Warriors rely on their sword arm to solve whatever conflict they may face, though there are some who have been gifted with a keen mind and propensity for greater learning. These knowledgeable warriors can often be found serving as councilors of war, tacticians, even a battle mages, in an attempt to nurture their malnourished intellectual capacities. However, even among these, there are those with a predisposition for what is seen as the forbidden arts–the powers of soothsaying, foretelling, and witchcraft. Viewed as pariahs among their peers, these witch blades give their life in service to fell powers in the service of a great witch and her coven. Witch blades offer their loyalty to a particular patron, sacrificing a portion of his martial training. In turn, they gain mystical powers that allow them to cast a small number of spells and enhance their prowess in battle. It is only a warrior with nothing to lose, or one with a powerful sense of self that seeks the path of a witch blade, for it brands them ever after as a pariah, an outcast of normal society. (Original Concept by Elghinn Lightbringer)
Primary Class: Fighter.
Secondary Class: Witch.
Hit Dice: d8.
Bonus Skills and Ranks: The witch blade may select three witch skills to add to his class skills in addition to the normal fighter class skills. The witch blade gains a number of ranks at each level equal to 2 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The witch blade is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light and medium, and with shields (except for tower shields). A witch blade can cast witch spells while wearing light and medium armor or using a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a witch blade wearing heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass witch blade still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
Athame Bond (Sp): At 1st level, a witch blade forms a close bond with his weapon. This weapon, called an athame, must be chosen from the heavy blade or light blade fighter weapon groups. The athame is of masterwork quality, semi-sentient, and functions like a witch’s familiar, serving as a vessel for the witch blade’s witch spells and a conduit for communication with his patron. Just as a witch must commune with her familiar to learn her spells, a witch blade must commune with his athame each day to prepare his spells. Athames store all of the spells that a witch blade knows, and a witch blade cannot prepare a spell that is not stored by his athame. The athame stores all of his witch spells that the witch blade knows and cannot cast any spell that is not stored within it. If a witch blade fails to commune with his athame, he may not cast any spells until he has done so. A witch blade adds his patron spells to his athame at the indicated level, as shown on Table: Witch Blade. A witch blade cannot learn spells from another athame.
An athame has an equivalent Intelligence score as a familiar of a witch equal to the witch blade’s level, and starts with Common as its language. As its intelligence increases, it gains bonus languages as normal. The primary purpose of the athame’s sentience is to allow communion between the witch blade and his athame. The athame also has the Alertness, empathic link, store spells, deliver touch spells, speak with master, and the speak with animals of its kind special abilities, though this only applies to other sentient weapons. It does not have the natural armor adjustment, spell resistance, or the scry on familiar abilities.
A witch blade can add magic abilities to his athame bond weapon as if he has the required Item Creation Feats and if he meets the level prerequisites of the feat. For example, a witch blade with a bonded longsword must be at least 5th level to add magic abilities to the longsword (see Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat). The magic properties of an athame bond weapon, including any magic abilities added to the weapon, only function for the witch blade who owns it. If an athame bond weapon’s owner dies, or the weapon is replaced, the weapon reverts to being an ordinary masterwork weapon of the appropriate type.
If an athame is damaged, it is restored to full hit points the next time the witch blade rests for 8 hours or to prepares his spells. If the athame is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced after 1 week in a special ritual that costs 500 gp per witch blade level plus the cost of the masterwork item. This ritual takes 8 hours to complete. Weapons replaced in this way do not possess any of the additional enchantments of the previous athame. A witch blade can designate an existing magic weapon as his athame. This functions in the same way as replacing a lost or destroyed item except that the new magic weapon retains its abilities while gaining the benefits and drawbacks of becoming an athame. This ability and patron replace the bonus feat gained at 1st level.
Patron Spells: At 1st level, a witch blade gains the witch’s patron ability and must select a patron. He adds his patron spells to his spell list as shown on Table: Witch Blade.
Battle Tactics (Su): Starting at 2nd level, a witch blade can, as an immediate action, gain a +1 competence bonus to a single combat maneuver, gain a +1 deflection bonus to his Armor Class, or increase the save DC of a single hex until the end of his next turn by 1. This bonus increases by +1 every four levels beyond 2nd level. The witch blade can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Intelligence modifier. This ability replaces bravery.
Bonus Feats: This is exactly like the fighter ability of the same name, except that the witch blade gains a bonus feat at 2nd level and at 4th level and every four levels thereafter. In addition, a witch blade may select the Extra Hex feat, or a Metamagic or Item Creation feat that he qualifies for in place of a bonus feat.
Hex: At 3rd level, the witch blade gains the witch’s hex ability and can choose a hex at 3rd level and every four levels thereafter. This ability replaces armor training and armor mastery.
Spellcasting: Beginning at 4th level, a witch blade gains the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells, which are drawn from the witch spell list, and adds detect magic, read magic, and stabilize to his list of 1st–level witch spells. Only witch spells of 4th level and lower are considered to be part of the witch blade’s spell list. A witch blade must choose and prepare his spells in ahead of time.
To prepare or cast a spell, a witch blade must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a witch blade's spell is 10 + the spell level + the witch blade's Intelligence modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a witch blade can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Witch blade. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score. When Table: Witch Blade indicates that the witch blade gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Intelligence score for that spell level.
A witch blade may know any number of spells. He must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour communing with his athame. While communing, the witch decides which spells to prepare.
Athame: At 4th level, a witch blade's athame begins by storing three 1st level spells of the witch blade's choice. The witch blade also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to his Intelligence modifier to store in his athame. Every witch blade level beyond 4th. he adds two new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new witch blade level) to his athame. A witch blade can also add additional spells to his athame through a special ritual.
Athame Training (Su): This is exactly like the fighter’s weapon training ability, except that the bonuses only apply when wielding his athame bond weapon.
Major Hex: At 11th level, whenever the witch blade could choose a hex, he can choose a major hex instead.
Athame Mastery (Su): At 20th level, any attacks made with the witch blade’s athame bond weapon automatically confirms all critical threats and has its damage multiplier increased by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, for example). In addition, the witch blade make a singel attack against a target at his highest attack bonus as a standard action. If the attack hits, the target takes damage normally and must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the witch blade’s level + the witch blade’s Intelligence modifier). If the save fails, the target takes 2d6 points of temporary ability damage to his Strength and gains the exhausted condition. A successful Will save negates half this damage and the exhausted effect is reduced to fatigued. Once a creature has been the target of the athame mastery’s secondary effect, regardless of whether or not the save is made, that creature is immune to that witch blade’s athame mastery for 24 hours. Creatures that are immune to ability damage or fatigue are also immune to this ability. This ability replaces weapon mastery.
Table: Witch Blade