Swordsage (5e Class)

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Creating a Swordsage


Quick Build

You can make a swordsage easily by following these suggestions. First, Dexterity or Wisdom should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the hermit background.

Class Features

As a Swordsage, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Swordsage level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per Swordsage level after first


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Perception, Stealth.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a rapier or (b) a shortsword
  • (a) a shortsword or (b) a light crossbow and a quiver of 20 bolts
  • (a) leather armor or (b) two daggers
  • (a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack

The Swordsage

Level Proficiency
Features Maneuvers
1st +2 Martial Initiate, Spiritual Knowledge, Unarmored Defense 1 (6) 3 (4)
2nd +2 Discipline Focus (1) 2 (7) 3 (4) 2
3rd +2 Martial Enlightenment 3 (9) 3 (5) 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 (10) 3 (5) 2
5th +3 Martial Enlightenment class feature 5 (12) 4 (6) 3
6th +3 Discipline Focus (2) 6 (13) 4 (6) 3
7th +3 Evasion 7 (15) 4 (7) 3 (4)
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 8 (16) 4 (7) 3 (4)
9th +4 Martial Enlightenment class feature 9 (18) 5 (8) 3 (4)
10th +4 Discipline Focus (3) 10 (19) 5 (8) 3 (4)
11th +4 11 (21) 5 (9) 4 (5)
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 12 (22) 5 (9) 4 (5)
13th +5 Martial Enlightenment class feature 13 (24) 6 (10) 4 (5)
14th +5 Discipline Focus (4) 14 (25) 6 (10) 4 (6)
15th +5 Martial Enlightenment class feature 15 (27) 6 (11) 4 (6)
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 16 (28) 6 (11) 4 (6)
17th +6 17 (30) 7 (12) 5 (7)
18th +6 Discipline Focus (5) 18 (31) 7 (12) 5 (7)
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 19 (33) 7 (13) 5 (8)
20th +6 Dual Boost 20 (34) 7 (13) 5 (8)

Martial Initiate

Maneuvers Known

You begin your journey with knowledge of one martial maneuver. The paths available to you are from the Desert Wind, Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon, and Tiger Claw disciplines. Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown on the Maneuvers Known column of the Swordsage table.

See the maneuvers description for more information on maneuvers, which rank of maneuvers you are able to take, and the prerequisites for specific maneuvers.

Maneuvers Readied

You can all of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by meditating and exercising for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to meditate again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in meditation, you can change your readied maneuvers.

You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (unless you recover them, as described below).

You can recover an expended maneuver by spending an action to quickly meditate. If you complete your meditation, you refresh all expended maneuvers. You cannot initiate a maneuver on the same round as which you regain them.

Stances Known

At 2nd level you begin play with knowledge of two stances from any discipline open to swordsages for which you meet the prerequisites. You learn additional stances as shown on the Stances Known column of the Swordsage table. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a bonus action. You are unable to concentrate on a spell while you are in a stance and are unable to maintain a stance while raging.

Saving Throws

Some of your martial maneuvers require your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver's effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Martial Maneuver save DC = 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Dexterity or Wisdom modifier (your choice)

Spiritual Training

Your esoteric training grants you access to additional maneuvers learned, readied, and stances known. You learn four additional maneuvers of the novice tier, at first level, and can learn one more at 3rd level. You learn additional maneuvers of the Initiate tier that you qualify for at 5th, 7th, and 9th level, of the Adept tier at 11th, 13th, and 15th level, and of the Master Tier at 17th and 19th level.

At 3rd level and every four levels afterwards, you may ready an additional maneuver you have learned as part of this class.

Finally, at 7th, 15th, and 19th level, you learn another stance for which you qualify.

Unarmored Defense

Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

Discipline Focus

Upon reaching 2nd level, you may select a discipline for which you know at least one maneuver in which you want to specialize.

When you make a strike with the selected discipline, you may use Wisdom in place of the normal ability modifier for your attack roll, and add your Wisdom modifier to damage.

At 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level you may select an additional discipline to gain this benefit.

Martial Enlightenment

At 3rd level, you choose which path you follow towards enlightenment and towards perfection of both your body and mind. Choose the Enlightenment of the Jade Phoenix, or the Enlightenment of the Shadowed Sun, detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 15th level.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.


At 7th level, your instinctive agility lets you dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a blue dragon's lightning breath or a fireball spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Dual Boost

Upon reaching 20th level, you are so fast that you can activate two boosts with a bonus action. You may use this class feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) and regain uses at the end of a long rest.

Martial Enlightenment


Enlightenment of the Jade Phoenix



When you reach 3rd level, you augment your martial prowess with the ability to cast spells.

Cantrips. You learn two cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn an additional wizard cantrip of your choice at 10th level.

Spell Slots. The Enlightenment of the Jade Pheonix Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your wizard spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. For example, if you know the 1st-level spell shield and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast shield using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know three 1st-level wizard spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the abjuration and evocation spells on the wizard spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Eldritch Knight Spellcasting table shows when you learn more wizard spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be an abjuration or evocation spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.

