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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Magus of Blades: A sorcerer origin

    MAGUS OF BLADES

    ”This is the truth: when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry.
    It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.”


    - Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho

    Magus of blades is a martially inclined spellcaster who succeeds through both magical power and force of arms. Blade magi are skilled with swordplay and know a few spellblade maneuvers, but are also excellent tactical combatants, able to quickly maneuver themselves, their allies, and even their opponents about the battlefield. A magus of blades also understands that a sword need not be held in the hand to be used as a weapon against an opponent. Blade magi function best when interchanging sword and spell as they confront their foes and support their allies in combat. Magus of blades is the perfect class for the player who wants to strive blade-against-blade with his opponents while benefiting from the tactical options a spellcaster possesses.

    Sword and Sorcery
    At 1st level, you gain proficiency with simple and martial weapons and with light and medium armor. Your hit point maximum increases by 1 and increases by 1 again whenever you gain a level in this class.

    Your training is more focused than that of a sorcerer, so you do not cast from the sorcerer spell list. Instead, you choose your spells known from the magus of blades spell list, described below.

    Add Acrobatics and Athletics to your list of available skill proficiencies. Remove Deception and Religion.

    Additionally, whenever you would learn a new metamagic option, you may instead learn a new spellblade maneuver (described below).

    TABLE: MAGUS OF BLADES SPELLS
    Cantrips: blade ward, booming blade, green-flame blade, light, mage hand, mending message, minor illusion, prestidigitation, sword burst, true strike
    1st Level: absorb elements, expeditious retreat, false life, shield, zephyr strike
    2nd Level: cloud of daggers, mirror image, misty step, shadow blade, spiritual weapon
    3rd Level: blink, blade companion, conjure barrage, dispel magic, haste
    4th Level: dimension door, fire shield, freedom of movement, stoneskin, storm of blades
    5th Level: animate objects, bigby’s hand, far step, steel wind strike, wall of force
    6th Level: blade barrier, scatter, tenser’s transformation, true seeing
    7th Level: crown of swords, power word pain, reverse gravity, teleport
    8th Level: antimagic field, mighty fortress, mind blank, power word stun
    9th Level: foresight, invulnerability, power word kill, time stop

    Spellblade
    Starting at 3rd level you gain access to a set of special maneuvers called spellblade maneuvers, which are fueled by sorcery points. Whenever you would gain a metamagic option, you may opt to learn a spellblade maneuver instead.

    Diamond Mind Precision
    When you make an attack, you can spend 1 sorcery point to add 1d8 to the attack roll. You can use this maneuver before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.

    Eternal Spell Stance
    When you cast a spell that requires concentration, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to enter the Eternal Spell Stance. For as long as you maintain the stance your concentration cannot be broken by taking damage. You exit the stance whenever you use this maneuver again or when the spell’s duration expires.

    Iron Heart Surge
    When you make a saving throw, you can use your reaction and spend 1 sorcery point. You make that saving throw with advantage.

    Stone Dragon Strike
    Once per turn when you deal damage with an attack, you can spend a number of sorcery points up to half your level in this class to increase the damage by 1d8, plus another 1d8 per two sorcery points that you spend (rounded down).

    Tiger Claw Riposte
    When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and spend 1 sorcery point to make a melee weapon attack against the creature.

    White Raven Tactics
    As a bonus action, you can direct one of your companions to strike. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you and spend 1 sorcery point. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack.

    Eldritch Blades
    Starting at 6th level, whenever one of your sorcerer spells deals damage, add your Charisma modifier to the damage.

    As a bonus action, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast the magic weapon spell. At 14th level you may instead spend 2 sorcery points to cast a 4th level magic weapon, and at 18th level you may instead spend 3 sorcery points to cast a 6th level magic weapon.

    Battle Magic
    At 14th level, you have mastered the art of weaving spellcasting and weapon use into a single harmonious act. When you use your action to cast a sorcerer spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.

    Epic Blades
    Starting at 18th level, your melee weapon attacks now deal 1d8 + your Charisma modifier in bonus [force] damage.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2018-11-14 at 09:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A sorcerer origin

    Spoiler: New Spell: Blade Companion
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    Blade Companion
    3rd level conjuration

    Casting Time: 10 minutes
    Range: 30 feet
    Components: V S M (a nonmagical simple or martial melee weapon)
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Classes: Sorcerer (magus of blades)

    This functions as the find steed spell, except that you conjure a spirit into the weapon used as the spell's material component. The spirit has the statistics for a tiny, small, or medium animated object as per the animate objects spell.

    Your blade companion is your closest ally in combat and you have an instinctive bond with it that allows you to fight as a seamless unit. While wielding it, you can make any spell you cast that Targets only you also target your companion.


