Can't we all just get along? -Jarroth Mynul, apostate sword
The Sublime Way has many practitioners. Some use it for good, some for evil, and some merely for amusement. It is a powerful set of abilities with varied applications, but sometimes it is useless. Sometimes you cannot find the bandits who kidnapped your family so you cannot Sublime Way them to death. Sometimes the king simply has too many guards for you to appeal his judgment with your sword. Whatever their reasons, there are people who turn from the Sublime Way, and from violence entirely, to more refined methods. These are apostate swords.
Becoming a apostate sword
A apostate sword renounces the path of violence. Sometimes this is a result of a traumatic failure, sometimes as a result of deep introspection, and sometimes it is the simple inability to kill any more.
Must know at least two martial maneuvers, one of which must be at least a second level maneuver
8 ranks in Diplomacy or Sense Motive
The Class Name's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Autohypnosis(Wis), Bluff(Cha), Decipher Script(Int), Diplomacy(Cha), Disguise(Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery(Int), Gather Information(Cha), Knowledge(Local)(Int), Listen(Wis), Martial Lore(Int), Sense Motive(Wis), Speak Language(none), Spot (Wis)
Skills Points at Each Level:6 + Int modifier
Hit Dice: d8
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Abilities 1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Peacebond, Pacifism, Plea for Mercy 2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Alternate Means, Martyrdom 3rd +1 +1 1+ +3 Our Paths were One, Gaia's Blessing 4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Peer Pressure, Group Appeal 5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Trust Me, Be Who You Are 6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Diplomatic Immunity 7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Make the Stones Weep 8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Turn the Blade, Tame the Beast 9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Violence Begets Violence 10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Swords to Plowshares
Proficiencies: A apostate sword gains proficiency in the net, lasso, and bola.
Special: Levels in apostate sword do not count towards initiator level. This is an exception to the general rule that non-initiator classes contributes half a level towards initiator level per level.
Peacebond(Ex,Sp,Su)There is power in refusing to fight when you know how. A apostate sword gains bonuses based on his levels in martial adept classes. Gain the listed bonus from the table based on your levels in classes that give full initiator level and every bonus that requires a lower class level than you have.Spoiler
Full Initiating Class Level Bonus 1-2 +2 to diplomacy and sense motive checks 3-4 +1 to DC's of apostate sword abilities 5-6 +2 hp per hit die 7-9 Dominate Person 1/day, DC 15+Cha Mod(SLA) Final Peace(Supernatural)
Final Peace(Su): An apostate sword with at least ten levels in martial adept classes is wreathed in disdain for weaponry. Any weapon that strikes him must make a Fort save DC 10+class level+Cha Mod or be destroyed
In addition, you may trade in levels in classes that gave you full initiator levels for levels in apostate sword.
Remember that levels in apostate sword do not count towards initiator level.
You are no longer allowed to use the maneuvers or stances that you knew, and are treated as no longer knowing them except for purposes of qualifying for this class.
Pacifism(Ex): Sometimes it is necessary to use violence... if you are not clever enough. Every time a apostate sword intentionally inflicts lethal damage on an intelligent (Int is not 0 or -) creature, the DCs for all his class abilities reduce by one for twenty four hours. This penalty stacks, if you keep stabbing that orc your powers keep getting worse.
Actually killing something should induce a crisis of faith, but that is up to you and your Dungeon Master to figure out.
Plea for Mercy(Ex): You may, as a standard action, appeal to the conscience of a sentient (Int greater than 2) being in combat or out of combat. It must make a will save, DC 10+apostate sword level+your cha mod, or stop fighting. If attacked again, it becomes hostile again. It is not friendly, just willing to talk about the problem before more blood is shed. Treat it as Unfriendly, in the parlance of diplomacy checks. You may use this ability on any creature that can hear and understand you. This is [mind affecting] and [language dependent].
Each use of this ability beyond the first on the same target in the same encounter gives that target a +1 stacking bonus to its save against the ability.
For example, Jarroth Mynul is on a walk in the Underdark when a patrolling drow ambushes him. He uses this ability and the drow fails the save, so he has a chance to negotiate a toll so that he may pass rather than fighting. The drow does not instantly become his friend and lead him to their secret city, but neither does it stab him in the back... immediately anyway.
