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    Default Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Masters of the Sword: A Warblade’s Handbook



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


    Why Play a Warblade?

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    Warblades, introduced in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, are one of the three martial adept classes. They’re also arguably the strongest of the three, pure warriors who are exemplars of sheer martial skill – and they certainly don’t fail to meet expectations.
    Here are just a few of the selling points for the warblade.

    - 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.

    - You’re as good as it gets. Before we even get to maneuvers and all that good stuff, you have a d12 hit die and full BAB.

    - You have efficient use of the action economy. A higher level wizard can move, fire off a spell as a standard action, cast another swift action spell, and still use an immediate action in response to his opponent.

    Fighters move and attack. That's pretty much it.

    Warblades can move, initiate a standard-action strike for respectable damage, mix a swift-action boost into this somewhere and still perform a counter when it's not their turn.

    - You have class features. Actual class features. And good ones at that: a boatload of bonus feats to help you deal with prereqs or just provide nice benefits. Plus, the Battle line of features provides some very handy bonuses in general combat, along with great Int synergy. The capstone bears mentioning as well. Stance Mastery is undoubtedly the best capstone of any of the martial adept classes.

    - You can refresh maneuvers at a moment’s thought. Much less than that, actually. You refresh all your maneuvers by making a normal attack; maybe the crusader can use one every turn, but you have full control over which you ready. You have the best of both worlds when it comes to refreshing.

    - You’re great straight out of the box. This applies to all Tome of Battle characters, but it’s worth bringing up - it’s very hard to screw up as a warblade unless you try to. While this guide can help, just picking maneuvers that sound cool will make you quite capable. Plus, you don’t need any fancy multiclassing: warblade 20 is an excellent build.



    Why Use Tome of Battle?

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    There are endless cycles of debate about Tome of Battle: why it sucks, why it’s great, why the fluff is awful, whether it’s balanced, etcetera. Naturally, opinions vary widely, but I’ve found that Tome of Battle greatly enriches the playing experience at my table, mainly for two reasons:

    - It makes melee fun to play. Some people enjoy endlessly repeating their full attack routine; many want something more. And Tome of Battle provides you with lots more options and tactics, which include the ability to make decisions more meaningful than how much you’ll Power Attack for this turn.

    - It levels the playing field. Around here it’s an oft-recited saying that ‘fighters scale linearly, 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 aren’t usually worth it.
    Black - OK. Not the best, but not the worst, either.
    Blue - Good. An excellent option, and worthwhile.
    Cyan - Great. Take these. Seriously.
    Gold - Fantastic. These are amazing options, defining aspects of a build or even the entire class.


    This is a reposting of Elfin's amazing work. Hopefully it can provide some help to people unfamiliar with Tome of Battle, and I'll be updating it with community suggestions from both this thread and the previous one, to make sure that it stays good and all the kinks are worked out.
    Last edited by Halae; 2011-04-05 at 09:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Roles: Why You Have the Sword

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    Primary Melee - This is you. You excel at melee combat; whether you’re a dervish of whirling blades or a crashing, maul-wielding juggernaut, it’s your job to be out there on the front line.

    Tank - You likely won’t be able to match the stickiness of, say, a crusader, but nonetheless you’re a formidable target. D12 HD, medium armor proficiency, and, very likely (due to Diamond Mind counters) good saves mean you won’t be going down any time soon.

    Mobility - You have the potential to become a very mobile combatant. Many Diamond Mind and Tiger Claw maneuvers enhance mobility, and you’ll probably have a high Jump score if you’re using the latter (which you usually should, at least to some degree). It’s also a fair bet that you’re wearing light (or at least medium) armor – and hey, if you need to spend a round getting into position, no biggie. You can just use that round to refresh your maneuvers.

    Battlefield Control - Pick up some tripping-related feats, enlarge yourself, and go to town; or heck, just get a reach weapon. Once again, you’re no crusader – and definitely no caster - but with the right tools you can become quite adept at manipulating the battlefield.

    Debuffs - Many strikes incur debilitating status effects on your enemies. But don’t kid yourself; you’re no match for casters when it comes to debuffing. These debuffs should be augmenting your abilities rather than becoming an end in their own right.

    Ranged Combat: Sorry, no. Always keep a ranged weapon on hand, just in case, but be aware that you're a pretty mediocre archer. No disciplines enhance ranged combat (unless homebrew is allowed), though full BAB and a decent Dex mean you can still function.
    But ranged combat should be a last resort.



