Darksong Paladin (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||There are dark corners in the world. Places of fear and shadow. We must take the light to them.||”|
|—Sarah Soulstar, Half Nymph Starchild|
Darksong Paladins are champions of Eilistraee taken from among the ranks of the Darksong Knights whom the Dark Dancer has blessed with her fire. Those who show great skill in both sword work and dancing are chosen to undergo special training. Outsiders who may catch a glimpse of this training see only graceful footwork and beautiful sword spinning. But the beauty hides deadly attacks. Many cultures train their combat skills through dance and the Darksong Paladins have traveled throughout the realms to learn them. As special warriors Eilistraee grants them some of her powers to accompany the skills the learn.
Becoming a Darksong Paladin
Darksong Paladins learn to blend swordplay and dancing. The blend of beauty and danger is pleasing to the Dark Maiden, but is only the first step to becoming like the goddess. Darksong Paladins learn to expand upon these skills in her service. Darksong Paladins function as Paladins for the goddess. Before entering this class, Darksong Paladins are almost always a multiclass character. They have levels in fighter as a prerequisite, but the skills learned by a bard, monk, ranger or rogue as well as those that learn stances, such as the Swordsage and Warblade are extremely helpful.
|Base Attack Bonus:||7|
|Skills:||Diplomacy, Perform Dance and Tumble 6 ranks|
|Feats:||Combat Reflexes, Two Weapon Fighting, Oversized Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus Bastard Sword|
|Special:||Must be a member of the Darksong Kights, Must have participated in the High Hunt|
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Code of Conduct, Eilistraee's Fire, Moonsword, Blade Dancing Style|
|7th||+7||+2||+5||+2||Practice Makes Perfect|
|10th||+10||+3||+7||+3||Parry and Riposte|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Code of Conduct
Be always kind, save in battle with evil. Encourage happiness everywhere. Learn and teach new songs, dances, and the flowing dance of skilled sword work. Promote harmony between the races. Befriend strangers, shelter those without homes, and feed the hungry. Repay rudeness with kindness. Repay violence with swift violence so that those that cause it are swiftly dealt with. Aid Drow in distress, and give them the Lady’s message: “A rightful place awaits you in the Realms Above, in the Land of the Great Light. Come in peace and live beneath the sun again where trees and flowers grow."
Detect Evil (SP)
A Darksong Dancer can use the spell like ability Detect Evil at will.
Eilistraee's Fire (SU)
Eilistraee sometimes blesses her worshipers with a manifestation of her fire. In the case of her Paladins, it becomes permanent. Though they can suppress it at will. The fire is bright silver and dances playfully. Providing light as a candle. They can use the lights at will in one of three ways. It can duplicate the spell dancing lights. When placed in the hair the Dancer received a +2 Sacred bonus to initiative and they are treated as a Paladin for item usage. If placed on their weapons it makes them indestructible, keen and gives them the ability to hurt creatures with damage reduction silver as normal. A Darksong Paladin can use the fire on her hair and weapons at the same time, or as the spell. Activating the fire is a free action.
The Bastard Sword is Eilistraee's favored weapon and her Paladins use them whenever possible. The Moonsword her Paladins use however combines the best of elven and fay Craftsmanship. It is a lighter and more nimble version. Through their training, a Darksong Paladin gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency Moonsword, and only Those blessed with Elistraee's fire can receive this feat.. They can apply any feats they have to it as if it were a Bastard Sword, Longsword or Scimitar. They usually craft the weapon themselves, unless if it is a gift from another Darksong Paladin. Great care is taken to make the blade a thing of beauty as well as a deadly weapon. The blade is only sharp on one side except for the last quarter. It is as long as a regular Bastard sword, but not as wide, save towards the tip where it flares out. The sword has the same stats as a Longsword, except it can be used with the weapon finesse feat and its crit range is 18-20/x2. If enchanting the weapon themselves, the Darksong Paladin can treat it like a Bastard Sword, Longsword or Scimitar and can enchant it as such. For example, they could make it a Flametounge. Darksong Paladins take great offense if one of these blades is stolen from them and will go to great lengths to get them back, or return them to their owner if they find one. Someone using a Moonsword without proper training treats it as a regular Bastard Sword, but the damage is still reduced to 1d8.
Blade Dancing Style (EX)
Darksong Paladins learn to weave and spin in combat while twirling her swords in intricate patterns around herself. When unarmored and unencumbered, the Darksong Paladin adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her AC. These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when she is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load. The training a Darksong Paladin receives synergizes very well with that a Monk receives. A Darksong Paladin who has levels in Monk (or a similar ability like from the Swordsage or Ninja) still gets her Monk AC bonus, essential adding Wisdom and Charisma to her AC.
Darksong Paladin levels stack with Monk levels for determining the Monks Flurry of Blows ability, and she can flurry with one handed slashing weapons such as the Longsword, Scimitar or Bastard Sword. Darksong Paladin levels also stack with levels of Fighter when determining what feats she may take.
