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 Bladesong Champion substitution (Fighter 3.5)
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 06 Sep 2020 :  18:15:44  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
More home-brewed 3.5 Content for people still playing that edition. I was reading though the Champion of Valor web-enhancement of substitution levels and I thought this was something that really needed more traction in 3.5, especially with how crazy Pathfinder got with all of their archtypes/alternative-class features produced. So going back to my old-school days with Complete Book of Elves I found and read though the Bladesong Style for elven Fighter and Mage/Fighter classes. Basically you burn Proficiency slots for bladesong style (+1/+2 to AC or to-hit, parry without spending an attack) which is pretty cool for that edition. Unfortunately there's really no equivalent for 3e/3.5 aside from the feats like Combat Expertise (non-elf related) and weapon focus (non-elf related). SOOOOOOooo....I made some substitution levels that I think help make elven Fighters stand out a bit more: Enjoy!

Edit: Revision v4.5

BLADESONG CHAMPION (FIGHTER)
Dedicated elf warriors take their craft seriously enough to have created a uniquely elven fighting style. Unlike the martial arts of other races, the elven fighting style, also known as the bladesong, emphasizes beauty and economy of movement over sheer destructive power. However, the elven bladesong is deceptively dangerous, for all its seeming gentleness and apparent grace.
Hit Die: d10.

Requirements
To take a Bladesong Champion substitution level, a character must be an elf or half-elf and about to take his or her 1st, 3rd, or 4th level of fighter. In addition, a bladesong champion may never share or teach a non-elf this fighting- style, including Drow (they have fighting styles of their own). Elves make no exception to this rule, even for those who have proven themselves eternal friends to the elves or even those who have married into the elven life.

Class Skills
A Bladesong Champion has the same selection of class skills as a standard fighter does, plus Bluff and Perform (any).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features
All the following are features of the Bladesong Champion substitution levels.
Elven Weapon Finesse (Ex): A bladesong champion gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat at 1st level even if he or she does not qualify for the feat. In addition, a bladesong champion may apply the feat’s benefits when wielding longswords.
This substitution feature replaces the Fighter’s standard proficiency with heavy and medium armor, and all shields.

Reflexive Grace (Ex): A bladesong champion uses the good base save bonus progression for Reflex saves and poor base save bonus progression for Fortitude saves. This change applies to every fighter level the elf takes thereafter. (In effect, switch the Fortitude Save and Reflex Save bonuses listed at any and all fighter levels the character takes).

Armored Comfort (Ex): A 3rd-level bladesong champion has gained enough experience that they can fasten their armor in such a way that fits more comfortably on them, allowing a greater range of movement and flexibility. When wearing light armor, they reduce the armor check penalty be by -2 and reduce arcane spell failure by 10%. A bladesong champion only gains this benefit if they are
not wearing medium or heavy armor, and not using a shield.

Precise Strike (Ex): A 4th-level bladesong champion makes even greater use of their naturally heightened Dexterity. They apply their Dexterity bonus (if any) as a bonus on damage rolls (in addition to any Strength bonus they may have) with any light weapon, as well as any other one-handed weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse, such as a rapier or whip. Targets immune to sneak attacks or critical hits are immune to the bladesong champion’s precise strike A bladesong champion only gains this benefit if they are not wearing medium or heavy armor, and not using a shield.
This substitution feature replaces the Fighter’s standard bonus fighter feat they receive at 4th level.

        Base
Level  Attack  Fort  Ref  Will   Special
1st      +1    +0    +2    +0    Bonus feat, elven weapon finesse, reflexive grace
3rd      +3    +1    +3    +1    Armored comfort
4th      +4    +1    +4    +1    Precise strike



EDIT: So this version, I think it's 4 and a half iteration, removes the concept of wielding one-handed weapons only. Traditional Bladesong (Complete Book of Elves, Sword Coast Adventure's Guide) doesn't limit it to 1-handed weapon, so I feel neither should this. Besides, the Bladesinger class still does for 3.5 so there's that. Instead, I just focused on it being a light-armored warrior, putting restrictions on wearing medium or heavy armor, or using shields. Something that I feel is more common with Bladesong practitioners of yore.

I also took out the unarmored part of Armored Comfort, as thematically it didn't make much sense.