    Class Features: How You Use the Sword

    Fundamentals:

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    D12 hit die - Excellent. With your role as a front line combatant, you need a lot of hit points.
    Full BAB - You could probably still function with something less – but it would be tough.
    Good Fortitude save - Every melee class gets it, but let’s be honest: every melee class needs it.
    Bad Reflex and Will saves - Always the warrior’s Achilles heel, these are of less concern to you; Battle Clarity helps make up for the former, and Moment of Perfect Mind helps compensate for the latter.
    4 Skill Points/level - You can always use more skill points, but 4/level is pretty decent for a melee class. Better than a fighter’s, anyway, and unless you dump Int (not a good idea) it should be enough to cover all your basic needs.


    Class Features:

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    Maneuvers - This is what makes a warblade a warblade. Without them, you’re even worse than a fighter – and that, my friend, is a low bar indeed.

    Stances - See above. Stances are perhaps less essential, but they’re still a defining aspect of the class.

    Battle Clarity - This helps make up for your low Reflex save. You may want to pick up the counter that replaces this with a skill check eventually, but at the low levels it’s pretty useful.

    Weapon Aptitude - This feature’s use is limited, as its main purpose seems to be qualifying for the lackluster Weapon Focus/Specialization lines. However, there’s potential use here, especially when it’s combined with Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

    Uncanny Dodge - Retain your Dex bonus to AC even when flat-footed? Can’t argue with that.

    Battle Ardor - Quite good, especially on those double-kukri crit fisher builds. There’s little as disappointing as threatening a critical and then failing to confirm it.

    Bonus Feats - At first glance, the list to choose from doesn’t seem great – and while they may not be fantastic, there are a lot of ‘gateway’ feats available. And at worst, hey, free feats are free feats.

    Battle Cunning - Just another incentive to catch your opponents flat-footed. Nice.

    Battle Skill - Hm. The bonus is nice, but at this point the extra couple of points from your Int isn’t going to help much – high-level monsters have mean modifiers. And unlike when you’re attacking, those extra points don’t have the potential to become more damage via Power Attack.

    Battle Mastery - If you’re making use of Karmic Strike/Robilar’s Gambit, this is great. Even if you’re not, it’s bound to come in handy.

    Improved Uncanny Dodge - Unfortunately, this isn’t much. Flanking doesn’t happen all that often, unless you’re up against a bunch of rogues.

    Stance Mastery - Can someone say 'capstone'? This is just amazing, and it's one of main reasons to stay in warblade until the end.



    Skills: Putting Away Your Sword

    Class Skills:

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    Balance - It's the key skill for both Iron Heart and Stone Dragon, and it helps you avoid those pesky Grease spells. Almost always worth taking five ranks in it; after that, it becomes much less enticing.
    Climb - You simply don't have enough skill points for this. Climb can be useful, but it's a very, very low priority.
    Concentration - The biggest priority on the list. This is Diamond Mind's key skill, and Diamond Mind has the save-replacing and Nightmare Blade maneuver lines - both lifesavers, and both keyed on Concentration rolls.
    Craft - If you have your heart set on being a master smith or forging warheart weapons, well, indulge yourself. Otherwise, give it a miss.
    Diplomacy - It's White Raven's key skill, and pretty dang useful besides. Definitely worth it if you have the points to spare.
    Intimidate - Who doesn't want people to quiver in fear at the sight of them? A very nice skill.
    Intimidate is also used in Duels of Wills, a new feature introduced in the ToB, and the skill really shines when utilized in an Imperious Command build.
    Jump - Tiger Claw is a great discipline, and I'd advise nearly every warblade to make at least some use of it. Many Tiger Claw maneuvers hinge off Jump...so, there we go. But if you're not making any use of Tiger Claw, skip it.
    Knowledge (History) - It can be useful. Not great, though.
    Knowledge (Local) - Same as above, but history is often more useful.
    Martial Lore - Knowing your military history can be important, and combat is sort of your schtick. Martial Lore's other function - identifying maneuvers being used against you and the maneuvers in other adept's repertoires - is not as great, but still handy on occasion. Overall, a pretty decent Knowledge skill; if you have skill points to spare, it can be worth taking a few ranks, especially if you're in a game heavy in martial adepts.
    Swim - As with Climb, you just have too many other priorities.
    Tumble - Acrobatics and avoiding AoOs are pretty darn nice. Unless you're a retaliation build, in which case, not quite so nice.


    Cross-Class Skills

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    Listen and Spot - Perception skills are always useful. If you have extra skill points, they're a reasonable investment.
    Search - In my experience, Search is generally less useful. But maybe that's just me.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Abilities: What it Takes to Use a Sword

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    Strength - This is your main stat. It determines your melee attack and damage; get it as high as possible. Absolutely crucial.
    Recommended score: 16-18, before racial adjustments.

