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Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-11, 07:44 PM
I originally posted this on the COB for Wizards, but I think it's always best to get a second opinion, or group of opinions as the case may be.

I'm going to be playing a swordsage for a small campaign, with the character starting at 3rd level and going to 7th level. I was wondering if I could get some advice as to how to make the build efficient with the following parameters.

He's a human, and has the following stats:

STR 16

DEX 15

CON 14

INT 12

WIS 13

CHA 12

The reason for these stats is because the character's backstory includes the fact that he was raised on a farm and his mother was an ex-burglar/thief.

I plan on having him use a rapier and as such will be focusing on the Diamond Mind school. While I know that Weapon Finesse is necessary for rapier-wielders, since the guy's STR is higher than his DEX I'll leave it out for now.

Since the campaign is a gritty, urban type and I plan on him becoming something of a masked vigilante, I'm thinking rogue-like skills will be needed, such as Hide and Move Silently.

I'm thinking I might want to utilize Unnerving Calm, but I'm not sure what other feats would be effective.

I'd also greatly appreciate any advice on possible multiclassing options as well.

I'm not exactly sure what to select at first level either, so I'd appreciate some advice there as well.

In short, I would like advice on:


Skill Point Placement


Feat Selection


Multiclassing Suggestions


First Level Suggestions


Any and all assistance that you can render will be greatly appreciated as always. Thank you for your kind attention.:smallsmile:

The campaign is set in Eberron, if that helps clarify things more. Thanks again!:smallsmile:

Gralamin
2007-10-11, 07:59 PM
I would personally change the Stats to:
STR 13

DEX 16

CON 14

INT 12

WIS 15

CHA 12

Assuming you do so, I would grab the following:

Skills

Remember it should be x4 at level 1, not x6, while not officially stated, many believe it to be a mistake.
I wold grab Hide, Move Silently, Balance, Concentration, Intimidate, Tumble, and Half in Listen and Spot.
Feats

Level 1: Adaptive Style, Unnerving Calm, If you can Take a flaw: Extra Readied Maneuver.
Level 3: Weapon Finesse
Level 6: Evasive Reflexes
Build

Swordsage 3 to start
Rely on Shadow Hand, Setting Sun, Diamond Mind.
Play as a Swordsage for all 7 levels.


Of you cannot switch your stats, I would use:

Skills

Remember it should be x4 at level 1, not x6, while not officially stated, many believe it to be a mistake.
I wold grab Hide, Move Silently, Balance, Concentration, Intimidate, Tumble, and Half in Listen and Spot.
Feats

Level 1: Adaptive Style, Unnerving Calm, If you can Take a flaw: Extra Readied Maneuver.
Level 3: Evasive Reflexes
Level 6: Whatever you feel like
Build

Swordsage 3 to start
Rely on Shadow Hand and Diamond Mind.
Play as a Swordsage for all 7 levels.


This is probably not the most optimized, but Is what I'd do.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-11, 08:04 PM
Looks like I'm going to have to use the latter. As I said, the reason the stats are the way they are is because of his backstory. He grew up on a farm and thus he built up his muscles with the manual labor, and didn't have room for a real formal education apart from the basics. I'm keeping the low WIS because I'm roleplaying him initially as a naive country boy, still learning what it's like to live in the big city

Gralamin
2007-10-11, 08:08 PM
Looks like I'm going to have to use the latter. As I said, the reason the stats are the way they are is because of his backstory. He grew up on a farm and thus he built up his muscles with the manual labor, and didn't have room for a real formal education apart from the basics. I'm keeping the low WIS because I'm roleplaying him initially as a naive country boy, still learning what it's like to live in the big city

You could still roleplay a naive country boy with a high Wis, he would just be Insightful.

Regardless, its always your choice. A more optimized build should be around soon.

Douglas
2007-10-11, 08:10 PM
Skills: Hide, Move Silently, Listen, Tumble, Concentration, Martial Lore, Sense Motive, and Knowledge (local) are my suggestions.

Feats: Adaptive Style is essential, it lets you recover all your maneuvers rather than just one with a full round action. Improved Initiative combined with your Quick to Act class feature makes for a particularly high initiative bonus, which is always nice. That plus Unnerving Calm will take everything until level 6, so you've got time to decide on a fourth feat.

Multiclassing: Don't. Very few things will benefit you more than getting higher level maneuvers, so unless you're going for something specific the only multiclass options you should even consider are PrCs that advance your Initiator Level at full speed, preferably with a healthy dose of new maneuvers as well. Sadly, the only PrC that gives new maneuvers better than a plain Swordsage is the Master of Nine, and even if you were willing to put in the five feats that requires you can't enter it until after the upper level you've indicated.

First level maneuvers: Burning Blade, Moment of Perfect Mind, Counter Charge, and Shadow Blade Technique are my favorites. Pick any three others that you like to fill out the rest, it's hard to go too far wrong.
Stances: Flame's Blessing is situationally good and scales with level. Blood in the Water works very well with a high crit range weapon like the rapier. Stance of Clarity is good if you anticipate having a lot of 1-on-1 fights or battles where all opponents but one are mooks unable to deal significant damage.

