General Prestige Class : Bloodstorm Blade
"My anger is a building storm. When it breaks, my enemies' blood will drench the ground like rain." - Varand Thunderhand, bloodstorm blade
Other martial adepts rightfully look with wonder upon those who learn the bloodstorm style. Once a secret art jealously guarded by a sword-cult of githyanki warblades, bloodstorm techniques now find use in the hands of martial adepts of many races - most notably, the informal mercenary organization known as the Bloodstorm Guild. The style takes knowledge from the Iron Heart discipline and applies it to attacks with thrown weapons. A bloodstorm blade who masters these methods often becomes more deadly when a weapon leaves his hands than when he holds onto it.
To qualify to become a Bloodstorm Blade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Balance 8 ranks
- Feats: Point Blank Shot,
- Martial Maneuvers: Must know one Iron Heart strike and one Iron Heart stance.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
As a bloodstorm blade, you gain extraordinary mastery over attacks with thrown weapons, and you learn to throw nearly any weapon at your foes. These abilities lend themselves to a strong focus on a single weapon of choice that you can then wield both in melee and at range. Some of the bloodstorm blade class features require you to expend a use of an Iron Heart strike for an encounter, or subsume the effects of an Iron Heart stance.
Returning Attacks (Ex): You can hurl your weapon at a foe and command it to ricochet back to you. Any weapon you throw behaves as though it has the returning special ability.
When you use returning attacks, you lose the use of one Iron Heart 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.
Throw Anything: As an initiate of the mysteries of the bloodstorm technique, you learn to throw swords as easily as others hurl daggers. You gain Throw Anything as a bonus feat.
Weapon Aptitude (Ex): Your training with a wide range of weaponry and tactics allows you the opportunity to gain great skill with particular weapons. You can qualify for feats requiring a minimum number of fighter levels (such as Weapon Specialization) as if you had a fighter level equal to your combined warblade and bloodstorm blade levels -2.
Furthermore, you have the flexibility to adjust your weapon training. Each morning, you can spend 1 hour practicing and change the weapons selected for any feat you have that applies only to a single chosen weapon, For example you could change your weapon focus feat so that its benefit applies to longswords instead.
You can also adjust any number of your feats in this way and you don't have to adjust them all in the same way. You can't change the weapons choices in such a way that you no longer meet a feat's prerequisite. For instance, you must be proficient with a weapon chosen for Weapon Focus; and if you have both Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with the longsword, you couldn't change Weapon Focus without also changing Weapon Specialization to the same weapon. You must also have that weapon available during practice; if you don't have a longsword handy, you can't assign your feats to affect longswords.
Martial Throw (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, you can initiate a strike from the Iron Heart discipline with a thrown weapon. The strike must be one that has a target of one creature. A strike that targets multiple creatures or objects cannot be used with martial throw.
Thunderous Throw (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you build up incredible tension as you ready yourself to throw your weapon, which becomes visible around you like heat waves. When you release your weapon, that power rushes out with your weapon.
As a swift action, you can choose to treat your ranged attack rolls with thrown weapons as melee attacks for the rest of your turn. You use your melee attack bonus, including Strength bonus, feats, and so forth, to determine your attack bonus for each attack as normal, but you apply the standard modifiers for range penalties. Attacking into melee, through cover, and so forth incurs the standard penalties.
In addition, you can apply 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus to damage if you wield the thrown weapon with two hands, and you can use Power Attack with your thrown weapon attacks (adding two times the number subtracted from attack rolls as a bonus on damage rolls when throwing a two-handed weapon).
Bonus Fighter Feat: Bloodstorm blades study all aspects of combat as they learn to rain blows down upon distant foes and enemies close at hand. At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level, you gain a bonus feat chosen from the list of fighter bonus feats. You must meet the prerequisite of the feat to take it.
Lightning Ricochet (Ex): From 4th level on, you can throw your weapon at a nearby foe and command it immediately bounce back to your grasp. Any time you make a ranged attack with a thrown weapon on your turn, the weapon immediately returns to you, and you can catch it as a free action. This ability allows you to make a full attack entirely with thrown weapon attacks, or with a mix of thrown and melee attacks.
