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You don't need strength as much as speed. We're fragile creatures. It takes less than a pound of pressure to cut skin.

The dualist is a dual-wielding duelist. She is a melee fighter who relies on exceptionally quick reflexes above all else; as she parries and dodges, she waits for the opportune moment to strike - and then presses her advantage relentlessly.

A dualist is a master of reactive combat. She uses the opportunities that her opponents offer to the fullest extent possible, and can even take advantage of opportunities that others would miss. For the dualist, the number of attacks of opportunity per round determines how often she can use a number of features, which may or may not actually involve attacking.

Rogues can make excellent dualists, as they are already trained in the art of taking advantage of unsuspecting opponents, but may find the idea of standing tall in front of the enemy unnerving. Fighters, and other martial classes, that specialize in dexterity rather than strength may also be able to put the dualist's skills to great use.


  • Martial Maneuvers: Any three of the following:
    • Master of the Field from Army of One,
    • Defensive Rebuke from Devoted Spirit,
    • Clever Positioning from Setting Sun,
    • Wolf Fang Strike from Tiger Claw.
  • Skills:
    • Tumble 2,
    • Bluff 2,
    • Intimidate 8,
    • Sense Motive 2.

Hit Die



Class Skills

The dualist's class skills (and the key ability for each) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Martial Lore (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points per Level

4 + her Int modifier

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Dualist.

Level Base Attack
Special Maneuvers
Known Readied
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Parry, Dualism, Terrific Feint, Opportunistic Strike (max +5) +1 +0
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Counter-Attack, En Garde +0 +0
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 True Master of the Field, Opportunistic Strike (max +10) +1 +1
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Coup Lancé, Parry Ally +0 +0
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Cover Ground, Opportunistic Strike (max +15) +1 +0
Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Dualists gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.


At odd-numbered level, a dualist gains a new maneuver known from the Army of One, Devoted Spirit, and Tiger Claw disciplines. The dualist must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. A dualist adds her full class level to her initiator level to determine her full initiator level and highest-level maneuvers known.

At 3rd level, a dualist also gains an additional maneuver readied.


A dualist is a master of the art of parrying. By expending an Attack of Opportunity when she is attacked in melee, she may make an opposed attack roll against her assailant. The dualist may add half her Sense Motive bonus to this roll, and the dualist wins on a tie. If she succeeds, she deflects that attack, avoiding its damage. She may use this ability as often as she likes, provided she still has attacks of opportunity to use for it, but a full-attack only provokes a single attack of opportunity (which may be used to parry any attack in the full-attack; the dualist must declare intent to parry an attack before the attack is rolled).

A dualist may also make a Feint check as a free action during her Parry maneuver. If successful, the target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC for her Counter-Attack and any follow-up attacks made using Double Jeopardy (see below). If she does not make a counter-attack, this Feint does nothing.


A dualist is training to become a true master of her chosen weapons. At 1st level, she may choose any type of one-handed weapon in which she is proficient; weapons of this type may be treated as a light weapons whenever it would be beneficial to the dualist. A dualist may treat these weapons as light in some ways but not in others: she may, for example, treat them as light for the purpose of determining Two-Weapon Fighting penalties but as one-handed weapons for the purpose of adding her Strength modifier to damage rolls.

A dualist may change her choice of weapons only when she gains a new level; this level need not be a level of dualist, however. Dualists with the Weapon Aptitude class feature may use that feature to change her choice of weapons more often, as if this were a Feat that required choosing a single type of weapon.

Terrific Feint

A dualist may, if desired, use an Intimidate check instead of a Bluff check to execute a Feint.

Opportunistic Strike

Whenever a dualist makes an attack of opportunity with a weapon in which she has chosen for Dualism, she adds her Dexterity modifier to the damage roll. This extra damage is capped at +5.

At 3rd and 5th level, the damage cap on Opportunistic Strike increases by +5. Every +5 damage in her Opportunistic Strike damage cap is equivalent to +1d6 worth of precision damage (such as Skirmish, Sneak Attack, or Sudden Strike) for the purpose of pre-requisites and the activation of certain feats (such as Ambush feats).

When using Opportunistic Strike against a target who would be denied his Dexterity bonus to AC (even if he has no such bonus), the dualist may instead add twice her Dexterity modifier to her damage. This damage is still subject to her Opportunistic Strike damage cap, however.


A 2nd level dualist may, instead of negating an attack with a parry, counter-attack. On a successful parry attempt, she forces him to provoke an attack of opportunity from her, which she may take for free, even if she has no attacks of opportunity remaining. Doing so, however, allows her foe's attack to continue uninhibited.

En Garde

A 2nd level dualist knows how best to prepare for her opponents' actions. As a standard action, a dualist may attack a target and gain a number of attacks of opportunity equal to the number of attacks she would have gained in a full-attack. If the dualist has a weapon equipped in both hands, may Feint before attacking as a free action, and if successful she may apply her Opportunistic Strike damage to the attack. This is considered a Strike and may be considered to be from either, both, or neither of the Army of One and Tiger Claw disciplines, as best benefits the dualist.

When the dualist uses En Garde, she loses the use of one maneuver she had readied for the current encounter, exactly as if she had initiated the maneuver (except that she does not also gain the maneuver's effect). Once she has used this ability, she can recover the expended maneuver as usual to use it.

True Master of the Field

While in any Martial Stance, a 3rd level dualist may add the effects of the Master of the Field stance to that stance's effects. This includes her special Coup Lancé stance (see below). If she knows the Master of the Field stance, she may immediately replace it with any 1st level stance from any discipline that she knows at least one maneuver from. The dualist is always treated as knowing Master of the Field for the purpose of prerequisites.

Coup Lancé

A 4th level dualist learns to always press her advantage. As a swift action, the dualist may assume the Coup Lancé stance, forgoing the benefit of any stance she may currently be in. While the dualist is in this stance, leaving a square she threatens always provokes an attack of opportunity, no matter how that movement occurs. Those so threatened are aware of this situation.

Parry Ally

A 4th level dualist has become so skilled with her parries that she can defend others as well as herself. If anyone within her threatened range attacks anyone else within her threatened range, she may parry the attack exactly as if she had been attacked herself.

Cover Ground

By 5th level, a dualist learns to artfully control the battlefield. Her reach, for the purpose of determining her threatened area, becomes equal to 5 feet per attack of opportunity she has remaining (unless her reach without this feature would be larger), to a maximum of half her move speed plus her normal reach. In order to take any attack of opportunity provoked within this expanded area, however, she must move into position to make the attack, expending one attack of opportunity for every 5 feet that she moves. This movement may provoke attacks of opportunities from others, as normal. She may also move into position to parry a blow for an ally, provided both the attacker and ally are within her expanded threatened area.

Picture Credits

The Dualist artwork is adapted from "Duelling Armor" by Ben McSweeney. Used with permission. All credit goes to him for the image.

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