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Elven Blademaster
The blademaster, or "taurmacil" in elvish, masters body, mind, weapon, and will. He devotes his strength and his life to the service of a master or ideal - typically his Shogun - which he accepts as greater than himself. Some blademasters become masters in their own right, but even one who becomes an emperor sees himself as a servant of some higher ideal.

Most characters who become blademasters aspire to the class from the beginning of their careers. Often, other blademasters or high-ranking officials in the elvish military train likely young men and women in the principles of service, the arts of war, and the purity of mind and body necessary to become a blademaster. Even those who do not qualify at the end often become powerful adventurers.

A blademaster can be a lone adventurer, serving an ideal or attempting to fulfill a lifetime goal. Some blademasters swear fealty to worthy persons or leaders, becoming trusted bodyguards, warlords, or leaders themselves. War dancers above all know the strenuous road a blademaster must travel, and some tread that path. Monks and paladins likewise are familiar with the hardships of intense training, and can choose to become blademasters. Fighters value the might of the blademaster, and some clerics have been known to join their ranks. Few mages or sorcerers achieve blademaster status, and bards and barbarians find themselves particularly unsuited to service as a blademaster. While it might be thought that a rogue would make a poor blademaster, such characters are not unheard of and can be deadly adversaries.

RequirementsEdit

To qualify to become a blademaster, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any lawful.

Race: Elf.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.

Skills: Concentration 7 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks.

Feats: Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (any weapon).

Special: Oath of Service: The character must complete an oath of service to either an overlord or an ideal.

Game Rule InformationEdit

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills: The following are the class skills (and the key ability for each) for the blademaster prestige class: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility & royalty) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Sense Motive (Wis).

Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The BlademasterEdit

Level

Base Attack

Fort

Ref

Will

Special

1

+1 +2 +0 +2 Signature Weapon, Weapon Training, Oath of Service

2

+2 +3 +0 +3 Power Surge

3

+3 +3 +1 +3 Afterimage

4

+4 +4 +1 +4 Parting the Silk

5

+5 +4 +1 +4 Withstand

6

+6 +5 +2 +5 The Void

7

+7 +5 +2 +5 Eyes of the Crane

8

+8 +6 +2 +6 Instill

9

+9 +6 +3 +6 Sheathing the Sword

10

+10 +7 +3 +7 Warlord

Class FeaturesEdit

The following are the class features of the blademaster class:

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

Blademasters gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Signature Weapon (Su)

The blademaster chooses one of his melee weapons with which he has the Weapon Focus feat to become a signature weapon. Most blademasters choose a sword for this weapon, but even a blademaster's natural weapons (if any) can be chosen. If the weapon is a manufactured one, it must be of at least masterwork quality. It can also be a magical weapon. A blademaster's imbuements can stack with existing magical enchantments, though the weapon still cannot have more of an effective bonus than the table below displays for the blademaster's level.

Upon taking his first level in the class, a blademaster gains the ability to establish a link with his signature weapon. The character focuses part of his life energy on the weapon, making it more effective in his hands and his hands alone. The process for imbuing a signature weapon with power is a simple one. The character must find a quiet, safe spot to meditate (and pray, for those blademasters who serve deities) for 24 hours. At the end of this meditation, the blademaster sacrifices an amount of IEXP, essentially shifting some of his life force into his signature weapon. If the ritual is interrupted, it can be begun again at any time, but it must run for a full 24 hours for the signature weapon to be imbued. The blademaster pays the IEXP cost as soon as the ritual has been completed. The signature weapon then becomes a magic weapon (if it wasn't already) and gains an enhancement bonus and/or special abilities. His current class level limits the amount of enhancement a blademaster can place into his signature weapon. A blademaster cannot create a signature weapon if he does not have enough IEXP to do so. Use the following table to determine IEXP costs and class level limits. A blademaster's signature weapon has a caster level equal to his class level + 10.

Table: Signature WeaponsEdit

Class Level

Weapon Bonus

Minimum IEXP Cost**

1st

+1

40

2nd

+2

160

3rd

+3

360

4th

+4

640

5th

+5

1000

6th

+6*

1440

7th

+7*

1960

8th

+8*

2560

9th

+9*

3240

10th

+10*

4000

Note 1(*): A weapon can't actually have an enhancement bonus higher than +5, but it can have special abilities that are the equivalent of additional bonuses. Use these lines of the table to determine the IEXP cost when special abilities are added to a signature weapon. Example: A 6th level blademaster who has a masterwork longsword can imbue it with the power to be a +5 keen longsword at a cost of 1440 IEXP, since the keen special ability is equivalent to a +1 bonus.

Note 2(**): The IEXP cost presneted here assumes that the weapon being imbued does not already have an enhancement bonus. If it does, the cost to imbue it with additional power is reduced. For instance, if a blademaster has a +1 longsword and wants to imbue it with the power to be a +3 longsword, he may do so by paying the different in IEXP cost between creating a +1 weapon and a +3 weapon (360 minus 40, or 320 IEXP).

