View Full Version : [PRC, TOB] The Mercury Duelist

2010-03-24, 06:48 AM
It's interesting what you find when you look up all the old stuff on your hard drive. I, for example, have found roughly half a dozen Tome of Battle Prestige classes I wrote before I strated to seriously work on Serpents and Sewers.

I have translated these classes yesterday, and updated them a bit, but really, they are in their core two or three years old. For me, it's somewhat interesting how a few ideas which were later copied in S&S appeared here for the first time. Seriously, these include my first step in homebrewing for D&D.

Now, these are Prestige Classes how I like them: focused on beating people up, and actually quite competent in this field of expertise. If you ask me, the overwhelming majority of prestige classes for the already underrepresented melee fighters are much too weak, especially when compared to *any* prestige class with full caster level progression. Therefore, they might appear a bit powerful when compared to other fighter -specific prestige classes.


The Mercury Duelist (Sublime Duelist)
This is essentially the Duelist Prestige Class from the DMG. A nice concept as a class, but mechanically, not that appealing. It becomes a bit more fun if one beefs it up with a few maneuvers and the like.

Design Notes
This is one of two redux versions of SRD prestige classes which just aren't very good in their mechanics, but would be fun to play otherwise, from a fluffy perspective.

BAB: +5
Skills: Martial Lore 6 ranks, Concentration 10 ranks, Tumble 6 ranks, Sense Motive 6 ranks
Feats: Weapon Finesse, Blade Meditation (Diamond Mind)
Maneuvers:Ability to use one 3rd level maneuvers from the Diamond Mind discipline.

HD: D10

Class-Skills: Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (geography) Knowledge (History), Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Listen, Martial Lore, Perform, Sense Motive, Spot, Swim and Tumble.

Skill-points per level: 6+Int modifier

Table: The Mercury Duelist
{table="head"]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|known|prepared|sta nces
1st|+1|+0|+2|+0|Graceful Defense, Uncanny Dodge |+1|-|-
2nd|+2|+0|+3|+0|Evasion, Improved Reaction|-|-|-
3rd|+3|+1|+3|+1|Improved Weapon Finesse, Bonus Feat|+1|-|-
4th|+4|+1|+4|+1|Acrobatic Charge|-|-|-
5th|+5|+1|+4|+1|Precise Strike +1d6|+1|+1|-
6th|+6|+2|+5|+2|Bonus Feat, Elaborate Parry|-|-|+1
7th|+7|+2|+5|+2|Improved Uncanny Dodge|+1|-|-
8th|+8|+2|+6|+2|Spectacular Attack|-|-|-
9th|+9|+3|+6|+3|Improved Evasion, Bonus Feat|+1|-|-
10th|+10|+3|+7|+3|Precise Strike +2d6, Quicksilver Dance|-|+1|-

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The Mercury Duelist is familiar with simple weapons, martial weapons and light armor, but not with shields.

Maneuvers: A Mercury Duelist gains a new maneuver on each odd level from the Desert Wind, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart and Setting Sun disciplines. On each even level, she can exchange one of the known maneuvers for a new one.
At 5th and 10th maneuver, the Mercury Duelist gains a new readied maneuver, and at 6th level, the character learns a new stance.

Canny Defense (ex): When wearing light armor or no armor, the Mercury Duelist gains a dodge bonus to his Armor Class and Reflex Saves of 1 point of Intelligence bonus (if any) per duelist class level to her Dexterity bonus to modify Armor Class while wielding a melee weapon. If a mercury duelist is caught flat-footed or otherwise denied her Dexterity bonus, she also loses this bonus.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a mercury duelist can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a Mercury Duelist already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a Mercury Duelist can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Mercury Duelist is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Mercury Duelist does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Improved Reaction (Ex): At 2nd level, a Mercury Duelist might make a Concentration check and use the check's result as her initiative.

Improved Weapon Finesse (Ex): Starting at third level, a Mercury Duelist can use all weapons associated with the Diamond Mind discipline and any weapon she has a Weapon Focus in with the Weapon Finesse feat to apply her Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to attack rolls, even though it isn’t a light weapon for her.

Bonus Feat: At 3rd, 6th and 9th level, the Mercury Duelist gains a bonus feat from the following list: Acrobatic Strike, Battle Dancer, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical, Improved Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Improved Disarm, Mobility, Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body, Quick Draw, Rapid Blitz, Spring Attack, Telling Blow, Tumbling Feint, Unnerving Calm, Vexing Flanker or Whirlwind Attack.

Acrobatic Charge (Ex): At 4th level, a Mercury Duelist gains the ability to charge in situations where others cannot. She may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement. Depending on the circumstance, she may still need to make appropriate checks to successfully move over the terrain.

