“My blade and my magic are one and the same.”
- —Yele, elf duskblade
The duskblade blurs the line between spellcaster and warrior, marrying the power of magic with hand-to-hand combat prowess.
A student of ancient elven spellcasting techniques, the duskblade combines arcane spellcasting with the combat skills of a fighter. While the ability to cast arcane spells in armor originated with the elves, over the millennia the secrets of the duskblade have been disseminated to the other races, and today members of any race can become a duskblade.
If you find you can’t choose between being an arcane spellcaster who zaps your enemies with powerful spells and a nimble, powerful front-line melee character who lays them low with a sword, the duskblade is the perfect class for you. Combining arcane magic with melee prowess, you’re prepared in any situation. Enemies who underestimate you never get a second chance, since you don’t even have to switch back and forth between hands-on combat and spellcasting; you can do both simultaneously.
Hit Die d8
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Arcane Attunement, armored mage (light)||3||2||-||-||-||-|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Armored mage (medium)||6||5||-||-||-||-|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Quick cast 1/day||6||5||2||-||-||-|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+3||+5||Spell power +2||6||6||3||-||-||-|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+2||+5||Armored Mage (heavy shield)||6||6||5||-||-||-|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+7||Quick Cast 2/day||6||8||7||3||-||-|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+7||Spell power +3||6||8||7||5||-||-|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+8||Arcane Channeling (full attack)||6||9||8||6||2||-|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+9||Quick Cast 3/day||6||9||8||7||5||-|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Spell power +4||6||9||9||8||6||-|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Spell power +5||6||10||9||8||7||3|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Quick cast 4/day||6||10||10||10||8||6|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level): Climb, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Jump, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Ride, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Swim.
Making a DuskbladeEdit
The duskblade is a quintessential hybrid character, simultaneously a potent spellcaster and an effective melee combatant.
The original duskblades were elite guardians in an ancient elf empire, duelmasters and arcane spellcasters beyond compare. Historical accounts vary on why they were called duskblades; some say the name is symbolic of how they combined swordplay and arcane magic—a night-and-day combination. Others contend that the duskblades earned their name when they were charged with preserving the elf race in the face of a tide of darkness and evil.
The most powerful duskblades can duel a fighter to a standstill and match a wizard spell for spell—for a while, at least. But the class really comes into its own when you embrace your hybrid nature, using a quick-cast spell to supplement your melee attacks or combining a touch spell with a devastating sword strike.
The duskblade is a good choice for players who know they want a sword-wielding arcane spellcaster from the beginning. By contrast, multiclass fighter/wizard combinations and prestige classes such as the eldritch knight are better suited for characters who begin their careers as fi ghters or arcane spellcasters and only later contemplate embracing their opposite.
Abilities: Your Intelligence and Strength scores should be as high as possible, since your spellcasting and melee combat depend upon them. Your Constitution is also important, because you need all the hit points you can get.
Races: The duskblade class originated among the ancient elves, and to this day most duskblades are elves. However, some humans and half-elves also have proved adept at mastering the class’s dual focus on combat and spellcasting. Halfl ings, gnomes, dwarves, and half-orcs rarely enter this class.
Alignment: Since the duskblade class originated among the elves, those who undergo the intense training required to master the class abilities at the hands of an elf mentor often end their apprenticeship sharing the chaotic good alignment of most elves. However, duskblades are highly individualist and can be of any alignment.
- Starting Gold: 6d4×10 gp (150 gp).
- Starting Age: As wizard (PH 109).
Your class features are simple to characterize: constant improvement in your spellcasting, a fighter’s base attack bonus progression, and ever-increasing mastery of arcane magic in melee combat.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Duskblades are proficient with all martial weapons, as well as all armors and shields (except tower shields).
Spells: You cast arcane spells, which are drawn from the duskblade spell list on page 98. You can cast any spell you know without preparing it ahead of time.
To learn or cast a spell, you must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Int 10 for 0-level spells, Int 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against your spell is 10 + the spell level + your Int modifier.
You can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Your base daily spell allotment is given on Table 1–3. In addition, you receive bonus spells per day if you have a high Intelligence score (see Table 1–1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells, page 8 of the Player’s Handbook.)
Spells Known: You begin play knowing two 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells, chosen from the duskblade spell list. You also know one additional 0-level spell for each point of Intelligence bonus.
