Soul Blade (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||I have become one with my blade. It has no material substance; it is made from my soul. I am a weapon.||”|
|—Sander, Human Soul Blade, Moments before the Massacre of the Twelve Pillows|
There are those that have such a passion and ability for battle, there souls become fully embroiled in battle. They have become so enamoured by their favoured weapons, they become one with their weapon. By becoming one with their instruments of war, a Soul Blade truly embodies the art of fighting, destruction and death. It is there, in the heated depths of battle, do their souls truly feel alive.
Becoming a Soul Blade
A Soul Blade comes with the power to hide a weapon or shield within the body, rather than carry it in the open. Often a Soul Blade is a fighter who has come to know the true depths of his soul, or a Rogue who wishes to conceal his blade deep within his soul; where none other may get ahold of it.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5|
|Feats:||Proficient with all Martial Weapons or Proficient with Shields|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Soul Shape, Imbue Soul|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Empowered Soul, Soul Power|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Reinforced Soul, Second Shape|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Unrestricted Soul, Soul Power|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
A Soul Blade's abilities revolve around his Soul Shapes; either a weapon or a shield absorbed into his soul that he can manifest or "draw" from a part of his soul. All of the following are class features of the Soul Blade.
Soul Shape (Su): The Soul Blade gain the power to manipulate a portion of his soul so that it manifests as a weapon or shield that he owns. In order to do so, the Soul Blade must sacrifice the chosen shield or weapon, allowing it to become one with his body. That item is destroyed for as long as it is held within the Soul Blade's soul. The item becomes known as a soul shape. The Soul Blade's soul shape is completely hidden when it is not "manifested" or "drawn" and cannot be found by any form of searching.
A Soul Blade can draw his soul shape as a move action and the shape is normally manifested in a specific thematic way. A ranged weapon soul shape still requires the Soul Blade provide ammunition for it. If the Soul Blade's soul shape is thrown or disarmed, then the soul shape dissipates upon contact with any surface, becoming part of the Soul Blade's soul once more (and, thus, requiring to be drawn again), although a thrown weapon still deals damage before dissipating. A Soul Blade can reabsorb the soul shape into his soul as a free action.
A Soul Blade can only make a soul shape out of a melee weapon, ranged weapon or a shield. He cannot make a soul shape from ammunition or improvised weapons. The Soul Blade must be proficient with the weapon or shield he chooses as his soul shape. A crossbow, or similar ranged weapon, are stored with a full round of ammunition. Once a soul shape is chosen, the Soul Blade cannot change the chosen soul shape. If a Soul Blade enters an antimagic field effect or is targeted by a dispel, then the soul shape appears in the Soul Blade's hand or clatters to the ground if hands are currently occupied. If dispelled, then the power of the soul shape is suppressed for 1d4 rounds, but immediately regains it's powers at the end of the duration. While in an antimagic field, the soul shape loses it's powers until the Soul Blade leaves the effect.
If the Soul Blade has the Quick Draw feat, he can draw and reabsorb his soul shape as a free action.
As a full-round action, the Soul Blade can part his Soul Shape from his body. The item returns to it's material state. It retains any enhancement bonuses from the Imbue Soul ability (below).
|Class Level||Weapon Bonus||Minimum XP Cost|
Imbue Soul (Su): The Soul Blade can imbue his soul shape with power by imbuing it with his own life essence, tying it further to his own soul. The process of imbuing a soul shape with power is quite simple. The Soul Blade must find a quiet and safe spot to meditate for 12 hours. At the end of the meditation, the Soul Blade sacrifices a number of experience points, essentially tying his soul to his soul shape. The soul shape then becomes a magic weapon or magic shield (if it wasn't already) and gains an enchantment bonus and/or special abilities. This enchantment stacks with any current magical properties his soul shape may already have possessed. His class level limits the amount of enchantment a Soul Blade can place onto his soul shape. A Soul Blade cannot imbue a soul shape if doing so would cost enough experience to reduce his character level.
Use the table Soul Shape Costs to determine the XP costs and class level limits.
If the meditation is interrupted, it can be begun at any time, but it must run for a full 12 hours for the soul shape to be imbued. The Soul Blade pays the XP cost as soon as the meditation is completed.
A Soul Blade's soul shape has a caster level equal to character level +10.
The XP cost presented on the table 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 Soul Blade has a +1 longsword and wants to imbue it with the power to be a +3 longsword, he may do so by paying the difference in XP cost between creating a +1 weapon and a +3 weapon.
