Training in the Duelist combat sphere teaches a practitioner techniques for prevailing in single combat, disarming a foe or taking control of their weapon while whittling away at them one knick at a time.
Whenever you use the attack action or an attack of opportunity to attack or disarm a creature, you deal an additional 1 point of bleed damage to the target on a successful attempt, +1 for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess; this stacks with any other bleed damage you are capable of dealing. Practitioners of the Duelist sphere never provoke attacks of opportunity when attempting combat maneuvers against a target currently taking bleed damage.
Some talents have the (bleed) descriptor; these talents are triggered when you deal bleed damage to a creature. You may only apply the effects of a single (bleed) talent to a given attack. A target that is immune to bleed damage is also immune to all other effects of talents with this descriptor.
Some talents have the (disarm) descriptor; these talents trigger whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a creature. You may only apply the effects of a single (disarm) talent to a given disarm attempt. (Disarm) talents cannot be applied to maneuvers performed as a free action.
…And Stay Down!
Whenever a creature lands prone in a square you threaten, you may make an attack of opportunity against them, dealing 1 additional point of bleed damage (this stacks with other bleed damage granted by the base ability of the Duelist sphere); this attack of opportunity considers “whenever a creature lands prone” and “whenever you succeed on a trip combat maneuver” to be part of the same trigger, and you cannot take more than one attack of opportunity due to this circumstance. If successful, the target of this attack must make a successful Acrobatics check to stand up (the DC of this talent increases by +1 for every point of bleed they are suffering) as their blood slicks the ground beneath them. Targets immune to bleed damage do not need to make an Acrobatics check.
When you succeed at a disarm combat maneuver check against a creature, instead of disarming their weapon you may choose to bind their weapon to yours. This attempt may be made against creatures even if they are wielding nothing but natural attacks or unarmed strikes. As long as the creature’s weapon is bound, they cannot move from the square they currently occupy. A creature whose weapon is bound may release the weapon as a free action or attempt to break the bind as a standard action by making a successful combat maneuver check against your disarm CMD. If the bound weapon is a natural attack or unarmed strike, the creature must succeed at a successful combat maneuver check to break the bind. You cannot attack with the weapon or limb used to bind a creature as long as the bind is in effect, but may end the bind at any time as a free action. Binding a creature’s weapon counts as a disarm for talents and abilities that require a disarm check or attempt.
Feint attempts made by creatures taking bleed damage always provoke attacks of opportunity from you, even if they would not normally do so. In addition, you gain a +1 competence bonus to Sense Motive checks, plus an additional +1 at base attack bonus +4 and every 4 points of base attack bonus thereafter.
When a ranged attack is made against you or a creature within your reach (except for unusually massive ranged weapons and ranged attacks generated by spell effects), you may cut the weapon (or ammunition) out of the air, deflecting the attack so the target takes no damage. As an attack of opportunity, make a melee attack roll at your highest bonus. If the result is greater than the attack roll total of the ranged attack, the attack is deflected. You must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Associated Feat: Cut from the Air.
You may ready an attack action to attack a creature with a sheathed weapon, drawing the weapon as part of the triggered action. If the attack is successful, in addition to its normal effects you may perform a single disarm, sunder, or feint attempt against the target as an attack of opportunity.
As long as a creature is currently taking bleed damage, their disarm and sunder attempts always provoke attacks of opportunity from you, even if they have an ability that would normally prevent them from doing so.
The bleeding wounds you inflict are more difficult to close; it takes at least 5 points of healing at one time or a DC 20 Heal check to end bleed effects you cause. At base attack bonus +5 and every 5 points of base attack bonus thereafter, the amount of healing required and the Heal DC to stop bleeding from your effects increase by 5.
You are able to deal bleed damage to behemoths, constructs, elementals, and undead, bypassing their normal immunity, though all bleed damage you deal to such creatures is reduced to half of what it would normally be, to a minimum of 1 point of bleed damage whenever you would successfully deal bleed damage to such a creature.
Your countless Duelist practices have built up thick scar tissue and callouses that provide you protection from bleeding wounds. You gain DR 2 / bludgeoning and reduce all bleed damage you take by 1; bleed damage cannot be reduced below 0 by this ability. For every 5 points of base attack bonus you possess, the damage reduction granted by this ability increases by 2 points and you reduce any bleed damage you take by an additional 1 point.
