In part 1, Marc Radle explored character class suggestions for lamia adventurers. Then, in part 2, he provided us with favored class options and alternative racial traits. Now he presents the Serpent Blade for use in your game. To learn more about lamias, be sure to also check out Kobold Quarterly 23.
Serpent blades take full advantage of the lamia propensity for fighting with two swords. They move with a hypnotic grace unmatched by most foes, spinning and weaving their dual blades in a deadly dance of death. They may wear armor, but generally shun bulky protection because their skill allows them to dodge their opponents with ease.
The path to the serpent blade is most natural for lamia fighters and rangers, since those classes tend to share the serpent blade’s love of combat with two blades.
Role: Serpent blades are skilled warriors and are often serve as personal guards for their lamia matriarchs.
Alignment: Serpent blades can be of any alignment.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a serpent blade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +6
Feats: Dazzling Display, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (any sword)
The serpent blade’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier
Table: Serpent Blade
|1st||+ 1||+ 0||+ 1||+ 0||Dual blade mastery feat|
|2nd||+ 2||+ 1||+ 1||+ 1||Defensive flurry +1|
|3rd||+ 3||+ 1||+ 2||+ 1||Dual blade mastery feat|
|4th||+ 4||+ 1||+ 2||+ 1||Balanced blades|
|5th||+ 5||+ 2||+ 3||+ 2||Defensive flurry +2, dual blade mastery feat|
|6th||+ 6||+ 2||+ 3||+ 2||Serpent dance|
|7th||+ 7||+ 2||+ 4||+ 2||Dual blade mastery feat|
|8th||+ 8||+ 3||+ 4||+ 3||Defensive flurry +3|
|9th||+ 9||+ 3||+ 5||+ 3||Deft doublestrike, dual blade mastery feat|
|10th||+ 10||+ 3||+ 5||+ 3||Crippling critical|
All of the following are class features of the serpent blade prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Serpent blades are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor and medium armor.
Dual Blade Mastery: At 1st level, and at every even level thereafter, a serpent blade gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. The serpent blade must meet the normal prerequisites for these bonus feats, which are chosen from the following list: Double Slice, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Feint, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Feint, Two-Weapon Rend, Quick Draw, and Whirlwind Attack.
The benefits of the serpent blade’s dual blade mastery feats apply only when he or she wears light, medium, or no armor and only when wielding two blades. The serpent blade loses all benefits of combat style feats when wearing heavy armor or using a shield.
Defensive Flurry (Ex): At 2nd level, when a serpent blade makes a full attack with both blades, he or she gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC against melee attacks until the beginning of the serpent blade’s next turn. This bonus increases by +1 every three levels after 2nd.
Balanced Blades (Ex): At 4th level, the attack penalties for fighting with two blades are reduced by –1. At 7th level, the attack penalties for fighting with two weapons are reduced by –2 instead.
Serpent Dance (Ex): Beginning at 6th level, a serpent blade can, as a move action, slither and sway hypnotically in place while spinning dual blades in an intricate and mesmerizing pattern. If the serpent blade then uses the charm person spell-like ability in the same round on a creature who has just witnessed the serpent dance, the serpent blade may add a bonus equal to the serpent blade level to the Will save DC. In addition, the creature does not receive the +5 bonus to its saving throw for being threatened or attacked by that serpent blade.
Exploit Opening (Ex): At 7th level, a serpent blade wielding both blades deals 1d6 extra points of damage on each attack of opportunity.
Deft Doublestrike (Ex): At 9th level, when a serpent blade hits an opponent with both weapons, the serpent blade can also make a disarm or sunder attempt (or trip, if one or both weapons can be used to trip) against that opponent as an immediate action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Crippling Critical (Ex): Any time a serpent blade confirms a critical hit while using two blades, the serpent blade can apply one of the following penalties in addition to the damage dealt: reduce all of the target’s speeds by 10 feet (minimum 5 feet), –4 penalty to Armor Class, or 2d6 bleed damage. These penalties last for 1 minute, except for any bleed damage, which continues until the target receives magic healing or benefits from a successful DC 15 Heal skill check.