Precise Strike (Ex): At 5th level, a Mercury Duelist gains the ability to strike precisely, gaining an extra 1d6 damage added to her normal damage roll.
A duelist’s precise strike only works against living creatures with discernible anatomies. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to a precise strike, and any item or ability that protects a creature from critical hits also protects a creature from a precise strike. At 10th level, the extra damage on a precise strike increases to +2d6.

Elaborate Parry (Ex): At 6th level and higher, if a Mercury Duelist chooses to fight defensively or use total defense in melee combat, she gains an additional +1 dodge bonus to AC for each level of duelist she has.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Mercury Duelist of 7th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum class level required to flank the character.

Spectacular Attack (Ex): Whenever a Mercury Duelist of 8th level or higher scores a critical hit, she might make a free trip or disarming attempt against the target of the original attack immediately.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a Mercury Duelist’s evasion ability improves. She still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth she takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Quicksilver Dance (Ex): A tenth level Mercury Duelist moves so fast, that it becomes increasingly difficult to hit her in combat. Whenever she fights in a Diamond Mind Stance, all melee attacks against her suffer from a 20% miss chance as if she had concealment.

2010-03-24, 07:07 AM
Definitely an interesting class; obviously superior to the duelist, and the whole Int to AC thing suddenly makes sense (synergyzing with Warblade, which seems the most likely entry).

I'm not certain allowing the Duelist the ability to add Weapon Finesse to any weapon she has Weapon Focus in is really a great idea. It's not that it necessarily overpowers the class, but given that it focuses on Diamond Mind and already grants three extra weapons Weapon Finesse.

Is there a reason you simply allowed partial advancement instead of a table of maneuvers/stances known and readied, as most other initiator prcs?

And does your advancement mean that the duelist loses 1 initiator level over the class?

2010-03-24, 07:27 AM
The idea with the Weapon finesse is mostly there to give a player a bit more freedom with the aesthetic choice of their weapons and it actually justifies the quite bad Weapon Focus feat a bit.

Is there a reason you simply allowed partial advancement instead of a table of maneuvers/stances known and readied, as most other initiator prcs?

Mostly a bit lazyness; most classes I wrote have a 1/1 continuation of the maneuvers anyway, as a reminiscence to the "+1 spellcaster level" PRC's for spellcasters.
The only reason I see for a more detailed list of gained maneuvers would be a class that learns more maneuvers than usual, or uses a new form of regaining spent maneuvers.

And does your advancement mean that the duelist loses 1 initiator level over the class?

No, it means only that the character has a slightly more limited acess to maneuvers, meaning that a Warblade 10/Sublime Duelist 10 would have as many maneuvers known and readied and as many stances as an 18th level Warblade.

2010-03-24, 02:28 PM
I like it, and it seems about balanced. And I've always liked the idea of mercury and duelists. Makes me tempted to gestalt this with psion or warlock.

2010-03-25, 12:59 PM
Actually, I think that a maneuver progression based on the core class is a better alternative than the standard approach for Tome of Battle classes; it would stiull acknowledge the difference in the readying progress and the different learning speed which is, for example, the one advantage of the Swordsage. This is insofar relevant since - as far as I know - the characters keep their readying mechanisms.
In the case of the Mercury Duelist, for example, a warblade-oriented maneuver progression would be no issue for a warblade, but would cut down a swordsage's progression by half, vice versa, it would doulbe a warblade's progression when it follows a more swordsage-oriented model, and with a class that well might be interesting for both classes (Diamond Mind is on both's discipline's lists), this way is just a bit fairer, as it comes closer to treat each class according to its strengths and quirks.

2010-03-26, 07:53 AM
Love the PRC but I wish you would elaborate on this class feature more Pls.

Acrobatic Charge (Ex): At 4th level, a Mercury Duelist gains the ability to charge in situations where others cannot. She may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement. Depending on the circumstance, she may still need to make appropriate checks to successfully move over the terrain.

It seems vague to me.

(Yes, I am still a little green so please forgive me.)

2010-04-13, 12:14 PM
This class looks great, would totally use and allow in my campagin, except for Elaborate Parry, i think its a little over. Not gamebreaking, but he fights defensively a lot better then the dervish.
I mean, fight defensively is a -4 to Attacks +2 to AC (+3 with 5 ranks in tumble).
This becomes -4 Attack +9 AC at level 6 (ECL 11). Maybe make the bonus equal to 1/2 its duelist level. This way it would still be better then Combat Expertise (-4/+6 when fisrt gained) but not by so much. and it would advance up to -4/+8.

I mean, the class already has cunny defense and stances, no need to make it untouchable.

You could give it a bonus to AC (like +2) when not wearing armor somewere, just becouse its Dex + Int would be higher then the Dex cap on most armors. Or just allow it to ignore the Dex cap for light armors (or maybe just Leather and Padded, to avoid "mithril breatplates" and stuff like that) This could be part of its cunny defense ability.

anyway, just my cupple cents, this looks great.

2010-04-13, 12:37 PM
Great thing you used that DSA/TDE picture ;)