Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Class Struggles

Literally blazing onto the battlefield is a mage of incredible strength and determination. Skilled at launching fireballs and lightning bolts at his enemies, yet almost completely unskilled in the use of more subtle magic, the warmage is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Originally introduced in the Miniatures Handbook and later given a minor revision in Complete Arcane, the warmage is an arcane spellcaster trained specifically in the art of hurting a large number of people with as flashy a spell as possible. Although their destructive capabilities are unmatched, their lack of knowledge about arcane magic in general limits what they can do.

Warmage Strengths

  • High Will saving throws
  • Ability to cast arcane spells while armored
  • Ability to deal more damage with their spells than other casters
  • Access to a number of 'Sudden' metamagic feats
  • Ability to learn a small number of spells to add to their list of spells known

Warmage Weaknesses

  • Low Base Attack Bonus
  • Low Fortitude and Reflex saving throws
  • Extremely restricted list of spells known
  • Spells are dually reliant on Charisma and Intelligence
  • Low number of skill points

Playing a Warmage
If a wizard is a glass-cannon, then a warmage is a glass cannon wrapped in a layer of armor. Trained extensively in the art of battle-magic, they train rigorously in order to hone and refine the small number of techniques they are taught in order to be more efficient in their craft.

Warmages are spontaneous casters like bards or sorcerers, but mechanically they are more similar to bards, with the ability to cast unhindered while wearing light armor directly from the start. Unlike either of these classes, all warmages automatically know all spells on their class spell list. Throughout their careers, warmages can learn a small number of evocation spells from the wizard spell list, adding them to their repertoire.

The warmage spell list is unfortunately, with few exceptions, geared exclusively towards damaging opponents, making them extremely unsubtle combatants to say the least.

In order to provide the warmage with even more options for killing opponents, they receive bonus metamagic feats throughout their progression, each one a member of the Sudden metamagic feat family (see Miniatures Handbook and Complete Arcane). These feats mimic the benefits of other metamagic feats, but allow the caster to apply the effect without increasing the level of the spell or preparing it ahead of time once per day. Because warmages cast spontaneously, these feats allow them to use metamagic without slowing them down on the battlefield.

Because warmages cast spontaneously, they are reliant on a high Charisma score in order to cast their spells. However, they gain bonus damage based on their Intelligence score, so it is very important to strike a proper balance between these two ability scores in order to benefit your character and your playstyle.

Variant Warmages
The Eclectic Learning variant class feature (Player's Handbook II) allows a warmage to learn any wizard spell in place of an evocation spell learned through Advanced Learning, but the spell is treated as one-level higher than normal. This feature can allow your warmage to branch out and learn useful spells such as invisibility or shield that they wouldn't normally have access to.

Advanced Learning
Warmages are restricted to learning spells from the wizard spell list, and ordinarily restricted to spells from the Evocation school. Warmages that take the Eclectic Learning variant class feature (see above) can learn spells from other schools, but they learn them at a level higher than normal.

Prospective warmages should remember that sorcerers and wizards do not share a spell-list. Because warmages specifically select their extra spells from the wizard list, they do not get access to spells that only exist in the sorcerer list. Warmages are probably better off selecting their extra spells from the shared sorcerer/wizard spell list, as these will contain more spells that they can make use of with ease.

Race Suggestions
All warmages can benefit from an extra feat, and bonus skill points can off-set the low number they normally receive. Like with just about every class, humans are a good race choice for warmage characters.

Elves also make fairly decent warmages. They resist being enchanted (and thus turned against their allies), their higher Dexterity score helps to augment their somewhat low armor class and their proficiency with some martial weapons gives them a slight advantage in melee combat.

Illumians (Races of Destiny) can become fairly aggressive warmages, meting out damage with both spell and steel. Illumian warmages will want to select 'Aesh' and 'Vaul' as their power sigils. The resulting combination allows them to spend spell slots in order to increase their armor class and provide them with a bonus to weapon damage (as long as they possess the Weapon Focus feat for the weapon they wield). While they can't use this ability indefinitely, it can still be a lifesaving boon.

