Dancer (3.5e Class)
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Dance has long been an important part of Bardic traditions, and many Bards have used Dance as an important medium for their many abilities. However, Dance has always been accompanied by sound, be it clapping or tambourine or the tapping of their feet, because it has always been the sounds of Bardic music that have held their power.
At the same time, Bards have always been jacks-of-all-trades, dabbling in a great many things, their storytelling and minstreling being dashed with a bit of magic, their songs embodying their own charisma and leadership to bolster allies in battle, and with their wit and eloquence holding their own in the courts of kings. Martial Bards have been noted throughout history - the military Bard have been an important part of infantry units in armies throughout history for their abilities to improve others, but even Bards who take up weapons themselves, while less usual, are far from uncommon.
As it turns out, many Bards found that Dancing was well suited to Martial combat, and a variety of Martial Disciplines might be incorporated well into their Dance routines. These Bards discovered that for the Martial arts, as opposed to the magical, it was the movements of Dance, rather than the sounds, that were important. As these Bards moved away from sound and towards motion, they became more and more distinctive, and have become known as Dancers.
Making a Dancer
Dancers are, like Bards, support characters. They have enough base attack bonus to stand in combat, but they have access to relatively few martial maneuvers and their ability to use them is somewhat limited, especially at low levels. Their ability to help allies or hinder enemies makes all the difference, however, and makes Dancers a formidable part of any party. Further, they tend to be very charismatic, just like Bards, and are thus quite suitable as a party face.
Abilities: Charisma is by far the most important ability of the Dancer; almost all of her abilities are tied to her Charisma. However, since she, more so than the Bard, is likely to find herself in melee combat, a Bard cannot afford to skimp on the Dexterity she needs to avoid blows and place her own, or the Constitution required to be able to weather those hits she cannot dodge. Like Bards, a Dancer is a jack-of-all-trades, making some Intelligence important, and unlike Bards, their Will saves are not good, so Wisdom cannot afford to be ignored. However, Dancers rarely bother with huge muscles, preferring speed and stamina to pure Strength, since most of their damage comes from their Martial Maneuvers and they cannot wear armor.
Races: Elves, unsurprisingly, are very often Dancers; the grace and elegance of the dance is strongly appealing to them. Halflings are also well known for their dancers, and humanity, as always, represents a great number of them as well.
Alignment: Any non-lawful.
Starting Gold: As Bard.
|Saving Throws||Special|| Maneuvers
| M. Readied
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+0||Artful Dodge, Bardic Dance, Bardic Knowledge, Distracting Dance -1, Weapon Finesse||2||2 (2)||0|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+0||Rally Performance||3||2 (2)||1|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+1||Heartflame Dance||3||2 (2)||1|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Refine Performance||4||2 (2)||1|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Martial Pose, AC Bonus +1||4||2 (2)||1|
|6th||+4||+5||+5||+2||War Dance||5||2 (2)||1|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+2||Dance of the Wild||5||3 (2)||1|
|8th||+6/+1||+6||+6||+2||Distracting Dance -2||6||3 (2)||1|
|9th||+6/+1||+6||+6||+3||Martial Art||6||3 (2)||1|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+7||+3||AC Bonus +2||7||3 (2)||2|
|11th||+8/+3||+7||+7||+3||Dance of the Wind||7||3 (3)||2|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+8||+4||Dance of the New Moon||8||4 (3)||2|
|14th||+10/+5||+9||+9||+4||Distracting Dance -3||9||4 (3)||2|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+9||+9||+5||Charming Dance, AC Bonus +3||9||4 (3)||2|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+5||Slow Dance||10||4 (3)||2|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+5||Twin Dance||10||4 (3)||3|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+11||+11||+6||Dance of the Cosmos||11||4 (3)||3|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+11||+11||+6||The Endless Waltz||11||5 (3)||3|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||The Last Dance, Distracting Dance -4, AC Bonus +4||12||5 (3)||3|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Dancer.
Armor and Weapon Proficiency: Dancers are proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons that may be used with Weapon Finesse, as well as with Whips. Dancers are not proficient in any Armor, and wearing Armor interferes with their Dances.
Maneuvers: A Dancer begins with knowledge of two Martial Maneuvers. A typical Dancer knows Maneuvers from the Dancing Leaf, Scarlet Rose, Setting Sun, and Shadow Hand Disciplines. The Coin's Edge, Chthonic Serpent, Fool's Grip, Lost Lyrics, Scarlet Bravura, and White Raven Disciplines, however, are alternate Disciplines for the Dancer.
