The apprentice who fled the night his master was killed. The farmer’s daughter who found an old spellbook in the attic. The dungeoneer who was more interested in swordplay, but liked having a few cantrips on hand “just in case”. Some souls are born with a natural aptitude for magic, but never find the opportunity or inclination to receive further training.
These individuals grew up with a natural talent for spellcasting, but couldn’t grasp the basics until adulthood. Forced to make do with any available jobs in the meantime, most of these figures took up some kind of mercenary work – granting them the title of spellsword.
Bounty hunting, soldiering, and adventuring is the only life most spellswords have ever known. Yet as the years progress, the subtle pull of magic convinces them to hone their craft in unique ways.
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The spellsword is a player class for Fifth Edition fantasy roleplaying games. It is intended for characters seeking a path between burly fighters and mysterious wizards, yet can still stand among adventuring parties in their own right.
As a spellsword, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d8 per spellsword level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per spellsword level after 1st
Armor: Light armor, medium armor
Weapons: Simple weapons and martial weapons
Saving Throws: Strength, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Arcana, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment gained by your background:
-(a) chain shirt or (b) leather armor, longbow, and 20 arrows
-(a) a martial melee weapon or (b) two simple melee weapons
-(a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
-(a) a spellbook with three first-level wizard spells and a component pouch or (b) five first-level spell scrolls
You adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
Archery: You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
Defense: While you are wearing armor you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
As a dabbler of arcane magic, you have access to spells which complement your physical prowess. Spellswords can use spells from the sorcerer and wizard spell lists.
At 1st level, you know one cantrip of your choice from the spellsword spell list. You learn additional spellsword cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Spellsword table.
At 1st level, you may choose to have a spellbook with three 1st-level spells of your choice. Your spellbook is the repository of the spellsword spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.
Some spellswords do not begin play with a spellbook, preferring to use consumable magic items such as spell scrolls. If you start with this approach, you will need to obtain your own spellbook if you wish to generate a list of prepared spells.
PREPARING AND CASTING SPELLS
The spellsword table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
You prepare the list of spellsword spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of spellsword spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your spellsword level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of spellsword spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your spellsword spells. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spellswords cannot cast spells as rituals. The spell must either be prepared and cast normally or left to more capable magic experts such as wizards.
Spellswords have not generally mastered the ability of using a spellcasting focus to harness their abilities. For this reason, each spell requiring material components can only be cast with a component pouch and/or individually obtained components.
LEARNING SPELLS OF 1ST LEVEL AND HIGHER
Spellswords do not learn additional spells for free as they level up. If a spellsword owns a spellbook, they must add spells to it manually using the “Copying a Spell into the Book” rules. This can be done using spells found while exploring dungeons, visiting a wizard’s college, or browsing a spellcaster’s private collection.
COPYING A SPELL INTO THE BOOK
When you find a spellsword or wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.
Copying that spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the spellsword or wizard who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation.
For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent the time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.
REPLACING THE BOOK
You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book – for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you already understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell. You need spend only 1 hour and 10 gp for each level of the copied spell.
If you lose your spellbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new spellbook. Filling out the remainder of your spellbook requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal.
Starting at 2nd level, when a spell is cast within thirty feet of you, it is possible to sense to sense its energy for the next 3 minutes. You cannot observe this magic, and must use general investigative skills to locate it before the spell dissipates. The spell penetrates most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.
At 3rd level, you choose a spellsword archetype that you emulate in the exercise of your spellsword abilities, such as the Spellcatcher or Spell knight. Your archetype grants you features at 3rd level and then again at 6th, 9th, 12th, and 15.
Starting at 5th level, you can use a free action to expend a 1st level spell slot or higher to gain a temporary physical benefit. When in combat, you can only use a free action in this way once per turn. If you activate a magical combat benefit that is still active, even if the spell slot is of a different level, it will be replaced with the new benefit instead of stacking. Choose one benefit from the following options
Arcane Smite: Your next successful non-magical attack will deal an additional 2d6 force damage. When spending a higher level spell slot, add +1d6 to the damage for every level above 1st to a maximum of 5d6.
Arcane Surge: You can do two actions on the current turn.
Mage Armor: Increase your AC by +1 for ten minutes. If you spend a higher level spell slot, add +1 for every level above 1st to a maximum of +5.
ABILITY SCORE IMPROVEMENTS
When you reach 4th level, and again at 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score over 20 using this feature.
HARD-EARNED MAGICAL KNOWLEDGE
At 11th level and again at 17th, you can either add a free spell to your spell book or create five spell scrolls using the same spell. The chosen spell must be of a level you can cast.
This is meant to reflect the spellsword’s slowly increasing knowledge and grasp of magical abilities, not a spontaneous influx of magic. The spellsword must own either a spellbook or materials for crafting their spell scrolls.
Much of the world treats spellswords as unfocused mercenaries who refuse to dedicate themselves to a single school of thought. The truth is that spellswords generally hone their abilities to pursue a specific profession or career – even if the vocation can be somewhat mercenary in nature. The archetype you choose to emulate reflects this vocation.
Few warriors can defeat a seasoned spellcaster in combat, and many wizarding guilds are loathe to turn against a former colleague. As a Spellcatcher, you are given the unenviable task of collecting bounties against beings who can scry your arrival from another plane or strike you down with a lightning bolt. As you train in the Spellcatcher’s craft, you learn specialized magics which negate or counter powerful spells, giving you the chance to get in close for a final blow.
Bonus Dispel Magic
At 3rd Level, the spellcatcher gains Dispel Magic as a 1st Level spell. This version of Dispel Magic does not need to be prepared and will not count towards the character’s prepared spells, but still uses a spell slot when cast.
