Wizard 101: Bladesinging From Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Bladesinging is the subclass for wizards who want swordplay to supplement their spells. Alongside the Eldritch Knight — which fulfills the opposite niche for fighters who want spells to supplement their swordplay — the bladesinger is reminiscent of hybrid classes in previous editions of D&D, like fourth edition’s swordmage. It's an excellent choice for anyone hoping to combine the arcane arts with useful melee capabilities.

The bladesinger made its fifth edition debut in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. There, it was restricted to elf and half-elf characters due to the Forgotten Realms’ traditional portrayal of this ancient elven battle art, which combines sword thrusts with dancelike movements. A revised version was published in Tasha’s Guide to Everything. It removed the racial restriction and includes a few key changes which are outlined below:

Bladesinging features

Training in War and Song

Upon choosing this Arcane Tradition at 2nd level, bladesingers gain proficiency with light armor and one type of one-handed melee weapon of their choice. They also gain proficiency in Performance if they don’t have it already.

While the Bladesinging tradition might have originated amongst elven sword masters, it’s important to note that it no longer requires the use of a blade. As outlined in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, various Bladesinging styles exist, with each named after an animal and specializing in a different type of weapon. The cat style focuses on swords, the bird style utilizes hafted weapons like axes and picks, and the snake style uses weapons reminiscent of its coiled namesake, like flails or whips. So don’t let yourself be limited by the name of this Arcane Tradition — if you want to make a blacksmith-turnt-bladesinger who fights with a hammer, so be it.


Also at 2nd level, bladesingers receive the key feature of their Arcane Tradition: Bladesong. Even wizards without any interest in getting into melee range will benefit from it. As a bonus action, you can start a Bladesong, which lasts for 1 minute and confers the following benefits:

  • An AC bonus equal to your Intelligence modifier, with a minimum of +1.
  • Increased walking speed by 10 feet.
  • Advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks.
  • A bonus on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration on a spell. This bonus is equal to your Intelligence modifier, with a minimum of +1.

You can end the Bladesong at any time, and can only activate it if you aren’t wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield, which are two conditions that can end the song early. The song also ends if you are incapacitated or use two hands to make an attack.

The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide version of the bladesinger limited the Bladesong’s usage to twice per short or long rest. Notably, Tasha’s Cauldron to Everything has tweaked this, allowing bladesingers to invoke their song a number of times equal to their proficiency bonus, with all uses regained on a long rest. This allows bladesingers to use their claim to fame more often as they level up, though they still need to be judicious in choosing which battles warrant their song.

Extra Attack

At 6th level, bladesingers can attack twice whenever they take the Attack action. They can cast a cantrip in place of one of the attacks, which is another handy addition that the Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything version of this subclass instituted. Not only does this change tie in with the image of a magus using one hand to sling spells as the other slashes away, it also ups the bladesinger’s flexibility. No longer do bladesingers need to choose between making two attacks or casting booming blade — now they can do both.

Song of Defense

At 10th level, bladesingers can absorb damage when their Bladesong is active by using a reaction to expend one spell slot. The damage is reduced by an amount equal to five times the spell slot’s level. Losing a spell slot in such a manner obviously isn’t ideal, but it might mean the difference between a bladesinger staying on the battlefield or getting KO’ed by a critical hit from a boss monster’s legendary action.

Song of Victory

At 14th level, bladesingers can add their Intelligence modifier (at a minimum of +1) to the damage of their melee attacks while their Bladesong is active. Considering that most wizards prioritize Intelligence as their highest ability score, this feature is the perfect chance to turn intellect into high damage output.

House Dimir artwork


Bladesingers are a fine choice for players hoping to build a variation of the classic roleplaying “gish,” which is a character that is skilled in both physical combat and magic. With access to the most flexible spell list in Dungeons & Dragons, bladesingers can choose between slinking into melee range with shadow blade and tossing fireball from the backline. Unlike similar gish subclasses like the Eldritch Knight, Bladesinging gives you full spell slot progression, allowing you to lean more on defensive spells like shield and absorb elements to stay on your feet.


Bladesingers can hold their own in combat, but when compared to the Eldritch Knight and the Hexblade, they’re squishy combatants. They have to make do with d6 Hit Dice and light armor proficiency. They’re also heavily dependent on their Bladesong, so if you’re facing multiple combat encounters in a row, expect to end up in the backline at some point.

Lastly, when it comes to spell selection, you might find yourself having to choose between spells that make you better at being in melee range and spells that help you contribute to combat when you're out of Bladesong uses.

