"The deadliest dance is the dance of steel, the dance of death, that does mesmorize thy foe, and strike fear deep into his heart."
The Bladedancer is a warrior who has combined a rare form of martial arts with armed combat, to create a beautiful, deadly form of attack. The bladedancer uses complicated steps and patterns to weave a deadly attack and defense. Many love to watch this character in action, and most fear to be on the receiving end of such elegant but lethal attacks.
The bladedancer is respected and admired for his or his skill, but many consider the art-form limiting, as a bladedancer learns no weapon other than the one he or he specializes in.
Requirements: To be a bladedancer, a character must have a minimum Strength of 13 and a Dexterity of 14.
Weapon Proficiencies: Bladedancers specialize in fighting two-handed, and chose their major and minor weapons carefully. The bladedancer's second weapon must be of a smaller class than his first, although two daggers are acceptable.
Acceptable weapon choices are: dagger, short sword, long sword, scimitar, khopesh, hand-scythe and hand-axe (two hand-axes or hand-scythes may be wielded together).
Whatever their first weapon of choice, the bladedancer must specialize in that weapon. If the campaign allows additional weapon specialization, the bladedancer will not be able to take advantage of this - he will be specialized in the main weapon, and in no other (even his off-hand weapon).
Non-weapon Proficiencies: The bladedancer is required to chose the dancing non-weapon proficiency. Should the optional Skill Level System be used (see the Character Creation section for more details), he must learn this ability at Level 3 at least. Furthermore, he must increase it to Level 5 by 10th level.
Equipment: The bladedancer will not wear any armor heavier than studded leather. Anything heavier slows his movements, and makes him incapable of executing patterns.
Special Benefits: Bladedancers learn patterns, which they train and study in constantly. These patterns have different purposes, and can be used to varying effect in battle situations. The patterns are listed below. The number of patterns a bladedancer can know is limited by his level. A bladedancer starts with one pattern, and learns a new one every even numbered level. Bladedancers can chose from any available pattern, even choosing ones from lower levels, if he so wishes.
Patterns can be done in place of any and all attacks for that round. Therefore, if a bladedancer wished to execute a pattern, he could do so, but could not attack normally in the same round (unless that pattern allows attacks to occur).
A bladedancer may execute a pattern only if using his two weapons of choice. Should he be fighting with a single weapon, or with any weapon not part of his bladedancer patterns, the bladedancer may not take advantage of any bladedancer ability or pattern.
Only one pattern may be executed in any given round. Should a bladedancer be in the middle of maintaining a pattern, and wishes to switch to another, he may do so. However, he immediately ends the first pattern, losing all advantages that pattern offered. During additional rounds, in which a pattern is being maintained, normal attacks are allowed (unless otherwise stated).
In order to execute a pattern, the bladedancer needs to roll a check on a listed ability score, or alternatively, the character's level. Should the pattern fail, certain special penalties are applied. These penalties vary from pattern to pattern, and are described below.
Should a bladedancer fail to properly execute a pattern, the penalty might be instantaneous, or may last several rounds. In the case of the latter, the bladedancer may not attempt a new pattern until the penalty from the previous pattern expires.
New patterns must conform to the following set of guidelines. A pattern cannot be created on it's own - it must be part of a "School" (i.e. Swan, Swan Wing, and Soar are the three patterns within the school of Swan). Low patterns can be learned from levels 1-5, Medium patterns from levels 6-13, and High patterns from level 14 and higher.
A bladedancer does not need to roll a check to learn a Low pattern, nor does he need to roll a check to learn a Medium pattern if he knows the corresponding Low pattern of that school. This applies also to High patterns - he need not roll a check if he knows the Low and Medium patterns from that school.
Bladedancers tend to learn patterns within a school. This is not necessarily true, however. If a bladedancer decides to learn a pattern without learning the lower-level patterns from that school (i.e., trying to learn Cobra Fang before learning Cobra), he must roll an intelligence check. By the same token, were he to try to learn a High Pattern from a school without having first learned the Low and Medium patterns, an Intelligence check is required.
Should a check be failed, the bladedancer can attempt to (a) learn another pattern, or (b) wait until he gains a level and try again. For example, the bladedancer Drake wishes to learn Cobra Fang, but does not currently know Cobra. He has an Intelligence of 13, but rolls a 17 on the die roll. He cannot learn Cobra Fang this level. Rather than wait for his next level, Drake decides to learn Cobra - this is a Low pattern, so success is automatic.
Swan (Level 1): This pattern allows the bladedancer to take down an opponent. Using a series of feints and jabs, the bladedancer steps in and sweeps low, using his foot to sweep the victim's legs out from under him. A fallen opponent must spend one action in getting up again.
Tortoise (Level 1): The bladedancer goes into a heightened defense mode when utilizing this pattern. If successful, tortoise gives the bladedancer a +2 bonus to his AC. However, due to the defensive nature of this mode, the bladedancer may only attack once on the initiating round (with the off-hand weapon). He may attack normally while maintaining this pattern.
