Blind Warrior (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||A man without eyes saw orcs in a field. He neither slew orcs, nor spared orcs. How can this be?||”|
Blindness is a severe disability. In low-magic regions where spells to cure it aren't readily available, many who lose their sight may feel forced to give up the life of a soldier or adventurer. Not all are willing to surrender to their would-be disability so easily, however. There are those who are so determined to keep on fighting, they are willing to undergo the harsh training required to push their remaining senses beyond their normal capabilities. The greatest of these warriors come to realize that eyes can deceive a man and in some ways hold him back, and come to turn their would-be disability into an advantage. These blind warriors become stronger than they ever were before they lose their eyesight, and fearlessly venture into areas of darkness, illusions, and invisible foes.
Becoming a Blind Warrior
The way of the blind warrior attracts stalwart adventurers who have become permanently blinded, whether it be from sword, disease, curse, or voluntary ritual. It is most attractive to martial classes such as fighters, barbarians, and rangers. Monks in particular find the transition to blind warrior easier than most do, thanks to their already exceptional discipline. Technique-focused characters such as rogues occasionally benefit from blind warrior training as well. Full spellcasters rarely become blind warriors, as the dedication required takes time away from their magical studies, and they figure they can just use magic to compensate for their lack of eyesight anyway.
|Skills:||Balance 4 ranks, Listen 8 ranks|
|Special:||Character must suffer from permanent blindness.|
Traits of Blind Characters
A review of the default effects of the Blindness condition (on any character, not just Blind Warriors) is included here for convenient reference.
Blind characters cannot see. They take a -2 penalty to Armor Class, lose their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), move at half speed, and take a -4 penalty on Search checks and on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Spot checks) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) to the blinded character.
Note that many of these penalties are mitigated by the Blind-Fight feat, which is a prerequisite for this prestige class. This feat means blind warriors don't take the -2 AC penalty and don't lose their Dexterity bonus to AC, and they can move at three-quarters speed instead of half speed. They can also reroll the miss chance.
There are beneficial side effects to blindness: at the DM's discretion, blind characters may be immune to certain gaze attacks, visual effects, visual illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight.
|Saving Throws||Special||AC Bonus||Spellcasting or Manifesting|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+2||Blindness Accustomization I, Class Feature Progression, Keen Hearing, Retraining||+1||-|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+3||Balance Agility, Danger Sense +1, Discerning Hearing, Greater Blind-Fight||+1||Potential +1 level of existing spellcasting or manifesting class|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+3||Blind Feint, Blindness Accustomization II, Echolocation||+2||-|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Magic Fingers, Scent, Undeceivable||+2||Potential +1 level of existing spellcasting or manifesting class|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Danger Sense +2, Supreme Blind-Fight, Tremorsense||+3||-|
|6th||+4||+5||+5||+5||Blind Literacy, Greater Echolocation||+3||Potential +1 level of existing spellcasting or manifesting class|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the blind warrior.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blind warriors are proficient with all simple weapons, with light martial weapons, and with light armor.
AC Bonus (Ex): Blind warriors learn to use their remaining senses to great effect when it comes to avoiding incoming attacks. If a blind warrior is able to pinpoint an enemy's location in combat, he gains a Dodge bonus to his AC against that particular opponent, as shown in the table. If he cannot pinpoint the enemy's location, he does not receive the bonus.
Blindness Accustomization (Ex): Blind warriors learn to use touch, hearing, and balance to accomplish tasks which once required sight. At 1st level, the penalty to Strength- and Dexterity-based checks for being blind is reduced to -2. At 3rd level the penalty is eliminated entirely.
Class Feature Progression): Blind warriors come from all walks of life and can practice any fighting style or special ability as they train to overcome their disability. Upon becoming a blind warrior, a character chooses one class feature he already has which normally progresses with level. Examples include the rogue’s sneak attack, the barbarian’s damage reduction, and the monk’s flurry of blows. The chosen class feature continues to increase in power as if the character were taking levels in the class that granted it. For instance, if a level 5 druid/level 4 blind warrior chose the druid’s animal companion feature, his animal companion would be as powerful as it would be if he were a 9th-level druid.
If spellcasting or manifesting is chosen for class feature progression, it does not progress at every level of blind warrior, but every even-numbered level, as shown in the table. If the blind warrior has spellcasting or manifesting ability from multiple classes, he may only choose one for class feature progression.
If a character does not have any class features which progress with level, or if he does not wish to choose any that he has, he may instead choose to use maximum base attack bonus progression (as a fighter) for his blind warrior class levels, and increase his hit dice for blind warrior class levels to d10’s.
Keen Hearing (Ex): Having only four primary senses, blind warriors learn to focus much more attention on their sense of hearing, training it far beyond its normal capabilities. A blind warrior receives a competence bonus to Listen checks equal to his class levels.
