5e Blade Dancer

Last 3 Edits

Dec 10th, 2015. Moved to own page. Changes made in brown.



This archetype represents a fighter that is very mobile in combat. They are a whirlwind of blades attacking multiple enemies. Other names for this style could include Water Dancer, Whirling Blade, Jazst Dancer, Dervish, Invisible Blade, or plain old Knife Fighter.
Practitioners of this art use blades, typically small and slashing. The Bladesinging Spiral, Dual Wielder and Mobile feats are popular with blade dancers.


As a Blade Dancer relies upon movement in combat, your features revolve around the mechanic of Momentum. (An idea based on the 13th Age system, but unlike 13th Age your momentum is represented by a pool of points, rather than being 'on or off'). Many of these maneuvers are similar to those for the Battle Master archetype, but as a Blade Dancer, you access and use them using your momentum pool, as opposed to the superiority dice mechanic.


At 3rd level you choose 3 momentum maneuvers from the list below.
You learn an additional maneuver of your choice at 7th, 10th, and 15th level. Each time you learn a new maneuver, you can also replace one maneuver with a different one.
Gaining and losing momentum points.

  • You gain 1 momentum point each time you cause damage to any number of targets following a weapon attack roll. (You do not gain momentum for hitting creatures that pose no threat to you, such as small beasts of 0 XP).
  • You lose 1 momentum point each time you take damage from an attack. All momentum points are lost if 1 minute goes by since you last gained any momentum points.
  • You cannot gain momentum points if you are wearing heavy armor, wielding a shield or encumbered in any way.
  • Some features simply require you to have momentum, or grant extra features when you have momentum, but most require you to spend momentum points.

These momentum points are then used to fuel your maneuvers. You can never have a point pool of below 0. (Whenever you lose momentum points, like hit points, you only track back to 0; there are no negative momentum points).


Saving Throws.
Some of your momentum maneuvers require your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver's effects. The saving throw is calculated as follows:
Momentum maneuver save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity modifier


At 7th level, you gain the Evasion feature as a monk (PHB p79).


At 10th level, you can choose a second option from the Fighting Style class feature.


Starting at 15th level, you begin a battle with 2 momentum points if your first target has a lower initiative than you.


At 18th level you gain this feature. Due to your fast movement and swirling weapons, whenever you are holding a melee weapon, you do not promote opportunity attacks when moving away from a creature, as long as you have at least 1 momentum point.


Blocking Blades. You spend 1 momentum point to make a creature within 5 feet of you re-roll one melee attack roll that was directed at you.

Counter Attack. Any time you have 1 or more momentum points in your pool, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against a creature that misses you with a melee attack. You must be able to reach the target.

Deadly Assault. You can spend 1 momentum point to re-roll the damage from one melee weapon attack that you just made.

Death of a Thousand Cuts. You can spend 2 momentum points it to inflict bleeding damage to all targets that you damage with a melee weapon attack during your turn. Each target must make a Constitution saving throw or take the damage you inflict again at the end of the target's next turn. So the targets get to act and then take the damage. They can use their action to try and prevent the damage by using a healing kit or a successful Wisdom (Medicine) check against the same DC as the saving throw.

Dervish Dance. This maneuver requires the expenditure of 1 extra momentum point (for a total of 3). When using the whirlwind attack feature, you can combine your move with the attack. Meaning you can move among your enemies up to your speed, attacking each one in turn. The weapon you use must deal slashing damage to benefit from this feature and you cannot be wearing medium armor (on top of the restrictions for all momentum attacks). You still promote opportunity attacks as normal, but if you move away from a creature you hit with your whirlwind attack they have disadvantage on their opportunity attack.

Evasive Footwork. You can spend 2 momentum points as a bonus action to add a bonus to your AC until the start of your next turn. The bonus is equal to the number of momentum maneuvers you know.

Nimble Defense. Whenever you have a minimum of 1 momentum point, you gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws and creatures do not benefit from flanking bonuses or other special features (such as pack tactics) that grant melee bonuses for having allies in combat with you.

Roll With the Punches. When a creature damages you with a melee attack, you use your reaction and spend 2 momentum points to reduce the damage by half for that attack. You must then move 5ft away from the attacker. This movement does not promote an opportunity attacks. If you cannot move 5 feet directly away from the attacker, then you cannot use this maneuver.

Sirocco Strike. You can only use this feature where there is loose earth, sand or a powdery substance. If you spend 1 momentum point at the start of your turn, the sands swirl around you and any target you hit this turn with a melee weapon attack must also make a Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the start of your next turn. A blinded creature can spend an action on its turn to repeat the saving throw to attempt to clear its eyes.

Swirling Blades. If you are wielding a light or finesse weapon, you can spend 1 momentum point and use your reaction to attack a creature that moves within 5ft of you.

Tornado. This maneuver requires the expenditure of 2 extra momentum points (for a total of 4). When using the whirlwind attack feature, you can add your ability modifier to your damage rolls.

Whirlwind Attack. On your turn, you can spend 2 momentum points and take the Attack action to make a melee attack roll against all creatures of your choice within 5 feet of you. You must be wielding a light or finesse weapon to perform this maneuver. Like an off-hand attack, none of your attacks that hit add your ability modifier to damage. You cannot use this maneuver twice on your turn, even if you can make more than one attack.

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