Blood Wind Ricochet (Ex): As a full-round action, at 5th level and higher, you can hurl a weapon at a foe and compel it to ricochet to other enemies before hurtling back to your waiting hand. The weapon you throw behaves as though it has the returning special ability, except that you determine the point during your turn when the weapon returns to you. When using this ability, you make a full attack with a thrown weapon, but each ranged attack must be resolved against a separate target. You can choose the order in which you attack your foes. Range and cover penalties are resolved for each attack after the first as though that attack originated from the space of the creature you last attacked. If a creature has total cover relative to you, you cannot attack it.
When you use blood wind ricochet, you lose the use of one Iron Heart 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.
Eye of the Storm (Ex): At 7th level, you learn to center your being and adopt a mindset of calm readiness despite the furor if battle raging around you. While you are in an Iron Heart stance, you can forgo its normal benefit as a swift action to gain the effect of eye of the storm. This ability lasts as long as you would maintain the Iron Heart stance, or as described below. You can also stop using eye of the storm and resume gaining the normal benefit of the stance as a swift action.
When you use this ability, you gain a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks and a +2 competence bonus on Reflex saves. In addition, when a foe makes an attack of opportunity against you when you make a ranged attack while threatened, you can make a single melee attack against that foe as a swift action (assuming you're not unarmed and you threaten the foe). Such an attack does not count as an attack of opportunity. To retain this defensive posture, you can move no more than 10 feet on your turn.
Blood Rain (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, you can enter a state that enables you to inflict a terrible bleeding wound on any living creature you damage with a thrown weapon or a melee attack. While you are in an Iron Heart stance, you can forgo its normal benefit as a swift action to gain the effect of blood rain. This ability lasts as long as you would maintain the Iron Heart stance, or as described below. You can also stop using blood rain and resume gaining the normal benefit of the stance as a swift action.
The creature you hit with your attack takes 3 points of damage due to blood loss at the beginning of your turn each round. This effect ends if you stop using the stance. An affected creature can end the effect by being the beneficiary of any healing (such as a cure spell) or a DC 15 Heal check. The bleeding effect of blood rain does not stack with itself or the blood rain ability of another bloodstorm blade.
Blade Storm (Ex): At 10th level, you can hurl your weapon as a full-round action to make it seem as if you are attacking a dozen foes at once. You become the center of a storm of steel as your thrown weapon flies out to strike a foe, returns to ricochet harmlessly off you, then flies out to attack another foe.
You can make a ranged attack with a thrown weapon at your highest attack bonus against as many targets as you wish. You can attack each target just once with this attack, calculating range and cover penalties from your position on the battlefield.
When you use blade storm, you lose the use of one Iron Heart strike you have readied for the current encounter, as if you had Initiated the strike (except you do not also the strike's normal effect). Once you use this ability, you recover the maneuver you expended and use it normally.
|Bloodstorm Blade||Hit Dice: d12|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Returning attacks, Throw Anything, weapon aptitude|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Martial throw, thunderous throw|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Bonus fighter feet|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Blood wind ricochet|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+2||Bonus fighter feat|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Eye of the storm|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||Bonus fighter feat|
Playing a Bloodstorm Blade
Battle gives you a thrilling sense of lightness and the feeling that you command the very air that your weapon parts as it flies to and from your enemies. In combat, you need only cock your wrist in the right manner, and your consciousness seems to expand to encompass the whole fight. In that instant, your mind's eye clearly sees the angle and vector of your enemies' limbs, it detects the minute details and defects of their armor, and it knows with absolute certainty the distances that lie between. The moment you release your weapon, that queer knowledge leaves you, but when the satisfying heft of your weapon slap back into your waiting palm a moment later, you know that knowledge will be yours again with your next throw.
Your skill with thrown weapons is unmatched except perhaps by other bloodstorm blades, and knowing that gives you tremendous confidence. You likely specialize in the use of a single kind of weapon, and with it in your possession you feel unstoppable. Should you lose it, you still command amazing abilities, but you tend to be moody and irritable until you regain your weapon or another of its kind.
As a bloodstorm blade, you can fight at range and in melee with equal ferocity, but foes more than a stone's throw away can prove to be troublesome, so it's always best to move close. Once you stand among your enemies, it's time to unleash a storm of ranged attacks. If someone is brave enough to engage you in melee, you can battle him toe to toe, or step back and continue to rain blows across the battlefield.
At low levels, you fight much as you did before becoming a bloodstorm blade, but you have the added benefit of being able to attack a foe at range using your melee weapon. Often the best use of this ability will be to throw your weapon at a foe as you close to melee range. Be sure not to leave yourself unarmed. Wearing spiked gauntlets presents a simple solution, but other options, such as the Quick Draw feat or shield bash, might be more advantageous.
