Example Sword Forms

Sword forms are what separates the truly elite fighter from the masses. They are part of the training regiment of the Borderlands elite guard, warders who have had formal training in Tar Valon, and, of course, The Blademaster. They allow for unique modifiers in combat situations and use a spell like slot system as a mechanic. Although they can be used with most types of weapons, they are primarily designed to function best when wielding a sword.

Level One Sword Forms

Heron Wades Through Rushes
This form is the first that is taught to a person studying the art of the sword. It is primarily used to practice balancing, and when used in combat leaves you wide open to an attack of opportunity. It does give you a chance to attack your opponent afterwards though, if you have the proper training.
Special: To perform Heron Wades Through Rushes, you must make a Concentration Check, DC10 if you are not in combat, DC15 if you are surrounded by combat but not personally engaged and DC20 if you are engaged in combat
Benefit: Performing Heron Wades Through Rushes gives you a +2 circumstance bonus to balance checks for 1d6 hours after you have performed it. It is also the first requirement in learning the ideal of Sheathing the Sword which allows you to give your opponent an attack of opportunity so that you in turn may attack them, doing major damage.

Cat Crosses Courtyard
The second form that is taught in traditional training, this is a walking stance that conveys a strong sense of arrogance, meant to intimidate your opponents. You are taught to walk keeping your back straight as if your spine was made of steal, while keeping your knees and hips loose like jelly. The end result is the strut of a mountain lion; proud and fearless.
Special: Performing Cat Crosses the Courtyard requires a successful concentration check. To practice the form under non-stressful situations, the DC is 10. In a mildly stressful situation, the DC is 15, in very stressful situations the DC is 20.
Benefit: At first level, you get a +2 to any checks made to intimidate a human that is a lower level character than you. Intimidated people are less likely to attack, and get minus’ to charisma checks for the amount of time that you are around.

Unfolding the Fan
Generally the third form taught, this is a ready stance used in situations where you expect enemies on all sides. In learning the form you are taught to imagine that your body is a Saldean paper fan that can fold in many different directly to accomplish different purposes.
Special: In a situation where you suspect that you might be in danger, you may assume the ready stance of Unfolding the Fan, to receive any bonuses to initiative; you must have already assumed the stance before any attacks are made. You may assume the stance though when you have sighted something that you view as a potential enemy, if you are unsure of whether they will attack you. Benefit: You receive a +1 to your initiative rolls for as long as you are assuming this stance

Folding the Fan
The fourth form taught, this stance is one in which you sheath your weapon and bow in one smooth move. Like Heron Wades Through Rushes, this is not necessarily a form used during battle, but it can greatly impress those around you when done properly. This form is used in much of the pomp and circumstance of court behavior all around the Westlands and is the proper way to sheath a weapon if in the presence of royalty.
Benefit: When in a social situations in which you have your sword drawn, this form gives you a +2 bonus to a diplomacy rolls made afterwards, as everybody is impressed with your etiquette.

Level 2 Swordforms

Falling Leaf
Once you have mastered the first four forms, a Blademaster will generally begin to teach you the art of defense. Falling leaf involves learning to move your body as if you were as light as a leaf falling softly to the ground.
Special: Falling Leaf is a move equivalent action that requires a concentration check DC15 in combat. When an opponent rolls a successful hit, you may automatically make a reflex save against the DC equal to their roll. If you succeed, you half the damage taken by gracefully “floating” out of the way.

Bundled Straw
As strange as it may sound, the sword form Bundled Straw is always performed in practice with a bundle of straw. A highly offensive form, it moves aggressively towards your opponent.
Benefit: +2 to attack, +1 to damage

Boar Rushes Downhill (requirement: strength 13+)
the fourth form taught, this is made to represent the ferocity and single-mindedness of a boar. Though this gives you bonuses to your strength due to your charge, you leave yourself open to other attackers for that round.
Benefit: You must be able to move at least 10ft before reaching your attacker, when you do you can add twice your normal strength modifier to attack, but you suffer a –3 penalty to defense against any other attackers until your next turn.
Special: This is a full round action.

