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Thread: Spellsword

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    Default Spellsword

    On the spellsword from Complete warrior.

    The build in the book as a sample uses one level of fighter, which I assume to be to sacrifice as few caster levels as possible, though at the cost of hitpoints and BAB. So if the class is going to be used as a caster anyway, why even multiclass into it? Mind you, I want to have a good spellsword build that isn't useless entirely because, well, the concept of a spellsword is just awesome, and you only need three levels of the class to be running around in mithril breastplate,which I'm gonna have my guy in.

    So what I'm asking of the metagamers better than I of Giant In The Playground, is what's a good build for a spellsword? How many levels of wizard (or sorcerer?) and fighter? Would it be able to hold its own in melee or would a mediocre BAB and low health slow it down? D&D in general seems a little biased against melee combat (which is why everyone seems to hate fighters), but certainly someone can fill this role and still be useful.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorHobo View Post
    So what I'm asking of the metagamers better than I of Giant In The Playground, is what's a good build for a spellsword?
    This is not the right word. Or at least I hope it's a mistake.
    Last edited by Godless_Paladin; 2010-10-28 at 08:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorHobo View Post
    D&D in general seems a little biased against melee combat (which is why everyone seems to hate fighters), but certainly someone can fill this role and still be useful.
    Most people dislike fighter because fighter has no class features. Warblades, Swordsages and Crusaders are all better than a fighter because they have class features.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    I've learned it to mean people that build characters based off crunch rather than fluff, and I'm asking for their help specifically because I feel they could better assist me in putting together a functional character.

    I'm good enough at putting fluff together on my own.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    I dunno what you are talking about, Spellsword is a great 1 level PrC. I see people take all one level of it all the time in different gish builds. Take the classic Sorcadin build for example:

    Paladin2/Sorcerer4/Spellsword1/AbjurantChampion5/SacredExorcist8

    See? Right there in the middle? The build makes use of all 1 levels of the PrC, using it as a lynchpin to get into Abjurant Champion. Without it, you couldn't get the +5 BAB that early without losing another caster level.

    You also see it a lot in Suel Arcanamach builds, since the -10% ACF stacks with Suel's -10%.

    EDIT: Metagamer is a person who uses OOC knowledge in character. Something like a character with 0 ranks in spellcraft knowing the exact order of spells needed to tear down a prismatic wall or such. The word you are looking for is optimizer, or simply experience character builder.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2010-10-28 at 08:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Optimizer, works better. Appreciated, sir. As for the build, I've not heard of Abjurant Champion or Sacred Exorcist, but I'm not really looking to run a divine caster (as per the fluff I mentioned earlier).

    If one were to advance further in the Spellsword class to gain the ability to wear heavier armor and still cast arcane spells without fear of Spell Chance Failure, would it be in error?
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Caster levels are precious. Whatever you can do with non-caster levels, you can generally do better with caster levels. Spellsword being a half caster PrC makes it generally worse than Eldritch Knight in the DMG. Thats bad, considering EK is pretty crappy. The features you do get from Spellsword aren't as good as the caster levels you lose. Higher CLs means better and stronger buffs that make you many times stronger than not having them.

    Abjurant Champion is in Complete Mage, and is generally considered the BEST gish PrC printed. 5/5 BAB, 5/5 caster levels, and a bunch of class features that REALLY help with survivability.

    Sacred Exorcist is in Complete Divine, but advances either arcane or divine casting. The best things about it are that its full casting, 3/4 BAB and grants the Turn Undead feature, which can be used to power various divine and devotion feats in CWar, CDiv, and CChamp, which is great if you have a decent Cha score (like any Sorcerer based gish would have).

    So yea, its pretty weak, other than as a stepping stone to get into other, better gish PrCs. If you take more levels of it, you won't be BAD, but you won't be that good either.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorHobo View Post
    Optimizer, works better. Appreciated, sir. As for the build, I've not heard of Abjurant Champion or Sacred Exorcist, but I'm not really looking to run a divine caster (as per the fluff I mentioned earlier).