Clouding Cut (bleed)
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature, you may expend your martial focus to open a gash on the target’s forehead, brow, or another area near to their primary mode of vision. At the start of each of the target’s turns, when it takes bleed damage it also takes a cumulative 5% miss chance on all attack rolls. When that penalty would reach a 15% miss chance, the target instead treats all other creatures as having concealment (20% miss chance). If the target would take this penalty again, they are blinded. Stopping the bleed damage ends these effects.
Debilitating Injuries (bleed)
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature, you may cause them to take a penalty on all weapon attack rolls equal to the amount of bonus bleed damage granted to you by blooded strike for as long as the bleed is in effect. Any healing or other ability that ends the bleed also ends this penalty.
Hurricane Strike (bleed)
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature in the same round that you draw the weapon used to deal that damage, you may make an additional attack against each enemy within reach as an immediate action. Make a single attack roll with a -2 penalty and apply it against each target’s AC, dealing half your normal weapon damage to each creature that you hit. You may instead choose to target all squares within your reach, removing any difficult terrain in those squares for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your base attack bonus (minimum 1). At +10 base attack bonus, you instead deal your full normal weapon damage to all creatures hit with this talent.
Iai Slash (bleed)
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature in the same round that you draw the weapon used to deal that damage, that bleed damage is doubled for 1 round. If a creature is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by an attack modified with this talent, you may instantly sheathe your weapon as a free action.
Leg Cutter (bleed)
When you attack a creature using the attack action, you may take a -2 penalty on the attack to aim for a vulnerable point in their legs or equivalent limbs. If the creature takes bleed damage from the attack, they must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw or fall prone.
Open Vein (bleed)
Whenever you deal damage to a creature while using the attack action, you may expend your martial focus as an immediate action to deal an additional 1d4 bleed damage to that creature, +1d4 for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess. This stacks with other bleed damage granted by the Duelist sphere.
Perforating Wounds (bleed)
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature who is already taking bleed damage, they take an additional point of nonlethal damage for every point of bleed damage they take until the bleed effect ends.
Slickened Grip (bleed)
You aim your attacks for delicate veins whose bleeding causes the creature’s grasp to become slick and uncertain. When you deal bleed damage to a creature, they take a penalty to CMD equal to the total amount of bleed damage they are currently taking vs disarm and sunder attempts. This penalty is halved vs all other maneuvers (minimum: 1).
Finger Cutter (disarm)
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a creature, they take 1 additional point of bleed damage, +1 additional point for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess. This stacks with other bleed damage granted by the Duelist sphere.
Shattering Disarm (disarm)
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a creature, you may make a sunder attempt against the disarmed weapon as a swift action, treating the weapon as an unattended object for the attempt; if the disarmed creature is currently taking bleed damage, you may instead make this sunder attempt as an attack of opportunity.
Swift Slice (disarm)
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a target, you may make a single melee attack against them as a swift action at your full base attack bonus. If that creature is currently taking bleed damage from one of your attacks, you may instead make this attack as an attack of opportunity.
Traitorous Blade (disarm)
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a creature, as long as you have at least one free hand you may immediately catch the disarmed weapon and make a single attack with it against any creature within reach as an immediate action. If your base attack bonus is +10 or higher, you may instead make the granted attack as a free action that can be taken once per round, even if it’s not your turn.
Twirling Disarm (disarm)
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt against a creature, you may flick the creature’s weapon in such a way that it rebounds against them, dealing damage to the creature equal to the weapon’s base damage dice.
Whirlwind Draw (disarm)
In addition, you may threaten with a sheathed or carried weapon as long as you have enough free hands to wield it, drawing the weapon as part of any attack of opportunity a creature may provoke from you.
Bleed Air (bleed)
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere, base attack bonus +10.
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature who is already taking bleed damage, you are able to twist your blade to puncture a lung or similar organ, causing the target to begin suffocating 1d4 rounds later unless they succeed on a Fortitude save. Once the suffocation begins, in the first round, the target falls unconscious (0 hit points). In the following round, they drop to –1 hit points and are dying. In the third round, they suffocate and die. The target may make a Fortitude save each round to stave off advancing to the next stage, but they continue to make saving throws each round until they die or until the condition ends.