Retraining: Upon taking his first level in blind warrior, a character may reallocate any ranks he may have in the Spot skill to any other skills. He still cannot gain more ranks in a single skill than his level would allow.
Balance Agility (Ex): Blind warriors use their sense of balance to compensate for being unable to navigate by eyesight. They may attempt to move at full speed by making a Balance check as a free action (DC 10 + 1 per every 5 feet). If successful, he may move at full speed for that round. If the attempt fails, he cannot move at all on that round.
Discerning Hearing (Ex): Blind warriors discipline their minds to the point where they can concentrate on several distinct noises at once, and their ears are sensitive enough to detect a specific, quiet sound even in the middle of a loud battle. This allows them to take 10 on Listen checks, even when distracted or threatened.
Furthermore, the blind warrior can recognize the minute distinctions between real sounds and illusionary sounds that are far too subtle for most people to notice, giving him a +4 competence bonus on saves and checks against sound-based illusions.
Greater Blind-Fight (Ex): The blind warrior learns to sense his opponent's position using the most subtle vibrations in the ground and air. In addition to being able to reroll failed miss chances for concealment (as per the Blind-Fight feat), at 2nd level all concealment-based miss chances are reduced by 20%. Thus, the typical total concealment miss chance would be only 30%. As with Blind-Fight, this ability does not apply when fighting creatures that benefit from blink or a similar effect.
This ability also allows blind warriors with levels in rogue or similar classes to deal damage from sneak attack or similar abilities to enemies whose positions they can pinpoint (blind characters normally can't deal sneak attack damage). The blind warrior must be able to identify the creature (enough to know where the vital areas of its body would be) and must meet the usual requirements for dealing sneak attack damage.
Blind Feint (Ex): As he doesn't fight with his eyes the way most warriors do, the blind warrior uses unique movements and techniques that are particularly difficult for opponents to read, and he can also trick opponents into becoming overconfident once they realize he is blind. Blind warriors can feint in combat as a move action, or as a free action if they already possess Improved Feint. Additionally, once per encounter they may take advantage of the enemy's overconfidence, gaining a +10 bonus on a single feint attempt.
Echolocation (Ex): At 3rd level, a blind warrior's hearing is sensitive enough to gauge direction and distance with incredible accuracy. He gainse the Blindsense special ability. The distance of the Blindsense is proportional to his total Listen skill bonus (skill ranks + Wisdom modifier + miscellaneous modifiers all included). He has 5 feet of Blindsense for every +1 bonus to Listen. For instance, if his total Listen bonus is +9, then he has 45 feet of Blindsense. This ability is hearing-dependent and cannot be used if the Blind Warrior cannot hear (for instance, in an area of silence).
Magic Fingers (Ex): Blind warriors develop a very keen sense of touch. Their ultra-sensitive fingers can detect the subtlest textures. This gives them a +2 competence bonus to Appraise checks (only if the object can be appraised by touch), Climb checks, Craft checks, Disable Device checks, Heal checks, and Open Lock checks.
Undeceivable (Ex): Eyes can play tricks on a man, but this is not an issue for a blind warrior. Feints often rely on visual cues designed to fool the victim's eyes. A 4th level blind warrior gains a +4 competence bonus on Sense Motive checks made to resist Feint attempts.
Supreme Blind-Fight (Ex): The 5th level blind warrior is so skilled at fighting the unseen that he completely ignores concealment-based miss chances. He must still roll the usual miss chance for creatures under the effect of blink or similar effects.
Blind Literacy (Ex): At 6th level a blind warrior's sense of touch is powerful enough to feel such minute differences in textures as the fine bump in a page left by a penstroke. At the DM's discretion, the Blind Warrior may be able to read certain forms of writing by touch. He must still be able to understand the language and be normally able to read.
Greater Echolocation (Ex): At 6th level the blind warrior becomes more skilled and precise with his Echolocation ability, causing the blindsense it provides to be upgraded to blindsight. He is unimpeded by his blindness and no longer needs to make Balance checks to move at full speed. The ability is still hearing dependent and won't work if the blind warrior can't hear.
A blind warrior who regains his sense of sight loses all class features (except for Class Feature Progression) and can no longer take further levels in Blind Warrior. He still retains Hit Dice, BAB, and save progression. Class features and advancement potential are regained if he once again loses his sight.
Playing a Blind Warrior
Combat: Blind warriors are deadly combatants regardless of their base class. Many a foe has been lulled into a false sense of security by the seemingly foolish swordsman wearing a blindfold, only to be brought down by overconfidence in an easy victory. For this reason, the blind warrior often prefers to conceal the full extent of his fighting prowess until it becomes absolutely necessary. Blind Warriors are particularly proficient at battling opponents that rely heavily on stealth, illusions, or invisibility--such foes find that their efforts are futile against the man who sees the unseen.