This new version certainly allows you to dual-wield weapons, as I feel it's initially intended.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 16 Sep 2020 22:08:40

Demzer
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750 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2020 :  10:22:18  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
At the start I felt the urge to write "Just roll a swashbuckler", but the flavor of these substitution levels and the differences between fighter and swashbuckler make it fairly distinct. One thing I actually don't know is if we ever saw a two-weapon-fighting bladesong fighter ... if yes I would remove the restriction "... only one finesseable/elven weapon and nothing in the off hand".

Personally, I would not downgrade the hit dice, no need to have them be more fragile than regular fighters. Elves already have the Cos penalty.

I'm a bit worried by "losing" the medium/heavy armor proficiency late, which would make the Bladesong Champion a bit weird if they wear half-plates/fullplates up until 4th level, both from a mechanical and flavor point of view.

I'm also not sure about the +1 circumstance bonus to AC when wearing no armor, it's very very minor.

Precise strike is very nice and extremely powerful (two stats to damage against a lot of foes!).

So in light of all of this I would rework it a bit:
- keep the d10 for hit die;
- lose the medium/heavy armor proficiency at level 1 together with shield proficiencies (they simply are not taught those);
- bump skill points to (4+Int)/lvl so they can actually spend points on Bluff and Perform (and maybe add Tumble or Balance?);
- change the second part of armored comfort so they get a circumstance/dodge bonus equal to their Dex but capped by their BAB if they wear no armor (so it should scale nicely with level and equipment);

If this is too much, remove either the 1st or 4th level bonus feat as a final sacrifice (probably best to remove the 4th level one as Precise Strike is really good on it's own).

Sorry, it might seem I don't like it. I think it's a very nice addition to add Realmsian flavor to base classes.
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1249 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2020 :  13:30:47  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Giving a martial class a D8 seems to be a bit odd. It's basically a light-armored fighter with Dex inclinations, why the hp malus?
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2020 :  07:50:06  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

At the start I felt the urge to write "Just roll a swashbuckler", but the flavor of these substitution levels and the differences between fighter and swashbuckler make it fairly distinct. One thing I actually don't know is if we ever saw a two-weapon-fighting bladesong fighter ... if yes I would remove the restriction "... only one finesseable/elven weapon and nothing in the off hand".


It's my understanding, going back to 2E's Complete Book of Elves that Bladesong is used by elves that eschew the use of shields and possibly other weapons. The book goes on to say: "The things even an amateur bladesinger can do with one blade echo tricks that accomplished warriors can do with two, or with a weapon and shield." This lends me to believe that those who practice Bladesong do so with one singular weapon.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Personally, I would not downgrade the hit dice, no need to have them be more fragile than regular fighters. Elves already have the Cos penalty.


I did so as a reaction for balance to what you gain with these substitution levels, while not losing much in return. Putting it back to d10 doesn't really unbalance anything, but it's easier to restore things for balance than take-away IMO.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I'm a bit worried by "losing" the medium/heavy armor proficiency late, which would make the Bladesong Champion a bit weird if they wear half-plates/fullplates up until 4th level, both from a mechanical and flavor point of view.


That is a good point. Initially I tried to look at it from a very "official" stand-point, thus Player Characters wouldn't be getting the money necessary to buy Full-Plate until at least 3rd level (assuming Wealth-by-Level is used). But changing that to lose everything at 1st level is a decent idea.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I'm also not sure about the +1 circumstance bonus to AC when wearing no armor, it's very very minor.


I based this off of the fact that 1) it costs a feat to get a +1 dodge bonus to AC vs. one enemy [ie. Dodge feat] and Luck of Heroes from the Player's Guide to Faerūn which also nabs you a +1 luck bonus to AC and to saves. Not having any clear investment besides not wearing armor, I felt it was of a similar vein, especially for *free*. Removing it and simply having the elf warrior do good in light armor is OK by me as well.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Precise strike is very nice and extremely powerful (two stats to damage against a lot of foes!).


