Prestige Class: Bladebond
The bladebond masters body, mind, weapon, and will. He devotes his strength and his life to the service of a master or an ideal he accepts as greater than himself. Some bladebonds become masters in their own right, but even one who becomes an emperor sees himself as a servant of some higher power.
A bladebond can be a lone adventurer, serving an ideal or attempting to fulfill a lifetime goal. Some bladebonds swear fealty to great lords and rise to become trusted bodyguards, warlords, or leaders in their masters' service. One cannot be taught the ways of a bladebond, nor is one born a bladebond. Like the weapon that will come to represent him, a bladebond is forged by his environment, his experiences and the strength of his convictions.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a bladebond, a character must fulfull all the following criteria.
- Alignment: Any lawful.
- Base Attack Bonus: +5.
- Skills: Concentration 5 ranks, any one social skill (Bluff, Diplomacy or Intimidate) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks.
- Feats: Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (any weapon).
- Special: Must complete an oath of service (see below) to either an overlord or an ideal.
The bladebond’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local and Shadow) (Int), Survival (Wis), and Sense Motive (Wis). He also gains as a class skill whichever social skill he used to meet the class requirements (see above).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int Modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
All of the following are class features of the bladebond prestige class.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bladebonds gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
- Signature Weapon (Su): The bladebond chooses one of his weapons (it must be one for which he has the Weapon Focus feat) to become a signature weapon. Most bladebonds choose either a sword or a bow for this weapon, but even a bladebond's natural weapons can be chosen. If the weapon is a manufactured one, it must be of at least masterwork quality.
Upon qualifying for this class, a bladebond gains the ability to establish a link with his signature weapon. The character focuses part of his life energy on the weapon, making it more effective in his hands and his hands alone.
The process for imbuing a signature weapon with power is a simple one. The character must find a quiet, safe spot to meditate (and pray, for those bladebonds who serve deities) for 24 hours. At the end of this meditation, the bladebond sacrifices a number of experience points, essentially shifting some of his life force into his signature weapon. The signature weapon then becomes a magic weapon (if it wasn’t already) and gains an enchancement bonus and/or special abilities. His current class level limits the amount of enhancement a bladebond can place into his signature weapon. A bladebond cannot create a signature weapon if doing so would cost enough experience points to reduce his character level.
Use the table below to determine XP costs and class level limits.
If the ritual is interrupted, it can be begun again at any time, but it must run for a full 24 hours for the signature weapon to be imbued. The bladebond pays the XP cost as soon as the ritual has been completed.
A bladebond's signature weapon has a caster level equal to the character’s class level +10. It has the same hardness and hit points of a normal weapon of its type. However, if the bladebond so chooses, he can shift any damage inflicted on the weapon to himself instead. This decision must be made before damage is rolled.
Imbuing Double Weapons: A double weapon may be imbued, but both ends of the weapon must be paid for and imbued separately.
Imbuing Natural Weapons: The process for imbuing a bladebond's natural weapons (such as his fists) is the same as for a manufactured weapon, except all of the bladebond's natural weapons of one type are imbued at 100% of the cost + 10% per natural weapon. For example, a human bladebond who has Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) may turn his fists into signature weapons for 120% of the XP cost. A six-armed bladebond with a bite and tail attack would have to choose between fists, bite, and tail and pay either 160% of the cost (for six fists) or 110% of the cost (for the single bite or tail). A bladebond who imbues a particular type of natural weapon must imbue all his natural weapons of that type (so a human bladebond with two fists must imbue both fists). It takes 24 hours for a bladebond to imbue one type of natural weapon, regardless of how many actual weapons of that type he possesses.
Losing a Signature Weapon: If a bladebond's signature weapon is lost or stolen, the character must strive to recover it by any means that do not violate his oath or alignment. A bladebond who knowingly abandons a signature weapon is treated as if he broke his oath of service (see below). A bladebond who abandons a signature weapon and atones for the deed can begin to create a new signature weapon.
If someone destroys a bladebond's signature weapon, only the bladebond can repair it. If enough is left of the weapon to salvage (the shattered shards of a sword, for example), the bladebond can reforge the weapon as if he were using the Craft (weaponsmithing) skill to make a masterwork weapon. If he takes the reforged weapon and then meditates for 24 hours, he may pay the appropriate XP cost to restore his weapon to full strength.
Should nothing remain of the weapon, the bladebond must begin anew with a weapon that has never before been imbued. The character, however, has not failed in his oath – the destruction of a bladebond's weapon in service of his oath is not shameful, and other bladebonds are likely to show even more respect to a comrade whose weapon is destroyed in oathbound service.
