Sword saints hail from lands where samurai are prevalent, and are often ronin who wander the world seeking new challenges to perfect their intricate style of swordplay called iaijutsu. The following benefits apply only when a sword saint is using a sword and carrying nothing in his other hand.
The sword saint is an archetype of the samurai alternate class.
A sword saint can perform a lightning quick iaijutsu strike against the target of his challenge to inflict devastating wounds while drawing his sword. After the sword saint has challenged a foe but before he has attacked the target of his challenge, he may choose to use his iaijutsu strike as a full-round action, making an attack roll with his weapon as normal. In order to use this ability, the sword saint’s weapon must be sheathed at the start of his turn. If he successfully hits his opponent with an iaijutsu strike, his attack deals an additional +1d6 points of damage. This bonus damage increases by an additional +1d6 at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter to a maximum of +10d6 damage at 19th level. Any extra damage as a result of a successful iaijutsu strike is not multiplied by a critical hit.
After making an iaijutsu strike, a sword saint takes a –4 penalty to his AC until his next turn, but his weapon is now drawn and he may continually to fight normally. Regardless of whether he hits his opponent with the iaijutsu strike, a sword saint cannot use this ability on the same foe more than once per day.
At 3rd level, a sword saint’s iaijutsu strike becomes even more deadly. If a sword saint threatens a critical hit with his iaijutsu strike, he adds a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level to the attack roll to confirm a critical hit.
This ability replaces mounted archer*.
Editor’s note: The original text of the Brutal Slash ability states that it replaces “mounted charge”, which doesn’t exist.
There are two possibilities: brutal smash either replaces mounted archer (in which case it was a typo that was never caught), or weapon expertise (based on the level at which brutal smash is gained). There has never been an official answer or FAQ on this, so GMs are encouraged to choose the option that makes the most sense to them.
At 5th level, a sword saint’s iaijutsu strike devastates the morale of foes that witness it. When a sword saint successfully hits with an iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the sword saint’s class level + the sword saint’s Cha modifier) or become shaken for 1d4+1 rounds.
This ability replaces banner.
At 14th level, a sword saint’s iaijutsu strike deafens foes upon impact. When a sword saint successfully hits with an iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the sword saint’s class level + the sword saint’s Str modifier) or be deafened for 1d4 minutes.
This ability replaces greater banner.