General Prestige Class : Bloodclaw Master
"My blades thirst for blood." - Rhaskana, Bloodclaw Secretkeep
A bloodclaw master embraces the animal within to a degree that it becomes external, partially transforming him into to a beast from which the discipline was inspired. He employs small, light weapons almost like claws. He focuses on the Tiger Claw discipline, and his maneuvers speak to the quick-striking nature of his discipline's feline namesake.
To qualify to become a Bloodclaw Master, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Jump 9 ranks
- Feats: Multiattack or Two-Weapon Fighting,
- Martial Maneuvers: Must know three Tiger Claw maneuvers.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
As you advance as a bloodclaw master, you become more like the tiger that inspired your chosen martial discipline. You gain mastery of more Tiger Claw maneuvers, while also gaining the ability to shift into a feral form.
Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, you gain a new maneuver known from the Tiger Claw discipline. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full bloodclaw master levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.
At 3rd level, you gain an additional maneuver readied per day.
Shifting (Su): You can become more like a tiger by focusing your feral nature. Once per day, you can enter a state that is superficially similar to a barbarian's rage. While you are shifting, your appearance takes on tigerlike aspects: Your fingernails become more pointed and clawlike, the irises of your eyes become narrow, catlike slits, your ears grow more pointed, and so on. While shifting, you gain a +2 bonus to Strength and you grow claws that can be used as natural weapons. These claws deal 1d4 points of damage with each successful attack. You can attack with one claw as a standard action or with two claws as a full attack action (as a primary natural weapon). You cannot attack more than once per round with a single claw, even if your base attack bonus is high enough to give you multiple attacks. You can attack with one claw as a light off-hand weapon while wielding a weapon in your primary hand, but doing so incurs the normal penalties for fighting with two weapons.
Shifting is a free action and lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Con modifier + your bloodclaw master class level. At 3rd level and again at 5th level, you gain an additional daily use of your shifting ability.
Claws of the Beast (Ex): When attacking with two daggers or Tiger Claw weapons (kukri, kama, handaxe, unarmed strike, or claws), you add your full Strength bonus to damage rolls made for your off-hand weapon.
Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, when you attack with two daggers or Tiger Claw weapons, you do not take the -2 penalty on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons.
Tiger Claw Synergy (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, while you are in a Tiger Claw stance, you can choose to gain either a +1 dodge bonus to your Armor Class or a +10-foot bonus to your base speed. You make this choice when you enter the stance.
At 4th level, you become more accurate at dealing Tiger Claw strikes. You gain a +1 bonus on any attack rolls made as part of a strike from the Tiger Claw discipline.
Pouncing Strike (Ex): From 3rd level on, when wielding two weapons, you can take a standard action to make a single melee attack with each weapon. Each attack is made at your highest attack bonus. You can also make an attack with each weapon against an opponent at the end of a charge.
When you use pouncing strike, you lose the use of one Tiger Claw strike you have readied for the current encounter, just as if you had initiated the strike (except you do not also gain the strike's normal effect). Once you use this ability, you can recover the maneuver you expended and use it normally.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): At 3rd level, your eyes function better in dim light, as you adopt the senses of the tiger. You gain low-light vision.
Rending Claws (Ex): At 5th level, while you are shifting and attacking with two daggers or two Tiger Claw weapons and you successfully hit an opponent with both weapons in the same round, the second weapon that hits deals an extra 2d6 points of damage. This effect is considered a boost from the Tiger Claw discipline.
When you use rending claws, you lose the use of one Tiger Claw boost you have readied for the current encounter, just as if you had initiated the boost (except you do not also gain the boost's normal effect). Once you use this ability, you can recover the maneuver you expended and use it normally.
Scent (Ex): Once you have reached 5th level, your heightened animalistic senses also give you the ability to smell nearby creatures. You gain the scent special ability.
|Bloodclaw Master||Hit Dice: d12|
|Lvl||Att Bon||Fort||Ref||Will||Maneuvers Known||Maneuvers Readied||Special|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+0||1||0||Shifting 1/day, claws of the beast|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+0||0||0||Superior two-weapon fighting, tiger claw synergy (stance)|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+1||1||1||Pouncing strike, low-light vision, shifting 2/day|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+1||0||0||Tiger claw synergy (strike)|
|5th||+4||+4||+4||+1||1||0||Rending claws, scent, shifting 3/day|
Bloodclaw Master Lore
Characters with ranks in Martial Lore can research bloodclaw masters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Somehow, these people can turn in to tigers.
