The Blade (3.5e Prestige Class)

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The Blade[edit]

He who lives without discipline, dies without honor.
—Klaridace “The Blade” Gravida, Human Blade, Icelandic Proverbs, Chapter 5, Section 32, Paragraph 19

The Blade is a mysterious figure, but well feared for their unique skills involving stealth and swords. It is rumored that they frequently work as mercenaries or find work as a type of Robin Hood. They work quietly and with maximum efficiency, and often go on their way without too many words exchanged. The Blade is a member of a very secretive group of assassins that work for either ethics or money, and sometimes both. They are most famous for both the ability to strike in close quarters from the concealment of dark shadows, and the frightening number of bladed instruments they are often equipped with at any given time. One of the most well-known facts is that those who train to become a Blade often adopt “The Blade” as part of their name, which becomes their official business title.

In truth, The Blades are quick, cunning, and nearly unstoppable when it comes to finishing a job. They are agile in ways that most people find hard to believe, and strike with frightening precision against their enemies. The Blades are superb hunters and driven by strict ethics and morals they develop during their intense training. The Blades do not strike out of anger or hate, but out of what is just and right and gets them paid. They believe in honor and glory, even in the bloodied frenzy of combat. The Blades are as much paid assassins as they are defenders of peace. They are feared, respected, and cherished by those who come to know of them. Those who have seen The Blade in combat, know well that these agile hunters refuse to show mercy and they will not allow those they wound to suffer long without death.

Becoming one of The Blades[edit]

Characters looking to enhance their stealth and close-combat abilities often seek the training to become one of The Blades. Rogues, Fighters, and occasionally Bards take on the proper training to join the business of being a Blade. Working as a Blade often appeals to those who have strong moral ethics or wish to become a great hunter of 2-legged prey. A Blade must be able to move quickly, hide in shadows, and be willing to kill with ruthless efficiency. Once they begin the training to become a Blade, characters are required to abide by strict rules regarding morals and ethics, as The Blades live by the honor and glory of battle. Each one of The Blades often creates his own rules and laws that he or she will follow, including various types of targets they will not strike against. Some of The Blades refuse to strike those without weapons, while some decide that ill enemies are off limits, and others will not strike women and children; each one of The Blades makes their own rules, but they will stick to those rules as a strict way of life.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any Non-Evil Alignment.
Base Attack Bonus: BAB +5.
Race: Any Humanoid Race.
Skills: Balance: 6 Ranks, Hide: 6 Ranks, Jump: 6 Ranks, Tumble: 6 Ranks.
Feats: Dodge, Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Finesse.

Table: The Blade

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Parry Attack, Mobility
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Sneak Attack 1d6, Uncanny Dodge
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Free Running
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Sneak Attack 2d6, Quick Switch
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Bladed Climb
6th +6/+1 +2 +5 +2 Sneak Attack 3d6, Moving Shadow
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 Dual Strike
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 Sneak Attack 4d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 Improved Parry Attack
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 Sneak Attack 5d6, Ranged Parry
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 Improved Climbing
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 Sneak Attack 6d6, Dual Sneak Attack
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4 Aerial Strike
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 Sneak Attack 7d6, Instant Grapple
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5 Good Night Kiss

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level)
Balance, Climb, Craft (Any), Disable Device, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (Local), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Spot, Tumble, Use Rope.

Class Features[edit]

The Blade is an agile fighter. They move with grace and speed and strike with total precision. The following features are the skilled and abilities that The Blade learns once they have accepted training.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Because of the strict training in close-quarters combat, The Blade may only use daggers, throwing knives, short-swords, rapiers, kukris, and katanas. They usually wear two short swords on their back, one dagger on each thigh, a rapier or katana on one hip, and the kukri on the other. They also are known for wearing specially made holsters for their throwing knives, which keeps them within easy reach. This vast array of bladed instruments is how The Blades got their name. They are also skilled in the use of light armor, but not shields.

  • Upon completing training to become one of The Blades (1st Level), all new members of The Blades are given 5 throwing knives, 1 short sword, and a rapier, but may trade these in and supply their own weapons.
Throwing Knife
A small knife balanced for throwing.
Medium Damage: 1d4. Small Damage: 1d3. Large Damage: 1d6
Critical: x2.
Medium Weight: 1lb
Medium Cost: 2gp.
Range: 20 feet.

Mobility: During the training to become one of The Blades, the character will learn the Mobility feat. This grants the The Blade a +4 dodge bonus to his armor class when moving in and out of a threatened area. This benefit stacks with any other dodge bonuses The Blade has acquired from previous classes.

Parry Attack (Ex): The first important skill The Blade is taught when they seek training, is how to dodge an opponent's attack and then strike with ruthless precision. The Parry Attack allows The Blade to roll a reflex-based save against one attack per round. If this evasion succeeds, The Blade may then make an attack of opportunity against his attacker. Also, The Blade may add his Two Weapon Defense bonus to the reflex-based save when it is rolled. At 9th level, The Blade has trained so well with this, that when attacking after a successful evasion, the attack is considered a touch attack, and The Blade may use half of his sneak attack damage when striking (A sneak attack of 4d6 would become 2d6, if it is an odd number, round down). The Parry Attack and Improved Parry Attack only work against melee attackers, not ranged ones.

