General Prestige Class : Blade Bravo

Younger gnomes consider it fashionable to engage in rapier duels for honor and glory. These duels are typically fought more for sport than anger, and after a few drubbings, most youths tire of the game and move on to less dangerous pursuits. A few, however, possess a real talent for fencing and develop a love of the blade and battle. They become addicted to the rush of combat and devote themselves to studying its many strategies. Their obsession transforms the sport, elevating the sometimes inelegant cut and thrust of battle into an art form that can leave observers breathless and opponents bloody. These blade bravos also specialize in techniques to battle creatures larger than they are - -a necessity for any gnome interested in pursuing the arts of war.

Not surprisingly, gnome fighters and rogues of all types find themselves drawn to the life of the blade bravo. Even spellcasters sometimes adopt the study of the rapier for a time, although few are willing to leave their spells behind entirely for a simple blade.

PCs minding their own business in a gnome community might run afoul of an NPC blade bravo looking to prove herself. Such characters often incite duels against visitors because they get a home crowd advantage, and whether they win or lose, their foe isn't likely to stick around and cause trouble.

Adaptation: This prestige class bears some similarity to the duelist prestige class, but some of the blade bravo's class features work best for Small PCs. A straightforward change would involve broadening the racial requirement to allow halflings and perhaps some Small or smaller fey into this prestige class.


To qualify to become a Blade Bravo, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The blade bravo's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Jump, Perform, Sense Motive, and Tumble.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the blade bravo prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blade bravos gain no proficiency with any weapon. They do gain proficiency with light armor.

Flourish (Ex): A blade bravo learns to fight with style and flair. While many might discount their swirls and poses as cheap theatrics, in truth they act as a formidable weapon. By diverting her foe's eye with these flourishes, a blade bravo can more easily feint, preventing her opponent from fully defending himself against her next attack. A blade bravo can add her class level to her Bluff checks when feinting in combat.

This benefit only applies when the blade bravo wears light armor or no armor.

Goad: A blade bravo gains Goad as a bonus feat. If the blade bravo has at least 5 ranks in Bluff, the save DC to avoid the feat's effect increases by 2.

Mobile Fighting (Ex): If a blade bravo of 2nd level or higher moves at least 5 feet, she gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC until her next turn. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it's caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.

This benefit only applies when the blade bravo wears light armor or no armor.

Bonus Feats: Beginning at 3rd level, a blade bravo receives a bonus dueling or combat-oriented feat, which must be selected from the list below. She receives additional bonus feats at 6th and 9th level.

Acrobatic, Agile, Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Critical, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Mobility, Spring Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting, Whirlwind Attack.

Melee Sneak Attack (Ex): If a blade bravo can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, the blade bravo's attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or nor), or when the blade bravo flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 points at 4th level, and it increases to 2d6 points at 8th level. Should the blade bravo score a critical hit with a melee sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. (See Attack Roll Modifiers and Armor Class Modifiers for combat situations in which the blade bravo flanks an opponent or the opponent loses his Dexterity bonus to AC.)

Unlike normal sneak attacks, a blade bravo's melee sneak attack damage applies only to melee attacks. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet and the blade bravo has the sneak attack ability from another class. In this case, she deals the sneak attack damage from that other class but does not add the melee sneak attack damage gained from the blade bravo class.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a blade bravo can make a melee sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty, because she must make optional use of her weapon to execute a sneak attack. (See Nonlethal Damage.)

A blade bravo can sneak attack only living creatures that have a discernible anatomy - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to extra damage from critical hits is nor vulnerable to melee sneak attacks. The blade bravo must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A blade bravo cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

If a blade bravo gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses on damage stack as long as the target is in melee with the blade bravo.

Size Advantage (Ex): By 5th level, a blade bravo starts focusing on fighting larger opponents. A blade bravo gains a +2 dodge bonus to her AC per size category of different between her and her foe. For instance, a blade bravo facing a hobgoblin (a Medium creature) would gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC, but when facing a cloud giant (a Huge creature she would gain a +6 dodge bonus to AC. The bonus applies only against attacks from that foe.

This ability only functions when the blade bravo wears light armor or no armor.

Small but Deadly (Ex): From 7th level on, a blade bravo gains a +4 bonus on rolls made to confirm critical hits with melee weapons, but only against creatures larger than she.

Lethal Riposte (Ex): A 10th-level blade bravo is a lethal combatant with few equals; she finds herself in few situations that she cannot turn to her advantage. Any opponent who attacks and misses the blade bravo with a melee attack provokes an attack of opportunity from the blade bravo. Furthermore, the opponent cannot apply his Dexterity bonus to AC against this attack.

The blade bravo can use this ability only once per round regardless of the number of attacks of opportunity she is normally allowed.

This benefit only applies when the blade bravo wears light armor or no armor.

Blade BravoHit Die: d8
1st+1+0+2+0Flourish, Goad
2nd+2+0+3+0Mobile fighting
3rd+3+1+3+1Bonus feat
4th+4+1+4+1Melee sneak attack +1d6
5th+5+1+4+1Size advantage
6th+6+2+5+2Bonus feat
7th+7+2+5+2Small but deadly
8th+8+2+6+2Melee sneak attack +2d6
9th+9+3+6+3Bonus feat
10th+10+3+7+3Lethal riposte

Source: Races of Stone

General Prestige Classes