Advancement: The blind warrior prestige class is most useful to combat-focused classes, particularly in low-magic settings where magical cures for blindness are difficult to come by. The many defensive abilities it offers are especially attractive to classes that normally trade defense for offense, such as barbarians. Spellcasters progress at only half the normal rate through the prestige class, so it usually isn’t a good choice for them. However, a combat-oriented caster such as war-domain cleric or a druid specialized in feats that improve his wild shape may find a great deal of use for the class’s abilities. Support classes such as bards and healing-domain clerics have little use for this prestige class.
Becoming a blind warrior is a personal journey—the only real requirement is a great deal of dedication and perseverance. A mentor is not strictly required, though many blind warriors do owe their skills to an elder member of the class. The blind warrior is one who decides that a “disability” is something that only exists in one’s mind. He begins training to push his senses of hearing, touch, and balance to their limits, and then beyond. Many aspirants set themselves a personal goal to mark the completion of their training, such as climbing a mountain or surviving in the wilderness for a week.
Resources: Charitable folk might offer you assistance if they believe you to be a helpless blind man, but many blind warriors reject such aid out of honesty or pride. Aside from that, blind warriors share a certain sense of kinship with one another, and can usually count on each other to perform small favors as long as they aren’t enemies. For the most part, however, being a blind warrior is all about learning independence and self-reliance, so they generally don’t have special resources that aren’t available to members of any other class.
Blind Warriors in the World
|“||Justice is blind. That’s exactly why there’s no fooling her.||”|
Blind warriors usually work alone, as their greatest asset is a constant element of surprise—nobody expects the blind hermit to be a formidable combatant. Underestimating him is a common—and often fatal—mistake made by his enemies. Good blind warriors can be silent protectors of the people, showing their battle prowess only when innocents are threatened. Evil blind warriors make especially dangerous assassins and spies, appearing harmless until it’s too late. Blind warriors of any alignment can appear as specialist mercenaries, bodyguards, reclusive monks, or as members of special warrior guilds and cabals.
NPC Reactions: It’s hard to tell someone is a blind warrior simply by looking at them. The majority of NPCs merely see a disabled person. Sympathetic NPCs might offer assistance or charity. If a character is particularly observant and has a good eye for details, he might get the sense that there is more to the man than meets the eye—he’s moving far too gracefully and is too good at avoiding obstacles in his path to be entirely ordinary. Those who know the blind warrior’s true abilities feel a combination of respect and fear towards him, wondering how a blind man can move and fight like someone with 20/20 vision.
Blind Warrior Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research blind warriors to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Blind people often develop great skill in their remaining senses to compensate for loss of sight.|
|16||Some blind people use their enhanced hearing, touch, and balance to move and fight just as well as any sighted individual. They are called blind warriors.|
|21||Blind warriors usually don’t reveal their capabilities until it becomes necessary, preserving the element of surprise. Thus they often appear to be ordinary blind people until they are forced to fight.|
|26||The most powerful blind warriors have abilities that seem superhuman, including the ability to sense minute vibrations in the ground and the power to “see” sound waves.|
Blind Warriors in the Game
Any character who has become blinded in a way he cannot recover from could become a blind warrior, so it’s generally simple to fit the class into a setting. NPC blind warriors often serve in the roles mentioned above: guardians, bodyguards, spies, assassins, specialists, and the like. High-ranking soldiers and other leaders may be blind warriors as well. PCs can choose the prestige class if there are no options available for removing blindness and the player wishes to continue advancing their character without any major changes and without requiring a deus ex machina.
Adaptation: The biggest obstacle you will face when fitting this prestige class into your campaign is solving the question of why it would even exist in a setting where curing blindness is as simple as visiting a cleric and paying him to mutter a few magic words. Certainly, it’s easy enough to justify in low-magic settings, where such healers are extremely rare if they exist at all. But in high-magic world, blindness only ever seems to last as long as it takes to find a church or a potion shop. A creative DM can think of a number of potential answers to this dilemma. The cause of the blindness might be a powerful curse that can’t be cured by normal magic. The character may have lost his eyes entirely, in which case only a ‘’regenerate’’ or similar spell could heal him. Perhaps, like the demon hunters in ‘’Warcraft’’ lore, the character has willingly blinded himself as part of a spiritual ritual. He may belong to a culture or religion whose customs eschew the use of magical treatment. Maybe he is part of a guild of blind warriors who teach that eyes are vulnerable to deception and are ultimately just a hindrance for a true warrior. Any number of explanations can be offered for why blind warriors might exist in your game, depending upon the nature of the campaign setting.
