”Look beyond the simple movements, and you will see the dance of the sword in each step. Listen not for instruments but to the rhythm of the battle, and you will hear the song of steel as it silences the beating drums of a wicked heart.” - Shiar Moreden, Warrior-Poet
Warrior-Poets adventure for many reasons, just as any other person might. Like many martial adventurers, some seek to perfect their art in combat against ever more potent foes, while others might use their abilities to protect and lead the weak to victory. Still others might use their talents for personal gain, seeking fame or fortune as either a commander or by threat of force.
Warrior-Poets are capable frontline fighters, though they tend to be more fragile than true warriors. Like the greatest commanders, Warrior-Poets are able to inspire allies to greater acts with the grace and precision of their blows, changing the tide of a battle with displays of courage and skill.
Warrior-Poets are not restricted to any particular alignment. Lawful Warrior-Poets may find perfect harmony in the dance of the sword, while Chaotic individuals might find freedom of expression in the same. Good and Evil hold no particular draw for Warrior-Poets, for the blade is but a tool in such things, but neither are Warrior-Poets unlikely to be of such alignments.
Warrior-Poets are not restricted by religion, nor do their martial leanings often influence them unduly. To most Warrior-Poets, the choice of religion is influenced much more strongly by racial predilections or personal preferences.
Warrior-Poets can be the result of any number of backgrounds, just as any other individual who takes up the sword for a cause. Still, most have traits of leadership somewhere in their past, however unnoticed. An affinity for tactics can lead an otherwise ordinary swordsman to the path of the Warrior-Poet, though this is far from a required trait for Warrior-Poets. Children of nobility are common amongst their ranks, as such an upbringing often carries with it all of the usual traits that lead one to the path of the Warrior-Poet.
Warrior-Poets can come from any race, though the refined edges may be dulled somewhat for those originating from more primitive or shamanistic races. Naturally graceful and charismatic races are much more likely to turn to the path of the Warrior-Poet, and as such, elves and most fey have a significant number amongst their people. Humans, ever adaptable and suitable for most any task, take to the role of the Warrior-Poet as easily as they do any other. Orcs and other races that favor brawn over skill or wit rarely turn to the path of the Warrior-Poet, though exceptions exist for every such race.
Warrior-Poets are close kin to Crusaders and Marshals with their exceptional ability to command and lead. Bards tend to get along well with Warrior-Poets, as both share the ability to inspire allies beyond their normal limitations, though Bards do so with magic or supernatural grace, rather than sheer martial skill and courage. Any disciple of the Sublime Way might respect a skilled Warrior-Poet for his martial prowess, just as anyone who disdains physical combat might look down on a Warrior-Poet as a simpleminded brute, however graceful.
In a world where nonmagical characters are expected to more closely model real-world physics and abilities, you might consider changing several of the Warrior-Poet's abilities to be Supernatural in origin. These abilities, normally marked as Extraordinary, are intended to represent the Warrior-Poet's inherent leadership and skill inspiring allies to greatness, but some might find it easier to believe in simple magic generating such effects, not unlike the magic that powers a Bard's Inspire Courage ability.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Warrior-Poets have the following game statistics.
As primarily physical combatants, Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are all important to a Warrior-Poet that wishes to take the battle into his own hands. Charisma is also important to a Warrior-Poet, as it determines the difficulty of the saving throws against his Demoralizing Blow and Riddle of Steel maneuvers, as well as the bonuses granted by his Motivations. Intelligence can be peripherally important, as it determines the Warrior-Poet's skill points and the number of maneuvers recovered by his Commanding Presence ability.
Any. Warrior-Poets are not constrained by alignment in any way.