    Dexterity - Quite important. It's the key skill for Balance and Tumble, your lack of heavy armor means you'll likely be able to benefit from the extra AC, and higher Reflex saves never hurt. Plus, since no disciplines enhance ranged combat, you'll be relying mostly on your Dex for it.
    Recommended score: 12-16, before racial adjustments.

    Constitution - A high Con score is a huge boon, and at least decent score is essential. You can never, ever have too many hit points, and it increases your Concentration bonus. A higher Fort save is just icing on the cake.
    Recommended score: 14-18, before racial adjustments.

    Intelligence - Your class abilities grant you great Int synergy, and Int also raises your skill points - a scarce resource. Get a good score if you can afford it.
    Recommended score: 12-16, before racial adjustments.

    Wisdom - Quite useful, since it raises your perception skills and Will saves. But neither are too essential: the latter, as I've said, can be compensated for, and you're usually not going to be the party scout, anyway.
    Recommended score: 8-14, before racial adjustments.

    Charisma - You may be a glory-hound, but you'll have to find some other way to accomplish it than Cha. This is a dump stat, pure and simple.
    Recommended score: 8-10, before racial adjustments.


    Sample Stat Arrays:

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    Elite Array: 15, 12, 14, 13, 10, 8
    25 Point Buy: 16, 10, 14, 13, 10, 8
    28 Point Buy: 16, 12, 14, 14, 10, 8
    32 Point Buy: 16, 12, 16, 14, 10, 8
    40 Point Buy: 18, 14, 16, 14, 10, 8
    60 Point Buy: 18, 16, 18, 16, 14, 10



    Races: Born to the Sword

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    Core:

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    Dwarf - Essentially a free +2 Con, since Cha is a dump stat. And all those little bonuses can add up. But the speed penalty can be annoying, especially since you can't wear heavy armor to cover it.

    Elves:
    For a warblade, elves have the added bonus of being the only race able to qualify for the amazing Eternal Blade PrC.

    Grey Elf - Strength and Con penalties. Next.
    High Elf - These are a little better than grey elves, but not by much. Dex is good, but it hardly compensates for lost Con.
    Wild Elf - A strong pick. Losing Int stings, but it's hardly as tough as a Con penalty. If you're restricted to Core races and want to play an elf (especially on lower point buys), I advise playing a wild elf.
    Wood Elf - These are also a strong choice; I'd recommend them only on higher point buys, though, as you'll need to purchase mid to high scores across the board in order to end up with decent Con and Int.

    Gnome - Gnomes don't make very good warblades, losing Str and using small weapons. But the smaller damage die can be compensated for without much trouble at all, and losing two points of Str won't cripple you too much - and on the other hand, you'll gain bonuses from your small size.
    If you really want to be a gnome, go ahead; otherwise, though, you can do better.

    Half-Elf - Ew. They're basically humans, but much worse. The only use here is qualifying for Eternal Blade without any penalties - but even so, snow elf is usually your best bet.

    Halfling - At first these might seem like an awful choice, but, as ShneekeyTheLost notes,

    A point of note about halfling warblades...

    It's not as bad as you might think. The Str penalty equates to a -1 damage. The size modifier does about the same thing. In the long run, it doesn't hurt as much as you might think it does.

    If you go with Halfling, you'll need to build specifically for this task. There's a couple of ways to do this:

    1) Dip swordsage or blow a couple of feats to get a Shadow Hand stance. Then take the feat Shadow Blade, and make sure you can make it appear as though it was a shadow hand weapon (spiked chains, by the way, are shadow hand weapons). Replaces Str with Dex for damage. Weapon Finesse to use Dex to attack. Str is now a dump stat, but rather feat intensive.

    2) Bloodstorm Blade/Master Thrower. Seriously, two points of damage isn't going to be hurting you here, and you can do an awful lot of havoc to someone who is bigger than you, so being small is an asset rather than a disadvantage.

    Also, as a halfling, you can pick up Confound the Big Folk for more obnoxiousness.

    Half-Orc - These are a nice pick. The damage to mentals isn't good, but it's better than penalties to physicals - and the Str boost is delicious.

    Human - When Wizards wrote 3.5, they obviously had an inflated racial ego, because humans are awesome for basically anything. For a warblade, they're no exception. Feats are horribly scarce, especially if you're not allowed flaws, and the extra skill point is great.


    There are a bewildering number of races to choose from, and so from here on out the only ones mentioned will be those black and higher. If a race isn’t here, assume it’s not worth taking (though you are, of course, welcome to take it up with me).

