Sword Saint (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||I'll never forget the day I met Talein Fosler. Wandered into town by himself one day, stopped by the inn. Couple of local troublemakers tried to pick his pocket. He let em' take it, but as soon as they were out the door, he stood up and was after them, across the room in three great strides. Never saw him again, but the thieves...well, we were still finding chunks a month later.||”|
|—Garet Rawn, human bartender|
Sword Saints are individuals who have taken the mastery of the sword to such an extent that their skills could be considered divine, at least by mortals. Years of practice and gut-wrenching combat have honed the Sword Saint's skills to a razor edge and transformed their bodies. Their bodies become heavy, with muscles far denser than they appear, often resulting in a lanky appearance. Dwarves who become Sword Saints are often mistaken for a starving individual by their own kind. This densification allows the superhuman strength and speed with which the Sword Saint ends disputes.
Becoming a Sword Saint
Most individuals do not intentionally seek to become a Sword Saint, but rather grow into it over time. Those who do seek it, however, wish to become a true master of the blade, if not the greatest swordsman of all. To do this, a true master is normally sought out for training.
|Race:||Any, as long as they're capable of wielding a sword.|
|Base Attack Bonus:||+8.|
|Skills:||Craft (weaponsmithing) 10 ranks, Intimidate 10 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.|
|Feats:||Improved Critical (any sword), Weapon Focus (any sword).|
|Alignment:||Any but evil.|
|Special:||Must receive training for one month from a master swordsman.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Sword and Master, Superhuman Sprint, Epic Weapon Focus (any sword), Dense Body 1, Smite Evil 1/day|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Epic Weapon Specialization (any sword), Perfected Body|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Dense Body 2, Pressure of the Blade, Holy Blade 1d6|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Dismembering Blades, Smite Evil 2/day|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Dense Body 3, Epic Cleave, Bond of Sword and Soul, Holy Blade 2d6|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+2||Blade Revenant, Evil Bane|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Dense Body 4, Shared Might, Bonus Feat, Smite Evil 3/day, Holy Blade 3d6|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||Dense Body 5, Holy Blade 4d6|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Bonus Feat, Master's Fury, Smite Evil 4/day|
All of the following are class features of the Sword Saint
Skill Points Per Level: Sword saints gain 2 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Sword Saint Class Skills: The following skills are class skills for sword saints: Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft (any), Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (nature), Listen, Ride, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble.
Epic Weapon Focus (Ex): Choose one type of sword, you gain +1 to attack rolls with the selected sword type.
Dense Body (Ex): Gain Damage Reduction 1. Every odd level, gain an additional Damage Reduction of +1. This stacks with Damage reduction granted by class features, feats, constant benefit magic items, and armor, but not temporary effects or spells.
Superhuman Sprint (Ex): Your normal ground movement speed increases by +10 ft.
Sword and Master (Ex): Choose a specific type of sword (longsword, shortsword, greatsword, etc.), you gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls when using that sword type.
Epic Weapon Specialization (Ex): Choose one type of sword, you gain a +2 bonus to confirm critical hits with the selected sword type.
Perfect Body (Ex): Sword Saints do not need to eat or sleep very much. You only need 4 hours a day instead of the normal 8 hours, and you can subsist on half of the normal amount of food needed for up to a week with no ill effects. After going without the normal amount of food, you must eat the normal amount of food for twice as many days as you went without.
Pressure of the Blade (Ex): As a free action, you may increase the reach of your sword by +5 ft. for one round, but in exchange you deal only half of your total damage for all attacks you make in that round, including any attacks of opportunity you may make.
Dismembering Blades (Su): Once per day, as a full-round action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, you can manifest a swarm of blades that orbit around you to injure enemies that close to melee combat with you. This lasts 1 round per Sword Saint level. Any time an enemy comes within reach of your sword that enemy automatically takes 1d6 damage, plus 1 damage for every Sword Saint level. Each individual enemy only takes this damage once per round, regardless of how many times they come into melee range with you.
Epic Cleave (Ex): You gain Cleave as a bonus feat. If you already have Cleave, then you instead gain Great Cleave as a bonus feat, even if you don't meet the requirements.
Bond of Sword and Soul (Su): Whenever the Sword Saint is using a sword, it does not deteriorate and he cannot be disarmed. The sword cannot be broken or damaged in any way, not even by rust monsters.
Once per day, the Sword Saint can give a single ally a +2 bonus on Fortitude and Reflex saves, and the ally also gains a +1 bonus on all attack rolls. The target also has their movement speed extended by +5 ft. The ally must be within 30 feet of you when first given this bonus, but can then move farther away after gaining it. This effect persists until the ally is rendered unconscious or until 1 round per Sword Saint level has passed, whichever comes first.
Dual Terror (Ex): The Sword Saint can use two swords, as long as they are identical. They suffer no penalties for doing so, but only gain a single extra attack without the two-weapon fighting feat progression. This extra single attack will stack with any extra attacks he has from two-weapon fighting feats, magic items, etc.
Master's Fury (Ex): When an ally of the Sword Saint is rendered unconscious or dead by an enemy or enemy's action(s), he may use this ability as an immediate action. All enemies within his reach with the sword must make a Reflex save vs the Sword Saint's attack (which gains a +2 bonus to hit), or instantly receive damage equal to a critical hit with the Sword Saint's sword. Roll damage for the critical hit only once, regardless of how many foes are hit by it. Enemies that pass the Reflex save take no damage.