The Warrior-Poet's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), Perform (weapon drill) (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis)
Skills Points at Each Level:
4 + int
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Maneuvers Known||Maneuvers Readied||Stances|
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Commanding Presence 1/encounter, Inspire Courage +1||3||3||1|
|2nd||+2||+0||+0||+3||Song of Steel +1/+1d6||4||3||1|
|3rd||+3||+1||+1||+3||Dance of the Sword (two 5-ft. steps)||5||3||1|
|4th||+4||+1||+1||+4||Demoralizing Blow, Least Motivations||5||4||1|
|5th||+5||+1||+1||+4||Commanding Presence 2/encounter, Inspire Talent||6||4||2|
|6th||+6/+1||+2||+2||+5||Song of Steel +2/+2d6||6||4||2|
|7th||+7/+2||+2||+2||+5||Dance of the Sword (Dodge AC)||7||4||2|
|8th||+8/+3||+2||+2||+6||Inspire Courage +2||7||4||2|
|10th||+10/+5||+3||+3||+7||Commanding Presence 3/encounter, Inspire Freedom, Song of Steel +3/+3d6||8||5||2|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+3||+3||+7||Dance of the Sword (Instant Recovery)||9||5||3|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+4||+4||+9||Greater Motivations, Inspire Courage +3, Song of Steel +4/+4d6||10||5||3|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+5||+5||+9||Commanding Presence 4/encounter, Dance of the Sword (Immediate Dodge) Inspire Heroism||11||6||3|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+5||+5||+10||The Riddle of Steel||12||6||4|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+6||+6||+11||Song of Steel +5/+5d6||12||6||4|
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+6||+6||+11||Grand Motivations, Dance of the Sword (Double Strike)||13||6||4|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+6||+6||+12||Commanding Presence 5/encounter, Inspire Courage +4, Inspire Perfection||13||7||4|
All of the following are class features of the Warrior-Poet.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies
: Warrior-Poets are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Warrior-Poets are proficient with light armor and with all shields (except tower shields).
A Warrior-Poet begins play with 3 maneuvers known. The disciplines available to the Warrior-Poet are Army of One
, Scarlet Bravura
, and White Raven.
Once the Warrior-Poet knows a maneuver, they must ready it before they may use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver used by a Warrior-Poet is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. A Warrior-Poet's maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and they do not provoke attacks of opportunity when initiated.
A Warrior-Poet learns additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown on the table above. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisites to learn it. (See page 39 of Tome of Battle
to determine the highest level maneuvers you can learn.)
Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even numbered Warrior-Poet level after that, you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one.
If a maneuver initiated by a Warrior-Poet offers a saving throw, the Difficulty Class of the save is equal to 10 + maneuver level + the Warrior-Poet's Strength modifier, if positive, unless the maneuver specifies that it uses a mental ability score, in which case the Difficulty Class of the saving throw is equal to 10 + maneuver level + the Warrior-Poet's Charisma modifier, if positive.
You can ready all three of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by exercising or meditating on tactical scenarios for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to exercise or meditate again and change them.
You begin an encounter with all of your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since your chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (unless you recover them, as described below).
You can recover a single expended maneuver with a full-round action as many times as you wish in each encounter. In addition, whenever you expend one or more uses of Commanding Presence, you recover up to a number of maneuvers equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1).
You begin play with knowledge of one 1st level stance from any discipline available to you. At 5th, 11th, and 16th level, you can choose an additional stance. Unlike other maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a swift action.
Commanding Presence (Ex):
Whether it be a display of incredible courage, a shouted command, or a strike perfectly placed to make an opening in an enemy's defenses, a Warrior-Poet has the ability to inspire his allies to greater capability a number of times each encounter. As a standard action, a Warrior-Poet may grant all allies with line of sight to him a +2 morale bonus to either attack rolls or saving throws until the start of his next turn. This ability may be used once per encounter at 1st level, and an additional time per encounter at 5th level and every five levels thereafter.
In addition, several Warrior-Poet abilities consume one or more uses of Commanding Presence when used. Unless otherwise noted, using any of these abilities counts as activating Commanding Presence for the purpose of abilities and effects that require you to do so.
Inspire Courage (Ex):
By expending an available use of Commanding Presence, a Warrior-Poet may inspire all allies with line of sight to him to follow his lead, strike where directed, or otherwise guide their attacks, granting them a +1 competence bonus to attack and damage rolls. The Warrior-Poet is not considered an ally of himself for the purpose of this ability.
Activating this ability requires a standard action, and the effects persist until the end of the Warrior-Poet's next turn, unless he expends an additional standard action to continue the effect. Alternately, the Warrior-Poet may substitute the activation of any strike maneuver for the action required to continue the effects of this ability.