I pretty much nabbed it from the Swashbuckler (Insightful Strike) and simply changed the bonus from Intelligence to Dexterity. I felt this was fine since you're already pouring 4 levels into a pretty bad 3.5 class AND it doesn't work for everyone.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

So in light of all of this I would rework it a bit:
- keep the d10 for hit die;
- lose the medium/heavy armor proficiency at level 1 together with shield proficiencies (they simply are not taught those);
- bump skill points to (4+Int)/lvl so they can actually spend points on Bluff and Perform (and maybe add Tumble or Balance?);
- change the second part of armored comfort so they get a circumstance/dodge bonus equal to their Dex but capped by their BAB if they wear no armor (so it should scale nicely with level and equipment);


I like those changes. It makes it a bit more potent but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

If this is too much, remove either the 1st or 4th level bonus feat as a final sacrifice (probably best to remove the 4th level one as Precise Strike is really good on it's own).

Sorry, it might seem I don't like it. I think it's a very nice addition to add Realmsian flavor to base classes.



Thank you for your insight and help. I want to make this really good and doing that takes great suggestions and meld them into the document. Initially I did have them remove both Bonus Fighter feats but felt that was too much of a cost. Taking out just the 4th level one "feels" more balanced and right.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 10 Sep 2020 07:50:48
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2020 :  08:13:11  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Giving a martial class a D8 seems to be a bit odd. It's basically a light-armored fighter with Dex inclinations, why the hp malus?



I did so as way to make things seem more balanced, but I'm going to revert it back to d10.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Green Giant
Seeker

USA
60 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2020 :  14:04:45  Show Profile Send Green Giant a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
It's my understanding, going back to 2E's Complete Book of Elves that Bladesong is used by elves that eschew the use of shields and possibly other weapons. The book goes on to say: "The things even an amateur bladesinger can do with one blade echo tricks that accomplished warriors can do with two, or with a weapon and shield." This lends me to believe that those who practice Bladesong do so with one singular weapon.


"Guenhwyvar" by RA Salvatore in the Realms of Magic anthology has Josidiah Starym, an elven bladesinger wielding twin swords and casting magic.

Also, Dragon #303 had Bladesong as a 3e Oriental martial style.
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

750 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2020 :  20:25:21  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah I know about Precise/Insightful Strike, it is powerful if you can leverage both stats (one of my players managed to make a rogue/swashbuckler multiclass who was dealing an absurd amount of damage against SA-able targets with the Daring Outlaw feat from Complete Scoundrel).

I like this variant.

Armored comfort the way I suggested might create problems in munchkin style campaigns at high levels (sorry, I realised that late) with people abusing bracers of armor to get fullplate-like bonus to AC plus two times their Dexterity. But it shouldn't be a problem in most other cases.

More in general, depending on how the stat allocation is done (rolls, 32-point-buy, whatever) you can have a one-stat-fits-all Dex fighter build, a Dex/casting-stat solid eldritch knight base, a Str/Dex glass cannon, an interesting Dex based fighter/rogue multiclass and much more. I like options, I like possibilities.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2020 :  20:49:32  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Green Giant

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
It's my understanding, going back to 2E's Complete Book of Elves that Bladesong is used by elves that eschew the use of shields and possibly other weapons. The book goes on to say: "The things even an amateur bladesinger can do with one blade echo tricks that accomplished warriors can do with two, or with a weapon and shield." This lends me to believe that those who practice Bladesong do so with one singular weapon.


"Guenhwyvar" by RA Salvatore in the Realms of Magic anthology has Josidiah Starym, an elven bladesinger wielding twin swords and casting magic.


I looked for my copy of Realms of Magic but I think I gave it to half-price Books . Anyways, I honestly couldn't remember how he fought, other than he was said to have been a Bladesinger and that Guen basically broke out of her cage to aid him in battle. Great short story too!

quote:
Originally posted by Green Giant

Also, Dragon #303 had Bladesong as a 3e Oriental martial style.



I looked up the Feat, it's.....ok. Requires quite a bit (Combat Casting, Dodge, & Mobility plus 6 ranks in Perform (Dance) and (Ballad)? This to get an additional +4 circumstance bonus to Concentration checks when casting defensively.

With the Bladesingers ability to take 10 when casting defensively, it's not bad but there's a lot of other feats that help more.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Renin
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  23:05:58  Show Profile Send Renin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The update the bladesinger I always back when Diffan. I've gone off enough about how I always just wanted the bladesinger styler, not the magic. Very, very cool class look.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  23:57:45  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Renin

The update the bladesinger I always back when Diffan. I've gone off enough about how I always just wanted the bladesinger styler, not the magic. Very, very cool class look.