Dancers learn additional Maneuvers as listed in the table. The Dancer must also meet a Maneuver's prerequisite to learn it (see Table 3-1, Tome of Battle, pg. 39, to determine the highest level Maneuver a Dancer can learn).
Upon reaching 5th level, and every odd level thereafter, a Dancer may choose to learn a new Maneuver in place of one she already knows. In effect, she loses the old Maneuver in exchange for the new one. She can choose a new Maneuver of any level she likes, as long as it is a level that she may know; it may even be a higher level than the Maneuver she forgets. She may only swap a single Maneuver at a given level.
Maneuvers Readied: A Dancer's Maneuvers are indelibly tied to her Dancing ability. Though a Dancer may ready two Maneuvers at 1st level, and gains the ability to ready more as she gains levels, she never gains the ability to ready very many. She readies her Maneuvers by spending five minutes practicing, and then starts combat with these Maneuvers available. After using one, it becomes expended, and is not available until the end of the combat, or until she finishes one of her Bardic Dances, when these Maneuvers are recovered.
However, when a Dancer prepares her Maneuvers, she also practices her Dance routines — and can incorporate Maneuvers into them. See her Bardic Dance ability, below.
Stances Known: A Dancer begins play without any Stances, but at 2nd level, she may learn one Stance from any Discipline from which she may learn Maneuvers. At 10th and 19th level, she may learn additional Stances. Unlike Maneuvers, Stances are not expended, and do not have to be readied. All Stances known to a Dancer are available at all times, and she may switch between them as a Swift action. A Stance is an Extraordinary ability unless noted otherwise in its description.
Unlike Maneuvers, a Dancer cannot change her Stances after selecting them at the appropriate levels. Receiving training in an alternate Discipline is an exception to this, however.
Artful Dodge (Ex): A Dancer gains a bonus to her Armor Class equal to her Charisma modifier during any of her Dances. This bonus applies against Touch attacks and when she is flat-footed, as long as she is unarmored and in one of her Dances when attacked.
Bardic Dance: Once per day per Dancer level, a Dancer may begin any of the Dances that she knows as a move action. Dances provide benefits, either strengthening the Dancer and her allies, or weakening her foes, similar to Bardic Music. For her Dance's effects to work, she must be seen by each of those affected. These effects also last only as long as the Dancer is Dancing. Also, when a Dance is finished, her normally prepared Maneuvers are recovered, so she may use them again. During a Dance, the Dancer cannot maintain her Martial Stance, and so loses the benefits of that Stance, though she may return to it as a Free action once the Dance is complete. A Dance lasts a number of rounds as indicated in each Dance's description; a Dancer may cease Dancing as a free action, but this does not count as completing the Dance for the sake of recovering her Martial Maneuvers.
Furthermore, when a Dancer readies her Martial Maneuvers, she also prepares her Dances and may associate a number of Maneuvers with each Dance. The number of Maneuvers that may be associated with each Dance is listed in the table, in parentheses in the Maneuvers Readied column. She must prepare ahead of time on which round of the Dance she will use each associated Strike or Boost, though Counters do not need to be associated with a given round, since they are to be used as needed. Any number of Dances may be prepared with the same Maneuvers, as desired.
When she enters combat, she may begin a Dance as a Move action, and it will last for a number of rounds indicated in the Dance's description. The round in which it is initiated is round 1, and on each round her actions may be used to initiate the Dance's associated Maneuvers. If she wishes, she can forgo the prepared Maneuvers in order to take any other action she could otherwise make, but she misses the opportunity to use that Maneuver and may not use it until she starts the Dance over. She may initiate her normally prepared Maneuvers at any point in which they would be normally allowed in the Dance, including at times when she had planned to use some other Maneuver associated with the Dance.
Every Dance that a Dancer may learn requires a certain number of ranks in Perform (Dance). If the Dancer does not have enough ranks by the time she gains the appropriate level in the Dancer class, she does not learn that Dance until she does.
For example, a 1st level Dancer knows the Distracting Dance, which lasts 3 rounds, and can ready two Maneuvers, so she may select what Maneuvers she'll be using on which rounds. She might, for example, choose to prepare Lightning Speed for the second round of Distracting Dance, and then select Crawling Ivy Strike to be used on the third turn. When she begins to use the Distracting Dance, her Move action is spent beginning it, while her Standard action may be used normally. On the second round, she may use Lightning Speed for her Swift action, or else she may give up Lightning Speed to use something else. She is free to use her Standard action as normal. On the third round, her Standard Action may be used for Crawling Ivy Strike, though she may again choose to forgo the opportunity to use that Maneuver.
