Weaponmaster

The weapon master picks one weapon and trains with it until it becomes an extension of his body. He learns complex methods of fighting that make other combatants look like simple brutes. In battle, he is an artisan of blood and carnage.

The weapon master is at his best with his chosen weapon in hand and an opponent before him. Compared to other warriors, such as the berserker or the armiger, he is the most consistent and reliable. Sometimes, though, the weapon master’s focus can prove a drawback. If the weapon master cannot use his favored armament, he suffers a tremendous disadvantage.

Strength is the weapon master’s most important ability, as it improves his chances to strike an opponent and inflict damage with a melee weapon. Dexterity and Constitution also prove useful in battle.

SKILL GROUPS

Weapon masters gain access to the Athletics skill group. They focus so intensely on their chosen weapon that they rarely pursue interests beyond the fighting arts. The skills a weapon master does develop usually follow his interests or hobbies. Many weapon masters study the Craft skill to better tend their weapons and armor.

Leveling the Class

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Intelligence modifier) × 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier
Hit Die: 1d4+6 + Constitution

Leveling Table

FEATS

A weapon master gains unparalleled access to weapon feats, but his mastery of other areas is limited at best. The weapon master can choose two of the following feat categories as his primary and secondary areas of study: Armor, Defense, Finesse, or Power. He advances in those two categories using the mastery advancement on the Weapon Master Class Features and Mastery table. He advances in all other categories less quickly.

CLASS FEATURES

Weapon masters are the unmatched kings of the battlefield, provided that they can make the most of their favored weapon. Each weapon master selects one particular melee weapon, such as the longsword or greataxe, and dedicates his life to becoming an unequalled expert in its use. Some weapon masters travel the land in search of other masters of their chosen weapon to challenge them to duels.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Weapon masters study a number of fighting styles before focusing on the single one of their choice. They gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and all shields.

Favored Weapon: At 1st level, you must select a specific melee weapon to become your weapon of choice. When fighting with it, you gain the use of this class’ special abilities, described below. In addition, you use your favored base attack and defense bonuses with it (see the class table). With other weapons, you use the lower base attack and defense bonuses on that table.

Initiate’s Eye: Weapon masters are unparalleled experts with their favored weapon. Against opponents who are armed with your weapon of choice, you may use combat sense with a base attack check instead of a Sense Motive check and you gain a +2 bonus to the roll. You always use your favored base attack bonus for this roll.

Weapon Style: At 2nd, 4th, and 7th level, you gain a new specialized fighting ability to use with your favored weapon.

At the start of your turn, before taking any actions, you may declare that you are using a weapon style for the round. You can only use one weapon style per round, though you can combine a weapon style with a weapon expertise ability (see below) in the same round. The benefits of your chosen weapon style last until the start of your next turn.

Critical Strike: To use this ability you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your weapon of choice. If you score a critical threat you gain a +4 bonus on the confirmation roll. You gain this beneift on each critical threat you score in the round.

Expert Strike: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Finesse feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Weapon Finesse. You can sense and take advantage of opportunities to strike for best effect. You deal an additional +1d6 points of sneak attack damage.

Mighty Blow: To use this ability, you must have the Power Attack feat and your weapon of choice must be one that is usable with Power Attack. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your damage, you deal an additional 2 points of damage per hit, stacking with the increased damage from Power Attack.

Steady Aim: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your weapon of choice. Once in a round, you can reroll your damage after a successful hit. You must take the result of the reroll, even if it’s worse than the original roll. You must reroll all your dice, including any representing bonus damage such as from sneak attack.

Weapon Agility: To use this ability, you must have the Combat Expertise feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Combat Expertise. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your defense with Combat Expertise, you gain a +4 bonus to opposed rolls to defend against disarm and sunder attempts, and you can ignore the attack penalty from Combat Expertise on the opposed roll to avoid your weapon being disarmed or sundered. You do not gain these benefits if you attempt to disarm or sunder an opponent’s weapon.

Biting Lance: To use this ability, you must have the Hafted Weapon Mastery feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Hafted Weapon Mastery. Ready an attack against an opponent who moves into your threatened area. If you hit and do damage, your target must make a
Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your weapon master level + your Strength or Dexterity modifier, whichever is higher) or end their movement in their current square.

Defensive Affinity: To use this ability, you must have the Dodge feat. If you use the fight defensively or improved fight defensively attack challenge, you gain a +1 active bonus to defense and a +2 bonus to Reflex saves for 1 round. The defense bonus stacks with that from the attack challenge.

