The Darkened Fortress focuses on creating solid structures, objects, and wards out of shadowstuff. Nightblades that follow the Path of the Darkened Fortress will find it easy to adapt in combat, as they can conjure whatever equipment or defense is needed for the current situation.
Path Power: A nightblade that follows the Path of the Darkened Fortress gains the following path power.
You can create a weapon made out of shadowstuff. The weapon must be a melee weapon you are proficient with. Being made of shadowstuff, the weapon is only partially real; creatures that realize the weapon is not real are less affected by it.
When you first attack a creature with the armament, it is entitled to a Will save to realize the weapon isn’t real. On a successful save, the weapon deals half damage to the target for the duration of the armament. A creature only gets one saving throw, regardless of how often you strike the creature.
At 1st level, the weapon created has a +1 enhancement bonus. For every three levels after 1st, the total enhancement of the weapon increases by 1, to a total enhancement of +7 at 19th level. The weapon cannot have an enhancement bonus higher than +5 (as with a normal weapon). At 4th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: blindstrike, frost, ghost touch, icy burst, keen, necrotic, necrotic burst, ominous, vorpal, and wounding. These properties do not function on a creature that makes its Will save. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. Duplicate abilities do not stack. The armament must be given at least a +1 enhancement bonus before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the armament is created and cannot be changed until the next time you use this power.
Creating a shadow armament is a move action and lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). As long as the armament’s duration lasts, you can “stow” and “draw” the weapon by dispersing and rematerializing the weapon. This takes the same amount of time it takes for you to draw or sheathe a normal weapon, including any reductions in time from feats and abilities such as Quick Draw. If you are ever disarmed of the armament or you throw it (as a thrown weapon) you can rematerialize the same weapon as if you were drawing it.
You can only have one shadow armament in existence at a time. If you use the power again, the previous armament vanishes.
Surge Ability: A nightblade of 2nd level that follows the Path of the Darkened Fortress gains the following ability to use with her shadow surge class feature.
As an immediate action, you can expend a shadow surge to turn your shadow into a solid barrier. The barrier grants you cover against a single enemy against the next attack or spell it uses against you, giving you a +4 bonus to Armor Class and a +2 bonus on Reflex saving throws. After a single attack is made, whether it hits or not, the barrier vanishes. At 10th level, the barrier instead lasts until the start of your next turn, granting you cover against all attacks and spells used against you by a single opponent during that time.
At 1st level, you gain an arcane bond, as a wizard equal to your nightblade level. In the case of a bonded object, the object allows you to cast any one spell you know once per day, as opposed to a spell in a spellbook. Your nightblade levels stack with any other class levels that grant an arcane bond when determining the powers of your arcane bond. This ability does not allow you to have both a bonded object and a familiar.
Unlike most arcane bonds, your familiar or bonded object can meld with your shadow. Melding your bonded object into your shadow or turning it back to a normal item is equivalent to drawing or stowing that object as appropriate (typically a move action) and appears in the appropriate place when manifested, such as around your neck for a bonded necklace or in your hands for a bonded weapon. Melding with your shadow or turning back to familiar form is a move action for your familiar.
When melded with your shadow, the familiar does not count as a creature separate from you. It continues to grant its special familiar ability while melded, but otherwise has no abilities and can take no actions except to transform from shadow into creature. It cannot be targeted by effects or spells, nor do spells that target you benefit or harm the familiar while it is melded. A bonded object that is melded cannot be targeted by effects, nor stolen, sundered, and so on, but is considered held or worn for the purpose of casting spells. A bonded object that is melded with your shadow continues to grant any passive benefits the object would grant when worn or held, such as the deflection bonus to AC from a ring of protection, but you cannot use any spell-trigger, activated, or command word abilities the object may have. You cannot use another magic item that occupies the same slot as a melded bonded object; if you do, the worn item takes precedence and the bonuses from the bonded object are negated (though you can still cast spells as if you were holding or wearing your bonded object).
At 5th level, you gain your choice of either Craft Magic Arms and Armor or Craft Wondrous Item as a bonus feat. Additionally, when you craft a magic item (except a potion, a spell-trigger item, or a spell-completion item) you may utilize shadow magic to replicate the required spells, letting you ignore one spell prerequisite without increasing the creation DC. You can ignore an additional spell prerequisite at 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.
At 10th level, you can reflexively cause shadows to coalesce about you, hardening to deflect deadly blows. You have a 25% chance of ignoring any critical hit or sneak attack used against you. This chance increases to 50% at 13th level.
At 15th level, you gain access to your own pocket dimension within the Plane of Shadow, forming as a private fortress for you and your allies. This functions as a permanent create demiplane spell, using your nightblade level as your caster level. You can choose the general features of the demiplane as described in create demiplane. Within the center of the demiplane is a mighty fortress, as the “structure” option of the create demiplane spell; the fortress can be any shape and layout you desire, but cannot exceed half of the demiplane’s total space (at 15th caster level, this is 75 10-ft. cubes of space). The interior of the fortress is protected by powerful abjurations, as a guards and wards spell using your nightblade level as your caster level. You decide what protections the guards and wards spell provides (within the limitations of the spell), can change what defenses are granted once every 24 hours, and can dismiss or reactivate the guards and wards as a full-round action while you are in the demiplane. Twice per day, you may teleport yourself and your allies to the dark citadel or from the citadel to where you came from as if casting a plane shift spell.
As it is in the Plane of Shadow, a creature cannot travel to your demiplane using etherealness or astral projection as with a normal demiplane, but it can be accessed via a shadow walk or plane shift spell. The size of the demiplane and the fortress itself scales with your nightblade level (up to 200 10-ft. cubes of space at 20th nightblade level for the entire plane, and up to 100 10-ft. cubes of space for the fortress); you choose the form of the additional space as you gain it. If the demiplane or the guards and wards effect within the plane are ever dispelled, it returns after 1 week (though any items stored in the demiplane are lost, if the whole plane was dispelled). You may add to the demiplane as normal by using other castings of create demiplane and its lesser and greater variants, but these additions are not permanent unless a permanency spell is cast on each addition. Even if this is done, if the whole plane is dispelled only the original demiplane returns; any additions you may have added to the plane do not return.
At 20th level, your control over shadow creation lets you create a constant barrier of darkness to defend yourself. You gain DR 5/silver and immunity to sneak attacks and critical hits. In dim light, darkness, or supernatural darkness, your damage reduction increases to DR 10/silver.
Nightblade Arts: A nightblade that follows the Path of the Darkened Fortress can select from the following nightblade arts.
- Dark Enchantment (Su)
- Improved Shadow Bond (Ex)
- Piercing Armament (Su)
- Shadow Equipment (Su)
- Versatile Armament (Su)
Path of Shadows, © 2015, Ascension Games, LLC; Author Christopher Moore