Blade Master


The Blademaster

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The Blade Master

The disciplines of the Sublime Way are taught in many forms. Crusaders draw their talent from their faith and conviction, swordsages execute the most impressive maneuvers through intense training, and warblades master their arts through sheer talent. Yet, all of them hold something in common; all sacrifice the focus and dedication. The blademaster seeks to focus all of its training into a single discipline, a method that most martial adepts consider antiquate and obsolete. However, through moving beyond the perception of a discipline as a combat art, and embracing the teachings of the discipline, blademasters eventually discover the meaning behind it. As they progress in their chosen discipline, they become undefeatable with its weapons, master the skill relevant to their chosen path, and eventually shape their fighting style based on the greater understanding of its meaning.

Among the many martial artists of the Jade Empire, many choose to become students of elaborate styles that combine different parts of multiple disciplines into a new, cohesive whole. They augment the weaknesses of one with the strengths of another, and vice versa, it merely seems the natural way to practice martial arts. Thus, it seems downright strange that a person would choose to limit themselves to just a single discipline, something that blade masters do with some pride. These fierce warriors devote themselves to learning the essence of a discipline, to understanding the truth at the heart of it, rather then trying to gain a broader understanding of martial arts as a whole. While some may scoff at such an approach, they can’t deny that when a blade master is put into a situation where his chosen discipline is at it’s strongest that such a warrior is fearsome indeed. Most blade masters are found in the out-lying provinces and kingdoms, far from the organized dojos, temples, and academies of the heartlands which partially explains their approach to combat. With a lack of sifus to teach the complex schools and styles found elsewhere, the only other option is to hone one’s ability in a single discipline to the point of perfection.

Recently, with the Celestial Emperor’s death and the revival of old blood-feuds, many blade masters have found themselves under assault by formal schools who see these purists as a threat to their way of life. Perhaps because of this, more and more blade masters are seen in the central provinces and kingdoms, though usually it’s on some mission to avenge their losses at the hands of paranoid martial artists. When the dojo hunters began to appear, a surprising number of blade masters reluctantly gave up their focus in a single style to better learn how to hunt and punish their enemies.

Making a Blademaster

With their single-minded focus in a particular discipline, a blademaster excels at a particular fighting style, and on a particular set of functions; yet, no two blademasters are the same. A blademaster of the Shadow Hand, for example, is a nimble combatant who fights from the shade, while a master of the White Raven fights at the forefront and leads his companions through precise orders and tactical knowledge. The focus of the discipline shapes how the blademaster will eventually develop.

Abilities: Because of their discipline focus, blademasters have no particular ability scores they favor; instead, they should seek to work with the abilities that favor their discipline. As a rule of thumb, a blademaster will look for high Strength and Dexterity scores, with the highest score in the ability that favors their attack and damage. As well, a blademaster seeks to have a high score in the ability that governs its representative skill; this is especially true of blademasters of the Diamond Mind and Tiger Claw disciplines. Finally, any good blademaster understands the importance of a high Constitution; high hit points and high Fortitude saves are a plus to everyone. Nearly all disciplines require at least three good scores to be effective, although some are effective enough with two.

Races: Any member of any race is eligible to become a blademaster, although each discipline favors the race that developed the art in the first instance. For example, Mojh are the reputed masters of the Setting Sun disciple, and Charad are believed to have developed the arts of the Stone Dragon; it is natural that Mojh blademasters favor Setting Sun and Charad favor Stone Dragon as their usual disciplines.

Honor: In concept, any individuals can become blademasters, although the single-minded focus and the penchant for specializing on a single discipline favors means that, in practice, almost all are Honorable.

Starting Age: Human, Charad 15+2d6, Mojh 20+2d6

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills: (4 + Int modifier): Bluff, Climb, Craft, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Martial Lore, Perception Profession, Ride, Search, Spot, Swim.

BaB: Full.

Saves: Good Fort and Ref, Poor Will.

Table 1-1, the Blademaster (D10)

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Maneuvers Known Maneuvers Readied Stances
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Disciple of the Blade (first discipline) - - -
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Discipline Aptitude - - -
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Discipline Secret +1 - - -
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 - - -
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 - - -
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 Discipline Secret +2 - - -
7th +7 +5 +5 +2 - - -
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 Discipline Gift - - -
9th +9 +6 +6 +3 Discipline Secret +3 - - -
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 Discipline of the Blade (second) 3 2 1
11th +11 +7 +7 +3 4 2 1
12th +12 +8 +8 +4 Discipline Secret +4 4 2 1
13th +13 +8 +8 +4 5 2 1
14th +14 +9 +9 +4 5 2 1
15th +15 +9 +9 +5 Discipline Secret +5 6 3 1
16th +16 +10 +10 +5 Discipline Potency 6 3 2
17th +17 +10 +10 +5 7 3 2
18th +18 +11 +11 +6 Discipline Secret +6 7 4 2
19th +19 +11 +11 +6 8 4 2
20th +20 +12 +12 +6 Discipline Coupling 8 4 3

Class Features

Defense Bonus: Column C

Contacts: Column D

Reputation: Column C

Weapon Groups: Basic + 3, plus all weapons pertaining to your chosen discipline (see below).

