Battle Mage (True) (3.5e Class)
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True Battle Mage
“Being a Battle Mage is more than simply picking up a blade and swinging after you run out of magic; any desperate mage can do that! What we do is an art!” ~Stendarr the Alacritous~
The Battle Mage is the sublime combination of the best aspects of a fighter, a mage, and a sorcerer. Although it sacrifices aspects of its parent classes, its abilities and flexibility are appealing and can be a welcomed addition to any party. Furthermore, its ability to stand its own ground can prove invaluable when frontline characters are in short supply.
Making a True Battle Mage
With a d8 hit die, medium base attack bonus, and moderate arcane magic, this class may not seem like much, but can prove impressive in the right hands. The Battle Mage’s true strength is the versatility offered by being able to wade into melee or cast spells as the course of the battle dictates. While its casting ability is not comparable to a pure mage and it lacks the accuracy or staying power of a fighter, it has enough ability to enter melee if needed.
Battle Mages pursue quests and undergo crucibles for the same reasons most other adventurers do so. However, it is the ability of being able to spontaneously call up an unprepared spell that has often proved the undoing of any underestimating the prowess of such a marriage of blade and spell. Battle Mages also seek knowledge and power, similar to wizards and it is not unheard of for a group of mages to bring along a Battle Mage to make the acquisition of dungeon loot simpler and less dangerous.
The ability of forethought can pay off when playing a battle mage. Simply because one can call up a much-needed spell in the heat of combat should not mean one does not plan ahead. The true strength of the battle mage is the ability to jump in and out of the fray as needed, provide support for a fellow fighter or help a rogue flank. Furthermore, the role of the battle mage also varies wildly with the selection of feats and schools of magic. A battle mage who focuses on illusions and enchantments can fall back on their melee skills should diplomacy or trickery fail. Similarly, a mage who focuses on abjuration and evocation can be quite a formidable foe to mages and melee fighters alike. Over time, the battle mage can use their bonus feats to craft powerful magic items or to further augment their role as a secondary caster by modifying their spells with metamagic feats.
Intelligence is needed for spellcasting, and is, therefore, is most important requisite for a battle mage. Strength is important for its role in melee combat and encumbrance. Constitution is important for hit points, which Battle Mages are lacking in. Dexterity is useful for ranged attacks, ranged spells, and armor.
Humans, always involved in conflicts, take easily to the path of a Battle Mage. Half-elves often find a strong desire to couple their human interests of war with their elven concepts of magic. Sword play and magic come naturally to elves, which can sometimes follow the path of the Battle Mage. Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes seldom follow this path as their societies seldom encourage war (or in the case of dwarves, magic).
Any Lawful. The path of the Battle Mage requires tireless dedication to perfection of melee combat and mastery over their spells. Only individuals of a serious conduct can endure the rigors required.
Starting Gold: 5d6 x 10 gp (170 gp)
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Bonus Feat (Metamagic), Armored Mage (Light), Immediate Magic 1/day, School Specialization||4||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Bonus Feat, Summon Familiar||4||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Linked Spells, Immediate Magic 2/day||4||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||+4||+1||+4||Armored Mage (Medium Armor)||4||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+3||+5||+2||+5||Immediate Magic 3/day||4||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||+6||+2||+6||Bonus Feat (Metamagic)||4||4||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|7th||+4||+7||+3||+7||Bonus Feat, Immediate Magic 4/day||4||4||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|9th||+5||+8||+4||+8||Immediate Magic 5/day||4||4||4||3||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+5||+9||+5||+9||Additional School of Magic, Immediate Magic 6/day||4||4||4||4||3||1||—||—||—||—|
|11th||+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Bonus Feat (Metamagic)||4||5||4||4||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|12th||+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Bonus Feat, Immediate Magic 7/day||4||5||4||4||4||3||1||—||—||—|
|14th||+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Immediate Magic 8/day||4||5||5||4||4||4||3||1||—||—|
|16th||+9/+4||+11||+5||+11||Immediate Magic 9/day||4||5||5||5||4||4||4||3||1||—|
|17th||+10/+5||+12||+5||+12||Bonus Feat (Metamagic)||4||6||6||6||5||5||5||4||2||—|
|18th||+11/+6/+1||+12||+6||+12||Bonus Feat, Immediate Magic 10/day||4||6||6||6||5||5||5||4||4||4|
|20th||+12/+7/+3||+12||+6||+12||Additional School of Magic||4||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||6|
Class Skills 2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Battle Mage.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
Battle Mages are proficient with all simple weapons, martial reach weapons, Longsword and Scythe. Battle Mages are proficient with light armor and medium armor, but not with shields. A Battle Mage can cast spells derived from his class levels in Battle Mage while in armor without the normal arcane spell failure chance.
A Battle Mage may pick any metamagic or item creation feat as noted in the level progression table.
A Battle Mage receives a bonus feat at 2nd, 7th, 12th and 18th level which must be one of the listed feats below.
