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Sword Saint

Deadly, focused, and relentless, the sword saint is a knight that believes in the strength of his blade and his arm, pouring his soul into his technique. Focused on improving his skill with a blade, he has awakened the essence of the sword he wields, striking forth with devastating effect. Mastering this unique understanding and power is an avenue of strength that greatly enhances their prowess in battle. Sword saints have developed their own magical force, focused through their blades, a highly offensive outpouring of skill and soul. Magically resistant creatures have no protection against such techniques, and even in areas void of magic the sword saint is a dangerous opponent not to be underestimated.
Role: Close and melee combat is the name of the game. Sword saints often have a sense of honor when it comes to combat, but that doesn’t mean they’ll hold anything back when they meet an opponent on the field. If a sword saint draws his weapon, he is expecting to kill someone, and nearly always does. You should usually focus your skills on weaker or more cumbersome enemies, relying on their inability to dodge your attacks to bring them low. However, a sword saint can easily transition into a more traditional fighting style and deal large amounts of damage to creatures with extraordinary reflexes.
Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d10
Parent Classes: Fighter and Knight
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gil (average 175 gil.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gil or less.
Class Skills
The sword saint’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wus), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points Per Level: 2 + Int modifier

Table: Sword Saint

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialSwordskills KnownSwordskills Readied
TypeFullGoodBadGood
1st+1+2+0+2Swordplay (Basic), Defensive Focus, Stamina Pool, Sword Saint Talent, Limit Breaks11
2nd+2+3+0+3Force of Personality21
3rd+3+3+1+3Sword Saint Talent, Warleader21
4th+4+4+1+4Tactical Flanker31
5th+5+4+1+4Sword Saint Talent, Practiced Skill32
6th+6/+1+5+2+5Clad in Steel42
7th+7+2+5+2+5Sword Saint Talent, Swordplay (Advanced)42
8th+8/+3+6+2+6First Blood52
9th+9/+4+6+3+6Sword Saint Talent53
10th+10/+5+7+3+7Perfected Skill63
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+7Sword Saint Talent63
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+8Stalwart73
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+8Sword Saint Talent74
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+9Swordplay (Master), Improved Warleader84
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+9Sword Saint Talent84
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+10Steel Defense94
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Sword Saint Talent95
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Master Warleader105
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Sword Saint Talent, Born of Steel105
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Last Blood115

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the sword saint.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A sword saint is proficient with all simple, martial weapons, and knight swords and with all armor (light, medium, and heavy) and shields (excluding tower shields).

Limit Breaks (Su)

At 1st level, the sword saint receives the Limit Breaks (Master Swordsman and Perfect Parry).

Master Swordsman (Su): This Limit Break allows the sword saint to use any swordskill he knows (readied or not) without needing to expend or ready them. It also grants her a +2 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls + an additional +2 per four sword saint levels after 1st. In addition, while this limit break is active, the sword saint doesn’t spend any stamina on his talents. This lasts for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four sword saint levels after 1st. This limit break requires only a swift action.

Perfect Parry (Su): This Limit Break makes the sword saint a master of defense. Any melee or range attacks automatically misses unless a natural roll of 20 is rolled, and even then, the critical threat is unconfirmed unless another natural roll of 20 is rolled. This lasts for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four sword saint levels after 1st. This limit break requires only a swift action.

Swordplay (Su)

The hallmark ability of sword saints, they pour a bit of their very soul into their weapons, unlocking powerful sword techniques. These abilities, known as swordskills, can only be used while the sword saint is wielding a sword. This sword is a material focus for all swordskills, though it doesn’t need to be a sword crafted by the sword saint. A sword saint can use any swordskill he knows at will, provided he is wielding a sword. As long as he is wielding a sword he forged himself, increase the DCs of all his swordskills by 1.

The three forms of swordskills, in order of their relative power, are basic, advance, and master. A sword saint begins with knowledge of one swordskill, which must be of the basic form. As a sword saint gains levels, he learns new swordskills. At 6th level, a sword saint can learn advance forms, and at 12th level, he can learn master forms.

A sword saint’s swordskills are supernatural abilities; using a swordskill is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If a target makes a successful Reflex saving throw against a swordskill they take only half damage from the swordskill, and all other effects of the swordskill are negated. The save DC for a basic form is 10 + half of the sword saint’s level + his Charisma modifier, the save DC for an advance form is 12 + half of the sword saint’s level + his Charisma modifier, and the save DC for a master form is 14 + half of the sword saint’s level + his Charisma modifier.