At 8th, 14th, and 20th level, the bonuses granted by this ability increase by an additional point.
Unless the DM deems it appropriate for the situation at hand, the effects of this ability cannot be extended beyond the end of an encounter.
Song of Steel (Ex):
Beginning at 2nd level, whenever he initiates a martial strike that does not grant a bonus to the attack or damage roll as part of the strike, the Warrior-Poet gains a +1 bonus to the attack roll and deals and additional 1d6 damage if the attack is successful. At 6th level and every four levels thereafter, the bonus to attack rolls increases by an additional point, and the bonus damage increases by 1d6.
Dance of the Sword (Ex):
Beginning at 3rd level, while under the effects of a martial stance, the Warrior-Poet may forgo the benefits of that stance as a swift action to gain the benefits of this ability. While using this ability, the Warrior-Poet gains a +10-foot competence bonus to all forms of movement not derived wholly from a magical effect. Further, he may voluntarily end this ability (and the original stance) as a free action to gain one of the following benefits. Expending this ability represents a sudden surge of speed, tactical insight, or other, similar benefit, but taxes the Warrior-Poet's body and may put him in a tactically unsound or off-balanced position; he may not enter a new stance until the end of his next turn after activating this ability.
- At 3rd level, the Warrior-Poet may activate this ability to take two consecutive five-foot steps, provided he would normally be able to take a 5-ft step (as such, he cannot have already moved in the round, and must meet all other requirements for taking a 5-ft step). These 5-ft steps may be divided through the Warrior-Poet's turn as he wishes. For every four levels beyond 3rd, the Warrior-Poet may take an additional 5-ft step, provided the movement would not exceed his normal speed for the form of movement used to take the 5-ft steps.
- At 7th level, the Warrior-Poet may activate this ability to gain a +4 Dodge bonus to AC until the beginning of his next turn. For every four levels beyond 7th, this Dodge bonus increases by an additional point.
- At 11th level, the Warrior-Poet may activate this ability to instantly recover maneuvers as if he had used his Commanding Presence ability.
- At 15th level, the Warrior-Poet may activate this ability to take a 5-ft step on another creature's turn in response to an attack directed at him or an area of effect ability that includes him in its area of effect. The Warrior-Poet may take this 5-ft step even if he has already moved on his turn, including taking one or more 5-ft steps. This usage of the ability is an exception to the rule that free actions may only be taken on your turn.
- At 19th level, the Warrior-Poet may activate this ability when he initiates a strike maneuver; he may immediately activate a second strike maneuver of 7th level or lower that he has readied and unexpended with an activation time of one standard action or less. Both maneuvers activated in this fashion cannot be recovered for the duration of the encounter.
Despite the name, Dance of the Sword may be used while wielding any weapon, or no weapon at all.
Demoralizing Blow (Ex):
Beginning at 4th level, the Warrior-Poet permanently adds the Demoralizing Blow maneuver to his list of maneuvers known. Demoralizing Blow is considered a maneuver unassociated with any discipline, with a maneuver level equal to half the Warrior-Poet's class level, and a saving throw equal to 10 + maneuver level + the Warrior-Poet's Charisma modifier. A foe struck by a Demoralizing Blow must succeed on a Will save or take a -4 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and AC until the start of the Warrior-Poet's next turn. Creatures with bonuses to resist Intimidation effects or immunity to the same apply these resistances or immunity to the saving throw required by Demoralizing Blow.
Beginning at 4th level, whenever he activates his Commanding Presence ability, all allies with line of sight and line of effect gain the effects of one of the following motivations. Unless otherwise noted, the effects of a motivation are morale bonuses equal to the Warrior-Poet's Charisma modifier, and last until the start of his next turn. At 4th level, the Warrior-Poet has access only to Least motivations, but as he increases in level he gains access to new and more powerful motivations, as described below.
At 9th level, the Warrior-Poet may choose from any of the following motivations, or may use the list of Least motivations with a +1 bonus.
At 14th level, the Warrior-Poet may choose from any of the following motivations, or may use the list of Lesser motivations with a +1 bonus or Least motivations with a +2 bonus.
At 19th level, the Warrior-Poet may choose from any of the following motivations, or may use the list of Greater motivations with a +1 bonus or Lesser motivations with a +2 bonus or Least motivations with a +3 bonus.