Cat Stalks Through Grass (requirement: Cat Crosses Courtyard)
This is a modified version of Cat Crosses Courtyard which can be used to move silently through outdoor areas.
Benefit: +2 circumstance bonus to move silently checks made outdoors
Special: Under normal circumstances, the concentration DC to accomplish this is 10, under stressful situations, it may rise to 15.

Third Level Swordforms

Parting the Silk
This form is designed to teach you how to cut through armor as if it was silk.
Special: Because you must hold your blade at a very specific angle for it to cut through armor, the concentration check needed to perform this form is high. When fighting one opponent, the required concentration check DC is 20, add +5 to the DC of the concentration check for each additional opponent that you are in combat with.
Benefit: You cut the bonus given to a character’s AC by their armor by ½. Slices made by Parting the Silk are thin and almost invisible, so this does not give any additional bonuses to further attacks.

Cat on Hot Sands (requirements: dodge)
This form involves quick foot movement that takes you around your entire area of reach in a matter of seconds, much like a cat moving on hot sands.
Benefit: You get a +3 dodge bonus to all attackers, but cannot take a full round action or move during a turn when you perform Cat on Hot Sands; this dodge bonus stacks with your dodge bonus against one specific target.

Whirlwind on the Mountain (requirements: Whirlwind Attack)
this form is an extension of the Whirlwind Attack that allows for more precision in your attacks.
Benefit: When you make your whirlwind attack, you gain a +2 bonus to hit but suffer a –2 bonus to defense until your next turn.

River Undercuts The Bank
This low sweeping move allows you to make an attack on the lower portion of your opponent, damaging them and possibly tripping and temporarily crippling them.
Benefit: As a full round action, you swing your weapon on a low attack against your opponent. If your attack hits, the opponent rolls a reflex save with the DC of your attack roll. If they fail, they take the damage from the attack and are crippled for 1d6 days. This decreases their movement by half and gives them a penalty on any movement checks that they might make (climb, swim etc.) If they fail the check by ten or more, they are successful tripped and prone until their next round.

Fourth Level Sword Forms

Kingfisher Takes The Silverback (requirement: Unfolding the Fan, Improved Initiative)
This sword form was created to be the next step after Unfolding the Fan. Rather than imagining that your body is a paper fan, you are now asked to imagine your body as a kingfisher looking for a silverback for its next meal. Now not only are you ready, but you are on the offensive.
Special: Like with Unfolding the Fan, you must have assumed this stance before initiative has begun. You may assume this form when you see a potential threat, but only if you are uncertain if this might pose a threat, for instance, a suspicious person, but not a trolloc.
Benefit: You gain a +1 on your initiative roll, and may take one surprise round attack against an opponent who rolled lower on the initiative than you did.

Wind Blows Over Stone
This sword form is a complex dance that moves your center of balance up so that you can more easily reach over something to get to your opponent.
Benefit: You can ignore your opponents shield or cover bonuses.
Special: This is a full round action.

Humming Bird Kisses the Honeyrose (requirement: BA 6+)
With this sword form you learn to make your multiple attacks like a humming bird, using the recoil from one as the initial force behind the next.
Special: Due to the multiple attacks made with Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose, it is always a full round action. The two attacks must be made upon the same opponent.
Benefit: Whatever you succeed at an attack can be added to your second attack, and so on. For instance, if your opponent’s AC was a 15 and you roll a 20, you can add 5 to your second attack on that opponent.

Ribbon in the Air (requirements: dodge)
You flow and move with your opponents attack, provoking them to hit you so that you might get an attack of opportunity. You only take ¼ damage from the attack, but gain no strength bonus to any damage that you might inflict on your opponent due to your own attack.
Special: This is a full round action.

Fifth Level Swordforms__

Grapevine Twines (requirements: Dex 15+)
This form teaches you to move your sword in a complex spiraling pattern that confuses your opponent.
Benefit: You decrease your opponents AC by your dexterity bonus, and can then make a normal attack at your highest BA but with only half of your normal strength applied to damage.
Special: This is a full round action.

