Swordmages are powerful arcane spellcasters who blend martial combat with magic, often but not always elemental in nature. Ancient traditions of swordmages are common throughout Abeir and parts of Toril, such as Netheril or Evermeet, and are particularly common amongst eladrin, genasi, or githyanki. Wielding swords enchanted with spells, swordmages are powerful foes to cross, hardened through years of training in the melding of spell and blade.
Geran Hulmaster is the best known example of a swordmage.
The culture of the swordmage varies from place to place and person to person but many archetypes exist. Most swordmages favor gods of magic such as Corellon or Selûne. Others of a good alignment might follow Torm or Tymora. Evil swordmages or those from Netheril are drawn to the worship of Shar, however, and have a more secretive bent in their traditions.
Genasi, with their elemental abilities and wild hearts, make excellent swordmages and are among the most common assault swordmages. Human and eladrin swordmages are also common, though more frequently they are shielding swordmages. Githyanki arcanists are frequently swordmages, having their own traditions similar to those of the shielding swordmage.
Much like fighters or paladins, swordmages are typically defensive in combat, serving to guard allies or distract enemies. Spells in which swordmages are specialized often reflect this to some extent, such as the swordmage's warding ability, which enables them to perpetually, while conscious and wielding a blade, maintain a field of magical force around them, making them harder to hit. Some swordmages extend this into the aegis of shielding spell, which allows a swordmage to magically deflect an enemy's blows against an ally. An alternative spell is aegis of assault, which enables the swordmage to teleport immediately to the location of an enemy that has attacked an ally.
All swordmages maintain a close bond with their chosen blade, formed through one hour of meditation. This arcane bond allows a swordmage to call his or her blade to them from a small distance or magically repair it through their arcane link over a one hour period of meditation. In cases where the blade is broken, lost, or otherwise displaced a swordmage can replace it with a similar period of meditation, though this causes the old bond to dissolve.
As mages who specialize in melding arcane magic with melee combat, swordmages' characteristics differ greatly based upon the loosely tied traditions and fighting styles any one of them chooses to employ. Most swordmages are practitioners of one of the following fighting styles.
Assault swordmageEditAssault swordmages hold the philosophy that the best defense is a strong offense and protect their friends and allies through aggressive and flashy attacks. The traditions of the assault swordmage originated in Abeir, though since the Spellplague they have spread far and wide throughout Toril through the anarchs of Shyr. Putting an extremely high value on intelligence, assault swordmages consider physical strength of utmost importance as well, using their strength of body and mind as one to enhance the potency of their attack spells. Typically, assault swordmages prefer the use of heavy blades such as falchions, though as a consequence they tend to put a smaller emphasis on their own defense. Typically, assault swordmages learn aegis of assault. Goliath swordmages often chose the assault style.
Where assault swordmages prefer brute force, shielding swordmages prefer the use of magic as a shield against harm. The traditions of the shielding swordmage style originated initially with the Coronal Guard, ancient eladrin protectors of Myth Drannor, and the tradition was passed on over millennia to other races. Like all swordmages, shielding swordmages are often extremely cunning foes, but they also are quite often immensely durable, a quality they use to enhance some of their spells while also allowing them to take blows that their allies would otherwise suffer. However, shielding swordmages do not solely rely on their constitution to preserve them and in all things they prefer a strong defense. As a result, shielding swordmages not only typically learn the aegis of shielding spell but also generally prefer one-handed blades such as longswords, allowing them to parry their foes more easily than a larger weapon would easily allow.
Several traditions of swordmages exist in both Abeir and Toril, though Abeir seems to have had more such arcanists. Many swordmages of these traditions from the primordial dominated twin of Toril follow paths of arcane power that emulate the elemental fury wielded by primordials and dragons as well as the elementals from whom genasi are sired.
Three paths dominate, known as the raging storm, the burning blizzard, and the astral fire. Swordmages of the raging storm use astrapomancy as the basis for their powers. Swordmages of the burning blizzard, on the other hand, specialize in nephomancy. The last of the common primordial paths is that of the astral fire and the swordmages who follow it use pyromancy as their primary weapon in battle.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 26. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ Andy Collins (December 2009). “Swordmage Essentials: Art of the Blade”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #382 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 17–24.
- ↑ Greg Bilsland “Class Acts: Primordial Paths”. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61.