Beyond their higher Charisma scores, aasimar (Planar Handbook and Races of Destiny) also possess energy resistance and resistance to spells that specifically target humanoids. This makes them fairly decent warmages.

Conversely, tieflings (Planar Handbook and Races of Destiny) possess similar benefits, but have a penalty to Charisma, but higher Dexterity and Intelligence scores. This means that tiefling warmages will need to devote more to get access to their higher-level spells, but they will typically deal more damage and generally have a higher armor class. Both aasimars and tieflings have to deal with level adjustments, making them somewhat more difficult to deal with.

Mephlings (Planar Handbook) have a higher Charisma score, but a penalty to Intelligence, meaning that they may not deal as much damage with their Warmage Edge ability as some other warmages. In addition to a breath weapon and a generally higher armor class due to their size, they also have an increased caster level with one elemental descriptor (air, earth, fire or water).

Genasi (Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting) are very much along-side the mephlings in terms of abilities, with a spell-like ability and an increased caster level on one particular elemental descriptor. Genasi generally have a Charisma penalty, but air and fire genasi have a higher Intelligence score to help compensate.

The chaos-descended cansin (Dragon Magazine #297) possess both a bonus to Intelligence and Charisma, energy resistances, and an entropic shield ability. This makes them not only superb natural warmages, but also somewhat more defensive than others.

Although not an immediate choice, the dromite (Expanded Psionics Handbook) can also make a good warmage. Such characters are very defensive due to their energy resistance and natural armor and their higher Charisma scores assist their spellcasting. They also possess an energy ray effect that they can use to supplement their arcane might. Unlike aasimar and tieflings, dromites only have one kind of energy resistance, which also determines how their energy ray works.

Feat Suggestions
Warmages are primarily spellcasters, and so they can easily take any number of feats that improve their art. Their unique class features provide players with interesting avenues to pursue through their feats. Warmages can specialize in battle, in magic, or any number of other paths.

What not to take
Because warmages are somewhat unique in how they cast their spells, there are some feats that players creating a warmage character should avoid. Extra Spell (Complete Arcane) normally provides characters with an additional spell known, chosen from their spell list. Since warmages already know all spells on their spell list, this feat provides absolutely no benefit.

Also, avoid the Piercing Evocation feat (Complete Mage). This feat normally provides spellcasters with the ability to switch the energy types of their evocation spells. Since warmages cast spontaneously, and know a wide variety of spells that cover all energy types, this feat is of minimal benefit. They will almost never need to take advantage of it.

Building a better warmage
Probably the only feat a warmage cannot do without is Extra Edge (Complete Arcane), which provides bonus damage for their Warmage Edge ability based on the character's class level. Since most warmages deal most of their damage through spells, this cannot be ignored.

At 8th level, warmages gain the ability to cast their spells while wearing medium armor. Warmages that want to become even more protected should consider the Battle Caster feat (Complete Arcane). Note that this feat should be coupled with the Heavy Armor Proficiency feat to maximize the benefit. This feat is generally a better choice when the warmage multiclasses with a class that provides with this proficiency for free, like the fighter or hexblade.

Regardless of the character, a warmage is likely going to participate in battle. Taking the Combat Casting feat can prevent them from losing a spell due to an enemy's attack.

Getting familiar
Unlike many spellcasters, warmages do not get familiars. The Obtain Familiar feat (Complete Arcane) can provide a warmage with a familiar. Since warmages tend to get into pitched battle more often than wizards or sorcerers, the Improved Familiar feat (Dungeon Master's Guide and many other sources) can be coupled with this to give the character a much tougher and deadlier companion.

