Master Pankratiast

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Master Pankratiast

Relics & Rituals: Olympus

© 2004 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. Distributed for Sword and Sorcery Studios by White Wolf Publishing, Inc.

By W. Jason Peck, Aaron Rosenberg, Christina Stiles and Relics & Rituals: Olympus team

The martial art of pankration — a word that has been defined as “all-powers” or “all powerful” — is a style of unarmed combat that is justly famous throughout the civilized lands. It is a largely grappling style, but one that incorporates heavy use of fists, knees, elbows and kicks, as well as focusing on brutal joint locks and destructions. It is in part due to its viciousness that pankration (also called “the pankration”) has achieved such popularity as a sport. The pankration is particularly popular among dwarves and amazons, as both peoples are so hardy that their champions can endure longer and survive more brutal matches. Many half-orcs are also drawn
to the pankration, though their matches tend to be over more quickly — a half-orc’s opponent must disable the half-orc quickly, or be brutally punished by the half-orc’s great strength.

True masters of the pankration, however, are more than just skilled athletes. A master pankratiast is said to be able to wrestle great monsters to the ground, pulling down minotaurs and chimerae as easily as a shepherd might hold down a lamb. His hands are as deadly as spears, and he is able to resist the most fearful punishment.

Fighters and barbarians are naturally attracted to the sheer power of the pankration, as are some rangers and a few clerics (particularly of Ares). A monk who specializes in grappling may find the mastery of pankration extremely appealing. There is nothing inherently dishonorable about pankration, though most paladins lack the merciless streak that allows one to truly master the art. Druids, rogues, bards, sorcerers and wizards are unlikely to aspire to the rank of master pankratiast.

An NPC master pankratiast often runs his own school, teaching the finer points of the art to pupils he considers worthy. Many enter athletic contests whenever they get the opportunity, which is often a nasty surprise
to other contestants in the wrestling or boxing events. Some master pankratiasts live apart fromthe hubbub of city life, choosing to hone their skills by wrestling bulls or wild bears.

Hit Die: d10.

Requirements

To qualify to become a master pankratiast, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +6
Feats: Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Toughness
Special: The aspiring master pankratiast must participate in a series of formal pankration matches against other worthies of the sport in order to prove his ability to a potential instructor.

Class Skills

The master pankratiast class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Strength), Craft (Intelligence), Escape Artist (Dexterity), Heal (Wisdom), Intimidate (Charisma), Jump (Strength), Profession (Wisdom), Swim (Strength) and Tumble (Dexterity).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

The Master Pankratiast
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Grapple Damage (Medium/Small)
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Endurance conditioning 1d4/1d3
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Agile grappler 1d6/1d4
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Stunning strike 1/day 1d6/1d4
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Exceptional leverage 1d8/1d6
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Joint pop 1d8/1d6
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 Stunning strike 2/day 1d10/1d8
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 Bone crack 1d10/1d8
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 Exceptional leverage II 2d6/1d10
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 Tendon rip 2d6/1d10
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Stunning strike 3/day 2d8/2d6

Class Features

All of the following are features of the master pankratiast prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The master pankratiast gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

Increased Unarmed Damage: When a master pankratiast is grappling an opponent, he is able to cause more damage than an ordinary person would, as shown on Table 2–7. This damage may be either lethal or nonlethal, at the master pankratiast’s discretion. This increased damage applies only during a grapple, and not with ordinary unarmed strikes.

Endurance Conditioning (Ex): The master pankratiast gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against necromantic effects, or to resist fatigue.

Agile Grappler (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, while grappling an opponent, a master pankratiast does not lose his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class against opponents he is not grappling. However, if pinned, he loses his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, in addition to the usual penalties.

Stunning Strike (Ex): At 3rd level, a master pankratiast who is grappling an opponent may attempt a stunning strike. This requires an opposed grapple check made in place of an attack. If successful, the master
pankratiast inflicts damage as usual, and forces the foe to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the master pankratiast’s class level + the master pankratiast’s Strength modifier). A defender who fails the saving throw is stunned for one round. The master pankratiast can use this ability once per day, rising to twice per day at 6th level and three times per day at 10th level. The master pankratiast may only make one attempt at a stunning strike per round.

Exceptional Leverage (Ex): As the master pankratiast advances in his art, he becomes capable of controlling an opponent’s movements by controlling only a single limb. At 4th level, the master pankratiast may ignore
up to one size category of his opponent’s size modifier during grapple checks. Thus, a Huge cyclops wrestling a master pankratiast would be treated as Large, although only for purposes of grapple checks. At 8th level, the master pankratiast can ignore up to two size categories of difference. This ability cannot reduce an opponent’s effective size category below that of the master pankratiast. Thus, a halfling with 8 levels of master pankratiast could reduce a Large ogre’s effective size category to Small for purposes of grapple checks, but he could not reduce a Medium opponent’s effective size category to Tiny.

Joint Pop (Ex): At 5th level, when the master pankratiast is grappling an opponent, he may attempt a joint pop as an action in place of an attack. The master pankratiast must make an opposed grapple check; success indicates that he deals damage as if choosing the “damage your opponent” option. In addition, the opponent must make a Fortitude save at a DC equal to the hit points of damage dealt, or take 1d4 points of temporary Dexterity damage. The master pankratiast may attempt a joint pop maneuver a number of times per day equal to his levels in the master pankratiast class. Failure to win the opposed grapple check ruins the attempt, and counts as one of the uses for the day. The master pankratiast may only make one attempt at an ability-damage maneuver per round.

Bone Crack (Ex): At 7th level, when the master pankratiast is grappling an opponent, he may attempt a bone crack as an action in place of an attack. The master pankratiast must make an opposed grapple check; success indicates that he deals damage as if choosing the “damage your opponent” option. In addition, the opponent must make a Fortitude save at a DC equal to the hit points of damage dealt, or take 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage. The master pankratiast may attempt a bone crack maneuver a number of times per day equal to his levels in the master pankratiast class. Failure to win the opposed grapple check ruins the attempt, and counts as one of the uses for the day. The master pankratiast may only make one attempt at an ability-damage maneuver per round.

Tendon Rip (Ex): At 9th level, when the master pankratiast is grappling an opponent, he may attempt a tendon rip as an action in place of an attack. The master pankratiast must make an opposed grapple check; success indicates that he deals damage as if choosing the “damage your opponent” option. In addition, the opponent must make a Fortitude save at a DC equal to the hit points of damage dealt, or take 1d4 points of temporary Strength damage from torn or strained muscles or tendons. The master pankratiast may attempt a tendon rip maneuver a number of times per day equal to his levels in the master pankratiast class. Failure to win the opposed grapple check ruins the attempt, and counts as one of the uses for the day. The master pankratiast may only make one attempt at an ability-damage
maneuver per round.

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