Chessmaster

Chessmasters are a breed of strategists who see life as a game to be won. They are not the armored general leading from the front for the sake of great nations but egotistic tricksters whose greatest glory is a fierce personal victory over another mind as keen as theirs. They always abide by the rules of whatever game they are playing but often exploit loopholes and poor wording to find new avenues that allow them to win whatever the game is. Chessmasters are most often employed in adventuring parties as the brains of the group - coordinating their allies in battle and overcoming whatever non-combat challenges they may face.

A chessmaster is not a strictly mundane character however. There is some impetus behind their supernatural level of perception and coordination that sets them apart from their more mundane peers. This might be a touch of devil’s blood in their lineage, a freak genetic mutation that pushes them to the next level of evolution, a born genius that outclasses all his peers by decades, a fateful pact with an outsider for the skill to win their games, a powerful psychic potential, or something else equally as powerful. Whatever the reason it allows them to see myriad possibilities unfold in real time in front of them- a thousand divergent paths containing infinite possibilities that they can use to aid their allies and wreck their opponents. Life’s a game right? Play to win.

Hit Dice: d8.

Role: Chessmasters are support characters with a secondary focus on overcoming skill challenges. They are designed to be run by veteran players who understand the rules of Pathfinder on a higher level so they can expertly advise their allies in combat as this plays into their main mechanic. Their primary offensive abilities, known as gambits, expend attacks of opportunity and hamper the enemy. Their primary attribute is Intelligence as this is what the majority of their class features rely on. It may behoove a chessmaster to put points into their Dexterity for the additional attacks of opportunity they provide as well as the boost to their AC given their general lack of armor.

Alignment: Any

For a chessmaster the good/evil axis has little to do with their day to day life and most are of neutral alignment on that axis anyway. Chessmasters are more often judged on the lawful or chaotic aspect of their personality. Chaotic chessmasters will strike to bend and break rules as often as they can and will sometimes straight out cheat to win. Lawful chessmasters tend to try to adhere more strictly to the rules of a challenge and often prefer to outthink their opponents.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills: The chessmaster’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int Modifier

Class Features

Table: The Chessmaster
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Reflex Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Chess master, edge, gambits
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Gambit, plot, pragmatic strategist
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Talent
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Coordination (+1), plot
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Plans within plans
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Gambit, mind games
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Talent
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Contingency (1/day)
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Coordination (+2)
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Gambit
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Talent
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Contingency (2/day)
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 -
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Coordination (+3), gambit
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Talent
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Contingency (3/day)
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 -
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Gambit
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Coordination (+4), talent
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Checkmate, Contingency (4/day)

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

The chessmaster is proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor. He is not proficient with any other weapons, armor, or any shields.

Edge (Ex)

At 1st level, a chessmaster gains a pool of edge points. Edge points represent the control over a situation he has. At the beginning of each battle he begins with 0 and can hold up to a maximum of 4 + his chessmaster level at any one point. Any points he gains over this maximum are wasted. Edge points can be expended to perform gambits or give his allies benefits for following his orders during their turn. Edge points vanish at the end of combat and can only be gained in tense situations like combat or during particularly intense skill checks.

Chess Master (Ex)

At 1st level, the chessmaster can offer keen and perceptive advice to an ally on what action they should take on their turn. At the start of an ally’s (excluding the chessmaster’s) turn, the chessmaster suggests a course of action to his ally.

Examples:

  • “Move there so you can flank with Bill the Barbarian” (Move action)
  • “Don’t you have that potion of cure light wounds?” (Standard action)
  • “I’d advise attacking that snake. It only has a few HP left and if you kill that- we won’t have to worry about Bill the Barbarian taking damage from it next turn.” (Standard)
  • “A single attack? No, you are a two-weapon fighter- it’d be best if you just full-round attacked that thing.” (Full round)

If his ally follows this suggestion the chessmaster gains 2 edge points. As a free action that can only be made after an ally accepts their advice, they can spend 1 edge point to assign that ally a bonus that lasts until the end of that ally’s turn (this edge point may be one he just received). The possible bonuses are:

  • The ally gains a +4 insight bonus to their AC against attacks of opportunity. Creatures that make attacks of opportunity against this ally provoke attacks of opportunity for making such an action. These attacks of opportunity resolve after the initial attack of opportunity does. This attack of opportunity does not stack with other abilities that provoke attacks of opportunity such as the barbarian’s come get me rage powerAPG.
  • The ally gains an insight bonus on attack rolls equal to 1 + 1/4th the chessmaster’s level against 1 creature of the chessmaster’s choosing
  • The ally bypasses 1/2 the chessmaster’s level (minimum 1) in DR and twice the chessmaster’s level of a single type of resistance (chosen each this this is used) against a single creature of the chessmaster’s choosing.
  • The ally gains a +10 foot bonus to their move speed if they make a charge, double move, or withdrawal action.