The spellcatcher may cast this version of Dispel Magic using a spell slot above 1st Level if one is available. Dispel Magic grants an automatic success when used against spells of its spell slot level or lower. When using Dispel Magic against spells above its spell slot level, the character must make a successful spellcasting ability check. The DC is 10 + the spell’s level.
At 6th Level, the spellcatcher gains Counterspell as a 1st Level spell. This version of Counterspell does not need to be prepared and will not count towards the character’s prepared spells, but still uses a spell slot when cast.
The spellcatcher may cast this version of Counterspell using a spell slot above 1st Level if one is available. Counterspell grants an automatic success when used against spells of its spell slot level or lower. When using Counterspell against spells above its spell slot level, the character must make a successful spellcasting ability check. The DC is 10 + the spell’s level.
Once per day starting at 9th Level, when a spellcatcher is targeted by a spell they may absorb its magical energy into an expended spell slot, negating the effect of the spell. The cast spell must be of the same level or less of the expended spell slot.
To absorb the spell, the spellcatcher must make a successful spellcasting ability check. The DC is 10 + the level of the spell.
On a success, the spellcatcher can either refresh the expended spell slot or replace a prepared spell with the absorbed spell. If the latter, this spell vanishes automatically the next time the spellcatcher prepares their spells.
Magical Armor Negation
At 12th Level, the spellcatcher may expend a 3rd Level spell slot or higher to ignore magical bonuses to AC while making attacks. This ability ignores magical armor for 20 seconds with a 3rd Level spell slot, 40 seconds with a 4th Level spell slot, and 1 minute with a 5th Level spell slot.
Bonus Antimagic Field
At 15th Level, the spellcatcher gains a version of the Antimagic Field spell which can be cast once per day. This version of Antimagic Field only lasts for five minutes, uses no spell slots, uses no material components, and does not need to be prepared in advance. Otherwise, it is identical to the standard Antimagic Field.
It’s not unusual for spellcasters to rise to positions of authority in magical societies, but even a powerful wizard can’t defend a kingdom alone. Spell knights are the magical warriors who give their fealty to spellcasting nobles, defending and serving in exchange for new magical abilities.
Oath of Fealty
At 3rd Level, the spell knight can make an oath of fealty to a spellcaster – either PC or NPC – forging a magical bond. This connection grants the spell knight full access to the prepared spells of their “lord”, which can be cast using the spell knight’s personal spell slots.
The spell knight can only make an oath of fealty to a spellcaster of a higher level. Upon reaching the same level of the spell lord, the spell knight can only gain additional levels by severing their bond and finding a new lord.
A spell knight cannot have more than one spell lord at a time. The spellcaster cannot cast spells for which they do not have an available spell slot. If the spell lord is an NPC, the GM will decide which spells are prepared each day, but a spell knight can make requests of their lord using Charisma checks.
The bond extends across all distances and planes, and can only be broken in death or the willing choice of a spell knight or their lord. It also allows the knight to always know where their lord is within 1000 feet – and vice versa – as though casting Locate Creature.
Since the spell knight is freed from the task of researching their own spells, they have more time to dedicate to enhancing their physical skills. At 6th Level, the spell knight becomes proficient in heavy armor.
Bonus Spell Attacks or Spell Damage
At 9th Level, the spell knight chooses one of the following benefits:
-a +2 bonus to all spellcasting ability checks when attacking a target
-an additional 1d6 damage dice for all spellcasting damage upon making a successful magical attack
At 12th Level, the spell knight may replenish expended spell slots by spending spell slots held by their lord. This can be attempted once per day, and only if the spell lord is willing to transfer their spell slots.
If successful, the spell knight regains one of the following: One 5th Level spell slot, two 4th Level spell slots, three 3rd Level spell slots, or all 1st and 2nd Level spell slots.
The spell knight cannot gain additional spell slots beyond those of their current level, or spell slots of a higher level than they are capable of wielding.
Master Spell Knight
At 15th Level, the spell knight gains one 9th level spell slot. When casting spells, this slot can only be used for casting a spell from their lord’s prepared spells. The slot may be used normally for other spellsword abilities.
BREAKING YOUR OATH
A spell knight typically has a mutually beneficial relationship with a spell lord, but there are many reasons it could fall apart. Perhaps a spell knight continually refuses to follow orders, or takes part in questionable activities with a party of adventurers. Sometimes a spell knight might simply fail to protect their lord, leaving them without a master who renews their abilities. There are even cases of outright betrayal – a spell knight may turn on their lord, or the lord may sever their bond at the worst possible moment.
Severing an oath can also be an amicable arrangement for both parties. For example, when a spell knight reaches the same level as their master, it is considered good form for the lord to release the knight from their bond so they may enhance their powers under another spellcaster.
Whatever the reason, when a bond is severed, the spell knight immediately loses access to all of their lord’s prepared spells. They also lose access to all spell knight abilities and features except for the Heavy Armor Proficiency, if they achieved it. These abilities are restored if the spell knight takes on a new oath of fealty, either with their former lord or a new spellcaster.
Alternatively, the spell knight may elect to abandon their spellsword archetype and choose another, such as Spellcatcher. If this occurs, they will regain Spellsword Archetype Features from their new archetype once per level until they reach the feature count which matches their level. Once a spellsword takes a new archetype, they may not become a spell knight again.
The GM should be incredibly cautious about severing a spell knight’s oath without warning or consent. After all, most spell lords rely on their knights as much as the knight relies on them, and would not break such bonds lightly. However, if a spell knight breaks from their alignment or the bounds of their agreement with the spell lord, the GM is perfectly within their rights to sever the bond.