    Spoiler: New Spell: Crown of Swords
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    Crown of Swords
    7th level evocation

    Casting Time: 1 action
    Range: Self
    Components: V, S
    Duration: 1 hour
    Classes: Sorcerer (magus of blades)

    You create seven spectral blades in your space. They float in the air and orbit you for the spell’s duration. When you cast the spell—and as a bonus action on each of your turns thereafter—you can expend one of the blades, sending it streaking toward a target creature within 120 feet of you. Make a ranged spell attack against the creature. On a hit the target takes 4d6 [slashing] damage.

    Whenever you are targeted by an attack or by a spell that grants a Dexterity saving throw, you can use your reaction to expend one of the blades, interposing it between you and the threat. You gain +5 Armor Class against the attack or you make the Dexterity saving throw with advantage.

    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 8th level or higher, the number of blades created increases by two for each slot level above 7th.


    Spoiler: New Spell: Storm of Blades
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    Storm of Blades
    4th level evocation

    Casting Time: 1 action
    Range: self (15-foot radius)
    Components: V
    Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
    Classes: Fighter (magus of blades)

    You conjure a whirling cloud of spectral blades that forms a hazard for your foes while it shields your allies. Hostile creatures’ speed is halved in the area, and when a hostile creature enters the area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 [slashing] damage. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage.

    Allied creatures can move freely within the area and gain the benefit of half cover. Allies who are already in half cover instead receive the benefit of three-quarters cover. Allies who are in three-quarters cover or better receive no benefit from this spell.

    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 4th.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2018-11-14 at 09:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    My instinct is that, getting both spells and superiority dice, this subclass is going to end up overpowered. On the other hand, their superiority dice don't get the non attack/damage bonuses that manuevers get, and both their spell list and spells known are extremely limited...
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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    Indeed, most likely overtuned. You get the best parts of the EK and BM with very little loss, plus you can cheat by getting free upcasts (mitigating your 1/3 caster status) and ignoring concentration at 7th level on a short rest recharge. The extra damage is just icing.

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Indeed, most likely overtuned. You get the best parts of the EK and BM with very little loss, plus you can cheat by getting free upcasts (mitigating your 1/3 caster status) and ignoring concentration at 7th level on a short rest recharge. The extra damage is just icing.
    From your perspective, what are the "best" parts of EK and BM? I thought I was pretty much gutting the available list of maneuvers and spells. Compared to EK's 57 available spells it chooses from 25. Compared to BM's 16 maneuvers it gets 4, and Arcane Strike is strictly inferior to every damaging maneuver on the BM list. The maneuvers that improve spell slots are technically short-rest refresh but are throttled because spell slots refresh on a long rest.

    I'd agree that the magus of blades is a better spellcaster than the EK, but with a narrower focus. As a maneuver-user, it is deeply inferior to the BM.

    On the other hand I am concerned about the extra damage. I don't know enough about the damage profiles of the various fighter subclasses to know how to compare them.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2018-11-13 at 02:32 AM.
    Subclasses for 5E: magus of blades, shadowcraft assassin, spellthief, void disciple
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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    You have a narrower list than the Eldritch Knight, true, but it's a REALLY good list. Like, if I think of the spells I'd really like on a half caster gish, they're all there. Plus three new spells, two of which (Blade Companion and Circle of Blades) are probably overpowered in and of themselves. And while yes, you know fewer maneuvers than the Battle Master, you still get the single most important (precision attack).

    I'm inclined to agree with the others-- this is significantly overpowered. And I'm... honestly not sure how to fix it. My instinct says "merge the resource pools," but I don't think that would help that much.

    At the very least, I'd cut Eternal Spell Stance, Blade Companion, and maybe War Magic. Circle of Blades should probably be 4th level, since it's basically an improved version of Melf's Miniature Meteors AND Shield. But I'm not sure that's enough-- the core of the class is "Eldritch Knight with a much better spell list," and Eldritch Knight is already a damn strong option.

    EDIT: Or, weird thought: make it into a Ranger subclass. That opens up a lot more design space-- Rangers rely more on their subclass for power than Fighters, and you already have spellcasting in the mix.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2018-11-13 at 08:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    You have a narrower list than the Eldritch Knight, true, but it's a REALLY good list. Like, if I think of the spells I'd really like on a half caster gish, they're all there. Plus three new spells, two of which (Blade Companion and Circle of Blades) are probably overpowered in and of themselves. And while yes, you know fewer maneuvers than the Battle Master, you still get the single most important (precision attack).

