Sword Guard of Astrazalian

Otherwise known as Class Acts: Knights, this article is about allowing an eladrin knight to swap out the usual fare in order to exploit your inherent magical capabilities. In short, you can teleport things. A lot. Before we get into the powers however, I want to mention the flavor of the article. It just breaks about a page, going into the history of the City of Starlight, which shifts between the Feywild and natural world with the seasons, and eladrin knighthood. It provids a solid backstory for why these guys exist, as well as character hooks for why you might seemingly leave the city for adventure (mostly to fight your enemies at the source).

Since eladrin have a +2 to Intelligence and a floating bonus to either Dexterity or Charisma, they aren't exactly suited to knights, which are Strength primary and Constitution secondary. To alleviate this, the article recommends the "specialist" array (which lets you go with Strength 18 and Constitution 14). Since they rely largely on melee basic attacks, another suggestion is taking Melee Training to make your attack stat mostly Intelligence. The damage would be a bit lower, but it lets you get away with lighter armor since having an Intelligence of 18 and hide armor is the same as scale.

Ultimately, a Strength of 16 (before modifiers) is good enough for your attacks, which is what people usually buy anyway, especially considering swords have the best proficiency bonus. Yeah, you don't have a racial, but who fucking cares? I've seen players go with halfling fighters (Strength 16) and I've played a minotaur rogue and warlord (all with "attack stats" of 16). It's certainly doable, especially considering that the new Expertise feats scale faster and provide other bonuses. The only reason why you'd want to have a good Intelligence score is if you wanted to multiclass into an arcane class to help push the concept, or best utilize the new paragon path (see below).

Anywho, on to the powers.

  • Feywild Guardian (level 1): You swap out battle guardian for the ability to teleport to the triggering target, and then make a basic melee attack. This is pretty cool, because it allows for better positioning.
  • Glimmering Blade (level 1): A stance that lets you teleport whenever you hit an enemy. Also very nice.
  • Eldritch Tactics (level 2): This is pretty standard as far as low-level teleports are concerned: you swap places with an ally within range. Swordmages, and I think even battleminds and The Simpsons already did it.
  • Bewitching Glare (level 6): An immediate interrupt that lets you impose an attack penalty and pull the target if the attack misses. The pull cannot move them into hindering terrain, which sucks.
  • Arcane Instincts (level 10): Another immediate interrupt that gives you and all adjacent allies energy resistance against a few types. The good part is that it stops the most common kinds of energy (except for necrotic), but the downside is that allies have to be right next to you.

Not a whole lot, and I'd probably only take the level 1 and 2 stuff. But wait, the article isn't over yet! There's still the eldritch knight paragon path, which requires that you be trained in Arcana and have a nice Intelligence score to boot. While eladrin can take Arcana at level 1 without having to burn a feat, personally I'd recommend multiclassing into an arcane class. It'll help push the concept, as well as give you another nifty ability.

  • Eldritch Abduction (level 11): When you teleport, an ally in your defender aura can come with you. Oddly, you cannot teleport the target into hindering terrain...but I can't see why you would try this, except against an enemy, who probably wouldn't take kindly to this anyway.
  • Far Step Extension (level 11): You can teleport a distance based on your Intelligence whenever you burn an Action Point. Hrmm...normally Intelligence is a dump-stat for knights. There's no minimum distance, so if your Intelligence isn't at least 12 or higher, this won't do shit for you. 
  • Diversified Study (level 11): You gain a wizard encounter, and can use any weapon you want as an implement when attacking with the power you pick.
  • Eldritch Leap (level 12): Basically another fey step, except that it's dependent on Intelligence and you have to end up next to an enemy.
  • Eldritch Blade (level 16): When you hit something with an opportunity attack, you ignore insubstantial and resistances. Great if you're fighting ghosts, I guess? To my knowledge, weapons can turn their energy types off anyway, and since it only works on opportunity attacks it just makes this all the more limited.
  • Eldritch Isolation (level 20): When you use power strike, you can teleport both you and the target up to a (thankfully) set distance.

Now, I like the concept, and it's doable without too much work. The problem is that it seems like an armored variation of the swordmage, which has the benefit of being Intelligence-primary from the start. With this, taking Melee Training to prevent spreading your ability scores too thin, as well as Weapon Focus to patch the damage, just makes it a less attractive option considering that as a swordmage I can just take Armor Proficiency (hide) if I want to look the same, and I won't have to wait 10 levels in the hopes that the game goes on long enough to see if it all pays off.

In the end it's alright, but is mostly useful to those stuck with a DM who wants to run purely Essentials games that cannot be dissuaded. Otherwise, I'd be hard-pressed to not just roll an eladrin swordmage.

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