Archblade (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Your weapon is a part of you, master yourself and you will master your weapon.||”|
|—Charles Hampshire, Lupin Archblade|
The archblade is the master of his weapons, in the same sense that the Archmage is the pinnacle of wizardry. They have a long and rich history, those who have discovered a primal link between themselves and their weapon enabling them to surpass the art of normal warriors. Those who discover the link are usually trained by another archblade, but every so often a person discovers the power on their own.
Becoming an Archblade
Archblades discover the subtle instinctual connection they have with their weapon of choice. By undergoing a ritual they awaken their powers. Archblades often organize as masters of schools of the art of warfare and weapons and seek to find others who have the talent to awaken themselves.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+10|
|Feats:||Improved Critical, Weapon Focus, Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Specialization applied to the chosen weapon.|
|Special:||Must undergo the ritual of enlightenment (see below).|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Enlightened Weapon; bonus feat|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Enlightened Weapon; bonus feat|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the archblade.
Ritual of Enlightment: The archblade learns to master the subtle instinctual connection which defines their sense of self, expanding it to encompass their weapon and granting themselves power. To achieve this an archblade must take the weapon or weapons for which they possess the weapon focus feat, and meditate upon it for a period of 8 hours. At the end of the meditation, they have latched onto their inner self. They spend 200 XP during this process but now may level in archblade. Several abilities refer to the "chosen weapon" of the archblade, which is any weapon the archblade has weapon focus in. If the archblade, instead, pays 800xp, he may choose a single weapon to bestow upon the feats of choose weapon and bonded weapon (receiving both bonuses). In any case, if the Archblade also sacrifices a feat he can, at any time, without having to spend the XP necessary to create the weapon, recreate(same weapon and enchantments) the weapon with which he performed the ritual to become an Archblade. He has only to call upon the name of his weapon and it comes into being in his hand. If the weapon so created ever leaves the Archblade it immediately turns to dust. This is considered a supernatural ability. It takes one turn for the weapon to materialize and during that time the Archblade may occur in attacks of opportunity. The archblade can, every time he receives a class feat, become bound with an armor or shield with the same costs and benefits (only one of each type is allowed at any time).
Enlightened Weapon: The archblade gains a new enlightenment on how to wield their blade upon each level, going deeper in greater understanding on how to move and strike in combat. They may select any of the following abilities below with a limit of one per level of archblade and may select two at level 1 and two at level 5. Unless otherwise noted each ability may only be taken once.
Armor Born (Ex): The archblade expands their sense of self not only to their weapons but also to the armor and shields they wear, to the point where it no longer hampers them at all. Be it leather or full plate, an archblade no longer has a maximum dex bonus to their armour or shield and no armor check penalty. They also are not hampered in speed by heavy armor and are considered wearing light armor regardless of what type of armor they wear. They also gain +3 to their armor bonus.
Blade Beam (Su): By focusing your spirit you can swing your melee weapon and channel the force of the blow over a distance. With your chosen weapon you may now strike out at targets up to 20 ft beyond your normal range as an attack action, just as if they were in melee. Your reach does not extend, so you cannot make attacks of opportunity at range. Attacks send ghostly ripples of energy through the air as you swing.
Bonus Feat: The archblade gains a fighter bonus feat from his intense studies of the way of the weapon. You may take this ability more than once.
Caster Killer (Ex): Your mastery of your inner spirit allows you to excel at disrupting the spiritual flows of others. For opponents with spell-like abilities or spellcasting, you deal additional damage equal to 2x your archblade class level (+10 damage at 5th level) when attacking with your chosen weapon. If you've chosen this ability and also have the Magic Breaker(see below) you may turn the attack against the caster.
Magic Breaker (Su): Your mastery of your inner spirit gives you a supernatural edge, allowing you to affect magic even if you lack spellcasting ability. An archblade may now affect force effects such as a Wall of Force with his chosen weapon, destroying them with the effect of Disintegrate. You also can parry magical beams as if they were physical objects (as if with the snatch arrow feat). You gain a dodge bonus equal to your class level + your weapon's enhancement bonus against any magical ray or ranged touch attack.
Perfection (Ex): You have surpassed failure and achieved excellence. When wielding your chosen weapon, you can no longer fumble (though you may still miss if rolling a 1 is insufficient) and all critical hits are automatically confirmed. Against those who do not take critical hits, you apply damage X1.5
Storm of Blows (Ex): You possess quick reactions and skill with your chosen weapon, gaining a flurry effect, which stacks with other flurry effects. You gain an extra attack at your full base attack bonus, but all attacks in that round take a -2 penalty.
Strike True (Ex): Your blows do not lose their momentum as you lash out. When wielding your chosen weapon your additional attacks from your high base attack bonus only have a -1 penalty instead of a -5 penalty.
Superior Critical (Ex): Your attacks with your chosen weapon strike with great force, and deal grievous damage when striking at vital areas. Your critical multiplier for your chosen weapon is increased by 1. For example, a rapier now possesses 18-20/x3 multiplier and a scythe becomes 20/x5, Against those who do not take critical hits, you apply damage X1.5
Elemental Assault/ High Accurecy (Ex):These are in reality two powers that are bought together, but not used simultaneously. The archblade can apply the effect of any Burst to his weapon for a number of rounds equal to their ECL, Or he can 'enchant' any weapon with a + bonus equal to his Arcblade Level, for a number of turns equal to their ECL. In any case, the bonuses do not stack, they supersede.
Epic ArchbladeEnlightened Weapon: At level 6 and every two levels after, you gain another Enlightened Weapon Ability, for a maximum at level 15.
Playing an Archblade
Combat: An archblade is a master of physical combat. They are extensions of fighters, barbarians, rangers, paladins, and similar classes.
Advancement: Archblades take up prestige classes which augment their particular style of physical combat, be it melee attacks or death from afar with a bow and arrow.
Resources: The archblades have collected into a small group called the Weapon Within, who go around seeking out and awakening other archblades in the world. They scatter their agents around gladiator rings, soldier training camps, and other places where fighters visit looking for talent.
Archblades in the World
|“||I have found my inner axe!||”|
|—Spin Atomos, Human Cleric/Archblade|
NPC Reactions: Archblades are often masters of armies, expert swordsmen of legend, and kings of the gladiator ring. Such shows of bravado, when seen, often attract attention and fame, positive or negative.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge History can research archblades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Archblades are advanced warriors who have discovered how to use their weapons better than any other.|
|15||An archblade can strike hard and true with their blows, and are often effective against casters.|
|20||An archblade and his chosen weapon are one. They can even attack from afar and hammer through your armor as if it were paper, while moving easily in their own.|
|30||Those who gain this level of success can learn about a specific archblade, their activities, goals, whereabouts, and talents.|
Archblades in the Game
Sample Encounter: The master of House Dammerung is a powerful swordsman named Lord Hampshire. By some trickery, he has become convinced the PCs are some sort of villains, and he now hunts down the PCs to take them down in battle.
EL 15: Pending