Defenders have spent long years mastering the dueling sword, pitting themselves against other dueling swords and all manner of weaponry besides. Their speed and reflexes weave a net of impenetrable steel around them, from which they strike and harry their unfortunate opponents. The most common form of dueling (and arguably the easiest of the techniques to master) focuses on avoiding damage and disarming foes; these swordlords prefer to wear light or no armor, trusting their skill for protection.

This archetype focuses on such techniques-characters seeking a more offensive method of focusing training on the dueling sword should consider the swordlord prestige class on page 20. However, this archetype also synergizes well with the powers and skills the prestige class offers.

The following benefits apply only when a defender is wielding a dueling sword and carrying nothing in his other hand. A defender fights with his sword wielded with both hands only in moments of desperation.

Suggested Feats: Although this archetype replaces some of the bonus feats that a fighter would normally have access to, defenders still have several opportunities to gain feats. The following feats are the most thematically appropriate for a defender, but the archetype does not require any of them: Dueling Mastery, Combat Expertise, Dazzling Display, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (dueling sword), Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Lunge, Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (dueling sword), Weapon Specialization (dueling sword).

Defensive Parry (Ex)

At 3rd level, when a defender makes a full attack with a dueling sword, he gains a +1 shield bonus to his AC against melee attacks until the beginning of his next turn. This bonus increases to +2 at 7th level, +3 at 11th level, and +4 at 15th level.

This ability replaces armor training.

Disarming Strike (Ex)

At 6th level, when a defender successfully disarms an opponent using a dueling sword, he also deals normal damage to the target, but without the normal Strength bonus to damage.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the fighter would normally gain at 6th level.

Steel Net (Ex)

At 8th level, a defender can create a blazing wall of steel to defend himself. When fighting defensively as a full-round action with a dueling sword, the defender’s penalties on all attacks in a round are reduced by 2, and his dodge bonus to AC increases by 2 for the same round.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the fighter would normally gain at 8th level.

Counterattack (Ex)

At 10th level, once per round, a defender can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who hits him with a melee attack (regardless of how many attacks of opportunity the defender can otherwise make), so long as the attacking creature is within the his reach.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the fighter would normally gain at 10th level.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Adventurer’s Guide © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Crystal Frasier, Tim Hitchcock, Jenny Jarzabski, Isabelle Lee, Joe Pasini, Jessica Price, David Schwartz, and Josh Vogt.

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