Battlemage, Variant (5e Class)
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- 1 Introduction
- 1.1 Scholars and Fighters
- 1.2 Sword First, Magic Second
- 1.3 Creating a Battlemage
- 1.4 Class Features
- 2 Study of the Defender
- 3 Study of the Elements
- 4 Study of the Vanguard
- 5 Battlemage Spell List
A half orc warrior clad in scaly armor cornered by gnolls looks around and assesses his situation. A smirk crawls across his face as his sword bursts into flames. The half orc easily cuts two of his quarry with a fiery wrath.
A human female in half plate raises her hand and wraps her friend in a dull blue barrier, deflecting the brunt of a dragonborn tyrant’s fire breath. Confused, the tyrant rears back for an attack as the same human female lashes out at him, her axe glowing with forceful energy.
An elven male in leather armor strikes forth at the opposing warrior clad in a thick set of plate armor, both of their weapons glowing with energy as the two opponents swing at one another; The elf’s greatsword glowing bright with arcane energy as the armored warrior’s sword radiates with divine energy. Their blades clash and clatter to the sound of a roaring crowd.
These warriors have one thing in common: Combination of magical & martial prowess. Battlemages are defined by their capability to enhance their combat performance through magical means. Not to be confused with Eldritch Knights, Battlemages take their magic a step further and use their willpower and mastery of the arcane to bend it to their desire. While Wizards and other casters carefully craft their spells & evoke a specific desired effect, Battlemages take more of a “Brute Force” method to evoking magic by evoking the energy straight from the weave of magic itself. Some battlemages find an interest in the elements around them, or find divine magic to be their area of expertise. While they do hold the ability to cast distinct spells, their favored method of magic is to channel it directly.
Scholars and Fighters
Battlemages adopt a particular aspect of their combat they want to empower with magic. Instead of working tirelessly on their weapon handling or becoming fiercer in battle, battlemages forge their mind into something to be feared or admired on the battlefield. Their study of the arcane goes beyond casting spells & instead focuses on drawing energy directly from the very ether around them & using it for their own purposes. Their ability to cast spells comes from careful practice & memorizing incantations similarly to a wizard, but in practice is more akin to a fighter memorizing different maneuvers to use in battle. Magic to a battlemage is what primal ferocity is to a barbarian; something that enhances their already practiced martial prowess & turns it into something spectacular for allies to admire and foes to fear.
Sword First, Magic Second
Battlemages are a special blend of warriors and mages. They learn enough spells to be quite useful in combat; from the lifesaving false life to the occasional sleep spell. These warriors aren’t limited to evocation and abjuration magic in the same way that Eldritch Knights are; However, their breadth of spell knowledge is around the same. They use their knowledge of magic as a way of augmenting their martial capabilities, making them useful assets or dangerous enemies on the battlefield
- Why this instead of Eldritch Knight? Why this instead of a Paladin?
This class has a *heavy* focus on Arcane magic. In the same way that a Paladin has a heavy focus on divine magic & support spellcasting, this class has a focus in utility casting & arcane magic. All class features beyond Extra Attack and Fighting Style are magic-based features. Eldritch Knights, at their core, are still fighters. They fight & that is what they do. Eldritch Knights have magic as an *accent* to what they do, and it's not so much a key aspect of their abilities. While Battlemages are good at fighting, they *require* magic in order to perform at a comparable level to other martial classes. Magic is to a Battlemage what rage is to a Barbarian. It's a tool that bolsters, enhances, and defines the character. A good example of this differentiation is in the 11th level features for both Eldritch Knight & Battlemage. Eldritch Knight gets their second Extra Attack, while Battlemages get their Spellsword feature, (see below).
Creating a Battlemage
|A typical battlemage. Warrior by Ruben Perez Gonzalez.
Permission to use image granted on 3/13/2020
As you create a Battlemage, there are two main things you must take into consideration: Where did you learn your martial training and what compelled you to undertake rigorous study in the arcane arts instead of solely focusing on your weapon training? Did you confront an enemy that was resistant or immune to your weapon's blows in the past? Does the destructive power of a roaring inferno or the concussive blast of a lightning bolt inspire you to emulate its power and utilize it in combat? Whatever your reason is, it must be one of deep importance to you.
