The Flashing Sword

The School of Arcane War is the foremost academy of battle magic in the empire. Here, warriors are trained in many and varied styles of combat that merge martial skill with the arts of spellcraft. The graduates of the school, including arcane archers and arcane knights, among others, feature in their ranks some of the most well-known figures in the realm.

Of late, a new style of swordfighting has been gaining prominence in the halls of the academy. Its origins are murky, but it seems to have come about as the result of amalgamating several disparate dueling styles, even including some from overseas, infused with knowledge of the arcane arts. The masters of the School look down their noses at this "Flashing Sword" style, as it's called, disdaining its seeming emphasis on showiness, elaborate maneuvers and fancy footwork. They do not see its hidden efficacy. The Flashing Sword style is in fact much more than just extravagance for its own sake; it is lethal against those who underestimate the duelist.

As befitting practitioners of a new style, duelists of the Flashing Sword tend to be young, brash, and convinced of the superiority of their skills. Some are braggarts who challenge all comers to duels, while others are more diplomatic in seeking out challenges. All seek to demonstrate that precision and skill and a dash of panache can substitute perfectly for brawn.

Flashing Sword Mastery

Prerequisites: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Weapon Finesse, Martial Weapon Proficiency (shortsword, longsword, rapier and scimitar), 6 ranks in Bluff, 9 ranks in Tumble. Must be trained at the School of Arcane War.

Training Benefit: As a free action once per day, you can attempt to deceive one target by weaving subtle cues into your movements. The target must make a Will save (DC 10 + your Charisma modifier) or lose their Dexterity bonus to AC against your next melee attack, provided it is made in the same round. This is an Illusion (pattern), mind-affecting, supernatural effect, and a creature must be able to see you to be deceived. A creature who makes its save still counts as a use of this ability. You also gain a +2 bonus to Will saves against other Flashing Sword duelists who attempt to use this ability on you.

Social Benefit: You gain a +1 competence bonus to Bluff checks.

Flashing Sword mastery is a prerequisite for the Flashing Sword duelist prestige class.


Duelist of the Flashing Sword

Prerequisites

Base attack bonus: +5.

Other: Must have achieved mastery of the Flashing Sword style.

Class Statistics

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points/Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort
Save

Ref
Save

Will
Save


Special

1

+1

+2

+2

+0

Blade of deception, sneak attack +1d6, AC bonus

2

+2

+3

+3

+0

Mastery of blades

3

+3

+3

+3

+1

Acrobatics (+5), imbued strike

4

+4

+4

+4

+1

Agile riposte, sneak attack +2d6

5

+5

+4

+4

+1

Keen edge

6

+6

+5

+5

+2

Acrobatics (+10), blade of shadow

7

+7

+5

+5

+2

Sneak attack +3d6

8

+8

+6

+6

+2

Elusive body

9

+9

+6

+6

+3

Acrobatics (+15)

10

+10

+7

+7

+3

Blade of fury, sneak attack +4d6

Special Abilities

All of the duelist's special abilities function only if he is wearing light or no armour, and carrying no more than a light load. All his special abilities (with the exception of Acrobatics and Elusive Body) require the use of a shortsword, longsword, rapier or scimitar.

Weapon and armour proficiency: The duelist of the Flashing Sword gains no weapon and armour proficiencies beyond what he already has.

AC bonus: The duelist of the Flashing Sword can add his prestige class levels to his martial artist levels (if any) to determine his level-based dodge bonus to AC.

Blade of Deception (Su): The duelist of the Flashing Sword learns to better harness his command of illusions. He can now can use his mastery training benefit (see above) a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma bonus, although no more than once per round. The saving throw DC also becomes 10 + the duelist's prestige class level + his Charisma modifier.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Any time the Flashing Sword duelist's target would be denied its Dexterity bonus to AC (whether it actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), his attack deals extra damage. The extra damage is +1d6 at 1st level, and +1d6 for every three levels after that. Should he score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

The duelist can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature immune to critical hits is similarly immune to sneak attacks. The duelist must also be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach a vital spot. He cannot sneak attack while striking at a creature with concealment, or by striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

If the duelist gets sneak attack damage from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack.

Mastery of Blades (Ex): At 2nd level, the duelist of the Flashing Sword gains a +1 competence bonus to attacks with the shortsword, longsword, rapier and scimitar. Furthermore, he can use his Weapon Finesse feat with the longsword and scimitar, although these are not normally finessable weapons.

Acrobatics (Ex): At 3rd level, the duelist of the Flashing Sword can take 10 on any Balance, Jump or Tumble skill check, even if circumstances would normally keep him from doing so. He further gains a +5 competence bonus on all Balance, Jump and Tumble checks. This bonus increases to +10 at 6th level, and to +15 at 9th level.

Imbued Strike (Su): At 3rd level, the Flashing Sword duelist's melee attacks gain a +1 magical enhancement bonus to attacks and damage, and he can bypass damage reduction as if wielding a magic weapon. (This doesn't stack with the weapon's own enhancement bonus, if any.)

