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Swordmaster $4.99
Publisher: Dreadfox Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/15/2013 08:38:32

This is an elegant attempt to bring some finesse to swordplay in the Pathfinder RPG, by empowering a character to develop his combat capability with the sword to a high level. This is symbolised by this skillful fellow using Dexterity bonuses rather than Strength ones, the triumph of skill over brute force.

Whilst being skilled in the use of swords in general, the Swordmaster forges a special relationship with a single 'Partner' sword that becomes an intelligent item in its own right - and if he loses it, he gains temporary negative levels until it's back in his hands!

To encapsulate the finesse a true swordmaster brings to his art, Swordmasters do not just 'roll to hit' when engaging in combat. Instead, they study and use sequences of moves beginning with an Opener, followed by one or more Sequiturs and ending with a Finisher. These special moves are known collectively as Sword Arts and are learned as the Swordmaster gains levels. Some Openers require specific triggers, and they generally establish certain conditions which hold good for at least your next move if not the whole sequence that follows. They are normally effected by making a normal attack roll, but the result of successful performance depends on the sword art move made; and normally each move in a sequence has to be successful before you can continue with the next one (although higher-level Swordmasters gain an ability that lets them ignore failed moves).

More experienced Swordmasters have a selection of Advanced Sword Arts to choose from as well. At any time you are levelling up, you may choose to reliquish a Sword Art (or Advanced Sword Art if you are able to learn them) that you know and replace it with another, thus allowing for a flexible repertoire of moves as you develop your own distinctive style.

It may sound a bit complex and is best used by people who really enjoy the cut and thrust of combat and relish the opportunity to play it out. As well as making the Swordmaster a formidable opponent in a brawl, it opens out all manner of possibilities in developing fencing academies and swordplay as a sport rather than a matter of life and death... I think I'll go try this out on my husband who is not only another role-player but a good fencer in real life!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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