Perhaps your acquisition of magic was one out of necessity, or a curse imparted upon you by a sick, twisted mage that sought to turn you into their ultimate weapon. However you study magic, it must be a compelling reason to undergo such rigorous study of the arcane. Or, you could flavor it as your character being some otherworldly being whose thoughts are directly tied with the weave.
Be sure to read ahead to the Area of Study to determine what kind of battlemage you want to be. Do you wish to protect yourself and your allies? Or do you want to deal with incredible amounts of damage to incoming foes? Also, be sure to consider for what purpose do you use your magic? Are you a noble knight that learned to use magic as a means to augment your ability to protect those close to you? Or do you lust for power and use magic as a means of achieving power?
- Quick Build
As a Battlemage you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Athletics, History, Insight, and Investigation
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) A martial weapon and a shield or (b) Two martial weapons
- (a) Arcane Focus or (b) Component Pouch
- (a) Scholar's pack or (b) Explorer's pack
- (a) Scale mail or (b) Chain Shirt or (c) Leather Armor
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4 x 10 gp in funds.
|Features||Arcane Surges||Spells Known||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|2nd||+2||Fighting Style, Spellcasting||2||2||2||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||Area of Study||2||3||3||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||2||4||3||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Area of Study Aspect||3||6||4||2||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||3||8||4||3||—||—||—|
|10th||+4||Area of Study Aspect||4||10||4||3||2||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||4||11||4||3||3||—||—|
|14th||+5||Area of Study Aspect||5||12||4||3||3||1||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||5||13||4||3||3||2||—|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||6||15||4||3||3||3||2|
In combat, you can channel arcane energy through your weapons & armor as you fight, causing your martial abilities to be enhanced with raw arcane magic. You can activate arcane surge as a bonus action on your turn. While arcane surge is active, you gain the benefits listed below.
- You can use your Intelligence Modifier to determine your armor class in place of your Dexterity modifier. The limit you can add this bonus still applies to medium armor.
- You can add half of your Intelligence Modifier (rounded up) as a bonus to attack and damage rolls made with melee weapon attacks.
- Your melee weapon attacks are considered magical.
- You can sense magical presences within 30 feet of you, but cannot discern what the school of magic is. Magical presences appear as a fuzzy aura that radiate off of magical objects that form the shape of the object in your vision. You can see these presences through either 1 foot of wood or dirt, 1 inch of stone, or a thin sheet of common metal, such as through a set of plate armor.
Arcane surge lasts for 1 minute, and ends early if you are knocked unconscious, targeted by the dispel magic spell at any time for the duration, or enter an area of similar magic cancellation. As you gain more levels in the battlemage class, your arcane surge grows stronger & grants you more powerful features. You have 2 uses of this feature between a long rest, and gain an additional use at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level.
Through your innate curiosity, you have been able to glean the essence of magic. Starting at 2nd level, you can cast and learn spells from the battlemage spell list.
- Spell Slots
The battlemage 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.
- Spells Known of 1st level and Higher
You know two 1st level spells of your choice from the battlemage spell list. The spells known column of the battlemage table shows when you learn more battlemage spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Additionally, when you gain a level for this class, you can choose one of the battlemage spells you know and replace it with another spell from the battlemage spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
- Spellcasting Ability
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your battlemage spells, since they were learned through reading and studying their essence. Additionally, you use your Intelligence modifier when determining your saving throw DC for a battlemage 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
- Spellcasting Focus
You can use an arcane focus (see chapter 5 in PHB "Equipment") as your spellcasting focus for casting battlemage spells.
At 2nd level, 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.
- Arcane Warrior
You learn two cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. They count as battlemage spells for you, and Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for them. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another cantrip from the wizard spell list.
While you are wearing Armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting
When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
- Two-Weapon Fighting
When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
Area of Study
At 3rd level, you choose an Area of Study with regards to your battlemage magic. Your choice of Area of Study determines what kind of spells you learn, and in what ways your magic manifests about you.
Your choices range from the Study of the Defender, the Study of Elements, and the Study of the Vanguard. Each area of study provides you with different methods of channeling magic.
Your Area of Study grants you features at 3rd level, and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.
Ability Score Increase
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 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 above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
At 7th level, your ability to concentrate on spells in combat is bolstered by repeated practice of concentration in dire situations. If you take an instance of damage less than or equal to your Constitution score while concentrating on a battlemage spell, you do not need to make a concentration check to maintain your spell.
