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Melee weapon have fallen out of favor in the modern age, but some melee experts own the battlefield.
Stances: Many Melee Combat feats allow a character to enter a named “stance.” A character may benefit from only one stance at a time. Characters without a Stance feat, or not using a stance feat ability, are considered to be in “normal stance,” which offers no special benefits or modifiers. Entering a stance requires 1 half action, while returning to normal stance is a free action. Characters who become helpless, prone, or sprawled, or who make any attack other than a melee attack, immediately return to normal stance.
Tricks: Many Melee Combat feats grant additional tricks that the character may use in conjunction with certain attack actions (see Actions, page 352). Unlike standard tricks, a character may benefit from only 1 trick granted by a Melee Combat feat at any time.

all-out attaCk

You hit hard. Really hard.
Prerequisites: Str 13+.
Benefits: Before making a melee attack, you may accept a penalty with your attack check up to your Strength modifier + 2 to gain a bonus to the attack’s damage equal to twice that number. If the attack misses, you become flat-footed.

axe basICs

You’re formidable with any sort of axe.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Edged).
Benefits: While you hold a readied axe, the weapon gains the armor-piercing (2) quality and you gain a +1 gear bonus with skill checks made as part of a Trip action and melee attack checks made as part of a Disarm action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Menacing Stance (Stance): While you’re in this stance, each of your melee attacks inflicts 2 points of stress damage (in addition to any other damage inflicted).
Chop! (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with an axe, gaining a +3 bonus with your attack check and damage. This attack gains the takedown quality.

batterIng bloWs

You can unleash a devastating combo if you can get close to your opponent.
Benefits: You gain the following Grapple trick.
Clobber (Grapple Trick): While you hold a readied melee weapon , you may make an Athletics (Str) check with a –2 penalty if the weapon is 1-handed, or a –4 penalty if the weapon is 2-handed. With success, you inflict your standard unarmed damage, followed by the weapon’s standard damage. If you also possess the Darting Weapon feat, you inflict the weapon’s damage a second time. If you also possess the Flashing Weapon feat, you inflict the weapon’s damage a third time. Further, each time the target suffers s the weapon’s damage, he is subject to the takedown quality. Finally, your opponent is moved into any adjacent unoccupied square (of your choice). Whether your Athletics check is successful or not, the Grapple immediately ends and you may not target the same opponent with attack actions for the duration of the current round.

CleaVe basICs

Your blows can be terrifyingly powerful.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1 or higher.
Benefits: Once per round, if one of your melee attacks renders an opponent unconscious or dead, you may immediately make 1 “cleave” melee attack with the same weapon against another opponent.

CleaVe mastery

“Surrounded” is just another way of saying “you’re about to get yours.”
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6 or higher, Cleave Basics.
Benefits: Any number of times per round, if one of your melee attacks renders an opponent unconscious or dead, you may immediately make 1 “cleave” melee attack with the same weapon against another opponent. Further, your threat range with melee attacks against standard characters increases by 1.

CleaVe supremaCy

You casually mow down lesser foes.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +12 or higher, Cleave Mastery.
Benefits: You may move 5 ft. before each “cleave” attack you make, so long as the total distance you travel does not exceed your Speed. Further, your Action Die cost to activate a critical hit with a melee attack against a standard character decreases by 1 (minimum 0).

Club basICs

You’re here to administer some severe blunt trauma.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Blunt).
Benefits: When holding a readied club, you may convert lethal damage to subdual damage and vice versa at no penalty. Further, you may use an improvised club without suffering the standard –2 penalty with your attack checks. Finally, you gain the following stance and trick.
Furious Stance (Stance): At the end of each round while you’re in this stance, your Initiative Count increases by the number of melee attacks you made during the round.
Out of the Park (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with a club, gaining a +2 bonus with your attack check and damage. Your threat range with this attack increases by 2.

dartIng Weapon

Your strikes are almost too fast to follow.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +3 or higher, at least 1 other Melee Combat feat.
Benefits: At the start of your Initiative Count, you may choose to gain 1 final melee or hurled attack. If you do so, you suffer a –2 penalty with all attack and skill checks — including the final attack — for 1 full round.

duelIng basICs

You’re a master of one-on-one combat.
Prerequisites: Base Defense bonus +1 or higher.
Benefits: During your Initiative Count, you may choose 1 opponent of whom you’re aware. You gain a +2 dodge bonus to Defense against all attacks made by that opponent for 1 full round. If you do not choose an opponent, you gain a +1 dodge bonus against all attacks for 1 full round. Further, once per round when making a melee attack, you may target an opponent 5 ft. beyond your Reach. If the attack misses, however, you become flat-footed.

