General Prestige Class : Eternal Blade
"You face three millenia of fighting skill. Perhaps you should take a moment and reconsider your decision." - Aedar Windblade, eternal blade of the Hidden Grove.
An eternal blade is an elf who learns a variety of exotic fighting maneuvers with the aid and advice of the spirit of a mighty, ancient elf warrior. The eternal blades once swore to defend the elves against the forces of evil, but in ages past, the blades turned against each other, causing a schism that echoes to the present day. Some eternal blades embrace the responsibilities that come with this class's training. Others seek to use their talents to further their own ends.
The eternal blades were once champions of Corellon Larethian. They served as guardians of the people, defenders of the faith, and wardens of the ancient elf forests. The blade guides, the spirits of ancient eternal blades who serve as advisors and teachers to the current generation of warriors, kept the blades on the path of righteousness, preserved their teachings across each generation, and helped guide them in protecting elfkind. For thousands of years, the eternal blades beat back goblin invasions, would-be conquerors, and other threats. From the lone blade who slew an ogre that threatened a village, to the mighty general who commanded hundreds of these warriors in battle, the eternal blades fought evil wherever and whenever it threatened their kin.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. In time, the eternal blades grew arrogant and aloof. After all, they had provided safety and security to the elf realms on countless occasions. If they kept the elves safe, did it not follow that their brethren owed them something in return? A growing faction within the blades believed that the eternal blades were the only ones fit to rule the elves. Even worse, a number of the blade guides turned to evil and abandoned the order. In time, the eternal blades fell into disfavor. More and more elves refused the blade guides' call. Today, the order is a mere shadow of its former glory, although legends tell of a heroic warrior who will one day lead the order back to prominence. The remaining blades hope that this triumph lies in their future, but many elves believe the story to be nothing but wishful thinking.
To qualify to become an Eternal Blade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Race: Elf
- Feats: Weapon Focus (any),
- Base Attack Bonus: +10
- Martial Maneuvers: Any two Devoted Spirit or Diamond Mind maneuvers.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
As an eternal blade, you fight and train with the assistance of a blade guide, the incorporeal spirit of an ancient member of this order. The guide is similar to a familiar in that it confers benefits to you when you are in close proximity to it. A blade guide also increases your flexibility, since it can teach you new maneuvers and lend you the wisdom of its combat experience.
Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, you gain a new maneuver known from the Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, or White Raven discipline. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full eternal blade levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.
At 3rd level, 6th level, and 9th level, you gain an additional maneuver readied per day.
Stances Known: At 5th level, you learn a new martial stance from the Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, or White Raven disciplines. You must meet a stance's prerequisite to learn it.
Blade Guide (Su): You gain a blade guide, the spirit of an ancient member of the eternal blades, that provides you with advice, tactical assistance, and training. The blade guide is incorporeal, has hit points equal to your own, and is size Fine. Its AC is 18, and it can fly with perfect maneuverability and a speed of 30 feet.
If your blade guide is destroyed, or it somehow moves out of your line of effect, it reappears in your space in 1d6 rounds. The guide is the physical manifestation of a spirit that resides on the Outer Planes. Destroying a blade guide's form merely severs its link to the Material Plane for a short time.
A blade guide appears as a mote of white energy. It uses your senses to see and hear, and communicates with you by telepathy. Thus, it cannot interact with objects and creatures that you cannot see. Your blade guide is meant to aid you in combat, not serve as a scout.
Sometimes, your guide appears as a ghostly image of how it looked in life. This manifestation requires tremendous effort, and your guide chooses to attempt it only when it must communicate with others under dire circumstances. When a blade guide manifests, it can speak with others as normal. A blade guide can appear in this manner for up to 10 minutes per day. While it manifests, you lose access to your blade guide and any class abilities that require it to function.
If a blade guide must make a saving throw, it uses your save modifier. It lacks skill ranks, feats, Hit Dice, and ability score modifiers.
