The War Dancer (PFRPG) PDF

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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.

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A fun martial controller class with a neat array of abilities

****( )

I wrote an in-depth review for this product in this link.

In short, the War Dancer is a mobile martial class which uses Dances, a daily per-round resource akin to a Barbarian's rage. When performing a Dance a War Dancer gains increased battle prowess and an ability to manipulate enemy attacks and even the battlefield itself. The thirteen sample dances are overall good and range in use from increased reach and single attacks with can target multiple enemies, energy damage and elemental ranged attacks, fast movement with increased speed and dimension door, and bonus anti-mage feats such as Disruptive and Spellbreaker.

Aside from its iconic features, the War Dancer gains other abilities, such as spontaneous spellcasting up to 4th level, a per-day True Strike for landing guaranteed shots on tricky-to-hit opponents, a monk-like AC bonus, and the ability to substitute their Sense Motive for their AC vs. one attack. There are also two archetypes which allow the war dancer to gain access to the abilities of the magus and bard to a limited extent.

My main complaints are that without the archetypes the lack of armor use will make War Dancers very squishy for melee fighters and need frequent healing, and a few of the dances are left lacking in comparison to the other options.

But when all is said and done, this book is well worth it for its price and the class is quite fun and versatile option for martials in Pathfinder.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a short fluffy introduction, we're introduced to the new War Dancer base-class - so what is it about? Crunch-wise, it gets d10, 4+Int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good fort- and ref-saves, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and shields, but not any armors. In case you haven't guessed - analogue to the monk, when unarmored the war dancer adds his wis-mod to AC and CMD and starting at 3rd level and every 4 levels after that, s/he increases the AC-bonus further by +1 and also works versus touch attacks. Also, at first level, a war dancer chooses one type of damage - slashing, piercing or bludgeoning - and gain proficiency with all exotic melee weapons that deal this type of damage: A rather cool design decision here.

But what would a war dancer be without dances? Starting at 1st level, war dancers get 4+Wis-mod rounds of dance per day, further increased by +2 rounds per level. Starting a dance is a swift action and nets the benefits of the basic step of the respective dance and entering a higher level step of a dance is a swift action as well, while stopping a dance is a free action. But what are these dances? Well, War Dancers start the game with one known dance and learn additional dances at 4th level and every 4 levels afterwards. A total of 13 different war dances are provided - but how do they exactly work?

At first level, a basic step becomes available for the war dancer, at 5th level, s/he learns to enter the advanced steps of his/her war dances. At 13th level, the final step, the expert step of the respective dances becomes available - though all steps need to be activated in succession, always going the route basic, advanced, expert. At 9th level, two dances may be active at the same time, at 17th level even three ones.

So what do these dances do? Well, let's take a look at the first one, the Dance of Earthbreaking: Basic steps add +1d6 acid damage to melee attacks. The advanced step allows you to emit a shockwave as a standard action that knocks creatures up to 60 ft away prone whereas the expert step allows the war dancer to open up pits, grow walls out of the ground, create a stone dome, shape earth or move the earth. As you may have guessed, there also is a flame-themed, a water-themed and an air-themed war dance, but that's not all: Take e.g. the disruption dance, which penalizes the attacks of foes from all your threatened squares by -2, increasing it by 1 for every 5 class levels. As advanced step, the war dancer makes all threatened squares cost twice as much movement and as expert step, a -1 penalty (+1 for every 5 levels) to AC and saves further makes being around a hostile war dancers, especially those with ranged weapons, an unpleasant proposal.

Beyond these, there also is a duel-centric war dance, but more interesting would probably be the force blade dance, which increases the range of your weapons, cutting/damaging foes usually beyond your reach - and actually gets different advanced and expert steps depending on the style you chose at first level - while the elemental dances were cool, this one actually does something rather different and offers solid mechanics to back its iconic concept. Two thumbs up. Going more offensive with the forceful dance is also possible.

Also interesting regarding tactical options is the harrowing dance, which allows you to forego melee damage in favor of causing your foe to temporarily become flat-footed - your rogue ally will thank you... Sickening, deafening and blinding foes temporarily are also possible with this dance. In direct comparison, the magic splitting dance, which "only" nets you access to the Disruptive, Spellbreaker and Teleport Tactician-feats, feels rather uninspired. Additional speed and forced movement also feature among the war dancer's options via dances.

Beyond dances, 2nd level war dancers may as an immediate action use true strike 1/day +1/day for every 4 levels. At 3rd level, the war dancer gets an ability that is rather interesting - to offset the rather bad AC of the class, as an immediate action, war dancers may react to ranged and melee attack by making a sense motive check and substitute the result for his/her AC or touch AC, upping the chances of evading that particular strike. It should be noted, that the ability does not work (thankfully) versus combat maneuvers.

War Dancers also learn to cast a limited array of spells via wis starting at 4th level - at caster level -3 analogue to the paladin and ranger as a spontaneous caster and uncanny dodge/improved uncanny dodge also feature in the class abilities. As a capstone, war dancers can start with both basic and advanced steps at once.

