Lion blades come from the most secretive schools of the fighting arts. They scoff at assassins, laughing at their poisons and blow guns — and they’re equally derisive of knights, stomping about the battlefield in burdensome armor and wielding huge, slow weapons. Lion blades prefer crowded urban areas and are masters of motion, controlling both their own movement and those around them. With the flick of a blade, they can slow their enemy to a crawl and then step into a crowd and disappear from sight. They are quick, agile, knowledgeable, and masters of disguise.
A lion blade usually spends at least a year in training before taking on missions. Lion blade PCs are often on extended loan for a specific purpose or are given permission to adventure in order to perfect their art in real world settings. A rare few lion blades shirk their responsibilities and work independently or even serve the enemies of their host nations especially eager for these turncoats.
Hit Die: d8
To qualify to become a lion blade, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:
Alignment: Any neutral.
The lion blade's class skills (and the key ability for each) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), and Stealth (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
The following are class features of the lion blade prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A lion blade gains no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
The first skill a lion blade learns is to perfectly alter her appearance in order to blend in to any crowd and any environment. A lion blade no longer suffers penalties to Disguise checks made to change her gender, race, or age.
Lion Blades are masters of moving in crowds. When moving through groups of humanoids that would normally count as difficult terrain, the lion blade instead moves normally.
A lion blade learns a quiet, throaty chanting that puts her in a light trance, increasing her focus on the task at hand. The lion blade gains a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as she is able to continue her chant. The bonus increases to +4 at 5th level and +6 at 9th level. The GM may rule that certain uses of this ability are infeasible — chanting to make the lion blade move more quietly, for example, is self-defeating. The effect lasts as long as the lion blade concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. Inspire self is a mind-affecting ability.
Once per round on a successful sneak attack, a lion blade may choose to deal 1 less die of sneak attack damage and instead reduce the target’s ground speed by 5 feet. Once an opponent’s speed has been reduced to 0 feet, he is immobilized (but not helpless). If the target uses wings to fly, the lion blade can choose to reduce the creature’s flying speed instead of its ground speed. The movement penalties imposed by slowing strike are removed once the creature fully heals or it receives a lesser restoration spell.
At 3rd level, a lion blade can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a lion blade can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.
At 4th level, a lion blade’s land speed is faster than the norm for her race by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when she is wearing no armor or light armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the lion blade’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn.
At 5th level, a lion blade’s study of body language gives her an advantage when observing or manipulating others. A lion blade gains a +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks. Once per day per character level, a lion blade can add a +2 circumstance bonus to any Knowledge skill check (including bardic knowledge) relating to humanoids in her presence.
A lion blade can slip through crowds with supernatural ease. Once per day per two class levels, a lion blade can take a move action to move up to double her speed through a crowd without provoking attacks of opportunity for this movement. For example, if a lion blade has a movement speed of 40, she can use secret step to move 80 feet as a move action. She can only use this ability to move through humanoid crowds that would otherwise count as Difficulty Class (DC). This is fast, agile movement, not teleportation, so she must physically traverse the intervening space (for example, she cannot use this ability to bypass a trapped floor or wall of fire, even if surrounded by crowds).
At 7th level, a lion blade becomes incredibly difficult to find. Whenever a lion blade is using Stealth, observers suffer a –5 on their Perception checks. The lion blade gains SR equal to 10 + her class level against divination spells.
At 9th level, a lion blade is able to improvise materials for a disguise that are as effective as an actual disguise kit. She gains a +2 circumstance bonus to disguise checks (this overlaps with the bonus from an actual disguise kit). Once per day per class level she can make a Disguise check at a –20 penalty to create a disguise as a full-round action.
At 10th level, a lion blade has mastered the ability to still her thoughts, her movement, and her sounds to such a point that she becomes harder to dominate, harder to see, and harder to hear. All Stealth checks made by the lion blade gain a +10 circumstance bonus (this is in addition to the –5 penalty imposed by cloud the mind) and the lion blade gains SR 20 against mind-affecting effects.