Gambits (Ex)

A chessmaster is a specialist in making genius tactical moves known as “gambits”. Gambits represent their ability to set up and execute booby-trap and shepherd enemies into unfavorable situations. Each gambit has a trigger, a set condition in which the gambit may occur, this is described in each gambit’s entry. A chessmaster may execute one gambit per round. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter they may execute one additional gambit per turn. Gambits are a free action that they may take even if it is not their turn and cost edge to execute, and consume even if they are unsuccessful.

When triggered, a chessmaster must make a gambit check to effect unwilling creatures, rolling 1d20 and adding his chessmaster level + his Intelligence modifier against a DC of 10 + the triggering creature’s HD + the higher of creatures Wisdom or Intelligence modifier. Gambits always trigger after the action that triggered them has resolved (unless otherwise noted). Unless otherwise noted the same action cannot trigger multiple gambits, even from different chessmasters.

Gambits require roleplaying however and fail if not described to the GM’s satisfaction. A chessmaster must adequately explain how the advice they gave their allies (or enemies) prior to using a gambit lead up to the gambit occurring. A chessmaster should strive to make a new explanation for each use of a gambit, though some repetition is allowed (after all, there are only so many ways to describe setting someone up).

Examples:

  • Set-Up: By moving Bill the Barbarian into flanking position, it distracted the wolf for just a second so I could score a telling blow.”
  • Hinder: “What Bill the Barbarian didn’t know was that when I told him to run over there, I wasn’t trying to get him into place. I wanted him to run across those nuts on the ground from the tree above. His feet turned them into sharp little caltrops and I led the wolf right over them!”
  • Backfire: “I noticed that when the elf casts a spell she makes rather large gestures with her arms. I placed Bill the Barbarian in front of her not only to put the pressure on her- but to trap her in the corner where she couldn’t make quite as large motions with her arms.”
  • Doom: “The minotaur winced at fire earlier in the fight. I had Bill brandish his flaming greataxe at him not only in hopes of hitting him, but hopefully to cause him to have a lapse of his senses at a critical juncture.”

Some gambits have upgraded forms and have an expanded effect if the chessmaster pays more edge. This must be decided upon before making the gambit check. If a particular gambit has more than one upgrade available, multiple upgrades may be applied to it (unless specifically noted in its entry) so long as the chessmaster meets the listed prerequisites.

At 1st level the chessmaster gains the set-up gambit and 2 other gambits that he meets the prerequisites for. At 2nd level and every even level thereafter, a chessmaster gains one additional gambit.

1st Level Gambits

Bait and Switch

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: An ally or the chessmaster himself is successfully hit by an adjacent enemy. The ally (or chessmaster) and the enemy creature must be of the same size.
  • Effect: At the end of the enemy’s attack action, it is forced to switch places with the creature it struck. If it struck multiple creatures allied with the chessmaster (including the chessmaster himself) the chessmaster may select which ally it swaps places with. A creature who moves as part of their attack action (such as with Spring Attack or Flyby attack) and does not end their turn adjacent to an enemy they hit cannot be targeted with this gambit.
    • Ambush (Chessmaster 8, +4 edge): When the enemy creature swaps places with the ally (or chessmaster) it provokes an attack of opportunity from all allies of the chessmaster who threaten the enemy creature’s new square.

Doom

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 COST: 3 edge
  • Trigger: When an enemy successfully makes a save.
  • Effect: The creature must re-roll the save and take the new result. This may only be done to a given creature once per turn.
    • Agony (+2 edge): The save is made at a -2 penalty.
    • Spirit Shake (Chessmaster 8 +1 edge): If the creature fails, they are shaken for 1d4 rounds. This is a mind affecting fear effect.

Exploit

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 COST: 2 edge
  • Trigger: When an ally successfully hits an opponent with a melee or ranged attack.
  • Effect: The creature has its AC reduced by 2 until the end of it’s next turn.
    • Game Breaker (+2 edge): The creature has its AC reduced by 4, rather than by 2, until the end of its next turn.