Sneak Attack: If The Blade is able to use stealth to get close to an unaware target, he can strike at vital areas swiftly for extra damage. This damage starts at 1d6 at level 2, and goes up every even-numbered level. The Blade may only use his Sneak Attack ability with the weapons he is proficient with, and may only use it on enemies with a discernible anatomy or those not immune to critical hits. This ability stacks with any other Sneak Attack bonuses the Blade may gain from other classes.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Blade can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He will retain his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, The Blade still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If The Blade already gains Uncanny Dodge from another class, he instead will gain Improved Uncanny Dodge (See Below).

Free Running (Ex): Blades are nimble characters, using their skills and finesse to gain a superior striking advantage over their targets. With continued training, The Blade can even transfer this grace into his movements. Because of this strict training and the frequent teaching how to think quickly on their feet, The Blade can add any bonus from his Wisdom attribute to his Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble skill rolls. This also allows the character to climb at one half his normal speed, instead of one quarter as long as he has handholds and footholds to use.

Quick Switch: As one of The Blades gains skills and improves his abilities, they learn where to place all of their weapons for easy and quick access, no matter the situation. Because of this knowledge, as long as one of The Blades has 4 or more weapons strapped to his body, he can switch and draw weapons without provoking an attack of opportunity. Also, if The Blade does not already have it, they gain the benefits of the Quick Draw feat and are able to draw their weapons as a free action, instead of a move action, and unsheathing a hidden weapon becomes a move action instead of a standard action. This unique ability of The Blades allows them to quickly and effortlessly switch between their weapons should the need arise.

Bladed Climb (Ex): As one of The Blades improves and perfects his skills with both weapons and agility, they eventually learn how to use their throwing knives, daggers, and short swords as a means to climb normally impossible surfaces. They also learn how to use these weapons as spring boards to reach taller opponents. In order to do this, The Blade must stick one of his weapons into a wall or other vertical surface that the steel can penetrate. Wood, decaying bricks and mortar, dirt, and cloth are just some examples of surfaces The Blade could use to stick his weapons into. The Blade may climb in this manner without resulting in any penalties. Climbing this way is the same as climbing a wall with obvious handholds and footholds (DC 10–15 Depending on how nice the DM is.)

Moving Shadow (Ex): The Blade has learned to effortlessly blend into his surroundings, allowing him to use his Hide and Move Silently skills while also making use of his Free Running ability. Even is broad daylight, The Blade can make sure that his target can never see him coming, from whatever angle he decides to attack from. Due to extensive training, The Blade can also add any bonuses from his Wisdom attribute into his Hide and Move Silently checks.

Dual Strike: With extended training, The Blade can learn how to strike at two opponents at once without incurring any penalties for doing so. The Blade must be aware of both targets' presence and able to reach them both. This ability works with The Blade's throwing knives as well as his melee attacks. He may not use this skill for sneak attacks, he must gain Dual Sneak Attack later on.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The Blade cannot be flanked, and makes The Blade immune to sneak attacks from other characters trying to flank him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue 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 rogue level required to flank the character.

Improved Climbing (Ex): As long as The Blade has obvious handholds and footholds, or is using his Bladed Climb ability, the character can climb at a rate equal to his base movement speed, instead of half.

Dual Sneak Attack: Much like the Dual Strike skill, The Blade learns how to dispatch two enemies from stealth at once as he undergoes further training. He does not suffer any penalty for using his Sneak Attack against two foes at once, as this is part of both the Sneak Attack and Dual Strike abilities.

Ranged Parry (Ex): At 9th level, The Blade learns how to deflect arrows and bolts and other small projectiles that are sent his way. This ability works just like the Parry Attack, except that The Blade is unable to follow through with an attack of his own. The Blade can make a dexterity-based save to knock the projectile safely away once per round. If used, this takes the place of the Parry Attack for that round, and cannot be used against unusually large or heavy projectiles such as a boulder from a trebuchet.

Aerial Strike (Ex): Combining their ability to climb, jump, and strike at opponents is a skill of The Blades who have spent many hours practicing and completing contracts. This precision attack allows The Blade to lunge or dive at an enemy from an elevated position, delivering massive damage. For every 5 feet The Blade dives before attacking, his strike will deal an extra 1d6+1 points of damage. This can also be used as a way to sneak attack an unsuspecting opponent, delivering even further damage. The victim of this attack must also roll a constitution-based save or become Wounded, losing 1 point of constitution each round as they bleed out. A diving member of The Blades can use the body of his target as padding to avoid damage from the fall; treating the fall as if it were 15 feet shorter than it really was for the sake of determining fall damage. The target of an Aerial Strike must also make a balance check or be knocked to the ground. The Blade using this vicious attack may also use his tumble skill in order to avoid fall damage that might normally be caused through this attack. This attack only works with melee weapons. Using this attack is considered a standard action, but The Blade may draw and use two weapons for this single, devastating blow.

