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JoshuaZ
2012-12-29, 11:07 PM
Forsaken Blade

"I don't care if he's some Death Knight cursed by an ancient god. If he fights with a sword, I will put him in the grave. Again." - Esnesth the Wanderer, a Forsaken Blade speaking moments before a duel.

Centuries ago, Mathalas Isell, an ambitious necromancer, decided to steal the bodies of fallen martial adepts and use them to make powerful undead warrior. He developed a now lost means of channeling their martial knowledge into his undead creations. After Mathalas fell, various undead that had been under his control, spread out, now far more dangerous than their normal counterparts. Worse, some of these undead found that they could pass on their martial skill to their own spawn.

In response, a group of warriors delved into some of the most forbidden and dangerous aspects of martial lore and necromancy, and developed a series of hybrid techniques which focused on combating martial adepts in general but undead martial adepts in particular. While they succeeded in their goals, they become shunned by other warriors for thei embrace of dark powers. Many believed that the cost was not worth it. This poor view became even more extreme as some undead who witnessed these warriors in action found their techniques to be easy to adapt for their own purposes, especially against rival undead. The warriors were seen as responsible for this, and were driven out and became known as the Forsaken Blades. They then traveled the world, battling undead, but now it is tough to say if more of the beings who follow this path are alive or are themselves undead.

BECOMING A FORSAKEN BLADE

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Skills: Knowledge(religion) 8 ranks, Martial lore 5 ranks.
Feats: Cleave
Maneuvers: Able to use two martial maneuvers from The Narrow Bridge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113982), and able to use a maneuver from Broken Blade (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122533)

Special: Must heal from negative energy (either from being undead or from some other effect such as Tomb-Tainted Soul), or must have the feats Great Cleave and Skill Focus(Religion).

Class Skills
The Forsaken Blades's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Hide(Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge(arcana) (Int), Knowledge(history) (Int), Knowledge(religion) (Int), Jump (Str), Martial Lore(Int), Move Silently (Dex) Sense Motive(Wis)

Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + int

Hit Dice: d8

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+2|Anticipate the Blade, Favored Enemy(Undead)+2

2nd|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+3|Everflowing Attacks,

3rd|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+3|Watchful Eyes, Dying Lotus Technique (1/day)

4th|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+4|Quick and the Dead, Favored Enemy(Undead)+4

5th|
+5|
+4|
+1|
+4|Death-Defying Prana

6th|
+6|
+5|
+2|
+5|Dying Lotus Technique (2/day)

7th|
+7|
+5|
+2|
+5|Learn from Undeath

8th|
+8|
+6|
+3|
+6|Way of the Ghostly Warrior, Favored Enemy(Undead)+6

9th|
+9|
+6|
+3|
+6|Dying Lotus Technique (3/day), Glimpses of Stolen Knowledge

10th|
+10|
+7|
+3|
+7|The Many Faces of the Dead, Blossoms Upon the Grave[/table]

Maneuvers: A Forsaken Blade may take maneuvers from Diamond Mind, Narrow Bridge, Broken Blade, Dark Messiah (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=265756), Setting Sun and Shadow Hand disciplines. Levels in Forsaken Blade count full for calculating your initiator level.

{table="head"]Level|Maneuvers Known|Maneuvers Readied|Stances Known
1st|
0|
0|
1

2nd|
1|
0|
0

3rd|
0|
1|
1

4th|
1|
0|
0

5th|
0|
0|
1

6th|
1|
1|
0

7th|
0|
0|
1

8th|
1|
0|
0

9th|
0|
1|
1

10th|
1|
1|
0
[/table]

Class features:

Anticipate the Blade(ex): One of the first techniques the Forsaken Blade learns is to anticipate the martial attacks and subtly adjust their body to make such attacks more difficult. You get a +2 insight bonus to AC that applies against any attack made as part of a martial maneuver. This bonus does not apply when you would be flatfooted or otherwise denied your dexterity bonus.

Favored Enemy(undead)(ex): The Forsaken Blade gains Favored Enemy(undead) at the levels indicated on the table exactly like a ranger and this stacks with other Favored Enemy bonuses.

Everflowing Attacks(ex): Undead do not tire in battle, and so the Forsaken Blade must not tire or lose their combat readiness, and they accomplish this by constantly shifting the techniques they are using, keeping even the undead off guard. Whenever you use a a maneuver from any discipline, you may choose to recover a maneuver from another discipline that is of level strictly lower than the maneuver just expended.