Thank you! Honestly, I didn't even know about non-magic versions of Bladesong - not having read the Compelete Book of Elves in a few decades. I was surprised that Elf Fighters could adopt the Bladesong for the +1/+2 to Attack or AC and parry if you threw Proficiency slots into it. Which is pretty cool.

Unfortunately 3e/3.5 doesn't really do this sort of thing just for elves. Combat Expertise pretty much does that (though, with a Int 13 req. I guess it could cater to elves more, especially Sun Elves) as does Weapon Focus, Grater Weapon Focus.

I'm not completely sold on the Unarmoed part of Armored Comfort, and might remove it as it doesn't make sense with being comfortable in armor.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Delnyn
Senior Scribe

USA
361 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2020 :  08:28:01  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I confess to assuming bladesingers as gish characters, and dumping all bladesinger prestige classes as presented in favor of the duskblade class (houseruled as elves only). This is a welcome corrective, regardless of the fate of the armored comfort class feature.

In your opinions, should bladesinging be restricted to gold elves, moon elves, star elves, star elves and avariel? I am not yet convinced wild elves or wood elves would care for bladesinging. Sea elves? Nine Hells no way. Perhaps they have trident-singing, although the term certainly needs to be changed.

Drow of course, have the own combat styles.

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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4001 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2020 :  11:34:29  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn

I confess to assuming bladesingers as gish characters, and dumping all bladesinger prestige classes as presented in favor of the duskblade class (houseruled as elves only). This is a welcome corrective, regardless of the fate of the armored comfort class feature.


Thank you. I really like the Duskblade but with Eytan Bernstein's amazing class chronicles for the Duskblades in the Realms, I can't think of them in similar vein as Bladesingers. The lore is great for that particular class and you can even grab Bladesong Substitution Levels for the Duskblade, provided if you can find the PDF called "Greatest Treasure" by Tom Costa and Erik Scott de Bie. Also amazing work by those guys!

In that, a self-taught gold elf named Nathalan has those levels - which to me - seem like he wasn't formerly trained and thus, no prestige class. It's really how you want it to feel in your games.

For the Armored Comfort, I'm still on the fence. I'm leaning towards removing the second feature altogether since you're not wearing armor. I'm open to other ideas.

quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn

In your opinions, should bladesinging be restricted to gold elves, moon elves, star elves, star elves and avariel? I am not yet convinced wild elves or wood elves would care for bladesinging. Sea elves? Nine Hells no way. Perhaps they have trident-singing, although the term certainly needs to be changed.

Drow of course, have the own combat styles.



What's left, lol? Drow are out of the question, which is pretty straightforward through the lore. Sun, Moon, and Star are easy candidates and I'd say they have Bladesingers among their kind. Wild probably not, I feel they'd lack the sophisticated discipline required to lean the Art that way and besides, Wizards (or Fighters) aren't even their favored classes. Wood elves, I'm inclined to allow since they're just as handy with a sword as any "high" elf. Nothing precludes them from learning magic, the -2 Int isn't doing them any favors though.

The biggest question, to me, is Half-elves. Initially in CBoE for 2e Bladesong was impossible for Half-Elves to learn. 3.0 and 3.5 versions "officially" allowed Half-Elves AND there's a Canon example of Half-Elf Bladesinger (Taenaran). I'm inclined to allow it simply because it's allowed in 3e, 4e, and 5e editions.

As for the Bladesinger Prestige Class itself, well there's the one I helped....another now banned member make, but it's super convoluted and probably broken. Looking at both Races of Faerūn and the Complete Warrior version, I basically combined the two. I gave it 7/10 Spellcasting (no spells at 2nd, 5th, or 8th level). At level 4th, 6th, and 9th your Song of Celerity allows for casting of 1st-2nd; 3rd; and finally 4th level spells respectfully in a Quickened manner with a Full-Attack Action.

EDIT: I found the related articles to both the Class Chronicles and the Duskblade substitution levels. You should definitely give them a look.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 16 Sep 2020 22:01:44
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