Instant Grapple: Once a round, and as a free action, either before or after an attack, The Blade can attempt a single grapple. If used before an attack, the grapple is so swift, that The Blade can still use his Sneak Attack to strike the pinned target. With this ability, a member of The Blades could grab a victim's mouth from behind as he jams a dagger in the poor target's back, and still gain the bonus for the Sneak Attack. The Blade also gains a +4 bonus to grapple checks, regardless if he started the grapple or not, and using this ability does not provoke an attack of opportunity. For the sake of rules, this is treated similarly as, and stacks with, the Improved Grapple feat.

Good Night Kiss (Ex): The mark of a true master within the society of The Blades. The Good Night Kiss is a lethal single strike The Blade can use anytime he would normally gain a sneak attack, including during an Improved Parry Attack. This attack may be used a number of times per day equal to The Blade's Wisdom Modifier. The target of this very precise attack must roll a constitution-based save or die instantly. Those who succeed in saving vs the Good Night Kiss take the damage from the sneak attack, and take on the Wounded trait; losing 1 point of constitution score every round until the bleeding can be stopped.

Campaign Information[edit]

Ex Members of The Blades[edit]

Those who fail to follow the strict rules of ethics and morals and dip into either the Chaotic or Evil alignments are no longer allowed among The Blades and their orders. Ex members of the Blades lose all the special abilities they gained from training, and cannot use their sneak attack benefits or Parry Attacks until they make amends with their Mentor and become focused on peace and order once more. Also, Ex members of The Blades risk being hunted by their former order as a traitor to the guild.

Playing one of The Blades[edit]

Combat: The Blade is an agile, stealthy fighter. They rely on wits and speed to gain the advantage over their enemies. They have no problem being a front-line fighter as long as they can gain an obvious advantage over their foe. Generally, The Blade tends to ambush his targets and dispatch them quickly before the surprise is ruined. Unlike Fighters and Barbarians, The Blade only has a d8 for health, instead of a d10 or d12, this makes them more prone to taking severe damage in combat. This is why when fighting, they often employ “cat and mouse” style tactics, using their speed and agility to gain and keep the upper hand. One of their favorite tactics is to use stealth to unleash a savage attack upon an unsuspecting victim, then take off using their Free Running ability before a counter–attack can be launched.

Advancement: Advancing The Blade is all about focusing on their ability to move quickly and sneak. It is those skills they rely on the most. So multi–classing into a class such as Rogue that also focuses on stealth is a great idea for those seeking to make this class better. Another idea is to use a Fighter or Barbarian as the base class for the character, to further buff The Blade's ability to withstand heated combat.

Resources: The Blades are a loosely-tied together guild of defenders and contract killers. They are not evil though. They work for peace and ethics, letting their discipline and morals guide them in their quests. Each one of The Blades has a Mentor, a higher-level member of The Blades who has trained others in their skills. Often, it is The Blades who seek out new potential members, not the other way around. They look for those who possess similar values and teachings to bring into their secretive world.

The Blades in the World[edit]

This... This is all merely business, my fallen friend...
—Klaridace “The Blade” Gravida, The Human Blade, The Morticaine Memoir, Chapter 2, Section 16, Paragraph 10

The Blades are both mercenaries and Robin Hood types. They believe in keeping order and maintaining a code of ethics that they each abide by. They are contract killers that work for money and justice, and not for the thrill of the kill. They take no pleasure in murder, despite their views of honor and glory through battle, but they understand that sometimes it is the only solution to a problem. They keep themselves secretive, even to those that employ their skills. The Blades see themselves as defenders and protectors, keeping peace and order in an unstable world of corruption and greed.

NPC Reactions: Most people only see one of The Blades when the hunter wishes to be seen. NPCs often fear, respect, and sometimes cherish the presence of The Blades in a city. At the same time though, the presence of The Blades often means there is something much bigger going on than what is obvious to most.

Lore of The Blades[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research The Blades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

<-the appropriate skills->
DC Result
11 The Blades are merely a myth, a fairy–tale to keep people from doing evil.
16 One of The Blades was spotted in town, but this cannot be confirmed.
21 The local senate has hired three of The Blades to track down a traitor within the city.
26 The local order of The Blades often mark themselves with a cloth patch depicting a crow in flight. This patch is often worn on the left arm with a series of silver metal grommets underneath. These grommets represent the number of completed contracts each of The Blades has successfully finished.

Putting The Blades into the Game[edit]

The Blade is often a Robin Hood type figure. Ensuring justice and peace through stealth and murder. They take on contracts and enforce their code of ethics with ruthless precision.

Adaptation: The Blades often work like birds of prey. Watching their targets from rooftops and shadows until it is time to strike. They also make it a habit to follow those that they wish to bring into their secretive orders, but never letting themselves be seen. The Blades never make their presence openly known to others. They are very secretive and reclusive, but are feared and respected where–ever they go.

Parasite God 13:20, 13 February 2013 (MST)

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