The Suloise slaver didn't read the note twice - he didn't have to. He knew his fate as surely as if it were carved in stone. He glanced over at the cage containing the huddled forms of his captives, elves to a man. The royal elven entourage, cunningly captured and offered for ransom to their liege, looked back with eyes morose yet proud. The only petty satisfaction the slaver would have before he died was that those elves would not see the note, which read: "I am Talishine of Celene, Master Bladesinger of the Wolves, and I will meet you soon and take my people."
Author: Randy Blair
Master Bladesinger Prestige Class
by Randy Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Of all the individuals that serve elven society - arcane archers, spell swords, and even bladesingers – none evokes fear more than the utterance of the name of a Master Bladesinger.
Trained from birth, Master Bladesingers are the product of centuries of practice in the art of bladesong – the beautiful, but deadly, elven martial art combining arcane spellcasting with a fluid fighting style. Due to their chaotic nature, few elves learn the art of bladesong, fewer still have the dedication and zeal to become bladesingers, but rarest are those elves who dedicate their lives, despite the rigors presented, to become Master Bladesingers.
Indeed, even those elves who possess both the ability and dedication may lack the political backing which comes from a noble house, or perhaps even the favor of a priest of the elven gods. Both are required to learn the art of bladesong.
Despite the difficulty, a handful of the skilled and fortunate rise to become Master Bladesingers, with an impressive array of abilities that reward them, and elven society at large.
Before transforming into a Master Bladesinger, she already has risen high in levels, both in fighting classes and those able to cast arcane spells. Also, she must have the sponsorship of a noble house and the priesthood of Corellon Larethian. As a practical matter, Master Bladesingers are all part of the same family in their region. In Celene, there are three houses that have Master Bladesingers. Their totems are: wolf, shortsword; viper, dagger; and bear, mace. In the Duchy of Ulek, there is one house with a single Master Bladesinger. House Iptbough's totem is a black panther and their weapon is a longsword. These houses tend to have bladesingers (see Tome and Blood) and greater bladesingers (see Tome and Blood Web Enhancement
) as well.
|Arcane Spell Level||3rd|
|Knowledge (Elven Culture)||4|
|Perform (Dancing, Singing)||5|
Bladesong (see below)
Weapon Focus (chosen weapon)
Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Intuit Direction (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Elven Culture) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Wilderness Lore (Wis)
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Base Attack Bonus
|Bladesong, Spellblade 1/day, Concentration, Armored Casting, Elven Tenets, Obligation|
|Bladesong, Dance 1/day, Imbue Weapon, Uncanny Dodge|
|Bladesong, Spellblade 2/day, Uncanny Grace, Chosen Weapon (Skilled), Caster Level +1|
|Bladesong, Dance 2/day, Immune to Fear and Charm|
|Bladesong, Spellblade 3/day, Uncanny Dodge|
|Bladesong, Dance 3/day, Uncanny Grace, Chosen Weapon (Expert), Caster Level +1|
|Spellblade 4/day, Somatic Attack|
|Dance 4/day, Improved Reflexes|
|Spellblade 5/day, Uncanny Grace, Chosen Weapon (Master), Caster Level +1|
|Dance 5/day, Whirl of Many Cuts|
Armored Casting: As part of their martial training, Master Bladesingers learn to compensate for the effects of armor on their ability to cast arcane spells. Master Bladesingers have their arcane spell failures reduced by 10% (to a minimum of 0%) while wearing armor, or by 20% if the Master Bladesinger's armor is of elven make, such as elven chainmail.
Bladesong: At the first level, and every other level afterwards, the Master Bladesinger gains an additional ability from the feat, Bladesong. He may choose a different special ability each time. If he already has learned all the abilities, then he gains nothing from this ability.
Chosen Weapon (Skilled): At 3rd level a Master Bladesinger has become so familiar with her chosen weapon that while wielding her it and wearing light armor or no armor, she receives a +1 bonus to all attack and damage rolls and a + 1 to AC. Also, while wielding her chosen weapon and wearing light armor or no armor, a Master Bladesinger can fight as though she had the feat Mobility and with two weapons as if she had the feats Ambidexterity and Two-Weapon fighting, regardless of the requirements. The off-hand weapon must be the same as her chosen weapon.
Chosen Weapon (Expert): Upon reaching 6th level, a Master Bladesinger has dedicated herself to her chosen weapon enough to be an expert in its use. Her bonus to attack and damage rolls is now +3. She also receives a +3 bonus to AC while wielding her chosen weapon. As an expert, a Master Bladesinger fights as though she had the feats Cleave, Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm and Power Attack while using her chosen weapon and wearing light armor or no armor, regardless of requirements. Deflect Arrows is performed with the Master Bladesinger's chosen weapon as opposed to her hand.