Blade Revenant (Su): Once per day, when the Sword Saint would normally be reduced to 0 or less hit points, he automatically regains a number of hit points equal to twice his Sword Saint level. This doesn't count as using a swift or immediate action, but the Sword Saint is still prone even after being healed by this power.
True Blademaster (Su): All of the Sword Saint's sword attacks that are critical hits have a 20% chance to instantly slay the target of the attack. This is a death effect. The target is allowed a Fortitude save to negate this; the save DC is 10 + the character's Sword Saint level + his Strength modifier. If the target passes the save they take only normal critical hit damage. Enemies that are not living, or that are immune to critical hits, are immune to this power.
Smite Evil (Su): Once per day, a Sword Saint may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. She adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per Sword Saint level. If the Sword Saint accidentally smites a creature that is not evil, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day.
Evil Bane (Su): Once per day, the Sword Saint can imbue his sword with the Holy magical weapon property, this lasts 1 round per Sword Saint level.
Holy Blade (Su): At 3rd level the Sword Saint can, as a full-round action, emit a 30 ft. cone wave attack of holy damage for 1d6 damage, and an additional 1d6 damage is added per every 2 levels above third level. Enemies in the cone that pass a Reflex save take half damage, the save DC is the same formula as the True Blademaster power above.
Bonus Feat (Ex): At 7th and 10th level you may choose one bonus feat from the following list, you must meet any requirements for the feats, as normal: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Epic Endurance, Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Great Constitution, Great Strength, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Perfect Health, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Superior Initiative, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, and any feat designated as a Fighter bonus feat. NOTE: To choose any of the epic level feats, you MUST be an epic level character!
If a Sword Saint does not participate in a battle for more than two months, he will lose the use of all his Sword Saint class feats and abilities. He must train with a sword master or another Sword Saint for one month to regain his Sword Saint abilities. A Sword Saint that changes to any evil alignment loses all class powers and feats until he atones (as per the 'atonement' spell)
Playing a Sword Saint
Combat: Sword Saint's are in-your-face melee fighters designed to chew through large numbers of enemies with ease. Their main weakness is the same as most other melee classes: a low Will save.
Advancement: You should spend your feat selections and ability score improvements as you level in ways that increase your martial abilities. Strength is the key ability score, and a higher Constitution will help you survive the intense fights you'll get in.
Resources: Sword Saints do not get along. They feel compelled to compete against each other strongly, and will as soon kill each other in a duel as join a party together. However, once a year a number of them will meet at a pre-arranged location for a tournament with only honor on the line. Sword Saints will also re-train an Ex-Sword Saint if they can be convinced of the errant character's dedication and passion in being a Sword Saint. Those that can't convince a Sword Saint of their sincerity to rejoin the ranks of the Sword Saints are killed, partly in disgust and also partly as an abject lesson to others not to stray from the path.
Sword Saints in the World
|“||If you ever have the pleasure - or pain - of meeting a Sword Saint, remember one thing: Never, EVER, do anything to make him mad. They don't forget grudges...mainly because whoever they've got the grudge with isn't going to be alive very long. If you can get one of them on your side, though, it'll take a thousand man army to stop you.||”|
|—Gerudian, Paladin of Khane|
Sword Saints are rather rare due to the great effort required to become one. They tend to be single minded in the pursuit of increasing their fighting abilities, and as such are usually alone, but when they do join a group, their devotion to duty and combat will make them powerful, loyal companions.
PC Interaction: Sword Saints do not especially discriminate based on profession, gender, race, age or religion, but they do tend to force their own alignment on others. For example, a Lawful Good Sword Saint is adventuring with a rogue. The rogue steals from someone, so the Sword Saint forces him to give it back, resulting in a commotion that may or may not land them in jail. As a result lawful Sword Saints tend to dislike rogues and chaotic individuals, and good Sword Saints tend to kill necromancers on sight. Sword Saint's will often indulge in romance, and often become extremely attached to any long-standing companions.
NPC Reactions: NPC's that are not aware of the Sword Saint's class will merely feel uneasy around them, like if they were near a large predator. Individuals who do know their nature will stay out of their way unless they have some pressing concern to address that the Sword Saint can help with, such as slaying a dragon or ten. Individuals who know their nature and are forced to interact with them will treat them with the utmost respect, more out of fear of being dismembered than anything else. Sword Saints will commonly spend many weeks or months away from other humans, so it is somewhat understandable that they find other people irritating at best.
Sword Saint Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge can research Sword Saint's to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Sword Saints are known to fight each other to the death on sight.|
|16||Sword Saints do not need to eat or sleep as much as normal people.|
|21||Sword Saints often have a strong bond with their blade, and some will mentally deteriorate if it is broken or lost.|
|26||The greatest weakness of a Sword Saint is their incredible weight; gravity abilities or falls from height are very dangerous for them.|
Sword Saints in the Game
Sword Saints are peerless melee combatants, but are rather susceptible to ranged attacks and magic. They are not bad at stealth, but prefer to come at an opponent head on, an approach made possible by their great speed.
Adaptation: Sword Saints can be used as a positive element, or protective influence to make an area safe for characters, or as a dangerous character. They are certainly ideal as a central villain, as their abilities make wiping out even a decent sized party easy.
Sample Encounter: PCs might encounter a Sword Saint near any large, dangerous predator's lair as the character prepares to deal with the threat - the Sword Saint may aid them or have simple dealt with the problem themselves. Sword Saints can come from any walk of life, any non-evil alignment, and can be followers of any deity, though Khane is the most common. A good use of them is as a deterrent to characters, as a Sword Saint is very hard to get past alive. You might also encounter them at any stadium, even a ruined one, where they may be holding a tournament between local swordsmen.