Many of the warmage's spells are delivered through ranged touch attacks. Weapon Focus (Ranged Touch) can provide the character with a bonus to attack rolls with these spells, while Ranged Spell Specialization (Complete Arcane) allows them to deal more damage with their spells.

Point Blank Shot can also be taken to provide a further bonus to attack and damage with ranged touch spells, as long as the targets are relatively close. To get even more out of these kinds of attacks, you can also take the Ranged Recall feat (Complete Mage) feat. In the event that you miss with one of these kinds of spells, it would allow you to re-roll the attack a small number of times per day.

With the proper feat selection, warmages can become passable melee combatants. Not only does this allow the warmage to space out their spellcasting over the course of a day, but it also helps them to be efficient when facing against an opponent that is immune or resistant to magic. Most warmages going this route will probably want the Weapon Focus feat for their weapon of choice. This will help them to hit more often in combat which is extremely helpful since they have a low base attack bonus.

Battlecaster Offensive (Complete Mage) is an excellent choice for a warmage. It provides the warmage with a bonus to an attack roll against an opponent in the round after damaging them with a spell and increases the save DC for a spell cast against an opponent in the round after damaging them with a melee attack. A warmage that alternates between the two different styles of attack can be much more effective with this feat.

Warmages can carry light shields without a penalty to their spellcasting. If they carry a weapon, they may have to drop it in order to have a hand free for casting. In this case, the Somatic Weaponry feat (Complete Mage) is invaluable as it allows the warmage to cast spells with somatic components using their weapon.

Sometimes you just want to make an attack. The Arcane Strike feat (Complete Warrior) allows the warmage to sacrifice a spell slot in order to provide them with a bonus to attack rolls and damage for all attacks the warmage makes in that round. The size of the bonus depends on the level of the spell sacrificed.

Through their class progression, warmages gain four metamagic feats, which are all part of the Sudden family. These feats allow the warmage to apply metamagic feats to their spells without increasing the casting time or spell level, but a limited number of times a day.

There are other feats in this family that the warmage can easily take such as Sudden Extend, Sudden Silence and Sudden Still (all from Complete Arcane) to provide more options. Also, because each of the warmage's bonus feats allows you to take another in its place, provided you already possess the feat, you can use your feats to 'push ahead' the schedule, to the point of being able to take Sudden Quicken (Complete Arcane) at later levels.

In addition, if the warmage takes any new metamagic feats, or receives any from a prestige class, the Rapid Metamagic feat (Complete Mage) can allow them to use these as they would their Sudden Metamagic feats.

More Spells
Spell selection is a big problem for a warmage, so increasing the number of spells they know can be extremely helpful. A very easy way to do this is to invest in the Bloodline feats (Dragon Magazine #311 & #325). Note that your character will need to have the Obtain Familiar feat in order to take these, but your choice will net you one new spell known per level.

Also, if your warmage has a decent Wisdom score, consider the Arcane Discipline feat (Complete Divine). This feat will allow your warmage to know all of the spells within a single domain, but be forewarned that spells learned via this feat work a bit differently from other spells.

Just because you can't learn new spells through the Extra Spell feat (see above) doesn't mean that you can't use what you know more often. The Extra Slot feat (Complete Arcane) provides warmages with an additional spell slot that they can use to fuel their spells.

Multiclass Suggestions
Warmages are a very specialized class, and in many cases multiclassing can be detrimental, especially for characters that have the Extra Edge feat.

The fighter might be the most obvious multiclassing choice for a warmage. It provides a higher Base Attack Bonus, extra feats, more hit points and the armor proficiencies that a warmage lacks. Also consider the barbarian. This provides similar benefits to the fighter, but is more offense-focused, which works to the character's favor. In addition, a warmage/barbarian that takes levels in the Rage Mage prestige class (Complete Warrior) is extremely effective.

For a lighter-armored character, consider multiclassing as a swashbuckler (Complete Warrior). Not only does it provide some light-armor based defense, but it also allows the character to apply their Intelligence bonus to damage rolls made with certain weapons.

