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.
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.
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.
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
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
|Saving Throws||Special||Incantations Readied|
|4th||+4||+1||+1||+4||Enhanced Cant +1||4||3||3||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|8th||+8/+3||+2||+2||+6||Enhanced Cant +2||4||3||3||3||3||-||-||-||-||-|
|10th||+10/+5||+3||+3||+7||Arcanized Weaponry, Bonus Feat||4||3||3||3||3||3||-||-||-||-|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+4||+4||+8||Enhanced Cant +3||4||3||3||3||3||3||3||-||-||-|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+5||+5||+10||Enhanced Cant +4||∞||∞||3||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 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.
Incantations are spell-like abilities, which means they are generally subject to spell resistance, can be dispelled but not counterspelled. Unlike most spell-like abilities, incantations neither provoke attacks of opportunity nor require concentration checks. 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.
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. The number of Incantations of each level that he may ready at a time are given in the table above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.