duelIng mastery

Your weapon is an extension of your body, and you incorporate it into your martial arts techniques.
Prerequisites: Base Defense bonus +2 or higher, Dueling Basics.
Benefits: You gain a +1 bonus to Defense while you hold a readied melee weapon. Further, any time an adjacent opponent misses you with an attack, his Initiative Count decreases by 2. Finally, you may attack with a melee weapon while benefiting from an unarmed combat stance.

duelIng supremaCy

Your melee weapon attacks are fluid and flawless.
Prerequisites: Base Defense bonus +4 or higher, Dueling Mastery.
Benefits: You gain a +2 dodge bonus to Defense. Further, any time you hit an opponent with a melee weapon, your Initiative Count increases by 1.

FenCIng basICs

You’re as graceful and poised as your blade.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Edged).
Benefits: While holding a readied 1-handed sword possessing the finesse quality, you gain a +2 gear bonus with skill checks made as part of a Feint action, and with melee attack checks made as part of a Disarm action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Side Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you gain 1 die of Sneak attack damage with your next attack against an opponent upon whom you’ve successfully performed a Feint action. However, your Defense decreases by 1 and you may not move farther than 20 ft. during any round.
Remiss (Trick): When you miss with a Standard Attack action using a 1-handed sword possessing the finesse quality, but do not suffer an error, you may immediately make 1 final attack against the same opponent with the same weapon.

FInesse basICs

Your control of melee weapons is exceptional.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1 or higher.
Benefits: Any 1-handed melee weapon you use may gain the finesse quality. Further, when attacking with a 2-handed melee weapon possessing the massive quality, your Initiative Count does not decrease as standard.

FInesse mastery

You’re quite good at hitting tiny targets.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6 or higher, Finesse Basics.
Benefits: Your threat range with melee attacks increases by 1.

FInesse supremaCy

When you draw steel, people have a tendency to die abruptly.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +12 or higher, Finesse Mastery.
Benefits: Your threat range with melee attacks increases by an additional 1 (for a total increase of 2). Further, your Action Die cost to activate a critical hit with a melee attack decreases by 1 (minimum 0).

FlaIl basICs

Your opponents have to watch really closely to see the swing that takes them out.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Blunt)).
Benefits: While holding a readied flail, you gain a +2 gear bonus with melee attack checks made as part of a Cheap Shot trick, or skill checks made as part of a Feint action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Punishing Stance (Stance): While you’re in this stance, each of your melee attacks inflicts 2 points of subdual damage (in addition to any other damage inflicted).
Double Twirl (Trick): When you miss with a Standard Attack action using a flail, but do not suffer an error, you may immediately make 1 final attack against the same opponent with the same weapon.

FlashIng Weapon

Your weapon is a blur.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +12 or higher, Darting Weapon, at least 2 other Melee Combat feats.
Benefits: When you use your Darting Weapon feat ability to gain 1 final attack, you may increase your attack and skill check penalty to –4 in order to gain 1 additional final melee or hurled attack (for a total of 2 final attacks).

garrote basICs

You’ve choked the life from your strongest enemies.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Blunt).
Benefits: While you hold a readied garrote, your threat range with skill checks made as part of a Grapple action increase by 2. Further, each opponent you successfully hold automatically becomes mute. Finally, you gain the following stance and Grapple trick. Stalking Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you gain a +3 bonus with Sneak checks made in combat. However, you may not move farther than 20 ft. during any round. Tighten the Noose (Grapple Trick): If you score a threat or critical hit against one of your held opponents, the target must immediately begin making Fortitude saves as if he’d already held his breath for a number of rounds equal to twice his Constitution score (see page 349). This continues until you release him, until he escapes the hold, or until the target dies.

great sWord basICs

You swing the mightiest of weapons with ease.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Edged)).
Benefits: While holding a readied 2-handed sword, you gain a +2 gear bonus to Defense against melee attacks, and with skill checks made to defend against a Trip action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Power Stance (Stance): While in this stance, your Initiative Count increases by your Strength score. However, you may not move farther than 10 ft. during any round.
Hack! (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with a 2-handed sword, gaining a +1 bonus with your attack check and a +4 bonus with damage. Your threat range with this attack increases by 1.

hammer basICs

You often finish enemies with one crushing blow.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Blunt).
Benefits: While you hold a readied hammer, the weapon gains the armor-piercing (2) quality and you gain a +2 gear bonus with Intimidate checks. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Driving Stance (Stance): Each time you hit with a melee attack while in this stance, your opponent is pushed 5 ft. away from you (unless the square is occupied or blocked, in which case he suffers 1d4 subdual damage). If your opponent is pushed back, you may move 5 ft. toward him.
Crush! (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with a hammer, gaining a +2 bonus with your attack check and a +5 bonus with damage.