    If one were to advance further in the Spellsword class to gain the ability to wear heavier armor and still cast arcane spells without fear of Spell Chance Failure, would it be in error?
    You'd lose a caster level at level 2. a +1 Mithril Twilight Breastplate with one level of Spellsword will also have no spell failure chance; Twilight is an enhancement from Player's Handbook 2, which reduces ASF by 10%. Is losing a full caster level worth the extra cost of the Twilight enhancement? Usually not.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    I have Complete Mage, why haven't I looked through this? -offs to fetch it-

    Thanks, this looks like a pretty good alternative. =)

    EDIT: Twilight I'll look into that. -runs off to torrent legitimately purchase PHII-
    Last edited by DoctorHobo; 2010-10-28 at 09:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by Godless_Paladin View Post
    This is not the right word. Or at least I hope it's a mistake.
    It is a correct description; optimizers are playing a game within a game. It's just not a socially popular word.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorHobo View Post
    Optimizer, works better. Appreciated, sir. As for the build, I've not heard of Abjurant Champion or Sacred Exorcist, but I'm not really looking to run a divine caster (as per the fluff I mentioned earlier).

    If one were to advance further in the Spellsword class to gain the ability to wear heavier armor and still cast arcane spells without fear of Spell Chance Failure, would it be in error?
    Both those prestige classes advance arcane casting. That listed build is all sorcerer. It does have a strong divine flavor, though, due to the goody-two-shoes base.

    Spellsword is really only a 1 level prestige class, unless you don't mind trading feats, BAB, and HP for spells that give you hp, to hit, and some cool abilities. Cause when making a gish and worried about how powerful you're going to be, the comparison should always be with a non-caster. If you compare a gish to a caster, you may as well just go straight wizard 20.

    So, the question is, will 10 levels of spellsword be better than 10 other levels of non-casting? In general, with enough sources, I would say 5 CL is superior to whatever else is out there that isn't casting (and isn't TOB).

    However, with enough sources, you shouldn't have to lose that many CL. And if you really want to be wearing metal armor (instead of putting up greater mage armor), get padded thistle down twighlight mithril full plate and one level in spellsword. No ASF.

    Alternatively, go Duskblade or use psionics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    It is a correct description; optimizers are playing a game within a game.
    Well, damn, never thought about it that way. Yeah, optimization is more of a metagame than using out-of-character knowledge, when you consider it, IMO. But you do have to consider the connotations and not merely the denotation.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    One more question regarding melee/caster builds.

    If a PrC says that it offers +1 existing spellcasting class for spells per day, what does that say of spells known?
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Spells known and caster level increase as well.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    It is a correct description; optimizers are playing a game within a game. It's just not a socially popular word.
    No, no it isn't. Optimization and metagaming are separate concepts and at times, produce different results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    No, no it isn't. Optimization and metagaming are separate concepts and at times, produce different results.
    Optimization is a subset of the metagame.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    Optimization is a subset of the metagame.
    Metagame activity, however, is not really associated with metagaming or metagamer; said terms carry meanings beyond the simple root. Metagame is basically "outside game"; metagaming and metagamer use information from outside the game inside the game.

    As such, that definitely has nothing to do with optimization as optimizing a character has no bearing upon what you do in game; while there may be an optimizer out there who metagames, chances are majority of them play the game fair and square.


    And to OP: Yeah, there is some build that uses 5 levels of Spellsword to get Channel Spell for "extra actions" (able to attack with spells while hitting things). However, that's a bit pesky since you can't afford to lose another caster level at that point if you still want to see level 9 spells during your character's life. Basically, you'd go Warrior 1/Wizard N/Spellsword 5/Abjurant Champion 5 and finish off with Sacred Exorcist or so.

    The thing with Wizard and Fighter-levels is that the relevant thing as a Fighter is Base Attack Bonus; the relevant thing as a Wizard are caster levels. Now, Wizard advances BAB (˝ per level), Fighter doesn't advance caster levels. As such, to get this hybrid to have maximum of both, minimum Fighter and maximum Wizard-levels. You need one level of Fighter to enter since you need Heavy Armor Proficiency and all Martial Weapon Profs for some other PrCs, but beyond that take as much Wizard you can. This, mind you, is without looking at the fact that spellcasting is way stronger than BAB and thus, getting more spellcasting also allows you to use buff spells to become a stronger warrior and higher level spells give you bigger offensive bonuses than the BAB (just imagine Shapechanging into e.g. Titan, Solar or Pit Fiend; that's some damn nice base stats - and that's without using the good stuff).