Starting at 18th level, once per turn, when you fail a concentration check to maintain concentration on a battlemage spell while your Arcane Surge is active, you can choose to reroll the saving throw but must choose the new roll instead.
Starting at 11th level, the magical energy that you draw from begins to directly empower your fighting & empowers your strikes in battle. On each of your turns, if your Arcane Surge is active, the first melee weapon attack or melee spell attack roll on each of your turns has advantage. Additionally, if that attack hits, the attack deals an additional 1d8 force damage.
At 15th level, you obtain mastery over your arcane surge. You regain 1 expended use of Arcane Surge whenever you complete a short rest.
Additionally, upon activating your Arcane Surge, choose one of the following effects to happen as you do so:
- Each creature within 10 feet of you must make a Dexterity saving throw equal to your spell save DC or take 3d6 force damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful save.
- You make a melee weapon attack against a creature that you can see within range.
- You can teleport up to 30 feet to a point that you can see.
At 20th level, you attain the pinnacle of immersing yourself with the weave. While you are conscious, your Arcane Surge feature is always active. Additionally, once per minute, while your Arcane Surge is active, you can invoke one of your Surge Master features as a bonus action without expending one of your uses of Arcane Surge. If you are dropped to 0 hit points, the Arcane Surge ends, and you must reactivate it with one of your uses of Arcane Surge.
Study of the Defender
A student of the Defender is a warrior that loves to get into the very front of the battle. Their magic is closely related to the Abjuration school of magic, deflecting blows from themselves & protecting their allies. The study of the defender is perfect for those looking to enter the middle of the fight, stay there, and outlast any foe that crosses your path.
Starting at 3rd level upon taking the Study of the Defender, you gain proficiency in heavy armor.
Starting at 3rd level, when you take on the Study of the Defender, you gain the ability to protect your team from harm using your magic. You can extend the reach of your protective spells to allies within 10 feet of you. As a result, you can take the following reactions:
- Whenever you see a creature within 10 feet of you get hit with an attack roll, as a reaction, you can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher to cast shield on that creature.
- Starting at 6th level, whenever you see a creature within 10 feet of you take bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as a reaction, you can expend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher to cast absorb kinetics on that creature.
- Starting at 10th level, whenever you see a creature within 10 feet of you take any damage, as a reaction, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher to cast absorb energy on that creature.
The protective features of these spells last until the start of your next turn, and the damaging effect of absorb kinetics and absorb energy apply to your next melee weapon attack, not the targeted creature's.
The range of this feature increases to 15 feet at 6th level, 20 feet at 10th level, and to 30 feet at 14th level.
At 3rd level, you obtain the means to protect yourself when entering the fray of any battle. You learn additional spells when you reach certain levels in this class, as shown in the Study of the Defender spells table. These spells count as battlemage spells for you, but don't count against the number of battlemage spells you know.
- Study of the Defender Spells
|5th||absorb kinetics, warding bond|
|9th||absorb energy, counterspell|
|17th||wall of force, warrior's armor|
Starting at 6th level, you form an arcane shield around yourself as you activate your arcane surge, preparing yourself for the coming battle. Whenever Arcane Surge is active, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class and a bonus to all saving throws equal to half of your Intelligence modifier (rounded up).
Beginning at 10th level, your keen adherence to protecting your team is deeply seeded into your very nature. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed & frightened. Additionally, each time that you attack an ally against your will, you can make an additional saving throw against the effect causing you to attack your allies.
Starting at 14th level, you become the ultimate defender of your team and yourself. Once you activate Arcane Surge, a magical barrier starts to manifest around yourself, granting you and those around you protection. While your Arcane Surge Is active, your allies gain the following benefits while within 10 feet of you:
- They gain half cover.
- At the start of each of your turns you and your allies gain temporary hit points equal to your Intelligence modifier.
- Whenever you use your protection feature on your allies, the defensive aspects of the spell apply to yourself as well.
Study of the Elements
Battlemages that take the Study of the Elements are individuals that are drawn to a particular aspect of nature. The destructive power of a roaring inferno, the staggering shock of a lightning bolt, the deafening crack of thunder. Some aspect of nature has drawn these individuals to study it & to be able to channel its essence through their own blades & armor, as opposed to pure magical energy.
Choose one of the following damage types: Cold, Fire, or Lightning. You have resistance to your Elemental Affinity's damage type whenever your Arcane Surge is active. At 10th level, you can change your Elemental Affinity after completing a long rest.
