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    Default [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Archon of Nine

    This build acquires all nine of the 9th level maneuvers by ECL 20. It does so without:

    1) flaws (my previous Heaven of Nine build)
    2) magic items that grant maneuvers (Gideon_gideonson/Djinn_In_Tonic's Becoming Reshar)
    3) heroics spell (Kirech's Peerless Master of the Sublime Way)
    4) retraining, psychic reformation, or Dark Chaos Shuffle
    5) bloodline levels

    The only real "trick" is it uses Legacy Champion to inflate its Initiator Level, similar to using bloodline levels, but is more mechanically sound from a RAW standpoint (the optional rules for bloodline levels are... shall we say, somewhat unclear and wonky). Due to Legacy Champion, it does require a legacy item and unlocking the Least Legacy feat, so if you lose that item you lose most of your class abilities from ECL 11-20. But once you pick up the Least Legacy feat, you can toss the legacy item into your haversack and ignore the rest of the Weapons of Legacy rules.

    If we use Legacy Champion to advance Swordsage (including Initiator Level, maneuvers, and stances), we wind up with an effective Swordsage level of 12. The first level of Master of Nine adds another +1 IL. Our Warblade, Crusader, and Legacy Champion levels count as 1/2 IL, so 12 + 1 + (8 / 2) = 17 at ECL 16. Essentially, Legacy Champion levels 2-6 count as 1.5 ILs. When we take our 6th level of Legacy Champion, we pick up maneuvers as a 12th level Swordsage, so we get one new 9th level maneuver and replace an existing maneuver with a second 9th level maneuver. We need a total of 43 maneuvers or stances to get all of them. Actually, only 42, since we're replacing one of our prereqs with a 9th level maneuver.

    Taking a look at the 9th level prereqs:
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    DW Inferno Blast 5
    DS Strike of Righteous Vitality 3
    DM Time Stands Still 4
    IH Strike of Perfect Clarity 4
    SS Tornado Throw 5
    SH Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike 5
    SD Mountain Tombstone Strike 0
    TC Feral Death Blow 4
    WR War Master's Charge 4
    Total Prereqs: 34
    34 (Prereqs) + 9 (9th level maneuvers) = 43

    Here's how we get there:

    Swordsage 12, 17 maneuvers + 4 stances
    Warblade 1, 3 manuevers + 1 stance
    Crusader 1, 5 maneuvers + 1 stance
    Master of Nine, 8 manuvers + 2 stances
    Total: 33 maneuvers + 8 stances + 1 (Martial Study) + 1 (replace maneuver) = 43


    Feats:
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    We get 7 feats plus 1 bonus feat (human). We need one of those for Martial Study, and five of those for the Master of Nine prereqs (Adaptive Style, Blind-fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike). The only other feat we need is Least Legacy, which can be purchased for 1500-2500 GP by acquiring a legacy weapon and performing the Least Legacy ritual (Eventide's Edge is one of the cheapest, but Kamate's is probably the least annoying). There's two open feats at ECL 12 and 15, and we can also free up another one by using the Unarmed Swordsage variant to pick up Improved Unarmed Strike for free.

    Suggested Feats: Snap Kick + Improved Critical, or Mage Slayer + Pierce Magical Concealment.


    Race: Human, Azurin, Strongheart Halfling, or Hadozee
    Stats: Str, Dex/Wis, Con, Int, Cha. Both Dex and Wis will add to your AC, but there aren't enough free feats to make use of TWF or Shadow Blade. There aren't enough levels of Warblade to make Int worthwhile, and while you need a lot of skill points for Master of Nine, Swordsage gets enough that you can probably get away with a small penalty there. And there aren't enough Crusader levels to make Charisma anything other than its usual fate as everybody's favorite dump stat.

