The Battle Sage

Christopher West – or at least the Australian gamer Christopher West that had a gaming store and blog – seems to have disappeared from the internet, and even the wayback machine doesn’t have most of his Eclipse builds. It does have some though, and I have a few more – so, as time permits, I’ll see what I can reconstruct. Since there was a request for the Battle Sage, this build is up for reconstruction first – even if I do only have partial notes on it and so will be filling in quite a bit.

The Battle Sage is a medium-duty combatant who can call forth a weapon designed to work against a particular opponent – presuming that he or she knows enough about said opponents history to summon the appropriate opposing powers. Secondarily, he or she can help his companions coordinate their tactics against particular opponents.

That wasn’t a bad idea at all; a scholar built as something other than a primary spellcaster is a lot of fun – and, according to his notes, Mr West was indeed enjoying himself with it.

Our sample Battle Sage is level three, and is thus built on 96 (L3 Base) +6 (Duties to his order) + 6 (Disadvantages) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Abilities (64 CP Total): BAB +3 (18 CP), Hit Dice: 3d8 (12 CP), Saves Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +2 (15 CP), Proficient with Light Armor (3 CP), Shields (3 CP), all Simple Weapons (3 CP), and a limited set of Martial Weapons (Longsword and Bows, 3 CP), and 7 Skill Points (7 CP).

Special Abilities (56 CP):

  • Vengeance Of The Long Fallen: Ranged Spirit Weapon with Exotic Appearance (Yaun-Ti Serpent Bow, appearance varies with the opponent), Specialized for Reduced Cost/Requires a History Check at DC 15 (+2 for each additional time it is called forth in a day), and only lasts for one minute per level when summoned (6 CP).
  • Breath Of Legends: Focused, Versatile, Improved, Imbuement, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effects (Gains an extra +1, the effects of a weapon crystal of choice (although this does not decrease the enhancement bonus necessary to use more powerful crystals), and may use Versatile to reallocate the plusses each time the weapon is summoned). Requires it’s own History check after the “Vengance Of The Long Fallen” is called forth to empower it, can only be used with the spirit weapon, not with a normal Yaun-Ti Serpent Bow – and so cannot be used very often. So when a battle sage summons his or her weapon it has an effective bonus of (1 + Level/3) (12 CP).
  • Armor of Myths: Innate Enchantment: Specialized for Reduced Cost/only active when the Spirit Weapon ability is active. 6600 GP effective value, 4 CP.
    • Master’s Touch (x.5, only for Yuan-Ti Serpent Bow and the Armor in this package, 1000 GP).
    • Force Shield I (x.7 Personal Only, 1400 GP).
    • Mithril Breastplate (+5 AC, Max Dex +5, ACP -1, ASF 15%, Move 30, 4200 GP).
  • Ward Of Legends: Focused, Versatile, Improved, Imbuement, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effects (Gains an extra +1, the effects of an Armor or Shield crystal of choice (this does not decrease the enhancement bonus necessary to use more powerful crystals), and may use Versatile to reallocate the plusses each time the armor is called upon). Requires it’s own History check after the “Weapon Of Legends” is called forth to empower it, can only be used with the Armor of Myths above and so cannot be used very often. So when he summons his armor he gets a bonus on it of (1 + Level/3) (12 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, Corrupted / only to keep Adept skills maxed out (4 CP).
  • Adept: Knowledge/History, most likely a Martial Art, and two other skills of choice (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Psychometry. This effectively combines Sensitivity to Psychic Impressions, Object Reading, and Blood Biography (Pathfinder) (6 CP).
  • Rally the Legions/Presence. The user and all allies within 10′ gain the Legionary Feat, but if they leave that radius they loose the beneft and cannot regain it for the rest of the encounter. (6 CP).

At this point the Battle Sage’s primary advantage is fairly obvious. When your third level party desperately needs a +1 Undead Bane Ghost Touch weapon they are not likely to have one handy – unless the group contains a Battle Sage. At which point said Sage can spend a round making knowledge checks, and suddenly be wielding one – along with some armor with just the right protective effect on it. While a Battle Sage is still a one-trick pony at this level, many third level characters are – and it is a fairly good trick.