Hexblades (Complete Warrior) have their own set of spells, a high attack bonus, resistance to spells and the ability to throw curses at their opponents. When provided to a warmage, these abilities can help them get one-up on their enemies in a sneakier manner than they ordinarily would.

Although duskblades (Player's Handbook II) cast their spells based on Intelligence, they still possess a number of abilities of use to a warmage. The ability to channel certain spells through a melee attack, cast spells as a swift action and a bonus to caster level checks against opponents they've attacked in melee make the character a great combination of sword and spell.

If you're looking to splash in some divine magic, you can do worse than multiclassing with the favored soul (Complete Divine). This class provides Charisma-based divine magic, along with energy resistance and the occasional bonus feat.

If you want to go a different route, try out the archivist (Heroes of Horror). It provides Intelligence-based divine magic along with some Knowledge skill-based abilities to help the character combat monsters. Although it's not a perfect combination, there's still much to be said for this combination.

Splashing a little incarnum into your character can help provide them with a few new abilities. Multiclassing as a soulborn (Magic of Incarnum) can be very beneficial, especially from the Arcane Focus soulmeld, which improves damage dealt by spells. At later levels, the character can take the Open Greater Chakra (Throat) feat to bind the Arcane Focus to their throat chakra and add a dazing effect to their damaging spells.

Prestige Class Suggestions
Warmages can meet the prerequisites for most of the same prestige classes that either a sorcerer or wizard can. There are however some options that compliment the warmage's particular focus more than others.

Mythic Exemplar (Complete Mage) - Although this prestige class requires a couple of ranks in a cross-class skill to meet the prerequisites, it is undoubtedly useful for religion-minded warmages. The class requires a devotion to destroying evil, but provides the character with bonus damage against evil creatures and provides a smite evil attack that applies to spells.

Jade Phoenix Mage (Tome of Battle) - This combination will likely require either preferably multiclassing with one of the martial adept classes (Crusader, Swordsage or Warblade) or the acquisition of the Martial Study and Martial Stance feats (all from Tome of Battle). The class allows the expenditure of spell slots to power melee attacks, new stances that improve spellcasting, the ability to apply metamagic feats for free by making martial strike and a powerful self-immolation ability. For warmages that want to couple their arcane skill with martial might, especially those that enjoy using fire spells, this is an excellent choice.

Mythic Exemplar (Complete Champion) - Not usually the first choice that comes to mind when playing a warmage, the mythic exemplar is still a very interesting choice (specifically when the character chooses to venerate Ktolemagne). This class provides bonuses to several wizard-used skills that the warmage doesn't normally have access to, they gain increases to Intelligence (and thus damage) and resistance to spells. The final ability provided for those that follow Ktolemagne is useless to a Warmage, but the permanent increase to Intelligence that accompanies it, may make the 10th level worth-while.

Osteomancer (Dragon Compendium) - Originally appearing in Dragon Magazine #317, this class received a minor revision, which makes it somewhat easier for warmages to meet the prerequisites (although they will still need to take some cross-class skill ranks). In exchange for spellcasting power, the osteomancer provides the character with complete control over their skeleton and the skeletons of other creatures. In addition to making them immune to disease and providing them with bone-weapons, the class also allows the character to control other creatures, sap their strength and unnerve opponents, all excellent abilities for a warmage looking to branch out.

Rainbow Servant (Complete Divine) - Do you want a whole lot of spells? Of course you do. The Rainbow Servant transforms the warmage from an engine of destruction into an engine of destruction that serves the forces of good. In addition to a trio of spell-like abilities and the ability to grow wings for a short period of time each day, this class also provides the warmage with access to three domains and eventually they learn to cast every spell from the cleric spell list.