Hinder

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: When an enemy provokes an attack of opportunity from the chessmaster by moving.
  • Effect: If this gambit hits, the creature is forced to end its movement.
    • Caltrop (+3 edge): The creature takes 1d4 points of piercing damage and its speed is cut in half for 24 hours (as if they had stepped on a caltrop).

Misfire

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: see text
  • Trigger: An enemy within 60 feet misses an attack against an ally with a firearm.
  • Effect: If this gambit is successful the creature’s firearm has its misfire range increased by the amount of edge spent until the weapon misfires or 24 hours pass. (Example: If the chessmaster spends 4 edge, it increases the misfiring on a natural 1 to misfiring on a 1-5). This expanded misfire applies on the attack roll that triggered this gambit.

Sabotage

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy within 30 feet misses an attack against an ally other than the chessmaster.
  • Effect: If this gambit is successful the creature’s weapon takes 3 points of damage per chessmaster level as if the weapon had been sundered. This damage does not bypass hardness.
    • Critical Sabotage (see text): This damage bypasses 5 hardness per extra edge point spent on this gambit.

Set-up

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy makes a melee attack against the chessmaster.
  • Effect: The chessmaster can make an attack of opportunity against the creature who attacked him. This attack has an insight bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to the chessmaster’s Intelligence modifier. This may only be done once per round against a given creature.
    • Intimidating Set-Up (Chessmaster 4, +1 edge): If the attack hits the chessmaster may make an Intimidate check as part of the attack, using his Intelligence bonus in place of his Charisma modifier.
    • Unexpected Set-Up (Chessmaster 8, +4 edge): If the attack hits the chessmaster may make a Bluff check to feint as part of the attack, using his Intelligence bonus in place of his Charisma modifier.

Trojan Horse

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 1 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy moves adjacent to the chessmaster or through square threatened by him.
  • Effect: The chessmaster may make a Sleight of Hand check, opposed by the creature’s Perception, as a free action to place a single palm-sized item from the chessmaster’s inventory into their target’s as their tage passes. If unsuccessful the item is not placed on the enemy but remains in the hand of the chessmaster. If caught the item is not placed on the enemy but remains in the hand of the chessmaster. The chessmaster must have at least 1 hand free to use this gambit.
    • Retrospective Purchase (+2 edge): The item does not have to be from the chessmaster’s inventory. It can be any item (or items) whose (collective) value does not exceed 20 gp per chessmaster level. This item may be magical or mundane. The price of the item is deducted from the chessmaster’s own stores if he wishes to do this as it represents him retrospectively purchasing an item for just this purpose.
    • Riches (+2 edge): The max gold value for the retrospective purchase upgrade is increased to 100 gp per chessmasters level.
    • Trigger (+1 edge): The chessmaster may spend 1 edge point as an immediate action to cause an item to trigger as intended (grenades and alchemist fires explode, wands trigger, etc). The chessmaster must be within 30 feet of the target of this gambit to do so.

Weak Point Strike

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 1 Cost: 1 edge
  • Trigger: A creature makes an attack.
  • Effect: The creature that hits with the attack that triggered this gambit gains a +2 bonus on that damage roll, this damage is precision damage and isn’t multiplied on a critical hit.
    • Chessmaster’s Pawn (+1 edge): The damage dealt is instead equal to the chessmaster’s Intelligence modifier.
    • Retroactive Genius (Chessmaster 12, +0 edge): The chessmaster may now apply this gambit after the attack roll is made.
    • Critical Blow (Chessmaster 12, +2 edge): The attack gains the benefit of the Improved Critical Feat.
    • Felling Blow (Chessmaster 12, +2 edge): The attack increases the critical multiplier of the attack by 1.
    • Assured Critical (Chessmaster 16, +2 edge): If the attack threatens a critical hit then it automatically confirms.

4th Level Gambits

Backfire

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 3 edge
  • Trigger: When an enemy tries to use a spell or spell-like ability within 60 feet of the chessmaster.
  • Effect: The creature must make a Concentration check as if they had just taken the chessmaster’s level in damage (this doesn’t deal any actual damage). Unlike other gambits, this gambit interrupts an action. Once the casting of the spell has been declared, the chessmaster should roll to see if his gambit affects the enemy.
    • Spellforce (+2 edge): Add the chessmaster’s Intelligence modifier to the DC of the concentration check.
    • Critical Backfire (Chessmaster 16, +5 edge): If the spellcaster fails their concentration check, the spell still goes off but the chessmaster designates the targets of the spell.

