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Swordlords are highly talented melee combatants, and while their true mastery shows itself in dueling situations or whenever flashy combat is called for, they can still carry their weight in more conventional battles.

Class Details

Many of a swordlord's abilities rely or build upon existing rules for duels. This prestige class also works well in conjunction with the swordlord fighter archetype.

Hit Die: d10.


To qualify to become a swordlord, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Class Skills

The swordlord's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Perform (Cha), and Sense Motive (Wis).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Swordlord

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +0 +1 +0 Dueling mastery, deft strike
2nd +2 +1 +1 +1 Display weapon prowess
3rd +3 +1 +2 +1 Defensive parry
4th +4 +1 +2 +1 Adaptive tactics 1
5th +5 +2 +3 +2 Shatter confidence
6th +6 +2 +3 +2 Saving slash
7th +7 +2 +4 +2 Dexterous duelist
8th +8 +3 +4 +3 Adaptive tactics 2
9th +9 +3 +5 +3 Greater saving slash
10th +10 +3 +5 +3 Confounding duelist

Class Features

The following are class features of the swordlord prestige class.

Unless stated otherwise, the following benefits only apply when a swordlord is wielding a dueling sword and carrying nothing in his other hand.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A swordlord gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

Dueling Mastery

A swordlord gains Dueling Mastery as a bonus feat.*

*Editor's note: The Dueling Mastery feat has Quick Draw as a prerequisite, but Quick Draw is not a prerequisite of entry for this prestige class. This is an error, as clarified by one of the developers, Patrick Renie. GMs are encouraged to treat the text of this ability as follows: "A swordlord gains Dueling Mastery as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet its prerequisites."

Deft Strike (Ex)

A swordlord can add his Dexterity bonus (if any) on damage rolls made with a dueling sword instead of his Strength bonus. This bonus on damage rolls applies whether the swordlord is wielding a dueling sword one-handed or two-handed, though the swordlord does not apply 1-1/2 times his Dexterity bonus on damage rolls while fighting two-handed. A swordlord cannot use this ability if he is wielding a shield or an off-hand weapon, including armor spikes, unarmed strikes, or natural weapons.

Display Weapon Prowess (Ex)

At 2nd level, a swordlord adds a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level on Intimidate checks made while using Dazzling Display with a dueling sword. He also gains a +1 competence bonus on these Intimidate checks for each of the following feats he possesses with the dueling sword: Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization.

When involved in a duel, a swordlord's mastery of elaborate strokes and stances grants a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level on performance combat checks. These tricks are not merely for show, however, and are of great help in countering an enemy during a duel, granting a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level on rolls to make a dueling parry or use dueling resolve.

Defensive Parry (Ex)

At 3rd level, a swordlord gains a +1 bonus to AC when making a full attack with a dueling sword. This AC bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 3rd. If a swordlord is also a fighter with the swordlord fighter archetype, levels in this class stack with his fighter levels to determine the AC bonus from this ability.

Adaptive Tactics (Ex)

At 4th level, a swordlord learns to adapt his fighting style to counter his enemy's strengths. A swordlord reduces the attack roll penalty for fighting defensively and/or using Combat Expertise by 1 at 4th level, increasing to 2 at 8th level. In addition, after a swordlord uses his dueling sword to attack a creature he attacked during the previous round, as a swift action he can attempt a Sense Motive check (with a DC equal to 10 + the opponent's base attack bonus). If the check is successful, the swordlord can choose to gain a +2 circumstance bonus either on attack rolls or to AC against that creature until the beginning of his next turn.

Shatter Confidence (Ex)

At 5th level, a swordlord can make an Intimidate check to demoralize his target as a swift action after he confirms a critical hit or succeeds at a disarm, reposition, or sunder combat maneuver with a dueling sword. If his target is already shaken, he can attempt an Intimidate check to demoralize as a swift action after any successful melee attack or combat maneuver. If this check is successful, any morale bonuses the target possesses are suppressed for a number of rounds equal to the swordlord's class level. Suppressed effects are not dispelled, and resume after this time elapses if their duration has not expired. Suppressed morale bonuses include those gained from a barbarian's rage ability; however, this ability does not actually end rage or suppress any other effects of rage or rage powers that do not provide morale bonuses.

Saving Slash (Ex)

At 6th level, when wielding a dueling sword, a swordlord can use an immediate action to try deflecting a melee critical hit targeting him, reducing its damage to that of a normal hit, with a 25% chance of success. This does not stack with the fortification special ability of magical armor or similar effects.

Dexterous Duelist (Ex)

At 7th level, a swordlord with at least one free hand is not denied his Dexterity bonus when making Acrobatics or Climb checks. In addition, if he stands from prone he does not provoke attacks of opportunity from any creatures he hit while he was prone earlier on the same turn.

Greater Saving Slash (Ex)

At 9th level, a swordlord's saving slash has a 50% chance of reducing a melee critical hit to a normal hit. In addition, he can attempt a saving slash against a ranged critical hit, including those by rays and other ranged touch effects, with a 25% chance of success.

Confounding Duelist (Ex)

At 10th level, a swordlord who successfully uses shatter confidence also suppresses any competence or insight bonuses the target possesses.