BTW, your choice of a rapier does not require you to concentrate on Diamond Mind. Maneuvers do not require a weapon associated with their discipline unless the individual maneuver description specifically states that it does. Your Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus) should, of course, be Diamond Mind, but nothing else has to concentrate on that discipline if you don't want it to.

Justyn
2007-10-11, 08:26 PM
I need to point this out: you can be observant and ne´ve at the same time. Na´vetÚ is a lack of experience, and is not connected with your reasoning and analization skills or observational abilities; as I stated before; it is simply having a lack of experience.

kamikasei
2007-10-11, 08:48 PM
Looks like I'm going to have to use the latter. As I said, the reason the stats are the way they are is because of his backstory. He grew up on a farm and thus he built up his muscles with the manual labor, and didn't have room for a real formal education apart from the basics. I'm keeping the low WIS because I'm roleplaying him initially as a naive country boy, still learning what it's like to live in the big city

Bear in mind that your garden-variety Human Warrior NPC has 13 Strength, so there's not really any need to pump it just because you did a lot of manual labor. A 16 in Strength is a lot. And as Gralamin says, you don't have to be worldly-wise to have a decent Wisdom score.

I'm not sure Unnerving Calm is that good of a feat choice, either, unless you're confident that you can use the "Battle of Wills" mechanic quite frequently. On the other hand, based on your description that might be the case.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-11, 11:04 PM
Hm. I think I'll take the other suggestion then. I'm still writing up the character sheet at the moment.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-12, 02:41 PM
Another question, if it's not too much trouble.

What stat should I consider putting that point into when I hit fourth level?

kamikasei
2007-10-12, 02:54 PM
Another question, if it's not too much trouble.

What stat should I consider putting that point into when I hit fourth level?

If you go with the 15 in Wis, I'd say put it there. Stat-boosting items come in even increments, so rounding that off will immediately help you while bumping Dex up to an odd number would give you no benefit until you could increase it again, which you wouldn't get to do.

Nowhere Girl
2007-10-12, 03:09 PM
If you switch it out so that Dexterity is significantly higher, why not use a short sword instead and just ask your DM to let you call it a smallsword for RP flavor? Smallswords and rapiers were not the same things (smallswords actually grew out of rapiers), and smallswords were both significantly smaller than rapiers and much closer to the light, whippy weapons you think of when you think of the likes of Zorro. Rapiers themselves were actually rather large (long) and somewhat heavy.

The benefit? Now you can take Shadow Blade and use your Dexterity for damage as well as attack (through Weapon Finesse). Swordsage gives you your stealth abilities and the like, and ... you're there.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-12, 03:12 PM
If you switch it out so that Dexterity is significantly higher, why not use a short sword instead and just ask your DM to let you call it a smallsword for RP flavor? Smallswords and rapiers were not the same things (smallswords actually grew out of rapiers), and smallswords were both significantly smaller than rapiers and much closer to the light, whippy weapons you think of when you think of the likes of Zorro. Rapiers themselves were actually rather large (long) and somewhat heavy.

The benefit? Now you can take Shadow Blade and use your Dexterity for damage as well as attack (through Weapon Finesse). Swordsage gives you your stealth abilities and the like, and ... you're there.

Except I'm going for the Errol Flynn/Cary Elwes/Antonio Banderas/Mandy Patinkin style swordsman. What is Shadow Blade anyway?

Dhavaer
2007-10-12, 06:04 PM
Except I'm going for the Errol Flynn/Cary Elwes/Antonio Banderas/Mandy Patinkin style swordsman. What is Shadow Blade anyway?

A feat from Tome of Battle. You get Dex to damage as long as you're in a Shadow Hand stance.

Lord Tataraus
2007-10-12, 07:30 PM
A feat from Tome of Battle. You get Dex to damage as long as you're in a Shadow Hand stance.

...and wielding a Shadow Hand weapon. I highly recommend that. Just use the short sword and change the flavor to be what you think a rapier is.

alexi
2007-10-12, 07:45 PM
Except I'm going for the Errol Flynn/Cary Elwes/Antonio Banderas/Mandy Patinkin style swordsman

all who would have been weilding a small sword btw...


the sword in the orginal disney zorro was a double wide epee matched to a fenching sabre hilt. The epee is basical a dull whippy small sword.

Lord Tataraus
2007-10-12, 07:51 PM
all who would have been weilding a small sword btw...


the sword in the orginal disney zorro was a double wide epee matched to a fenching sabre hilt. The epee is basical a dull whippy small sword.

somebody knows his swords...

Draz74
2007-10-12, 08:22 PM
If you're a masked vigilante in the Zorro/Dread Pirate Roberts tradition, don't forget to take some ranks in Disguise!!!

