Battlemage (3.5e Class)

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Battlemage
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Battlemage[edit]

War. War never changes.

Since the dawn of humankind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything, from gods to justice to simple, psychotic rage. It was only a matter of time before magic was first applied to the battlefield. The first battlemages were little more than specialists in evocation. They threw fireball spells into densely packed ranks of enemy units, incinerating soldiers and playing havoc with formations. Defensive magic received a boost, then, as kings emptied their coffers in an attempt to protect themselves and their armies from the arcane assaults of enemy mages. For a time, the balance swung to and fro - first the aggressors would gain the upper hand, then the defenders would discover new ways to protect their charges and the cycle would begin all over again.

Because, war... war never changes.

The second generation of battlemages found that a tightly focused approach to magical warfare yielded superior results, and it was from their efforts that the modern battlemage exists. From the tactical genius of linked and braided castings, to the inherent damage-dealing "edge", battle magic is about pushing magic to its ultimate destructive limits, turning each arcane phrase into a death sentence and every claw-fingered gesture into a deadly magical assault. This focus allows battlemages to create spells in styles others can only gawk at in disbelief. From spirals of power that leave mangled flesh in their wake, and whipping arcs that shatter bone and armor like brittle clay, to relentless mobile emanations, and the expansive devastation of engulfing doom, battle magic is all about winning at war.

And war... war never changes.

Making a Battlemage[edit]

A battlemage is at their best when they have a clear path to their foes and someone to watch their back. When a battlemage is outnumbered in melee, they are highly vulnerable and usually try to avoid it. In addition to being a mobile artillery platform, they often have other magic at their disposal which may prove useful to other party members.

Abilities: Intelligence is first and foremost important to a battlemage, being responsible for their spellcasting, and how much extra damage they deal with their spells. Constitution is important to helping the battlemage survive to the next engagement. Dexterity is useful for the lightly armored battlemage, and also improves aim with ray spells. Depending on the style of the character, however, any ability can be of use.

Races: Any race can become a battlemage, though battle magic is largely a human invention. That said, dwarves, being very militaristic, have a decent enough battle magic tradition, as do the hobgoblins, and if rumors are to be believed, even kobolds have been known to take up this tradition as well. Savage races such as orcs, ogres, and trolls rarely have the patience (or brains) to learn tactical warfare, and as such do not field battlemages. In the off-chance that an orc or similar creature manages to learn battlemagic, in no way should he be underestimated.

Alignment: Any. Battle magic is about winning at war, plain and simple. Morality does not enter into it, but due to the militaristic training, battle mages are more often lawful than chaotic.

Starting Gold: 6d4×10 gp (150 gp).

Starting Age: Moderate.

Table: The Battlemage

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day
Fort Ref Will 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Armored Mage (Light), Battlemage Edge, Endurance 3 1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Combat Casting 4 2
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Linked Spells 4 2 1
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Advanced Training 4 3 2
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Braided Spells 4 3 2 1
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Special Ability 4 3 3 2
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Advanced Training 4 4 3 2 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Armored Mage (Medium) 4 4 3 3 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Special Ability 4 4 4 3 2 1
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Advanced Training 4 4 4 3 3 2
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Reignite Spell 1/day 4 4 4 4 3 2 1
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Special Ability 4 4 4 4 3 3 2
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Advanced Training 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Reignite Spell 2/day 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Special Ability 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Advanced Training, Armored Mage (Heavy) 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Reignite Spell 3/day 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Special Ability 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Advanced Training 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Reignite Spell 4/day 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (War) (Int), Profession (Int), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the battlemage.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Battlemages are trained in a military fashion, and are expected to contribute more to an engagement than just spells. Thus, they receive roughly the same amount of weapon proficiency as a cleric. If group proficiencies are used, a battlemage receives Basic weapons, plus three more groups. Battlemages have proficiency in light armor and light shields, but must keep one hand free if they wish to cast anything. They receive no spell failure chance as long as they stick to light armor and light shields.

