Talk:Spellblade (3.5e Prestige Class)
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Rating - 2/10
I am quite pleased with the flavourful aspect of the prerequisites here. By mixing spellcasting, base attack bonus and the weapon bonding a platform is established for the class to stand on. Unfortunately, it's a little shaky in the wording for pretty much every requirement except "base attack bonus +5". Some are meager: I know exactly what the author means when he says "any 4 touch spells", but it would be clearer if he explicitly stated that the character must be capable of casting four spells with a range of touch. WotC has typically used either caster level or the ability to cast a level of spells as a measure instead of levels in a class, which is unfair to the player (negative levels, anyone?). The weapon focus, on the other hand, steps too far in saying that the specified weapon must also be owned by the player. That brings in the ambiguous nature of possession touched on by the Book of Exalted Deeds Vow of Poverty. As well, it suggests that without this one sword the character owns he suddenly voids the prerequisites of the class. Does the character suddenly lose his powers if his Weapon Focus (longsword) goes missing and he uses a rapier (or even worse: his sword is sundered)? Does he acrue negative levels? Can he still cast spells?
Having two base attack bonus scales is silly. It puts too much work on the player. As well, it insults the character's melee abilities. A fighter can fight with equal skill no matter which weapon he uses (barring non-proficiencies, of course); why should a spellblade be crippled? The focus on a single weapon is quite adequately covered by the weapon focus series, which the spellblade gains throughout the progression.
With the stringent focus on touch attacks it makes me wonder why the large increase in spellcasting is necessary. After all, there are horribly few touch attack spells in the player's handbook. The only damaging one that comes to mind at low levels is Shocking Grasp, and I don't recall there being any damaging touch attacks at higher levels (kinda defeats the point of spells like Power Word: Kill, Horrid Wilting, and Polar Ray). An odd progression of spellcasting should be sufficient for this class, especially considering the special abilities it has. (speaking of odd progressions, the base save tables are incorrect)
I hate this section.
First of all, the feats. Through normal leveling this class gains eight free feats. Over ten levels. That's more than the fighter. As well, why would a class that focuses on single target burst damage (via the channelling ability) need to cleave or do gibbing damage? These are fighter staples gentlemen, not gish ones.
Channelblade is broke. As in it doesn't work. I understand the class needing to cast spells through swords (spellblade lol) but why on earth is the amount of times the character can strike with weapon damage limited? That's not what Spellsword did, because there should be no limit on how many times you can swing your sword in a day (unless you're dead or reading Tome of Battle). Without the ability to strike for weapon damage during a Channelblade then this class is simply a glorified vessel for casting touch attacks. You should know that a touch spell does not count as an unarmed attack: it does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Channelblade has been mixed around: the limit should lie in the amount of times a character can imbue his sword with a spell (a limit that should not be set by the amount of spells known).
Sword Mastery I actually appreciate. I just think it was implemented incorrectly. That dual base attack progression could be implemented as a non-proficiency penalty: say, -2 for two handed swords, -4 for weapons with a haft, and -6 for ranged weapons. Or by making the base attack bonus equal to the rogue progression (0 to 15 over twenty levels) and allowing the weapon focus to emulate Sword Mastery.
Somatic Mastery is a little silly flavourful and totally broken mechanically. This is an ability that allows a character to automatically cast and attack with a touch spell from melee with NO PENALTY. Touch attacks on average attack an AC anywhere from 9 to 14. By the time the character is high enough in level to gain this class feature he will probably have an attack bonus of 6-9. That's basically a free hit. Every round. No.
One addition I recommend to improve the class is some sort of sword bonding, similar to the Kensai. The class already forces the player to choose a single weapon with the weapon focus prerequisite, so you might as well stay with this model for the entire progression. At the very least the class abilities should only apply to the weapon focused sword (and honestly, if you've taken weapon focus there should be no reason besides outside intervention for you to be using any other weapon).
This could work. Unfortunately, I don't like the idea as a whole because of three different classes: Spellsword, Kensai, and Eldritch Knight. The Spellblade seems like a hodgepodge of the three tweaked to obtain maximum damage output. Disregarding my more extreme opinions I give this a 3/10 for a poor execution of an already used idea and a flavour text that could easily be talking about a Spellsword.