Although I’ve never played one, I like the concept of the Fighter: Eldritch Knight. IMO, it’s the second best Fighter archetype second only to Champion or, perhaps, Battle Master. Combing wizardry with the core fighter class features can bring a lot of diverse power and great flavor if played right. When writing my own adventure, called Into Shadow Grove, I needed a core NPC that would be designed to help guide the party through this linear adventure. I needed a fighter-type class, strong with good AC and the ability to dole out great damage. However, I also needed this NPC to reflect the story behind the faction he came from, which a secretive group of high sages. In the story these sages have created a new variant of Eldritch Knight, equipped with uniquely-focused skills in order to fulfill their duties as a traveling “emissary.”
What is an Emissary? Formal definition: An emissary is an individual who is sent on a special mission, usually as a diplomatic representative.
The Battle Emissary variant is designed to specialize in three core areas: Combat, Arcana and Research and Documentation, as it relates to their assignments. He/She is one who goes out into fields of combat events, not just to engage in battle (usually to give retribution to wrong doers) –but to also conduct research and analysis and document their findings and return to these sages with this information.
What type of information does a Eldritch Knight Battle Emissary research and document? This is the flavor of the arch type. These emissaries will always carry two large tomes. After combat or during their travels or participation in various events, they will study and document the “who” and the “what” was involved in the battle or event, the magic that was used, what occurred at the battle/event, and they look for artifacts, interesting remains, and more. All of this information and physical items will be recorded into their tomes and brought to high sages for debriefing and analysis.
How the above works for the character and within gameplay: The Battle Emissary is an arcane fighter who constantly observes all that is around them. They are fascinated by artifacts, language, history and nature. Given their skill set features, they, along with other wizards, are the ones best suited to solve puzzles, determine the origins of things and guide their party in understanding dangers. They are usually very serious and take the research and study very seriously.
Single Magic school focus with advanced spell use: One unique aspect of this arch type is that they use magic differently than a traditional Eldritch Knight. At 3rd level, Battle Emissaries get a small package of low level spells that are designed to work with their particular duties and missions. This is considered “imperative emissary arcana.” These spells are:
- Poison Spray
- Comprehend Languages
- Produce Flame
In addition to this specific set of lower level spells, beginning at 5th they will choose one school of magic. All of their remaining spells must come from this chosen school. They will have a considerably smaller number of spells known as compared to the traditional Eldritch Knight, however they will be able to learn higher-level spells.
At 6th level the Battle Emissary gains “Battle Healing.” Once per long rest they may cast Healing Word at 3rd level as a bonus action and it levels up from there.
There are three main considerations with this archetype build:
- Beyond their four ‘imperative” spells, all additional spells must be from their chosen school of magic, however they can choose them from any spell casting class (except sorcerer)
- They choose these spells at an elevated spell level as compared to the traditional Eldritch Knight
- They will get a considerably smaller amount of overall spells known/spell slots
There are other interesting aspects to this Fighter archetype. Download Eldritch Knight Battle Emissary breakdown here.