Crafter battlemage

Hello I was hoping to get some advice on putting my new character together. My first event was e4 and I’m taking my sweet XP point and creating a new character with 9 XP.

I’m doing this on as much as a shoestring as possible. Therefore I’m making some mage armour and am planning on going rod and buckler (because I can also make a buckler). I’m interested in the warden archetype for Varushka. On the warden page (https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Warden) it says “Wardens usually have martial skills, but they also tend to pick up crafting skills as well so that they can equip themselves and their allies with useful items such as amulets, talismans, weapons and armour.” This got me thinking about a character that crafts himself magic items to amplify his combat effectiveness. One of the Company of the White Stag.

So the point breakdown is:
Mage - 2
Battlemage - 2
Artisan - 4

1 point spare

Which items would you choose?
How would you use the extra XP point to fill in what you can’t do with crafted items? An Extra Spell, some Lore?

Is this a worthwhile build or would you do something else with your mage armour?

I’d be inclined to get a spell, yes.

Possibly Repel, or Mend, or Heal. You won’t be doing a lot of spells without extra mana… which luckily is pretty cheap for the first level.

As for Artisan items… you start with some of your items, so that makes a good set of buffs…

For instance, mage armour:
Heros Girdle (+1 hits, 0 materials)
Wyvernsting Spaulders (cast Venom for free, twice a day, 9 materials)

Rods:
Storm Sceptre (gain repel as a spell, 0 materials)
Tumultous Gyre (repel for free, cast twice a day, 9 materials)
Roaring Chimera Rod (cast empower for free, three times a day, 18 materials)

Extra mana to fuel some a free spell, or your choice of rod, and you can do pretty well.

Artisan lends itself to buffing yourself and a group (who wants item X? Get me some…)…

How about as items,
Tacticians demand (empower as free spell) (0 mats)
Boarskin vest (+2 ranks of fortitude)
Sunfire Pectoral (+1 hit, + 1 mana) (16 mats)
Ironbound Axe (3 free Cleaves a day) (29 mats)
and a rank of extra mana for your 9th xp.

This would enable you to rock up in play equipped with the Sunfire Pectoral and the Tacticians demand, giving you 5 hits, 7 mana, and the ability to apply some good offensive buffs to your friends… and as you’ll have a Boarskin vest to give to your group, you’ll have plenty of friends :slight_smile:

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With that build you may not need to take any spells, just focus on items which give you the ones you want.

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I can confirm that artisan battlemage is very viable and works well.

I’d echo what Geoffry said about picking a good 0 mat item to start you out, but I’d have a slightly different focus in terms of items.

Item 1
Your choice from the 0 material rods are heal, repel, empower or weakness.

Of these I’d personally recommend the heal option, Forlorn hope. A well placed heal is likely to have more impact on the battle than an empower, takes less set up and has the added bonus that you can heal yourself in an emergency.

Alternatively you could pick up the Hero’s girdle (0 mats, +1 hit) and use you 10 mat slot on a rod that will give you free casts. They’re mostly once per day though.

Since you mention you want to keep costs down, you could also take a wand that gives you use of one of the healing spells (dirt cheap to buy the physrep) and go into the fight with a normal weapon (assuming you have or can borrow one) and buckler and use the wand for healing.

Item 2
The options for the max 10 materials item aren’t great. There are Tumultuous Gyre already mentioned, or the Quiet Word (1 free paralysis per day) in the rods section, there are some nice wands but you couldn’t bond to them at the same time as a rod. Your options are somewhat limited, although it is worth noting that you can take a second 0 material item if you want. You could always take hero’s girdle and have +1 hit whenever you didn’t have access to better armour. If you think you might pick up a staff later then there are some nice battle staffs in the 8-9 materials range.

Item 3 and 4
For the bigger items, sunfire pectoral is the classic, but don’t overlook warmages belt (11 mats free unstoppable once per day) and for the 4th slot Vambracers of regeneration (29 mats so you can’t start with them, but give you 2x free relentless per day)

A lot of this depends on what kind of battlemage you want to be. Do you want to spend your mana supporting others, supporting yourself, or killing people? There will be a certain amount of overlap but your choice really dictates which items will be most effective for you.

My main personal observation would be that in my experience the defensive mage armours had a far greater impact on my game than the offensive ones. (unless we’re talking about the really expensive options) Extra mana or an extra cast of a spell is nice, but the things kept me alive were the items that gave me the hero point abilities for free.

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Thank you all for your replies, this is really helpful. I’m really looking forward to trying the battlefield game but doubt (as a 40-year old noob) that I’m going to be good at it. So I guess survivability and support should be what I focus on. The suggestion that I find ways to help other people sounds like a good idea.

You never know until you try!

As with a lot of life, good cardio and a group of friends are excellent preparation :slight_smile:

I was a 42 year old noob at E1. It can be done.

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Glad to hear it! I’ll see you on the field.

You will find me and the rest of generation X bashing the millennials and generation Z exclaiming things like “Thundercats Ho!”, “I have the power!” And other references to days of tv with only 5 channels and dial up internet.

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As a newbie rod and buckler battlemage with no extra hits, you are not going to be a frontline fighter. You will have minimal hits, no shield or reach, high vulnerability to calls, and be wearing Mage Armour, which displays the words SHOOT ME to all archers.

With that in mind, I’d choose abilities that don’t need to to mix it up in a melee to be effective. Heal, Restore Limb, Repel and Shatter are all very good here. The latter two are combat spells but they don’t need to land on the opponent in order to be effective. You just need to hit their weapon or shield.

Getting hold of Restore Limb is very useful. loss of a leg probably kills as many battlemages as 0 Hits does as it’s harder to heal. The spell means you can quick-restore yourself. It’s also a lot cheaper to access than Vambraces of Regeneration or similar, and you can use it on allies too. Swift Cast Restore Limb is amazing and you’ll save so many PCs from being overrun.

I would take Restore Limb with your extra XP, and a Tumultuous Gyre as your 10 resource item. Then get Heal attached to you for a season with Illuminate the Higher Mind (Day Ritual, loads of people have it). That costs 2 mana crystals, and is a stopgap until you can buy Heal or maybe Repel at E2.

For the rest of your items I’d go with:

  • Hero’s Girdle or a Mendicant’s Cassock as your 2 month item. These are simple, useful items that sell like hot cakes and give you a reliable income and reason to talk to people (lots of PCs might want one of these). The Hero’s Girdle would mean no matter how well you do at trading, you can always make yourself a mage armour. The Cassock turns a skill that’s powered by a physical resource into one you can use free once a day, so it’s amazingly good at the price.
  • Warmage’s Belt for yourself as your <20 resource item. Because it’ll save your PC’s ass if you get shot while moving back, and it’s cheap.
  • Greensteel bracelets as your “any cost” item. You’re not obliged to take a high-cost item, and very often you end up rarely or never crafting your expensive thing. These are useful items that you can probably sell often in nations that use shields. Importantly, they mean if you can borrow a shield off someone, you have the skill to use it. Depending on nation, it can be quite easy to arrange a loan of a polearm or shield, on the understanding you’re responsible for replacing or fixing it if it’s damaged.
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This is an excellent idea. I personally preferred using a staff when I was battlemaging (because I was focussed on killing people and the range made a huge difference) but if your aim is survivability the difference between a buckler and a proper shield is huge.

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Don’t forget you can only use one item per “slot” (weapon, worn, talisman) so you might want to pick the best ones for each category or work out a good combination rather than just the overall best three.

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Come find the Imperial War College near the Sentinel Gate. We deal in weapon instruction.

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