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sundance
2011-08-02, 03:43 PM
Hi everyone,

Short time reader, first time poster. I'm about to get back into D&D after a long hiatus, and I was hoping to get some PrC design advice from folks much more experienced than I.

I have always loved reading about and roleplaying elves (especially the iconic fighter-mages hailing back to AD&D 2e). I fell in love with the idea of the Bladesinger (probably after reading one of Elaine Cunningham's books), but I feel that archetype has been lost in translation when put into 3.5e rules (especially the Official versions; the homebrew ones on this site hit closer to the mark). I thought I would try my hand at developing a PrC that hit closer the roots of the Bladesinger (at least as I pictured them). If you have any thoughts on how balanced it is (I really know nothing about balancing PrCs), or whether it is too strong or too weak in some areas, please let me know! And so, without any further ado...

The Bladesinger

Bladesinging is an ancient elven martial tradition that seamlessly weaves together 4 major facets of elven culture - battle, magic, song, and dance. Bladesingers are the elite protectors of the elven way of life, and are held in high regard by elves the world over. A Bladesinger in battle is a spectacular sight to behold - he does wade through his enemies, hacking and slashing as other warriors do. Instead, he dances about the battlefield, working offensive and defensive routines into his dance to confound his foes. Perhaps one of the Bladesingerís most spectacular abilities is the way he weaves the somatic components of his spells into his dance. Even the most junior Bladesinger learns how to adapt his dance (and hence his spell casting) to the restrictions of his armour, reducing the chance that his spells go awry. The pinnacle of the Bladesingerís martial art is attained when a Bladesinger is able to attack his foes and cast spells simultaneously. However, the level of skill and concentration required for such feats prevent all but the most dedicated adherents from mastering the Blade Song.

Requirements:
To qualify to become a Bladesinger, a character must fulfill all of the following:
Race: Any elf, half-elf, or Ruathar
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Skills: Balance 2 ranks, Concentration 6 ranks, Knowledge (Elf) 2 ranks, Knowledge (Arcana) 2 ranks, Perform(Dance) 3 ranks, Tumble 2 ranks, Spellcraft 6 ranks
Feats: Weapon Focus (any melee weapon), Combat Expertise, Combat Casting
Spells: Able to cast 1st level arcane spells

Class Skills:
The Bladesingerís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Tumble (Dex)
Skill Points at each level: 2 + Int modifier

Hit Die: d8

{table=head]{colsp=7}Table 1: The Bladesinger
Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spells per Day
1 | +0 | +0 | +2 | +2 | Blade Song Style | --
2 | +1 | +0 | +3 | +3 | Lesser Blade Dance | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3 | +2 | +1 | +3 | +3 | -- | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4 | +3 | +1 | +4 | +4 | Improved Blade Song | --
5 | +3 | +1 | +4 | +4 | Blade Dance | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6 | +4 | +2 | +5 | +5 | -- | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7 | +5 | +2 | +5 | +5 | Greater Blade Song | --
8 | +6 | +2 | +6 | +6 | Greater Blade Dance | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9 | +6 | +3 | +6 | +6 | -- | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10 | +7 | +3 | +7 | +7 | Master of the Blade Song | --
[/table]

Class Features:
All of the following are features of the Bladesinger Prestige Class:

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Bladesingers gain no weapon or armour proficiency.

Spells per Day: At levels 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9, a Bladesinger gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in any one arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not gain any other benefit that a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before taking levels in the Bladesinger Prestige Class, he must decide which class to advance in this way.

Blade Song Style (Ex): The Blade Song Style is an Elven martial art that weaves melee combat, spell-casting, and dancing into one seamless whole. A Bladesinger fighting in this style is able incorporate the somatic components of his spells into this dance, reducing or eliminating the chance of his spells failing while wearing armour. When he casts a spell while wearing armour, the Bladesinger makes a special Perform(Dance) check - modified not by the Bladesingerís charisma modifier, but instead by his armour check penalty. For example, a Wiz4/Ftr3/BS1 with 11 ranks in Perform(Dance) and wearing a chain shirt (ACP -2) rolls 1d20+9. He has a 5% and 10% chance of spell failure with Lvl 1 and 2 spells, respectively (much less than normal 20% chance). Similarly, a Wiz10/BS 10 with 23 ranks in Perform(Dance) wearing full-plate armour (ACP -6) rolls 1d20+17, and so suffers no chance of arcane spell failure while casting any of his spells of Lvl 8 or lower.

Lesser Blade Dance (Ex): The Bladesingerís movements in battle are graceful and unpredictable dance. The Bladesinger is now able to use make a Perform(Dance) check instead of a Bluff check in order to feint in combat.

Improved Blade Song (Ex): The Bladesinger has learned to incorporate defensive combat maneuvers into his spell casting. When casting a spell, the Bladesinger can take a penalty of as much as -5 on all Concentration checks and add the same number (+5 or less) as a dodge bonus to his Armour Class. The changes to the Concentration checks and AC last until the Bladesingerís next turn.

Blade Dance (Ex): The Bladesingerís dance allows him to strike from seemingly impossible angles. A Bladesinger using this ability is able to substitute his ranks in Perform(Dance) for his base attack bonus for a single melee attack as a Standard Action. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to his bonus from his primary spell casting attribute (eg, intelligence for Wizards, charisma for Sorcerers and Bards). A Bladesinger is not able to cast spells in the same round that he uses this ability.

Greater Blade Song (Ex): The Bladesinger has learned to incorporate the somatic components of his spell-casting into his offensive combat routines. When the Bladesinger takes a Standard Action to make a melee attack, he may cast any spell with a casting time of one Standard Action as a move action if he succeeds in a Concentration Check (DC 15 + Spell Lvl). The Bladesinger suffers a -5 penalty to all attack roles and Concentration checks made in the round that he uses this ability.

Greater Blade Dance (Ex): A Bladesingerís dance perfected his blade dance. When making a full attack, the Bladesinger may substitute his ranks in Perform(Dance) for his base attack bonus, gaining extra attacks for every 5 ranks above 1. This ability can be used a number of times per day euqal to his bonus from his primary spell-casting attribute. A Bladesinger is not able to cast spells in the same round that he uses this ability.

Master of the Blade Song (Ex): The Bladesinger has perfected the art of the Blade Song. Every movement he makes, whether casting spells or attacking in melee, is perfectly blended into his dance. When he makes a full attack, the Bladesinger may also cast any spell with a casting time of one Standard Action as a swift action if he succeeds in a Concentration Check (DC = 15 + 2 x Spell Lvl). The Bladesinger suffers a -5 penalty to all attack roles and a -10 penalty to all Concentration checks made in the round that he uses this ability.

So, any thoughts?

Draz74
2011-08-02, 04:24 PM
The abilities are flavorful, but overall it comes off weaker than a simple Eldritch Knight. The first few class features are pretty weak, and the last few lack enough "oomph" to make up for lost caster levels.

EDIT: Shinken came up with a simple but elegant way to make well-balanced bladesingers here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179198). I can understand the continuing desire to have a PrC that does it, though.