Alternate Means(Ex): A second level apostate sword has refocused his energy from long exercise and sparring to more academic pursuits. He gains a competence bonus to Decipher Script and Forgery checks equal to his apostate sword level.
Martyrdom(Ex): Few things unnerve professional warriors more than the sight of someone not fleeing and not fighting. For every five points of damage a foe does to you in an encounter, he takes a stacking -1 penalty to his saves against your apostate sword abilities. Round up, so a foe doing one to four points of damage means that foe has a -1 against your Plea for Mercy and other class abilities.
Our Paths were One(Ex): A third level apostate sword knows the Sublime Way, and knows practitioners of it. He can use this knowledge to make his arguments more convincing. For every maneuver a creature uses that the apostate sword successfully identifies, that creature takes a -1 stacking penalty to saves against class abilities of the apostate sword. The apostate sword also gets a stacking +1 bonus on social skill checks (bluff, diplomacy, and sense motive) against that creature. The penalty and bonus last for twenty four hours, after which the apostate sword must again identify maneuvers the creature is using to gain the bonuses and penalties.
A apostate sword cannot get a bonus more than once for identifying the same maneuver being used by the same creature within the same twenty four hour period.
Determining all disciplines known by the creature gives the effect of identifying two maneuvers from that creature; it takes a -2 penalty to saves versus class abilities of the apostate sword and he gets a +2 bonus on social skills against the creature.
Gaia's Blessing(Su): Nature can be cruel and heartless, but maternal and pack instincts are also natural. A third level apostate sword can now use his Plea for Mercy on anything that is not immune to it regardless of its Int score. It is now just like any other [mind affecting] ability, it is no longer [language dependent] or only working on things with a minimum of 3 Int.
[B]Peer Pressure(Ex): [/B]A apostate sword wants what is best for everyone. Your friend over there is willing to talk, why aren't you? For every opponent in an encounter that the apostate sword has successfully used Plea for Mercy on, remaining opponents take a -1 stacking circumstance penalty on their save against Plea for Mercy.
Group Appeal(Ex): A fourth level apostate sword has broadened his ability to suggest a diplomatic solution. He may target up to twice his charisma modifier worth of targets with Plea for Mercy.
Trust Me(Sp): A fifth level apostate sword can cast Glibness upon himself with a caster level equal to his class level; he may do this a number of times per day equal to his charisma modifier.
Be Who You Are(Sp): Sometimes the best way to be listened to is to appear like your audience. A fifth level apostate sword can use Reflective Disguise, as the spell from Spell Compendium, at will. The save DC for the spell is 15+Cha Modifier.
Diplomatic Immunity(Sp): A sixth level apostate sword has presence and confidence and charisma. He begins each encounter under the effect of a Sanctuary spell, heightened to his class level and modified by his charisma modifier. So at sixth level the save to break the Sanctuary is 16+Cha mod. Use of Plea for Mercy and related powers do not count as attacks for breaking this Sanctuary.
Make the Stones Weep(Su): A seventh level apostate sword is unbelievably persuasive. He can attempt to use Plea for Mercy on creatures immune to [mind affecting] effects. If they are immune due to their type, he must make a diplomacy check with a DC equal to their CR + 10. If they are immune due to Mind Blank or similar spells, he must make a diplomacy check against the caster level of the spell + 10. If they are immune for some other reason, he and the creature must make opposed diplomacy checks. If the apostate sword wins the required test, he may use Plea for Mercy on the opponent despite its immunity.
Turn the Blade(Su): Nobody expects their target to lean in to the attack. As an immediate action, after being struck with an attack, an apostate sword may make a disarm check against the opponent who just struck him. The disarm check is resolved as an opposed diplomacy check between the apostate sword and the person who struck him, if the apostate sword wins the test he may take the weapon into his hand as though he succeeded on an unarmed disarm or let it drop to his feet, as normal for disarming. This does not provoke an attack of opportunity, and regular modifiers to disarm rolls like Improved Disarm or locked gauntlets, do not apply. It is still impossible to disarm natural weapons.