Imbuing Double WeaponsEdit

A double weapon may be imbued, but both ends of the weapon must be paid for and imbued seperately.

Imbuing Natural WeaponsEdit

The process for imbuing a blademaster's natural weapons (such as his fists) is the same as for a manufactured weapon, except all of the blademaster's natural weapons of one type are imbued at 100% of the cost +10% per natural weapon. For example, a blademaster who has Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) may turn his fists into signature weapons for 120% of the IEXP cost. A six-armed blademaster with a bite and tail attack would have to choose between his fists, bite, and tail and pay either 160% of the cost (for six fists), or 110% of the cost (for the single bite or tail). A blademaster who imbues a particular type of natural weapon must imbue all of his natural weapons of that type (so a normal blademaster with two fists must imbue both fists). It takes 24 hours for a blademaster to imbue one type of natural weapon, regardless of how many actual weapons of that type he possesses.

Losing a Signature WeaponEdit

If a blademaster's signature weapon is lost or stolen, the character must strive to recover it by any means that do not violate his oath or alignment. A blademaster who knowingly abandons a signature weapon is treated as if he broke his oath of service (see below). A blademaster who abandons a signature weapon and atones for the deed can begin to create a new signature weapon.

If someone destroys a blademaster's signature weapon, only the blademaster can repair it. If enough is left of the weapon to salvage (the shattered shards of a sword, for example), the blademaster can reforge the weapon as if he were using the Craft (weaponsmithing) skill to make a masterwork weapon. If he takes the reforged weapon and then meditates for 24 hours, he may pay the appropriate IEXP cost to resture his weapon to full strength.

Should nothing remain of the weapon, the blademaster must begin anew with a weapon that has never before been imbued. The character, however, has not failed in his oath - the destruction of a blademaster's weapon in service of his oath is not shameful, and other blademasters are likely to show even more respect to a comrade whose weapon is destroyed in oathbound service.

Losing Natural WeaponsEdit

If a blademaster loses his natural weapons (such as his fists), he may have them regrown by using regeneration or a similar spell. In this signular case, the blademaster does not need to spend any more IEXP or time to reimbue his signature weapon with power. The link is direct enough that no extra effort is necessary.

Weapon Training (Ex)Edit

A blademaster is considered a fighter of his blademaster class level for the purposes of qualifying for feats that require a character to be a fighter of a certain level (such as the Weapon Specialization feat). If the blademaster already has levels in the fighter class, his levels of blademaster stack with his levels of fighter for this purpose.

Power Surge (Ex)Edit

At 2nd level, a blademaster gains the ability to make a DC 15 Concentration check as a move action to focus his energy and spirit. If he succeeds, he gains a +8 bonus to his Strength for a number of rounds equal to half of his blademaster class level. Each time after the first that a blademaster successfully uses this ability in a single 24 hour period, the check DC increases by 5.

Afterimage (Su)Edit

At 3rd level, a blademaster can move in such a rapid and unpredictable fashion that he leaves afterimages of himself that confuse his foes. Using this ability is a standard action, and it duplicates the effects of a mirror image spell, except that the duration is equal to 1 round per caster level. The blademaster's caster level is equal to his blademaster class level. As part of the standard action required to activate this ability, the blademaster can move up to his speed, as if taking a normal move action. A blademaster must succeed at a Concentration check DC 20 to successfully use this ability. Each time after the first that a blademaster successfully uses this ability in a single 24 hour period, the check DC increases by 5.

Parting the Silk (Ex)Edit

A 4th level or higher blademaster is able to consistently hit with great impact. The first successful attack that he makes each round deals maximum damage. Extra damage from critical strikes, sneak attacks, weapon enchantments, and similar damage sources is not maximized.

Withstand (Ex)Edit

When a blademaster of 5th level or higher is forced to make a Reflex save to avoid damage from an area effect spell (such as a fireball), he can make a Concentration check instead of a Reflex save to resist taking full damage. If the blademaster has the Evasion feat, those benefits apply on this Concentration check as well.

The Void (Ex)Edit

A blademaster of 6th level or higher is able to maintain a calm, cool composure even during an intense battle. Once per day on the first round of an encounter, he may make a Concentration check (DC 20). If he succeeds, he gains his Wisdom modifier as an insight bonus to attack rolls and AC, and may continue to fight normally even at negative hit points, though he still dies when his negative hit points exceed his Constitution score.

Eyes of the Crane (Ex)Edit

A blademaster of 7th level or higher may choose to delay his turn in order to find an opening in his opponent's defenses. He must forgo all actions during his turn, designate a single opponent engaged in melee combat with him, and make a Concentration check (DC 15). If he succeeds, his critical threat range increases by +2 and his critical damage multiplier increases by 1 for all attacks he makes against the desginated opponent during his next round. Each time after the first that a blademaster successfully uses this ability in a single 24 hour period, the check DC increases by 5.