    1) Swordsage 1. IL = 1.0. Feat: Improved Unarmed Strike. Bonus: Blindfight.
    2) Swordsage 2. IL = 2.0.
    3) Swordsage 3. IL = 3.0. Feat: Adaptive Style.
    4) Swordsage 4. IL = 4.0.
    5) Swordsage 5. IL = 5.0. (Note: pay ritual cost for Least Legacy, if available)
    6) Swordsage 6. IL = 6.0. Feat: Improved Initiative.
    7) Swordsage 7. IL = 7.0.
    8) Warblade 1. IL = 4.5.
    9) Crusader 1. IL = 5.0. Feat: Dodge/Desert Wind Dodge/Expeditious Dodge.
    10) Master of Nine 1. IL = 9.0.
    11) Legacy Champion 1. IL = 9.5.
    12) Legacy Champion 2. IL = 11.0. Feat: {Open}.
    13) Legacy Champion 3. IL = 12.5.
    14) Legacy Champion 4. IL = 14.0.
    15) Legacy Champion 5. IL = 15.5. Feat: {Open}.
    16) Legacy Champion 6. IL = 17.0.
    17) Master of Nine 2. IL = 18.0.
    18) Master of Nine 3. IL = 19.0. Feat: Martial Study
    19) Master of Nine 4. IL = 20.0.
    20) Master of Nine 5. IL = 21.0.

    Maneuver Progression:
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    This is not very optimal, mostly because you can't get into Legacy Champion until ECL 11. Otherwise you'd want to take your Warblade and Crusader levels as late as possible to pick up the best maneuvers available. The high number of prereqs you need for some disciplines also forces you to take maneuvers in discipline's you might normally ignore (Desert Wind, Setting Sun, etc.), and the limited number of maneuvers you can swap (Swordsage 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) tend to fall on inconvenient levels. Many of the great signature maneuvers just can't be picked up, most notably in Devoted Spirit, Iron Heart, and White Raven. For these, you can rely on martial scripts and the various Crown of the White Raven novice/scholar/master items.


    Swordsage 1: Burning Blade, Flame's Blessing (stance), Wind Stride, Moment of Perfect Mind, Counter Charge, Shadow Blade Technique, Wolf Fang Strike.
    Swordsage 2: Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Island of Blades (stance).
    Swordsage 3: Cloak of Deception
    Swordsage 4: Shadow Jaunt, Fire Riposte (replacing Wind Stride).
    Swordsage 5: Death Mark, Assassin's Stance (stance).
    Swordsage 6: Zephyr Dance, Insightful Strike (replacing Sapphire Nightmare Blade)
    Swordsage 7: Comet Throw.
    Warblade 1: Steel Wind, Wall of Blades, Punishing Stance (stance), Sudden Leap
    Crusader 1: Crusader's Strike, Foehammer, Revitalizing Strike, Leading the Charge (stance), Lion's Roar, White Raven Tactics.
    Master of Nine 1: Pouncing Charge, Iron Heart Surge.
    Swordsage 8: Scorpion Parry, Death From Above (replacing Wolf Fang Strike).
    Swordsage 9: Greater Insightful Strike, Shifting Defense (stance).
    Swordsage 10: Raging Mongoose, Shadow Stride (replacing Shadow Jaunt).
    Swordsage 11: Fool's Strike.
    Swordsage 12: Strike of Righteous Vitality, Tornado Throw (replacing Counter Charge).
    Master of Nine 2: Stance of Alacrity (stance), Time Stands Still.
    Master of Nine 3: Inferno Blast, Strike of Perfect Clarity, Mountain Tombstone Strike (Martial Study).
    Master of Nine 4: Press the Advantage (stance), War Master's Charge.
    Master of Nine 5: Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike, Feral Death Blow.


    Reshar's Build?
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    If the original Reshar had a non-epic progression, I'm not sure if it would look like this. It may be safe to assume he had levels of Legacy Champion, given that ToB includes support for Weapons of Legacy and Reshar collected the legacy weapons for all nine disciplines at one point. The only other facts we know about Reshar is he was human, started studying with the hobgoblins as a Warblade, went into Swordsage next, and sometime after that mastered all nine disciplines. The first nine levels can be taken in any order, so if you want a build that more closely matches Reshar's fluff, take Warblade 1 first, followed by Swordsage 7, then Crusader 1. If so, then some adjustments need to be made to the first two levels of maneuvers:

    Warblade 1: Moment of Perfect Mind, Steel Wind, Steely Strike, Punishing Stance (stance).
    Swordsage 1: Burning Blade, Flame's Blessing (stance), Wind Stride, Counter Charge, Shadow Blade Technique, Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap.