Spells: A battlemage keeps a spellbook and prepares spells in the same fashion as a wizard. Their spells are selected from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, as well as the battlemage spell list. They gain bonus spells per day and calculate save DCs based on their Intelligence bonus. What makes a battlemage's spellcasting radically different is focus. A battlemage knows the school of Evocation as universal battle magic, and selects two other schools to supplement it. All other schools are barred, from learning, or casting from scrolls, wands & staves. Unlike a wizard, a battlemage can select Divination as one of their 5 barred schools. Those who select it, however, often find they have a much easier time acquiring new spells, due to having access to read magic. Also, it is of special note that spells marked "Universal" are also open to be learned by the battlemage, since they belong to no particular school. When a new battlemage level is gained, a battlemage adds only one new spell to their spellbook for free, not two.

Armored Mage (Ex): At 1st level, a battlemage may use light armor and light shields without incurring spell failure. This only applies to spells gained from battlemage levels and no other class. At 8th level, this feature now includes medium armor and heavy shields. At 16th, they may use heavy armor and tower shields. A battlemage must still keep at least one hand free to cast spells.

Battlemage Edge (Ex): A battlemage is specialized in dealing damage with his spells. Whenever a battlemage casts a spell that deals hit point damage, he adds his Intelligence bonus (if any) to the damage dealt. For instance, if a 1st-level battlemage with 17 Intelligence casts magic missile, he deals 1d4+1 points of damage normally, plus an extra 3 points of damage due to his Intelligence bonus. The bonus from the battlemage edge special ability only applies to spells he casts as a battlemage, not those he might have by virtue of levels in another class. A single spell can never gain this extra damage more than once per casting. For instance, a fireball deals the extra damage to all creatures in the area it affects. However, if a 3rd-level battlemage casts magic missile and produces two missiles, only one of them (of the battlemage's choice) gains the extra damage, even if both missiles are directed at the same target. If a spell deals damage for more than 1 round, it deals this extra damage in each round. Scrolls scribed by a battlemage do not gain any benefit from battlemage edge. Scrolls activated by a battlemage also gain no benefit from battlemage edge. The same is true for most other magic items, such as wands and potions. However, staffs activated by the battlemage use not only the battlemage's caster level but also gain the benefits of the battlemage edge, if applicable.

Endurance: In addition to casting a lot of spells, battlemages, as part of an army, are required to march long distances, for long periods of time. Thus, they receive Endurance as a bonus feat at 1st level.

Combat Casting: War is hell. For a battlemage, close combat can be a hell all its own, with enemy soldiers trying to disrupt their casting, or kill them outright. A battlemage receives Combat Casting at 2nd level, to reflect having to all-too-often cast defensively.

Linked Spells (Ex): This ability is one of the hallmarks of the battlemage class, allowing them to release a rapid-fire stream of spells. A battlemage 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 battlemage 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 battlemage is out 2 or more rounds of work.

When he begins casting a series of linked spells, the battlemage must declare which spells will be used in its construction. For every two spells in the chain, the battlemage may unleash a third spell in the chain as a free action. Thus, if a battlemage 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.

Advanced Training (Ex): At the levels indicated on the table, a battlemage undergoes additional training, either on his own or with a master. They may select one of the following:

Economic Metamagic: A battlemagic who selects this may reduce the cost of applying a metamagic feat to a single spell by one level. For instance, Empower Spell would only be cast one level higher. However, if a metamagic feat only costs one level higher to begin with, the spell may be cast with no increase to the spell's level, provided no other metamagic feats are used on the same spell.

Advanced Learning: Battlemages often research and write their own spells, on their own time. A battlemage who selects this class feature may add any one sorcerer/wizard spell to their spellbook for free, provided the spell is of a school not prohibited by their specialty.

Eclectic Learning: Sometimes a specialty is just too narrow for some battlemages. Through research, they may add a spell of a school prohibited to them into their spellbook for use, as long as the spell is at least one level lower than the highest level of spell they have access to. So if they can cast 2nd-level spells, they may add and cast a formerly prohibited 1st-level spell.