Eschew Materials, Weapon Focus, Dodge, Combat Casting, Battle Casting, Big Familiar, Arcane Power, Bloodletting
Battle Mages are limited to 5 schools or magic at their start and gain similar benifits as found on Wizard page. He can only cast spells exclusively from these schools of magic. The Battle Mage gains a new school of magic at 10th and 20th level. Battle Mages may still cast spells from Universal.
Immediate Magic (Ex):
This is the signature ability of a Battle Mage. The Battle Mage may choose to spontaneously cast any spell he has in his spellbook, even if it is a spell he does not have memorized. He must have the material components necessary, must be able to cast the spell in question, and otherwise follows the regular rules for spellcasting. Casting a spell in this fashion is a full round action.
Summon Familiar (Ex):
A Battle Mage can obtain a familiar. Doing so takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100gp. A familiar is a magical beast that resembles a small animal and is unusually tough and intelligent. The creature serves as a companion and servant. For a thorough reading, please consult the Player’s Handbook on page 54. For the types of familiars, the boons they confer upon their masters, and their progression table, please refer to page 52 in the Player’s Handbook.
Linked Spells (Ex):
This ability is one of the hallmarks of the Battle Mage class, allowing them to release a rapid-fire stream of spells. A Battle Mage of 3rd level or higher is able to intertwine the casting of his spells in such a way that the verbal and somatic components of one spell become part of the same components of the second and subsequent spells. As long as the Battle Mage has spells prepared, he can continue unleashing spells at an accelerated rate. There is a risk of being interrupted, which spoils the series, and means that the battle Mage is out 2 or more rounds of work.
When he begins casting a series of linked spells, the Battle Mage must declare which spells will be used in its construction. For every two spells in the chain, the Battle Mage may unleash a third spell in the chain as a free action. Thus, if a Battle Mage places six spells into a linked spell series, it will require only four rounds to cast all six spells. Once again, any interruption cancels the series.
A series of linked spells requires precision in its execution and must start with a 1st-level spell. The second spell can be of 2nd or 1st level, at the caster's discretion. Every spell level after the second, however, can be of no level higher than the sum of the levels of all spells that precede it in the series. While a linked spell series must start small, it can quickly build in power to encompass high-level spells.
All spells used in the creation of a linked spell series must have a casting time of a standard action or less. Spells with a longer casting time are simply too involved to work into a series, but see Braided Spells below for a way to incorporate such spells into a combined casting.
A Battle Mage casts arcane spells which are drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. He can cast any spells he memorizes, the way a wizard or a Cleric can, but may use the Immediate Magic ability (see class abilities) to cast spells above this normal limit. The Battle Mage utilizes a spellbook (much like a wizard), from where he records spells and prepares spells. He can record any spell he finds in his spellbook, assuming it is not from a prohibited school and that his spellbook has sufficient pages. He is dependent on his spellbook (much like a wizard) to learn spells. If his spellbook is lost or destroyed, he must replace it, similar to a wizard. Every level he increases, he can select one free spell to add to his spellbook. This represents the personal research the Battle Mage has conducted. The spell must be one from a school that he is not prohibited to access.
Playing a True Battle Mage
Favoured weapon: Battle Book
The highly-focused discipline of the Battle Mage requires a near permanent dedication to study; both martial and magical. So while most Battle Mages are not atheists, they do not pay homage to many deities. However, some do revere Boccob, father of all magic. Others, however, may gravitate to the teachings of Wee Jas.
Battle Mages love working in groups. Being sharp enough to realize their limitations, they often team up with other mages or warriors where they can float back and forth as needed. They are not overly fond of rogues, but recognize their potential usefulness in civilized settings as well as scouts and combat compatriots. They love the zeal of paladins and respect the determination of monks as well. They also tend to fall into a good relationship with their healers (even if only for a pragmatic reason).
As a True Battle Mage levels up, it should consider picking up feats to augment the areas it utilizes the most. For example, maybe a player might want to pick up the Improved Toughness feat to keep the Battle Mage alive longer. Perhaps the player needs to break through spell resistance and picks up the Spell Penetration feat. Multi-classing is not a good idea with the True Battle Mage because all its abilities are tied to level increases and the longer one postpones the acquisition of higher levels in True Battle Mage, the more likely they are to fall behind their comrades.
Most True Battle Mages wake up and immediately begin to polish their armor, sharpen their weapon, and prepare their spells. NPC Battle Mages may wake up early in the morning to arrive at formation (if associated with a military unit or a mercenary company) in order to workout with the troops. Alternatively, the Battle Mage may awaken in the morning and begin their regimen of physically intense workouts followed by a leisurely read in a private area.
Most Wizard's Halls, Academies, and Universities employ or retain a small amount of Duskblades and Battle Mages to act as sentries and security officials. While the mages may very well be able to deal with intruders, they surely don't wish to be disturbed. Furthermore, since Battle Mages stand to gain a lot from research and close proximity to other mages (due to their dependence on spellbooks), they usually join large organizations that Duskblades and Sorcerers might not; organizations whose sole mission is the retrieval of artifacts and discovery of new magical works.