Chosen Weapon (Master): When a Master Bladesinger reaches 9th level, she has become an undisputed master with her chosen weapon. She receives a +5 bonus to attack and damage rolls as well as a +5 bonus to AC while using her chosen weapon. She also gains the ability to use the feats Improved Great Cleave, Spring Attack and Whirlwind Attack while using her chosen weapon and wearing light armor or no armor, regardless of the requirements. She is so familiar with her chosen weapon that she knows its weight and balance well enough to be able to hurl it as a thrown weapon with no penalties.
Concentration: Gain +1 competence bonus per class level to all Concentration checks made for casting defensively. This bonus does not count for any other type of concentration checks.
Dances: At second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth level, a Master Bladesinger learns new forms of lethal and defensive dancing to add to his martial prowess, as well as the ability to perform more dances per day. All dances last for a number of rounds equal to the Master Bladesinger's class level.
|Water Dance||At second level, the Master Bladesinger learns the first of his dances. The water dance is the art of flowing with the movement of others. While the water dance is in effect, the Master Bladesinger may add his Wisdom modifier to his Armor Class or his attack bonus. However, he must choose one form at the time he initiates the dance and cannot change unless he begins anew.|
|Fire Dance||At fourth level, the Master Bladesinger can channel the destructive power of the raging fire dance through his body. In this dance, he gains a +4 bonus to Strength and Constitution, receiving two additional hit points per level. However, his Armor Class is lowered by two and after the dance, he is severely exhausted (-6 Strength and Constitution).|
|Wind Dance||At sixth level, the Master Bladesinger learns the steps of the wind dance, a graceful art of defense and sanctuary. While engaged in this dance, the Master Bladesinger may double his Dexterity modifier in terms of his Armor Class. So a character with a Dexterity of 20 (+5 modifier) would get a +10 modifier to his Armor Class. In addition, the character may lower his attack bonus and raise his Armor Class by the same amount.|
|Bone Dance||At eighth level, the Master Bladesinger is now capable of the bone dance. When this dance is employed, the Master Bladesinger must spend a round working his body up into a frenzy of dance and passion. Afterwards, he may double the normal amount of attacks he receives for the duration of this dance.|
|Iron Dance||At tenth level, the Master Bladesinger learns the forms of the iron dance, the most deadly of the dances. After working his body up for a round, the Master Bladesinger may add his cumulative attack bonus (from his base, magical weapons, Strength modifier, Dexterity modifier, Weapon Focus, etc.) to his Armor Class for as long as he continues to dance. He is unable to attack at this time, as the dance is a purely defensive maneuver. However, anyone who attacks the Master Bladesinger and fails must make a Reflex saving throw (DC is the Master Bladesinger's modified AC). If the opponent fails, he takes damage as if he was struck by the Master Bladesinger. If the Master Bladesinger is wielding two-weapons at once, increase his Armor Class by half of the second weapon's bonus. This is cumulative with the normal bonus from the first weapon.|
Elven Tenets: With this restriction, at first level, the Master Bladesinger becomes bound by special Elven Tenets. The strictures that govern a Master Bladesinger are far more restrictive than those of common elves, and should a Master Bladesinger violate one of them, he will be summarily hunted down by an elven war party, and brought to the highest ruler of the elves, usually a King or Queen, such as Yolande of Celene. The specific wordings vary from land to land, but always include the following 3 tenets:
One must obey the decrees of the Elven ruler(s).
One must never kill an elf, or through inaction, allow an elf to be killed
One may never refuse the request of an elf in dire need.
Any elf who is an enemy of the Elven People, is considered to be a non-elf for these purposes. Although there may be loopholes in the wording of these three tenets, the only opinion that matters is that of the Elven ruler, who determines if a violation has occurred. Although preferably the Master Bladesinger gets some sort of trial, an Elven ruler may find him guilty or not guilty without such formalities. However, at this point he is also considered a hero of the Elven People, and may request (and with reasonable expectations, expect) an elf to offer him food and shelter, as well as equipment within reason.
Enchanted Strike: As one of the abilities they are most famous for, Master Bladesingers quickly learn to release magical spells through their weapon in the heat of battle. Normally, an Enchanted Strike is a full action, and a Master Bladesinger must be using the bladesong fighting style to use this ability.
An Enchanted Strike is a way to cast a spell on someone by attacking them. To use Enchanted Strike, a Master Bladesinger chooses a spell to use, and then attacks an opponent as normal. If she misses, the spell is wasted. Otherwise, the target is affected by the spell in addition to taking normal damage from the attack. Note that a Master Bladesinger still needs to roll for arcane spell failure as normal, but her attack still causes normal damage if the spell fails.