At 6th level, you can when you use ability instead swap out a maneuver this way that you didn't have prepared, in the place of an expended maneuver. The new maneuver must still be of level lower than the level of the initiated maneuver and must still be of a different discipline.

Watchful Eyes(ex): You notice the subtle signs of when a being is undead. Whenever you see a being use a martial maneuver, you instantly recognize if that being is undead. Moreover, if it is, you add your Favored Enemy bonus on any martial lore check to recognize the maneuver in question or gain other information about the undead being's martial capabilities.

Dying Lotus Technique(su): Martial adepts must depend on fine control of their bodies and the ki that they have, and this balance is particularly delicate for undead adepts. You have learned how to disrupt the balance between ki and necromancy. At third level, you may once a day declare when you initiate a maneuver that that you are using the Dying Lotus Technique. If so, any undead damaged by an attack from the maneuver takes a -4 penalty to initiator level. Additionally, one maneuver it has readied becomes expended and becomes unable to be accessed even if they refresh maneuvers. These effects last for 2d4 rounds. If the maneuver involves multiple attacks on the same target, the penalty does not increase for multiple attacks, but each attack leads to a new lost maneuver.

At sixth level, you may use this ability twice a day, and at 9th level you may use this ability 3 times a day.

Quick and the Dead(su) Many undead have supernatural swiftness. The Forsaken Blade learns to drain off small amounts of this swiftness to supplement their own quick reactions. Whenever you make a successful attack roll against an undead being, and you are in a martial stance, you may switch to another martial stance as a free action. If you have some ability that allows you to have multiple martial stances at once, this ability only allows you to change one at a time.

Death-Defying Prana(su) At fifth level, a Forsaken Blade learns a unique martial maneuver, the Death-Defying Prana. This counter is treated as Narrow Bridge maneuver and takes an immediate action. The Death-Defying Prana must be made in response to an attack from an undead being. The being attacking the Forsaken Blade takes a -5 penalty on its attack roll, and if the attack misses, the Forsaken Blade may initiate any strike against the target that the Forsaken Blade has prepared that would normally take a standard action to initiate.

Learn from Undeath(su): At seventh level, Forsaken Blades learn one of their most whispered about and most controversial abilities. They gain the ability to learn martial skill from the undead they cut down. Whenever you kill an undead being with a melee attack, you become instantly aware if it was a martial adept. If so, you make a martial lore check to recognize each maneuver it knew exactly as you had witnessed them (with your usual bonuses for martial lore checks against undead beings applying). Of the maneuvers you may recognize, you may choose one such maneuver that you meet the prerequisites for, and choose to gain that maneuver. You may at some point in the future, spend 1 hour meditating while burning specific incense, ato gain the new maneuver as an extra maneuver known. The specially prepared incenses substances cost 1000 * the level of the maneuver.

Way of the Ghostly Warrior(ex): You learn to make your martial attacks so effective at reaching the undead that they can harm those beings not entirely in this world. Whenever a Forsaken Blade of at least eight level an attack as part of a martial maneuver, their weapon is treated as having the Ghost Touch property.

Glimpses of Stolen Knowledge(ex): Even when you have not taken a maneuver from an undead being, you still have gained small glimpses into their mind. These glimpses gives you a +2 insight bonus on all knowledge checks. This does not allow you to make any knowledge checks untrained if you have no ranks in that type knowledge.

The Many Faces of the Dead(su): The Dead that walk come in many faces and many guises, and a Forsaken Blade learns how to themselves adopt many faces. Whenever you successfully kill an Undead foe with a Narrow Bridge maneuver you are able to siphon off a portion of the negative energy animating the undead without harming yourself. This siphoning renders you invisible to unintelligent undead and fools divination spells into reading you as an undead creature. If you are already undead you instead get a +2 bonus to saves against effects that specifically target undead. These effects last for 1 hour per a hit die of the undead being killed.

Blossoms Upon the Grave(su): Many undead have an unfortunate habit of not staying down once they are undead. A Forsaken Blade learns to disrupt the necromantic connections that allow them to do so. Any undead being destroyed by a melee attack or martial maneuver from a Forsaken Blade of tenth level does not reform even if it would otherwise do so. For example, a lich destroyed this way would not reform even if its phylactery is intact. For this purpose, a undead is considered destroyed if it is dropped to zero hit points or lower is subject to some effect that would normally destroy a creature.