    Non-Core:

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    These races are only those without level adjustment and/or racial HD – those with can be found below.

    AventiWonderful in an aquatic-themed campaign, though not as useful otherwise.

    Changeling – Changelings make awesome spies – and while you are perhaps not the best spy, their shapeshifting is still a very cool toy.

    Menta Cyclops – Augury 3/day, and +2 Con to go with it? Nice.

    Feral-Kind Cyclops – While Dex and Int are secondary stats, Str and Con are primary ones, making this an excellent race.

    Darfellan Great in an aquatic campaign, and nice all-around. But make no mistake: you will get made fun of for looking like a whale.

    Hadozee – Just remember: evolution has no goal, and thus, it’s completely inaccurate to say that humans are better than monkeys. Even if they have better stats.

    Shut up.

    Mongrelfolk – While -4 Cha shouldn't be too big a problem, and the Dex-for-Con trade is good, the stats are lacking when compared things like orcs and neanderthals. Nonetheless, you could do much worse.

    Neanderthal – Not fantastic, as it has a penalty to both of your secondary stats. But still, that’s far outweighed by the bonus to both primaries.

    Orc – A penalty to all your mental stats, but a +4 Str boost is really enormous. Definitely a fine pick, and better than those puny half-orcs.

    Raptoran – A great pick; the wings are more a boon than any measly +2 to Str or Con.

    Shifter – Longtooth or Longstride shifters are the obvious choices, and they make quite good warblades. They trade Int for Dex, but that’s a pretty fair exchange, and the goodies from shifting more than make up for it.

    Saurian Shifter – Even better, as Con is more valuable than Dex.

    Skarn - Bonus to Str, penalty to Dex. Come with built in natural weapons so you can still initiate maneuvers while unarmed without having to take Improved Unarmed Strike.

    Tortle – After deciding to play a tortle, there are three very important things you must do.
    1: Make sure your character is an adolescent.
    2: Become mutated.
    3: Multiclass into ninja.
    4: ?
    5: Profit!

    And yes, I really did make a joke that pathetic.
    But on a more serious note, these are a very solid race.

    Warforged – You’re a robot. Who has a bonus to Con. And is immune to more things than you can count.
    If you’re not sold by now, I don’t know what to say.


    Racial Variants:

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    The only variants here are those that are better than the standard race.

    Badlands Dwarf – Again, if you’re in a desert campaign it’s worth looking at, but not otherwise.
    Deep Dwarf – Slightly better than the standard, but not by much.
    Earth Dwarf – Str for Dex is a very nice trade – and the extra bonuses certainly don’t hurt. Superior over the hill dwarf.

    Painted Elf – Dex and Int are really on equal footing for you, making this a pretty even trade.
    Snow Elf – Perhaps the best elf, with the Con penalty traded for one to Cha (your one true dump stat).

    Strongheart Halfling – As the 1337speakers say, this is teh awesomez. Without a doubt the best halfling.

    Aquatic, Arctic, and Desert Half-Elf – These are better picks than the standard half-elf, especially in a campaign geared towards their respective terrains.

    Aquatic Half-Orc – It’s…a half-orc, but better. Remind me why you wouldn’t pick this over its standard counterpart?
    Jungle Half-Orc – If you want to make a dragoon build, the Jump bonus can help.
    Scab-Lands Half-Orc – In a desert campaign (*cough*Dark Sun*cough*), the heat and thirst endurance can be a lifesaver. Otherwise, skip it.

    Aquatic Orc – In an aquatic or naval campaign, likely a better choice than standard orc.
    Desert Orc – Endurance as a bonus feat is excellent, allowing you to qualify for Steadfast Determination immediately. Very nice.
    Water Orc – Woah. They slipped an extra +2 Con in there, in addition to your already delicious bonuses. This is without a doubt the best kind of orc (and a fantastic warblade).


    +1 LA:

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    Half Giant - Bonuses to Str and Con, but a penalty to Dex - so it might be a good idea to start with at least a 12 in the last. They have the always saucy powerful build (great for those tripper/knockbacker warblades), as well as LLV. There's also a mildly useful Psi-like ability for crowd control, but expect this to drop off in effectiveness dramatically at higher levels. Naturally psionic even makes these guys a possible choice for a psionic dip or for a warblade//psion in gestalt.

    Goliath - Huge bonus to Str, a bonus to Con, and Powerful Build. Like a half-giant, but potentially even better - especially with the added benefit of bonuses in mountainous terrain.