Losing Natural Weapons: If a bladebond loses his natural weapons (such as his fists), he may have them regrown by using regeneration or a similar spell. In this singular case, the bladebond does not need to spend any more XP or time to reimbue his signature weapon with power. The link is direct enough that no extra effort is necessary.
|Class Level||Weapon Bonus||Minimum XP Cost**|
|*A weapon can’t actually have an enhancement bonus higher than +5, but it can have special abilities that are the equivalent of additional bonuses. Use these lines on the table to determine the XP cost when special abilities are added to a signature weapon. Example: A 6th-level bladebond who has a masterwork longsword can imbue it with the power to be a +5 keen longsword at a cost of 1,440 XP, since the keen special ability is equivalent to a +1 bonus.|
|** The XP cost presented here assumes that the weapon being imbued does not already have an enhancement bonus. If it does, the cost to imbue it with additional power is reduced. For instance, if a bladebond has a +1 longsword and wants to imbue it with the power to be a +3 longsword, he may do so by paying the difference in XP between creating a +1 weapon and a +3 weapon (360 minus 40, or 320 XP).|
If a bladebond dies while wielding his signature weapon in combat, there is a 1% chance per class level that the weapon retains a part of his spirit and becomes a covenant item (at the DM's discretion.) In most cases, such weapons lie dormant until wielded by a descendant or close friend of the original wielder, although someone whose goals were sufficiently in line with the bladebond's oath of service might suffice as well. The powers of such a weapon need not necessarily mirror those it had while its original wielder was still alive.
- Power Surge (Ex): At 2nd level, a bladebond gains the ability to make a DC 15 Concentration check as a move action to focus his energy and spirit. If he succeeds, he gains +8 to his Strength for a number of rounds equal to one-half his class level. Each time after the first that a bladebond successfully uses this ability in a 24-hour period, the check DC increases by 5.
- Projection: At 4th level and higher, a bladebond adds one-half his class level (round down) to any Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, or Intimidate checks he makes. At 8th level and higher, the bladebond adds his full class level to such checks.
- Withstand (Ex): When a bladebond of 5th level or higher is forced to make a Reflex save to avoid damage from an area effect spell (such as a fireball), he can make a Concentration check instead of a Reflex save to resist taking full damage. If a bladebond has the evasion or improved evasion ability, those benefits apply on this Concentration check as well.
- Instill (Ex): Once per day, a bladebond of 8th level or higher may take a full-round action to make a Concentration check (DC 10 + target’s HD or character level) to impart some of his own ability into a willing ally he can touch. The bladebond then transfers some of his power to the ally: He subtracts up to 1 point per class level from his base attack bonus and/or any or all of his base save bonuses and transfers the same amount to the recipient. The bladebond regains the instilled power 1 hour later, when it transfers back out of the ally. If the ally dies before the instilled power is transferred back, the bladebond must make a Fortitude save (DC 5 + target’s HD or character level) or die as well. If he succeeds, he immediately gets his instilled powers back.
- Oathbound: When a bladebond attains 10th level, he gains great notoriety and becomes known as an oathbound. If the oathbound has an NPC master, this master likely assigns the oathbound more responsibility and authority within his domain (perhaps giving him a castle, monastery, or military school). If the oathbound serves a deity, that deity may take a personal interest in giving the oathbound more responsibility, perhaps actually contacting the oathbound directly or through intermediaries and making the deity’s wishes known.
In addition to this added responsibility, an oathbound gains some tangible benefits. Members of other martial classes can sense the his power, and even those of differing alignments treat him with some measure of respect, effectively moving non-hostile NPC attitudes one step toward Friendly (Player's Handbook, pp. 72.)The oathbound also inspire those around them. When fighting within 30 feet of an oathbound, allies gain a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, Concentration checks, and attack rolls. Lawful allies gain a +2 morale bonus on these checks.
Oath of Service
A bladebond's oath of service must be upheld for the bladebond to continue advancing in levels. Typical oaths include swearing service to a powerful lord of the bladebond's alignment, to an organization with the same alignment and goals of the bladebond, to the bladebond's deity, or even to an idea or principle the bladebond upholds.
These oaths are not trivial, and prospective bladebond who attempt to enter the prestige class with broad oaths or ones deliberately easy to fulfill find themselves spurned and cannot join the class at all, even if they meet the other requirements.
A bladebond who breaks his oath, for whatever reason, loses access to his bladebond special abilities and must atone to get them back and continue advancing in the bladebond class. A bladebond must also strictly adhere to his alignment. A bladebond who intentionally and seriously violates his alignment also breaks faith and endures the same negative effects.
This dual requirement can pose a serious conundrum at times. If a lawful good bladebond swears service to a lord who then orders the bladebond to commit an evil act, the bladebond is caught between his oath and his alignment. He must violate one to fulfill the other, and either way he needs to atone. If the bladebond chooses his alignment, he can break his oath, gain atonement, and swear a new oath (often one relating to “correcting” his former lord). He can then advance as a bladebond again. If the bladebond chooses his lord, he changes alignment and must gain atonement from, in this case, an evil cleric.
A bladebond who changes his alignment from lawful loses his bladebond abilities and cannot advance further in this class until he gains atonement and switches his alignment back to lawful.
Fulfullment of the Oath of Service: If a bladebond fulfills an oath of service, or if the terms of the oath no longer apply (for example, if a bladebond swears service to a king who then dies of old age, or if a bladebond swears to defeat an enemy power and then in the course of adventuring defeats it), the bladebond must reflect and then swear a new oath. In general, a bladebond can be “between oaths” for no more than one week per class level. A bladebond who does not swear a new oath before the grace period expires is treated as if he broke his oath of service.
DM Note: The idea of the oath of service does not exist to punish a player to chooses to roleplay a bladebond, but to challenge that player. The bladebond is a powerful prestige class, and the oath of service is one of the costs that goes along with it. You should work with the player to come up with an oath that fits into your campaign – one that provides the player with roleplaying opportunities and you with a hook you can use to motivate the entire party.
Durgaz: Miscellaneous: Durgaz's Oath of Service.