Playing a Forsaken Blade

Forsaken Blades vary in power and attitude. While many have chosen this path to better fight undead, some have chosen it for its apparent power, while others are themselves undead who have taken up the power to better use it against their own enemies.

Combat: Your combat will be similar to that of many martial adepts, but you will (especially at later levels) have more options for what martial maneuvers to actually use.

Advancement: Like any martial adept, you will adventure to find lost martial lore or to find ancient masters. However, unlike many of them, you also hope to find undead, hopefully to put them to rest and maybe gain some new martial techniques in the process.

Resources: The Forsaken Blades have little in the way of formal resources, although some join adventuring parties or mercenary groups. While the more idealistic may band together to combat undead, some of the more ambitious see their fellows more as potential rivals for the knowledge locked within undead minds.


Forsaken Blades in the World
"I've seen paladins fight the undead before. This guy was no paladin, he just waded into the sea of zombies and started cutting. It was almost like an art. He seemed to not kill any of them the same way twice. Didn't even get tired, but seemed more and more inventive and alive with each attack."- Tindarsin Stronghammer, a dwarven fighter, talking about watching a Forsaken Blade in battle.

Daily Life: Many Forsaken Blades are mercenaries or adventurers. They are frequently out honing their martial skill or tracking down rumors of martially inclined undead.

Notables: Esnesth the Wanderer is a noted adventure and mercenary, who is known for having a specific interest in fighting the undead. He has traveled widely in search of undead that have combat skills he can take, but he won't say no to putting down a few unruly zombies on the side.

Lady Avrena Tiar is a vampiress and one of the more skilled of the undead who has taken up the path of the Forsaken Blade. While she originally adapted the path as part of dealing with a rival vampire, she soon realized that the skills associated were interesting and a worthy diversion in their own right. Most recently, she has realized that it may be possible to gain more martial skill by capturing martial adepts, turning them into fledgling vampires of her own, and then slaying them. But something feels wrong about this, almost as if it were killing her own children, and she has delayed implementing this plan.


NPC Reactions

Few know about the Forsaken Blades and so are unlikely to react to them any differently than they would anyone else demonstrating nearly supernatural skill with weapons. However, many martial adepts have heard the history of the Forsaken Blades and will likely be concerned given the nature and reputation of their abilities.

Forsaken Blades in the game

The Forsaken Blades will play like essentially any other martial adept with the primary difference being that they may have more maneuvers available to them at higher levels than other adepts of approximately the same level. This will give them slightly more options. However, if they are in a game with few undead, and especially a game with few martial adepts and few undead (so the intersection is very small), many of their class features will be not very useful.

Adaptation: Forsaken Blades could be easily adapted so that instead of fighting undead adepts, they focused on some other specific form of adepts. Outsiders would be one obvious example since Tome of Battle lists multiple types of outsides with martial abilities.

JoshuaZ
2013-01-06, 05:24 PM
Bump? Any thoughts? Good? Bad? Balanced? Just meh?

The main balance issue I'm worried about is that one can get a lot of stances at once but the circumstances for that seem to be very narrow.

BladeTempest
2013-01-06, 08:48 PM
Not a bad Idea for a prc. But personally I feel as though it hasn't been implemented well. But then again I am no expert on creating homebrew as my attempts to make homebrew usually miss their marks .

Suggestions?:

1) Give them Favored enemy undead. Start at lvl 1 with the standard +2 and go up to +4 at 4th lvl then +6 at 8th level. This should be stackable with any ranger or other abilities that grant favored enemy (undead) as well as give the Forsaken Blade the "knowledge" they need to fight the undead.

2) Anticipate the blade: I like the idea but I don't really think it belongs in this specific class. Not a bad ability it just doesn't "fit" for me.

3) Target the undead: replaced with Favored enemy (undead) as mentioned in point 1

4) Everflowing attacks: again nice idea but doesn't thematically fit in (in my opinion) rather perhaps:

Tireless Hunter: At second level the Forsaken Blade gains a bonus to all checks made to resist fatigue, from both magical and/or other more "nefarious" means. This bonus starts at +2 and increases by +2 every even level of this prestige class. At tenth level the Forsaken Blade becomes immune to the fatigued condition receives a +8 bonus to all checks to resist Exhaustion.

5) Watchful Eye: Since I am suggesting to implement favored enemy I would add this ability to simply allow favored enemy bonus to extend to martial lore checks as well.

6) Dying Lotus Technique: I have no problems with this.

7) The Quick and the Dead: Hard to place my nitpick with this one. It both does and doesn't make sense for this class. As of this moment I have no suggestions.

