The best way to defeat something is by understanding it and staying 5 steps ahead.
- Kerric Forath, a battle seer
Knowledge is the greatest weapon one can wield. It can be used to devastating effect, defeating any challenge with the proper application. Battle seers apply this philosophy to the art of combat, using their knowledge to augment their martial prowess. Through understanding the world and themselves, they become extremely aware of their surroundings, at times seeming as if they can see seconds into the future and react accordingly. The more one learns, the more one sees, which means more options and opportunities. No one can use their knowledge in such a direct and powerful way like the battle seer.
Becoming a Battle Seer
The drive to combine martial prowess with the understating and foresight gained through various lore one learns is all one needs to become a battle seer. The more one knows, the more advantages one can create in battle. A wide array of characters become battle seers, from warlords and rangers to clerics and bards. Most have a unique combination of combat focus and random lore.
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Skills: Journeyman Initiative
Feats: Combat Reflexes
Keywords: One [Lore] keyword ability of 3rd level and one [Martial] keyword ability of 3rd level
Skills: A battle seer is trained in the awareness and initiative skills.
Prowess: A battle seer receives 4 points of prowess per level.
Hit Dice: d8
Table: Battle Seer
+1|Heightened senses +1|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+1|Anticipate (flat-footed)|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+2|Uncanny dodge|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+2|Heightened senses +2|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+3|Keen intuition|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+3|Anticipate (never surprised)|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+3|Heightened senses +3|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+4|Improved uncanny dodge|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+4|Predicted strike|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class
+5|Heightened senses +4, anticipate (always have surprise)|+1 level of [Lore] abilities from existing class[br]+1 level of [Martial] abilities from existing class[/table]
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies
A battle seer gains proficiency with an additional weapon group.
When a new battle seer level is gained, the character’s [Lore] abilities increase as if he had also gained a level in any one [Lore] class he belonged to before he added the prestige class and the character’s [Martial] abilities increase as if he had also gained a level in any one [Martial] class he belonged to previously. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one [Lore] class or more than one [Martial] class before he became a battle seer, he must decide to which class he adds each level of battle seer for the purpose of determining those abilities.
Heightened Senses [Lore] (Su)
As you learn to apply your knowledge to combat, your senses take on a supernatural quality. You gain almost a sixth sense, one of the future just moments ahead of yourself. This sense guides your actions, flowing naturally through time and translating into a powerful edge in battle. As long as you are in combat you gain a +1 insight bonus to all rolls. This bonus increases by +1 every three levels (+2 at 4th, +3 at 7th, and +4 at 10th).
Anticipate [Lore] (Ex)
A trained battle seer is difficult to surprise, and it is impossible to get the jump on a master. Your entire body becomes attuned to battle, ready to leap at a moment’s notice. At 2nd level, a you are never considered flat-footed.
At 6th level, you are never surprised by battle of any kind, and may always act in the surprise round.
At 10th level, you understand your surrounds and are aware of them to such a degree that you are always ready for combat, and you always receive a surprise round.
Uncanny Dodge [Martial] (Ex)
Starting at 3rd level, a battle seer can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a battle seer already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.
Keen Intuition [Lore] (Ex)
At 5th level and higher, a battle seer’s almost preternatural senses allows then to avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. A helpless battle seer does not gain the benefit of keen intuition.
Improved Uncanny Dodge [Martial] (Ex)
A battle seer of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.
This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the battle seer by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has battle seer levels.
If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Predicted Strike [Martial] (Ex)
When a battle seer attains 9th level, the gain the to read their opponents to such a degree that they can take advantage of any opening - even ones created when their enemy is on the offensive! Whenever a creature that is threatened by the battle seer makes an attack against the battle seer, the creature provokes an attack of opportunity from the battle seer.
Playing a Battle Seer
Battle seers are always ready for a fight. They excel at predicting their opponent's movements, in and out of combat. While their primary focus is on battling their enemies, they extend their philosophy of understanding one’s enemies to other arenas.
