Prime Requisites: STR and INT
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 14-
“It was surprising enough to see that Kane could actually read, mused Imel. What little information he had compiled gave Kane the reputation of being a rugged and skillful warrior–a violent personality by all accounts. In Imel’s experience, such a man usually was contemptuous of anything concerned with the arts. Suddenly his eyes were held by a page filled entirely by a strange diagram. Startled, he slowly read the script on the page opposite and found his suspicions verified. With horror he shut the book and abruptly set it down. A grimoire. Was Kane then a sorcerer as well as a soldier? Imel remembered Arbas’s warning and began to feel fear.”
-from Darkness Weaves by Karl Edward Wagner.
Sword-sorcerers are humans who train to be mighty warriors, but also value arcane knowledge. They study magic but cannot suffer the sedentary academic life required to become serious wizards. Sword-sorcerers crave raw power; power both worldly and otherworldly, martial and supernatural. Sword-sorcerers may seek power for ambition, revenge, or nobler purposes. They will risk or compromise anything to achieve this power, including their souls, but not their freedom. The sword-sorcerer is an iconic role from the classic era of heroic fiction. As a class it is intended to enable players to create characters with the abilities of Michael Moorcock’s protagonist Elric, Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, or Roger Zelazny’s Dilvish the Damned, among others.
Sword-sorcerers are eager to take advantage of the great power of chaotic forces, without becoming slaves of chaos. Consequently, sword-sorcerers cannot have a lawful alignment. A sword-sorcerer will lose his or her spellcasting ability and powers of arcane dabbling and contacting dark powers during any period in which s/he holds a lawful alignment.
Sword-sorcerers are mighty opponents. At first level, they hit an unarmored foe (AC0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws as fighters, by two points every three levels of experience. They increase their base damage roll from successful missile and melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th level.
Sword-sorcerers may wear chainmail or lighter armor, but not wield shields. They are trained in the use of all weapons, and may wield a two-handed weapon or a weapon in each hand.
Due to their education and intense curiosity, all sword-sorcerers begin with loremastery as a bonus proficiency.
“I have never attempted to raise the cursed legions of Shoredan. My grandmother told me that only twice in all the ages of Time has this been done. I have also read of it in the Green Books of Time at the keep of Mirata.”
-from “The Bells of Shoredan” by Roger Zelazny, in Dilvish the Damned.
At 3rd level, a sword-sorcerer gains the ability to cast arcane spells, as a wizard of one-third their level, using the same spell list and the same rules for learning and casting spells. Unlike mages, they can cast spells while wearing chainmail or lighter armor.
“The albino frowned, remembering the secret pacts of his forefathers. He took a deep breath and closed his pain-filled scarlet eyes. He swayed, the runesword half-loose in his grip. His chant was low, like the far-off moaning of the wind itself. His chest moved quickly up and down, and some of the younger warriors, those who had never been fully initiated into the ancient lore of Melnibone, stirred with discomfort. Elric’s voice was not addressing human folk—his words were for the invisible, the intangible—the supernatural. An old and ancient rhyme began the casting of word-runes.”
- from The Bane of the Black Sword, by Michael Moorcock.
At 4th level, a sword-sorcerer can contact dark powers. Once per week, the character can contact higher plane (as the spell), similar to the soothsaying proficiency.
When a sword-sorcerer reaches 5th level, his or her battlefield prowess inspires others to follow. Any henchmen or mercenaries hired by the sword-sorcerer gain a +1 bonus to their morale score whenever the sword-sorcerer personally leads them. This bonus stacks with any modifiers from charisma or proficiencies.
At 9th level, a sword-sorcerer with sufficient resources can build a castle and establish a domain, in the same manner as a fighter.
At 10th level, a sword-sorcerer becomes capable of arcane dabbling, as the proficiency, allowing the use of wands, staffs, and other magic items only usable by mages. The character must make a proficiency throw of 3+ or the attempt backfires in some desultory way (Judge’s discretion).
Class Proficiency List: Alchemy, Battle Magic, Beast Friendship, Berzerkergang, Black Lore of Zahar, Collegiate Wizardry, Command, Elementalism, Elven Bloodline, Familiar, Fighting Style, Illusion Resistance, Intimidation, Knowledge, Language, Leadership, Magical Engineering, Military Strategy, Mystic Aura, Naturalism, Quiet Magic, Prestidigitation, Riding, Sensing Power, Swashbuckling, Transmogrification, Unflappable Casting, Weapon Focus.
Sword-sorcerer Level Progression ~Spell Progression
Experience~Title~Level~Hit Dice~Damage Bonus~1~2
0~Soldier of Lore~1~1d6~+1~-~-
400,000~Warlord Mage, 10th level~10~9d6+2*~+4~2~1
520,000~Warlord Mage, 11th level~11~9d6+4*~+4~2~1
640,000~Warlord Mage, 12th level~12~9d6+6*~+5~2~2
760,000~Warlord Mage, 13th level~13~9d6+8*~+5~2~2
*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored.
Sword-Sorcerer (Fighter) Attack and Saving Throws
Level ~Petrif. & Paralysis ~Poison & Death ~Blast & Breath ~Staffs & Wands ~Spells ~Atk. Thr.
1 ~15+ ~14+ ~16+ ~16+ ~17+ ~10+
2–3 ~14+ ~13+ ~15+ ~15+ ~16+ ~9+
4 ~13+ ~12+ ~14+ ~14+ ~15+ ~8+
5–6 ~12+ ~11+ ~13+ ~13+ ~14+ ~7+
7 ~11+ ~10+ ~12+ ~12+ ~13+ ~6+
8–9 ~10+ ~9+ ~11+ ~11+ ~12+ ~5+
10 ~9+ ~8+ ~10+ ~10+ ~11+ ~4+
11–12 ~8+ ~7+ ~9+ ~9+ ~10+ ~3+
13 ~7+ ~6+ ~8+ ~8+ ~9+ ~2+
14 ~6+ ~5+ ~7+ ~7+ ~8+ ~1+
Build points: 1x HD, 2x fighter, 1x Arcane
+0500 ~ HD d6
+1000 ~ fighting value 2: +2 hit/3 lvls, unrestricted weapons & armor, 3 fight styles, +1 dmg/3 lvls, 1 cleave/lvl
+0625 ~ Arcane value 1: 1/3 level mage.
=2125 ~ Subtotal XP
+0150 ~ 1 ~ reduce armor selection to broad.
+0150 ~ 1 ~ eliminate one fighting style (no weapon/shield),
=0300 ~ 3 ~ Subtotal Trade-off XP
=2425 ~ Total XP
Fighter save progression.
Prime requisites STR and INT.
+2HP after 9th.
Stronghold Type: Castle. Battlefield prowess at level 5.
Loremastery (as proficiency)
Contact Dark Powers at level 3/ Level 11 Arcane Dabbling
Battlefield prowess (stronghold bonus)
EDIT: Added Elric and Dilvish quotes; Fixed commas in xp numbers and a couple of other typos.