Each time you gain a new class level, you learn one additional spell of any level you can cast, chosen from the duskblade spell list.
Upon reaching 5th level, and at every subsequent odd-numbered level, you can choose to learn a new spell in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose access to the old spell in exchange for gaining the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level spell you can cast. For instance, upon reaching 9th level, you could trade in a single 1st-level spell (two levels below the highest-level spell you can cast, which is 3rd) for a different 1st-level spell. You can swap only a single spell at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that you gain new spells known for the level.
You need not prepare spells in advance. You can cast any spell you know at any time, assuming you have not yet used up your spells per day for that spell level.
Arcane Attunement (Sp): You can use the spell-like powers dancing lights, detect magic, flare, ghost sound, and read magic a combined total of times per day equal to 3+ your Int modifier. These spell-like powers do not count against your total of spells known or spells per day.
Armored Mage (Ex): Normally, armor of any type interferes with an arcane spellcaster’s gestures, which can cause spells to fail if those spells have a somatic component. A duskblade’s limited focus and specialized training, however, allows you to avoid arcane spell failure so long as you stick to light armor and light shields. This training does not extend to medium or heavy armors, nor to heavy shields. This ability does not apply to spells gained from a different spellcasting class.
At 4th level, you learn to use medium armor with no chance of arcane spell failure.
At 7th level, you learn to use a heavy shield with no chance of arcane spell failure.
Combat Casting: At 2nd level, you gain Combat Casting as a bonus feat.
Arcane Channeling (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, you can use a standard action to cast any touch spell you know and deliver the spell through your weapon with a melee attack. Casting a spell in this manner does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The spell must have a casting time of 1 standard action or less. If the melee attack is successful, the attack deals damage normally; then the effect of the spell is resolved.
At 13th level, you can cast any touch spell you know as part of a full attack action, and the spell affects each target you hit in melee combat that round. Doing so discharges the spell at the end of the round, in the case of a touch spell that would otherwise last longer than 1 round.
Quick Cast: Beginning at 5th level, you can cast one spell each day as a swift action, so long as the casting time of the spell is 1 standard action or less.
You can use this ability twice per day at 10th level, three times per day at 15th level, and four times per day at 20th level.
Spell Power (Ex): Starting at 6th level, you can more easily overcome the spell resistance of any opponent you successfully injure with a melee attack. If you have injured an opponent with a melee attack, you gain a +2 bonus on your caster level check to overcome spell resistance for the remainder of the encounter. This bonus increases to +3 at 11th level, to +4 at 16th level, and to +5 at 18th level.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research duskblades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: Some elves have the ability to cast arcane spells while engaged in melee combat; such elves are known as duskblades.
DC 15: Not all duskblades are elves; sometimes members of other races master the class’s special techniques of spellcasting in melee.
DC 20: Duskblades preserve an ancient tradition that enables them to deliver spell damage through weapon strikes.
Duskblade Spell ListEdit
The duskblade’s spell list appears below. Spells printed in Player's Handbook II are marked with an asterisk.
0 Level: acid splash, disrupt undead, ray of frost, touch of fatigue.
1st Level: Bigby’s tripping hand*, blade of blood*, burning hands, cause fear, chill touch, color spray, jump, Kelgore’s fire bolt*, lesser deflect*, magic weapon, obscuring mist, ray of enfeeblement, resist energy, rouse*, shocking grasp, stand*, swift expeditious retreat, true strike.
2nd Level: animalistic power*, bear’s endurance, Bigby’s striking fist*, bull’s strength, cat’s grace, darkvision, deflect*, dimension hop*, ghoul touch, Melf’s acid arrow, scorching ray, see invisibility, seeking ray*, spider climb, stretch weapon*, sure strike*, swift fly, swift invisibility, touch of idiocy.
3rd Level: crown of might*, crown of protection*, dispelling touch*, doom scarabs*, energy aegis*, energy surge*, greater magic weapon, halt*, keen edge, protection from energy, ray of exhaustion, regroup*, vampiric touch.
4th Level: Bigby’s interposing hand, channeled pyroburst*, dimension door, dispel magic, enervate, fire shield, phantasmal killer, shout, toxic weapon*.
5th Level: Bigby’s clenched fist, chain lightning, disintegrate, hold monster, polar ray, slashing dispel*, sonic shield*, waves of fatigue.