Braided Spells (Ex): Where a linked spell series allows a battlemage to unleash a number of spells in rapid succession, the braided spell enables him to prepare a number of spells and then unleash them all at once. While devastating, this technique is also dangerous because it rapidly depletes the battlemage's spell reserves. Still, there are times when the ability to thoroughly demolish the opposition in as short a time as possible is worth the risk. The mechanics of braided spells are as follows:

  • A braided spell takes as long to cast as all the spells within it would.
  • All spells in a braid must be from the same school.
  • Battlemage Edge applies to every spell in the braid separately. If there are four damage-dealing spells in the braid, then you add the damage in four times. A battlemage with an Intelligence of 16 would add +3 Battlemage Edge four times in this instance, for a total damage bonus of +12 (not all of this will be of the same energy type, however, so that must be tracked separately).
  • Spells may have any number of metamagic feats on them at once as part of a braid, but they still take up higher-level spell slots, though this does not increase the casting time, as they have been memorized beforehand.
  • Metamagic feats are applied only to that particular spell in the braid and not to any other. This can often mean that quickened or swift/immediate-action spells become very useful, as they often take a free or swift action to braid in, thus cutting down on casting time.
  • A braid may be held from one round to the next with a Concentration check. A braid may be dismissed freely, returning the spells, uncast, back into the battlemage's working memory.
  • The DC for a hold check is (highest-level spell)+ 1 per additional spell.
  • Failure of a hold check means that the braid launches immediately. A natural 1 is considered an automatic failure which targets the caster. As always, a braid may be dismissed if there are no targets to attack, though this dismissal may not be invoked to stop the braid going off with a failed hold check, because at that point the loosed magic is considered fully cast and beyond the battlemage's ability to control or dismiss.
  • For purposes of Spellcraft, counterspelling, and dispelling checks, the DC is always 20 + highest-level spell + 1 per additional spell.
  • A braid can be countered by any spell in the braid, or their antithesis (for example, light against darkness).
  • Spells in a braid must all have the same target. The range is the closest of all spells in the braid. However, this does not mean that area effects affect only that one target, merely that all area spells in the braid are centered or aimed at that target, even if only initially. In the case of spells which are multi-targeted, only one target need be considered the "central" target, with additional targets selected as normal. In the case of multi-targeted spells which have changing targets over a number of rounds, the "initial target" rule only applies in the first round.
  • If a braid contains a ranged touch attack, the whole braid's success depends on that attack roll.
  • Each spell allowing a save in a braid must be saved for with a DC equal to that of the highest-level spell.
  • SR works as if the braid were any other spell.
  • The effects of every spell in the braid are resolved separately.

There is a danger to braiding spells, and that is, once again, vulnerability. A battlemage braiding spells is a sitting duck, just as if he were casting in linked series. If the battlemage is either unnoticed or being defended during his time, then this tactic is not a problem.

Special Ability (Ex): At the levels indicated, a battlemage may select one of the following special abilities. The class features that provide save bonuses do NOT replace the feats they resemble, but they do stack with them. Each special ability may only be selected once.

Willpower: A battlemage who selects Willpower gains a +2 bonus to all Will saves.

Inner Strength: A battlemage who selects Inner Strength gains a +2 bonus to all Fortitude saves.

Avoidance: A battlemage who selects Avoidance gains a +2 bonus to all Reflex saves.

Improved Toughness: A battlemage who selects Improved Toughness gains a bonus hit point for every character level they have, and every level afterward gains one bonus hit point. This happens regardless if the character levels are all battlemage levels or not.

Arcane Channeling: Much like a duskblade, a battlemage may use a standard action to cast any touch attack spell they have prepared and deliver it through their weapon with a melee attack. This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The spell must have a casting time of 1 standard action or less. If the attack is successful, the attack deals damage normally, then the effect of the spell is resolved.

