View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Emulating the Magus/Duskblade: A Warlock Path

2016-01-23, 11:56 AM
So, when you are reading this, most likely you are playing D&D 5e, know Pathfinder and like Gish classes.
Or you are just bored and curious. Either why, i do like playing D&D 5e, i like playing some sort of Gish and i know Pathfinder.
So it will come to no surprise to you that i´m somewhat fond of the Magus class found in Pathfinder,
or the old Duskblade/Hexblade class in D&D 3.5.

While D&D 5e offers some options if you want to play a Gish (Eldritch Knight if you want to play a Fighter that augments
his martial abilities with some magic or Bladesinger if you want to play a Wizard with some martial abilities) i have the
feeling that these options doesn´t blend the "Spell and Martial" into the same sort of feeling that the Magus or Duskblade does.
There are some homebrew Magus classes for D&D 5e out there, but most try to transfer all Magus features (Spell Combat,
Spell Strike, Arcane Points, Magus Arcana, Archetypes) into D&D 5e, which, in my opinion, doesn´t work really well.
It just feels totally overloaded und overly complex compared to other 5e classes (that doesn´t mean that those are bad or useless,
for example there is some Magus class out there that uses the Warlock as template or inspiration, which inspired me in turn).
However, what i wanted to do was simply be as unoriginal as possibly while somewhat retaining this special "Magus" feeling
as good as possible.

So i looked at the Warlock class and decided that many, but not all, features that define a Magus are already there.
Eldritch Invocations work fine as Magus Arcanas, Pact Boon reflects some Arcanas and Archetypes (however, it needs
some adjustment to fit with the "wizard, not pact" theme). Sure, there are some things missing, like Spell Strike and Spell
Combat. But with a new "Otherworldly Patron", these features could be intruduced. This way, i don´t need to make up
a whole new class and can at least hope for some balance. And i can keep closer to my goal not to be too original.

Ok, long story short, here are my ideas for a new "patron".
Text in italics will illustrate the meaning behind the features, for better understanding

The Way of the Magus/Duskblade:

Your power comes from long und hard training. You´ve studied the arcane arts and martial traditions to
blend both together in an effective fighting style.

Ok, this is simply to make clear that you are not a pact making warlock, but a hard studying scholar
(sort of)

Arcane Schooling:
Unlike other Warlocks your power originates in long study rather then the pact with an Otherworldly Power.
Your Spellcasting Ability is Intelligence instead of Charisma. Whenever a Warlock feature instructs you to
use Charisma or your Charisma bonus (like eldritch invocations), use Intelligence instead

Frankly, this isn´t really necessary. It is simply there because for me a Magus is more than a Wizard then
a Sorcerer. So since Warlocks use their Charisma for most of their stuff and spells, i changed that.
However, to keep it more in line with the base class, it is totally fine to ignore this bit
and just go with Charisma.

Expended Spell list:
Your training with masters of the Arcane Arts lets you choose from an expanded list of
spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock
spell list for you.

Magus Expended Spells:

Level 1: Burning Hands, Shield

Level 2: Enlarge/Reduce, Melf's Acid Arrow

Level 3: Haste, Lightning Bolt

Level 4: Ice Storm , Fire Shield

Level 5: Cone of Cold, Wall of Force

Ok, some offensive spells, some defensive... i picked the spells mostly for their martial feeling.

Spell Strike:
Starting at 1st level, your training enables you to channel some of the magical energy in your
mind trough your weapon to deal more damage. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon
attack, you can expend one warlock spellslot to deal lightning damage to the target, in addition to
the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell
level higher than 1st, to a maximum o f 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is wearing
metal armor. You can´t use Spell Strike and Divine Smite togehter.

Spell Strike is simply Divine Smite with some alterations.... a little earlier than the Paladin version,
thanks to the "otherwordly Patron" feature pattern, but i think it wont skip the balance.

Spell Combat:
Beginning at 6th level, when you use your action to
cast a cantrip, you can make one weapon attack as a
bonus action.

Ok, this one was plainly "borrowed" from the Eldritch Knight,
again it unlocks one level early. This also means that this class
competes and, to a certain degree, outshines the Eldritch Knight
(regarding the ability to use spells and melee attacks together).
If this is a concern, a solution couldbe to swap "Spell Combat" with
"Magus Training". This way the Eldritch Knight can retain his early access
to the feature.