Furious Onslaught: To use this ability, you must have the Power Attack feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Power Attack. Select a target for your attacks. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your damage with Power Attack and succeed in dealing at least 10 points of damage, your target takes a -1 penalty to their attacks in the next round. All your regular attacks for the round must be made against the same target — your attention is focused on them.

Lightning Assault: To use this ability, you must have the Combat Expertise feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Combat Expertise. You make a powerful lunge when your foe least expects it, trading defense for offense. You take a -4 penalty to your defense, and in return you gain a +2 bonus to your attack rolls for one round. You cannot use this ability in the same round as Power Attack.

Mighty Cleaving: To use this ability, you must have the Cleave feat. You have exceptional ability to deal with lesser foes who seek to overwhelm you by force of numbers. You gain one extra cleave attack for the round. You must still meet the requirements to make a cleave attack.
Paired Weapon Style: To use this ability, you must have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat and your weapon of choice must be a one-handed weapon. When fighting with a weapon of choice in each hand, you can treat your off-hand weapon as light for the purpose of figuring attack and damage bonuses.

Single Weapon Style: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your light or one-handed weapon of choice, and your off- hand must be free (not even wielding a buckler). Unhindered by the bulk of a shield or a large weapon, you evade your enemies’ attacks and strike back with precisely-placed blows. You gain a +1 active bonus to defense and a +1 bonus to damage rolls for the round.

Unerring Strike: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Finesse feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Weapon Finesse. Your attacks are swift and unhesitating, trading power for speed and accuracy. By taking a -2 penalty on your damage rolls, you gain a +2 bonus to your attack rolls for one round. You cannot use this ability in the same round as Power Attack.

Bonus Feats: At 5th, 11th and 16th level, you gain a bonus feat. The feat must come from either your primary or secondary category. You must still meet the usual prerequisites for the feat, and you must be using your weapon of choice to gain its benefit.
Exemplar of the Blade: You gain this ability at 8th level. You gain a +2 bonus to your roll when making or responding to battlefield challenge checks against opponents using the same weapon as your weapon of choice. If your foe (or their chosen ally) refuses to fight you, they take a -4 morale penalty to attacks and damage instead of -2.

Weapon Expertise: As your experience grows, you learn the subtler, deadlier techniques of your combat style. At 9th, 13th and 15th level, you gain a weapon expertise ability. You can use one weapon expertise ability per round. You must choose which ability to use at the start of your turn, before you take any actions, and the benefits last until the start of your next turn. You can combine a weapon expertise and a weapon style ability in the same round, but you can only use a weapon expertise in the same round as certain weapon supremacy abilities.

Devastating Riposte: To use this ability, you must have the Combat Expertise feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Combat Expertise. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your defense with Combat Expertise, and miss on all your attacks for the round, you gain a +2 bonus to attacks and a +2 active bonus to defense in the following round. These bonuses take effect at start of your next turn, and last for one round. You must make at least one attack against an opponent in your current round to gain this benefit.

Flurry of Strikes: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your weapon of choice. You gain an additional attack with a standard attack or full attack action. Your additional attack is made at your highest base attack bonus, but all your attacks for the round take a -4 penalty.

Precise Strike: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Finesse feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Weapon Finesse. You deal an additional +1d6 points of damage on all successful hits for the round. Unlike sneak attack damage, you do not need to flank your opponent or deny them their active defense bonus to gain this benefit. However, any feats or abilities that protect against sneak attack damage also protect against precise strike damage.

Penetrating Attack: To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Finesse feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Weapon Finesse. Select a target. You take a -2 penalty to your attack rolls, and in return you can bypass 5 points of your chosen target’s damage reduction per hit.

Bladed Defense: To use this ability, you must have the Combat Expertise feat, and your weapon of choice must be usable with Combat Expertise. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your defense with Combat Expertise, you can use battle sense with a base attack check instead of a Listen check to defend against flanking. If you also have the Champion of Battle expanded mastery 6 feat, you can use combat sense as a free action instead of a move action without taking a penalty to your opposed roll.

Deadly Lance: To use this ability, you must have the Hafted Weapon Mastery feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Hafted Weapon Mastery. Your first attack for the round bypasses your opponent’s damage reduction.