    Variation: Unarmed Swordsage, early Master of Nine
    Spoiler
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    If we use the Unarmed Swordsage variant to get Improved Unarmed Strike, we can get into Master of Nine before we take our Warblade and Crusader levels. This gives us two more 4th level maneuvers, and increases our IL so we can take both Iron Heart Surge and White Raven Tactics with our Warblade and Crusader levels.

    1) Swordsage 1. IL = 1.0. Feat: Improved Initiative. Bonus: Blindfight. Bonus: Improved Unarmed Strike.
    2) Swordsage 2. IL = 2.0.
    3) Swordsage 3. IL = 3.0. Feat: Adaptive Style.
    4) Swordsage 4. IL = 4.0.
    5) Swordsage 5. IL = 5.0. (Note: pay ritual cost for Least Legacy, if available)
    6) Swordsage 6. IL = 6.0. Feat: Dodge/Desert Wind Dodge/Expeditious Dodge.
    7) Swordsage 7. IL = 7.0.
    8) Master of Nine 1. IL = 8.0.
    9) Warblade 1. IL = 5.5. Feat: {Open}.
    10) Crusader 1. IL = 6.0.
    11) Legacy Champion 1. IL = 9.5.
    12) Legacy Champion 2. IL = 11.0. Feat: {Open}.
    13) Legacy Champion 3. IL = 12.5.
    14) Legacy Champion 4. IL = 14.0.
    15) Legacy Champion 5. IL = 15.5. Feat: {Open}.
    16) Legacy Champion 6. IL = 17.0.
    17) Master of Nine 2. IL = 18.0.
    18) Master of Nine 3. IL = 19.0. Feat: Martial Study
    19) Master of Nine 4. IL = 20.0.
    20) Master of Nine 5. IL = 21.0.

    Feats:
    9) Snap Kick or Staggering Strike
    12) Mage Slayer or Improved Critical
    15) Pierce Magical Concealment or Undo Resistance

    Maneuver Progression:
    Swordsage 1: Burning Blade, Flame's Blessing (stance), Wind Stride, Moment of Perfect Mind, Counter Charge, Shadow Blade Technique, Wolf Fang Strike.
    Swordsage 2: Island of Blades (stance), Mountain Hammer.
    Swordsage 3: Cloak of Deception
    Swordsage 4: Shadow Jaunt, Sudden Leap (replacing Wolf Fang Strike).
    Swordsage 5: Death Mark, Assassin's Stance (stance).
    Swordsage 6: Insightful Strike, Fire Riposte (replacing Wind Stride)
    Swordsage 7: Comet Throw.
    Master of Nine 1: Searing Blade, Death From Above.
    Warblade 1: Steel Wind, Wall of Blades, Iron Heart Surge, Punishing Stance (stance).
    Crusader 1: Crusader's Strike, Foehammer, Revitalizing Strike, Leading the Charge (stance), Lion's Roar, White Raven Tactics.
    Swordsage 8: Scorpion Parry, Shadow Stride (replacing Shadow Jaunt).
    Swordsage 9: Pouncing Charge, Shifting Defense (stance).
    Swordsage 10: Raging Mongoose, Greater Insightful Strike (replacing Mountain Hammer).
    Swordsage 11: Fool's Strike.
    Swordsage 12: Strike of Righteous Vitality, Tornado Throw (replacing Counter Charge).
    Master of Nine 2: Stance of Alacrity (stance), Time Stands Still.
    Master of Nine 3: Inferno Blast, Strike of Perfect Clarity, Mountain Tombstone Strike (Martial Study).
    Master of Nine 4: Press the Advantage (stance), War Master's Charge.
    Master of Nine 5: Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike, Feral Death Blow.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Actually, founding a new Legacy could be incredibly appropriate; there are the nine swords, but for the true Master of the Nine, there should be just one sword that goes for all the schools at once; the Master Sword (sorry, that's at least a dozen half-assed references right there) if you will.