If a Master Bladesinger successfully delivers a spell with Enchanted Strike, it's assumed to be a direct hit. The Master Bladesinger doesn't need to roll to hit with the spell, and the target is automatically assumed to have failed a Reflex check if he'd normally be allowed one. If a Master Bladesinger gets a critical hit when using Enchanted Strike with a spell that can also cause one, both the weapon and spell damage are multiplied.
The greatest Master Bladesingers are able to integrate Enchanted Strikes seamlessly into the other motions of the bladesong. At 10th level, the Master Bladesinger can simply substitute any one of his attacks per round for an Enchanted Strike; in other words, the Enchanted Strike is treated much like a regular attack. This means she can use an Enchanted Strike as a standard action, or can make multiple attacks in addition to the Enchanted Strike by using full attack. She is still limited to one Enchanted Strike per round, however, and she can never execute an Enchanted Strike in the same round she casts a spell normally.
Enchanted Strike is a supernatural ability.
Fallen Master Bladesingers
Master Bladesingers who do not honor their elven heritage and people, who do not strive and go forward to advance and improve the elven society, or worse, fail to obey the Elven Tenets, will find themselves stripped of their bladesinging ability, losing all special class abilities until they have Atoned to the elven gods. The view of a Master Bladesinger to his elven family and people is very similar in the way a paladin would view the god he worships. He would do anything for them.
Immune to Fear & Charm: At fourth level, a Master Bladesinger is so devoted to his cause that he becomes immune to any form of Fear or spells that would induce him to violate the Elven Tenets. This is a supernatural ability
Improved Reflexes: The Master Bladesinger gains at 8th level a +2 bonus to initiative. This bonus stacks with the improved initiative feat and dexterity modifiers.
Obligation: At this point, the Master Bladesinger is a champion of his people, and the Elven ruler calls on him accordingly. She gives him a special pin, so that she may contact him at any time. He will be given the most thankless and dangerous missions she has. However, he now answers only to her, and is not considered subordinate to any other elf.
An example of an obligation would be to round up an army to defeat an orc horde. Another one would be to assassinate a drow leader.
Somatic Attack: At 7th level a Master Bladesinger becomes so familiar with casting spells in combat situations they can use their chosen weapon as part of the somatic component while casting a spell. This allows them to cast spells in a combat situation even if they don't have a hand free. This special ability can only be used while the Master Bladesinger is wielding her chosen weapon. Because of the extreme difficulty of doing this, there is a 20% chance of spell failure every time a Master Bladesinger uses a somatic attack, in addition to any due to the wearing of armor.
The somatic attack is an extraordinary ability.
Spell Level: Every 3rd level, the Master Bladesinger gets an increase in the number of spells per day he can learn and cast for his arcane spellcaster class. His effective caster level will also increase. Simply add the level bonus as it applies to spellcasting. For example a 3rd level Master Bladesinger who has 4 levels of Sorceror casts spells like a 5th level Sorceror.
Spellblade: Starting at first level, and every two levels thereafter (3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th), the Master Bladesinger may place special enchantments on his weapons. For every two levels gained, an additional spellblade enchantment may be learned. This enchantment lasts through a number of successful strikes equal to the Master Bladesinger's Intelligence modifier and may be used once per day for every two levels in this class. Note that Spellblade and Imbue Weapon or Enchanted Strike cannot be used at the same time. If the Master Bladesinger uses Spellblade and then uses Imbue Weapon or Enchanted Strike, then the Spellblade takes precedence and the other spell dissipates with no effect.
|Flameblade||The Master Bladesinger may sheath his weapon in an aura of fire, dealing an additional 1d6 points of fire damage to any target it strikes.|
|Frostblade||The Master Bladesinger may cover the blade of his weapon in blistering cold, dealing an additional 1d6 points of cold damage to any target it strikes.|
|Keenblade||The Master Bladesinger may double the threat range for his weapon. A longsword would have a threat range of 17-20 instead of the normal 19-20.|
|Runeblade||By invoking powerful and magical runes, the Master Bladesinger may add a +1 bonus to both attack and damage with his weapon for every two levels in the Master Bladesinger class.|
|Shockblade||The Master Bladesinger may sheath his blade in crackling electricity, dealing an additional 1d6 points of electrical damage to any target it strikes.|
Uncanny Dodge: At 2nd level, a Master Bladesinger gains the Uncanny Dodge ability. The Master Bladesinger can keep the bonuses to AC he gains from his Dexterity modifier and bladesong defense. When the Master Bladesinger reaches 5th level, he can also no longer be flanked.
This is an extraordinary ability.
Uncanny Grace: The dance-like form of the bladesong is comprised of very unpredictable moves and becomes a nuisance for opponents of a Master Bladesinger.
At second level, she may use her dance skill just as the bluff skill can be used to feint in combat, and may gain the same bonuses when fighting defensively or using the total defense action as one may gain from the Tumble skill (see the respective skills for details).