Instill (Ex)Edit

Once per day, a blademaster of 8th level or higher may take a full-round action to make a Concentration check (DC 10 + target's HD or character level) to impart some of his own ability into a willing ally he can touch. The blademaster then transfers some of his power to the ally: He subtracts up to 1 point per class level from his base attack bonus and/or any or all of his base save bonuses and transfers the same amount to the recipient. The blademaster regains the instilled power 1 hour later, when it transfers back out of the ally. If the ally dies before the instilled power is transferred back, the blademaster must make a Fortitude save (DC 5 + target's HD or character level) or die as well. If he succeeds, he immediately gets his instilled powers back.

Sheathing the Sword (Ex)Edit

When the blademaster decides to mortally wound his opponent, nothing can stop him. As a full round action, a 9th level or higher blademaster may automatically be considered to successfully critically strike an opponent.  He must first allow his opponent a "free hit" in which he does not try to dodge, effectively making him flat-footed.  After his opponent has attacked, the blademaster, if he has survived, is free to cut his opponent down. This ability has no effect on creatures immune to critical hits. In order to use this ability, the blademaster must succeed at a Concentration check (DC 25). If he fails, the full-round action is wasted. Each time after the first that a blademaster successfully uses this ability in a single 24 hour period, the check DC increases by 5.

WarlordEdit

When a blademaster attains 10th level, he gains great notoriety and becomes known as a warlord. Other blademasters of the same alignment revere the warlord, and even those of differing alignments treat him with some measure of respect. If the warlord has an NPC master, this master likely assigns the warlord more responsibility and authority within his domain (perhaps giving him a castle, monastery, or military school). If the warlord serves a deity, that deity may take a personal interest in giving the warlord more responsibility, perhaps actually contacting the warlord directly or through intermediaries and making the deity's wishes known.

In addition to the added responsibility, a warlord gains some tangible benefits. He has the right to petition other (lower-level) members of the blademasters for assistance on adventures or in the fulfillment of his oath. As long as a warlord's requests to not violate the other members' own oaths of service or alignments, lower-level blademasters have a responsibility to assist a warlord in any reasonable manner - such as providing food and shelter, access to minor resources, and other things another character might have to barter for.

Warlords inspire those around them. When fighting within 30 feet of a warlord, allies gain a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, Concentration checks, and attack rolls. Lawful allies gain an additional +2 morale bonus on these checks.

The warlord attracts followers of his own. He gains the Leadership feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequsites. He gains the Leadership skill as a class skill, and immediately gains 4 ranks and the +3 miscellaneous class skill bonus for free.

Oath of ServiceEdit

A blademaster's oath of service must be sworn in front of witnesses and must be upheld for the blademaster to continue advancing in levels. Typical oaths include swearing service to the Shogun or another powerful lord of the blademaster's alignment, to an organization with the same alignment and goals of the blademaster, to the blademaster's deity, or even to an ideal or principle the blademaster upholds.

These oaths are not trivial, and prospective blademasters who attempt to enter the prestige class with broad oaths or ones deliberately easy to fulfill find themselves spurned and cannot join the class at all, even if they meet the other requirements.

A blademaster who breaks his oath, for whatever reason, loses access to his blademaster class features and must receive an atonement spell from a divine spellcaster of his alignment to get them back and to continue advancing in the blademaster class. A blademaster must also strictly adhere to his alignment. A blademaster who intentionally and seriously violates his alignment also breaks faith and endures the same negative effects.

This dual requirement can pose a serious conundrum at times. If a lawful good blademaster swears service to a lord who then orders the blademaster to perform an evil act, the blademaster is caught between his oath and his alignment. He must violate one to fulfill the other, and either way he needs to atone. If the blademaster chooses his alignment, he can break his oath, gain atonement, and swear a new oath (often relating to "correcting" his former lord). He can then advance as a blademaster again. If the blademaster chooses his lord, he changes alignment and must gain atonement from, in this case, an evil cleric.

A blademaster who changes his alignment from lawful loses his blademaster abilities and cannot advance further in this class until he gains atonement and switches his alignment back to lawful.

Fulfillment of the Oath of ServiceEdit

If a blademaster fulfills an oath of service, or if the terms of the oath no longer apply (for example, if a blademaster swears service to a king who then dies of old age, or if a blademaster swears to defeat an enemy power and then in the course of adventuring defeats it), the blademaster must reflect and then swear a new oath. In general, a blademaster can be "between oaths" for no more than one week per class level. A blademaster who does not swear a new oath before the grace period expires is treated as if he broke his oath of service.

DM NoteEdit

The idea of the oath of service does not exist to punish a player who chooses to roleplay a blademaster, but to challenge that player. The blademaster is a powerful prestige class, and the oath of service is one of the costs that goes along with it. You should work with the player to come up with an oath that fits into your campaign - one that provides the player with roleplaying opportunities and you with a hook you can use to motivate the entire party.

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