Character Classes


Wherever slavery has arisen, those oppressed by tyranny must find subtle ways to topple their masters. In most tyrannical regimes arms, armor, spells, and other potential weapons undergo tight control. A slave with a sword is a rebel. Thus, oppressive regimes do everything within their power to keep their vassals unarmed.

The battle dancer's art arose among the oppressed, the enslaved, and those trod upon by tyranny's ironshod boots. Whether they first appeared in a drow city's slave pits, a tyrant's cages, or elsewhere, none can say. The battle dancer's art arose under the innocent facade of dances, stories, and songs that slaves used to entertain themselves during their few free moments. Even the most vicious lord knows to sometimes spare the lash: A slave with nothing left to lose is a slave who rebels.

The battle dancer's fighting abilities resemble a monk's martial arts. Where a monk embraces order and focus, the battle dancer revels in chaos and wild, frenetic maneuvers. A monk trains under a master to gird her mind and body against attacks and deadly magical effects. The battle dancer learns to hit hard and hit often via a training regimen that turns her into a living weapon.

Battle dancers adventure to overthrow tyranny, exemplify mastery of their exotic martial arts, and experience the excitement of battle. Unlike monks, battle dancers allow their emotions to run wild. A battle dancer considers a deadly battle the perfect place to test her skills.

Many battle dancers fight for a cause or struggle against a chosen foe. These crusading battle dancers prefer to work alone or in small groups to accomplish their goals. The adventuring life is the perfect cover for their actions.

Battle dancers are skilled combatants who use their unarmed attacks to overwhelm their foes. They learn a number of dances that, when performed correctly, allow them to gain access to magical abilities. Just as monks use focus and discipline to unlock their ki power, battle dancers use their highly structured, elaborate dances to awaken their inner potential.

The battle dancer's unique martial art requires a free spirit unfettered by doubt, worry, or rigid structure. Battle dancers are always chaotic, with most tending toward good or neutrality. The battle dancer's ancient origin still resonates with its practitioners today. Many battle dancers see themselves as freedom fighters and crusaders who fight for the common folk.

Evil battle dancers are rare, but they do exist. These fiends use their talents for their own gain. Many work as assassins. Their performance abilities and unarmed fighting style make it easier for them to slip close to unsuspecting targets.

Many battle dancers worship Olidammara. They see his love of wine, song, and dance as the perfect counterpart to their reckless lifestyle. Evil battle dancers tend to honor Erythnul.

Battle dancers are made, not born. Many of them gain their talents by studying for long, strenuous hours under the tutelage of the members of a dance circle. A circle consists of traveling musicians, battle dancers, and elders who teach their arts to promising youths and any men and women with good hearts and the desire to protect their communities. Circles wander the land as they wish, interfering in local matters if they feel they can help.

Humans, halflings, and elves make up the vast majority of battle dancers. Dwarves normally lack the fiery personalities needed to embrace this class. Gnomes prefer other forms of performance, particularly music. Half-orcs are usually too dim and simple to master the intricate dance maneuvers.

Battle dancers see fighters and paladins - with their heavy armor and bulky weapons - as stodgy, slow, and awkward. They feel a kinship to the fiery barbarians. Monks earn their respect, but most battle dancers consider them too rigid to truly embrace the power that dwells within.

The battle dancer is a skilled warrior who can protect her comrades in battle. She can take on a fighter in the right situation, and her exotic, magical dance abilities grant her excellent mobility and maneuver options.

Alignment: Any chaotic.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The battle dancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Battle Dancer

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Unarmed
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 AC bonus, unarmed strike 1d6 +0
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Dance of reckless bravery 1d6 +0
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 1d6 +0
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Bonus speed +10 feet 1d8 +0
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Dance of the vexing snake 1d8 +1
6th +6/+1 +2 +5 +2 Dancer's strike (magic) 1d8 +1
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 1d8 +1
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 Dance of the floating step 1d10 +1
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 1d10 +1
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 Bonus speed +20 feet 1d10 +2
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 Dance of the springing tiger 1d10 +2
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 Dancer's strike (alignment) 2d6 +2
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4   2d6 +2
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 Dance of the crushing python 2d6 +2
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5   2d6 +3
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +5 Bonus speed +30 feet 2d8 +3
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Dance of the soaring eagle 2d8 +3
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Dancer's strike (any) 2d8 +3
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6   2d8 +3
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Dance of death's embrace 2d10 +4
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the battle dancer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A battle dancer is proficient with all simple weapons. She is not proficient with any type of armor or shield.

AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the battle dancer adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her AC. She uses the captivating and confusing movements of the battle dance to evade her foes' attacks. In addition, a battle dancer gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five battle dancer levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level). This bonus reflects the battle dancer's intense training in unarmed and unarmored combat.

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the battle dancer 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.