    Also, Sacred Exorcist may have divine flavor but it's really useful as just Full Casting 3/4 BAB class you can enter as a Wizard. It's what you can use when you don't want to lose additional caster levels but still want better Base Attack Bonus.
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    This tells you what books to find stuff in so you don't have to ask every time.

    The goal of a typical gish build is to get 9th level spells and a +16 BAB at level 20. It's quite easy to just count how much of each you can lose throughout the build, for example you can lose four points of BAB to get the +16, and you can lose usually two or three levels of spellcasting depending on what class you use to get 9th level spells pre-epic. The Sorcadin build posted earlier accomplishes this very elegantly, especially considering how difficult this ends up being using Sorcerer spellcasting.

    Wizard-based builds get quite a bit more leeway since they can lose one more level of spellcasting and still get 9th level spells. Something like Fighter 2/ Wizard 4/ Spellsword 1/ Incantatrix 4/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Knight Phantom or Eldritch Knight 4 gets +16 BAB and 9th level spells, and gets the Metamagic Effect cheese from Incantatrix. You could replace the first six levels with Fighter 1/ Wizard 2/ Elf Paragon 3 and you'll probably be better off, unless you want the Elf Wizard 3 substitution level in RotW and/or the Dungeoncrasher ACF in Dungeonscape. Using the Martial Wizard variant from UA to get a Fighter bonus feat instead of Scribe Scroll also helps out considerably.

    If you want at least five levels of Spellsword, consider something like Fighter 1/ Wizard 6/ Spellsword 5/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Ruathar 3. You can replace Ruathar with any prestige class which grants full spellcasting and at least 3/4 BAB, such as Sacred Exorcist. If you use a race with the Outsider creature type you'll get proficiency in all martial weapons, methods include the Savage Progression Aasimar or Tiefling without ever spending a level for the +1 LA, or an Elf with the Otherworldly feat. Another way to get martial weapon proficiency is to take the regional feat Militia. That will allow you to go something like Wizard 5/ Knight Phantom 4/ Dragonslayer 1/ Spellsword 5/ Abjurant Champion 5, in which case you can take fewer Abjurant Champion levels for more Knight Phantom, or fewer of either for one more level of Wizard, without sacrificing any BAB or spellcasting ability. If Knight Phantom isn't available you can change the build to Wizard 6/ Eldritch Knight 3/ Dragonslayer 1/ Spellsword 5/ Abjurant Champion 5.

    When playing an arcane gish you typically want to play as a caster in the lower levels, and then switch to using melee once you can cast Polymorph. Forms such as a Cave Troll (MM3), War Troll (MM3), and Annis Hag (MM) are good to use. If you have the Outsider creature type you get access to many powerful forms, such as a Kelvezu demon (MM2). If your character can make a Knowledge check of the appropriate type (DC 10 + creature's HD) you can take that creature's form with Polymorph, and you can even take ten on this check. That way you won't have to keep a record of everything your character has encountered, you can just make a skill check to show that he's familiar with a given creature.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    What are some good spells for Spellsword? I'm going for a game of 13th level Gestalt as Drow. I've gone Duskblade 13, Drow 2/Wizard 2/ Spellsword 4/ Abjurant 5. The Spellsword levels are fluffy, but I can't help think they're underpowered here. I find myself not really knowing what are the best spells to exploit for Spellsword.

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    So if the class is going to be used as a caster anyway, why even multiclass into it?
    The prc just wasn't that well designed to start with.

    A good base would be the jade phoenix mage prc, which grants full bab, 8/10 spellcasting progression and a number of good class features. Spellsword should be at least that good before I would consider taking it all the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragannia View Post
    What are some good spells for Spellsword? I'm going for a game of 13th level Gestalt as Drow. I've gone Duskblade 13, Drow 2/Wizard 2/ Spellsword 4/ Abjurant 5. The Spellsword levels are fluffy, but I can't help think they're underpowered here. I find myself not really knowing what are the best spells to exploit for Spellsword.
    If you can change your build, you should go something like this instead.
    Use the Savage Progression Drow, it gets everything a standard Drow gets once you've spent two levels on it, but you can gain those two levels at any point in your career instead of having to take them at your first two character levels. Abjurant Champion is mostly included in gish builds to get full BAB and full spellcasting for five levels, plus Abjurant Armor helps out with spells like Shield and (Greater) Luminous Armor. If you're not going to be absolutely good-aligned, then you won't be able to use exalted spells so no Luminous Armor, which means you may as well just skip Abjurant Champion altogether.