Meet Dram Dragoyin, the half-orc bladesinger

The old man tried to scream, but a punch to his gut from the thug’s knuckle dusters knocked the wind out from him. Falling to the ground with tears in his eyes, the old man helplessly watched as the crooks snatched his purse, eagerly removing its coins like ravenous hyenas.

Suddenly, the swish of a rapier cut through the darkness, and one of the thugs yelped, dropping the purse. The other swung his fists at a broad-shouldered figure who stepped from the shadows, but to no avail. With another strike from the blade and a blast of thunderous magic that reverberated throughout the alleyway, both thugs were down on the ground.

“They won’t trouble you any longer,” the half-orc murmured as he helped the old man up, tucking his rapier away with a lithe, cat-like adroitness.

orc heroDram Dragoyin is a half-orc who learned the art of bladesinging from his husband, a half-elf named Zannan Nith’gem. A Baldur’s Gate resident who previously worked as a transporter of rare books, Dram met Zannan 10 years ago when thieves tried to assault him on his way to the great library of Candlekeep. While Dram could hold his own against the ruffians, his skill was nothing compared to that of the daring half-elf, a practitioner of the Bladesinging cat style who had travelled the Sword Coast for years as an adventurer.

Dram was fascinated by Zannan, and begged him to share the secrets of his sword artistry. A friendship emerged, and this friendship soon turned into love as the two bonded over their mixed heritage and shared a propensity for helping those in need.

The pair took up residence in the Outer City of Baldur’s Gate as private investigators, helping locals who were ignored by the Watch and Flaming Fist. Stories of the courageous duo, both wielding rapiers with supernatural speed and power, began to flow through the city, and Dram and Zannan became targets of the Guild, the notorious crime syndicate of Baldur’s Gate.

Most recently, Dram and Zannan have been investigating a series of smokepowder thefts that might be connected with the Guild. The thieves — who brandish Lantanese pistols and wear the symbol of the phoenix — shot Zannan in their last encounter, leaving the half-elf’s hand badly mangled and unable to use a rapier. Dram has spent the past several weeks caring for his beloved, but is eager to bring these gunslingers to justice with the merciless crescendo of his Bladesong.

Playing Dram

Dram is a chaotic good wizard with the Investigator background from Van Richten’s Guide to Everything. His highest ability score is Intelligence, and his second highest is Strength. Dram’s Charisma and Dexterity scores are low, though Bladesong grants him advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks. One can imagine that his bladesinging movements lack the natural grace of Zannan’s, but make up for this deficit with stronger, more aggressive attacks. 

Dram has proficiency in the following skills and tools:

Dram began his magic journey by secretly studying spellbooks while transporting them to Candlekeep years ago. Zannan has since helped him learn more spells, and the half-orc has the War Caster feat to supplement his spellcasting in combat. Dram’s preferred cantrips, which he’ll often use in place of his Extra Attack, are blade ward, booming bladegreen-flame blade, sword burst, and true strike.

Dram will readily use misty step and mirror image to dart around his enemies, plus shield and absorb elements to avoid damage. The strongest spell in his arsenal is steel wind strike.

Most of Dram’s other spells were chosen due to their usefulness on investigations. These include alarmcharm person, see invisibility, and locate creature. Dram also has greater invisibility at his disposal in case he needs to spy on a group of criminals and then spring into action to catch them by surprise.

While normally calm and collected, Dram can turn angry if anyone dares to make a snide comment about someone with orcish blood using the traditionally elven Bladesong. He’s also fiercely defensive of Zannan, and has come to blows in the past against prejudiced remarks that mock the union of a half-orc and a half-elf.

sample character sheet

Playing Dram as an NPC

Dram can be a great ally in any campaign taking place in Baldur's Gate. He will be infinitely grateful to any adventurer who can heal Zannan’s grievous injuries with regenerate. His investigation into smokepowder thieves bearing the symbol of the phoenix was inspired by a line in the Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Gazetteer, and could very well be the setup for an epic showdown of guns versus swords in the grimy streets of the Gate!

Sling a song of spells and blades

Previously limited due its racial restriction, the Bladesinging Arcane Tradition is now open to all heroes who have dreamed of spinning across the battlefield with finesse and panache. For those who like to mix magic with their melee or reminisce about D&D’s older classes like the spellsword, the Bladesong might provide just the right tune.

Jeremy Blum (@PixelGrotto) is a journalist, gaming blogger, comic book aficionado, and fan of all forms of storytelling who rolled his first polyhedral dice while living in Hong Kong in 2017. Since then, he's never looked back and loves roleplaying games for the chance to tell the tales that have been swirling in his head since childhood.


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