Child of the Blade
"Enrik." She was surprised; I could feel her hands against my back, carefully examining the scars from my early days. "These burn scars - how did you get them?"
"It's the results of my training, when I first began to master the way of the Desert Wind." My reply was simple. She was an outsider to my family; while I considered her a friend, our traditions would mean little to her, and it would be dishonorable for me to push my problems onto a trusted friend.
"At six? But you're just a child! Did your father actually strike you with the sword?"
"Father taught me that age is of no relevance if one wishes to master the desert wind, and that the only way to truly understand its principles is to feel it with my own body," I answered. "It would bring even greater shame to our family if I proved unworthy to succeed the family blade. Besides, a scar is a common mark in the battlefield; if an enemy were to strike me down with his blade, I would be lucky to leave with only a scar."
"That sounds awfully rehearsed," she replied, managing an awkward smile.
"It's just one of the codes of our family. I recited it twenty times a day ever since I could read."
~ From the Journal of Enrik White, the eldest son of a renowned swordsage.
For those growing up in a martial culture or a family of accomplished warriors, life could represent a continuous stream of discipline and continuous training. Many warriors of the Far East - and even many noblemen of the west - understand that expertise in battle and a disciplined will is rarely a spontaneous product, and their children would, day and night, practice with their chosen weapons, seeking one day to master the final secrets of their family style.
Children of the Blade are young; without having spend a true day in a field where real people are extinguished with a single error, they often become fighters of theory over raw experience. Practitioners of martial arts at a young age, they often shun the practical fighting styles of the fighter for displined movements, and are frequently ill-prepared for the grueling gray-and-gray world; fortunate, it is, that these disciples would finally be able to leave their orderly worlds and blossom. As adventurers, everyday, they seek to challenge the boundaries of their blade art, hoping to push the limits of their martial maneuvers and write a new chapter in their family's ancestral style.
To take a Child of the Blade substitution level, a character must be under adulthood age using the variant rules for Child Fighter (see below for rules for a Child Fighter), and be about to take his first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, or fifteenth level of Fighter.
Variant Rules: Child Fighter
A child Fighter is a character under minimum adult age that is taking his first level in Fighter, and wishes to take any substitution levels in Child of the Blade. These children are trained in martial combat and martial lore; they are sometimes trained as leaders and sometimes as strategists, although they lack the combat experience of which many true fighters boast. Child Fighters gains a untyped +2 bonus to DEX and a -2 penalty to WIS. He also suffers a -2 untyped penalty to her sense motive skill.
Child of the Blade substitution levels have the class skills of the standard Fighter class, plus Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge [Nobility] (Int), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level
: 4 + Int modifier (or four times this number as a beginning character).
All the following are class features of the Child of the Book substitution levels.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
A child of the blade is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields). In addition, she gains proficiency with one exotic weapon of her choice, and may use this weapon as if it is a martial weapon.
A child of the blade is a master of tactical warfare. A conventional fighter's hit-with-sword policy is foreign to him, and in its place, he seeks to fight using organized movements and his family's unique trademarks. Pick one martial discipline. A child of the blade's fighter levels and fighter substitution levels count as initiator levels (rather than 1/2 initiator levels) for the purpose of learning martial maneuvers from that discipline, and they stack with any existing initiator levels from non-fighter classes that the child of the blade may possess. He also gains the key skill for that martial discipline as a class skill. A child of the blade also gains Martial Study as a bonus feat at his first level, which can only be applied to his chosen discipline.
Quickness and flexibility are the pillars of many traditional martial arts schools; even the most brutish of students are taught to evade an incoming blade, and children - who are often more fragile than adults - especially so. A child of the blade gains Lightning Reflexes as a bonus feat at the first level.
This is the same as the fighter bonus feat that he gains at the first level.
A third-level child of the blade prides himself on his reflexes, allowing him to dance around magical fire and ice with impressive agility. If he makes a successful reflex save against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the child is wearing light armor or no armor.
Discipline (Precision) (Ex):
A child of the blade is skilled in precise strikes and memorized techniques rather than simple, powerful blows. He is treated as having the weapon finesse feat, although he may also use his dexterity score in place of his strength score for all weapons that are not considered heavy and that the child has proficiency with.
Discipline (Sudden Charge) (Ex):
A fifth level child of the blade is an opportunist in battle; he realizes that a powerful offense complements a good defense, and that the element of surprise is his greatest weapon against an enemy. To use Sudden Blade, a child of the blade must choose the ready action, targetting all squares that the child of the blade may charge into. Anytime an opponent takes a move action, a full-round action, or takes an action that provokes an attack of opportunity within this radius, the child of the blade may expend the readied action to rush into the opponent's square without provoking an attack of opportunity, throwing his entire weight at an opponent and knocking it 5 feet + 5 feet per CON modifier, and interrupting the action without allowing a concentration check. Because enemies eventually become aware of sudden charges, this may only be used 1 + INT modifier per encounter. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex):
A seventh-level child of the blade is quick to react to any dangers, using his learned flexibility and ingrained discipline to react to unknown dangers. He retains his dexterity bonus to AC even if caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker, although he will still lose this bonus if immobilized. Uncanny Dodge can be used only if the child is wearing light armor or no armor.