Greater Critical Strike: To use this ability, you must have the Improved Critical feat with your weapon of choice. If you score a critical hit, your foe must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your weapon master level + your Strength or Dexterity modifier, whichever is higher) or be dazed for 1 round. If you score multiple critical hits, your foe is only required to make one save per round.

Greater Razor Fiend: To use this ability, you must have the Razor Fiend feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Razor Fiend. By taking a -1 penalty to your attacks, you gain your full Strength bonus to damage on each hit.

Greater Whirling Attack: To use this ability, you must have the Whirlwind Attack feat. You deal an additional +2d6 points of damage per attack that you make as part of a whirlwind attack.
Power Blow: To use this ability, you must have the Power Attack feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Power Attack. Make a melee attack as a full attack action, with at least a -4 attack penalty to increase your damage from Power Attack. If you hit, you deal double damage.
Sledgehammer Strike: To use this ability, you must have the Power Attack base mastery feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Power Attack. If you use the Power Attack feat and take at least a -5 attack penalty to increase your damage, you gain an immediate free trip attempt against any opponent you hit.

Master’s Assessment: You gain this ability at 10th level. Your extensive training with your weapon of choice grants you the ability to identify and assess styles of fighting similar to your own. You gain the benefits of Initiate’s Eye against opponents wielding a weapon with the same identifying descriptor as your weapon of choice. For example, if your weapon of choice is a great sword (a weapon with the “sword” identifying descriptor), you gain the benefits of Initiate’s Eye against opponents using bastard swords, longswords, two-bladed swords and so on.

Furthermore, when you use combat sense against an opponent who is armed with the same weapon as your weapon of choice, you gain a +2 bonus on your roll, stacking with the bonus from Initiate’s Eye. In addition, you can gain additional information on a successful check. You can choose to learn two of the following: your opponent’s hit dice/levels; attack bonus with their primary weapon; total defense bonus; or one combat-related feat or special ability that they have. You can use this ability once per target per encounter.

Master’s Accuracy: You gain this ability at 14th level. A true master does not buckle in the face of pressure. Once per encounter, while wielding your weapon of choice, you can reroll an attack roll or base attack check. You must take the result of the reroll even if it’s worse than the original roll.

Weapon Supremacy: Your prowess with your weapon of choice is all surpassing. At 17th, 19th and 20th level, you gain a weapon supremacy ability. However, unlike a weapon style or expertise, there are two types of weapon supremacy: Supreme Styles and Supreme Maneuvers.
Supreme styles are used like other weapon abilities. You can use one supreme style per round, which you choose at the start of your turn, before taking any actions. The benefits of the ability last until the start of your next turn and can be combined with both a weapon style and weapon expertise.

Supreme maneuvers are signature moves that allow a Weapon Master to perform unmatchable demonstrations of their skill at a cost. You may only use one supreme maneuver on a given round and you may not use a weapon style, weapon expertise, or supreme style with supreme maneuver.
On the round following the use of a weapon maneuver, you may not use any weapon abilities (style, expertise or supremacy), as recovering from such a powerful attack requires care to avoid exposing yourself to an enemy’s riposte. On the second round after using a supreme maneuver, you may use a weapon style and/or a weapon expertise, but not a weapon supremacy. While you have recovered your combat form, you have not had the time to set-up your opponent for the effects of another advanced attack.

Pouncing Attack (M): To use this ability, you must have the Mobility feat and your speed must not have been reduced by armor or encumbrance. You can make a full attack at the end of a charge. You take a -4 penalty on all your attacks instead of the normal +2 from a charge. Similarly, you take a -4 penalty to defense until your next turn, instead of the normal -2. You may not use this feat in conjunction with the Mobility expanded mastery 6.

Mobile Attack (S): To use this ability, you must have the Mobility expanded mastery 3 feat, and you must move at least 2 squares (10 feet) before attacking. If you use a full attack action to move and attack as given in that feat’s description, you can make two attacks instead of one. Both your attacks must be on the same target. You take a -2 penalty to all your attacks for the round.

Telling Blow (S): To use this ability, you must have the Improved Disarm feat, and your weapon of choice must be usable with Improved Disarm. If you successfully disarm your foe, you gain an immediate melee attack on them at the same attack bonus.

Vicious Riposte (M): To use this ability, you must have the Combat Expertise feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Combat Expertise. If you take at least a -1 attack penalty to increase your defense, you gain an attack of opportunity against a foe who hits you in melee. In addition, you gain a +4 bonus to attack when making attacks of opportunity. You can use this ability multiple times in the round, but you only get one attack of opportunity per hit.