A Dancer has difficulty Dancing in Armor or while carrying heavy weights, and wearing even Light Armor halves the duration of her Dance as well as the number of Maneuvers she may associate with it. If wearing Medium or Heavy Armor, or while carrying a Medium or Heavy Load, the Dancer may not use any of her Dances.
Bardic Dance may count as Bardic Music in some situations, though this is left to the DM's discretion. Typically, if uses of Bardic Music are being used to power some other feature, Dance should usually work just as well. Similarly, if the benefit given to Bardic Music is not specifically sound-based, then Dance should not work.
A Dancer may also know how to sing or play an instrument (especially, say, one who uses the Lost Lyrics Discipline), but these performances do not typically carry the magic that either her Dances or a Bard's Music would.
Bardic Knowledge: As the Bard feature. A multiclass Bard/Dancer stacks both classes' levels for determining her total bonus to Bardic Knowledge checks.
Distracting Dance (Ex): The Distracting Dance lowers enemies' awareness in combat, leaving openings for the Dancer and her allies. All enemies affected by the Distracting Dance take a −1 distraction penalty to Armor Class, Attack Rolls, and Saving Throws. Their DR is also lowered by 1, unless they have none, in which case they take 1 extra damage whenever they are successfully hit. These penalties last for the entire three-round duration of the Distracting Dance.
The Distracting Dance requires at least 3 ranks in Perform (Dance).
For an 8th-level Dancer, these penalties all increase to −2. For a 14th-level Dancer, they are −3, and for a 20th-level Dancer, they are −4. If any enemy affected by Distracting Dance has less DR than the total penalty, the DR is reduced to 0 and then the remainder of the penalty is treated as extra damage that the enemy takes when hit.
Weapon Finesse: A Dancer gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat at 1st level.
Rally Performance (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a Dancer hones her skill as a public performer and can reroll a Perform check once per day, but only when attempting to impress audiences for the purpose of earning money. A Dancer must take the result of the reroll, even if it's worse than the original roll. See Perform on page 79 of the Player's Handbook.
Heartflame Dance (Su): During a Heartflame Dance, a Dancer gains a Performance bonus equal to her Charisma modifier to her Attack and Damage rolls. Her allies gain a Performance bonus on their own Attack and Damage rolls equal to one third her Charisma modifier. The Heartflame Dance lasts four rounds, and requires 6 ranks in Perform (Dance).
Refine Performance (Ex): At 4th level, a Dancer learns how to make his performances more appealing to the public of a prosperous city and is considered to have rolled at least a 2 on each d10 or d6 when determining how much money was earned each day from a Perform check. See Perform on page 79 of the Player's Handbook. At 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 16th, and 17th level, a Dancer is considered to have rolled 1 number higher on each d10 (for example, at least 3 at 5th level, at least 4 at 7th level, etc.). By extension, a Dancer is considered to have rolled at least 3 on each d6 at 7th level, at least 4 at 11th level, and at least 5 at 16th level. At 19th level, a Dancer earns the maximum amount of money for her performance.
Martial Pose (Ex): A 5th level Dancer retains her Artful Dodge bonus while in any Martial Stance, even if not Dancing. This feature only functions for Dancers with at least 8 ranks in Perform (Dance).
AC Bonus (Ex): Every 5 levels (5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th), a Dancer gains an extra +1 to her AC, at any point when Artful Dodge is in effect.
War Dance (Ex): A 6th-level Dancer with at least 9 ranks in Perform (Dance) may use a War Dance, which lasts four rounds. Each enemy affected by the War Dance must make a Will Save with a DC equal to 10 + the Dancer's Cha modifier + half her class level, or lose his Dexterity bonus to AC for the round. The enemy must make the saving throw each round in which he is subject to the War Dance.
Dance of the Wild (Ex): During a Dance of the Wild, a 7th level Dancer and her allies may ignore penalties to speed, movement, or skill checks associated with movement (such as Tumble, Jump, and Climb checks) incurred by moving through difficult terrain. They may even run or charge through it. The Dance of the Wild lasts five rounds, and requires 10 or more ranks in Perform (Dance).
Martial Art (Ex): At 9th level, a Dancer gains the ability to maintain her Martial Stance during any of her Dances. Unlike usual, she may retain the benefits of her Stance while using a Dance. This feature requires 12 ranks in Perform (Dance).
Dance of the Wind (Su): By using a Dance of the Wind, a 11th level Dancer with at least 14 ranks in Perform (Dance) may grant each of her allies (including herself) a 40' Fly speed with Good Maneuverability. This Dance lasts six rounds.