Inspire Talent (Ex):
Beginning at 5th level, the Warrior-Poet may instill previously unrealized capability within an ally. By expending a use of Commanding Presence as a standard action, the Warrior-Poet may grant an ally within line of sight the use of a single feat he possesses, or the ability to use a single maneuver he has readied and unexpended. The chosen ally gains the ability to use the selected feat as if he naturally possessed it, ignoring any prerequisites the feat might require. If the Warrior-Poet choses to grant an ally knowledge of a maneuver, that maneuver is immediately expended, just as if he had used it normally, and the ally may initiate the maneuver normally, using the Warrior-Poet's own initiator level for the chosen maneuever. Each of these effects persist until the beginning of the Warrior-Poet's next turn, at which point the ally loses the ability to make use of the feat or maneuver.
Inspire Freedom (Ex):
Beginning at 10th level, the Warrior-Poet may expend one or more uses of Commanding Presence as a standard action to grant allies the ability to shrug off effects that would restrain them. The Warrior-Poet may select one ally of his choice within line of sight for each use of Commanding Presence he expends; the selected allies may immediately make a new saving throw with a +2 competence bonus against any effects currently affecting them that impair their movement and allow a saving throw (such as a bands of steel
spell), but not effects that render an ally completely inert or unable to act (such as a flesh to stone
spell). In addition, any of the chosen allies that are currently grappled may immediately make an opposed grapple check with the same +2 competence bonus to escape the grapple.
Blade Diplomacy (Ex):
Beginning at 12th level, while threatening a foe, the Warrior-Poet may make a Diplomacy check in place of an Intimidate check to demoralize a foe, convincing them not to attack him, and may make this check as a swift action. If successful, the foe cowers in place for one round or until attacked by the Warrior-Poet or one of his allies. If attacked, the cowering effect ends prior to the attack, eliminating any penalties or bonuses applied by the cowering condition. Once a given creature has succumbed to this effect, it is immune to further blade diplomacy from the same Warrior-Poet for the duration of the encounter.
Indomitable Will (Ex):
Beginning at 13th level, whenever he fails a Will saving throw, the Warrior-Poet may reroll the saving throw as an immediate action. He must abide by the result of this second roll, even if it is worse than the original. The Warrior-Poet may only use this ability after the results of the save have been determined, but before its effects have been declared.
Inspire Heroism (Ex):
Beginning at 15th level, by expending an available use of Commanding Presence as a standard action, the Warrior-Poet may inspire all allies with line of sight to him to avoid attacks and gird themselves against potential magical or extraordinary threats, granting them a +4 Dodge bonus to AC and a +4 competence bonus to saving throws. The Warrior-Poet is not considered an ally of himself for the purpose of this ability.
Except as noted above, this ability functions as the Inspire Courage ability, including its duration and means of continuing the effects.
Commander's Resolve (Ex):
Beginning at 16th level, while one or more allies of the Warrior-Poet is affected by his Commanding Presence or any related abilities, the Warrior-Poet gains immunity to Mind-affecting effects.
The Riddle of Steel (Ex):
Beginning at 17th level, the Warrior-Poet permanently adds the Riddle of Steel maneuver to his list of maneuvers known. Riddle of Steel is considered a maneuver unassociated with any discipline, with a maneuver level equal to half the Warrior-Poet's class level, and a saving throw equal to 10 + maneuver level + the Warrior-Poet's Charisma modifier. A foe struck by Riddle of Steel must succeed on a Will save or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.
Inspire Perfection (Ex):
At 20th level, the Warrior-Poet may expend one or more uses of Commanding Presence as a standard action to grant allies brief flashes of incredible insight. The Warrior-Poet may select one ally of his choice for each use of Commanding Presence expended. Each affected ally may may treat a single d20 roll--any roll, including one that has already been rolled--as though they got a twenty on their roll (before modifiers). No other benefits (automatic success, vorpal weapons) of rolling a twenty are gained; only the numeric value. Affected allies must choose to use this ability before the results of the roll are determined. The effects of this ability must be used before the start of the Warrior-Poet's next turn, or else they are lost to no effect.
This ability may be used twice per day, but no more than once per encounter.