You learn the ways of the elements, granting yourself knowledge in magic regarding the primordial forces of the universe. You learn additional spells when you reach certain levels in this class, as shown in the Study of the Elements spells table. These spells count as battlemage spells for you, but don't count against the number of battlemage spells you know.
Additionally, when you cast a spell that deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage; the damage type of the spell is changed to your Elemental Affinity.
- Study of the Elements Spells
|3rd||absorb elements, searing smite|
|5th||flaming sphere, shatter|
|9th||protection from energy, thunder step|
|13th||elemental bane, fire shield|
|17th||cone of cold, conjure elemental|
Weapon of the Elements
Starting at 3rd level, you can channel the very essence of primordial energy through your weapon. When you activate your Arcane Surge, your weapon emits strong elemental energies that resemble your elemental affinity. Each of your melee weapon attacks deal an additional 1d4 of your elemental affinity's damage type while your Arcane Surge is active.
Starting at 6th level, whenever you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die that for your Elemental Affinity's damage type, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or 2.
Additionally, whenever you cast a battlemage spell or use a battlemage feature that would deal force damage, you can change the damage type to your elemental affinity.
By 10th level, your exposure to the elemental forces has granted you the ability to communicate with these primal energies. You learn Primordial & can speak & read the four dialects: Auran, Terran, Ignan, and Aquan.
Starting at 14th level, your elemental presence emanates from you stronger than ever. While your Arcane Surge is active, your bodice emanates strong elemental energies as your arcane surge evokes the primordial fabric of the elements. You gain the following benefits:
- If a hostile creature starts its turn within 10 feet of you while your Arcane Surge feature is active it takes 2d6 of your elemental affinity's damage type.
- Creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you that are resistant to your elemental affinity's damage type are no longer resistant.
- If you take your elemental affinity's damage type from another creature, you can use your reaction to become immune to that instance of elemental affinity damage. Once you use this feature, you must complete a short or long rest to use it again.
Study of the Vanguard
Someone who has undertaken the study of the Vanguard focuses on perfecting the balance of wielding a blade with magical prowess. Students of the Vanguard learn how to channel magic more effectively through any weapon, making these battlemages among the most devastating on any battlefield. They can perform feats such as blasting entire hordes away with one fell swoop of their blade, or force enemies out of the equation by momentarily banishing them. They can even learn the weaknesses of their enemies & figure out how to exploit them.
Starting at 3rd level, you can send surges of incredibly powerful energy into your targets, creating a wide variety of effects to happen. You learn two Arcane Strike options of your choice from the Arcane Strikes Options list below. You cannot learn an Arcane Strike option that requires a spell slot level higher than your highest level spell slot. Once per turn, when you hit a creature with a magical melee weapon attack as part of the Attack action, you can apply one of your Arcane Strike options to that attack by expending a spell slot of 1st level or higher. The targeted creature takes 2d6 force damage in addition to the attack's damage, and apply one of the effects listed in the Arcane Strike Options table. The Arcane Strike deals an additional 1d6 force damage for each spell slot level used after 1st level. You learn an additional Arcane Strike option at 6th, 10th, and 14th level. Additionally, whenever you gain a level in this class, you can swap out one of your Arcane Strike options for another arcane strike option.
Arcane Strike Options
Bursting Strike (2nd level spell slot minimum) Each creature within 10 feet of the targeted creature excluding yourself must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, they take 2d6 force damage plus an additional 1d6 for each level of the spell slot used after 2nd, or half as much on a successful save.
Banishing Strike (4th level spell slot minimum): When you use this feature, you can attempt to banish the creature. The targeted creature must make a Charisma saving throw or be banished. While banished in this way, the creature's movement speed is set to 0, and is incapacitated. At the end of each of its turns, the target makes a Charisma saving throw. On a successful save or after 1 minute, it returns to the space it vacated or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied.
Blinding Strike (3rd level spell slot minimum): The targeted creature must make a Constitution saving throw or become blinded. At the end of each of its turns, the creature can make a Constitution saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success or after 1 minute.
Blinking Strike (3rd level spell slot minimum): When you use this feature, you can teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see.
Concussive Strike (2nd level spell slot minimum): The targeted creature must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is stunned & deafened until the start of your next turn.