Tame the Beast(Ex): Animals are unnerved by prey that does not respond to violence. After being struck with a natural weapon, as an immediate action the apostate sword may use Plea for Mercy on the creature that struck him with the natural weapon.
Violence Begets Violence(Su): Violence is destructive to its wielder as well. The ninth level apostate sword can speed up the return of violence to its source. As a standard action, he may curse a target within 120'. The target may make a will save DC 19+Cha modifier of the apostate sword to shake off the curse. If the curse is successful, every time the victim does lethal damage the same amount of damage also affects him. This effect lasts for the rest of the encounter. The apostate sword may do this once per encounter. This effect may also be removed with a Remove Curse provided the caster makes a caster level check with a DC equal to fifteen plus the apostate sword's class level. Use of this ability does not cause the Apostate Sword any problems from the Pacifism class feature.
Swords to Plowshares(Su): Even beings created solely to kill and animals can be repurposed. A apostate sword can use this ability on any creature with a natural Int score below 3 unless it has been Feebleminded by the spell of the same name or a similar effect. Do not count effective Int score as a result of ability damage or drain, only natural intelligence.
He gives the creature a new, productive task that helps people. For example, an iron golem stationed to protect a wizard's lair could instead be told to build walls. A monstrous crab could be instructed to gather fish for a nearby village. Treat the creature as under a Geas, except the spell does not wear off on its own. For purposes of dispelling and suppression, the caster level of the Geas is fifteen. Change the target's Int score to 10 (mostly to prevent sorcerer's apprentice syndrome).
The creature is entitled to a Will save DC 20+Cha Mod. This ability can be used on any valid target within line of sight. It can be used once per day for each point of charisma modifer the apostate sword has. This is not a [mind affecting] ability.
Playing a apostate sword
Combat: This is the ticklish part. D&D is a combat based game, this class is based around avoiding and ending combat. You'll have similar problems as the Apostle of Peace does. Good luck.
Advancement:You could focus on up-front skills like Diplomacy and Sense Motive or tricky skills like Forgery and Bluff.
Resources: Your class is focused on avoiding and ending combat. You have many social skills as class skills, and bonuses to forgery. If you can't rustle up your own resources, I can't help you.
Apostate Swords in the world
Krusk not weak! Krusk just not feel like killing today... -Krusk, an orc leader, after meeting a apostate sword
Daily Life: Violence is dumb and destructive. There are better ways to get what we want. Good apostate swords might be found teaching the poor to read or helping criminals get a legit job. Evil apostate swords can spin a web of coercion and blackmail... just because he won't stab you doesn't mean he can't ruin your life if he needs to.
Notables: There were once two kings who ruled kingdoms next to each other. They met on the field of battle in a senseless war and foreswore violence against each other because it would be a terrible waste. One king built his kingdom for the people and ensured everyone was fed and sheltered. Then he built schools. He is still remembered fondly. The other built his kingdom for himself. Dissent was allowed, but shopkeepers who gossiped against the king had a habit of not getting needed loans, would be revolutionaries were drafted, and generally power was centralized. His rule is still remembered as effective but brutal. They were both apostate swords.
Organizations: There are no formal organizations for apostate swords, but they may group together as normal people who share methods in common do to achieve goals. A crime boss apostate sword may employ other apostate swords to spread his reign of terror, for example. Physical power is not the only form of power.
Most people regard apostate swords as fools. Why would you give up the ability to defend yourself? Why are you talking with your ancestral enemy instead of stabbing him? Occasionally a apostate sword makes a significant victory, stopping a war or bringing together a town to survive some calamity. In general, though, they are derided or ignored.
Apostate Swords in the game
Adaptation: This is pretty setting neutral. Apostate swords could be divinely inspired or sent; or they could be former rangers or barbarians or even fighters.
Encounters: This class makes for a terrible combat encounter, what with it using pseudo mind control on PC's and forcing them to talk about their problems. It is generally not fun to say "No, you can't attack him because you failed your save. You have to talk it out." They also mess up CR because they are unlikely to expend significant resources from the PC's... they do not do damage or inflict long-term status effects.