What to buy at higher levels? Well, here are some possibilities:

Classics Of War (12 CP): Mystic Artist (Knowledge / History) with Echoes, Specialized for Double Effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost: Only to employ the inspiration abilities that grant positive levels, only to provide bonuses in combat against specified enemies, requires that the player provide some tolerably plausible directions. Unfortunately, such device is always fairly specific; the user cannot simply provide directions against “orcs”, it must be something like “They are fighting in a version of the Keldian Style! Such variants are weak against…”.

“Serinican Iron Golems? Strike at the joints in the legs: they are weakest there and have a hard time defending them!”

Giving some of your allies two positive levels for the purposes of fighting those iron golems provides them with 2d10 (+2 x Con Mod) hit points, +2 to their BAB, AC, and Saves against them, and 12 CP worth of special benefits. At the simplest… how does Augment Attack (+4d6 damage versus Iron Golems, 12 CP) sound?

This does require a +9 or higher (Skill + Attribute Bonus) in Knowledge/History – but that shouldn’t be any problem by level four or five.

Chains Of History (12 CP): 1d6 (4) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (Minor Edits cost 1 Point, Notable Edits cost 2, Major ones cost 3, and Grandiose ones cost 4). Requires a History Check at DC 15/18/24/36 for Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose Edits, only for Reality Editing, only to “recall” convenient “facts” that can be used against a particular enemy, allows a Will save at a DC of (14/18/22/26 + User’s Int Mod) to resist, may only spend 4 mana on Chains of History per encounter. Plus Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only to refill the Chain of History Mana Pool.

  • Minor: “Call upon the Light of Ixion when you cast! She will empower your spells to pierce his cloak of darkness!”. Reducing an opponents effective Spell Resistance can be quite helpful.
  • Notable: There is a bare patch on his left breast! Aim there and your arrows will sink deep!” At this level… you get a bonus to hit and extra damage. As a minor edit, you might just get a small bonus to hit.
  • Major: “His Crown! Much of his power lies within his Crown! If you destroy much of his magic will fail!”
  • Grandiose: “But I know your true name, Ramthonosiderin Of The Seventh Abyss, and by it I command you to return to the Darkness from which you came!”

With this trick you can make an enemy vulnerable to particular types of attacks, force them to engage specific enemies (he goes berserk if you insult his…), and hamper them in many other ways. Of course, there is always the dreaded “I made my save!” “Foolish Scholar! Did you think that I would not have taken measures to counter such attacks when I knew that my weakness against them had been discovered?”.

Voice Of History (12 CP): This one is simple: take Breath of Legends to Specialized for Double Effect instead of Half Cost (12 CP) and double up the bonuses.

Armor of Inevitability (12 CP): Take Ward of Legends to Specialized for Double Effect instead of Half Cost (12 CP) and double up the bonuses.

Digging Up The Dirt (6 CP): Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/only for Favors, may cause serious resentment if used incautiously. Given a few hours to check around, the Sage can find enough blackmail material on individuals or groups to extract two Minor or one Major favors from them – and need not ask about being asked for favors in return since the connection will soon cease to exist.

Unleash The Hounds Of War (6 CP): Inherent Spell/Summon Nature’s Ally III with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost / can only summon Dire Wolves and Wolves. Later Inherent Spells can include things like Legend Lore and other divinatory or battlefield effects.

March Of History (6 CP): Advanced Blessing (Affects up to (Cha Mod individuals plus the caster), Specialized for Reduced Cost / can only “share” the benefits of Vengeance Of The Long Fallen, Breath Of Legends, and Master’s Touch abilities – allowing much of the party to share in the benefits of suddenly having a nifty weapon customized to suit the opponent.

Overall, the Battle Sage is reasonably effective – and often very convenient to have around – in a fight. Unless they broaden their ability set, however, their out-of-combat options are a bit thin. Still, the real fun in playing one lies in being able to make stuff up, be a know-it-all, and have it actually work. Even just their basic weapon-and-armor setup invites you to add names, a history of mighty battles, and tales of enemy defeats to things – all justified because those things are now empowering your weapon!

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