- DC 15: Bloodclaw masters are fierce two-weapon wielders in combat.
- DC 20: They are masters of a martial discipline, known as the Tiger Claw, that allows them to channel an inner beast to briefly transform themselves into a form not unlike a tiger.
- DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about a specific notable bloodclaw master, the areas where he operates, and the kinds of activities he undertakes.
A character with the Gather Information skill can attempt a DC 25 check to locate a bloodclaw master, provided one is in the region. Alternately, he might attempt to locate a master of the Tiger Claw discipline, who could at least provide information and background on the bloodclaw master and the way of the beast. Doing so requires the master's attitude to be helpful.
Playing A Bloodclaw Master
Like the tiger, you are aloof and proud, but quick to act when a situation demands it. Some mistake your demeanor for arrogance, but you know your attitude is more like patience. You seek to learn the details around a circumstance before offering your input. When you speak, you do so sagely, with confidence, even if you aren't certain that you are actually correct. It is more important that others believe you are right, that you are infallible. Your patience is not infinite, however, and you are always eager to spring into action. Nothing bothers you more than spending a long period of time in a small enclosed room with nothing to do and no one to kill. As you identify with your internal tiger, you adopt external ways of displaying your bond, perhaps by striping your arms or face with black soot or adorning yourself with jewelry fashioned from tooth and claw.
Bloodclaw masters are held in high esteem by many followers of the fractious Tiger Claw discipline, though some Tiger Claw adepts harbor jealousy or even loathing for those who follow the bloodclaw master path. As a bloodclaw master, you fight with a ferocity and cunning that surpasses all but the most skilled masters of Tiger Claw. A few believe that your ferocity dilutes the purity of Tiger Claw, and that bloodclaw masters mark a regression in the advancement of the discipline. Others simply bide their time, waiting for you to drop your guard. Even so, every proclaimed student of the Tiger Claw will give you the honor and respect deserving of your expertise.
Half of a battle occurs before the fight begins. You prefer choose your battleground, to stalk your opponent into terrain that best suits your abilities. Once battle is joined, you become a frenzy of motion, striking quickly and at the most vulnerable target available, hindering your opponents' ability to react. You lead with a charge, shifting along the way, to get yourself into position where your claws or your kukris can deal the most damage. Taking advantage of your leaping skills, you jump to any available high ground to gain an upper hand.
In your hands, small blades are like an extension of your own hands - like claws made of steel. The strikes and counters of the Tiger Claw discipline are natural extensions of your own combat ability. Following the path of bloodclaw master speaks to your feral nature, letting you become one with the beast in your heart. Masters of the Tiger Claw see this spark within you, and through your training you have learned of the path of the beast and what you must do to unlock it.
As a bloodclaw master you have earned your way into an elite subsect of the Tiger Claw school. Your abilities are revered by many, especially those relatively new to the discipline. Older masters who have not embraced their own inner tigers might view you with disdain, but even they must recognize the power you wield.
To fully utilize some of the best Tiger Claw maneuvers, you will want to keep your Jump skill maximized. If you haven't already, you should take the Blade Meditation feat. Tiger Blooded an ideal feat to take if you have a barbarian level, and you can use Martial Study to further expand your Tiger Claw maneuver repertoire. Many of your maneuvers key off critical hits, so Improved Critical can increase those opportunities.
A fellow student or master of the Tiger Claw is obliged to provide food and lodging for a short time, unless you are enemies for some reason. You, in turn are expected to provide a demonstration of your abilities, showing your host the true nature of the tiger. Since bloodclaw masters are not a recognized group or authority, even within the Tiger Claw discipline, any additional support is unlikely. More often a master might provide a task or quest that serves his own ends, but you are not under any particular obligation accept it.
Source: Tome of Battle