At 6th level, a Master Bladesinger's unpredictable dance and reflexes can even throw off a normal critical hit. Any time she is hit with a critical, the Master Bladesinger receives a reflex save to avoid the extra damage. The DC is equal to 10+ the number rolled on the second attack roll (the second roll for the enemy to see if the threat was actually a critical).
Finally, at 10th level, their dance becomes so effective and unpredictable, the +1 AC bonus from the dodge feat is effective against any number of opponents rather than just one. In fact, her movements are so hard to read, this is even effective against opponents she doesn't know are there, including those invisible. Obviously, in the case of undetected opponents, she must already be engaged with someone else so that she is in motion for it to be effective. However, she needs a bit more room than usual to gain the dodge against multiple opponents, and must have at least one adjacent 5' space open.
Uncanny Grace is only usable in light or no armor.
Whirl of Many Cuts: At level 10 the Master Bladesinger may attempt the famous "Whirl of Many Cuts" once per day as a full-round action to all enemies within 10' of him. This ability allows the Master Bladesinger a brief burst of unnatural quickness in action to slice down his enemies. Those who witness this ability view it as a blade (or other weapon) whirling about in a circle as fast as a whirlwind, cutting down enemies where they stand. The Master Bladesinger makes an attack roll at his highest base attack against each target. No more than one attack may be made per target in this way. In the round this ability is used and the following round, the Master Bladesinger loses all bonuses to Dexterity and loses the ability to make attacks of opportunity due to the dizzying effect of performing this deadly attack. At the end of the attack, the Master Bladesinger must end up back in the position he was in when he started.
Note that this differs from the Iron Dance because this is offensive in nature.
This is a supernatural ability.
Bladesong Feat (General)
You are trained in the elven martial art of swordsmanship and spell casting.
Skill Prerequisites: Balance (4), Tumble (4)
Feat Prerequisites: Expertise, Quicken Spell.
Unless an extraordinary circumstance is present, the character must be an Elf.
The character must have a trainer who also has the Bladesong feat.
The character must have a noble elven sponsor, or come from a noble elven family.
The character must be blessed by a cleric of the elven gods to imbue the divine nature of this feat's benefits.
The character has the same limitations as a Master Bladesinger prestige class does, i.e. racial enemies, aid to all elves, etc. If the character violates any of the limitations, he loses the benefit of the feat until atonement to the elven gods.
Benefits: This feat grants a variety of benefits, one may be chosen each time the feat is taken.
- Apply Int modifier to Attack and Damage. Against elves racial enemies, i.e. orcs, drow, this modifier is doubled. This is an extraordinary ability.
- Apply Wis modifier to AC and Initiative. This is an extraordinary ability.
- Parry: The character may roll a Reflex Saving Throw to avoid a melee attack. The difficulty class is the opponent's attack roll, minus the character's AC, plus ten. This costs the character one attack for each attack he chooses to parry. (For Example, Ichandalas Iptbough, an elven Master Bladesinger, is attacked by an Orc Chieftan. His AC is 21, the Orc Chieftan rolls a 27. His target number to parry is a 16 (27-21+10) he rolls a 19 and suffers no ill effects from the attack.) This is an extraordinary ability.
- Enhance Quicken Spell: The character chooses one spell to quicken, this spell can never be changed. The character can treat that spell as its spell level, despite the fact that it is quickened, and cast it as a free action. Only once such spell may be cast per round, however, and it can't be in the same round as another quickened spell. This never provokes an attack of opportunity. This is a supernatural ability.
- Spell Strike: The character may cast touch attack spells through his blade as a free action. He strikes at his highest base attack with all applicable modifiers, and does damage equal to the spell plus his weapon. He may only attack once per round in this manner, and if the attack misses, the spell dissipates with no effect. This is a supernatural ability.
- Spell Shield: The character can roll a normal attack roll, using his highest base attack, with all modifiers. This number becomes his spell resistance roll for one spell. The character must give up all attacks in order to perform this action, and can only use it when a spell strikes (either through a held action or an attack of opportunity.) If the spell doesn't beat his resistance, the entire spell fizzles. (A fireball that is between in this manner would not effect anybody in the radius of its effect, as the character dispelled it.) This is a supernatural ability.
Special: The Bladesong can only be performed using a one-handed weapon, usually a sword. No benefits are gained if a character cannot use his free hand (although a buckler may be worn.) The Bladesong cannot be performed in Medium or Heavy Armor. Also, only one Bladesong benefit can be used per round.
Several people online have contributed to the Master Bladesinger concept. In general, these were submissions to Eric Noah's website for variant bladesinger prestige classes. The names of the people whose work I have borrowed from are:
Note: Elves, Third Edition