Combat: The battle seer prefers to have as much knowledge on their opponents as they can, maneuvering and watching for opportune moments to strike. They will often open combat not with a melee strike, but some for of lore or information appropriate to the situation. Most will focus on melee combat, as their various abilities have more of a chance to shine there.
Advancement: Battle seers can and often will follow their original paths once they have progressed to their satisfaction. They will focus on whichever side more suits their tyle and personality, giving them a huge amount of variety.
Resources: The resources one can draw on large stem from the battle seer’s personal history and connections, as the path of the battle seer opens no special doors on it’s own.
Battle Seers in the World
It wasn’t the way he always seemed to dodge my attacks or know just when to strike - it was that blasted knowing smile that drove me crazy!
- Thelvar the Hammer, gladiator
The wandering swordsman, an educated nobleman, great captains, even the odd militant priest - all can be counted among the ranks of the battle seer. The only common thread that runs through all members of this class is the respect they demand on the battlefield. Only the most foolhardy warriors wish to cross blades with a battle seer, for their uncanny abilities and skill are renowned.
Daily Life: There is nothing typical about the life of a battle seer. Coming from so many different walks of life, there are very few things that could be considered “typical.” Perhaps more than anything is a thirst for knowledge, and a passion for all forms of combat or competition.
Notables: Among the ranks of the Atheri nobility is General Kerric Forath, secondary commander of the armies of the king. While his blood afforded him moderate rank as an officer, he climbed to the position of second in command through skill and information. While a decent tactician, his true gifts lay in personal combat and intrigue. Much of his competition found their secrets exposed or were provoked into duels in which they were destroyed. The only reason he remains “second” in command is that he prefers to have a puppet to hide behind if things take a disastrous turn.
A wandering swordsman, Rewan Aria has developed an underground reputation as a master musician with a staggering knowledge of songs and poems. She wanders the world searching for new tales and harmonies, preferably from lost civilizations or dangerous locals. While in a town, she delights in sharing her knowledge and stories of wonder with villagers and townspeople, brightening the lives of all she encounters.
Organizations: There are no organizations specific to battle seers, but any that prize knowledge or combat will likely house at least a few..
This is a case-by-case basis, where the reaction depends largely on the person and their reputation. If one is know as a battle seer, then NPCs will expect them to have a deep knowledge of something, and will have often heard enough to be wary of engaging them in combat...but not overly cautious, either.
Battle Seers in the Game
Battle seers will love their dexterity and mixing it up in melee combat. They will leverage their unique combination of abilities to gain any advantage they can. While most may prefer melee, they will rarely leave themselves without other options.
Adaptation: Battle seers should have no difficulty fitting into any setting. Just make sure you’re playing d20 Rebirth!
Encounters: This prestige class is an excellent way to add power to any character that excels at combat but is also highly knowledgeable. Kerric Forath is an excellent threat to send against your party, as he has many avenues of attack and can be dealt with in many ways. A formidable combatant, but also a savvy political force, he can be challenged directly or maneuvered against in a more subtle fashion, at the players discretion. They may even chose to make a deal, or even ally, with him, as he is always open to gaining new allies (he always has dirt on his allies however...just in case).
The battle seer is intended to be a simple hybrid PrC. Since the intent is for this to be part of a central product, then a more generalized prestige class that can accommodate many different flavors and variation is important - highly specific or narrow PrCs should be introduced in later supplements.
Hybrid classes, like mystic theurge, have always been received well (conceptually if not mechanically) by the majority of players, so d20 Rebirth should incorporate hybrid PrC options as well. I wanted to have a hybrid class that was mechanically valid (so it wasn’t a trap like mystic theurge is) but also keep the class features useful to a large variety of concepts. This is reflected in the general but useful class abilities that the PrC grants. None of them are highly specific, but all of them are useful in most circumstances.
Obviously the wording for the advanced keywords will need some work so that things are all fitting together properly, but as it stands it should get the point across. In addition, the full progression may or may not be something that appears in d20r, and may need to be changed.