    As it isn't impossible to MAKE good Legacy-weapons, that'd really make sense. Reshar and his blade.
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Wow, thats rather brilliant. I like it alot :)
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    A point to consider: if this double-counting of the Legacy Champion levels works, you can do the same with levels in any of the martial adept prestige classes in ToB, and much more efficiently. You're relying on Legacy Champion not counting as a "martial adept class," as per ToB pages 5 and 39: only the three base classes go by this appellation, and ANY other class is counted towards initiator level on a 2-1 basis. The PrC's from ToB are not "martial adept classes" either - it is just assumed that they are not double-counted because they grant initiator levels, exactly as you are having the Legacy Champion do here. Basically, if this build is legal, a SS5 / Shadow Sun Ninja 3 / Mo9 5 gets 9th level maneuvers at level 13 and then has 7 levels of Swordsage to get the 7 remaining maneuvers, with the added bonus of swapping away prerequisite maneuvers once they're no longer needed.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    A point to consider: if this double-counting of the Legacy Champion levels works, you can do the same with levels in any of the martial adept prestige classes in ToB, and much more efficiently. You're relying on Legacy Champion not counting as a "martial adept class," as per ToB pages 5 and 39: only the three base classes go by this appellation, and ANY other class is counted towards initiator level on a 2-1 basis. The PrC's from ToB are not "martial adept classes" either - it is just assumed that they are not double-counted because they grant initiator levels, exactly as you are having the Legacy Champion do here. Basically, if this build is legal, a SS5 / Shadow Sun Ninja 3 / Mo9 5 gets 9th level maneuvers at level 13 and then has 7 levels of Swordsage to get the 7 remaining maneuvers, with the added bonus of swapping away prerequisite maneuvers once they're no longer needed.
    I think it counts because it says it advances EVERYTHING youd get from the level you apply it's +1 level to. So thats +1 IL from applying it to swordsage and then it itself is regular class so counts as 1/2 IL. Not sure on the exact wording involved but I'm pretty sure it works.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    So it counts as both an initiator and non-initiator? At the same time?

    I admit I haven't read Legacy Champion in awhile, but that sounds suspect.
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    It comes down to RAW vs RAI. It's always suspect really when you get tricks like this. That being said, this build is legal; just no one would allow it in all but the most optimized games.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    Basically, if this build is legal, a SS5 / Shadow Sun Ninja 3 / Mo9 5 gets 9th level maneuvers at level 13 and then has 7 levels of Swordsage to get the 7 remaining maneuvers, with the added bonus of swapping away prerequisite maneuvers once they're no longer needed.
    Huh? I'm not following your math. A Swordsage 5/SSN 3/MoN 5 has an IL = 13, and gets 9th level maneuvers around ECL 17, just like everyone else.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    My point is that if this build is in fact legal, there are much better ways to do it which rely on the same questionable rules interpretation.

    @ Darrin: I'm using the same math you used for the Legacy Champion. Your build counts Legacy Champion as 1 IL per 2 levels AND uses its "class features" special ability to advance maneuver progression; without this you wouldn't be able to get an initiator level of 17th at a character level of 15th, and you wouldn't be able to get all the 9th level maneuvers fast enough. I'm counting the ToB prestige classes twice, just like you did for your Legacy Champion - once because they grant IL as a class feature and one per two levels because they, like the Legacy Champion, aren't official "martial adept classes." Thus, one level of Setting Sun Ninja or Mo9 increases initiator level by 1.5. This is just as legal as doing the same thing for another prestige class which grants initiator levels, as you're doing with Legacy Champion.
    Last edited by Darkmatter; 2010-01-04 at 04:38 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by dyslexicfaser View Post
    So it counts as both an initiator and non-initiator? At the same time?
    More like how, say, Eldritch Knight isn't a spellcasting class but advances the spellcasting of another class.
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Wow this is amazing! I could actually see this as Reshar and his epic blade that he would be using (like someone else who has metioned earlier). Nice work!