    1. Duskblade 1/ Wizard 1, Martial Wizard ACF, Combat Reflexes, Spell Focus: Abjuration, Abjuration specialist (Enchantment and Evocation prohibited), Hummingbird familiar (Dragon magazine, grants +4 initiative)
    2. Duskblade 2/ Wizard 2, Combat Casting
    3. Duskblade 3/ Wizard 3, Elf Wizard 3 substitution level (RotW, turns the +4 initiative into +8), Greater Spell Focus: Abjuration
    4. Duskblade 4/ Master Specialist 1, Skill Focus: Spellcraft
    5. Spellsword 1/ Drow 1
    6. Spellsword 2/ Wizard 4, Power Attack, Arcane Strike
    7. Spellsword 3/ Drow 2
    8. Spellsword 4/ Wizard 5, Extend Spell
    9. Spellsword 5/ Duskblade 5, Persistent Spell
    10. Duskblade 6/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 1
    11. Duskblade 7/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 2
    12. Duskblade 8/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 3, Minor Shapeshift
    13. Duskblade 9/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 4
    14. Duskblade 10/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 5
    15. Duskblade 11/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 6, Quicken Spell
    16. Duskblade 12/ Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 7
    17. Duskblade 13/ Divine Oracle 1
    18. Duskblade 14/ Divine Oracle 2, Defensive Sweep
    19. Duskblade 15/ Divine Oracle 3
    20. Duskblade 16/ Divine Oracle 4

    This gets full BAB and full Wizard spellcasting progression. There's absolutely no reason not to get full spellcasting with a gestalt character, it's a self-inflicted handicap if you do lose caster levels.

    You want to cast Persistent Shield and Persistent Swift Expeditious Retreat on yourself every day. Once you get 8th level spells you'll also want Persistent Wraithstrike and Persistent Bladeweave. When you get 9th level spells Persistent Displacement is amazing.

    Say you visited the Frog God's Fane detailed in Complete Scoundrel, it costs you 2,000 gp and you'll get Skill Focus: Kn: Religion without wasting a feat on it, which you'll need for Divine Oracle.

    Your equipment should include a few Lesser Rod of Extend. Cast Greater Mage Armor on yourself each day, and use that to make it last twice as long. You should also cast Greater Magic Weapon on your primary weapon every day. Get a +1 Animated Heavy Steel Shield, the arcane spell failure won't even matter with Spellsword. You don't want to wear armor because you'll be casting Polymorph a lot, or if possible use Draconic Polymorph from the Draconomicon. You should also use the spells Heart of Air/Earth/Fire/Water from Complete Mage every day, and have a few extra Waters prepared in case you need to use its secondary effect and recast it later.

    One of the best spells to use with Channel Spell is Cloudkill, it turns into a single-target effect which deals 1d4 Con damage per round for ten rounds per caster level. Get the Whirling property on your weapon and at level 17 you can use Whirlwind Attack with your Arcane Channeling ability from Duskblade.

    Check out a few gish character guides for tips on what spells to use.
    Last edited by Biffoniacus_Furiou; 2010-10-30 at 02:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    Optimization is a subset of the metagame.
    No, it really isn't. Optimization is about doing what you do well, while meta-gaming is about breaking the 4th wall to provide yourself with inappropriate resources. Neither is a subset of the other, but both admittedly intersect.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    No, it really isn't. Optimization is about doing what you do well, while meta-gaming is about breaking the 4th wall to provide yourself with inappropriate resources. Neither is a subset of the other, but both admittedly intersect.
    You don't know what the "metagame" is, do you?

    A "metagamer" doesn't actually mean someone who plays the metagame. Annoyingly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    You don't know what the "metagame" is, do you?

    A "metagamer" doesn't actually mean someone who plays the metagame. Annoyingly.
    Pray tell, what does metagamer mean?

    Besides, it sounded like faceroll was specifically referring to the metagame("Game within the game" and what-not).
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    A "metagamer", among RPG circles, is defined as "someone who uses OOC knowledge for IC gain".

    The "metagame" is the "game about the game" - character creation, deck building, optimisation, etc.

