Character Classes


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.

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.


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 fighters or arcane spellcasters and only later contemplate embracing their opposite.

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. Halflings, gnomes, dwarves, and half-orcs rarely enter this class.

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.


A duskblade can take the fighter's place in the front ranks of a party or ensorcel his foes from a distance like a wizard. While you aren't quite as good as either a dedicated fighter or a dedicated wizard or sorcerer in those roles, you're reasonably effective in either, and you can change roles on a round-byround basis as needed.

Choosing the path of the duskblade means you don't have to choose between being a combat specialist and a spellcaster. You enjoy the best of both worlds, and you'll undertake any quest that promises to improve either your spellcasting or your melee prowess. Driven to simultaneously master both swordplay and spellcasting, you might devote yourself to delving into ancient ruins to learn more about the original duskblades or wander far and wide looking for other duskblades interested in restoring the class to its previous glory.

The demands of martial and arcane discipline don't leave much room for religion in the typical duskblade. Goodaligned duskblades typically venerate Corellon Larethian, even if they aren't elves, because he supposedly taught the first duskblades the secret of combining melee combat with arcane casting. A few worship Boccob as the personification of their own mastery of magic, while more honor Wee Jas, who exemplifies both the magic they wield and also the death that they deal.

You get along well with members of other classes who share a rigorous devotion to a chosen path, such as paladins, dragon shamans, and monks. You are the object of envy to sorcerers and of admiration to bards, who sometimes try to emulate your abilities (often with disastrous results). Among members of the two classes whose portfolios you draw from, fighters and wizards, some view you with disdain while others are fascinated by your unique meld of melee combat and arcane spellcasting. Barbarians, clerics, and knights tend to distrust you, while rogues, rangers, druids, and beguilers view you and other duskblades with indifference.

You might sometimes feel you have too many options, too many things you can do in a single round. Use that flexibility to confound your enemies, outfighting what you can't outspell and outspelling what you can't outfight. The monster that engages you in melee, hoping to get an attack of opportunity that spoils your next spell, is in for a surprise - a surprise consisting of three feet of razor-sharp steel.

Most of a duskblade's spells target a single creature or have a range of touch, so you are most effective when you single out and focus upon defeating a single opponent. Your spells that affect areas are limited mostly to cones, which means you need to be on or near the front lines to get the greatest effect from them. Even if you come close to being as effective as a fighter or a sorcerer in his chosen field, you're certainly not as effective as a fighter and a sorcerer. You'll occasionally cast a spell and strike with your blade in the same round, but pure spellcasters such as the sorcerer are more able to affect a crowd of foes or blast a group of opponents. That said, actions are the D&D game's most fundamental currency, and you'll be able to take advantage of additional actions in the round, as you combine spellcasting with melee attacks and eventually gain the ability to cast any spell you know as a swift action a number of times per day.

Like the sorcerer, you face a crucial decision: which spells to put on your spells known list. The offensive spells on your spell list fall into three primary categories: touch spells, single-target ranged spells, and short-range cones. Choose at least one touch spell, such as shocking grasp, to take advantage of your arcane channeling ability. You should also take a movement spell, such as swift expeditious retreat, and an attack-enhancing spell such as true strike or magic weapon. Future spell selections can tailor your repertoire to the role you find yourself most commonly filling, whether it be a front-line fighter or a finesse caster.

Assign as many skill points as possible to Concentration, Knowledge (arcana), and Sense Motive. For feats, take the Weapon Focus (longsword) feat and also consider sudden metamagic feats, such as Sudden Silent and Sudden Empower, both from the Complete Arcane supplement.

Do not neglect to put some thought into your gear as well. Spend 30% of your wealth on the heaviest armor you can manage without risking arcane spell failure chance (often mithral and/or having the twilight special ability). Spend 20% on your primary weapon and 20% on items that improve your Intelligence, Strength, and saving throws. Spend 20% on wands and scrolls and the remaining 10% on miscellaneous items and a basic adventuring package.

Your spellcasting and fighting prowess also allow you the opportunity to enter into prestige classes that are suited to either melee or spellcasting.


The duskblade combines the best features of the fighter and wizard. Duskblades make dangerous foes because they have so many options, magical and martial, available to them every round; their ability to deliver touch spells through a melee attack is particularly potent.

The life of a duskblade is one of constant training. Each duskblade must simultaneously be a swordmaster, a deft spellcaster, and an expert in the esoteric techniques of arcane channeling. Each of those elements requires years to master; put them together, and you have a training regimen that only the most driven characters can maintain. The typical duskblade is doing calisthenics in the castle courtyard before the other characters wake up in the morning and practicing somatic gestures long after everyone else has gone to sleep in the evening. Exceptions exist, of course, but in general duskblades have a reputation as driven, focused individuals.

Since duskblades are few and far between, they are natural loners, wandering far and wide in search of adventures that will prove a suitable challenge for their unique combination of abilities. Such is the case with Gwilor the Swift, a wild elf who adventured in the woodlands of his people for a century or so before he committed himself entirely to a crusade against the duergar and spent the rest of his long career on extended forays into the underground.

Other duskblades join like-minded adventuring groups. Given their own mix of melee and spellcasting abilities, duskblades are willing to try unusual combinations, such as in the case of Taiglin the Fair, a gray elf duskblade who formed a highly successful party with a human hexblade and a halfling warmage.