If the target receives at least 5 hit points of healing at any point before they suffocate, the suffocation effect ends and they resume breathing as normal. The suffocation effect can also be ended as a full-round action by a Heal check with a DC equal to your normal DC for combat sphere effects. Creatures who do not need to breathe are immune to this effect. If a practitioner uses Bleed Air against a creature that is currently suffocating, they are automatically moved 1 round closer to suffocation.
Dervish Launch (disarm)
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere, base attack bonus +6.
Whenever you succeed at a disarm attempt to cause a creature to drop a weapon they were wielding, you may use an immediate action to make a ranged attack with that weapon against any other creature within range. If the weapon cannot normally be used at range, it is treated as a thrown weapon with a range increment of 10 ft. Projectile weapons must be nocked or loaded at the time they are disarmed to be used with this ability. If the disarmed creature is currently taking bleed damage, you may instead make the granted ranged attack as an attack of opportunity.
Jugular Cut (bleed)
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere, Bleed Air, base attack bonus +15.
Whenever you deal bleed damage to a creature, if that bleed damage is not ended within 3 rounds, the creature must make a Fortitude save or die. The creature must continue to make a Fortitude save each round after this to avoid death until the bleed damage is healed.
Sever (disarm, bleed)
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere, base attack bonus +11.
When your natural dice roll for a disarm attempt falls within your weapon’s natural critical threat range (for example, when you roll a natural 18, 19, or 20 while attempting to disarm a creature with a rapier), you can choose expend your martial focus as an immediate action; the target must pass a Reflex save or have one hand used to wield the weapon severed. Abilities such as the keen weapon enhancement or the Improved Critical feat do not modify the threat range for this ability. The target takes 1d6 points of bleed damage from the wound, +1d6 for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess; this stacks with bleed damage granted by the Duelist sphere’s dedication.
With the exception of the bleed damage (which may be stopped as normal), there are many permanent penalties associated with losing a hand that can only be removed by a spell capable of restoring the severed limb, such as a regeneration or restoration spell, natural regeneration, or the Regeneration advanced talent from the Life sphere. These include:
- -5 penalty on Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Sleight of Hand, and Use Magic Device skill checks;
- -4 penalty on grapple checks;
- Must make a caster level check to cast spells with somatic components;
- Unable to wield two-handed weapons, make two-weapon attacks, or wield a tool in the missing hand, but may still wear a shield on the affected arm;
- Carrying capacity is not reduced. However, the maximum weight a character can lift over head or off the ground is reduced by one third.
A character who has lost both hands, or one hand and one arm, cannot use any of the listed skills, make attacks, cast spells with somatic components, or handle objects, without the aid of prosthetics or magic. A severed hand counts as an object three size categories smaller than the creature it came from.
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere.
Whenever you use the attack action to make a melee attack in the same round you draw a sheathed weapon, you may expend your martial focus as part of the attack to target a creature within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft. per 2 base attack bonus), provoking attacks of opportunity as though using a ranged attack.
Using this talent reduces the damage die of the weapon being used with this talent by 1 step, and the attack made with this talent is treated as a projectile for the purposes of being able to be blocked or deflected by effects. This attack is treated as a melee attack for all other purposes (and may not be used with talents or abilities which would only affect ranged attacks) except for the target of the attack. At +5 base attack bonus, using this talent no longer provokes attacks of opportunity. At +10 base attack bonus, attacks made using this talent no longer have their damage die reduced.
Prerequisite(s): Duelist sphere, Vacuum Cut, base attack bonus +11.
Whenever you use the Vacuum Cut talent, you may spend a move action to increase the effect, targeting all creatures within a Close range cone. Make a single attack roll and compare the result to each creature within the affected area; all creatures hit by the attack take damage as though you had them directly with a melee attack (including any bonus damage to which you would be entitled, such as from the Vital Strike feat). Only damage is dealt; no other effects granted by the attack action are applied.
Spheres of Might, © 2017, Drop Dead Studios LLC; Authors: Adam Meyers, Michael Sayre, Andrew Stoeckle, N. Jolly