The spells you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th level can come from any school of magic.

Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots, and it must be an abjuration or evocation spell, unless you're replacing the spell you gained at 3rd, 8th, 14th, or 20th level from any school of magic.

Spellcasting Ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through meditation and insight. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Enlightenment of the Jade Pheonix Spellcasting

Spell Slots per Spell Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
3rd 2 3 2
4th 2 4 3
5th 2 4 3
6th 2 4 3
7th 2 5 4 2
8th 2 6 4 2
9th 2 6 4 2
10th 3 7 4 3
11th 3 8 4 3
12th 3 8 4 3
13th 3 9 4 3 2
14th 3 10 4 3 2
15th 3 10 4 3 2
16th 3 11 4 3 3
17th 3 11 4 3 3
18th 3 11 4 3 3
19th 3 12 4 3 3 1
20th 3 13 4 3 3 1

Mystic Phoenix Stance

Upon reaching 5th level, you unlock the first mystery of the jade phoenix, the mystic phoenix stance. While you are in a stance from any swordsage discipline you know, you can forgo its normal benefit as a bonus action to gain the effect of mystic phoenix stance. This ability lasts as long as you would maintain the stance. You can also stop using mystic phoenix stance and resume gaining the normal benefit of the stance as a bonus action.

While you maintain this stance, you are able to maintain concentration on a spell granted to you by this subclass and you have advantage on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration on spell. In addition, when you first activate this ability, you can choose to expend a spell slot. If you do, any time you take damage from an attack, reduce the damage dealt to you by an amount equal to the level of the spell slot expended.

Firebird Stance

When you reach 9th level, you unlock the second mystery of the jade phoenix, the firebird stance. While you are in a stance from any swordsage discipline you know, you can forgo its normal benefit as a bonus action to gain the effect of mystic phoenix stance. This ability lasts as long as you would maintain the stance. You can also stop using mystic phoenix stance and resume gaining the normal benefit of the stance as a bonus action.

While you maintain this stance, you are able to maintain concentration on a spell granted to you by this subclass and you have resistance to fire damage. In addition, when you first activate this ability, you can choose to expend a spell slot. If you do, a fiery aura covers you, and when a creature enters an area within 10 feet of you for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 1d8 fire damage per spell level of the expended spell, but to a maximum of 4d8. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage.

War Magic

Beginning at 13th level, when you use your action to initiate a strike, you can cast a cantrip as a bonus action on a successful hit.

Emerald Immolation

At 15th level, you can perform the awesome emerald immolation. You explode in a searing blast of green fire that forces all creatures within 20 feet of you to make a Dexterity saving throw or take 12d6 fire damage. Creatures that save take half as much damage. Extraplanar creatures that fail their saves must immediately succeed on a Wisdom save against your Martial Initiate DC or be dismissed to their native planes as though they had been hit by the Dismissal effect of the dispel evil and good spell. This blast utterly destroys you, but 1d6 rounds later, you re-form in the exact spot where you were when you employed this ability. You are stunned for 1 round after you reappear, but you are healed of all damage, as well as the blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, poisoned, and restrained conditions. Any equipment you were wearing or objects you were holding or carrying when you used this ability re-form with you, exactly as they were.

Enlightenment of the Shadowed Sun


Martial Arts

As one who follows the enlightenment of the shadowed sun, your very body becomes a lethal weapon. Beginning at 3rd level, your unarmed strike count as a finesse weapon, you can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike, increasing to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 11th level, and 1d10 at 17th level.

Touch of the Shadow Sun

Despite the fact that you know that you are inherently a force for good, you also realize that there is evil in the hearts of all beings. In an attempt to gain balance, you wield the energy of both the dark and light aspects of your being. At 5th level, on any turn in which you have successfully hit a creature, you may spend a bonus action to deal 1d6 necrotic damage to your target. In the round after you use this ability, you can touch a creature as an action and heal an amount of damage equal to the damage you dealt with your negative energy touch on the previous round as long as the original creature touched has a CR equal or more than half your level. If the target of this healing touch makes no effort to prevent you from touching him, you can touch the creature as a bonus action. You cannot use both aspects of this ability on the same round, nor can you use the negative energy touch again in a round after you have already successfully used it.

Increase the damage dealt by this feature increases to 2d6 at 9th level, 3d6 at 13th level, and 4d6 at 15th level.

In addition, your unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

9, 13, 15

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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (358 Articles)
Facts about "Swordsage (5e Class)"
AuthorGhostwheel +
Hit Die1d8 +
Identifier5e Class +
Length20 +
RatingUndiscussed +
SaveStrength + and Dexterity +
SkillAcrobatics +, Athletics +, History +, Insight +, Perception + and Stealth +
SummaryA combination of martial arts and mysticism makes this martial adept a fearsome foe. +
TitleSwordsage +