Eldritch Sword (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||A victory delayed is a victory denied.||”|
|—Tara Caoileann, Human Eldritch Sword|
The Eldritch Sword is an arcane warrior who's eldritch heritage has become evident. Their principle weapons are magic and the sword. Other spell casters may be content to study their magical arts until they are wizened and grey in the beard, but the Eldritch Sword yearns to clash sword against sword and spell against spell. Eldritch Swords are inclined to feel the thrill and immediateness of melee combat rather than stand back and let their allies get killed while they cast some complicated ritual to twist reality into a knot. So they dive into combat and attempt to destroy their enemies with sheer brutal strength, boosted by arcana prowess.
The typical Eldritch Sword is not as frail as a 'pure' spellcaster, when most of them must rely on others for protection while they use their skills. The Eldritch Sword believes that their power begins with independence and self reliance.
Becoming an Eldritch Sword
There is no formal organization or method of becoming an Eldritch Sword; the process begins when a warrior turns to magic to make their selves more effective in combat, or (more frequently) when a spellcaster picks up a sword and charges into their first real battle.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5.|
|Skills:||Knowledge (Arcana) 10|
|Feats:||Arcane Strike, Practised Spellcaster|
|Spellcasting:||Able to cast 3rd level arcane spells|
|Special:||Proficiency with light and medium Armour, all simple and all martial weapons|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Spell Arsenal (1st Level)||-|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Arcane Talent||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Fighter Feat||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Spell Arsenal (2nd Level)||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Arcane Talent||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+5||Fighter Feat||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+5||Spell Arsenal (3rd Level)||-|
|8th||+8||+6||+2||+6||Arcane Talent||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+6||Fighter Feat||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+7||Spell Arsenal (4th Level)||+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
|12th||Bonus Combat Feat|
|15th||Bonus Combat Feat|
|18th||Bonus Combat Feat|
All of the following are class features of the Eldritch Sword prestige class.
Spell Arsenal (Sp): The character may cast a spell but suspend their activation until a later time. The arsenal can hold spells of a limited level with a maximum number of spell levels equal to half the character's level in the Eldritch Sword class (rounded down) plus their spellcasting attribute bonus. Level 0 spells do not count towards this limit. The arsenal can only hold spells that either target the Eldrtich Sword, or targets objects on their person (such as their weapon or armor), or targets their familiar (if any), or targets an area centered on the caster and moves with them as they move. In addition, the spell must have a duration, and not be an instantaneous effect (like a heal spell) or a one time effect (such as true strike). Spells that can affect one or more targets can be placed in the arsenal, but only if they target Eldritch Sword and/or their familiar exclusively; others can not benefit from the arsenal. Any decisions about how the spell will function must be made when the arsenal is prepared.
The Eldritch Sword can activate their arsenal as an action. Once activated, all spells in the arsenal begin to take effect as if they were just cast. Spells can not be held in reserve. Placing a spell into the arsenal is as easy as casting it, and takes as long. Activating the arsenal activates all spells in the arsenal, though spells can be dropped in order to make room for new spells. Dropped spells are simply lost. Spells in the arsenal are susceptible to being dispelled as if they were individual spells already in place, and are visible to detect magic and similar effects as if they were spells in place. Once the arsenal is triggered, it is empty and is immediately ready to accept new spells from the Eldritch Sword. The arsenal can not hold spells cast on the Eldritch Sword by others.
Activating the arsenal is similar to a spell, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity and is not subject to arcane spell failure (but spells being placed into the arsenal are subject to it at the time they are placed). It has verbal and somatic components, so silencing or binding the Eldritch Sword can prevent them from activating their arsenal, but the spells are not lost as a result.
The arsenal becomes more powerful as a character advances in this class, in addition to increasing in spells levels available. At level 1, the arsenal can only hold 1st level spells, but this increases to 4th level by the time the character reaches level 10. In addition, the activation time decreases, from being a standard action at level 1, to being a move-equivalent action at level 4, to a swift action at level 7, and finally to an immediate action at level 10.
If an Eldritch Sword recovers spells while their arsenal has spells in it, they do not recover the spell slots associated with those spells. Spells in the arsenal are considered cast, and an Eldritch Sword can drop spells in their arsenal in order to power other abilities that allow them to use spell slots in other ways, such as Arcane Strike, nor can they use spells in their arsenal to power reserve feats.
At levels 2, 5, and 8, the Eldritch Sword gains a special power chosen from the following list of abilities:
- Arcane Reaction (Su): The character can use their relevant spellcasting modifier in place of their Dexterity modifier to determine their dodge bonus and reflex saving throw bonus. This talent may only be taken once.