Informative Strike: You can determine a number of the targeted creature's statistics equal to 2 + twice the level of the spell slot used. These statistics include maximum hit points, current hit points, spellcasting level, armor class, damage resistances, damage immunities, damage vulnerabilities, condition immunities, or bonuses to saving throw types. Learning that a creature has no damage resistances, immunities, or vulnerabilities count as two pieces of information. Learning a creature's Max HP, armor class, or spellcasting level also count as two pieces of information.
Intimidating Strike (2nd level spell slot minimum: The targeted creature is frightened of you. The targeted creature can then make a Wisdom saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a successful save or after 1 minute. This feature does not work if the creature is immune to being frightened, or if the targeted creature has already been frightened by you within the last 24 hours.
Knockback Strike: The targeted creature is pushed back up to 10 feet away from you. This distance increases by 5 feet for each spell slot level used after 1st. If the targeted creature is larger than you, you are instead pushed away from it without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Reaching Strike (2nd level spell slot minimum): Every creature behind the targeted creature in a 30 foot line must make a Dexterity saving throw as a spectral image of your weapon cleaves through targets. On a failed save, they take 2d6 force damage plus an additional d6 for each level of the spell slot used after 2nd, or half as much on a successful save.
Slowing Strike: When you use this feature, the targeted creature must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature's movement speed is halved. At the end of each of the creature's turns, they may make a Strength saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a successful save or after 1 minute.
Thirsting Strike (4th level spell slot minimum): When you use this feature, the force damage dealt by Arcane Strike instead becomes necrotic damage, and you gain temporary hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt by the Arcane Strike.
By 3rd level, you have obtained several magical capabilities that make you a more effective front-line combatant. You learn additional spells when you reach certain levels in this class, as shown in the Study of Vanguard spells table. These spells count as battlemage spells for you, but don't count against the number of battlemage spells you know.
- Study of the Vanguard Spells
|3rd||guided strike, shield|
|5th||absorb kinetics, misty step|
|9th||haste, warrior's weapon|
|13th||dimension door, warrior's vigor|
|17th||slice, steel wind strike|
Starting at 6th level, whenever you use your Arcane Strike feature while your Arcane Surge is active, the targeted creature takes an additional 1d6 force damage.
Beginning at 10th level, you're particularly adept with one of your arcane strike options. Choose one of the Arcane Strike options that you know. This becomes your Favorite Strike. Once per long rest, you can use your favorite strike without expending a spell slot if it would consume a spell slot of 3rd level or lower.
Starting at 14th level, your control of pure magical energy becomes quick & can be used in the blink of an eye. While Arcane Surge is active, you can use your Arcane Strike features on attacks of opportunity.
Battlemage Spell List
You learn spells from the below spell list as you gain levels in the Battlemage class.
- 1st Level
- Absorb Elements
- Charm Person
- Color Spray
- Detect Magic
- Expeditious Retreat
- False Life
- Fog Cloud
- Forceful Strike
- Guided Strike
- Mage Armor
- Returning Weapon
- Searing Smite
- Thunderous Smite
- Unseen Servant
- Wrathful Smite
- 2nd Level
- Absorb Kinetics
- Branding Smite
- Hold Person
- Magic Weapon
- Misty Step
- Phantasmal Force
- See Invisibility
- Shadow Blade
- Spider Climb
- Whirlwind Strike
- 3rd Level
- Absorb Energy
- Bestow Curse
- Blinding Smite
- Dashing Strike
- Dispel Magic
- Dominating Smash
- Elemental Weapon
- Fire Swing
- Greater Returning Weapon
- Hypnotic Pattern
- Magic Shield
- Major Image
- Protection from Energy
- Remove Curse
- Thunder Step
- Vampiric Touch
- Warrior's Weapon
- 4th Level
- Arcane Eye
- Dimension Door
- Fire Shield
- Freedom of Movement
- Greater Invisibility
- Reflect Spell
- Staggering Smite
- Warrior's Vigor
- 5th Level
- Banishing Smite
- Conjure Elemental
- Dominate Person
- Far Step
- Hold Monster
- Steel Wind Strike
- Wall of Force
- Warrior's Armor
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the battlemage class, you must have at least 13 Strength and Intelligence.
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the battlemage class, you gain the following proficiencies: Arcana, Athletics, Light & Medium armor, shields, Simple & martial weapons.