    I'm inclined to agree with the others-- this is significantly overpowered. And I'm... honestly not sure how to fix it. My instinct says "merge the resource pools," but I don't think that would help that much.

    At the very least, I'd cut Eternal Spell Stance, Blade Companion, and maybe War Magic. Circle of Blades should probably be 4th level, since it's basically an improved version of Melf's Miniature Meteors AND Shield. But I'm not sure that's enough-- the core of the class is "Eldritch Knight with a much better spell list," and Eldritch Knight is already a damn strong option.

    EDIT: Or, weird thought: make it into a Ranger subclass. That opens up a lot more design space-- Rangers rely more on their subclass for power than Fighters, and you already have spellcasting in the mix.
    Hmm. This class has been used in my 3.5 campaigns for seven years. I want to preserve the signature features or it won't feel like a blade magus any more. I guess a fighter subclass doesn't have the design room that I need. I considered ranger and paladin but both bring a very distinct set of features with them that doesn't mesh.

    I have rebuilt this as a sorcerer subclass, with the maneuvers as alternative metamagic. This will carve out all of the sorcerer subclass features and the metamagic options as a design space, which I think is a much larger power budget to work with. I've tinkered with the new spells as well. Please critique.
    Subclasses for 5E: magus of blades, shadowcraft assassin, spellthief, void disciple
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    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Most popular: monk and fighter.


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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A fighter archetype

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Hmm. This class has been used in my 3.5 campaigns for seven years. I want to preserve the signature features or it won't feel like a blade magus any more. I guess a fighter subclass doesn't have the design room that I need. I considered ranger and paladin but both bring a very distinct set of features with them that doesn't mesh.
    Yeah. The 5e Fighter is a much more robust combatant than the 3.5 version ever was (at least compared to the rest of the system), and there's a lot less room to add onto it via subclasses. Sorcerer has a lot more room, yeah.

    Sword and Sorcery
    When you say "cast from the Magus of Blades spell list," do you mean "pick your spells known from this list," or "this is your set of spells known?" The first is definitely a plus (that's still a crazy good spell list), but fits alright power-wise; the latter is... less so.

    As for the spells themselves... Animate Objects really jumps out thematically and power-wise (it's probably the best damage spell in the game), but otherwise the list looks solid, while Illusory Dragon... well, I'm not sure about the power, but an illusion doesn't seem to fit much. Maybe Earthquake or Mighty Fortress instead?

    Spellblade
    I'm not one hundred percent sure about the placement of this, given how subclass features are doled out-- it might be better as "you pick from this spell list and, at 3rd level, this metamagic list." But anyway.
    • Diamond Mind is excellent.
    • Eternal Spell Stance is... still crazy good. 3 Sorcery Points is a hefty cost, but it's still crazy good. I'd downgrade it to "you automatically pass Concentration checks to maintain this spell," so as not to totally override the one-strong-spell-at-a-time balance point.
    • Iron Heart Surge is solid.
    • Stone Dragon Strike is excellent, though probably never worth taking.
    • Tiger Claw Riposte is frankly amazing. Free attacks is excellent. Then again, it does have to compete with Quicken Spell and Eternal Spell Stance, so it's probably alright.
    • White Raven Tactics can probably be downgraded to one Sorcery Point--it uses your bonus action and their reaction, after all.


    Eldritch Blades
    I'm... actually not sure how useful this would be. It looks like it words with... what, Sword Burst, Zephyr Strike, Cloud of Daggers, Conjure Barrage, Storm of Blades, Steel Wind Strike, Crown of Swords, and... I think that's it. And like half of those aren't worth casting.

    Maybe Extra Attack instead? Or move War Magic up.

    War Magic/Improved War Magic
    To be honest, I'd probably go up to the full Valor Bard version here and not limit it to cantrips, and put something else in as the capstone.

    Overall, though? This looks amazing and I really want to play one.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2018-11-13 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A sorcerer archetype

    Clarified that the magus of blade still chooses spells known from a list.
    Replaced illusory dragon with mighty fortress.
    Reduced White Raven Tactics cost from 2 to 1.
    War Magic and Improved War Magic are replaced with Battle Magic and Epic Blades. The little magic weapon ribbon is rewritten to allow you to scale it up as you level. I might take that out, depending.

    Regarding Eldritch Blades. I inserted it because many weapon-themed blasting spells are pretty lackluster, getting them late(as a fighter subclass) made them even weaker. Sorcerer lacks extra attacks and action surges to boost DPR so I think it still has a role to play in the current build. I am surprised you think so little of it. By my estimation it boosts DPR by 10% - 50%, depending on which spells you run.