Darksong Paladins learn many styles of dance. They do this to spread joy and beauty through the world, but it also helps hone their combat skills. There are two dance styles that translate very well to combat. The Snowflake Wardance, and the Dervish Dance. A Darksong Paladin learns each of these dances. She can perform a dance once a day, and once more every level. The dances cannot be preformed while wearing armor, using a shield, or caring more than a light load. A Darkson Paladin with the bardic music ability can, sing while she dances. She can perform a dance while under the effect of a rage or frenzy ability, but the dance and rage end with whichever has the shorter duration (and take the effects of both fatigues and become exhausted). She may only perform a dance while wielding a slashing weapon (they may use a double weapon, or multiple weapons, only if both ends of the weapon or all weapons are of the slashing type). Performing a dance is physically tiresome – when the dance ends, she become fatigued for the next 10 minutes. A dance lasts 1 round for every two ranks of Perform (dance) that she has. A Darksong Paladin can perform both dances at the same time. Activating a dance is a free action. If a Darksong Paladin knows any stances or maneuvers associated with the Blade Magic of the Sublime Way, she can maintain her stance while dancing so long as the stance doesn't restrict movement and perform any maneuvers she knows.
The Dervish dance lets you become a whirling dancer of death. While in the dervish dance, she can take a full attack action (for melee attacks only) and still move up to her speed. However, she must move a minimum of 5 feet between each attack when using this ability, and she cannot return to a square she just exited (though she may return to that square later during her full attack). The Darksong Paladin is subject to attacks of opportunity while dancing, but may tumble normally as part of her move. If prevented from completing her move, she is also prevented from finishing her full attack.
The Snowflake Wardance is a mystical style of fighting that allows you to leap and almost seem to float haphazardly across the battlefield like a whirling, razor-edged snowflake. While in the Snowflake Wardance, a Darksong Paladins adds her Charisma modifier to her attack rolls with any slashing melee weapon she wields in one hand. This bonus to hit stacks with any bonuses she gets from a high Strength score (or Dexterity score, if she is using Weapon Finesse).
Divine Grace (SU)
Darksong Paladins gain a bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws.
Acrobatic Charge (EX)
A Darksong Paladin can charge in situations where others cannot. She can charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement or allies blocking her path. This ability enables her to run down steep stairs, leap down from a balcony, or to tumble over tables to get to her target. Depending on the circumstance, she may still need to make appropriate checks (Jump or Tumble checks, in particular) to successfully move over the terrain.
Divine Health (SU)
A Darksong Paladin gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.
Practice Makes Perfect
A Darksong Paladin is so used to using two weapons, that she no longer takes a penalty for two weapon fighting. She can also use her full strength modifier to damage with both weapons.
Elegant Strike (EX)
A Darksong Paladin is able to place her attacks where they deal greater damage. She applies her Dexterity bonus as a bonus on damage rolls (in addition to any Strength bonus she may have) with any one handed slashing sword. Targets immune to sneak attacks or extra damage from critical hits are immune to an elegant strike.
Dancing Blades (SU)
As a swift action, a Darksong Dancer can sing a few notes of ethereal music worthy of the goddess herself. When she does, a single, slashing and dancing weapon she posses leaps into the air to fight with her, un-sheathing itself if necessary. The weapon dances as normal except as follows; she can treat it as a reach weapon, she adds her charisma modifier to attack rolls, and half of her charisma modifier to damage, and the blade can make attacks of opportunity. The weapon dances for four rounds or 1/4 her ranks in perform singing, whichever is longer. The Darksong Paladin must wait four rounds before activating the dancing property again as normal, but the weapon will sheath itself.
Parry and Riposte (EX)
Every strike with a weapon leaves the attacker open to a counter attack. Darksong Paladins excel at taking advantage of these openings, deflecting the blow aside and counter attacking with her other blade. When dual wielding any one handed slashing sword, the first attack in a round from a foe that misses her in melee and she threatens provokes an attack of opportunity. She can use this feat as many times as she has attacks of opportunity, but only once per opponent.
Darksong Paladins are expected to follow the code of conduct, though Eilistraee allows each Darksong Paladin freedom to interpret it as they will. Blatant disobedience to the code or a willful evil act however causes them to loose all supernatural abilities and they can not progress in the class until they properly atone. If they have fallen out of favor, it is immediately obvious, as the fire in their hair will glow bright and dark before rapidly fading away. If they choose not to atone the goddess lets them leave with no hard feelings. So long as they don't claim to be one of her Paladins. Such claims bring immediate punishment in the form of a dieses of some kind. If a former Darksong Paladin becomes evil, Eilistraee will usually ask some of her Darksong Paladins to hunt hunt down the fallen warrior, often during the High Hunt ritual. They are given a chance to repent, but if they choose not to they are killed. Thus preserving Elistraee's reputation she is working so hard to form on the surface.
Playing a Darksong Paladin
Combat: Darksong Paladins tend to use their mobility to strike quickly at week enemies. Then help flank the stronger ones.
Resources: Darksong Paladins learn the location of Eilistraee's churches and temples and know they can get basic food and supplies there if needed. They generally try to "check in" to them when they travel to a new area to render any aid if needed.
Darksong Paladins in the World
|“||Measure my worth by the friends I have made, the honest and true joy I find in life and the happiness I bring to others.||”|
Darksong Paladins can be found in any role you might find regular Paladins in. Whether that be protecting a sacred site, adventuring or attached as an advisor and guard to a local ruler. They know that wherever they go, their good examples can help those in need and soften the harsh outlook people have of good Drow.