Critical Break

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy confirms a critical hit against an ally within 30 feet of the chessmaster.
  • Effect: The attack is still a critical hit but the multiplier on the damage is reduced to x2 if it is higher. If it is x2 it is reduced to x1 (though is still a critical hit). Unlike other gambits, this ggambit affects the attack while in action. Once the critical hit has been confirmed, but before damage is rolled, the chessmaster should roll to see if his gambit affects the enemy. If so, it affects the damage of the critical hit.
    • Critical Negation (+2 edge): The attack is not a critical hit.
    • Critical Reversal (Chessmaster 8 ,+4 edge): All allies within 30 feet of the chessmaster gain a +4 bonus to confirm critical hits against this enemy until the end of this next turn.

Evasive Tactic

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: An attack is made against a creature or the creature must make a Reflex save.
  • Effect: The creature being attacked gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves against that effect, this bonus is increased by 1 per 4 levels the chessmaster possesses. This gambit is resolved before the attack is made.
    • Emergency Evasion (+1 edge): The target creature gains the evasion ability (as per the rogue’s entry in Chapter 3 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook) against the effect that triggered this ability.
    • Uncanny Advice (+2 edge): If the defender would be denied his Dexterity bonus to AC against that attack, he isn’t.
    • Opportune Strike (+4 edge): If the attack misses then the attacker provokes an attack of opportunity from one creature who threatens that creature other than the defender.

Finisher

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 1 edge
  • Trigger: When an enemy is reduced to its Hit Dice’s value or less in HP due to an ally’s attack. (A GM should let the chessmaster know when this is the case).
  • Effect: The creature is reduced to zero HP. This is death effect.

Ruse

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 2 edge
  • Trigger: The chessmaster successfully makes a Bluff check to feint a creature.
  • Effect: The chessmaster may forgo the benefits of feinting his opponent to select one creature and render the target of his feint check flat footed against that creature’s next attack, so long as it is made within one round.
    • And Eat It Too (Chessmaster 8, +2 Edge): The chessmaster retains all the benefits of feinting a creature.

Seeing Eye Strategist

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 4 Cost: 1 edge
  • Trigger: An allied creature makes an attack.
  • Effect: The creature uses the chessmasters line of sight for determining concealment, rather than his own.

8th Level Gambits

Decoy

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 8 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy attacks an ally of the chessmaster (henceforth referred to as the “primary target”) who is adjacent to another ally (henceforth referred to as the “decoy”). The decoy ally must be a valid target for the enemy’s attack. The chessmaster himself may be a decoy or primary target but is not required to be either of them. Neither the primary target or the decoy need to be willing creatures.
  • Effect: The enemy is forced to retarget his attack action to the decoy if this gambit succeeds. This gambit may only be used on a given enemy creature once per combat.
    • Vicious Decoy (Chessmaster 12, +5 edge): The decoy may be an enemy creature rather than an ally of the primary target. This gambit affects the attack while in action. Once the enemy designates the target of his attack action (and in what way he intends to attack, such as if he is employing Power Attack), the chessmaster should roll to see if his gambit affects the enemy. If so, it attack is retargeted to the decoy.

Delay

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 8 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: An enemy within 30 feet of the chessmaster readies an action, takes the delay action, or is knocked prone.
  • Effect: The creature is staggered for 3 rounds.
    • Upgrade (Chessmaster 12, see text): The duration of the effect increases by 2 per additional point of edge spent as part of activating this gambit.

12th Level Gambits

Double Agent

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 12 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: A creature is under the effect of a mind controlling ability
  • Effect: The creature immediately makes a new Will save against the ability. If successful the ability immediately ends with no lingering effects. If the ability never allowed for a save then the creature may make a Will save (DC 10+½ the creature’s HD + the creature’s Charisma modifier) to negate the effect.
    • Personal Touch (+0 edge): If the chessmaster was the target of the mind-affecting effect he may activate this gambit, even if the mind controlling effect would otherwise prevent it.
    • Sanctity of Mind (+2 edge): This ability allows the target to rid themselves of any mind affecting effect.
    • Strength of Mind (+2 edge): The target receives a competence bonus on their Will save equal to the chessmaster’s Intelligence modifier.

False Opportunity

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 12 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: A creature makes a melee attack against an ally
  • Effect: The creature provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of its attack, this attack of opportunity resolves before the creature’s attack does.

Leading Blow

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 12 Cost: 4 edge
  • Trigger: The chessmaster misses with an attack.
  • Effect: One creature threatening the creature that the chessmaster missed, other than the chessmaster, may make an attack of opportunity against that creature.
    • Blindspot (+2 edge): The target creature is flat footed against this attack of opportunity.