    Regarding Eternal Spell Stance. In the 3.5 magus of blades this feature gave the stance spell a 24-hour duration and competed with high-tier builds that manipulated Persistent Spell. So it's already scaled well back. I could see nerfing to an uninterruptable concentration, but I'm worried that there are already so many concentration spells on this very limited list that the players may feel stifled without some option to open up concentration. On the other hand, moving to the sorcerer chassis puts Twin Spell on the menu, and patterning the blade companion after find steed instead of find familiar allows shared spell shenanigans. Maybe that's enough. I guess I'm emotionally attached to the feature as-written because I imagined the ability to run two concentration spells at once as a flagship feature that would make players want to play the class. What are your thoughts?
    Subclasses for 5E: magus of blades, shadowcraft assassin, spellthief, void disciple
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    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Most popular: monk and fighter.


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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A sorcerer archetype

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Regarding Eldritch Blades. I inserted it because many weapon-themed blasting spells are pretty lackluster, getting them late(as a fighter subclass) made them even weaker. Sorcerer lacks extra attacks and action surges to boost DPR so I think it still has a role to play in the current build. I am surprised you think so little of it. By my estimation it boosts DPR by 10% - 50%, depending on which spells you run.
    Stat to damage is normally great, yeah, but... here's the list I just threw together for a 6th level Magus
    • Cantrips: Booming Blade, Sword Burst, Minor Illusion, Mage Hand, Prestigitation
    • 1st level: Absorb Elements, Shield, Zephyr Strike
    • 2nd level: Mirror Image, Misty Step, Spiritual Weapon
    • 3rd level: Haste

    Most of the time, I'll want to be concentrating on Haste (using Eternal Spell Stance to make it uninterruptible), running Spiritual Weapon, and throwing out Booming Blades, while using my lower-level slots for Shield. I only really get the benefit if I'm surrounded and use Sword Burst, or I'm out of 3rd level spells and use Zephyr Strike for a smite.

    You could probably bump it up to "all Magus spells," honestly. That'll keep your bread-and-butter melee action (Booming/Green Flame Blade) fully competitive with Extra Attack, while making sure you don't miss stuff like Spiritual Weapon and Shadow Blade.

    Regarding Eternal Spell Stance. In the 3.5 magus of blades this feature gave the stance spell a 24-hour duration and competed with high-tier builds that manipulated Persistent Spell. So it's already scaled well back. I could see nerfing to an uninterruptable concentration, but I'm worried that there are already so many concentration spells on this very limited list that the players may feel stifled without some option to open up concentration. On the other hand, moving to the sorcerer chassis puts Twin Spell on the menu, and patterning the blade companion after find steed instead of find familiar allows shared spell shenanigans. Maybe that's enough. I guess I'm emotionally attached to the feature as-written because I imagined the ability to run two concentration spells at once as a flagship feature that would make players want to play the class. What are your thoughts?
    I think you can probably get away with removing one limit or the other, but both on a full caster seems a bit much. I used a similar ability as the signature for my Steelsworn class
    Steelbound Casting: Beginning at 2nd level, when touching your Spellbound Item and casting a spell with a non-instant duration that targets only yourself, you may choose to link your weapon to the spell. The spell’s duration is doubled, and you do not have to concentrate on it. However, if your Spellbound Item ever moves more than 5ft away from you, the spell immediately ends as though you had lost concentration, even if it does not normally require it. You may only have one Steelbound spell at a time.
    But it was a half-caster, and I kept a condition for losing the spell.

    I'd say [spell level] SP and you can concentrate on a second spell at the same time, maybe?

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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A sorcerer archetype

    OK, you've reassured me about Eldritch Blades. And come to think of it, I think there are only maybe 4 damaging spells on the list that didn't qualify before, so ok, all spells get the damage bonus. I have to keep reminding myself that simple is better than clever.

    I've adjusted Eternal Spell Stance to require spell level in sorcery points. It now only permits you to maintain concentration through damage. I worry that I have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.
    Subclasses for 5E: magus of blades, shadowcraft assassin, spellthief, void disciple
    Guides for 5E: Practical fiend-binding

    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Most popular: monk and fighter.


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    Default Re: Magus of Blades: A sorcerer archetype

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    I've adjusted Eternal Spell Stance to require spell level in sorcery points. It now only permits you to maintain concentration through damage. I worry that I have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.
    I don't think so. From low levels (Zephyr Strike + Booming Blade, Shadow Blade) to mid (friggin' Haste, Stoneskin) to high (Animate Objects, Tenser's, Foresight), you have some amazing concentration spells on your list, and you're removing the biggest a front-line gish has with spells like those. And scaling costs are usually better than flat ones-- it shouldn't take the same amount of resources to concentrate on Zephyr Strike as it should on Foresight.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

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