As you gain more bloodstorm blade abilities, your tactics become more varied. You can use lightning ricochet to attack a foe as you move and still ready your weapon before the enemy closes to melee range. You can also use lightning ricochet after taking down a foe in melee, using a ranged attack to soften up an enemy you have not yet engaged. Using blood wind ricochet and eye of the storm, you become a deadly ranged attacker with ample defenses against your enemies' ranged attacks. The blood rain stance combines well with blood wind ricochet, but it truly comes into its own when combined with a blood storm strike. Adopt the blood rain stance and use blood storm as soon as most of your enemies are within range. After striking every enemy on the field of battle, you can maintain the blood rain stance to continue dealing damage to them while you focus your melee attacks on a single target.
Many students of the bloodstorm style learn their art covertly, since the githyanki adepts who originally created this ancient tradition seek to kill anyone outside their sword-cult who passes on its secrets. However, one notable group practices its style in the open: the mercenary Bloodstorm Guild. These skilled warriors train any suitable applicant who asks them, in exchange for an oath of loyalty and a promise to never reveal the secrets of the technique to any who have not sworn fealty to the guild.
Once you become a bloodstorm blade, you might or might not try to keep that fact a secret. If you belong to the guild, the githyanki are not likely to single you out - the githyanki blademasters usually keep to an uneasy truce with the Bloodstorm Guild. If you learn your abilities from some other practitioner, you might find yourself dogged by githyanki blademasters intent on expunging all knowledge of this hidden tradition outside their own race, beginning with you. Of course, in combat you make full use of your abilities regardless of who might be looking on, but you rarely go out of your way to advertise your knowledge to the general public. You never know who might be watching.
Your bloodstorm blade abilities lend themselves to mastery of a single melee weapon. Feats such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization thus apply to both your melee and thrown weapon attacks. Even so, when you have the opportunity to take a feat, consider feats that improve your ranged capabilities, such as Far Shot and Precise Shot.
As a bloodstorm blade of the guild, your fellow members know you to be competent and reasonably trustworthy. Most members of the Bloodstorm Guild are helpful to you in whatever manner they can manage. However, more than few members of the guild pay little heed to their loyalty oaths, and do as they please after they master the secrets of the technique. You can't always count on your fellows.
Other bloodstorm blades can often rely on the help of other illicit members of the class (especially those whom they trained, or those who trained them) to hide from or repel attacks from the githyanki. Even bloodstorm blades with a long history of hatred for one another band together against the threat of the githyanki blademasters.
Bloodstorm Blade Lore
Characters with ranks in Martial lore can research bloodstorm blades 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: Bloodstorm blades have amazing powers with thrown weapons. Many belong to the Bloodstorm Guild, a mercenary fellowship of sorts.
- DC 15: The techniques used by bloodstorm blades were known exclusively to the githyanki up until a few decades ago. Now scripts describing the style are available only on the black market.
- DC 20: The secretive githyanki blademasters are responsible for the attacks on bloodstorm blades and those who traffic with them. The githyanki created the style and now seek to suppress knowledge of it.
A PC who wishes to learn about specific bloodstorm blades or the Bloodstorm Guild will have a difficult time. He must make quiet inquiries at martial adept training halls and places frequented by those with connections to the black market, and then succeed on a DC 20 Gather Information check. Publicly asking about bloodstorm blades likely results in the PC being rebuffed, and such queries might attract the attention of a vigilant githyanki blademaster.
Stopping a Returning Weapon
It might seem logical to ready an action to grab a weapon that flies about the battlefield or somehow strike it from the air, but a thrown weapon is no more vulnerable to such tactics than an arrow. Although a feat such as Deflect Arrows remains useful protection, a thrown weapon with the returning special ability must be treated like any other thrown weapon. Once thrown, it is in rapid constant motion and never hovers or hangs in the air.
However, some of the tactics that work against arrows can be effective against a bloodstorm blade's thrown weapon attacks. For example, a creature could ready an action to close a door between itself and a bloodstorm blade when the blade throws a weapon. If the readied action was contingent on the weapon being thrown, the closed door would provide total cover against the attack. If the readied action was contingent on the weapon passing through the open door, the weapon would attack the bloodstorm blade's intended target, but would be prevented from returning and fall to the floor after making its attack (whether successful or not), since line of effect no longer exists between the weapon and its wielder.
Source: Tome of Battle