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    Jun 2009

    Default Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Masters of the Sword
    A Warbladeís Handbook

    Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.

    Why Play a Warblade?

    Warblades, introduced in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, are one of the three martial initiator classes. Exemplars of sheer martial skill, they are arguably the strongest of the three.

    Here are just a few of the warblade's selling points.

    - They're free to play. Wizards of the Coast kindly provided the full warblade class on their website, along with maneuver cards, which can help streamline play.

    - Youíre as good as it gets. Before we even get to maneuvers and all the rest, you have a d12 hit die, two good saves, and full BAB.

    - You have efficient use of the action economy. Warblades can move, initiate a standard-action strike for respectable damage, mix in a swift-action boost and still perform a counter when it's not their turn. Fighters, on the other hand, just move and attack.

    - As you advance, you gain a number of useful class features which boost your overall combat capability, from free feats to abilities that grant you excellent Int synergy. And your capstone is undoubtedly the best of the three martial adepts', providing an incentive to stay in warblade all the way to the end.

    - You can refresh maneuvers at a momentís thought. To refresh their maneuvers, a warblade just has to make a normal attack.

    - Youíre great straight out of the box. This applies to all Tome of Battle characters, but itís worth bringing up - itís very hard to screw up as a warblade unless you try to. Although this guide can help, just picking maneuvers that sound cool will make you quite capable. Nor do you even need to multi class; warblade 20 is an excellent build.

    Why Use Tome of Battle?

    Naturally, opinions on the Tome of Battle vary widely. Martial adepts have a style of play far removed from the standard martial character in Third Edition. But Iíve found that Tome of Battle greatly enriches the playing experience at my table, for two reasons:

    - It makes melee characters fun to play. Some people enjoy endlessly repeating their full attack routine, but many want something more. Tome of Battle provides melee combatants a wide array of new options and tactics, as well as the ability to make tactical decisions more meaningful than simply how much they'll Power Attack for.

    - It levels the playing field. Around here itís an oft-recited saying that fighters scale linearly, while wizards scale quadratically. Tome of Battle by no means closes that gap, but it unquestionably narrows it.

    This handbook will use the following system for ratings:

    Red - Awful. Never, ever take these.
    Purple - Meh. These can be situationally useful, but arenít usually worth it.
    Black - OK. Not the best, but not the worst, either.
    Blue - Good. An excellent option, and worthwhile.
    Cyan - Great. You should take these.
    Gold - Incredible. These are amazing options, defining aspects of a build or even the entire class.

    Any kind of feedback is welcome and appreciated.
    Last edited by Elfin; 2011-12-23 at 12:52 AM.