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Martial Artist

Martial artists elevate their bodies to become weapons of war. Unlike monks who commonly dedicate themselves to an ideal or an organization like a monastery, martial artists are individuals who simply seek to master various forms of combat.

Role: Martial artists excel at overcoming even the most daunting perils, striking where it’s least expected, and taking advantage of enemy vulnerabilities. Fleet of foot and skilled in combat, martial artists can navigate any battlefield with ease, aiding allies wherever they are needed most.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 1d6 × 10 gp (average 35 gp)

Class Skills: The martial artist’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the martial artist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Martial artists are proficient with the club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, sling, and spear.

Martial artists are not proficient with any armor or shields and are not prohibited from wearing or using such.

When wearing armor heavier than light or carrying a medium or heavy load, a martial artist loses his AC bonus, as well as his fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.

AC Bonus (Ex)

When wearing light or no armor, and unencumbered, the martial artist adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD.

The martial artists Wisdom bonus to AC applies even against touch attacks or when the martial artist is flat-footed. He loses the bonus when immobilized or helpless, when he wears armor heavier than light, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

Flurry of Blows (Ex)

Starting at 1st level, a martial artist can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special martial artist weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the martial artist does not meet the prerequisites for the feat). For the purpose of these attacks, the martial artist’s base attack bonus is equal to his martial artist level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the martial artist uses his normal base attack bonus.

At 8th level, the martial artist can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the martial artist does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

At 15th level, the martial artist can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the martial artist does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

A martial artist applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A martial artist may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows. A martial artist cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special martial artist weapon as part of a flurry of blows. A martial artist with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.

Unarmed Strike

At 1st level, a martial artist gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A martial artist’s attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a martial artist may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a martial artist striking unarmed. A martial artist may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.

Usually a martial artist’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.

A martial artist’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

A martial artist also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown above on Table: Martial artist. The unarmed damage values listed on Table: Martial artist is for Medium martial artists. A Small martial artist deals less damage than the amount given there with his unarmed attacks, while a Large martial artist deals more damage; see Table: Small or Large Martial artist Unarmed Damage.

Bonus Feat

At 1st level, 2nd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, a martial artist gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as Combat Feats.

Stunning Fist (Ex)

At 1st level, the martial artist gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the martial artist gains the ability to apply a new condition to the target of his Stunning Fist. This condition replaces stunning the target for 1 round, and a successful saving throw still negates the effect. At 4th level, he can choose to make the target fatigued.

At 8th level, he can make the target sickened for 1 minute.

At 12th level, he can make the target staggered for 1d6+1 rounds. At 16th level, he can permanently blind or deafen the target. At 20th level, he can paralyze the target for 1d6+1 rounds.

The martial artist must choose which condition will apply before the attack roll is made. These effects do not stack with themselves (a creature sickened by Stunning Fist cannot become nauseated if hit by Stunning Fist again), but additional hits do increase the duration.

Evasion (Ex)

At 2nd level or higher, a martial artist can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks. If a martial artist makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a martial artist is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless martial artist does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Able Mover (Ex)

At 3rd level, a martial artist treats difficult terrain as if it was normal and adds his level to all Acrobatics skill checks.

Maneuver Training (Ex)

At 3rd level, a martial artist uses his martial artist level in place of his base attack bonus when calculating his Combat Maneuver Bonus. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally.

Still Mind (Ex)

A martial artist of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells and effects.

Slow Fall (Ex)

At 4th level or higher, a martial artist within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to slow his descent. When first gaining this ability, he takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The martial artist’s ability to slow his fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall when next to a wall) improves with his martial artist level until at 20th level he can use a nearby wall to slow his descent and fall any distance without harm.

Improved Evasion (Ex)

At 9th level, a martial artist’s evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless martial artist does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Quivering Palm (Su)

Starting at 15th level, a martial artist can set up vibrations within the body of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the martial artist so desires. He can use this quivering palm attack once per day, and he must announce his intent before making his attack roll. Creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the martial artist strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter, the martial artist can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to his martial artist level. To make such an attempt, the martial artist merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the martial artist’s level + the martial artist’s Wis modifier), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time. A martial artist can have no more than 1 quivering palm in effect at one time. If a martial artist uses quivering palm while another is still in effect, the previous effect is negated.