Arcane Channeling (Full Attack): If a battlemage has selected Arcane Channeling, they may select this class feature. They may now channel a touch spell as part of a full attack, and the spell affects everyone hit in that round. If the spell has an effect that lasts longer than 1 round, the effect discharges at the end of the round. The battlemage must have selected Arcane Channeling at least nine levels prior to taking this. For instance, if they selected Arcane Channeling at 6th level, they may select this class feature at 15th level.

Evasion: A battlemage of at least 9th level may select Evasion. They now take no damage on a successful Reflex save. If they already have Evasion from a previous class, then they gain Improved Evasion. If they already have Improved Evasion from a previous class, they may not select this ability.

Improved Evasion: A battlemage of 18th level may select Improved Evasion, provided they selected Evasion at 9th level. They now take no damage on a successful Reflex save, and only half damage on a failed save. If they selected Evasion at 12th level or higher, they may not select this special ability. If they already got Improved Evasion at 9th level, they may not select this special ability.

Slippery Mind: A battlemage who selects Slippery Mind may wriggle free from effects that would otherwise control or compel them. If a battlemage with Slippery Mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails their save, they may attempt a second save in the next round to shrug off the effect at the same DC. They only get this one extra chance to succeed at the save.

Stinging Counterspell: A battlemage of 12th level may select Stinging Counterspell. Whenever the battlemage successfully counters a spell, the enemy caster takes 1d4 nonlethal damage +1 point of lethal damage, multiplied by the level of spell used to counterspell. For example, if the spell in question was 4th level, the backlash against the enemy caster is 4d4 points of nonlethal damage, +4 points of lethal damage.

Reignite Spell (Ex): This ability enables battlemages to attempt to cast a spell twice for a single expenditure of spell levels. This ability can only be used on spells with a single target, and only if the spell was not resisted or successfully saved against. If all of the above are true, the battlemage may make a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to immediately cast the same spell again as a free action, with the same target and without the need to expend additional prepared spells or material components. This ability may be used one time per day at 11th level (and an additional use every 3 levels after), and cannot be used in conjunction with linked or braided spells. If any metamagic feats were used in the casting of the original spell, these same feats apply to the reignited spell, at no additional cost to the battlemage. Any one spell cannot be reignited more than once. If a reignite attempt fails, it is wasted for the day.

Multiclassing Note: Owing to the nature of a battlemage's training, they are expressly forbidden from multiclassing into wizard, and wizards into battlemage (given that the battlemage is itself derived from conventional wizardry). However, battlemages may multiclass into any other spellcasting class freely, so battlemage/sorcerers and other variants can happen, but are not likely.

Epic Battlemage[edit]

Table: The Epic Battlemage

Hit Die: d6

Level Special
21st
22nd Advanced Training
23rd Reignite Spell 5/day
24th
25th Advanced Training, Bonus Feat
26th Reignite Spell 6/day
27th
28th Advanced Training
29th Reignite Spell 7/day
30th Bonus Feat

2 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Spells: At every level gained after 20th, an epic battlemage may add another spell to his spellbook for free.

Advanced Training: At 22nd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the battlemage may take one of the three Advanced Training class features.

Reignite Spell: At 23rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the battlemage gains an additional Reignite Spell attempt per day.

Bonus Feats: The epic Battlemage gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic battlemage bonus feats) at level 25, and every 5 levels thereafter.

Epic Battlemage Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Distant Shot, Energy Resistance, Enhance Spell, Epic Endurance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Exceptional Deflection, Forge Epic Ring, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Manyshot, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Improved Stunning Fist, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Infinite Deflection, Instant Reload, Intensify Spell, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Legendary Wrestler, Multispell, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Permanent Emanation, Reflect Arrows, Spellcasting Harrier, Spell Focus, Spell Knowledge, Spell Mastery, Spell Penetration, Spell Stowaway, Spell Opportunity, Spontaneous Spell, Storm of Throws, Superior Initiative, Swarm of Arrows, Tenacious Magic, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy. In addition to the feats on this list, the battlemage may select any fighter bonus feat, reserve feat, or metamagic feat not listed here.