Lizard in the Thornbrush
This form teaches you to use your center of balance to your advantage by distracting your opponent and then dropping to one knee.
Benefit: You receive a +4 to attack and damage. You are at a –1 to defense until you rise to your feet again which cannot be done until the next turn. Standing up is a move action and provokes an attack of opportunity.
Special: This is a full round action.

Lion on the Hill
This form asks you to focus on the way that The Lion uses its momentum to its fullest advantage by pouncing and tearing in the same motion.
Special: This is a full round action.
Benefit: Whatever you beat the AC of your opponent by is applied to damage as you use the force behind your initial attack to maul your opponent with your weapon.

Shadow Take Flight
This form readies you to parry a blow. You must announce that you performing Shadow Takes Flight before you are attacked.
Benefit: Roll an attack at your highest base attack bonus, if your attack is higher than the attack made upon you, you parry the blow.

Level Six Sword Forms

Leaf on The Breeze (requirement: Falling Leaf)
This sword form is an extension of the form Falling Leaf. Rather than being a leaf gently drifting to the ground, you now train your body to be a leaf dancing on the breeze.
Benefit: When an attack is made against you, you roll a reflex save and if you succeed, you do not take damage from the attack.
Special: You must have declared that you are performing Leaf on the Breeze before an attack is made.

Courtier Taps His Fan
This form trains you in the art of attacking both silently and with deadly grace. In one quick motion you slice at your opponents throat.
Special: This is a full round action, you must roll a move silently check DC15
Benefit: If your attack roll beats the AC of your opponent by 10 or more, you slice his throat swiftly and silently. Your critical range is doubled with this attack, but you are at a –4 to attack due to your need to move silently.

Cat Dances on Walls (requirement: Cat on Hot Sands, Dex 15+)
This is a complex maneuver that can only be accomplished if you are standing next to a wall or solid object that is at least five feet high. With a successful dexterity check, you dance onto the wall itself, either evading the attacks made towards you or aiding in your own attack by catching your opponent off guard.
Special: You must roll a dexterity check DC18 to successfully complete this move. If you fail your dexterity check, you may only take one action for that turn and your AC suffers a –2 penalty for being distracted. This is a full round action when successful.
Benefit: You dance up onto the wall away from your opponent, giving you a +4 bonus to defense or towards you opponent giving you a +2 bonus to attack. Also, being able to dance up onto the walls is fucking cool, and you will feel like a thousand bucks after you have done it.

Level Seven Sword Forms

Dove Takes Flight (requirements: Kingfisher Takes the Silverback, Improved Initiative)
This form can only be acquired if one has studied the form Kingfisher takes the Silverback extensively. In it you learn to be so aware that when you are threatened, you get a full round action on your surprise round against your opponents.
Benefit: +1 to initiative and when you may take a full round action against any opponent who rolls five or more less than you on their initiative as a surprise round

Heron Spreads its Wings (requirements: Heron Wades Through Rushes)
this is a more complicated form of Heron Wades Through Rushes in which a swordmaster purposely leaves himself open to attack so that he may make an attack of opportunity against his opponent. This form is not taught to students, as it can be very deadly to the person performing it; and many have not lived to make their attack.
Benefit: If you hit your opponents AC, your attack is counted as automatically being a critical hit. Your opponent’s attack is always counted before your own, if your opponent does wound point damage to you, you must make your fortitude save before you can make your attack.
Special: Like Heron Wades Through Rushes, this form can be used with the feat Sheathing the Sword. This is a full round action.

Arcing the Moon
A complicated form that requires intense concentration and muscle control, this form can allow you to decapitate your opponent in one swing of your sword.
Special: This is a full round action. You must make a concentration check DC18, if you fail, the attempt to decapitate automatically fails.
Benefit: When you make a successful attack on your opponent, he makes a fortitude save DC15 (DC 10 + your BAB if it was a critical attack) against being beheaded. If they fail the save, they are beheaded and automatically dead. If they make their save, you deal normal damage.

Example Sword Forms

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