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    I'm counting the ToB prestige classes twice, just like you did for your Legacy Champion - once because they grant IL as a class feature and one per two levels because they, like the Legacy Champion, aren't official "martial adept classes." Thus, one level of Setting Sun Ninja or Mo9 increases initiator level by 1.5. This is just as legal as doing the same thing for another prestige class which grants initiator levels, as you're doing with Legacy Champion.
    ToB is fairly clear about how Initiator Level is calculated (ToB p. 39):

    "If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes."

    and:

    "Prestige classes work a little differently. In most cases, you add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to determine your initiator level."

    Only PrCs with the following text (or something similar) add their full level to IL (ToB p. 119):

    "You add your full Master of Nine levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known."

    I don't see how you could get 1.5 ILs per Martial Adept PrC level by RAW.

    Legacy Champion is a non-Martial Adept PrC, so 6 levels = +3.0 IL. The class features for levels 2-5 advance Swordsage levels. This includes maneuver progression and IL, just as spellcasting PrCs advance spell progression and caster level.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    ToB is fairly clear about how Initiator Level is calculated (ToB p. 39):

    "If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes."

    and:

    "Prestige classes work a little differently. In most cases, you add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to determine your initiator level."

    Only PrCs with the following text (or something similar) add their full level to IL (ToB p. 119):

    "You add your full Master of Nine levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known."

    I don't see how you could get 1.5 ILs per Martial Adept PrC level by RAW.

    Legacy Champion is a non-Martial Adept PrC, so 6 levels = +3.0 IL. The class features for levels 2-5 advance Swordsage levels. This includes maneuver progression and IL, just as spellcasting PrCs advance spell progression and caster level.
    I see your point here, but I am afraid I still disagree. The Legacy Champion trick works only because the rules don't say you can't do it (this sort of thing was obviously not the designers' intent for either the Legacy Champion or the ToB classes - I hope that we can agree on that...) The book indeed reads: "In most cases, you add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to determine your initiator level." It could then go on to say "in addition to the one initiator level per two levels for having a non-Martial Adept class" without contradicting anything else in the book. It does not, and this is wrong, but it is never explicitly stated. The fact that it is not explicitly stated is what allows both my flagrantly erroneous (by RAI, but interestingly not by RAW) interpretation of the prestige class progression and the equally exploitive (to my eye) interpretation of the Legacy Champion prestige class abilities.

    Incidentally, on a somewhat related note, I just had a look at your "Heaven of Nine" build, and it is almost exactly the closest build I could get to achieving this feat in a non-epic character, even down to those domain choices (the only differences are trivial changes in some of the mid-level ordering.) Well done, sir. Ultimately, the only really questionable part of that build is getting the Wee-Jas requirement removed, which I believe is a lot less objectionable than the build you detailed above.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Huh. Question:

    In the unarmed swordsage version that gets Master of Nine before Warblade and Crusader, could Legacy Champion 2-6 be made to gain maneuvers/stances as a Master of Nine instead of Swordsage? That'd give you an extra 3 or so maneuvers and an extra stance (not to mention at least 1-2 more maneuvers readied).

    I don't have the book in front of me, but if it can work for Hellfire Warlock surely it could work for Master of Nine?
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    I can see the logic behind the RAW argument, and I can't really see a problem with this by RAW. It *is* a blatant abuse of RAW to the direct detriment of RAI, but it does seem to be RAW legal.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Legacy Champion is giving 0.5 IL per level, as normal for a non-initiator class. It's Swordsage that is getting the +1 IL per level. The fact that it's Legacy Champion progressing Swordsage doesn't matter, it's as if you took a level in Swordsage and a level in Legacy Champion for IL purposes.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    I see your point here, but I am afraid I still disagree. The Legacy Champion trick works only because the rules don't say you can't do it (this sort of thing was obviously not the designers' intent for either the Legacy Champion or the ToB classes - I hope that we can agree on that...)
    That's not quite how I understand it... to me, the rules explicitly say you can do it. This "advance another class" feature is something the designers have tried to do three different times, first with Bloodline levels (ugh), Legacy Champion, and then Uncanny Trickster.