16th Level Gambits

Alacrity

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 16 Cost: see text
  • Trigger: A creature’s turn starts.
  • Effect: This ability allows the chessmaster to increase or decrease the creature’s initiative score by an amount up to his Intelligence bonus for every 2 points of edge he spends on this gambit. Increases to a creature’s initiative score take effect on the start of the next round, decreases can put other creatures ahead of him in the initiative order, delaying his turn until those creatures have acted.
    • Saw It Coming (+4 edge): If the chessmaster increases the target’s initiative then it gains an insight bonus to AC equal to ¼ his level against creatures that act after it in the initiative order.
    • Too Slow (+4 edge): If you decrease the target’s initiative then it takes a penalty to AC equal to ¼ your level against creatures that act before it in the initiative order.

Plot (Ex)

At 2nd level, a chessmaster can take a moment to plot and plan - granting him 2 + 1 per 4 levels edge points as a standard action. As part of this same standard action he may make a Knowledge check to attempt to identify one creature that he can see. If he succeeds, he gains 2 extra edge points. He may not identify a creature more than once in the same 24 hour period.

If he is at least 4th level, he may attempt to identify all creatures within his field of vision as part of this standard action- making independent Knowledge check for each. For every creature he successfully identifies, he gains 2 edge points.

Pragmatic Strategist (Ex)

At 2nd level, the chessmaster gains a number of extra attacks of opportunity per round equal to his Intelligence modifier.

Talent

At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter a chessmaster gains a talent from the list below.

Black King/Queen (Ex)

The chessmaster can chose to automatically go second in the initiative order if one of his allies is the first. This can only be done once initiative has been rolled.

Canny Defender (Ex)

While the chessmaster has at least one point of edge, is wearing light or no armor, and is not using a shield, he adds 1 point of Intelligence bonus per chessmaster level as a dodge bonus to his Armor Class. If he is caught fat-footed or otherwise denied his Dexterity bonus, he also loses this bonus.

Epic Mind Games (Ex)

The chessmaster may, when using his mind games ability, force the opponent to make a Will save (DC 10+1⁄2 chessmaster level + his Intelligence modifier) - if the target fails then the chessmaster dictates whether or not the target takes the suggested action. This is a mind affecting-effect. The chessmaster must have the mind games ability to select this talent.

Extra Gambits

The chessmaster gains 2 additional gambits.

Favorite Gambit

Select a gambit with an edge cost greater than 1 and reduce it by 1. This does not impact the edge cost for upgrades on that gambit. This talent may be taken multiple times, each time it applies to a different gambit. This cannot be used on gambits with a base cost of “see text”.

Favorite Upgrade

Select an upgrade on a gambit that you have taken the favorite gambit talent for with an edge cost greater than 1 and reduce it by 1. If the cost of the upgrade is 4 or greater- reduce it by 2 instead. This talent may be taken multiple times, each time it applies to a different upgrade. This cannot be used on upgrades with a base cost of “see text”.

Foresight (Sp)

A number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier, the chessmaster can use augury as a spell-like ability using his chessmaster level as his effective caster level.

Instant Assessment (Ex)

The chessmaster may use his plot class feature as part of an initiative check.

Keep the Momentum (Ex)

When an ally within 30 feet of the chessmaster confirms a critical hit all allies within 30 feet of that ally gain a +4 morale bonus on critical confirmation rolls until an ally with that bonus confirms a critical or the battle ends.

Sicilian Defense (Ex)

When rolling initiative, the chessmaster may select one ally. That ally gains a +2 bonus to the initiative check after all creatures have rolled. Once this has been done, the GM should reevaluate the initiative order. A chessmaster may not use it on himself. This stacks with other sources that boost a character’s initiative (such as Improved Initiative).

Tactical Versatility (Ex)

The chessmaster may use gambits that he does not know, so long as he meets the prerequisites for them. Each time he does so he must lower the maximum amount of edge he can hold for the day by half that gambit’s cost.

Trickster (Ex)

The chessmaster gains the Improved Dirty Trick feat as a bonus feat. However, rather than the +2 the feat normally gives, the chessmaster gains a +1/3rd level (minimum +2) bonus on dirty trick rolls and as a bonus against dirty tricks. Finally, a chessmaster may expend 1 edge point to extend the duration of his dirty trick by one round. This must be declared before making the combat maneuver roll.