Empowered Soul (Su): The power of the Soul Blade's soul begins to strength the bond with his soul shape. If he choose a weapon as a soul shape, the damage die of the weapon is increased by one step (as per Table:Weapon Damage). If his chosen soul shape is a shield, he gains a +2 bonus to his shield AC (that stacks with the shield's AC bonus).
Soul Power (Su): Through various ties and links to the Soul Blade's own soul, his soul shape gains certain properties that feed off his soul to power. At 2nd and 4th levels, the Soul Blade can choose a power from the list of soul powers. At 4th, he can choose one for each of his soul shapes. The powers are as follows:
- Piercing Soul Strike (Requires weapon soul shape): The Soul Blade gain the ability to make his enemy flat-footed, as a free action, against his attack twice per day, as though using Wraithstrike.
- Soul Arrow (Requires ranged weapon soul shape): The Soul Blade can uses an arrow made entirely out of force with his ranged weapon. These arrows dissipate after one round.
- Adamantine Soul: The Soul Blade's soul shape is made from adamantine. It gains all the properties of an adamantine weapon or shield. A ranged weapon bestows this property onto it's ammunition.
- Aligned Metal Soul (Requires weapon soul shape): The Soul Blade's soul shape changes from metal to metal. It overcomes damage reduction as though Cold Iron, Silver and aligned to your alignment.
Reinforced Soul (Su): The Soul Blade's soul shapes gain their true power as they become one with the soul, a true manifestation of his desire to battle. The Soul Blade's soul shape becomes completely unsunderable and not made out of any terrestrial material. The Soul Blade also gains a bonus depending on what type of soul shape he has. If a weapon, he gains a bonus equal to his class levels to charge attacks made with his soul shape. If a shield, he gains a bonus equal to his class levels to his AC when fighting defensively or using a total defense action.
Second Shape (Su): The Soul Blade's power rises again, as his first soul shape becomes tied to his soul. He becomes capable of taking another soul shape into his body.
Unrestricted Soul (Su): The Soul Blade's soul shape becomes fully integrated with his soul, giving him even further power. Both of his soul shapes are affected by the Empowered Soul ability and his first soul shape gains the ability again. For example; a Soul Blade with a weapon soul shape as his first soul shape would gain another increase to his weapon die and his second soul shape, which is a shield, would gain a +2 stacking bonus to his shield AC.
Essence Reaver (Su): The Soul Blade's soul shape begins a true conduit to the soul. It allows for power to be transferred along, becoming one with the soul. One of the Soul Blade's soul shape gains the Essence Reaver ability, which is dependant on what type of soul shape is used. The following ability is gained dependant on soul shape:
- Melee Weapon Soul Shape: Whenever the Soul Blade kills his opponent using his melee soul shape, he steals a portion of their essence and mixes it with his own, empowering his soul shape. If the Soul Blade kills an opponent with his soul shape, he gains a +2 bonus to strength, +1d10 temporary hit points and his weapon can overcome any damage reduction that the creature had. These bonuses last for 1 minute before the essence is expelled from the soul. This ability stacks up to 4 times, if the soul blade can kill four targets in one minute. At the end of one minute from the time he first gained one stack of essence reaver, the effect (no matter how many stacks are held) fades away as the souls he has reaped die.
- Ranged Weapon Soul Shape: The Soul Blade gains a +4 insight bonus to his dexterity due to his natural connection to the bow. He also gains the ability to add his dexterity modifier to his damage on ranged attacks. If he already has dexterity to ranged damage, he gains twice his dexterity modifier to damage.
- Shield Soul Shape: The Soul Blade's shield actually becomes capable of defending his soul, rather than just his material body. As an immediate action, the Soul Blade can channel his soul shape to protect his body and mind; granting his shield bonus to his fortitude, reflex and will saves instead. This causes the Soul Blade's shield to demanifest, losing his shield bonus to AC. The shield can be manifested on his turn as per normal.
Playing a Soul Blade
Combat: The Soul Blade is a versatile combatant; from ranged support to flanking pin-point attacks to front-line melee fighter, the Soul Blade can do it all, depending on his choices of soul shapes. A Soul Blade is reliant on his soul shapes, due to the powers they have over them. A sneaky Soul Blade could easily sneak into a well-guarded institution appearing to have no weaponry or a fighter can manifest his shield in the heat of battle to provide himself with more defensive capabilities. When attaining the captsone power, Essence Reaver, a Soul Blade can easily empower himself by dispatching foes with his melee weapon, or defend himself against powerful spells by protecting his mind with his shield.
