Shadow Blade (3.5e Class)
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Shadow Blades are often descendants of beings from the Plane of Shadow, granting them inherent abilities with teleportation and "ghosting". These abilities usually lead one to become a sneaky thief, though others learn to kill and assassinate.
Making a Shadow Blade
Shadow Blades are notorious thieves, pickpockets, and occasionally assassins; as well as being charming and a people person.
Abilities: Dexterity and Intelligence are a Shadow Blade's most important attributes, Constitution is important as it is for classes, Charisma helps with a few Shadow Blade abilities, while Strength and Wisdom are negligible.
Races: Because of the speed inherent to this class the most common races that take this class are Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, and the occasional Halfling. Gnomes, Orcs, and Dwarves rarely take this class.
Alignment: Shadow Blades are never lawful.
Starting Gold: 3d4x10
Starting Age: Simple
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Shadow Step, Sneak Attack +1d6, Weapon Focus (Daggers)|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+0||Shadow Speed, Brilliant Defense,|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Evasion, Insightful Strike|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Dagger Mastery +1, Sneak Attack +2d6|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Rapid Stealth, Shadow Vision, Absorb Shadow|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+2||Uncanny Dodge, Palm Weapon|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Sneak Attack +3d6, Shadow Form|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+2||Improved Evasion, Dagger Mastery +2|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Improved Shadow Speed, Sneak Attack +4d6|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||Improved Shadow Step|
|12th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Improved Uncanny Dodge, Dagger Mastery +3|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Sneak Attack +5d6|
|14th||+10/+5||+4||+9||+4||Eyes of Shadow|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||Greater Shadow Step|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Sneak Attack +6d6, Dagger Mastery +4|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||Greater Shadow Speed|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+6||Sneak Attack +7d6|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Shadow Apotheosis, Dagger Mastery +5|
Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Shadow Blades are agile fighters and stealthy assassins. All of the following are class features of the Shadow Blade.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A shadow blade can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a shadow blade can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow Blades are only proficient with Daggers and dagger-type weapons. They are proficient with no types of armor or shields.
Weapon Focus (Daggers): Shadow Blades gain the Weapon Focus feat with all types of daggers, including dagger-like weapons such as kukri, kunai, and the sai.
Shadow Step: At first level, a Shadow Blade gains the ability to travel around quickly , duplicating the dimension slide power, though always as a standard action. A Shadow Blade can jump up to a total of 20 feet per day for each class level he has in 10 foot increments. For example, at first level this may be a single jump of 20 feet or two jumps of 10 feet each.
Sneak Attack: If a Shadow Blade can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.
The Shadow Blade’s attack deals extra damage any time his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the Shadow Blade flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every three Shadow Blade levels thereafter. Should the Shadow Blade score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.
Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Shadow Blade can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.
A Shadow Blade can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The Shadow Blade must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Shadow Blade cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Brilliant Defense (Ex): Shadow Blades add their Intelligence modifier to their AC as a Shield bonus when unarmored, which does not stack with the monk's AC bonus ability. In addition, a Shadow Blade gains a +1 bonus to AC at level 4. This increases to +2 at level 8, +3 at level 12, +4 at level 16, and +5 at level 20.
Shadow Speed (Ex): While in shadows or darkness, the Shadow Blade gains a 10' enhancement bonus to his speed.
Evasion (Ex): At 3rd level and higher, a Shadow Blade can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Shadow Blade is wearing no armor. A helpless Shadow Blade does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Insightful Strike (Ex): A Shadow Blade of 3rd level or higher, so long as she is wearing no armor and carrying no heavier than a light load may add his Intelligence Modifier (if any) as an Insight bonus to any damage dealt with his daggers or dagger-like weapons. This bonus does not take effect against creatures that are immune to Critical hits.
Dagger Mastery: A Shadow Blade gains a +1 Competence bonus to attack when attacking with daggers or dagger-like weapons at 4th level. This bonus increases by one every four levels hence.