Discipline (Deflecting Blade) (Ex):
A child of the blade recognizes that a sturdy weapon under a displined wielder is as a potent shield; whenever he is targetted by a melee, non-touch attack, he may use one of his attacks of opportunity for that round to deflect the attack with his weapon by making an opposed attack roll, at a -2 penalty, against the incoming attack. If the child's attack roll beats the incoming attack, the attack is negated. If the child's attack roll beats the incoming attack by 15 or more, he may also make an attack of opportunity against the opponent, and the opponent may no longer make any more attacks during that round. If the child's attack roll does not beat the opposing attack roll, he suffers a temporary -10 penalty to AC and loses all dexterity and dodge bonuses to AC for that attack. He must spend additional attacks of opportunity to deflect multiple attacks, such as full attacks or attacks from multiple targets; he suffers an additional -3 penalty for every subsequent attack that he attempts to block. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
A child of the blade continues his mastery of his chosen discipline, or he may choose to expand his knowledge of the martial arts. He gains either the martial study or the martial stance feat at level 5 (provided that he meets all of the pre-requisites), and again at level 9, 13, and 15.
Discipline (Rapid Maneuver) (Ex):
A ninth-level child of the blade is a true master of his learned discipline, recalling the most complex of blade art as if it is ingrained into his very own body; whenever he is granted of an attack of opportunity against an opponent, a child of the blade may apply one of his strike maneuvers to the attack of opportunity or substitute one of his other martial maneuvers for the attack. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
Discipline (Splitting Blade) (Ex):
To many warriors honed in the art of battle, magic is a mysterious force to be avoided if at all possible; a child of the blade recognizes that magical force, once summoned, is simply another material object that can be affected by a disciplined mind and a quick blade. Whenever an opponent makes a ranged touch attack against a child of the blade, he may use one of his attacks of opportunity to attempt to deflect the oncoming attack with an attack roll. He must successfully hit against an AC of 10 + Caster Level of spell + Caster's Primary Casting Stat Bonus to deflect a spell, and may reflect the spell back at the caster if his attack roll beats the effective spell AC by 20 or more. If the child fails to deflect an attack using this ability, the attack succeeds without needing to bypass touch AC. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
Discipline (Cunning Counter) (Ex):
Parry, attack; the most basic maneuvers of a good warrior was ingrained upon the child of the blade since childhood, and he has learned to create new opportunities from combining these simple disciplines. Every time an opponent misses the child of the blade with a melee attack, whether through deflecting blade or AC, the child of the blades can spend an attack of opportunity to disorient the opponent by making an attack roll against the opponent's touch AC. If the attack succeeds, the opponent is disoriented, suffering -3 to all attacks, a -3 penalty to saves, a -3 penalty to AC, and a -3 penalty to all skill and ability checks until his next turn. In addition, the opponent has a 20% chance to trip and fall prone. Alternatively, the child may simply spend one of his attacks of opportunity to counterattack the target as if making a regular attack of opportunity. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
Discipline (Redirected Counter) (Ex):
Through sheer will and quick reflexes, a child of the blade's counter maneuvers extend beyond just personal protection, as if it is an umbrella that can encompass even his closest allies. A 13th level child of the blade can use his counterattacks to reverse a strike against his allies or to protect his charge. As an immediate action, he may use his counter maneuvers against an attack that is directed at any character within 20 feet as long as all other prerequisites of the maneuver is satisfied.
Discipline (Sudden Maneuver) (Ex):
Quickness and flexibility are the child of the blade's main weapons; his practice with his martial discipline is ingrained ever since his youth, and manifests itself as sudden, spontneous, and completely unexpected feats of superhuman power. Once per day, as an immediate action, the child of the blade may use any of his readied maneuvers regardless of initiation time, as long as he meets the other conditions to do so. A child of the blade may also choose to give up this ability for a bonus fighter feat.
A child of the blade greatly expands his mastery of the martial disciplines. At level 15, he may learn a new martial stance of seventh level or lower from any discipline, even if he does not meet the pre-requisites.
Table: Child of the Blade
|Level||BAB||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1th||+1||+2||+0||+0||Martial Specialist, Lightning Reflexes, Bonus Feat|
|3th||+3||+3||+1||+1||Evasion, Discipline (Precision)|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Discipline (Sudden Charge), Bonus Maneuver|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+2||+2||Uncanny Dodge, Discipline (Deflecting Blade)|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+3||Discipline (Rapid Maneuver), Bonus Maneuver|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+3||Discipline (Splitting Blade)|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+4||Discipline (Cunning Counter), Discipline (Redirected Counter), Bonus Maneuver|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+5||Discipline (Sudden Maneuver), Bonus Stance, Bonus Maneuver|