Wiznaibus (Su): With at least 15 ranks in Perform (Dance), a 12th level Dancer may use Wiznaibus, a Dance in which her enemies are each subject to the area version of Dispel Magic. The Caster Level of this effect is equal to the Dancer's Initiator Level, and is capped at +20. Wiznaibus lasts six rounds, and every creature that can see the Dancer may be affected each round.
Dance of the New Moon (Su): The Dance of the New Moon, learned by a 13th level Dancer, lasts seven rounds. At the beginning of the Dancer's turn each round, each of her allies becomes invisible as by the Invisibility spell. The Dance of the New Moon requires at least 16 ranks in Perform (Dance).
Charming Dance (Su): A 15th level Dancer may dance the Charming Dance for seven rounds so long as she has at least 18 ranks in Perform (Dance). Each round, she may choose any enemy who can see her, and that enemy must make a Will save against 10 + her Cha modifier + half her class levels, or be Charmed, as with the Charm Monster spell.
Enemies who fail a single save are Charmed for the duration of the Dance, but may be subject to additional saves to increase the duration, as listed on the chart below:
|Number of Failed Saves||Duration of Charm Effect|
|1||Duration of Dance|
|2||Seven rounds after the Dance ends|
|3||Rounds equal to Dancer level|
|4||Rounds equal to twice Dancer level|
|5||Minutes equal to Dancer level|
|6||Minutes equal to twice Dancer level|
Slow Dance (Su): For the eight-round duration of the Slow Dance, all of a 16th level Dancer's enemies are treated as having an Initiative 10 lower than their actual Initiative. Those who have already had their turn on the round in which the Dancer begins this dance do not get a second turn that round, even if the penalty would put them after the Dancer. Similarly, at the end of the Dance, any enemies who have not gone but would have gone before the Dancer go immediately after her, in order, and take their next turn as dictated by their unpenalized Initiative. The Slow Dance requires 19 ranks in Perform (Dance).
Twin Dance (Ex): A 17th level Dancer with at least 20 ranks in Perform (Dance) may begin a second Dance while already in the middle of another. Both Dances' effects work and the Maneuvers associated with both Dances may be used as normal (though the Dancer may be forced to choose between two Maneuvers if they are planned for the same action). Each Dance lasts its normal duration, and the second Dance requires three daily uses of the Dancer's daily use of Bardic Dance. The Last Dance may not be used with any other Dance, even with Twin Dance.
Dance of the Cosmos (Su): At 18th level, a Dancer may use the Dance of the Cosmos. This Dance lasts seven rounds, and requires at least 21 ranks in Perform (Dance). On her turn each round, the Dancer may switch the places of her allies as the spell Benign Transposition, though any ally (including the Dancer herself) may end up in any other ally's previous position. Further, each ally (including the Dancer herself) may, as a Move action, teleport up to a distance equal to their land speed on each round in which the Dance is active.
The Endless Waltz (Ex or Su, depending on the Dance chosen): A 19th level Dancer with at least 22 ranks in Perform (Dance) may choose one of the following Dances: Distracting Dance, Heartflame Dance, or Dance of the Wild. The chosen Dance's benefits always affects the Dancer, or its penalties always affects her enemies, as appropriate, and does not count as one of her two simultaneous Dances. Further, she may, as a Free Action, begin the maneuver sequence associated with the Dance as normal, though after doing so that sequence is effectively Expended, and she cannot begin that sequence again until she Recovers her Maneuvers by completing a different Dance.
The Last Dance (Su): For the nine round duration of the Last Dance, a 20th level Dancer causes a Maw of Chaos to appear as if she had cast the spell herself. The caster level of the spell is equal to her class level.
Using the Last Dance requires seven daily uses of Bardic Dance, however, and only a Dancer with 23 ranks or more in Perform (Dance) may use it.
A Dancer who becomes Lawful in alignment cannot progress in levels as a Dancer, though she retains all her Dancer abilities.
|Allowed Alignments||Neutral Good +, Neutral +, Neutral Evil +, Chaotic Good +, Chaotic Neutral + and Chaotic Evil +|
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Martial Maneuvers +|
|Class Ability Progression||Full +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Good +|
|Identifier||3.5e Class +|
|Minimum Level||1 +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Good +|
|Skill||Appraise +, Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Decipher Script +, Diplomacy +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Gather Information +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Martial Lore +, Move Silently +, Perform +, Profession +, Sense Motive +, Sleight of Hand +, Speak Language +, Swim + and Tumble +|
|Skill Points||6 +|
|Summary||Dancers are the Bards of the Sublime Way. Mixing magical dance with martial maneuvers, Dancers provide considerable support for their allies and can themselves be deadly in combat. +|
|Will Save Progression||Poor +|