Agile Riposte (Ex): At 4th level, the duelist of the Flashing Sword is capable of extraordinary fast return attacks against those who engage him in melee. If the target of his Dodge feat makes a melee attack (or a melee touch attack) against him and misses, the duelist can make an immediate attack of opportunity in return. The duelist can make only one agile riposte per round, even if he has Combat Reflexes.

Keen Edge (Su): At 5th level, the threat range on the Flashing Sword duelist's melee attacks doubles. This benefit doesn't stack with any other effect that increases a weapon's threat range.

Blade of Shadow (Su): At 6th level, the Flashing Sword duelist's ability to weave patterns of mystic power increases in strength. On a successful attack against an opponent taken in by his Blade of Deception, he inflicts 1d2 points of temporary Constitution damage, in addition to any other damage inflicted.

Elusive Body (Su): At 7th level, the duelist of the Flashing Sword can evade the blows of his enemies with supernatural ease. Attacks against him are subject to a 50% concealment miss chance, as per the spell displacement. The duelist can use this power for up to 10 rounds per day, and the duration need not be consecutive rounds. Activating and deactivating this power takes no time in itself, but the duelist can only do it during his action, not in response to somebody else's action.

Blade of Fury (Su): At 10th level, the duelist of the Flashing Sword becomes a grand master of the school. The critical multiplier on his attacks increases by 1, typically from x2 to x3, and he gains a +5 competence bonus to Will saves against Illusion effects (thus coincidentally minimising his vulnerability against other duelists of his school).


Sample Duelist of the Flashing Sword

Krindal Sevarn is a typical product of the School of Arcane War, at least as far as duelists of the Flashing Sword are concerned. A bored, upper-class youngster with too much money and free time, he and his fellows amused themselves by picking fights in pubs and on the waterfront. Eventually his exasperated parents packed him off to the academy, where he learned of the Flashing Sword style. Its masters, many of whom were little older than himself, appealed to the rebel in him with their disregard for the Academy's stuffy rules and regulations, and he resolved to learn as much as he could of this style. To many people's surprise (including himself), he managed to apply himself with enough diligence to master its intricacies. Eventually he graduated, and now counts himself as one of the more competent exemplars of the style.

In person, Krindal affects an air of laid-back, worldly cynicism. He's seen it all, and done it all before; nothing can surprise him. He doesn't care for grand schemes or crusades, although an adventure that holds the promise of out-of-the-ordinary encounters (as well as lots of loot!) could be of interest.

Krindal Sevarn: human male MA3/rog3/Flashing Sword duelist 3; CR 9; Medium-sized Humanoid (human); HD 6d8+3d6+18 (68 hp); Init +4; Spd 30 ft; AC 21 (touch 15, flat-footed 17); BAB +8; Grap +11; Atk +16/+11 melee (1d6+5/1820 and 1d6 fire, +2 flaming rapier); SA Sneak attack +3d6, blade of deception 5/day, mastery of blades, imbued strike; SQ Uncanny dodge, evasion, Acrobatics; AL CN; SV Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +3; Str 16, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Balance +16*, Bluff +14, Hide +16, Intimidate +14, Jump +16*, Move Silently +16, Sense Motive +10, Spot +5, Tumble +23*, Dodge, Expertise, Mobility, Spring Attack, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (rapier).
* includes +5 competence bonus from Acrobatics.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Any time Krindal's target would be denied its Dexterity bonus to AC (whether it actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), his attack deals +3d6 extra damage. He can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature immune to critical hits is similarly immune to sneak attacks. He must also be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach a vital spot. He cannot sneak attack while striking at a creature with concealment, or by striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Blade of Deception (Su): As a free action, Krindal can attempt to deceive one target by weaving subtle cues into his movements. The target must make a Will save (DC 15) or lose their Dexterity bonus to AC against his next melee attack, provided it is made in the same round. This is an Illusion (pattern), mind-affecting, supernatural effect, and a creature must be able to see him to be deceived. A creature who makes its save still counts as a use of this ability. He can use this ability up to 5 times per day, and no more than once per round.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Krindal has the extraordinary ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker.

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage (such as a fireball), Krindal takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Mastery of Blades (Ex): Krindal gains a +1 competence bonus to attacks with the shortsword, longsword, rapier and scimitar. Furthermore, he can use his Weapon Finesse feat with the longsword and scimitar, although these are not normally finessable weapons.

Imbued Strike (Su): Krindal's melee attacks gain a +1 magical enhancement bonus to attacks and damage, and he can bypass damage reduction as if wielding a magic weapon. (This doesn't stack with the weapon's own enhancement bonus, if any.)

Acrobatics (Ex): Krindal gains a +5 competence bonus to Balance, Jump and Tumble skill checks (already figured into stats above). He can also take 10 on any Balance, Jump or Tumble check, even if circumstances would normally keep him from doing so.

Possessions: +2 flaming rapier, +2 studded leather armour, masterwork buckler, +2 belt of Strength, +2 gloves of Dexterity, +2 amulet of Constitution, +1 ring of protection.


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