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.
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.
The sword saint’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis).
Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier
Table: Sword Saint
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Swordskills Known||Swordskills Readied|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Swordplay (Basic), Defensive Focus, Aegis (+1, 10-ft.-radius), Martial Training, Limit Breaks||2||2|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Force of Personality, Sword Saint Talent||3||2|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Warleader, Warlord's Mark||4||2|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Tactical Flanker, Sword Saint Talent||5||3|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Practiced Skill, Aegis (+2)||5||3|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+5||Sword Saint Talent, Aegis (20-ft.-radius)||6||3|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+2||+5||Armor Training, Never Outnumbered||6||3|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+6||Sword Saint Talent, Tactical Assistance||7||4|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+6||First Blood, Aegis (+3), Surprising Strike||7||4|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+7||Swordplay (Master), Perfected Skill, Sword Saint Talent||8||4|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+7||Stalwart, Swap Places||8||4|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+8||Advanced Sword Saint Talent, Aegis (30-ft.-radius)||9||5|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+8||Aegis (+4), War Sense||9||5|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+9||+4||+9||Advanced Sword Saint Talent, Bait the Dragon||10||5|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+9||Steel Defense, Unyielding Swordplay||10||5|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Advanced Sword Saint Talent, Punishing Defenses||11||6|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Aegis (+5), Born of Steel||11||6|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Advanced Sword Saint Talent, Unstoppable Strike||12||6|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Advanced Sword Saint Talent, Last Blood||13||7|
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 can make an additional attack with a full-attack action. 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.
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 (a weapon from light blades or heavy blades weapon group from fighter). 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, he increases the DCs of all his swordskills by 1.
Each sword skill is known by its type of form it goes under: Dark Sword, Holy Sword and Destroy Sword. Each has their own style of use. Universal forms have no designation and represents neutrality in the main forms. At 10th level, a sword saint can begin learning master sword skills, but these swordskills cannot be chosen to be practiced or perfected, only basic swordskills can be practiced and perfected.
A sword saint’s swordskills are supernatural abilities; using a swordskill is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The save DC for all swordskills is 10 + half of the sword saint’s level + his Charisma modifier. In later levels, he can focus on certain sword skills to increase his prowess with him. At first becoming Practiced, and then Perfected (see below). All sword skills deal focus sword damage, which is equal to the damage equal to the sword’s weapon damage plus the sword saint’s Charisma modifier instead of Strength.
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 unspent, 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 his 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 sword saint level to his CMD for the purposes of defending against enemies trying to use the Acrobatics skill to prevent him 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.
Martial Training (Ex)
At 1st level, a sword saint counts his total sword saint levels as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats.
At 1st level, the sword saint’s defensive prowess extends to those who choose to stay near to him. Allies who are within 10 feet of the sword saint’s position gain a +1 morale bonus to Armor Class and to Will saves, his presence bolstering and shepherding the defenses of his allies. This bonus improves to +2 at 5th level (+3 at 9th level, +4 at 13th level, and +5 at 17th level). The sword saint does not receive this bonus, but may receive the benefits of this ability from another sword saint. If the ally cannot see or hear the sword saint, then the ally does not gain the benefits of this ability (such as if the sword saint is concealed or invisible).
At 6th level, his aegis’ range increases its effective area, growing to a 20-ft.-radius. At 12th level, this increases again to 30 feet.
Sword Saint Talents (Su)
As a sword saint gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him and his allies. Starting at 2nd level, a sword saint gains one sword saint talent. He gains an additional sword saint talent for every 2 levels of sword saint attained after 2nd level. Unless noted, a sword saint cannot select an individual talent more than once.
- A complete list of sword saint talents can be found here: Sword Saint Talents
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 holy grace) he may only add his Charisma modifier once to his Will save.
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. As a standard action that the sword saint performs, the sword saint chooses a teamwork feat, (The sword saint must qualify for this feat) then, the sword saint and all allies within 30- ft. of him gain the benefits of the chosen teamwork feat. 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.
At 9th and 15th levels, the sword saint can use this ability to grant the benefits of an additional teamwork feat at the same time. He may choose one as a standard action, or multiple as a full-round action. He may use these feats to meet a prerequisite of another feat. Each individual feat selected counts toward his daily uses of this ability.