Human Battlemage Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Longspear (1d8/x3, 10 ft. reach, 9 lb., two-handed, piercing). Light Crossbow (1d8/19-20, range inc 80 ft., 4 lb., piercing).

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 3 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Spellcraft 4 Int
Concentration 4 Con
Knowledge (Arcana) 4 Int
Intimidate 4 Cha
Climb 4 Str -1
Ride 4 Dex
Handle Animal 4 Cha
Tumble 4 Dex -1

Feat: Toughness.

Bonus Feats: Eschew Materials (Human).

Gear: Studded Leather Armor (+3 AC, armor check penalty -1, speed 30 ft., 20 lb.), Standard Adventurer's Kit, Case with 10 bolts, Spell Component Pouch, Spellbook containing: all non-prohibited 0-level spells, plus 4 1st-level non-prohibited spells of your choice, plus one extra non-prohibited 1st-level spell of your choice per point of Intelligence modifier.

Gold: 2d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Battlemage[edit]

Religion: A battlemage can worship any deity they choose, or none at all, though for obvious reasons many worship deities of magic, war or often both. Religion is not their career's focus, but it can be very important. As they say, there are no atheists on the battlefield.

Other Classes: Battlemages can be found working with any class, but they are most comfortable with wizards, and martial classes. An interesting mix, for instance would be a party with a battlemage and a duskblade/duskbow to back them up. Battlemages often band together in their own units, and can unleash terrible destruction when working co-operatively.

Combat: A battlemage's role in combat depends on the magic they use, and to a lesser degree, the weapons and equipment they use. All battlemages know the school of Evocation, so their primary role is that of an arcane combatant. Secondary roles include defender (Abjuration), intelligence-gatherer (Divination), summoner/tactician (Conjuration), psychological warfare/control (Enchantment), debuffing/demoralizing/undead control (Necromancy), diversions/espionage (Illusion), and booster/troubleshooter (Transmutation).

Advancement: A battlemage usually stays as a battlemage, so as to enjoy all that a focused career in battle magic has to offer. Those battlemages who do branch out, either take levels in a martial class to boost their skill, a secondary casting class (which is rare, but it happens), or a prestige class playing to their strengths.

Battlemages in the World[edit]

Ten thousand zombies versus me? They're going to need more zombies.
—Danzig Nyttafjell, tiefling battlemage, casually lighting a cigar and surveying the battlefield below.

Battlemages can be found anywhere there is battle to be had, especially serving in armies as a sort of advanced tactics and weaponry specialist.

Daily Life: A typical day for a battlemage involves getting up early, exercising, studying his spellbooks, having breakfast, and then some weapon practice. At the end of the day, he cleans his weapons, tends to his armor (and mount if he has one), before going to bed.

Notables: Danzig Nyttafjell, a tiefling battlemage/vampire hunter born in the haunted city of Genushi. He currently travels with the paladin Ragnar Turnheaval, and the Ilmatian priestess Aneka Pike.

Organizations: There are battle magic guilds in many kingdoms, and often a college of magic will have a resident battle magic guild as well, much like how modern universities often have ROTC on campus.

NPC Reactions: How an NPC reacts to a battlemage depends on how they view spellcasters, and to an extent, how they view the military. Lands or peoples with a strong martial or magical tradition tend to view a local battlemage with respect. Opposing lands will hate and fear them, usually.

Battlemage Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (War) or Knowledge (Arcana) can research battlemages to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (War), Knowledge (Arcana)
DC Result
5 Battlemages? Oh, yeah, they work as the army's personal spellcasters.
10 Battlemages use magic typically only seen on the battlefield, and do more damage with it.
15 Battlemages can do things like braiding or linking magic, and sometimes stranger things like channeling spells through their weapons.
20 Specific information about a particular battlemage, including his whereabouts, habits, etc.

The Battlemage in the Game[edit]

<-How characters of this class fit in the game (PC and NPC) and what roles they play.->

Adaptation: <-Possible variant conceptions of this class.->.

Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPCs of this class.->.

EL : <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.


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