The sound of clashing steel upon a battlefield resounds with every step of this ironclad giant. Its armor bears harsh but elaborate flourishes, as though it were the war regalia of some merciless warlord. Each plate looks impossibly thick and heavy, like the hulking titan within is completely hidden by layer upon layer of tightly woven chain and impregnable steel.
The First Blade CR 15
AC 30, touch 10, flat-footed 29 (+20 armor, +1 Dex, –1 size)
hp 261 (18d10+162); regeneration 5 (adamantine)
Fort +20, Ref +12, Will +8
Defensive Abilities fortification (75%)B4; DR 15/adamantine and law; Immune magic, poison; Resist cold 10, sonic 10
Str 32, Dex 13, Con 28, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 13
Base Atk +18; CMB +30 (+32 bull rush or overrun); CMD 41 (43 vs. bull rush or overrun)
Feats Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Acrobatics +22, Climb +32, Intimidate +22, Knowledge (history) +21, Perception +23, Sense Motive +23
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal, Protean
SQ change shape (swarm form; see below), lord of battle, no breath
The First Blade’s slam attacks deal bludgeoning and slashing damage.
Its slams count as natural weapons or manufactured weapons (whichever is most beneficial to it) for the purpose of spells that enhance attacks, and as adamantine, chaotic, and magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness.
The First Blade automatically detects iron objects within 60 feet, just as if it possessed the blindsight ability.
Willing creatures within 100 feet of the First Blade gain the effects of rage automatically, whether they are allies or enemies of the herald. Those who choose not to be affected are immune to the aura until they leave the area and return.
The herald can transform into a floating swarm of Tiny sharp metal fragments. In this form it has the swarm subtype, cannot make slam attacks, gains the distraction ability (DC 28), and can make a swarm attack that deals 4d6 points of slashing damage to its targets.
Environment any battle
The First Blade is a living tool of war. Inspired by divine bloodlust, this shard of the god of battle’s blade continues to obey and do battle in the service of its divine master. Having been reforged through the eons into a manifestation of the perfect warrior, the First Blade serves as the war god’s herald, traveling where its master desires. Yet while the heralds of most deities go forth to bear the word of their divine patrons or answer the most desperate summons of their gods’ most pious servants, the First Blade endlessly marches to battle. Never interested in diplomacy or subtlety, the war god has little need for a messenger other than one capable of communicating in the language of the battlefield. The god of battle answers the calls only of those who please him in battle and request his heralds’ aid in epic clashes dedicated to his honor— weakling priests seeking salvation or cowardly revenge never have their entreaties for the herald’s presence answered.
The appearance of the First Blade changes to match a style of armor impressive to those against whom it will be doing battle, though typically notched as if it has been employed in numerous battles. Rarely seen in the same form twice, its plate mail form might vary from the elegant mail of angelic hosts to slabs of spiked iron over thick bestial hides more common to orc warlords. Whatever the shape, the interior of the armor is never visible. Those who have come close enough to the First Blade and survived claim that only more layers of armor lie beneath its plates, though the hint of something glowing within sometimes spills forth should the herald suffer a rare but occasional wound. Regardless of the specifics of its warlike form, the herald typically stands about 15 feet tall and weighs nearly 2 tons.
Although a living creature, the First Blade is little more than a weapon, knowing little beyond its lord’s command and going only where he wills. Like a golem in many respects, the herald leaves but scant traces upon the lands it passes through between battles, eating little and having no need even to breathe. In war, however, its presence and passage are obvious, marked by rent bodies and blood-soaked earth.
Although the First Blade can speak a variety of languages, few of those encountering the herald have heard it do so. Like its master, the First Blade prefers actions—especially violent, purposeful ones—to words. Typically its words are brief refutations of those who have summoned it for an unfit purpose, though several legends tell of the divine messenger offering its respect or the pleasure of its master before striking the final blow upon an opponent who has put up a particularly capable fight or proven her prowess on the field of battle.
Habitat & Society
While the herald of battle answers the call of servants of the lord of battle who seek their lord’s intervention in appropriately glorious battle, no accounts exist of the First Blade responding to any summons involving a task other than combat. Most accounts of the herald tell of the gory swaths it cuts through battlefields of heroes, in clashes between titanic armies, or in weeks-long battles between history’s greatest warlords. Rumors among the god of battle’s clergy also suggest that sometimes the herald appears when summoned to a lesser battle, but upon finding a mere skirmish or clash among weaklings, it slaughters all involved. Whether such an end is an honor or a disgrace for those killed remains a subject of some debate among theologians.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods © 2014, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Sean K Reynolds, with Amanda Hamon, James Jacobs, John Ling, Mark Moreland, David N. Ross, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber E. Scott, Tork Shaw, James L. Sutter, Jerome Virnich.