Rapid Stealth (Ex): At level 5, the Shadow Blade does not suffer any penalty to Move Silently or Hide for moving at his full normal speed. He still suffers the normal -20 penalties to hide and move silently for running or fighting if he performs those actions.
Absorb shadows (Ex): At level 5, the shadow blade may absorb shadow and use it for a defensive or offensive purposes. For whatever you choose it gains a +4.
Shadow Vision (Ex): All Shadow Blade train in darkness due to their affinity with the shadows. As a result, an Shadow Blade gains low-light vision. If he already has low-light vision, he may choose to gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet or to double the effectiveness of his low-light vision. If he already has darkvision and low-light vision, he may instead choose to retain a semblance of color in his darkvision.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 6th level, a Shadow Blade can react to danger before his senses would normally allow his to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a Shadow Blade already has uncanny dodge from a different class he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Palm Weapon (Ex): At 6th level, the Shadow Blade learns to conceal weapons with supernatural skill. Any weapon successfully concealed with Sleight of Hand cannot be found with divination magic.
Shadow Form (Su): At 7th level the Shadow Blade gains the abilty to wrap his form in shadows. Once per day, the shadows wrapping around his body grant him a +4 competence bonus on Escape Artist, Hide, and Move Silently checks. Your shadowy form also provides you with concealment. This shadowy concealment is not negated by a see invisibility spell, but a true seeing spell counteracts the effect. Standing within the radius of a daylight spell or in bright natural sunlight temporarily suppresses the concealment effect. In addition, if you have 5 ranks in Escape Artist, you can attempt to slip through a solid object or barrier up to 5 feet thick with a DC 20 Escape Artist check, though doing this ends the spell as soon as the attempt is completed (regardless of success). If you have 10 ranks in Escape Artist, you can attempt to pass through an object or barrier up to 10 feet thick. If you have 15 ranks in Escape Artist, you can attempt to pass through a barrier composed of magical force (or similar magical obstacles).
This ability is activated as a swift action and lasts for a 5 rounds plus the Shadow Blade's Charisma Modifier plus one for every 4 class levels in Shadow Blade. At 9th level and every two levels afterwards the shadow blade gains another use of the Shadow form ability per day. While this ability is in effect and not suppressed, the Shadow Blade counts as being in shadow or in darkness for any ability. If he spends two uses of this ability, it is not suppressed even in a daylight spell or bright sunlight.
Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except that while the Shadow Blade still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks he henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless Shadow Blade does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Athletic Cascade (Ex): At 9th level, if a Shadow Blade moves before making an attack, for the purposes of flanking he may count any square he has moved through as threatening an opponent, in addition to the space he is actually attacking from. In this manner, he may even flank with himself.
Improved Shadow Speed (Ex): The Shadow Blade's swiftness improves while in shadows. His Shadow Speed ability now increases to 20' while in shadows.
Improved Shadow Step: The Shadow Blade improves in their manipulation of shadow. The Shadow Blade can now use Shadow Step as a move action.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Shadow Blade of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another Shadow Blade the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more Shadow Blade levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum Shadow Blade level required to flank the character.
Eyes of Shadow (Ex): The Shadow Blade has trained in darkness for so long that his eyes can penetrate even magical darkness. Now the Shadow Blade can see normally even in magical darkness.
Greater Shadow Step: The Shadow Blade improves in their manipulation of shadow. The Shadow Blade can now use Shadow Step as a swift action, though this use of the ability consumes twice the distance moved for the purpose of how far he may shadow step in a single day.
Shadow Body (Ex): At 17th level, a shadow blade becomes a being of pure shadows. Once per day, the Shadow Blade can activate this ability as a swift action, and it lasts for a number of rounds equal to his class level. When under the effect of this ability, his body and all his equipment are subsumed by his shadow. As a living shadow, he blends perfectly into any other shadow and vanishes in darkness. He appears as an unattached shadow in areas of full light. He can move at your normal speed, on any surface, including walls and ceilings, as well as across the surfaces of liquids—even up the face of a waterfall. His space does not change, so he cannot move into locations he would not normally be able to move into. While in his shadow body, he gains damage reduction 10/magic and darkvision out to 60 feet. He is immune to extra damage from critical hits, ability damage, disease, drowning, and poison. He takes only half damage from acid, electricity, and fire of all kinds. While under this effect, he may only be detected by abilities that read thoughts, life, or presences (including true seeing), or if he makes suspicious movements in lighted areas. He cannot harm anyone physically or manipulate any objects, but can use his other powers normally. Doing so may attract notice, but if he remains in a shadowed area, he gets a +15 bonus on your Hide check to remain unnoticed.