Advancement: The Soul Blade can usually go back to his base class or take a prestige class tied to his base class. The Soul Blade prestige class offers no other paths into different classes or paths.
Resources: Soul Blades have no set resources; they are often far and few apart to create any viable organization. Soul Blades are unique individuals, due to their complete lack of training in the art of unlocking a soul shape; due it being sort-of "instinctual".
Soul Blade's in the World
|“||It was like a flash; before we knew it, his blade was in hand and he'd taken out four of us.||”|
|—Tim the Coward, Elf Monk, The Massacre of the 12 Pillows|
Soul Blades can be anywhere in the world, as long as there are those that fight, there are those that can become Soul Blades. But, they are very often fare, far and few between to actually be noticed, though their rather unique set of abilities can get attention if used too much. Rogue Soul Blades can often be the most versatile of assassins, hiding their blades within their souls and dispatching a target, with no visible weaponry. A Soul Blade who has ascertained the Essence Reaver power with their melee weapon can easily dispatch numerous weak enemies to empower their own souls, absorbing their essences into their bodies.
NPC Reactions: A Soul Blade does not announce his presence through normal means; they cannot be spotted easily and they cannot be identified unless actually manifesting their weapons. Even then, it can be a stretch to get to know they are truly Soul Blades. Yet, those that know of a Soul Blade can know that they are deadly individuals, capable of manipulating their own souls to in battle. This idea could cause some form of outcry or panic in those of the idea of pure souls or pacifism.
Soul Blade Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge(Religion) can research Soul Blades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Soul Blades shape their own souls into weapons.|
|15||The Soul Blade's "soul shape" is actually one of their own weapons or shield absorbed into their soul.|
|20||The Soul Blade's soul shape gains even power as they establish a link between the soul and the shape itself. They can even enchant the soul shape with magical energy by imbuing it with their souls.|
|25||The most powerful Soul Blade's can steal parts of other people's souls or even defend their own mind with their soul shapes.|
Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords: If using the Tome of Battle and entering the Soul Blade class with a martial adept, then the following variant can be used: At 2nd and 4th levels, the Soul Blade gains 1 maneuver from any discipline he has access to. At 3rd level, he gains 1 stance from any discipline he has access to. This prestige class counts as a martial adept prestige class and is added directly to the initiator level of the martial adept.
Soul Blade's in the Game
The Soul Blade is a combat orientated prestige class and is sought by those of a combat-based incentive. The Soul Blade is useful for those who wish to "smuggle" their weapons wherever they need them, effectively always being armed or defended by their soul shape.
Adaptation: Soul Blades can be anywhere where combat is. They could be any combatant or even any rogue or assassin. A Soul Blade does not show any outward signs of being a Soul Blade until they are in combat, so nearly anyone can be easily transformed into a Soul Blade.
Sample Encounter: A strong warrior who has mastered the power of the Soul Blade has been driven mad by his thirst for battle. He wishes for it all day long and looks for it in any given situation. The players have managed to upset him in the Tree of the 12 Pillows, a local inn.
EL 13: Sanders!
|Fighter 6 / Soul Blade 5 / Exotic Weapon Master 2|
|Chaotic Neutral Medium Humanoid (Human)|
|Init/Senses||+2/Listen +0, Spot +0|
|AC||36, touch 26, flat-footed 33|
(+3 Dex, +13 Shield, +10 Breastplate)
|hp||81 (13d10 HD)|
|Melee||+23/+18 +4 Bastard Sword (2d8+10, 19-20/x2) (One-Handed with Shield) or|
|Melee||+24/+19 +4 Bastard Sword (2d8+16, 19-20/x2) (Two-Handed)|
|Combat Gear||+4 Bastard Sword (Soul Shape), +5 Tower Shield (Soul Shape), +5 Mithral Breastplate|
|Abilities||Str 23, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10|
|SQ||Trip Attack, Uncanny Blow, Essence Reaver, Soul Shape (+5 Tower Shield), Second Shape(+4 Bastard Sword), Empowered Soul, Reinforced Soul, Unrestricted Soul, Soul Power (Adamantine Soul), Soul Power (Piercing Soul Strike)|
|Feats||Exotic Weapon Proficiency(Bastard Sword), Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Weapon Focus(Bastard Sword), Knock-Down, Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, Parrying Shield, Quick Draw|
|Skills||Climb +20, Craft(Weaponsmithing) +16, Intimidate +16, Jump +20, Swim +20|
|Advancement||by character class (Fighter)|
|Possessions||combat gear plus Gloves of dexterity +2, Belt of giant strength +4, Handy haversack|