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-12, 09:00 PM
all who would have been weilding a small sword btw...


the sword in the orginal disney zorro was a double wide epee matched to a fenching sabre hilt. The epee is basical a dull whippy small sword.

Hm. Frankly I was thinking more of a sabre, and I'm not sure what the D&D rapier is based off of.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-12, 09:02 PM
If you're a masked vigilante in the Zorro/Dread Pirate Roberts tradition, don't forget to take some ranks in Disguise!!!

I don't know if I can. This is always the problem when I build a character. I get so nervous about having the right kinds of skills that I'm tempted to just fudge it so I get an 18 to stick into INT and get as many skill points as possible. It's like an obsession at this point!

alexi
2007-10-12, 09:48 PM
Hm. Frankly I was thinking more of a sabre, and I'm not sure what the D&D rapier is based off of.

none of the characters you mentioned were really sabre weilders, but perhaps you are thinking of a sword such as this:
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/5430/17cutlass1ho9.jpg

it's not quite a sabre, it's a hanger/cutlas. smaller then a sabre, lighter and as seen in 17th century fencing manuals quite flourishable(is that a word?) and unlike a rapier can be hidden under a cloak.

alexi
2007-10-12, 09:51 PM
Hm. Frankly I was thinking more of a sabre, and I'm not sure what the D&D rapier is based off of.

none of the characters you mentioned were really sabre weilders, but perhaps you are thinking of a sword such as this:
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/5430/17cutlass1ho9.jpg

it's not quite a sabre, it's a hanger/cutlas. smaller then a sabre, lighter and as seen in 17th century fencing manuals quite flourishable(is that a word?) and unlike a rapier can be hidden under a cloak.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-12, 11:06 PM
none of the characters you mentioned were really sabre weilders, but perhaps you are thinking of a sword such as this:
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/5430/17cutlass1ho9.jpg

it's not quite a sabre, it's a hanger/cutlas. smaller then a sabre, lighter and as seen in 17th century fencing manuals quite flourishable(is that a word?) and unlike a rapier can be hidden under a cloak.

That's it! THAT'S IT!!

And as to the names, I just wanted to cement the image of the agile duelist as my character concept.

alexi
2007-10-15, 03:12 PM
just say you have a curved short sword with a knuckle guard and you should be all set on your weapon...

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-15, 04:04 PM
But the short sword isn't included in the list of weapons associated with Diamond Mind.

Douglas
2007-10-15, 04:15 PM
But the short sword isn't included in the list of weapons associated with Diamond Mind.
Why does this matter? Just pick a different discipline for your Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus) and keep everything else the same. You do not need a weapon associated with a discipline to use maneuvers from that discipline. Discipline favored weapons are used only where they are explicitly required, like for the Weapon Focus variety of Discipline Focus, the Shadow Blade feat, and a few assorted other feats and class abilities. A very small number of maneuvers might require an associated weapon but I can't think of any and if any do have such a requirement it would be spelled out explicitly in the individual maneuver's description.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-15, 06:48 PM
Really? I have a lot to learn about how ToB works!

Incidentally, I'm not sure what kind of stances and maneuvers to pick. I know that I plan on this character being sort of like a duelist without actually taking that prestige class.

Draz74
2007-10-15, 07:39 PM
Here are stances/maneuvers that say "duelist" to me:

Desert Wind
- (L1) Distracting Ember (if you change the fluff)
- (L2) Flashing Sun

Diamond Mind
- (L1) STANCE: Stance of Clarity
- (L1) Sapphire Nightmare Blade
- (L2) Action Before Thought
- (L3) STANCE: Pearl of Black Doubt
- (L3) Insightful Strike
- (L4) Bounding Assault
- (L4) Ruby Nightmare Blade
- (L6) Greater Insightful Strike
- (L7) Quicksilver Motion
- (L7) Avalanche of Blades
- (L8) STANCE: Stance of Alacrity
- (L8) Diamond Nightmare Blade
- (L9) Time Stands Still

Setting Sun
- (L1) Counter Charge
- (L1) STANCE: Step of the Wind
- (L2) Baffling Defense
- (L2) Clever Positioning
- (L3) Feigned Opening
- (L4) Strike of the Broken Shield
- (L5) Mirrored Pursuit
- (L5) STANCE: Shifting Defense
- (L6) Scorpion Parry
- (L8) Fool's Strike

Shadow Hand
- (L1) STANCE: Island of Blades
- (L1) Clinging Shadow Strike
- (L3) STANCE: Dance of the Spider
- (L3) Strength Draining Strike
- (L8) STANCE: Balance on the Sky (if you don't mind your duelist being sorta wuxia by the time he's Level 15)

Stone Dragon
- (L4) Boulder Roll

Tiger Claw
- (L1) Sudden Leap
- (L3) STANCE: Leaping Dragon Stance
- (L3) Soaring Raptor Strike
- (L5) Pouncing Charge
- (L7) Swooping Dragon Strike

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-10-16, 04:27 PM
That is quite the list! Thank you!