After a short paragraph on war dancers in your world, we get 5 new feats for +6 rounds of dancing, advancing to an advanced/expert step as a free action (but not allowing you to enter multiple dances), gain an extra dance, an extra guided strike or an extra specialization. We also get two new spells, one allowing you to grant an ally the benefit of your dance or grant an ally +20 to one attack - as a standard action.

We also get two new archetypes for the War Dancer: The Arcane War Dancer who gains light and medium armor proficiency, dance via Int instead of wis and instead of the sense-motive based evasion, the class gets an arcane pool and replaces spells with a magus' arcana - interesting choice, albeit perhaps a bit oddly named - no spells for arcane war dancers might seem a bit counterintuitive, but this complain should be considered cosmetically only.

The second archetype would be the Southern War Dancer, who gets an expanded skill-list and 6+Int skills instead, can dance in light armor (and gain proficiency in it) and use cha instead of wis to calculate his/her abilities and spellcasting. Furthermore, these dancers get limited access to some bardic performances (again, instead of the sense motive-attack evasion)and at first level, they get a special dance that bolsters allies: While the AC-bonus and morale bonus to saves as advanced step/expert steps respectively are neat, the basic step imho is a tad bit too strong, granting all allies within 30 ft. fast healing 1, increasing the amount healed at higher levels. While not massively overpowered and evening out fast in higher levels, I'm not particularly comfortable with area-effect fast healing at 1st level. Personally, I'd add the caveat that a maximum of class level individuals can be affected at once by this basic step.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting per se are top-notch; I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to an easy to read 2-column standard with nice full color artworks. The pdf comes with a printer-friendly version and no bookmarks, but extensive hyperlinks to d20pfrsd.com. However, hyperlinking is not consistent, with e.g. the Disruptive-feat not being hyperlinked or the spell-list lacking some hyperlinks/having some faulty ones - e.g. bull's strength links to the str-score. Hyperlinks should be done right and consistently, so minus points for that.

The War Dancer is an interesting class - taking the concept of a melee fighter sans armors without wildering (too much) in the monk's territory into a creative and well-executed direction with various bold and neat design-decisions that actually make the armorless melee fighter work well and feel distinct - though he can nova better than any base-class focused on melee so far - something DMs should consider. However, there are some rough edges - from the lack of bookmarks to the at times faulty hyperlinks, the War Dancer feels a tiny bit less polished than it could have been. Also, in contrast to e.g. the Vauntguard, we get no sample NPCs, though I won't hold that against the pdf. DMs allowing war dancers should take heed regarding skill-boosting magic items, though and comparatively, the class is definitely on the upper end of the power-scale - DMs may wish to tightly control which magic items find their way into the war dancer's hands.

Still, in the end, the pdf is slightly less polished than I would have liked and hence, I'll settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform and missing the 5 only by a slim margin since its balancing, at least to me, is a bit off with all the options to hit with relative precision and evade attacks with buffed up sense motive.

Endzeitgeist out.


Paizo Employee Digital Products Assistant

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Huh. Do these guys have a main class ability that could be shared to get an idea for it?


Dot... also interested. Of course this kind of makes me think of the Swordmaster class from Tactics Ogre..


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It makes me think of the war dancer. The Warhammer war dancer. Is this class stepping on any toes?


It makes me think of a tragically obscure comic book character :)


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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.


And now this reminds me very much of the Dancer class from Etrian Odyssey IV.


Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
And now this reminds me very much of the Dancer class from Etrian Odyssey IV.

That's what I thought too!


I haven't played it, but now I think I should.


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.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This also reminds me of the Battle Dancer base class (originally 2e I believe, then updated to 3.5 in the Dragon Compendium).


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop. Cheers!


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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.


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Thanks! :D

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
ability.

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...


Yee-ow. I can kind of dig that they made the swift actions very important for the class, so they can't always use that ability....

You could house rule it to use half of your sense motive roll. Or only allow it to be used when you aren't using a dance.


Yeah, I think I might be going alongside something like the latter suggestion - or band enhancements, making it a rank+class-skill-bonus-only-check.

Still, the class is at least not broken, just a tad bit off for my tastes.


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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.


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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.


Wow the descreption really gets you in there.


How similar is it to the "Battle Dancer" class from Dragon Magazine (3.0 years, I think)?

Just added to my shopping cart, thanks to EZ's review. Different enough from the Battle Dancer to be worth picking up!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I might need a little bit of help on this.... but why is Snake Style overpowered? Just curious why this is so.


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. :)


I am REALLY digging this class.

Is there any chance of more archetypes? Or possibly FCBs?


Mythraine wrote:

I am REALLY digging this class.

Is there any chance of more archetypes? Or possibly FCBs?

We're actually contemplating taking this and our other classes and updating them as needed/expanding them with new content and publishing it as an "Adventurers of Skybourne" collected volume. No official declaration on if/when that might happen, though.

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