A First Edition Pathfinder prestige class inspired by Erfworld, applying the grace and movement of dance to the challenge of melee.
Role: These charismatic combatants are natural leaders. Admired for their agility and accuracy, and even more for their ability to inspire others to join in the dance, these choreographers of conflict make their allies more effective. Bards are natural dance-fighters, of course, but others, such as sorcerer-monks and clerics who honor musical gods, make excellent dance-fighters as well.
Alignment: Dance-fighters can be of any alignment. Lawful dance-fighters plan each move and rehearse constantly; chaotic dance-fighters are masters of improvisation. Good dance-fighters delight in entertaining others; neutral ones enjoy the adulation of fans; evil ones revel in the pleasure of using beauty to inflict pain.
Hit die: d8
- Skills: Perform (Dance) 5 ranks, Acrobatics 3 ranks.
- BAB: +4
- Reflex save: +4.
- Spells: Spontaneous casting or the ability to cast spells without preparation.
.1....+0......+0.....+2.....+0.....Dancing Defense, Evasion
.2....+1......+0.....+3.....+0.....Soft Props, Uncanny Dodge
.7....+5......+2.....+5.....+2.....Shake It Off
.8....+6......+2.....+6.....+2.....Sashay, Improved Uncanny Dodge
.9....+6......+3.....+6.....+3.....Dancecast, Improved Evasion
10...+7......+3.....+7.....+3.....Grand Jeté, Summon Backup Dancers
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Points per level: 6 + Int modifier
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor, but you do gain the ability to use certain dancing props as weapons (see below).
Spellcasting: Your dance-fighter levels stack with levels in other spellcasting classes to advance caster level, but not spells per day or spells known.
Bonus Spells: You gain one bonus spell each time you gain a level in this prestige class, as from having a high ability score. A bonus spell can be added to any level of spells you already have the ability to cast. If you have more than one spellcasting class, you must decide to which class you add each bonus spell as it is gained. Once a bonus spell has been applied, it cannot be shifted. You also learn one spell of a level you can cast each time you gain a level.
Dancing Defense (Su): At level 1, wearing light or no armor and not using a shield, you add 1 point of charisma bonus (if any) per dance-fighter class level as a dodge bonus to your Armor Class. Activating or deactivating this ability is a free action. When active, this ability also creates music that complements your movements; you canot use Stealth and Dancing Defense at the same time, and if it is active while using Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate, the DM may declare a circumstance bonus or penalty of +/- 1 or 2.
Evasion (Ex): At level 1, you can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If you makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, you instead take no damage. Evasion can be used only if you are wearing light armor or no armor. If you are helpless, then you do not gain the benefit of evasion.
Soft Props (Ex): At level 2, you can use ribbons, scarves, veils, fans, hats, and strips of cloth worth as masterwork tools that grants you a +2 circumstance bonus on Perform (Dance) checks. You may wield soft props as light melee weapons that inflict 1d4 nonlethal damage (if you are medium size), threatening a critical hit on an 18-20 for x2 damage (as with a sap, you can inflict lethal damage with soft props if you attack with a -4 penalty to hit). You can draw or put away a soft prop as a free action instead of as a move action. Used as melee weapons, soft props gain the disarm, monk, nonlethal, and trip special features and also grant a circumstance bonus on trip, disarm, and grapple checks equal to your dance-fighter level. Soft Props can be used only if you are wearing light armor or no armor.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At level 2, you retain your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if you are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, you still lose your Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If you already have uncanny dodge from a different class, you automatically gain improved uncanny dodge instead.
Percussive Props (Su): At level 3, you can use maracas, castanets, finger-cymbals, tambourines, bells, and rhythm sticks to aid your dancing and dance-fighting. You may wield percussive props as light melee weapons that inflict 1d6 damage (if you are medium size), threatening a critical hit on a 20 for x2 damage. Used in melee and wielded by you, these instruments gain an enhancement bonus on attacks and damage equal to one fifth of your ranks in Perform (Percussion), starting with +1 at 5 ranks and increasing to +4 at 20 ranks. Also, when used against targets that are entirely made of bone, stone, glass, gem, or metal, musical props gain the bane magical ability and ignore all damage reduction.