Hypnotic Blade (M): To use this ability, you must have the Improved Feint expanded mastery 5 feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Improved Feint. By taking a -5 penalty to your roll when you use a negate defense challenge, you can deny your foe their active bonus to defense against all your attacks for a round. You can use this ability once per encounter.

Master’s Insight (S): To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your weapon of choice. You reach out with your senses to gain a heightened awareness of the battlefield, confounding the efforts of your enemies to deceive you. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls, a +2 active bonus to defense, and a +4 bonus to saving throws, skill checks, and base attack checks that you make as a reaction to an opponent’s action. You do not gain the latter bonus on skill or base attack checks resulting from an action that you initiate. For example, you would gain a bonus to a Sense Motive or base attack check to defend against an attempted feint, but not to a Bluff check to feint your opponent.

Supreme Power Attack (S): To use this ability, you must have the Power Attack expanded mastery 4 feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Power Attack. Your attacks look wild and uncontrollable, but there is a grace and fluency to them that eludes your opponents’ notice until it’s too late. If you take at least a -5 attack penalty to increase your damage with Power Attack, your Power Attack multiplier increases by 0.5. If you normally gain bonus damage equal to your attack penalty, it becomes 1.5 times your attack penalty; if you normally gain bonus damage equal to 1.5 times your attack penalty, it becomes 2 times your attack penalty; and so on.

Supreme Weapon Finesse (M): To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Finesse feat and your weapon of choice must be usable with Weapon Finesse. Even the smallest weakness in your foe’s defenses is a gaping hole, enough for you to deliver a lethal strike. You deal an additional +10d6 points of sneak attack damage on your first attack for the round.

Supreme Weapon Focus (M): To use this ability, you must have the Weapon Focus feat with your weapon of choice. You clear your mind of all distractions, focus your thoughts, and make a single attack that lays your opponent low. Make a melee attack as a standard action, at your highest base attack bonus. You gain a +20 insight bonus to your attack roll, and your attack ignores any miss chance due to concealment or total concealment.

Sweeping Attack (S): To use this ability, you must have the Improved Trip feat. Attempts to kip up with a Jump check within your threatened area are opposed by your base attack check, rather than being a flat DC 20. You gain an attack of opportunity against any attempt to stand from prone within your threatened area, unless your opponent kips up.

PLAYING A WEAPON MASTER

The weapon master is the best at what he does. He hones himself into a living weapon, one that is complete only when it merges with the master’s chosen armament. Only the archer approaches this character’s level of dedication and expertise.

WEAPON MASTER STRATEGY

Naturally, as a weapon master, you should focus your chosen feats around your favored weapon as much as possible. Beyond that, your weapon abilities all have feat prerequisites, so you should take care in deciding which feats to have. In particular, you should have at least a couple of base mastery feats, so that you don’t run out of choices. Weapon Focus opens the door to a number of abilities that are useful in nearly all situations. The abilities based on Combat Expertise will help you improve your defenses significantly, while those based on Power Attack and Weapon Finesse increase your damage output.

You should also examine what actions in combat are required to gain the benefits of each ability and avoid taking abilities that can’t be used together. An example of this might be Paired Weapon Style and Power Blow: the former gives a benefit to any off-hand attacks you make, but using the latter means making only one attack in the round, which rules out making off-hand attacks. Conversely, some abilities can form useful combos, and they should be the ones to
consider taking. For example, Paired Weapon Style works well with Sledgehammer Strike, since the bonus to your off-hand attacks will help offset the penalty for using Power Attack. Critical Strike and Greater Critical Strike, in conjunction with a weapon with a large threat range, give you a good chance of dazing your opponent each round; while Devastating Riposte is a good ability to use on the round before any action that requires you to take an attack or defense penalty.
In many ways, your weapon supremacy abilities will be like a signature of yours at high level. While such powers may look very tempting, you shouldn’t use them too often, since they leave you unable to use your other weapon abilities on the following round. Instead, consider treating them as finishing moves. First, soften up your opponent over a few rounds with weapon style and weapon expertise abilities; then when they’re suitably damaged, use weapon supremacy to take them down with a spectacular and devastating strike. Not only does this mean the use limitations are avoided, but it’s a memorable way to achieve victory.

Players Handbook Classes

Weaponmaster

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