    I don't see Legacy Champion advancing initiator level being any mechanically different from advancing +1 caster level for spellcasters. The only difference between advancing spellcasting and advancing maneuvers is ToB has another rule that says levels in a non-Martial Adept class adds +0.5 IL.

    But yes, I think we can both agree that the designers did not think through all of the ramifications of Legacy Champion/Uncanny Trickster and didn't worry enough about possible loopholes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    The book indeed reads: "In most cases, you add the full prestige class level to your martial adept level to determine your initiator level." It could then go on to say "in addition to the one initiator level per two levels for having a non-Martial Adept class" without contradicting anything else in the book.
    The wording isn't all that clear, because at one point the rules appear to state that *ANY* PrC, even non-Martial Adept PrCs, add their full level to IL. The wording is different in the individual ToB PrC descriptions, but it's still vague. I read the emphasis on "full <blank> levels" as if they are implying "instead" of adding 1/2 level to IL, add your full level to IL. This has been somewhat clarified by Custserv/Sage rulings, but oh gawd don't get me started on the ToB errata...

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatter View Post
    Incidentally, on a somewhat related note, I just had a look at your "Heaven of Nine" build, and it is almost exactly the closest build I could get to achieving this feat in a non-epic character, even down to those domain choices (the only differences are trivial changes in some of the mid-level ordering.) Well done, sir. Ultimately, the only really questionable part of that build is getting the Wee-Jas requirement removed, which I believe is a lot less objectionable than the build you detailed above.
    Thanks. In the Adaptation section of RKV, it says you could refluff it to another deity, but I'm not sure how you get from a vaguely worded suggestion to an official variant. I wasn't able to find any deities with the Time or Darkness/Shadow domains. The build is short by two maneuvers, but you can make those up with flaws, retraining, psychic reformation, or Dark Chaos Shuffle. Actually, the shuffle probably works best with an elf, that should give you more than enough feats to meet all the prereqs.

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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    retraining, psychic reformation,
    How would either of those help? I'm not seeing it, unless you're planning to swap out Master of Nine prerequisite feats, then interpret the rules as still allowing you to utilize Master of Nine features with those prerequisites lost. (Losing PrC prereqs is, of course, a well-known area of rules disagreement, but ...)
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    Default Re: [3.5/ToB] Archon of Nine, All 9th Level Maneuvers

    Quote Originally Posted by dyslexicfaser View Post
    In the unarmed swordsage version that gets Master of Nine before Warblade and Crusader, could Legacy Champion 2-6 be made to gain maneuvers/stances as a Master of Nine instead of Swordsage? That'd give you an extra 3 or so maneuvers and an extra stance (not to mention at least 1-2 more maneuvers readied).
    I've seen it argued that you can do that (mostly for War Weaver and Hellfire Warlock), but rules-wise that's getting a little to far into the deep end of the "No! Bad Optimizer! <squirt bottle>" pool. Taking a 5-level prestige class beyond the class abilities listed on the table... well, the maneuvers section would still work fine, you'd alternate 2/1 maneuvers each time you level up, but the stances text only explicitly lists new stances at 2nd and 4th level. As it was, I wound up with 2-3 open feats, which is more than I expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    How would either of those help? I'm not seeing it, unless you're planning to swap out Master of Nine prerequisite feats, then interpret the rules as still allowing you to utilize Master of Nine features with those prerequisites lost. (Losing PrC prereqs is, of course, a well-known area of rules disagreement, but ...)
    The Heaven of Nine build uses a lot of Martial Study/Martial Stance throughout the build. If you stack them all in one particular discipline, such as Desert Wind, and then pick up the 9th level maneuver at ECL 18, you can retrain/psychic reformation those prerequisites into another discipline for levels 19 and 20. Once a maneuver is known, you don't lose it if the prereqs go away.

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