Tutting (Su): At level 4, you may use gestures and dance moves (as somatic components) to replace verbal and material components of spontaneously cast spells. Treat this as if you were using the Eschew Materials and Silent Spell feats, but not taking up a higher level spell slot. Tutting, with or without metamagic feats, increases the cast ing time by one step.
Beat It (Ex): At level 5, you may use your Acrobatics ranks in place of your base attack bonus and your Charisma modifier in place of your Strength modifier to attack and damage. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Dexterity modifier. Use this ability just before rolling an attack; it is not an action.
Spontaneous Choreographer (Su): At level 6, you gain a form of empathic projection that allows you to mentally prompt your allies to move together effectively, in dance or in combat. Using this ability requires you to use a move action each round, and it has a range of 25 feet plus five feet per two dance-fighter levels. When performing, your allies use your Perform (Dance) check, not their own. When fighting, your allies gain your Dancing Defense ability, using your bonus, when wearing light or no armor and not using a shield; also when fighting, increase all morale bonuses to attacks and damage for you and your allies by +1 (multiple morale bonuses still do not stack). Spontaneous Choreographer can be used only if you are wearing no armor.
Shake It Off (Ex): At level 7, you may use your Perform (Dance) ranks in place of your base will or fortitude save bonus and your Charisma modifier in place of your Wisdom or Constitution modifier. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Dexterity modifier. Use this ability just before rolling an save; it is not an action.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At level 8, you can no longer be flanked. This defense denies rogues the ability to sneak attack you by flanking you, unless the attacker has at least four more levels in classes that grant improved uncanny dodge than you do.
Sashay (Ex): At level 8, you may roll twice and take the better result when using Acrobatics to avoid attacks of opportunity. Also, you gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively (not +3), and a +8 dodge bonus to AC when taking the total defense action (not +6). Sashay can be used only if you are wearing no armor.
Dancecast (Su): At level 9, you may use your Perform (Dance) ranks in place of your caster level. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Dexterity modifier. Use this ability just before casting a spell; it is not an action.
Improved Evasion (Ex): At level 9, your Evasion ability gets better; you take no damage at all on successful saving throws against attacks that allow a Reflex saving throw for half damage. What’s more, you take only half damage even if you fail your saving throw.
Grand Jeté (Su): At level 10, when wearing light or no armor and not using a shield, you gain a fly speed equal to a Perform (Dance) check, rolled anew each time you use this ability. The ability lasts only until the end of your turn, at which time you lose the ability to fly, and may fall if you do not have good footing. You activate this ability at will as a swift action, but not in consecutive rounds.
Summon Backup Dancers (Sp): At level 10, once per day you can cast Summon Monster VIII as a spell-like ability to call 2-5 lilend azata or succubi (your choice). Activating this ability requires one full round of dancing (that is, it only requires somatic components). If you use Spontaneous Choreography with these summoned creatures, they also gain 10 temporary hit points while the choreography is in effect.
In concept, the shadowdancer and the duelist already fill the niche of the graceful warrior, but they fail to satisfy the true dancer. This prestige class combines casting with fighting and a deep dependence on skilled performance. It does not advance spells per day, but that's not a strong point for bards anyway. This gives more flexibility and more spells without increasing raw spell power.
Note that levels in this prestige class stack with all other caster classes. An Oracle4/Bard4/Dance-Fighter10 has caster level 14 in both classes. That offers multiclassers an interesting option.
This prestige class is more powerful than the D&D 3.5 version. Some powers can be used more often, and the Summon Backup Dancers capstone was added. That fits with the general Pathfinder power inflation curve generally. Note, however, the balancing features: the class moves the character to light armor and then to no armor; it pushes the character to focus on two ability scores (Charisma and Dexterity), not just one; and for full functionality, it encourages the character to max ranks in Perform (Dance), Perform (Percussion), and Acrobatics. And as a melee-oriented prestige class, it encourages a higher Strength and Constitution.
Check out the links below for inspiration: