Long ago, in the time of the Great Fae, there lived a warrior of sublime grace and cunning, known as Tessrah Bladedancer. She developed a unique fighting style which she taught to some of her fellow Fae, and which was passed down among the High Elves after her death. Most High Elf Bladedancers were killed in the Second Great War, and the Fae who remember the art do not teach it to Midgaardians. Legend describes it as a semi-magical fighting style concentrating on misdirection and surprise. Like all Prestige Classes, they retain the original class's Prime Requisite, in this case, Dexterity. As the Bladedance is a highly passionate fighting style, Bladedancers can become Berserkers earlier than Rogues. However, they cannot become Assassins.
Bladedancers in General
In general Bladedancers are a melee class, low on spell casting with no in-class spells of their own, but with plenty of mana for secondary support or utility spells. They can take the role of tank or hitter with equal ease, drifting between the two as they need, more than competent in both positions, though not the best at either. Most similar in game-play to Rogues, they are a versatile class with plenty of different options and a solid set of things to do in any group. With their Stances, and high number of hits, Bladedancers can also resemble armed monks to some degree - Dexterity being a prime stat and mana being acquired easily but with little or no focus on it. In some ways, Bladedancers could be seen to take the place of the old Martial Artists, but with more emphasis on combat and less on spell casting.
At level 50, Rogues who meet the following requirements may become Bladedancers;
- Female - No male characters may become Bladedancers, nor neuter.
- 0(zero) Deaths - Your character may not have died up until this point, ever. If you are not sure if you have died or not so far, type score to find out.
- No, or, very very low racial damage modifier. Current known races: Drw, Elf, Gob, Gno, Dgn, Hel, Har, HiE, Hum, Kzn, Liz, Mir, Spr, Cen and presumably a number of other unconfirmed races.
- Poise practiced.
- You may not have Racial Evil. Due to this, Hob and Dsd are not able to become Bladedancers. If a Bladedancer remorts to a race with Racial Evil they will suffer a small mana cost penalty to some Bladedancer spells.
With Dodge being such an essential skill for Bladedancers in that it so strongly affects their stances, races with higher dexterity, rather than lower, would seem to be better suited to this Prestige Class. With creatable races, this would be Kzinti. Furthermore, as Racial Fly has a positive affect on one's chance to hit (i.e, negate a target's Dodge), then Harpy, or Sprite with Remort, may also prove to be good choices. Other races too may have advantages in play for Bladedancers, depending on play style. Lizardmen's use of tail to stun will increase the chance of dodging, while elves and drow will be able to make effective use of the Bladedancer's surplus of mana.
Also with the addition of Bladetrance this gives more use of the Bladedancers mana (especially at lord). Bladetrance mana cost per tick is possibly modified by a number of factors, which were highlighted in the testing phase helps these included:
- size (larger size has higher cost),
- stealth (worse stealth has higher cost),
- sex (non-female has slightly higher cost),
- 'bruteness' (higher has higher cost),
- align or racial evilness
Bladedancers have five quests by which they can unlock and improve the bladetrance ability.
See HELP BLADEDANCER QUESTS for more information. The first quest is available at Hero 675.
(No spoilers, please.)
Bladedancers at Hero Tier
Bladedancers at hero tier will be able to train their dexterity five higher than at lowmort tier and to train their other statistics two higher than at lowmort tier. They will continue to be able to raise each of their statistics up to three more than they can train them to (respectively), unless they devote themselves to a deity, in which case these amounts may be modified slightly. See Devoting below for more information about this subject.
Bladedancers practice with Araxia in Kingdom of the Willows. Sublime Grace is the first skill which should be practiced. This is the central skill for Bladedancers as it is a prerequisite for a number of other skills later on down the line, but beyond that it gives the ability to hit more often.
Enhanced Damage and Third Attack are possibly the most important skills to learn post-hero, as with Sublime Grace they will increase your hits to potentially six per round and the damage of each hit. Other skills or spells are essentially only as useful as you find them. However, Bladedancers appear to make reasonably good mana gains and Drow and Elves, for example, may be able to make good use of their no-fail quality to work as support or utility casters.
Once at 101, Bladancers will be able to practice Balance to increase the range of weapons they will be able to make use of effectively, learn Quickstrike and gain access to their Stances. Bladedance will only be useful when soloing or tanking, and Inspiring Dance only for the later when leading mana users. Dervish Dance, however, can be used from any position within the group.
Shizaga gives an increase to both mana gains and rogue damage. Also, devoting will give a +1 to maximum dexterity. However, Shizaga reduces melee damage. Tor increases both rogue and melee damage, and if devoted gives +1 constitution and +2 strength, but does reduce mana gains. Also, remember that worship affects crafting skills such as poison weapon.
Prior to 101, Bladedancers fight in a very similar way to Rogues and even afterwards, there are more similarities than differences to their play styles. They are reasonably versatile from the very beginning and can take tank or hit positions, and their ability to solo steadily increases as they advance in levels, as with all classes. Unlike rogues however, hit roll is important for Bladedancers. After 101 you will probably need at least 4 hits (out of 6 possible) to land to do decent damage.
Bladedancers do not solo especially well prior to 101. However, by the time they get Quickstrike and access to their Stances, they should have built up enough of a hp reserve to be able to take some damage. With a solid set of tank gear and Bladedance, the player should be able to solo level 60 or so mobs without much problem. In hit gear the speed of fights increases significantly, but so does the need for quaffs or some other form of healing during or between fights. Inspiring Dance is of no use when soloing, as you cannot monitor yourself, and Dervish Dance is probably only of much use in situations which are going to cause you some pain, until you gain several thousand spare hps.
With a decent set of tank gear, Bladedancers can tank from level 1 hero. However, with low hps it is inadvisable without a decent healer along on the run, or a significant amount of potions. Their high Dexterity makes them naturally good at tanking, but without using a shield, Rogues will have the edge in this field until 101. As with rogues, popular theory is to start fights using Vital Shot to the eye to create blindness, or Sneak Attack for more significant early damage, depending on the individual preference and the size of the mob.
Once at 101, a tanking Bladedancer will probably not want to use a shield at all, if they have even used one so far. This is because they now have access to Bladedance and Inspiring Dance. Bladedance will allow the Bladedancer to hit back each time they dodge an attack, providing they are making use of Sublime Grace to use identical weapons, which can increase a Bladedancer's hits from six to eight or even nine in a round. For this reason, using a second weapon and taking a hit to one's AC may be preferable to simply carrying a shield. In addition, rather than simply using purely defensive weapons (eg. Captain Dieme's Saber), some may find this tactic more effective if using a pair of 'normal' attack weapons which have been runed with AC bonuses. Essentially, dropping from a Shield Of Heroes and Dieme's Saber to a pair of sabers will worsen the Bladedancer's AC by as much as 66 (or more, if the shield is enchanted), but will give the Bladedancer an extra three attacks and allow them to use Bladedance. By substituting a pair of runed Blood-Soaked Rapiers for the sabers, then the AC will worsen by only another 10, but the hit and dam rolls will increase by 18 each (more if the rapiers are enchanted), which is a significant improvement if the Bladedancer is also seeking to do some damage while tanking.
Also only useful in tank position is the Inspiring Dance stance, which is also only useful if you are tanking for mana users. That said, it is a VERY useful stance which can almost fully recharge a mana pool in just a few short ticks. Additional mana for your groupies means longer runs, more healing for you, and greater ability for groupies to surge larger mobs to name just a few reasons to use this stance.
Finally, Dervish Dance is a very effective way to combat a large group of mobs in one room, starting with a Burning Hands spell (or something similar) to catch all the mobs attentions. As long as the Bladedancer's AC can hold up to the onslaught, or if they have an effective healer grouped, it allows the casters at the back to let loose with Acid Rain or Earthquakes and you contribute automatically to the area effect mayhem.
With Enhanced Damage and Third Attack allowing six attacks each round, Bladedancers can find themselves doing more damage than a warrior of the same race, even before 101. With the addition of Quickstrike at 101 into the bargain they can kick out a significant amount of damage each round and should find themselves a welcome hitter for any group. It should be noted though that Quickstrike will be less effective in larger groups, as many mobs will simply be dead before there is a chance to use it and that warriors of races with strong damage modifiers will still likely do more damage than your average Bladedancer.
A Sneak Attack trigger to activate off the tank's target will increase a Bladedancer's effectiveness in combat, as will the use of poisoned weapons. With sneak attack it's important to note that only about half will get through, so a normal kill trigger should be set to fire in this case. In general it is a good idea to use a different poison on each weapon, as Bladedancer's use both weapons equally well. Depending on the group make-up, tripping or tossing may be useful additions to the usual moves and with nothing better to do in a longer fight, a surged 2 Desiccate or Ultrablast can give you something to do.
At hero 800 a bladedancer can practice Sublime Flow. This will allow vital strikes even with cutting (slicing or slashing) weapons. However note that only piercing weapons can be poisoned. It is unclear if the damage increase from Sublime Flow is enough to offset the loss of poison weapons.
Dervish Dance is the only Bladedancer stance which is likely to be of any real use to you from a hit position (ignoring the advent of an aggie mob jumping you). However, this stance is only useful if two or more mobs are attacking your group at once. Striking automatically at each additional attacker beyond the first who is attacking anyone in your group is useful in aggressive or assisty areas, and areas which get swarmy. Where it really comes into its own though, is when you are part of an Area Effect run, probably lead by a Mage or Wizard who is using Acid Rain a lot.
Bladedancers do not make effective healers. All of their healing spells are out of class, and thus cause an extra round of lag. Without access to Augment, their healing is slow and basic and caps out at the Heal spell. That said, Bladedancers often have a surfeit of mana, and prior to 101 and Quickstrike may find themselves with little to do in a fight. In such circumstances, Bladedancers, especially those who are no-fail like Drow and Elves, are useful for topping up a group member's hps. Likewise, the ability to brandish here can be a useful enhancement to a run. However, Bladedancers should probably not be counted on to act as primary healers.
Bladedancers at Lord Tier
Bladedancers finally come into their own at the Lord tier, when they obtain the Veil Of Blades stance. This stance reduces all enemies' ability to hit for its duration, effectively increasing group member's AC. Inspiring Dance also scales extremely well with the caster-heavy Lord metagame, providing a significant boost to all group members' abilities to deal damage and heal others.
Bladedancers are at their best when there are two in a group, as this allows a stance rotation to occur: one Bladedancer veils while the other tanks with inspiring up, and then they switch when the stances are on cooldown to create a continuous loop. Veil from multiple Bladedancers also stacks, to the extent where two players at a high trance level can effectively disarm gear rooms.
Bladedancers Remort Options
There are no other class options available for a Bladedancer.