Warlord’s Mark (Ex)
At 3rd level, a sword saint is trained in how best to control his enemies and how they behave in battle, urging them to throw their all against the sword saint’s indomitable armor. With a sharp blade, a clever taunt, or something that otherwise attracts his foe, the sword saint can direct the attention of enemies towards himself. Whenever the sword saint attacks a foe in combat and inflict at least 1 point of damage, as a free action he may mark them as his foe (he may even mark a foe during an attack of opportunity and may make the free action to do so, even though it is not his turn) and attempt to continue to force them to engage the sword saint only. The target is aware of being marked, and the mark remains for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum of 1). Marked targets suffer a -4 penalty to attack rolls against foes that are not the sword saint, and arcane spellcasters suffer an increase in arcane spell failure of 10% + 1% per two sword saint levels until the mark expires. The sword saint may only maintain a number of marks equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier at a time, and he may make a number of marks per day equal to half his sword saint level + his Charisma modifier. At 10th level, this penalty increases to -6, and it increases again to -8 at 17th level. This ability functions on creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or more, allowing him to mark animals and other beasts as well as sentient beings, but not mindless creatures such as skeletons. Multiple warlord’s marks overlap (do not stack).
At 10th level, the sword saint may expend two uses of his warlord’s mark to make a grand challenge to all enemies within a 30-ft.-radius and mark them with his words alone. Creatures affected must make a Will save (DC 10 + half of the sword saint’s level + his Charisma modifier) against the sword saint’s mark ability or suffer the penalties of being marked for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier. This does not count against her normal marking limit. This is a language-dependent ability and does not effect creatures of less than 1 Intelligence.
At 17th level, the warlord’s mark improves to allow him to recover an expended swordskill whenever he reduces a marked opponent’s hit points to 0 or less (this can only trigger once per marked opponent).
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, he has become so proficient in the basic skills that he can further his skill with that particular skill unlocking its true power, truly mastering his skills. He may select one basic sword skill he has learned and choose to gain its Practiced effect. The sword saint may choose an additional swordskill at 10th level and every five sword saint levels thereafter. The sword saint may, at the start of each day, after spending an hour to train, changed which sword skill to gain the Practiced effect.
Armor Training (Ex)
Having improved his skill with his armor, the sword saint is a more capable combatant in it when protecting his allies or cause. At 7th level, 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 three levels thereafter (10th, 13th, 16th and 19th), 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. In addition, a sword saint can also move at his normal speed while wearing medium armor. At 10th level, a sword saint can move at his normal speed while wearing heavy armor.
Never Outnumbered (Ex)
The sword saint’s elite training makes them ideally suited for fighting against the odds. Starting at 7th level, a sword saint gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls whenever he threatens two or more opponents. This bonus increases by +1 at 12th level and again at 17th level.
Tactical Assistance (Ex)
At 8th level, the sword saint’s gift for helping his allies in combat improves. The sword saint may use the aid another action for any single ally within 30 feet of his position as a move action, and when he successfully uses the aid another action, it affects all allies within 30 feet.
First Blood (Ex)
At 9th 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.
Surprising Strike (Su)
At 9th level, a sword saint’s combat prowess is such that he can initiate swordskills even with only the barest amount of preparation. Once per day, the sword saint can use a swordskill that uses an attack roll in place of an attack of opportunity. He can use this ability twice per day at 14th level, and three times per day at 19th level.
Perfected Skill (Ex)
When a sword saint reaches 10th level, he has become so extraordinarily adept in the basic skills and has perfected his power. He may choose a single sword skill that he has chosen to have practiced and now gain its Perfected effect. The sword saint may choose an additional swordskill at 15th level and another at 20th level. The sword saint may, at the start of each day, after spending an hour to train, changed which sword skill to gain the Perfected effect.
