Kinslayer - Dominate your foe with a strike.
  • Memory Cutter - Cut away some of your foe's experience.
  • Mordenkainen's Sword - Summon a sword to fight for you.
  • Null (Art) - Vile chains fill the area with cloying darkness.
  • Return to Dust - Net entangles foes and disintegrates their remains.
  • Stun (Art) - A whack with this staff releases a discharge that stuns all around you.
  • Zero-Sum Interrupt - An attack so fast the foe bleeds before they are even hit, circumventing all defenses.

7th Level Incantations

8th Level Incantations

  • Cut Off - Separate your mind from others, protecting it from danger.
  • Don't Fear - With a coup de grace, trap a foe's soul.
  • Ruby Prison - Trap foes in a personalized Forcecage.
  • Thunderclap - Blast your foes with a wave of sound.
  • The Warrior Returning - When about to die, instead heal yourself and take an attack of opportunity against your would-be killer.
  • Will Blade - An illusory sword can nonetheless be really fatal.

9th Level Incantations

  • Annulment - Eliminate the supernatural powers of others.
  • Deadly Elegance - Shadow copies impale nearby foes.
  • Divinity (Art) - Gain angel wings, smite foes, and bolster allies.
  • Electrocute (Art) - Thrown javelin becomes an incredible bolt of lightning, damaging and stunning all in its path.
  • Freeze (Art) - This icy dart freezes foes solid.
  • Incinerate (Art) - Attack with a fiery flindbar.
  • Pankratosword - A sword so fine it can cut the indivisible, unleashing destruction and devastation.
  • Perfect Strike of the Thrice Betrayer - All those whom you've betrayed before take crippling damage from a shadow strike.
  • Prismatic Shield - Use a bit of Prismatic Wall as a shield.
  • Ravages of Time - Act at twice your normal speed.
  • Starfury - Four shurikens of light explode and attack secondary targets.
  • Threadstring Bow - Attack with your very soul.
  • Thunderbluss - A shotgun blast devastates foes.
  • Void (Art) - This vile strike can slay a foe outright, and blind those who witness it.

Image Credits

The image for this class is heavily adapted (and rather poorly) from Anima: ??? no. 1 by Wen M. All credit to him for the excellent image, all blame to me for the horrid mangling.

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