Still others are restless, moving from group to group and area to area in search of new challenges. For example, Hallia Yelebane, a self-taught half-elf duskblade, rarely stays in the same country more than a month or two. She arrives, seeks out a suitable challenge for her talents, throws herself into that adventure, and then moves on. In the course of her career (brief by elven standards), she has rescued a halfling metropolis from a cabal of mind flayers who were "farming" the small humanoids for their brains, teamed with a githzerai monk to defeat a famed githyanki knight (and claimed his silver sword as her own), and exposed malenti infiltrators in an aquatic elf community and thus turned back a sahuagin invasion, along with other exploits. Hallia's nickname derives from her unexpected victory, early in her career, over one of her fellow duskblades, the elf Yele, who until then had boasted that he had never been defeated in a one-on-one duel. The two became fast friends and now make a point to duel at least once every year.

Because of the elven heritage of the class, many duskblades gravitate toward the elf lands even if they aren't elves themselves. Knowledge of duskblade fighting techniques is sufficiently rare that no large company of duskblades exists - or, if one does, it's a well-kept secret. For centuries, the class has been sustained by nothing more than solitary masters who teach duskblade skills and spells to worthy apprentices, and by those who have taught themselves the techniques from long-neglected tomes and training manuals. More recently, some self-taught duskblades have appeared who master the difficult techniques required by the class through some innate instinct. No matter what their origin, all are equals in the eyes of their fellow duskblades.

Duskblades love to test themselves against each other; on the rare occasions when the paths of two duskblade adventurers happen to cross, they will always make time for a friendly duel before they part. Given elf life spans, some duskblades maintain friendly rivalries that can last for centuries.

Few common folk understand who or what duskblades truly are, and most assume those duskblades they happen to meet are simply fighters with a bit of sorcerer ability (or vice versa). Legends speak of elf heroes skilled with both blade and spell, but these tales do little to inform anyone of the specific abilities of the duskblades. Most adventurers react to duskblades with some wariness because a duskblade's combination of abilities makes it very hard to judge how powerful or capable such a character is in any situation.


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.


Duskblades fit easily into an ongoing game because of their small numbers and enigmatic mix of abilities. The presence of the class is easily explained as your players explore more of the world - they simply hadn't encountered any duskblades until now, or had mistaken those they did encounter for multiclass fighter/wizards. Now that they've discovered this aspect of the setting, however, they're free to multiclass into the duskblade class or to begin a new character with levels only in the new class.

One of the more interesting ways to adapt this class to your campaign is to keep the class abilities more or less the same but to change the race involved. For example, the githyanki have a tradition of multiclass fighter/wizards known as gish; these individuals could easily be reconceived as a gith duskblade class. Unexpected combinations would be the most striking, such as a previously unrevealed halfling duskblade class. After all, few expect halflings to engage in melee except when making sneak attacks, but when magically boosted by bull's strength and the like and fighting with oversized weapons, they could prove unexpectedly deadly against those who underestimate them - which, after all, is the essence of the duskblade class.

An encounter with a duskblade should highlight his combined use of spells and melee abilities. The duskblade should use his spells to force the PCs to close into melee with him, and then he should batter them with a barrage of touch spells delivered through his melee attacks. Fighting a villainous duskblade should be tricky, because he'll use the tools that are most effective against each character (for example, spells requiring Reflex saves against the fighter and powerful melee attacks against the wizard).

EL 7: Yele(NG male elf duskblade 7) has always been drawn to both physical combat and the study of magic. As a duskblade, he combines the two into one seamless fighting style. An adventurer by trade, Yele could encounter the characters as a friend or a foe. If as a foe, it is because some enemy of the adventurers has encouraged Yele to go after them for some reason, perhaps to gain some magical treasure currently in their possession that would significantly boost either his swordplay or his spellcasting. If as a friend, Yele could join with the adventurers to search for some lost piece of arcane lore or because their quest strikes him as likely to prove an interesting challenge for his talents.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The duskblade's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge(all skills, taken individually) (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Duskblade

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Spells per Day
0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Arcane attunement, armored mage (light) 3 2
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Combat Casting 4 3
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Arcane channeling 5 4
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 +2 +5 Spell power +2 6 6 3
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Armored mage (heavy shield) 6 6 5
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6   6 7 6
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 6 7 6 2
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
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 6 8 8 6
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Arcane channeling (full attack) 6 9 8 6 2
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9   6 9 8 7 3
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
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 6 10 9 8 6 2
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Spell power +5 6 10 9 8 7 3
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 6 10 10 9 7 5
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Quick cast 4/day 6 10 10 10 8 6

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the duskblade.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Duskblades are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as all armors and shields (except tower shields).

Spells: A duskblade casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the duskblade spell list. 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: The Duskblade. In addition, you receive bonus spells per day if you have a high Intelligence score. A duskblade's caster level is equivalent to his class level.

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.


Variant Classes
Alternative Class Features
Dead Levels
Substitution Levels

Dead Levels

The duskblade has six dead levels, but gains a single new spell at every level with a generous number of spell per day to cast from their repertoire. Duskblades also enjoy a full base attack bonus and can wear up to medium armor without spell failure. While their spell selection is limited, duskblades are not shy in the arcane or physical power departments. As such, their dead level ability should be restrictive at best.

Elven Insight (Ex): At 8th level, a duskblade better understands how elves think after having pursued their ancient racial profession to this point. A duskblade can use their Intelligence ability modifier (instead of Charisma) when making Diplomacy and Gather Information checks with elves or in elven communities. At 9th level, a duskblade gains a +1 bonus on these skill checks. These bonuses increase by +1 at 12th, 14th, 17th, and 19th level.