Magus Training:
Beginning at Level 10, you gain a bonus to any Constitution saving throw
you make to maintain your concentration on a spell. The bonus equals
your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +l).
You also gain proficiency with medium armor.

Nothing to strong here i think, just a litte help to keep spells going in close combat
and a litte better armor options.
The first feature comes from the Bladesinger.

Dark Sun Gnome ponited out that this feature is a little weak compared to similar class features.
I must admit that this was somewhat intentional, simply because all the other features unlock earlier
than in their original classes. But if it turns out to be to weak, i would add heavy armor proficiency and see how this works.

Improved Spell Combat:
Starting at 14th level, when you use your action to cast a spell,
you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.

So again, an Eldritch Knight feature. And this time 4 levels early compared
to the original. so i´m not too sure if this one isn´t a little bit to potent, but
i wanted it in and i didn´t find any good substitute...so here it is. If it turns
out to be too strong i would recomment to restrict it to "normal" Warlock
Spellslots and thus excluding Mystic Arcanum spells

Ok, as you can see, i mostly used features already existend in the game. Sometimes with one or two minor alterations.
While i hope that this keeps the "Magus" presented here in balance with the other classes, i can´t guarantee it. Especially
when it comes to multiclassing and possible synergy effects. So, feel free to criticise and change everything you want.


I implemented the thoughts of Dark Sun Gnome and EnderDwarf into my comments on the class features and tried to point out possible solutions.

M Placeholder
2016-01-23, 03:16 PM
The Magus Training feature is a bit weak, considering that a Conjurer, at the same level gains an ability that means they don't have to make concentration checks if they take damage while concentrating on a Conjuration spell, which could account to practically all their spells.

In addition, the Medium armour is a bit weak too if you have a build geared towards a finesse weapon, as an Elven magus could easily get a +4 at that stage while being no slouch in the Constitution, Wisdom and Intelligence areas. Studded Leather and +4 to dex is equal to breastplate + Dex 2 and Scale Mail + Dex 2 and has no disadvantage on Stealth, while +5 to Dex and Studded Leather is equal to Half Plate +2 Dex, without the stealth penalties.

Other than that, this is pretty good.

2016-01-23, 04:32 PM
Thank you,

i must admit the weak middle feature was somewhat intentional, given the fact that all other features come pretty early, compared to the classes i took them from (especially Improved Spell Combat, aka Improved War Magic). Better to start of a little weak, and adjust if it turns out to be true, then to overpower it from the start.

But it is duly noted.


2016-01-24, 01:01 PM
Attack/spell too early for level 6 and max. of spellstrike should be 6d8 since it only works with warlock slots and since they and at level 5 (so 6d8 not 5d8)

Overall, as warlock bit strange but it works.
I think this is because most stuff only works for warlocks.

Is balanced. Nice work

2016-01-25, 10:58 PM
I would have liked to push the Spell Combat feature one level back, however since i only could implement a feature when the Warlock gets his "Otherworldly Patron feature", i´m restricted to levels 1, 6, 10 and 14. While it would be possible to swap the level 6 and 10 features, i like to have it not too late, which means level 6 in this case.
But like i said, it is possible to swap it with "Magus Training", thus pushing it back by 4 levels.

The Spellstrike feature only uses the 5d8 cap simply because it is modeled tightly after the "Divine Smite" Paladin feature, which also caps at 5d8, regardless of the fact that a paladin has access to 5. level spell slots. I know from the early days of 5e that some people speculated that this might be a printing error ( exactly because a Paladin has access to level 5 spellslots), but since we have an official Player´s Handbook errata, which doesn´t address this, i think this cap is intendional and should also apply to the mechanicly similar Spellstrike feature.

2016-01-25, 11:47 PM
I don't think the armor proficiency will be at all relevant by 10th level, by that point you've already needed to survive 9 levels of being a frontline fighter, unless you're heavily dex based or multiclassed for armor then you would have died ages ago. In either case the armor proficiency is useless by then because your build will need to be based on surviving without that proficiency for most of its career. There's a reason it's typically one of the first features unlocked in martial subclasses.