Cobra (Level 2): This pattern accelerates the bladedancer's movements, making his attacks lightning quick. If successfully executed, cobra gives the bladedancer a -2 bonus to initiative rolls.
Spider (Level 3): Spider allows the bladedancer to gain an extra attack for that round. The extra attack will be with his off-hand weapon.
Boa (Level 4): This pattern strengthens the bladedancer's system, allowing him a +20% bonus to system shock rolls, and a +4 bonus saving throws vs. poison.
Bear: Using the bear pattern, the bladedancer summons all his skill and energy into one brutal attack with his main weapon. The attack is at a +2 to hit, and, if successful, does automatic double damage (including damage due to Strength, specialization and weapon pluses).
Wolf: This pattern allows the bladedancer to shield a friend or companion from harm. If the pattern is successful, the bladedancer may use any number of his attacks for that round in attempts to parry attacks directed against another character within melee range. In order to successfully parry, the bladedancer must roll an attack against AC 0 for each attempt.
Swan Wing: The bladedancer becomes a flurry of motion, his weapons flying in a seemingly chaotic blur. This pattern allows the bladedancer to make one attack against all opponents within melee range. Attacks alternate between the main and off-hand weapons.
Tortoise Shell: The bladedancer goes into a heightened defense mode when utilizing this pattern. If successful, tortoise shell gives the bladedancer a higher defense mode, adding a +4 bonus to his AC. However, due to the defensive nature of this mode, the bladedancer may only attack once on the round in which the pattern is initiated (with the off-hand weapon). He may attack normally while maintaining the pattern.
Cobra Fang: Like the Low-level pattern cobra, this pattern accelerates the bladedancer's movements, making his attacks lightning quick. If cobra fang is successfully executed, the bladedancer receives a -4 bonus to initiative.
Spider Web: This pattern begins to tap into magical forces previously unavailable. The bladedancer spins and twirls his weapons quickly in front of him. The weapons leave trails of light behind them, soon forming a protective web around the bladedancer. This web is insubstantial, but like a shield spell, totally negates all magic missile attacks. Unlike a shield spell, the web adds a flat +2 bonus to the bladedancer's AC.
Bear Claw: This is perhaps one of the deadliest patterns known. The bladedancer makes his normal attacks for the round, rolling each attack in advance, before applying damage. Should all the normal attacks strike their target, the bladedancer receives an additional number of attacks equal his normal number of attacks for the round. All attacks must be against the same target.
Boa Coil: The bladedancer executes two precisely placed cuts, one on either side of his enemy's torso. The enemy finds it difficult to breath, and must pass a Constitution check any time physical exertion is attempted. Should the enemy fail the check he suffers a -1 penalty to Constitution, THACO and AC. The enemy must make an additional check once every 5 rounds of exertion. Each failed check means the penalties are increased by 1.
Wolf Paw: The bladedancer is able to haste himself. This ability will not function with any form of movement rate or speed altering magics (such as haste or boots of speed). No aging penalty is applied.
Soar: This pattern allows the bladedancer to fly, as if affected by the spell of the same name. Due to the complex nature of the pattern, it takes 3 rounds to complete. When the flying duration ends, the bladedancer is exhausted. He suffers a -4 penalty to THACO, AC and damage rolls for 1d6 turns.
Shell: The bladedancer weaves a complex pattern around herself. This woven pattern glows with a soft blue radiance. This pattern completely blocks all first, second and third level mage and cleric spells.
Venom: This pattern causes the bladedancer's weapons to be coated with a paralytic poison. Any character or creature struck by such an envenomed weapon must roll a successful save vs. poison. If the save is failed, the victim is paralyzed for 1d3 rounds.
Life: While this pattern is in effect, the bladedancer is affected as if wearing a ring of vampiric regeneration.
Sleep: This pattern takes 1 turn to weave properly. At the end of the turn, the bladedancer enters a deep and healing sleep. This sleep lasts for 1d4 hours, and can not be interrupted by any means short of a damaging attack. When the sleep ends, the bladedancer has healed 1d10+10 hps of damage for every hour he slept. Should the bladedancer be prematurely woken, the pattern has no effect, and no damage is healed.
Constrict: The bladedancer weaves magical lines of force with his weapons. These lines of force snake out, and envelope one enemy. The enemy must pass a save vs. paralyzation every round the bands of force are on him. Each time a save is failed, the enemy suffers a -1 penalty to Movement, AC and THACO. Should the enemy's Movement rate reach zero, he falls over, held helpless by the force until the pattern ends.
Pack: The bladedancer who properly executes a pack pattern creates a mystic bond between himself and a number of his companions (1 companion for every four levels the bladedancer possesses). The range of this communication is limited to 100 yards. For the duration of the pattern, the bladedancer and his companions may communicate telepathically between themselves. Any and all attempts at discussion are broadcast to each "pack" member - so no secret communication is possible.
Special Hindrances: Bladedancers must be single classed. Should a bladedancer decide to dual class, he loses all advantages of the bladedancer class, becoming a fighter of a similar level. Bladedancers use the paladin/ranger experience progression chart.
Money: Standard for warrior.
Races: Human, elven and half-elven.