A while back one of the player’s in our campaign was looking to make a character that was primarily a martial type, but could augment their fighting with some magical ability. She ultimately wound up settling on a Elven Hexblade (which turned out to be an awful choice), but looking back I think what she was sort of describing as wanting was the Abjurant Champion. The Abjurant Champion has to be one of the most powerful prestige classes in the game, it’s almost stupid how good it is. Not only does it have obscene amounts of power, but also really has no downside. It’s supposed to be a fighting type who has some magic to help out, but it really has so much more going for it. It’s the kind of character that, unless everyone else in the game also makes high powered characters, will completely outshine the rest of the party.
So why is this class so good? For starters it is extremely easy to get into. All it takes is a Base Attack of +5, 1st level of Arcane spells, Combat Casting, and proficiency with one martial weapon. The weapon proficiency is a throw away, one level of a whole bunch of classes will get that. Combat Casting is exactly the feat that this character should have, of course a character that casts spells in combat would have it. The base attack means that this character is going to be a semi accomplished warrior by the time they enter the class, it’s really the only thing that even remotely balances the class by delaying how long it takes to get into it. Many other prestige classes use bizarre requirements to get into them (like the Frenzied Berserker or Fochluchan Lyrist) in order to balance them out a bit. No such tactic with the Abjurant Champion. My personal favorite entrance is a Ranger 4/Wizard 2, but really a whole bunch of options can work. One of the few things that limits the class is that it only runs for five levels, so at some point the character will have to switch to a non Abjurant Champion class.
Once the character walks through the entrance door into the class they are literally showered with abilities, some of which are the better ones in the game. Full base attack and full spell casting progression are enough to carry most classes and are certainly the focal point of the Champion. In addition they get a d10 hit die and a good Will save. (By comparision the Eldritch Knight is much harder to get into, also has a full base attack, loses a level of spell casting, and has a d6 for hit die.) The abjurant armor ability helps shore up the biggest kink in the (non)armor of the class and it increases as they get better. Extended abjuration makes it even better.
Swift abjuration is totally out of control. Champions get it at 3rd level and it allows them to Quicken any abjuration at no additional level cost. Wow. One of the things about this ability that is really strange is that the maximum level spell that can be quickened is half the class level rounded up. Nothing in D&D is rounded up, numbers are always rounded down. It’s like they were rewriting the rules to make this class even better. As for the actual ability itself; quickened Dispel Magic during combat is pretty awesome. The low level abjuration spells as a whole are not the best options for quickened combat spells, but it is a real nice feature. And I’m sure that the non core books offer a bunch of nice spells for this ability. To balance the class a little bit it would make more sense if the class granted abjuration and one or two other schools, instead of all of them. Transformation would work great for this. How can a character find time to excel at fighting, spellcasting, and other handy tricks? Perhaps an Intelligence minimum to get into the class? 18? A really corny feat like Brachiation? Something?
It’s not so much that the class is just sheer power manifested into a D&D character, it’s that it is so much better than the characters that came before it that are supposed to do similar things. Though it makes a hell of an opponent.