Swap Places (Su)
At 11th level, a sword saint gains the ability to swap places with an ally once per encounter as an immediate action. In order to use this ability, the sword saint and an ally must be within long range (400 feet + 40 feet per sword saint level) of each other. If the sword saint uses this ability in response to one or more attacks or effects targeting himself or his ally, each becomes the potential target of such effects targeting the other. For example, if the sword saint is targeted with a charge attack, he can activate this ability to exchange places with his ally. The ally would then be the target of the charge attack. This is a teleportation effect, and if either the sword saint or his ally are prevented from teleporting for any reason, the ability fails and its use for the encounter is expended. At 17th level, the sword saint can use this ability twice per encounter.
At 11th 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.
Advanced Sword Saint Talents (Su)
Starting at 12th level, a sword saint gains one advanced sword saint talent or can pick a sword saint talent. He gains an additional sword saint talent for every 2 levels of sword saint attained after 12th level. Unless noted, a sword saint cannot select an individual talent more than once.
- A complete list of advanced sword saint talents can be found here: Advanced Sword Saint Talents
War Sense (Ex)
At 13th level, the sword saint has learned to sharpen his senses to surrounding threats and determine the best strategy for combat. Much like making a Knowledge check to learn about a foe, the sword saint can make a Perception check the same way, except to learn of any of the following:
- Any Ongoing Moral Bonus and its Source (If visible)
- Teamwork Feats possessed.
- Damage Reduction.
The longer combat persists, the easier it is to learn ones foe. Each round after the 1st, the sword saint gains a cumulative +1 insight bonus to the Perception check made to use this ability. This otherwise functions the same way as making a Knowledge check. The sword saint does not need to know what the target is to use this ability. If the sword saint can not clearly see the target to gauge the threat, this ability cannot be used.
Bait the Dragon (Ex)
At 14th level, a sword saint’s confidence and skill is such that he doesn’t just seize openings from his opponents—he creates them. As a swift action, the sword saint can choose to take a –4 penalty to AC for one round. If he does so, any melee attack made against him for one round provokes an attack of opportunity from the sword saint. These attacks of opportunity are resolved after the attack that provoked them.
Steel Defense (Ex)
At 15th 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.
Unyielding Swordplay (Ex)
At 15th level, when the sword saint uses a swordskill, his power cannot be denied. When he is using a swordskill with a saving throw, he can still effect targets even if they normally are immune to making such saving throws. (Such as undead with Fortitude saves). Furthermore, his master sword skills and perfected swordskills ignore effects such as Stalwart and Evasion. Targets with Improved Evasion instead are treated as having Evasion instead to such swordskills.
Punishing Defenses (Ex)
At 16th level, the sword saint has gained a great deal of skill in using offense as his best defense. When making an attack of opportunity, he inflicts an additional 2d6 points of damage. This damage is not multiplied if the sword saint scores a successful critical hit.
Born of Steel (Ex)
At 17th 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.
Unstoppable Strike (Ex)
At 18th level, a sword saint can take a standard action to make one attack with his weapon as a touch attack that ignores damage reduction (or hardness, if attacking an object).
Deathless Defenses (Ex)
At 19th level, the sword saint can indefinitely hold a position to protect his allies, even if it may cost his life. The sword saint must expend two uses of his warlord’s mark ability as an immediate action to activate his deathless defenses. While this ability is active, the sword saint is capable of maintaining his defensive focus as a move action (but recovers no swordskills unless he spends a full round to recover) but gains the full bonuses of his defensive focus. Additionally, he receives the benefits of his aegis ability as well. He is unable to die from hit point damage while this effect is in use. He may maintain the use of this ability each round at the cost of one use of his warlord’s mark ability, or he may end it as a free action. Abilities or effects that don’t inflict hit point damage, such as energy drain or ability damage, can still kill the sword saint. While this effect is in use, he is immune to mind-affecting abilities, as his focus prevents any from tampering with his mind. Once this ability ends, either voluntarily or if the character runs out uses of warlord’s mark (assuming he is not dead), the sword saint is exhausted and must rest a full 8 hours to recover.
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 sword saint 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.
- Gnath: Add a +1/4 of an additional use of the warleader ability.
- Half-Breed: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the character’s choice.
- Hume: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the character’s choice.
- Immortal: Add +1 to the sword saint’s CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the character’s choice.
- Lamia: The sword saint gains 1/6 of a new swordskill.
- 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.
- A complete list of sword saint archetypes can be found here: Sword Saint Archetypes