View Full Version : Arcane Swordsage Spell List (3.5)

2013-01-03, 09:00 AM
I know we've tried to cover implementation of the Arcane Swordsage adaptation before, but we've never (to my knowledge) gone over the spell list as recommended in Tome of Battle.

"In general, spells from the schools of abjuration, evocation, and transmutation are most appropriate for a swordsage of this type, especially spells with a range of personal or touch."

Taking those as hard and fast rules, rather than suggestions, we get the following list;
(all SRD, except where there weren't enough to be appropriate, Levels 5 and 9, and in those instances, I went for the spell with the most available sources)

Endure Elements
Expeditious Retreat
Magic Weapon
Protection from (Evil, Good, Chaos, Law)
Shocking Grasp

Alter Self
Arcane Lock
Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Eagle's Splendor, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom
Continual Flame
Obscure Object
Protection from Arrows
Resist Energy
Rope Trick
Spider Climb

Explosive Runes
Gaseous Form
Magic Circle Against (Evil, Good, Chaos, Law)
Magic Weapon, Greater
Protection from Energy
Secret Page
Shrink Item
Water Breathing

Fire Shield
Fire Trap
Remove Curse
Stone Shape

Overland Flight
Blink, Greater (Spell Compendium, Complete Arcane, Complete Divine, Unapproachable East)

Mental Pinnacle

Ethereal Jaunt
Spell Turning

Iron Body
Protection from Spells
Temporal Stasis

Time Stop
Absorption (Spell Compendium, Complete Arcane, Tome and Blood)

Bearing in mind that the economy on these spells is utterly devastating (because they have maneuver recovery, rather than a limit per day) I think there might be a number of problems here.

Even ignoring the unlimited Time Stop...

Particularly, even from moderately low levels, spamming Locks, Traps and Runes once per minute with little cost or consideration, could on a chaotic trickster character become either a feature, or more likely, an utter nuisance.

What fixes are necessary?

At the moment, as they neither use spell slots nor preparations, metamagic seems impossible. They do have one limit; "Spells Ready". Could that be used for metamagic cost somehow?

4th number
2013-01-03, 09:55 AM
What would it be like to play this character?

At 1st level, I'd have 6 spells-- so, everything but Endure Elements on that list. One stance, but none of the 1st-level ones are particularly helpful in combat. And Weapon Focus. I can use Magic Weapon right before combat, but then I have to choose between a normal attack (at Str+2 or 3 to hit, most likely) and Shocking Grasp. The Protection line has some utility for the party, but in combat I'm basically on par with a Fighter.

At 3rd (class) level, I start to get some good buffs that I can spam on the whole party (the animal line, Protection from Arrows, and so on), but only one of those at first. Some good utility there, but I'm guessing in combat I'm still looking a lot like a Fighter.

Ordinarily, at 4th level I'd get Insightful Strike, but since I'm not using any strikes...

And as I move up the spell list, I mostly get a lot of utility and buffs. I don't know how many of those are hours or minutes per level, but I bet it's enough that I'd be everyone's favorite guy in the party. Lots of fun stuff there, if I were a wizard, which I'm not. This swordsage is at best a secondary combatant, and at worst he's hanging back from combat altogether, but he lacks the battlefield control to have fun while doing it.

So, aside from the unlimited high-level spells which can break the game, he doesn't seem very fun to play. At high levels, he is quite unbalanced, but I don't see anyone wanting to play him.

Just to Browse
2013-01-03, 03:16 PM
4th Number, I don't know if you read the spell list selectively or just didn't apply some very specific awesome parts. But that thing has blink, fly, polymorph, stat boosters, and GMW. It's pretty much loaded with buffs, it's high levels have you activated my trap card and re-write your character's physical stats as spells. Being able to set up any combo sounds awesome to me.

Problems with the arcane swordsage remain, of course:

Multiclassing is still broken, because getting 6 spells at level 3 is a bazillion times better than getting 6 spells at level 1. Dip two level of warlock.
Combat spells and noncombat spells are melded into the same list, which makes players sad (because they could have cast arcane lock and helped the party) or ineffective (because they picked arcane lock over bear's endurance and now people are losing HP left and right).
How on earth do maneuver/spell/metamagic mechanics work with this? (e.g. Extra Spell, Extra Maneuver Readied, Silent Spell)
What the hell is their casting stat?

The swordsage needs stronger evocation support and a bigger list, which could be fixed by removing the touch/personal requirement. Of course, that also opens the floodgates for SoDs galore, but I'd rather play down a strong swordsage than play up a weak one.

And seriously, what is their casting stat?

2013-01-03, 09:47 PM
And seriously, what is their casting stat?
Well, it should be wisdom, obviously, but it's never stated and I think SLAs default to charisma.

Also, if you want a reasonably functional arcane swordsage take a look at this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187632).

2013-01-04, 01:08 PM
They aren't SLAs, they're spells "cast as maneuvers", and yes, I'd say Wisdom is the casting stat. After all, what we're doing here is hammering down the vague intentions of the adaptation, and trying to decide if it's playable, while trying not to reinvent it.

The Swordsage specific maneuvers are Wisdom based, so the casting should be Wisdom based. I don't really see a problem with that, it's just one more in a long line of things not explicitly stated about this variant.

Yup, JtB, you're absolutely right about the multi-classing for higher spell choices. With maneuvers, it's less a fault, more a feature (except the broken all knowing crusader build, that's a little dumb). With spells... I think that, along with Time Stop, needs to be prevented.

The spell list problems are the same for most spontaneous casters. The Swordsage though doesn't have to worry about having used up all his level 2s for the day and so on, I think that more than makes up for it.

Yeah, I can't see how metamagic feats and so on could ever work with this caster without something else to pay for them, such as melodic metamagic or incantatrix etc.