- Arcane Fighting Technique (Su): The character can use their relevant spellcasting modifier in place of Strength on attack rolls. This does not affect their damage bonus.
- Greater Arcane Strike (Su): When the Eldritch Sword uses their Arcane Strike feat, they add 1d6 per spell level to their attacks, instead of 1d4 per spell level. This talent may only be taken once.
- Arcane Combat Prowess (Ex): The Eldritch Sword can duplicate the effects of any combat feat that would normally be available to fighters as a bonus feat. They can may do this a number of times per day equal to their base attack, and each usage lasts one round. Multiple feats can be active at the same time (even multiple copies of the same feat), and activating any number of feats is a free action. The Eldritch Sword may choose any feat they meet the base attack prerequisite for, but they may ignore attribute prerequisites. If they choose a feat with prerequisite feats they must duplicate those feats as well. This talent may only be taken once.
- Greater Arsenal (Sp): The Eldritch Sword's arsenal can hold an extra 3 spell levels. In addition, they may include 1 spell that is 1 level above what is the normal maximum for their arsenal. This talent may only be taken once.
- Potent Spells (Su): The Eldritch Sword learns how to make their lower level spells more effective. For any spell with a level less than half the maximum spell level the Eldritch Sword can cast, the Eldritch Sword calculates the save DC as if it were a spell of a level equal to half their maximum spell level, rounded up. Thus a level 1 spell would have a save DC that is 4 higher, once the Eldritch Sword was capable of casting level 9 spells. This talent may only be taken once.
- Reduced Spell Failure (Ex): The character can reduce the chance of failure for casting while wearing armor. Each time this talent is taken, Arcane Spell Failure is reduced by 15%. This talent may be taken multiple times, and it's effects stack with each other and with other percentile reductions to Arcane Spell Failure.
- Rigorous Concentration (Ex): Once per day, the Eldritch Sword can choose to automatically succeed on a concentration check to use a spell that they just failed a roll for. In addition, they gain a +4 bonus on spellcraft skill checks to cast spells defensively.
- Bonus Meta-Magic Feat (Ex): The Eldritch Sword may learn a meta-magic feat in place of an arcane talent. When a feat is bought this way, the Eldritch Sword can ignore any pre-requisites for the feat. This feat may be taken multiple times.
Spellcasting: At every level except 1 and 7, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a Eldritch Sword, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Fighter Feats: The Eldritch Sword gains one bonus feat each at levels 3, 6 and 9. These feats must be taken from the list of feat available to fighters as bonus feats.
Playing an Eldritch Sword
The Eldritch Sword is a highly adaptable class, with the potential to be a front line combatant, a highly mobile damage dealer, or heavy hitter, depending on the combination of spells and arcane talents gained.
Combat: An Eldritch Sword's priority in any battle is to activate their arsenal. As a highly versatile class, a great deal of options are open to them. They have much greater opportunity to use touch ranged and burst spells than regular casters, and can deliver touch ranged buffs to their allies during battle far more easily.
Advancement: The Eldritch Sword benefits most from feats that enhance their magic, but a few combat feats are also a good investment if they are going to be used frequently. The Eldritch Sword should pick up Arcane Talents that will cover those areas where they are weak and where they have no spells to help. As a broad class, the Eldritch Sword's abilities mesh well with many martial or arcane classes and prestige classes.
Resources: The Eldritch Sword is very independent; their spells provide a lot of utility and they can fight almost anything. There only real lacking is their inability to heal their selves.
Eldritch Swords in the World
|“||You're wizard...but you just cut that guy in half with your sword!||”|
|—Varick Coppertongue, Dwarf Fighter|
Eldritch Swords often look like conventional fighters or mages, and thus tend to get typical reactions. They are most often adventurers, and inparticular they often like being in the middle of whatever war or disaster is currently happening.
Eldritch Sword Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) can research Eldritch Sword to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||The term 'Eldritch Sword' refers to a type of warrior who also uses arcane spells.|
|16||Eldritch Swords are spell casters who use arcane spells to make their selves better warriors.|
|21||Eldritch Swords are spell casters who can cast spells on their selves and then delay them until they need them later, in addition to being full spell casters in their own right.|
|26||Eldritch Swords are magical warriors with variable abilities, some can wear armor despite being mages, some can move at heightened speed, and some can duplicate the training of any warrior, but all can cast spells and all of them can channel arcane energy into their weapons.|
Eldritch Swords in the Game
This class is suitable for players who are looking at dipping into SpellSword and maybe taking a few levels of Eldritch Knight, but are unimpressed with the primary features of those classes, or feel they strike the wrong level of fighter-mage balance.