Eternal Training (Ex): Your blade guide offers you intense martial training based on its years of combat experience in mortal life. Each night when you enter trance, your blade guide enters your mind. In your dreams, the two of you spar and practice across a hundred different battlefields. You fight ogres, trolls, and other monsters that your guide creates from the ether of dreams. You practice maneuvers beyond your normal capacity. With each night that passes, you become more and more skilled in the fighting arts.
Once per day, you can draw upon this nightly training to aid you in a single battle. You can choose one of two benefits. Each of these benefits lasts for one encounter.
You gain an insight bonus equal to your Intelligence bonus (if any) on attack rolls and damage rolls against creatures of a single type. If you select humanoid or outsider as the type, you must also choose a subtype.
Alternatively, you can gain the use of one maneuver from the Diamond Mind or Devoted Spirit discipline. You must meet the prerequisite for this maneuver as normal. A crusader/eternal guardian who selects this option is immediately granted this maneuver. A maneuver gained with eternal training can be recovered with your normal recovery method (if you have one) during the encounter, but knowledge of the maneuver fades immediately after the encounter ends.
You gain an additional use per day of this ability at 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th level. Even if you have multiple uses of this ability per day, you can use this ability only once per encounter. You can use this ability only while you have access to your blade guide.
Guided Strike (Ex): Your blade guide assesses your enemies, seeking our weak points in their armor and offering you advice on where and how to strike. Drawing on its experience and keen eye for strategy and tactics, your guide grants you advice that can render even the most daunting foe impotent.
Beginning at 2nd level, as a swift action, you can confer with your guide concerning a single foe that you face. For the rest of your turn, you automatically overcome your foe's damage reduction, if any. You can use this ability only while you have access to your blade guide.
Armored Uncanny Dodge (Ex): So long as your blade guide is active, you gain the benefit of uncanny dodge starting at 3rd level. See the rogue class feature (PH 50). If you already have uncanny dodge, you instead gain improved uncanny dodge. If you lose access to your blade guide, you lose this ability until your guide returns. You can use uncanny dodge or improved uncanny dodge even if you wear medium or heavy armor.
Eternal Knowledge (Ex): Your blade guide is an expert in a variety of areas. In addition to the tactical and strategic guidance it offers, it also grants you access to great stores of lore. From history to planar phenomena, your guide has seen almost everything.
When you attain 4th level, your blade guide can make Knowledge checks with a bonus equal to your eternal blade level + your Int modifier. When you first gain this ability you can select two areas of knowledge. For each additional two levels you gain in the eternal blade prestige class (at 6th, 8th, and 10th level), your guide gains access to another area of knowledge.
Defensive Insight (Ex): Your blade guide's advice and insights grant you an intellectual edge in combat, but there is a fine line between knowing how to do something and executing it in combat. If you take a moment to focus yourself, you can apply your knowledge to the situation at hand.
Beginning at 6th level, as a swift action, you can size up a opponent and use your tactical knowledge against him. You gain a dodge bonus to AC equal to your Intelligence bonus (if any) against a single foe of your choice until the beginning your next turn. You can use this ability only while you have access to your blade guide.
Tactical Insight (Ex): Although you might be young by the elves' reckoning, your blade guide lends you the experience and wisdom of one who has fought battles across countless fields. In almost any situation you face, you have the experience, tactical lore, and knowledge needed to defeat your enemy.
From 8th level on, as a swift action, you can assess a tactical situation and make an attack that improves the attacks of your allies. For the rest of your turn, any opponent you hit with a melee attack takes a penalty to AC equal to your Intelligence bonus (if any) for 1 round. This penalty applies only to attacks made by your allies. If you lose access to your blade guide, you lose this ability until it returns.
Island in Time (Ex): At 10th level, you can throw yourself into a fight under your blade guide's careful direction. You meld with it, allowing it to control your actions while you draw upon its vast combat experience.