Sample Encounter: Visitors to the dwarven metropolis of Rydoria may encounter a blind half-orc patrolling the streets. He is Drogg, a paladin devoted to preserving order in the high-crime areas of the city. He'll usually be friendly to the party unless they are committing evil acts.
|Male Half-Orc Paladin 6 / Blind Warrior 6 (uses Half-Orc Paladin racial substitution levels from Races of Destiny|
|Lawful Good Medium Humanoid(Half-Orc)|
|Init/Senses||+8/Listen +22, Spot N/A|
|AC||28, touch 15, flat-footed 23|
|hp||129 (12 (6d10+6d8) HD)|
|Speed||30ft (20ft in full plate)|
|Melee||+1 flaming rapier +16/+11 (1d6+6 plus 1d6 fire, 18-20/x2 crit)|
|Special Actions||Righteous Fury 3/day, Turn Undead 7/day|
|Abilities||Str 20, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 18|
|SQ||Blind, aura of good, detect evil, lay on hands (24 hp/day), aura of awe, remove fatigue 1/week, spells, blindness accustomization, balance agility, discerning hearing, blind feint, magic fingers, scent, undeceivable, supreme blind-fight, tremorsense, blind literacy, greater echolocation (110 feet)|
|Feats||Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Mounted Combat, Power Attack|
|Skills||Appraise +2, Balance +10, Bluff+9, Climb +7, Concentration +6, Disable Device +2, Heal +8, Intimidate +7, Listen +22, Open Lock +4, Ride +6|
|Possessions||Canesword (+1 flaming rapier), +2 full plate, +1 blinding heavy wooden shield, gauntlets of ogre power, amulet of health +2|
Blind: Drogg cannot see. At the DM’s discretion, he may be immune to certain gaze attacks, visual effects, visual illusions, and other sight-reliant attack forms.
Righteous Fury: Three times per day, Drogg may enter a righteous fury as a free action. This grants him a +5 bonus on weapon damage rolls and lasts for 5 rounds.
Drogg has chosen Righteous Fury for his Class Feature Progression specialty of his Blind Warrior class. This means that his blind warrior levels stack with his paladin levels for determining the power of his Righteous Fury ability.
Turn Undead: Seven times per day, Drogg may attempt to turn undead with the power of a 3rd-level cleric.
Spells: Drogg can prepare two spells per day from the list of first-level Paladin spells. His usual choices are bless weapon and protection from evil.
Lay on Hands: Drogg can channel up to 24 hit points worth of positive energy per day, either to heal living creatures or damage undead. The energy is channeled through touch as a standard action. The points can be spent all at once or spread out over the course of several uses.
Aura of Awe: Drogg is immune to fear effects. Evil creatures within 10 feet of him suffer -2 on saves against fear effects.
Remove Fatigue: Once per week Drogg can remove the fatigued condition from all allies within a 30 foot radius of him.
Special Mount: Once per day, Drogg may summon a heavy warhorse, which remains for 12 hours before returning to the celestial planes. It is identical to a normal heavy warhorse, except it has 2 additional hit dice, 4 additional points of natural armor, 1 additional point of strength, an intelligence score of 6, and improved evasion (as a 9th-level monk). Drogg has an empathetic link with his special mount for up to 1 mile, and he can choose to have spells he casts on himself affect his special mount also. The warhorse may use either Drogg’s base saving throws or his own, whichever is higher.
AC Bonus: Drogg receives a +3 Dodge bonus to AC against any opponent whose location he is able to pinpoint. Since his Greater Echolocation ability means that he will almost always be able to pinpoint any opponent, this bonus has been included in his stat block.
Discerning Hearing: Drogg may choose to take 10 on any listen check, even if distracted or threatened. He also has a +4 bonus on saving throws against sound-based illusions.
Blind Feint: Drogg can feint as a move action. Once per encounter, he may declare a +10 bonus on a single feint attempt.
Scent: Drogg has the scent special ability.
Tremorsense: Drogg has tremorsense out to 20 feet.
Supreme Blind-Fight: Drogg ignores concealment-based miss chances.
Blind Literacy: Drogg can read writing by touch.
Drogg, the Blind Paladin of Rydoria, is a silent protector and peacekeeper who roams the streets in search of evil. He has no official occupation, but earns a living through the donations city guards give him in return for making their jobs easier—the crime rates in the areas he patrols are extraordinarily low, as even the most hardened thugs have learned to fear the sight of the mighty half-orc with the orange blindfold. Drogg’s cane conceals an enchanted rapier which serves as his primary weapon. It also gives him an element of surprise against those unfamiliar with his true fighting prowess: many a criminal has mistaken him for a helpless blind man and thus an easy target for a mugging. For those people, it was always the last crime they would ever commit. Other than that, Drogg is your typical good Samaritan. He has devoted his skills to the service of the poor and downtrodden, and is always a welcome sight around churches and charities. In person, he’s usually quiet and reserved, but quite charming when he does decide to speak.