ImproVIsed Weapon basICs

You can turn almost anything into a deadly weapon.
Benefits: You gain a +3 bonus with Gear checks made to find improvised weapons. Further, you suffer no gear penalty with attack checks or damage when using an improvised weapon. ImproVIsed Weapon mastery Your ability to find and exploit improvised weapons is so impressive, it’s a wonder you even carry weapons.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +3 or higher, Improvised Weapon Basics.
Benefits: When you make a successful Gear check to find an improvised weapon, you may choose the improvised weapon type found, and the weapon is always located in an adjacent square. Further, you may make a Gear check to find an improvised weapon once per combat without spending an Action Die.

knIFe basICs

Knives dance in your hands.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Edged).
Benefits: You may draw a knife as a free action, and any knife on your person is always considered readied. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Circling Stance (Stance): While you’re in this stance, if at least 1 square adjacent to you is unoccupied, and you make a melee attack, your target’s dodge bonus to Defense decreases to 1/2 standard (round up). Following this attack, you automatically move into an unoccupied adjacent square of your choice.
Between the Ribs (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with a knife, inflicting 1 die of Sneak attack damage with a hit.

polearm basICs

You twirl polearms with deadly velocity.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Edged)).
Benefits: While holding a readied polearm, you gain a +1 gear bonus to Defense. Further, you may attack adjacent opponents with a polearm without suffering the standard –5 penalty. Finally, you gain the following stance and trick.
Striking Stance (Stance): Once per round while you’re in this stance, you may make 1 melee final attack against any opponent who moves into a square adjacent to you. However, you may not move farther than 5 ft. during any round.
Fend (Trick): You may immediately move 5 ft. after any Standard Attack action with a polearm, whether the attack is successful or not.

spear basICs

You’re a master spear combatant.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Edged)).
Benefits: While holding a readied spear, you gain a +2 gear bonus with skill checks made as part of a Bull Rush or Trip action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Gripping Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you may use 2-handed weapons with 1 hand, but you suffer a –2 penalty with attack checks when doing so.
Spear Charge (Trick): You may make a full-action Standard Attack with a spear. You may move up to your Speed — and must move at least 10 ft. toward your target — immediately before making this attack. You suffer a –2 penalty with this attack check, but your threat range increases by 3 and you gain a +3 bonus with damage.

staFF basICs

A simple stick is transformed into a brutal weapon in your hands.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Blunt)).
Benefits: While holding a readied staff, you gain a +3 gear bonus with Acrobatics/Jump checks. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Whirling Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you may not become flanked by characters with lower career levels.
Thread the Needle (Trick): You may make a Standard Attack using a staff. With a hit, the target suffers the weapon’s standard damage and becomes held, retaining this condition until he escapes, you release him, or you move farther than 5 ft. from him.

sWord basICs

All swords are sweeping arcs of death in your hands.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Edged).
Benefits: After hitting an opponent using a 1-handed sword without the finesse quality, you may immediately move to the opposite side of the opponent (though only if the square is unoccupied). Further, you gain the following stance and trick. If a weapon you’re wielding ever gains the finesse quality, all of this feat’s benefits are immediately lost until the weapon loses the finesse quality.
Unbeatable Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you gain a +1 morale bonus with all attack checks made against opponents who have suffered damage from one of your melee weapons during the current combat.
Impale (Trick): You may make a Standard Attack with a 1- handed sword without the finesse quality, inflicting 1 additional point of damage per 2 points by which your attack result exceeds your opponent’s Defense.

WhIp basICs

You do a fine job of keeping up with the Joneses.
Prerequisites: Weapon proficiency (Exotic (Blunt)).
Benefits: While holding a readied whip, you gain a +2 gear bonus with Acrobatics/Jump checks and skill checks made as part of a Trip action. Further, you gain the following stance and trick.
Intense Stance (Stance): While in this stance, you may make no attack checks for 1 full round to gain a +2 bonus with all melee attack checks and damage during the following full round.
Entwine (Trick): You may make a Standard Attack using a whip. With a hit, the target suffers the weapon’s standard damage and becomes held, retaining this condition until he escapes, you release him, or you move farther than 10 ft. from him. Further, at the end of each round during which the target remains held, you may shift him into an unoccupied square adjacent to him.