Archives of Nethys

Prestige Classes

Student of War

Source Seekers of Secrets pg. 62 (Amazon)
To hear most warriors talk, battles are won by heart and grit, by sharp iron and mighty thews. Yet the student of war knows that the key to victory is the mind behind the mettle, the training that guides the blade, and the knowledge of when and where to strike.

Any dedicated martial scholar can join this prestige class, but the Pathfinder Society draws the lion’s share. The Society’s libraries are meat and drink to the aspiring student of war, home to obscure combat manuals, moldy bestiaries, and detailed histories of battle. Armed with these texts and hardened by constant drill and practice, the student of war fills her repertoire with tricks and techniques designed to exploit every weakness and negate every advantage of her studied foes.


To qualify to become a student of war, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Feats: Combat Expertise, Dodge, Skill Focus (any one Knowledge skill).
Skills: Knowledge (any two) 4 ranks in each.
Proficiency: Must be proficient with two martial weapons.
Special: Must have made successful Knowledge checks against five distinct creatures prior to defeating them.

Class Skills

The Student of War's class skills are Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Handle Animal, Knowledge (all), Linguistics, Perception, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Survival, Swim.

Skill Points at each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Hit Die: d10.

Class Features

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+1+0+0+1Know your enemy +1
2nd+2+1+1+1Combat feat, mind over metal
3rd+3+1+1+2Anticipate 1/day
4th+4+1+1+2Know your enemy +2
5th+5+2+2+3Combat feat
6th+6+2+2+3Telling blow
7th+7+2+2+4Know your enemy +3
8th+8+3+3+4Combat feat
10th+10+3+3+5Deadly blow

The following are class features of the student of war prestige class.

Know Your Enemy (Ex): By taking the time to study her foes, the student of war gains insight into their weaknesses. As a move action, she may study a foe she can see and make a Knowledge check appropriate to the creature’s type (DC 10 + the target’s HD). Success grants her a +1 insight bonus against her enemy. This insight bonus may be applied to one of the following stances, chosen when the check is made:

Martial stance: Attack and damage rolls against the target. At 4th level, the student is treated as having the Critical Focus feat for the purpose of attacks against the studied foe.

Defensive stance: Armor Class and saving throws against the target’s attacks. At 6th level, the student is treated as having the Mobility feat when provoking attacks of opportunity from the studied foe.

Tactical stance: CMB and CMD when initiating or defending against bull rush, disarm, grapple, overrun, and trip combat maneuvers. At 8th level, the student no longer provokes attacks of opportunity from a studied foe when attempting to bull rush, disarm, grapple, overrun, or trip that target; this does not affect attacks of opportunity made by any creature other than the studied foe.

A student of war may change her stance as a move action. The bonus lasts for 1 minute per class level or until the character uses this ability on another target. The bonus increases to +2 at 4th level and +3 at 7th level. At 7th level, the student can use this ability as a swift action rather than a move action.

Combat Feat: At 2nd, 5th, and 8th level, a student of war gains a bonus combat feat.

Mind Over Metal (Ex): A 2nd-level student of war is skilled at taking blows such that her armor or shield def lects them harmlessly. When using armor or a shield, she can use her Intelligence modifier in place of her Dexterity modifier for determining her Armor Class. The armor’s normal maximum Dexterity bonus still applies (limiting how much of the character’s Intelligence bonus she can apply to her AC).

Anticipate (Ex): A 3rd-level student of war can anticipate her enemy’s moves. Once per day as an immediate action, she can ignore any damage and effects of a spell or ability she successfully saved against, such as the entangling effect of a web spell or the half damage from an inflict serious wounds spell. This ability has no effect against effects that do not allow saving throws (such as darkness, difficult terrain, etc.). This ability is usable one additional time per day for every three class levels.

Telling Blow (Ex): At 6th level, a student of war can aim her blows at the weakest point in a studied foe’s defense, ignoring up to 3 points of damage reduction. This does not apply to damage reduction without a type (such as DR 10/—). This ability cannot be used against creatures that are immune to critical hits or otherwise lack discernible weak points. This ability stacks with the Penetrating Strike feat.

Nemesis (Su): At 9th level, a student of war can focus upon a held weapon as a swift action, rendering it anathema to her studied creature. The weapon gains the bane property against the creature for 1 minute, or until the student of war uses know your enemy against a different foe. Nemesis is usable once per day.

Deadly Blow (Su): At 10th level, the student’s awareness of her studied foe allows her to find weak spots where none should exist. A student of war who uses her know your enemy ability and beats the Knowledge check DC by 10 or more may ignore the target’s natural damage reduction and immunity to critical hits and sneak attacks. This does not apply to immunities granted by spells, environmental effects, or equipment.