Mystic warriors hailing from the primal lands, war dancers are powerful manipulators of the battlefield. These men and women read the signs and omens of combat, feel the flows of his enemy's energy, and manipulate it to their own advantage.
The war dancer is a martial controller, manipulating opponents just like a wizard, but doing it from the front lines. He may not be as physically powerful as a barbarian nor as technically trained as a fighter, but few can change the course of a battle as quickly, or as effectively, as a war dancer.
The third class in our Summer Class Blitz, the war dancer is a class for anyone who loves hard hitting, tactical combat, and staying ahead of their enemies by manipulating them into submission. Aside from the basic class, this pdf includes 2 new war dancer spells, 5 war dancer feats, and two additional archetypes (southern war dancer and arcane war dancer,) showing the different ways war dancing can be incorporated into different societies.
The War Dancer's primary mechanic is, of course, his dances. Dancing is measured in rounds similar to a barbarian's rage or bard's performance, and each dance could confer a bonus or ability to the war dancer, a penalty to all enemies within reach, or some other manipulation of the battlefield. As the war dancer levels, he gains the ability to unlock more advanced versions of his dances, or perform multiple dances at once, although he must activate his dances in order over several rounds. This means that the war dancer is a very tactical fighter, similar to a controlling wizard: the wizard may boost allies one round, then drop a wall the next, then use a confusion spell, while the war dancer could prevent enemy movement, then drop their ac, then make them flat-footed to his allies. Like the wizard, the fun of the war dancer is creating synergies between his various abilities and the abilities of his allies.
Here's two example dances, just to illustrate:
Disruption (Ex): You disrupt the rhythm of enemies around you, stopping their effectiveness in combat.
Basic Step: Any opponent you threaten suffers a -2 penalty to their attack rolls. This penalty increases by 1 for every 5 war dancer levels you possess.
Advanced Step: Any attempt to move into or through the area you threaten costs twice as much movement as normal. Enemies cannot voluntarily take 5-foot steps into or through the area you threaten, although they may still take a 5-foot step to leave the area you threaten.
Expert Step: Any opponent you threaten suffers a -1 penalty to saving throws and AC. This penalty increases by 1 for every 5 war dancer levels you possess.
Harrowing (Ex): You turn your opponents expectations on their heads, using your movements to throw them off-balance.
Basic Step: When you successfully attack a creature with a melee weapon, you may forgo dealing damage to instead cause that creature to become flat-footed against one target of your choosing until the beginning of your next turn.
Advanced Step: When you successfully attack a creature with a melee weapon, you may forgo dealing damage to instead make the target sickened, deafened, or blinded for 1 round.
Expert Step: When a creature attacks you in melee and misses, you may redirect his attack against another target within that creature’s reach. If the attack roll would have been enough to overcome that target’s AC, the attack deals damage as normal to its new target.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
If you like old-school dungeon crawls, and by that I mean Wizardry, Might and Magic, and The Bard's Tale, Etrian Odyssey is awesome.
(They were still feeling their way around the first game, but 2 through 4 are definitely worth playing.)
EDIT: And to be more specific, the Dancer from 4 is a buffer/debuffer class that has three types of dances -- Sambas, Tangos, and Waltzes -- and can have one of each type going at once, with special options if all three are in play.
End, I really liked your review on this one. It certainly sounds like an interesting class, although much like you, a red flag did pop up in my mind once you said 'sense motive' and 'attacks' in the same sentence. Is there a limit on the use of that per day? I'm not a fan of Snake Style for that exact reason.
No, there isn't - immediate action, i.e. max 2 in one round - that's it, limit-wise.
Here's the text:
At 3rd level, a war dancer may anticipate
and manipulate his enemy’s attacks. As an immediate action,
whenever the war dancer is targeted by a melee or ranged
attack, he may make a Sense Motive check and use the results
as his AC or touch AC against that attack. The war dancer
must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed to use this
I love the class to death and in the right DM's hands, this can work great - but in the wrong player's hands this ability WILL BREAK a game. That's just about the only reason why I didn't SoA this one. And yes, Snake Style is also imho broken. I'm still trying to think of a way to salvage this ability, but honestly don't find one...
It would free him up a skill point per level, but you could make it a caster-level-ish check: Class level + Wisdom bonus. That's initially how we were going to do it, but with Snake Style making is Sense Motive, allowing bonuses like class skill and magic items that increase the skill, and a +2 to the skill just for having Snake Style, we thought we should keep it uniform with what was already printed in paizo's products.
Personally, and this is why I'd house rule it if I ever ran with this class, I don't let an overpowered option justify another overpowered option. I'll still be checking this book out tho, and I know a few people who would be interested in the concept as well.
A solution akin to concentration might be working for me, thanks! And I agree with Will - even Paizo sometimes botches and and I try to not let these spawn into other rules-contexts. That being said, I hope my review made abundantly clear that even when taking this one into account, I still do consider this a VERY intriguing class. :)