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Post by The Hive Mind on Thu May 15, 2014 1:34 pm

“Dire blades Loriin and Thrindl reporting,” said the lithe elf whose snowy hair carried a blood-red streak down one side. “We saw smoke to the southwest . . . orcs?” The elven commander’s eyes flashed in anger at the ignorant question. “No, decoy fires we set earlier today. I hope your blades are sharper than your tracking skills, dire blade Loriin.” None but a commander shattered by the loss of his troops would speak to a dire blade in such a fashion. Loriin understood the elf’s pain, and made a mental note to take out the sting of the commander’s words on the hides of the orcs he would hunt that night. “You must steer them to the west,” the commander continued, “while we circle around to the domain of the bears, where we shall take them by surprise. Do not let them find our tracks. After you have driven them away, make haste to Autilar. We will see you there in one week’s time, or we will not see you at all.”

Dire blades are the elite rear guards of the Erunsil, defenders who stand in defiance of those who invade the Coldest Wood. They accompany snow elf raiding parties and supply trains, running interference against any enemies that attempt to follow their kin when they retreat. This deadly duty is an honor, and it is accorded to only the most fearless and skilled wilderness warriors among them. A dire blade is skilled with his kin’s traditional weapons, and often perfects his abilities at the fighting academy of Harancara among the Caraheen.

Raiding commanders recognize that dire blades are among their most fearsome warriors, and so are loathe to put them in danger by forcing them to cover retreats; when a dire blade dies, all of those whose retreat he covered become beholden to that warrior’s family. Part of this duty includes the offering up of seven Erunsil children to the path of the dire blade. In this way, for every warrior that falls, a proud new generation takes up the blades.

Dire Blades as characters

Dire blades face the prospect of death on their own terms, and thus do not fear being alone in the northern woods, outnumbered and beset. They often work in pairs, with one focusing on taunting the enemy and harrying them with his icewood bow while the other cuts through them as they give chase. They are cool in the face of overwhelming odds, and relish the chance to destroy any minion of the Shadow, be it orc, legate, or demon.

The vow of protection and of defense until death taken by the dire blades grants them much respect among their kinsmen. Taking an oath that guarantees one’s death is not something most elves would do, especially with their potential for exceedingly long lifespans and the option to simply melt farther back into the forest rather than fight. The grim determination of these warriors is matched only by the love they have for the kinsmen they protect. It is something their enemies cannot hope to understand . . . and it is that lack of comprehension that allows the dire blades to cut down countless foes before they fall.

Hit Die: d12


To qualify to become a dire blade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Race: Erunsil.
Base Attack Bonus: +7.
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Resigned to Death, Toughness, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Erunsil fighting knives).

Class Level /Base Attack Bonus / Fort Save / Ref Save / Will Save / Special
1st ----------------+1 ------------+2 --------+0 --------+0 --------Holding action 1/day, respect
2nd ----------------+2 ------------+3 --------+0 --------+0 -------Improved combat reflexes
3rd ----------------+3 ------------+3 ---------+1 -------+1 --------Intercept 5 ft.
4th ----------------+4 ------------+4 ---------+1 -------+1 --------Drive it deep
5th ----------------+5 ------------+4 ---------+1 -------+1 --------Holding action 2/day
6th ----------------+6 ------------+5 ---------+2 -------+2 --------Intercept 10 ft.
7th ----------------+7 ------------+5 ---------+2 -------+2 --------Ward the blow
8th ----------------+8 ------------+6 ---------+2 -------+2 --------Dual stance
9th ----------------+9 ------------+6 ---------+3 -------+3 --------Intercept 15 ft.
10th --------------+10 ------------+7 ---------+3 -------+3 --------Holding action 3/day

Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dire blades are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all types of armor, but not with shields.

Holding Action (Ex): When called upon to cover his comrades' retreat, the dire blade becomes a resolute force. As a free action on his turn, the dire blade may enter a holding action. A holding action gives the dire blade phenomenal strength, durability, and reflexes, giving him a +2 to Strength and Constitution, a +2 morale bonus to all saves, and a +4 dogde bonus to AC. Furthermore, while the dire blade is holding action, foes that move out of multiple squares that he threatens may provoke multiple attacks of opportunity. For example, idf an orc were to attempt to run past a dire blade in a stragth line, it would suffer three attacks of opportunity. This is an exception to the normal rule that moving out of more than one square threatend by the same opponent in one round doesn't count as more than one attack of opportunity for that opponent.

A holding action last for a number of rounds equal to twice the dire blade's class level. When the holding action ends, the dire blade's Strength and Constitution drop back to normal and the dire blade becomes fatigued for the duration of the current encounter.

Respect: The dire blade is a respected but tragically necessary position in Erunsil society. As a result, all other snow elves are automatically freindly toward the dire blade. Additionally, dire blades gain a +4 bonus on Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with other elves.

Improved Combat Refelexes (Ex): At 2nd level, the dire blade's reflexes sharpen. Hereafter, he may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity each round to one-half his class levels (round down).

Intercept (Ex): At 3rd level, the dire blade learns to protect a wider area. Once per round when an enemy passes near him, the dire blade may move to intercept his foe even when it is not the dire blade's turn. This movement may interupt the enemy's action. At 3rd level, this movement may not exceed 5 ft. The movement of the intercept does not count as a 5-ft.-step and provokes attacks of opportunity as normal, but the Tumble skill may be used as part of the movement (at one-half speed, as normal).

At 6th and again 9th level, the dire blade becomes able to travel 5 ft. farther during the intercept.

Drive it Deep (Ex): At 4th level, the dire blade learns to make devasting blows with his fighting knives, despite their light weigth. When wielding fighting knives, the dire blade is treatend as having the Drive it Deep feat. If he already has the Drive it Deep feat, he may also wield a fighting knive as a two-handed weapon; when he deos so and takes a penalty to his attack roll using Drive it Deep, he adds twice the number subtracted from his attack roll to his damage roll with the weapon.

Ward the Blow (Ex): At 7th level, the dire blade learns to ward off enemies' attacks with his fighting knives. When wielding two fighting knives, the dire blade is treated as having Combat Expertise.

Dual Stance (Ex): The secret of a dire blade's effectiveness is a constant interplay of offense and defense. At 8th level, when wielding two fighting knives, the dire blade may designate one as a Drive it Deep weapon and one as a Combat Expertise weapon. Instead of using those feats normally, the dire blade may instead take a penalty equal to or less than his class level on all attack rolls for the round; the knife chosen for Drive it Deep receives a bonus on damage rolls equal to the penalty, while the knife chosen for Combat Expertise grants the dire blade a dodge bonus to AC equal to the penalty.
The Hive Mind
The Hive Mind

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