8) Death-Defying Prana: not a bad idea but I would make it so it only affects undead.

9) I actually like the abilities up to "Many Faces of The Undead" I would suggest:

Many Faces of the Undead: Whenever you successfully kill an Undead foe with a Narrow Bridge maneuver you are able to siphon off a portion of the negative energy animating the undead without harming yourself. This siphoning renders you invisible to unintelligent undead and fools divination spells into reading you as an undead creature.

10) Please give me a couple of days to consider this capstone.

JoshuaZ
2013-01-07, 07:03 PM
Hmm, some of your suggestions are definitely good ones.




1) Give them Favored enemy undead. Start at lvl 1 with the standard +2 and go up to +4 at 4th lvl then +6 at 8th level. This should be stackable with any ranger or other abilities that grant favored enemy (undead) as well as give the Forsaken Blade the "knowledge" they need to fight the undead.

You're right. Makes a lot more sense to use a pre-existing mechanic in this way and that makes sense to replace Target the Undead. Taking your suggestion for that and for Watchful Eyes.


Anticipate the blade: I like the idea but I don't really think it belongs in this specific class. Not a bad ability it just doesn't "fit" for me.

I wonder if this is an issue of getting the fluff just right. The idea to some extent (and maybe I wasn't clear enough on the fluff) is not just combating undead, but combating who are martial adepts. So some abilities that help deal with other adepts seems to make sense to me.



4) Everflowing attacks: again nice idea but doesn't thematically fit in (in my opinion) rather perhaps:

Tireless Hunter: At second level the Forsaken Blade gains a bonus to all checks made to resist fatigue, from both magical and/or other more "nefarious" means. This bonus starts at +2 and increases by +2 every even level of this prestige class. At tenth level the Forsaken Blade becomes immune to the fatigued condition receives a +8 bonus to all checks to resist Exhaustion.

Hmm, this is interesting, and looks interesting. But if I do this, the entire bit about some undead taking the class gets substantially weakened. I mean, why would any undead being take levels in a class that as one of its benefits did something they get automatically? Adding your version of Tireless Hunter in addition seems like an option also but that may be stringing too many abilities on to a PrC that's somewhat easy to enter. What do you think?




7) The Quick and the Dead: Hard to place my nitpick with this one. It both does and doesn't make sense for this class. As of this moment I have no suggestions.

Hmm, how does it not make sense?



8) Death-Defying Prana: not a bad idea but I would make it so it only affects undead.

Good call.






9) I actually like the abilities up to "Many Faces of The Undead" I would suggest:

Many Faces of the Undead: Whenever you successfully kill an Undead foe with a Narrow Bridge maneuver you are able to siphon off a portion of the negative energy animating the undead without harming yourself. This siphoning renders you invisible to unintelligent undead and fools divination spells into reading you as an undead creature.

Hmm, I like that, and it makes more sense. If I'm going to do that it should also give a small benefit to undead who have this, so I'm going to add "If you are already undead you instead get a +2 bonus to saves against effects that specifically target undead." Duration is then an issue. I'm going to go with 1 hour per a hit die of the creature killed. Thoughts?


Please give me a couple of days to consider this capstone.

Sure. :smallsmile: Considering that your other advice and criticism seems to have been very helpful, I look forward to your input on the capstone.

BladeTempest
2013-01-10, 02:25 PM
sorry for taking so long joshuaz... I am going to have to take a little longer and i am sorry about that... some things have come up irl that is going to take me a couple days to sort out. I promise the first thing i will do when i get back is to finish my review

... Actually. I think I may slink away and do a new "write-up" of the class ability wise and then tell me what you think. You said you want it to be dual purposed one for undead taking advantage of maneuvers, and one for adepts to hunt undead. So with that premise in mind i am going to create a "split" class based on what prerequisites used to fulfill entry into the class.

JoshuaZ
2013-01-11, 01:11 PM
sorry for taking so long joshuaz... I am going to have to take a little longer and i am sorry about that... some things have come up irl that is going to take me a couple days to sort out. I promise the first thing i will do when i get back is to finish my review

... Actually. I think I may slink away and do a new "write-up" of the class ability wise and then tell me what you think. You said you want it to be dual purposed one for undead taking advantage of maneuvers, and one for adepts to hunt undead. So with that premise in mind i am going to create a "split" class based on what prerequisites used to fulfill entry into the class.

Well, by all means take your time. I'm looking forward to what you come up with.