Two Moves Ahead (Ex)

By spending 4 edge at the start of the round as a free action the chessmaster may act in any position in the initiative order he’d like and return to his previous spot in the initiative order on the following round. He may spend an additional 2 edge to gain the effects of a haste spell for the duration of the round.

Coordination (Ex)

At 4th level, all allies that can see and hear the chessmaster gain 1 bonus attack of opportunity per round. This stacks with other sources that give additional attacks of opportunity (such as Combat Reflexes or a high Dexterity modifier). The number of bonus attacks of opportunity this grants improves by 1 at 9th level and every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4 attacks of opportunity per round at 19th level. These extra attacks of opportunity are not granted to the chessmaster himself, only his allies.

Plans within Plans (Ex)

At 5th level, the chessmaster can grant his allies a small pool of edge points to use gambits. He grants these points by involving his allies in a planning session once per day that takes at least 10 minutes. His allies gain a pool with a maximum of 2 edge points + 2 per 5 levels of the chessmaster (4 at 5th, 6 at 10th, 8 at 15th, and 10 at 20th) and they can only be used when they are within 30 feet of the chessmaster. These points cannot be refreshed in any way other than another planning meeting 24 hours after the previous one. An ally may use any gambit known by the chessmaster using their own full character level as their effective chessmaster level. This has no effect on creatures with an edge pool.

Mind Games (Ex)

At 6th level the chessmaster can give advice to his enemy in the same fashion as he gives advice to his allies. Though this is good advice, it does tend to set the enemy up. At the start of an enemy’s turn, the chessmaster can spend 1 edge point to suggest a course of action to an enemy who can comprehend him. This typically is either a swift action, a standard action, a move action, or even a full round action.

If his enemy follows this suggestion, he is playing into the chessmaster’s hand and the chessmaster gains 3 edge points. If the enemy refuses his advice, this represents the creature having to change their plans last second or feeling manipulated, never sure if what they are doing is really a trap. This allows the chessmaster to expend 1 edge point as a free action, upon the enemy refusing, to impose a -1 penalty for every 5 levels of chessmaster on all d20 rolls until the end of that creature’s next turn.

Contingency (Sp)

At 8th level, once per day a chessmaster can prepare one spell from the wizard/sorcerer list with a spell level equal to 1/4th their chessmaster level (minimum 1st level spell) as if it had been prepared via a contingency spell. This spell uses his chessmaster level as his caster level and remains in effect for their 24 hours or until he regains use of this class feature. While he does not need the reagents for this spell, he does need to take the casting time to prepare it. Preparing a spell in this fashion lowers the chessmaster’s maximum edge pool by the level of the spell. Once the spell is expended, or he elects to dismiss the effect as a swift action, his maximum returns to normal. At 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter a chessmaster may prepare 1 additional spell per day in this fashion. He need not prepare all of his contingency spells at the same time and may elect to do so throughout the day. A chessmaster needs at least 6 hours of rest to be able to prepare his contingency spells.

Checkmate (Ex)

At 20th level, the chessmaster gains the following gambit:

Like an Open Book

  • Prerequisite: Chessmaster 20 COST: 6 edge
  • Trigger: A creature’s turn ends.
  • Effect: The chessmaster immediately learns the next course of action the creature will take on its next turn. The designated creature must describe their entire next turn to the chessmaster if this gambit is successful. The creature takes these actions unless the conditions on the battlefield change in such a way that would make the actions immediately and obviously harmful, or if an effect dictates that creature’s next action for it (such as a dominate monster spell or the chessmaster’s epic mind games talent).
    • The World’s a Stage (+4 edge): The chessmaster may allow a creature to immediately ready an action when he activates this gambit, even if that creature has already taken all of its actions for the round.

A Player’s Guide to the Chessmaster

A chessmaster needs edge to make use of his gambits and while giving your allies advice is a great source of edge that doesn’t take any actions on your part don’t underestimate the usefulness of your plot class feature. The massive amounts of edge you gain from it are well worth the standard action. When selecting gambits be sure to consider your other party members capabilities - make an effort to try to figure out how you would use a gambit with a party member.

Gambits that are useful for most chessmasters include: Doom, Exploit, Weak Point Strike, Evasive Tactic, False Opportunity and Leading Blow. Likewise useful talents include: Canny Defender, Extra Gambits, Favorite Gambit, Favorite Upgrade, Instant Assessment, Tactical Versatility and Two Moves Ahead.


Archetypes

-Trickster

As the avatars of trickster deities, tricksters gain spellcasting abilities that they can use to confound their foes.

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