Sand Shaper (Sandstorm) - Although both skill requirements are cross-class for the warmage, this class provides them with the unparalleled ability to survive in the desert. In addition to several abilities that improve your spellcasting within the wastes (or while carrying a quantity of sand), abilities that allow the character to form sand into useful objects and constructs and abilities that allow the warmage to heal and travel within a desert, this class also provides the warmage with a large number of spells known that can be used to augment their normal spell list.

War Wizard of Cormyr (Magic of Faerûn) - If you want to affect as many people as possible with as little effort, this is the choice for you. In addition to gaining a few bonus feats, this also provides the character with the ability to use Widen Spell without preparation or increased casting time multiple times per day. In addition, the range of a spell affected by Widen Spell is increased, making it easy for this class to affect huge numbers of opponents with a single spell.

New Material

Arcane Edge [General]
You can channel more energy into your arcane strikes.
    Prerequisites: Arcane Strike*, warmage edge ability.
    Benefit: When making an arcane strike, you may add the bonus damage from your warmage edge ability to your melee damage to all attacks in the round. For instance, a warmage with 18 Intelligence would deal an additional +4 bonus damage when making an arcane strike.
    Normal: When making an arcane strike you deal +1d4 points of damage per level of the spell slot sacrificed.
    * See Complete Warrior for feat information.

Cursed Destroyer [General]
You have learned to channel the powers of luck, even while practicing destructive magic.
    Prerequisites: Extra Edge, hexblade's curse ability.
    Benefit: Your hexblade and warmage levels stack for the purpose of determining the number of times per day you can use your hexblade's curse ability (but not for determining the power of your curses). For example, a 4th-level hexblade/4th-level warmage can use hexblade's curse two times per day, as if they were an 8th-level hexblade, but they do not have the ability to use a greater hexblade's curse.
    Your hexblade and warmage levels stack for determining the bonus damage provided by the Extra Edge feat. For example, a 4th-level hexblade/4th-level warmage would deal an additional +3 bonus damage with their warmage edge ability as if they were an 8th-level warmage.
    In addition, the armored mage ability provided by the warmage class, applies against hexblade spells as well as against warmage spells.
    Normal: The warmage's armored mage class ability only applies against warmage spells cast.

Martial Destroyer [General]
Your training combines a martial skill with arcane might, making you a potent, and exceptionally deadly combination.
    Prerequisites: Extra Edge, proficiency with all martial weapons.
    Benefit: Your fighter and warmage levels stack for the purpose of qualifying for feats that require a minimum fighter level, such as Greater Weapon Focus.
    Your fighter and warmage levels stack for determining the bonus damage provided by the Extra Edge feat. For example, a 4th-level fighter/4th-level warmage would deal an additional +3 bonus damage with their warmage edge ability as if they were an 8th-level warmage.
    Special: A fighter can select Martial Destroyer as one of her fighter bonus feats.

Primal Destroyer [General]
Your destructive magic is fueled in part by your primal emotions as you use your rage to help fuel your spells and vice-versa.
    Prerequisites: Extra Edge, rage ability.
    Benefit: Your barbarian and warmage levels stack for the purpose of determining the number of times per day you can use your barbarian's rage ability (but not for determining access to other class abilities such as greater rage). For example, a 4th-level barbarian/4th-level warmage can rage up to three times per day as if they were an 8th-level barbarian.
    Your barbarian and warmage levels stack for determining the bonus damage provided by the Extra Edge feat. For example, a 4th-level barbarian/4th-level warmage would deal an additional +3 bonus damage with their warmage edge ability as if they were an 8th-level warmage.

Warmage Scholar [General]
Your research into other magic has yielded some positive benefits.
    Prerequisites: Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks, warmage level 4th.
    Benefit: As a result of personal study, you may add an additional spell to your list of warmage spells known. This spell must be a wizard spell of the evocation school, and of a level no higher than that of the highest-level spell you know.
    Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time, you learn a new wizard spell from the evocation school at any level up to the highest level of spell you can cast.

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