    Metagaming (using OOC knowledge etc.) can be part of the metagame, of course - selecting spells that are effective against Sir Bob, because you know you'll be fighting him soon, even though your character doesn't, for example.
    Last edited by Yuki Akuma; 2010-10-30 at 02:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    On metagame, optimization:
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    Leveling up is a meta-game activity; that is, outside the game-world.
    Leveling into a prestige class that is strong because of it's features and the character's role is using in-character knowledge, and falls under optimization.
    Leveling up by going into a prestige class you know will be useful because the DM let it slip that this will be an undead-heavy campaign is using out-of-character knowledge, and falls under metagaming.
    Both are meta-game activities, one is metagaming.

    And then there's the confusing metagame as used by faceroll that is in, e.g., Halo 3, where there is a game-within-game/game-after-game. In which case optimizers can be considered playing the metagame as a metagame activity without metagaming, using three different meanings for the word.

    You can also distinguish between optimizing, min-maxer, and munchkin. I think what I've generally gathered is that optimizing makes the character the strongest it can be without ignoring roleplay (though refluffing PrC's, etc is commonplace), min-maxing makes the strongest character to the detriment of roleplay, and munchkin willfully misinterprets the rules or does one of the previous two at the cost of the fun of others. Optimizer and min/max are much more up in the air as to their actual definitions, though, and the way I've defined them, what is optimization for a good roleplayer merely comes off as min/maxing for someone who's not as experienced and can't pull off the roleplay.


    @OP:
    There is also the Feycraft or Githcraft armor templates from DMG2, or Thistledown Padding from RotW, that allow you to combine Spellsword1 with Twilight Mithral Fullplate without ASF.

    Twilight is in three places, BoED, PHB2 under the Duskblade entry, and in MIC.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2010-10-30 at 02:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Min-Maxing tends to make a character really strong in one area to the detriment of other areas - like, say, making a character with a huge damage output but terrible defenses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
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    Oct 2008

    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    A "metagamer", among RPG circles, is defined as "someone who uses OOC knowledge for IC gain".
    That's actually analogous to in other circles too, such as in chess, where a metagamer can learn his opponent's habits and plan strategies to beat him specifically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    The "metagame" is the "game about the game" - character creation, deck building, optimization, etc.
    See, no, that's......no. Deckbuilding is *not* a metagame of MtG, it is part of the game. The point of MtG is to collect, build and compete. Ignoring a portion if it is where you start finding metagames. A contest with pre-built decks is a metagame, so is one where you just build decks, and compare their merits. By the same right, practical optimization of a character build is part of the game itself, and not a metagame.
    Last edited by Godskook; 2010-10-30 at 03:06 PM.
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    I started my first campaign around a campfire, having pancakes. They were blueberry.
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    Dr.Epic's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorHobo View Post
    On the spellsword from Complete warrior.

    The build in the book as a sample uses one level of fighter, which I assume to be to sacrifice as few caster levels as possible, though at the cost of hitpoints and BAB. So if the class is going to be used as a caster anyway, why even multiclass into it? Mind you, I want to have a good spellsword build that isn't useless entirely because, well, the concept of a spellsword is just awesome, and you only need three levels of the class to be running around in mithril breastplate,which I'm gonna have my guy in.

    So what I'm asking of the metagamers better than I of Giant In The Playground, is what's a good build for a spellsword? How many levels of wizard (or sorcerer?) and fighter? Would it be able to hold its own in melee or would a mediocre BAB and low health slow it down? D&D in general seems a little biased against melee combat (which is why everyone seems to hate fighters), but certainly someone can fill this role and still be useful.
    If you're just going for an arcane caster that can wear mithril breastplate, a battle sorcerer variant from Unearthed Arcana can do just that and you don't need to multiclass. If that's the main allure of the PrC, than just go battle sorcerer.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spellsword

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    That's actually analogous to in other circles too, such as in chess, where a metagamer can learn his opponent's habits and plan strategies to beat him specifically.
    In essence, the term "metagame" means more than just the (slightly ill-defined) intersection of the prefix "meta" with the root "game". As Wikipedia says, "in simple terms, using out-of-game information, or resources, to affect one's in-game decisions." This definition seems supported by a quick examination of Google results, which lead us to websites about Starcraft, DotA, and Magic: the Gathering.

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