Black blades are rare, and where they're found, they're usually treasured. Bladebound magi, sorcerers of the bladeborn bloodline, and others who come by black blades tend to develop mutually beneficial relationships with their intelligent weapons. A tiny fraction of black blade owners, however, uncover a more insidious side of the black blade: some are twisted, cursed weapons, only grudgingly lending a hand to their 'owners' in order to spread further chaos. Such blades are few, and their owners tend to fall quickly to the burden of their curse, but the occasional hero will rise up to carry his curse, siphoning his negative fortune into powerful hexes. Such individuals are, to a fault, disciplined warriors who fight daily against both their enemies and the blade in their hands.
Role: The cursed blade plays an unorthodox role in an adventuring party. He has several levels of spellcasting under his belt, and thus begins his time as a cursed blade weaker than most dedicated warriors. As he advances in cursed blade levels, his spellcasting falls far behind, but his martial prowess shoots forward. The cursed blade retains low-level magic, develops mid-strength battle talent, and perfects the art of hexing. Ultimately he can hold his own in combat, but he'll never outpace the fighter or barbarian. He is strongest in a supporting role, channeling his misfortune into opponents and causing them to fall faster to his (and his allies') attacks.
Note: Many of the class features below refer to a 'blade' or 'sword.' Cursed blades need not wield swords. If they qualify for this class using an ability that is like a black blade (such as a contractor's buster device), all references to blades or swords instead point toward their weapon.
Alignment: Any non-lawful. The strains of living with an incessant curse usually force a cursed blade to live outside societal norms, and in the unlikely case that the cursed blade manages to cope, it is hard to hide the signs of the curse—communities tend to resent and stigmatize cursed blades.
Hit Dice: d10.
To qualify to become a cursed blade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Skills: Survival 7 ranks.
Feats: Iron Will, Self-Sufficient.
Special: Black blade class feature, hex class feature.
Spells: Ability to cast 3rd-level spells.
The cursed blade's class skills are Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Fly (Int), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Table 1-1: Cursed Blade
All of the following are class features of the cursed blade prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The cursed blade is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Cursed blades are proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
Black Blade (Ex): A cursed blade's class levels stack with levels in other classes with the black blade class feature to determine the abilities of his black blade.
Curse (Ex): At 1st level, the cursed blade becomes afflicted by a curse as the oracle's curse class feature, treating his class level as his effective oracle level for determining the curse's benefits. If the cursed blade cannot cast spontaneous spells, he gains no benefits from the haunted curse.
Cursed Blade: A cursed blade's black blade is cursed, the source of the taint which affects him. At 1st level, his black blade gains the following traits:
Always In Hand: The cursed blade's black blade cannot be discarded. The cursed blade gains the benefits of the Quick Draw feat with his black blade, and must make a Will save against the black blade's ego to resist drawing it every round of combat.
Aberrant Blade: Roll a d50 twice. The weapon gains 2 drawbacks from the cursed item drawback table according to these rolls.
Immortal Curse: If destroyed, the cursed blade's black blade reforms itself on his person in 1d4 days. While it is destroyed, the cursed blade loses access to all cursed blade class features, including his curse.
Hexes: A cursed blade's class levels stack with levels in other classes with the hex class feature for the purposes of determining hex caster level, DC, and effects.
Dread Battlemage (Ex): A cursed blade's grim appearance is frightening to behold. At 2nd level, he receives a +2 bonus to Intimidate skill checks made to demoralize opponents. This bonus increases to +4 at 6th level and +6 at 10th level. If the cursed blade successfully strikes an opponent in melee using his black blade, or if an opponent fails a save against the cursed blade's hex, these bonuses are doubled against that creature for 1 round.
Hex: At 2nd level, the cursed blade learns a new witch hex. If he has the major hex class feature, he can choose from the major hex list instead. At 4th, 8th, and 10th levels, the cursed blade can select another hex.
Spell Hex: At 3rd level, and again at 7th level, the cursed blade gains Spell Hex as a bonus feat, even if he doesn't meet its prerequisites. The selected spell can be a 1st-level spell on any spell list to which you have access.
Ability Focus: At 5th level, the cursed blade gains Ability Focus (hex) as a bonus feat.
Burden Hex: At 6th level, the cursed blade can use oracle's burden as a hex. This functions as though the cursed blade had gained Spell Hex for oracle's burden, though the cursed blade need not have normal access to the spell or the feat.
Eldritch Cataracts: At 6th level, the cursed blade's dark fate manifests itself further in the form of a spellblight. He contracts a special case of eldritch cataracts. It cannot be cured. If the penalty from the spellblight would be reduced to 0, it simply lies dormant until the next time the penalty is increased.
Major Hex: At 8th level, the cursed blade gains the major hex class feature, as a 10th-level witch. If he already had access to the list of major hexes, this is redundant.
Split Hex: A cursed blade gains Split Hex as a bonus feat at 9th level, even if he doesn't meet its prerequisites.
Hex Aura (su): At 10th level, the cursed blade radiates his ill fortune in a wispy black aura. When he prepares his spells or recovers his spell slots, a cursed blade may either choose to give up all benefits from his curse for the day, or all daily uses of a particular attack hex. At the beginning of his turn every round of combat, all creatures within 30 feet of the cursed blade must make a Will save against his hex DC or be affected by the curse (if he sacrificed his curse's benefits) or his hex (if he sacrificed a hex). Creatures who succeed on their saves cannot be affected by the hex aura for 24 hours.