Unarmed Strike: A battle dancer uses unarmed strikes in a manner similar to a monk. She can land a blow with her fist that has the same power as an axe stroke. At 1st level, the battle dancer gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

The battle dancer's unarmed attacks deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage without penalties on her attack rolls. Treat her attacks as both natural and manufactured weapons for purposes of spells and effects that can enhance either type of attack.

The battle dancer's knowledge of martial arts allows her strikes to deal far more damage than an untrained person's blows. Table: The Battle Dancer summarizes the damage she deals by level. Large and Small battle dancers inflict more and less damage respectively as shown below.

Note that, unlike a monk, the battle dancer does not gain the ability to use a flurry of blows, but she can make an off hand attack as normal using a weapon or unarmed strike.

Table: Small and Large Battle Dancer Unarmed Damage

Level Damage
(Small Battle Dancer)
(Large Battle Dancer)
1st-3rd 1d4 1d8
4th-7th 1d6 2d6
8th-11th 1d8 2d8
12th-15th 1d10 3d6
16th-19th 2d6 3d8
20th 2d8 4d8

Dance of Reckless Bravery (Su): A 2nd-level battle dancer with 5 ranks in Tumble gains the ability to inspire bravery in her allies. All of the battle dancer's allies within 30 feet of her gain a +4 bonus on saves against fear effects for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the battle dancer's Charisma modifier. The battle dancer can use this ability only when she is within an opponent's threatened area. It requires a move action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Bonus Speed (Ex): The battle dancer moves with speed and agility earned through countless hours of practice, physical training, and study of the precise, fluid movements of her battle dances. She gains a +10- foot bonus to speed at 4th level. She gains additional +10-foot bonuses at 10th level and 16th level.

Dance of the Vexing Snake (Su): A 5th-level battle dancer with 8 ranks in Tumble gains the ability to dodge her opponent's blows with her sudden, unpredictable maneuvers. She can use the Tumble skill to move at her normal speed without penalty, and she can Tumble a distance up to her current speed.

Dancer's Strike (Su): The magic of the battle dancer's arcane maneuvers allows her to manifest auras of energy around her feet and hands. These auras can defeat an opponent's damage reduction. The battle dancer can generate this aura as a standard action at will. It persists for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the battle dancer's Charisma modifier before it fades.

At 6th level, the battle dancer's aura makes her unarmed strikes count as magic damage.

At 12th level, the battle dancer chooses one aspect of her alignment, such as good or chaotic. Her aura allows her strikes to count as that alignment (as well as magic). She must choose one aspect of her alignment, and once she has made a choice she cannot alter it.

At 18th level, the battle dancer can choose any one special material or alignment that overcomes damage reduction (such as adamantine, cold iron, holy, or even lawful). Her aura now includes that material or alignment. Once she has made this choice, she cannot change it.

Dance of the Floating Step (Su): The battle dancer moves with such grace and speed that she can dance across water. An 8th-level battle dancer with 11 ranks in Tumble can cross the surface of a liquid, such as water or magma, without taking damage or sinking below the surface. If she ends her movement on such a liquid, she takes damage and sinks as normal. The battle dancer must begin her movement on a stable, firm surface.

Dance of the Springing Tiger (Su): An 11th-level battle dancer with 14 ranks in Tumble can spring upon an opponent with the ferocity of a tiger. When charging, she can attempt a DC 20 Tumble check. If she succeeds, she may make a full attack rather than a standard attack as part of her charge.

Dance of the Crushing Python (Su): The battle dancer's speed and mighty unarmed strikes combine to make her a fearsome opponent. She can step into an opponent's reach and confuse it with a series of feints and quick blows, distracting it from other threats. A 14th-level battle dancer with 17 ranks in Tumble can rain a series of hammering blows upon a foe. She must use the Tumble skill to enter her opponent's space without provoking an attack of opportunity. If she succeeds, she may then attack her opponent while in its space. If the battle dancer's attack hits, her opponent takes a -2 penalty to AC and it cannot make attacks of opportunity until the start of the battle dancer's next action. After the battle dancer completes her attack, she enters a square of her choice adjacent to the target.

Dance of the Soaring Eagle (Su): A 17th-level battle dancer with 20 ranks in Tumble gains a fly speed equal to her base land speed with average maneuverability. If a flying battle dancer charges an opponent below her, she gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage in place of the normal benefits of charging. She may use her dance of the springing tiger in conjunction with an aerial charge.

Dance of Death's Embrace (Su): A 20th-level battle dance with 23 ranks in Tumble can perform a vicious, deadly dance to defeat her opponent. Before using this dance, the battle dancer selects a single target within 30 feet. As a full-round action, the battle dancer performs an elaborate dance that requires a DC 35 Tumble check to complete. If she succeeds, any time she makes a successful attack against her designated target she deals +2d6 points of damage. In addition, any critical threat the battle dancer makes against her designated target is automatically confirmed as a critical hit. This ability lasts until the end of the battle dancer's next turn