He gains another use of this ability per day for every further class level he gains, ending with 4 uses per day at level 20.
Greater Shadow Speed (Ex): The Shadow Blade's swiftness allows him to match some of his swiftest enemies. His Shadow Speed ability now increases to 30' while in shadows.
Shadow Apotheosis (Ex): At 20th level the shadow blade's body becomes a thing of living shadow. He becomes a native outsider, and is no longer susceptible to critical hits, sneak attacks, or any attacks that require discernible anatomy.
Any Shadow Blade whose alignment changes to lawful cannot take another level in the Shadow Blade class until his alignment is no longer lawful and he no longer has access to his Shadow Step, Shadow Form, or Shadow Body abilities.
Human Shadow Blade Starting Package
Weapons: Dagger, Dagger
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 10 + Int modifier.
|Sleight of Hand||4||Dex||"—"|
Bonus Feats: Natural Skill
Gear: Explorer's Outfit, Backpack, Bedroll, Sunrod x2, Rations x5, Waterskin, Lockpick Set, Belt Pouch,
Playing a Shadow Blade
Religion: Shadow Blades are rarely religious, because that often requires a devotion that they cannot see fit to give to someone else. If they are religious, they often pray to the local god of thieves, travelers, shadows, or slaughter; depending on what they are doing at the time.
Other Classes: Shadow Blades never truly trust anyone but will admit the necessity of other classes in whatever endeavor they may undertake.
Combat: Shadow Blades, like rogues, often wait until an enemy is engaged with the team tank and go for the sneak attack, although at later levels they don't even need to wait. At higher levels it is not unusual for the shadow blade to be scouting ahead and swiftly kill the enemy patrol they run across, before either sides backup arrives.
Advancement: Shadow Blades rarely bother to switch classes until epic levels, due to the fact that all the abilities they want are already present. However, this class was originally designed for use in a Gestalt campaign, and while no secondary class is necessary, arcane spellcasters and other swift fighter type classes are welcome.
Shadow Blades in the World
"Oh, were you trying to sneak up on ME? Let me show you how it's done!" Proceeds to walk straight into the wall and disappears. Shows up behind enemy, stabs him in the back and whispers, "This is how you sneak up on someone, Genius."
Daily Life: Shadow Blades make great assassins, treasure hunters, and even serve well as the "face" of the party.
Notables: Taravin "Vin Lichslayer" D'Marcos - renowned for single-handedly slaying a Lich by ghosting through the walls and destroying the phylactery.
Organizations: Unofficially there is a training school for Shadow Blades, although it is a VERY well kept secret as to the location of said school.
NPC Reactions: Shadow Blades are often viewed as standard rogues, until someone sees them in action, then they typically start hiding all their valuables.
Shadow Blade Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge(The Planes) can research Shadow Blades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Shadow Blades are two-weapon fighters that can teleport and walk through walls.|
|15||Shadow Blades wear no armor and are incredibly fast, and have been known to swiftly slaughter large companies of soldiers.|
|20||Shadow Blades abilities come from their heritage from Shadow Plane ancestors.|
|25||Information on a specific Shadow Blade, and possibly the location of a nearby training school.|
Shadow Blades in the Game
Shadow Blades are usually out for themselves, even those who adventure with companions are known to find a hidden cache and loot it without telling their companions.
Adaptation: Change the weapon limitations and add armor for a nasty and versatile brawler class.
Sample Encounter: Shadow Blades as NPCs are often petty overlords, or someone who needs accompaniment through a particularly dangerous area.