A sword saint can ready his starting swordskill, but as he advances in level and learns more swordskills, he must choose which swordskills to ready. He readies his swordskills by going over battle tactics, through weapon drills, or spending time meditating in prayer for 10 minutes. The swordskills he chooses remain readied until he decides to repeat this again and change them. Any given swordskill may only be readied once. Sword saints do not need to sleep or be well rested to ready their swordskills; any time they spend 10 minutes in practice or meditation, they can change their readied swordskills. He begins an encounter with all readied swordskills unexpended, regardless of how many times he may have already used them since he chose them. When the sword saint initiates a swordskill, he expends it for the current encounter, so each of his readied swordskill can be used once per encounter (until they are recovered, see below).

For a sword saint to recover expended swordskills, he must take stock of his situation to plan for his next movement. By focusing entirely on a defensive position to prepare her next move, he is able to regain swordskills expended to assist him to victory. By taking a full round action to plan his next move (activating his defensive focus class feature, see below), he recovers a number of expended swordskills equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum of 2). Alternately, he may take a brief pause in battle and recover a single swordskill of his choosing by spending a standard action on his turn.

  • A complete list of swordskills can be found here: Swordskills

Defensive Focus (Ex)

At 1st level, the defensive prowess of the sword saint is second to none, allowing him to focus his actions purely on defending himself and his allies in ways that cannot be replicated. The sword saint gains the Combat Reflexes feat as a bonus feat, using his Charisma modifier in place of his Dexterity modifier to determine the number of additional attacks of opportunity he may make each round. When recovering swordskills as a full round action, the sword saint sets up a defensive perimeter around himself to defend his allies, increasing his threatened area by 5 ft. for every 5 sword saint levels he possesses. Until the beginning of his next turn, he may make attacks of opportunity against any opponent in this threatened area that provokes attacks of opportunity. He may move as part of these attacks of opportunity, provided his total movement before his next turn does not exceed his speed (his movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal). Additionally, while using defensive focus, the sword saint adds his Charisma modifier plus his class level to her CMD for the purposes of defending against enemies trying to use the Acrobatics skill to prevent his from getting attacks of opportunity against them.

At 10th level, his defensive focus improves further, causing the ground within his melee reach to be treated as if it were difficult terrain, hampering his foes’ movement around him. If a foe tries to move through a space within his reach, the movement through those squares costs double (x2). Additionally, while using his defensive focus to make an attack of opportunity, his movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Stamina Pool (Ex)

At 1st level, the sword saint gains a reservoir of stamina that he can draw upon to fuel his talents that he gains below. This stamina pool has a number of points equal to 5 x his Constitution modifier and this pool increases by 5 + his Constitution modifier per level. The pool refreshes once per day when the sword saint rests for a full 8 hours. Sustained modes take up a static amount of stamina points from the sword saint’s maximum stamina pool and most sustained modes stack.

Sword Saint Talents (Su)

As a sword saint gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him and his allies. Starting at 1st level, a sword saint gains one sword saint talent chosen from any talent tree. He gains an additional sword saint talent for every 2 levels of sword saint attained after 1st level. A sword saint cannot select an individual talent more than once.

Force of Personality (Ex)

At 2nd level, the sword saint’s forceful personality and bold, headstrong nature assist him in resisting the influence of others. Where others use personal serenity, awareness of the world around them, or plain old sensibility, the sword saint gets by with endless nerve. The sword saint may add his Charisma modifier in addition to his Wisdom modifier to determine his Will save bonus. If the character is ever able to add his Charisma modifier to his Will save through use of another ability (for example, the holy knight’s divine grace) he may only add his Charisma modifier once to his Will save.

Warleader (Ex)

The sword saint excels in the theater of war because he knows how best to work with his allies. At 3rd level, the sword saint becomes an ever more capable commander and may share tactics with his allies. First, the sword saint gains a teamwork feat as a bonus feat (he must meet the prerequisites for this feat to select it). As a standard action that the sword saint performs, the sword saint and allies within 30- ft. of him can share teamwork feats that they possess with each other, acting as if they both possessed the teamwork feat that they are sharing. The sword saint can only share one teamwork feat at a time, either one of his own (with all allies within 30-ft. of him) or an ally’s (in which case only the sword saint receives the ability to use the teamwork feat he does not possess). The sword saint and allies retain the use of this feat for 3 + the sword saint’s Charisma modifier in rounds. The character may use this ability 1 + Charisma modifier times per day at 3rd level (minimum of 1), and one additional time per day for every four sword saint levels the character possesses.

Tactical Flanker (Ex)

At 4th level, the sword saint is exceptionally gifted at working with his allies to bring down opponents and his skills assist any who ally with him. When flanking a target with an allied creature, both the sword saint and the ally may use the sword saint’s Charisma modifier (minimum of +2) for the bonus they receive on flanking their opponent.

