I was in a sauna and the heat cooked my brain. Thought: What would it actually take to make melee classes play in the same field as high-level casters?
Several things come to mind, first the most reasonable one, which, I think, was an actual rule once upon a time:
LEADERSHIP feat requirements being changed to BAB +6, and spellcaster level of 5 or LESS. Magic is scary, and wizards smell funny, while sorcerers don't seem to be quite human...
But, that's something I thought of earlier today. Here's what I just thought up:
PREMISE: The characters exist in a world of angels, demons, dragons and time-travelling star-spawn. Magic composes probably the MAJORITY of the universe. There's no way any living being is completely without magic, just because they do not study casting.
Which gets us to Blade Magic too, but that's not the topic here.
So, new abilities which should be available to those who are... not casters. Barbarians, Rogues, and Fighters, perhaps other classes deemed weak. These should probably be available from level 15+ when casters... So, yeah.
Fluff:For so long have you fought and bled and survived, in a lethal world, where magic is everywhere. Now your tenacity is paying off with abilities spellcasters can only dream of - much like you can only dream of their abilities.
Lucky(ex): Anyone who survives to level 15 without relying on magic is definitely this. 1/day plus one per each point of Charisma bonus, you may re-roll any failed d20 roll.
Careful(ex): You gain your intelligence bonus to your AC, as well as reflex save, including flat-footed and touch, as you already considered possible attack angles, ambush directions and locations and such, so even if you don't or cannot move, you're already positioned optimally based on the situation.
Take cover!(ex): As long as you have a shield bonus to AC, if you take the TOTAL DEFENSE action, you block the line of effect to the squares you are in. Thus, you can use this to cover others, as long as they can fit into your space. Whatever you're holding in your hands take the damage first in case of area effects, as per usual for the energy type, and other effects which the DM deems otherwise unblockable - typically half damage on a failed save. The item also has temporary hit points equal to twice your base attack bonus.
Quest!(ex): You have a deep relation with magic items - you're able to "quest" for any magic item that a spellcaster of your level could craft, if they had the necessary feats and spells. The magic item pulls at you, guiding you towards it, through intuition, random encounters and sheer luck. This quest is naturally up to the DM, and may be handled either during a time-skip, or may be an actual gameplay quest. As a guide, you should gain the item before gaining your next level. You cannot gain more than one item per level.
These items should probably only be usable by the character.
Perfect Attack(ex): You automatically hit and deal damage, as if you had successfully hit. Ignore cover, concealment, line of effect, line of sight, and any and all defensive abilities of the target and deal damage. The only prerequisite is the target must be within the reach of your attack. If you hit an ASTRAL PROJECTION, this deals damage to the actual body, as well as the projection. This ability is usable 1/day.
Personal antimagic(ex): Fluff: NOT using magic while being a creature in a magical world has created a sort of a circuit within you, that channels away all undesired magic in range. Prerequisite: 18th level and no spellcasting. Effect: Once per day, you may project an antimagic field, which completely ignores yourself and your equipment, if you so desire, and 1 ally per point of intelligence bonus, but otherwise affects everyone within your movement range.
Spot teleportation(ex): You know demons and you know wizards and you know the tell-tale signs of teleportation magic. Whenever someone attempts to teleport within your reach, they provoke an attack of opportunity before they leave, or as they arrive, whichever is the scenario where you get to hit them.
Effects like this. In the first three, there's not even anything magical or supernatural in the fluff....
and in fact, stuff like that could easily fit characters, even in a non-wuxia-effect setting - things like using the shiny blade of the sword to deflect rays, or swinging your weapon like a baseball bat to deflect away the glowing sphere of a fireball before it explodes, fits right into sword-and-sorcery stuff. That being said, I'm not personally averse to wuxia, but I know some people are...
I fully expect someone to cry 'overpowered!'....