Once per encounter, you can take your turn as an immediate action. Using this ability does not change your initiative count, and you can use all your actions as normal. For example, if your initiative count is 15, you could act normally, use this ability to act again on initiative count 14, then act normally on the following round on initiative count 15. If you lose access to your blade guide, you lose this ability until it returns.
|Eternal Blade||Hit Dice: d10|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Maneuvers Known||Maneuvers Readied||Stances Known||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||1||0||0||Blade guide, eternal training 1/day|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||1||1||0||Armored uncanny dodge, eternal training 2/day|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||1||0||1||Eternal training 3/day|
|7th||+4||+5||+2||+2||1||0||0||Eternal training 4/day|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||1||1||0||Eternal training 5/day|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||0||0||0||Island in time|
Eternal Blade Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research eternal blades to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: The eternal blades are an order of elf knights who fell into disfavor long ago for attempting to seize political control of several elf lands.
- DC 15: The eternal blades use a strange fighting style that is almost magical in nature.
- DC 20: An eternal blade communes with the spirit of an ancient warrior. This spirit aids the warrior in battle providing advice, menacing his enemies, and lending him strength and support.
Finding an eternal blade is no easy task, since the few remaining members of this order dwell far from the realms of humanity. The best way to find an eternal blade grove is to consult with elf sages or historians to find the supposed location of a grove, travel there, and hope that the place has not yet fallen into neglect and ruin.
Playing an Eternal Blade
A blade guide, in large part, shapes and molds the persona of an eternal blade. The guide acts as it did in life. Some are gruff, demanding perfectionists. Others are quiet and withdrawn masters who prefer to let their combat expertise speak for them. Many eternal blades get along fine with their guides, but some bicker and argue. In particular, a blade guide's centuries of experience sometimes clash with a younger eternal blade's thirst for action. When you are playing an eternal blade, your DM should take on the role of your blade guide and help you form a relationship with it. When the party stops to discuss its plans, your guide likely makes s opinions known.
As a member of a dying order, you might want to strive to help pull the eternal blades back from the brink of oblivion. Remember, every action you take reflects on your order as a whole.
In combat, you are a war leader, a central focus of the group's melee resources. You must wade into combat to prevent threatening monsters from getting to your group's vulnerable spellcasters. The key to your class abilities lies in your talent to focus yourself for one encounter. A standard fighter might have more feats, and thus do more damage with his typical swing, but your abilities allow you to push yourself ahead of the curve. With judicious use of your eternal training, defensive insight, and tactical abilities, you can deal impressive amounts of damage, absorb attacks, or set up an ally's deadly attacks.
As noted above, you might not have selected this path so much as it chose you. Becoming an eternal blade does not involve an application process, an interview, or a test. Instead, the blade guides select elf warriors based on a nebulous criterion. Sometimes, they see a spark for heroism and self sacrifice, and wish to cultivate it. In other cases, a blade guide cannot guess how it came to be linked to a specific person. All a guide knows is that its charge was chosen to become an eternal blade. Its place is not to ask why, but to guide the young aspirant unfailingly.
Once you become an eternal blade, you might seek out the nearest redoubt of this order (if one still stands) and confer with its elders. Some eternal blades never contact with the order, seeing it as a failure. Rather, they seek to strike out on their own. Perhaps a mighty warrior will someday pull the wanderers together into an effective fighting force.
When selecting feats and skills, look to abilities that function in a wide range of circumstances. Some of your class features have a limited number of uses, or function only when you use a swift action. This puts them in competition with any boosts you might learn through martial maneuvers. Don't increase this competition by acquiring many more abilities that require actions. Instead, look for feats that provide a consistent, constant benefit, such as Weapon Specialization.
Once, the eternal blades had a tremendous range of resources to draw upon. Sadly, those glory days are gone. You can expect little help from other eternal blades in the form of food, shelter, weapons, and armor. Most will gladly stand beside you in battle, but the order is simply too weak to marshal an extensive store of material resources. You are welcome in the few remaining blade-held castles, but even these offer little comfort, with their crumbling walls and faded glory.
Source: Tome of Battle