Practiced Skill (Ex)

When a sword saint reaches 5th level, they have become so proficient in the basic forms that they can add a bit of personal flair, truly making the skills they have learned their own. They may select one of the following options and that option is applied to all their basic forms. They may select an additional option at 8th level. He cannot select an ability multiple times unless the ability specifies otherwise.

  • Increase the DC of all basic forms by 1. This option may be selected multiple times.
  • Increase the range of all basic forms by 5 feet.
  • Add his Charisma modifier to the damage rolls of all his basic forms.
  • Whenever he uses a basic form, he gains temporary HP equal to his Charisma modifier.
  • Increase the duration of any effect of a basic form by 1 round.
  • Choose an element type: dark, earth, fire, ice, light, lightning, water, or wind. Basic forms can now deal that damage type instead of their normal damage type. This option may be selected multiple times, though each selection must be a different element type.

Clad in Steel (Ex)

Having improved his skill with his armor, the sword saint is a more capable combatant in it when protecting his allies or cause. Whenever he is wearing armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every four levels thereafter (10th, 14th, and 18th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –4 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed.

First Blood (Ex)

At 8th level, when a sword saint charges a flat-footed opponent, he gains a +3 competence bonus to his attack roll and his attack ignores damage reduction equal to his Charisma modifier. If a sword saint can make more than one attack during a charge this ability applies only to the first attack.

Perfected Skill (Ex)

When a sword saint reaches 10th level, they have become so extraordinarily adept in the advance forms that they can add a bit of personal flair, like with the basic forms, leaving their personal mark on each of their attacks. They may select one of the following options and that option is applied to all their advance forms. They may select an additional option at 13th level. You cannot select an ability multiple times unless the ability specifies otherwise.

  • Increase the DC of all advance forms by 1.
  • Increase the range of all advance forms by 5 feet.
  • Add his Charisma modifier to the damage rolls of all his advance forms.
  • Whenever he uses an advance form, he gains temporary HP equal to his Charisma modifier.
  • Choose an element type: dark, earth, fire, ice, light, lightning, water, or wind. Advance forms can now deal that damage type instead of their normal damage type. This option may be selected multiple times, though each selection must be a different element type.

Stalwart (Ex)

At 12th level, a sword saint can use mental and physical resiliency to avoid certain attacks. If he makes a successful Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that has a reduced effect on a successful save, he instead avoids the effect entirely. A helpless sword saint does not gain the benefit of the stalwart ability.

Improved Warleader (Ex)

At 14th level, the sword saint’s excellence in battle has enabled him to utilize the tactical skills of his allies as well as his own with greater speed. The sword saint may now use his warleader class feature as a move action.

Steel Defense (Ex)

At 16th level, the sword saint is capable of turning an otherwise lethal blow and continue the fight. When an attack that inflicts hit point damage from a natural attack, melee weapon, or ranged weapon would reduce the sword saint to 0 or fewer hit points, he can make a Fortitude save (DC the attacker’s attack roll) to deflect the attack to his armor or shield (light, heavy, or tower shields only), causing it to suffer the damage in his place (apply item hardness as normal). If this would break the character’s armor, it gains the broken condition until it is repaired. The sword saint cannot use this ability with broken armor or a broken shield. The sword saint must be wearing armor or a shield to use this ability.

Master Warleader (Ex)

At 18th level, the sword saint’s peerless ability in the theater of war has enabled him to utilize the tactical skills of his allies as well as his own with the greatest of speed. The sword saint may now use his warleader class feature as a swift action.

Born of Steel (Ex)

At 19th level, the sword saint is so at home in his armor that it is like a second skin, protecting him with its familiar embrace. When wearing medium or heavy armor, the sword saint is more resistant to critical hits. When a critical threat is rolled against him, the sword saint may add his Charisma modifier to his AC against the critical confirmation roll.

Last Blood (Ex)

At 20th level, a sword saint is a fearsome foe, and becomes only more aggressive and dangerous when he is backed into a corner or he sees victory in sight. If the sword saint is below half his HP, he gains a +5 competence bonus to attack rolls and the DC of all his swordskills are increased by 2. Whenever a sword saint drops an enemy to -1 hit points or less, he gains a morale bonus to all damage rolls equal to twice his Charisma modifier for 1 round.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have archer as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

  • Dwarf: Add a +1/4 of an additional use of the warleader ability.
  • Elvaan: The sword saint gains 1/6 of a new swordskill.
  • Galka: Add a +2 bonus on rolls to stabilize when dying.
  • Hume: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the character’s choice.
  • Mithra: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting a disarm or overrun combat maneuver.
  • Moogle: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting a trip or grapple attempt.
  • Roegadyn: Add a +2 bonus on rolls to stabilize when dying.
  • Tarutaru: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting a dirty trick or steal attempt.

Archetypes