Armor Proficiency: As a blademaster, you are proficient with light and medium armor, and with all shields.

Maneuvers: Unlike other martial adepts, a blademaster begins play knowing all martial maneuvers of first level of his chosen discipline (see Disciple of the Sword, below). At 3rd level, and every two blademaster class levels after that, you gain all maneuvers from the next level pertaining to your chosen discipline (except maneuvers of Devoted Spirit which oppose your alignment). At 10th level, a blademaster may choose disciplines from a single other discipline (see Disciple of the Sword, below) as shown on Table 1 above.

Maneuvers Readied: Unlike other martial adepts, you are treated as having readied all maneuvers of your chosen discipline at all moments. Once you are able to choose maneuvers from a second discipline (either by reaching 10th level or through the Martial Study feat), you must ready maneuvers as usual. You may ready two maneuvers from other disciplines aside your primary discipline (see Disciple of the Sword, below) beginning at 10th level; maneuvers acquired through the Martial Study feat are considered as if you didn’t have any martial maneuvers until 10th level, in which they are treated as maneuvers known. You ready maneuvers by practicing for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to practice again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in practice, you can change your readied maneuvers.

You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used only once per encounter (until you recover them, see below).

You recover all of your expended maneuvers as a free action at any round in which you do not use a strike or boost maneuver, nor use a full round action. A blademaster may make a single melee or ranged attack, move, use counter maneuvers and other actions and still recover expended maneuvers.

Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of all 1st level stances from your chosen discipline. At higher levels, you are treated as knowing all stances of your chosen discipline at the moment you acquire higher level maneuvers; furthermore, at 10th level, 16th level and 20th level you may learn one stance from your secondary discipline (see Discipline of the Sword, below). Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description.

Disciple of the Blade: You have trained with one of the masters of the original disciplines, and finally mastered the intricate exercises and movements of the style. You differ from other martial adepts in how focused you are in following your discipline, to the extent of all others. While other martial artists scoff at your single-minded approach to combat, you are confident that your discipline will pay off in the end.

At 1st level, choose one of the disciplines of the Sublime Way. You automatically gain proficiency with the discipline’s associated weapons, and you add the discipline’s key skill to your list of class skills.

At 10th level, your mastery of the first discipline eventually leads to training in other disciplines while retaining the singular focus of the first discipline, unaffected. You may choose another discipline to follow, gaining the same benefits as with your first chosen discipline. You may also choose maneuvers and stances of the second discipline.

Discipline Aptitude: At 2nd level, whenever you take a feat that requires you to select a single specific weapon, such as Weapon Focus, you may instead allow the feat to apply to all weapons of your chosen discipline. Further, you may take such feats as if you were had fighter levels equal to your Initiator Level.

Discipline Secret: At 3rd level, a blademaster learns to apply a secret taught only to serious practitioners of a discipline. You gain a +1 insight bonus to checks with the key skill of your discipline as well as attack, damage and opposed disarm rolls with any weapons of your discipline. These bonus’ increase by +1 every 3 levels.

At 12 level, you being to apply these bonus to your second discipline, gaining a +1 insight bonus to it’s key skill and to attack and damage rolls with it’s weapons. This bonus increases every 3 levels.

Discipline Gift: At 8th level, when you are wielding a weapon of your chosen discipline and either in a stance of that discipline or making a martial strike from it, treat your weapon as if one size larger than it is for determining it’s damage dice.

If you are making a martial strike and are in a stance,both from your chosen discipline, while wielding a weapon of the discipline, you make also increase any extra damage dice granted by the strike as well. However, doing so immediately ends your current stance.

Discipline Potency: At 16th level, any maneuver you execute from your primary discipline that allows a saving throw gains a bonus to the save DC equal to the discipline secret bonus.

Discipline Coupling: At 20th level, you have mastered your chosen discipline to the point you can blend your discipline into others. You can blend them at a moment’s notice even when it may seem almost impossible.

You may initiate a second stance while gaining the benefits of the first one, but only if the first stance is a stance of your discipline. As well, you may activate a boost of your primary discipline as a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity if you used a counter on the last round, or a counter as a free action outside your turn that does not provoke attacks of opportunity if you activated a boost of your primary discipline in the current round. Treat maneuvers and stances learned through other means (such as with the Martial Study or Martial Stance feat) as if they were your secondary discipline for purposes of this ability.

Blade Master

Meru Ladu - The Green Lands eidalac