Bladedancers are a specific type of warrior who emphasize dexterity and speed over strength. As the name implies, they only ever use bladed weapons, usually swords. There's a semi-mystic quality to their beliefs, although they would deny that. A Bladedancer believes that his weapon (or weapons, in the case of those who wield smaller dual weapons) chose him, rather than the other way around.

They prefer subtle, quick and/or flowing moves to what they view as rough hacking and slashing: any peasant with an axe can do that. They have gone through intense training to become lethal, and their reputation as fighters is unparalleled, save by, possibly, the long-lost Sacresan and the Isola paladins. Their agility is such that they rarely receive more than a scratch in battle; they're simply too hard to hit (by non-magical means, anyway). Their weapons are an extension of themselves, and are kept sharp. Legends speak of a man who survived being a Bladedancer's opponent only because of a very near and very skilled healer. He said the Bladedancer's weapon was so keen, he barely even felt his throat being slit.

Bladedancers are almost never found in quiet, peaceful villages. War, glory, and bloodshed call out to them like a siren song. A Bladedancer who is not fighting is almost assuredly looking for a fight. (Take that as a warning.) They make wonderful mercenaries for this very reason, uncaring about their patron's reasons for enlisting them, and though they will take coin (a guy's gotta live, right?), what interests them is how thrilling the promised job is, how likely violence is to break out, how much death they will have to give and possibly receive. A death at home, in bed, is wasted; dying on the battlefield is to die with honor and glory: to die a True Bladedancer.

To train as a Bladedancer, you must, as with all other vocations, find a Master willing to teach you. This is not easy; the Bladedancer in question must feel called to apprentice you, or else he simply will not waste his time. However, there are two qualifications you must meet first and foremost:

  1. You must be male, and
  2. You must NOT be a magician of any sort.
To the Bladedancers, magic dulls a man's ability to do for himself. It makes him reliant on fickle Gods, backstabbing Demons or tempestuous Nature herself. Blood Magicians are no less reviled, simply because they "waste" their own life energy for spells instead of in martial combat. All that matters to them is the Dance of Blood and Death, which is how they term battle. For that matter, they refuse all magical means of aid from outsiders - including healing. If it is a Bladedancer's time to die, then so be it.

And they do not take females to train, despite most women being already quicker and more dextrous than their male counterparts. They speak of "distractions" on the battlefield, and relegate time spent with women as "something to do between battles." Were a female to somehow infiltrate the Bladedancers and were discovered, she'd be instantly put to death.

However, so long as you are male, they don't care what race you are, and there is little to no racial strife amongst them. Be you dwarf, elf, or were, they welcome you. Most Bladedancers are human, but that's more to do with the rejection of all other belief systems save Being One with Your Weapon. Dwarves and Elves are usually turned off by this notion, and Dwarves are especially rare in Bladedancer ranks, given their tendency to stay close to home.

Weres are also small in number, because unarmed combat is kept to a minimum in the Bladedancers, and generally frowned upon. Thus a Were in Berserker mode (who will not, at that point, care about weaponry) is, despite their martial ability, something of a disgrace. Some Weres like this concept though, viewing it as keeping their more animal side in check.

If disarmed, a Bladedancer will do more ducking and dodging than fighting as he attempts to regain his weapon: not just A weapon, but HIS weapon. If his personal weapon is not retrievable, he will stand (or kneel or lie - depending on the fight and how injured he is) ready to die. Life without your weapon is meaningless, and death at the hands of a strong enemy is glorious.

Playing a Bladedancer

As mentioned, you must be male. The rough equivalent to the Bladedancers are the Complements, at least in the sense of using more subtle and flowing movements in battle. Your race is unimportant, though vampires don't last long as Bladedancers, because a great number of skirmishes and battles happen during the day, after all. Dragons simply see no point to it, and the other Undead are incapable of using a sword to begin with.

You must NOT be a magician - at least, not provably so. There are some who claim there are Sacresan within the Bladedancers' ranks, but no one has been able to prove this. As a Bladedancer, you sneer at magic of all sorts, even if the magic does you some good. You will be a surly companion to any magician in the party, even a healer, and, if conscious, you must refuse magical healing. Herbs, bandages, and other tools of first aid are allowed, unless you are near to death on a battlefield. Remember: dying in battle makes you a True Bladedancer, honored and glorious to your brethren. Why would you turn that down?

Bladedancer Template

This is the baseline starting template and cost to be a regular Bladedancer. You can tinker with it to lower or increase the cost as you desire, or just buy it outright, but it is NOT free; only your racial template is free of cost.

This isn't something that's going to be a cost thing, but you must put more of your HP into Dex/Spd than into Str/Stam. The whole point of being a Bladedancer is to be faster rather than stronger. So we'll just leave that as a pointer.

While we're talking pointers-that-don't-cost-anything: you're NOT going to take Unarmed Combat as a skill. Remember that Bladedancers fight with their own weapon or Not At All. For that matter, you're not likely to take Ranged or Throwing Weapons either; the point is to be in close with your target.

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