    Sharakim - Bonus to Str and Int, with penalties to Dex and Cha. This is synergistic with the warblade's important stats, and you get some other minor benefits: darkvision, shadow affinity and orc racial enemy. Get cool shades to negate the light sensitivity.


    +2 LA:


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    Half-Ogre - An enormous bonus to Str and Con, but penalties to Dex/Int/Cha. Large size, some natural armor, darkvision and the Giant sub-type. These guys will hit hard, fast and bring people down. Combining them guys with knockdown/knockback sounds utterly terrifying. If you can afford the LA, start at a high enough level to buy some or all of it off, or if it only eats one side of a gestalt, these guys can even become great.


    Higher LA:

    Templates:

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    Draconic - LA+1.
    This is good stuff. We land bonuses to Str, Con, and Cha, natural attacks to use with maneuvers as well as some minor skill/save bonuses, darkvision, and LLV. Compares well with other LA +1 races but is a template! As a result, you can find some excellent synergies combining this with efficient LA +0 races. Draconic warforged? Draconic orc? Draconic water orc?

    Dragonborn - LA +0.
    Mechanically, this template takes your original racial abilities then tacks on +2 Con -2 Dex. You gain access to a draconic aspect, the dragonblood subtype and a few other minor benefits, while losing most of your other racial traits.. Can be combined with wood elf to net a +2 Str, -Int. Makes water orcs fairly insane.

    Draconic Aspect can be a powerful ability as well. Mind Aspect culminates in Blindsense (an excellent perception boost), Wings Aspect gives solid flight (effectively replaces a flying magic item at high level). Breath Aspect could be fun, but doesn't scale (haha!) very well.

    Half-Minotaur - LA +1. Anybody who has spent any time trying to optimize and has access to Dragon Magazine knows that this template is straight up turbo-cheese. Yes, it hurts your intelligence, but a bonus to movement, constitution, size up to large, and a net gain of +12 to strength makes most DMs ready to start training how to rapid fire books.

    Mineral Warrior - LA +1. You take a hit to all of your mental abilities, but a bunch of strength, and amp to constitution, and DR/Adamantine so high that at early levels you can laugh at your opponents, this is a wonderful little template. It's another one DMs don't like, but it's a lot more acceptable that Half-Minotaur


    Combat Style: What Sword Do You Use?


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    As a warblade, it’s not exaggerating in the least to say that picking your combat style is the most important and influential choice you’ll ever make.
    It’ll affect your entire career – your tactics, feat choices, maneuvers learned. Basically, your success rests upon the weapons in your hands – so you better make sure those weapons are good ones.

    Shield Bashing – If you choose to pursue it, shield bashing can be a very nice choice. Once you can afford an animated shield (shield bashers should get one ASAP), you should switch to a two-handed weapon to maximize damage; a reach weapon is excellent, since feats like Shield Slam enhance your tank capability. Add shield spikes and you can enchant your shield like a normal weapon – and obviously, you’ll want the Bashing shield property from the DMG.

    Shield bashing is a combat style that can take a while to pan out, and requires a heavy feat investment – but at mid to high levels, a shield basher has the potential to become a great tank.

    Sword and Shield – Sword and shield – colloquially, sword’n’board – is infamously awful as a style. The big problem is that you don’t get 2:1 Power Attack returns or 150% of your Strength bonus to damage; that said, in the early levels, when AC is important, it’s very viable for you. Especially since you have maneuvers to make up for damage potential, I’d go so far as to recommend using a shield up to around level three. But by level six, you should be usually be going two-handed, and by the time you can afford an animated shield, there’s just no excuse.

    Two Handed Weapons - Lots of people have done optimization tricks to try and get bigger and better swords, and one of the easiest ways is simply to have a bigger sword. Meet the two-hander, you're power attacking, strength multiplying style of awesome. Two handers like the greatsword, greataxe, and falchion favor raw damage at the expense of not being able to use a shield. If you're going to be an ubercharger build, you want these, as the multiplication to your power attack is absolutely invaluable. As mentioned earlier, get yourself an animated shield, and you're stylin'

    Two-Weapon fighting - This is probably the style you want to go for if your blade isn't going to be the size of Missouri. Besides the fact that the ever wonderful kukri can help make you an amazing crit-fisher with the right build, so many tiger claw maneuvers require you to be wielding a pair of weapons. Warning though - Two weapons cost twice as much as one, despite the extra attacks you get. It's a trade off, but it can be greatly worth it.

    Keep in mind though that armor spikes can be treated as an off-hand weapn, meaning you could wield a two-hander and then slap someone silly with your spiky gauntlet for extra fun, making this an absolutely wonderful style

    Tripping - If you're doing this you probably already have a weapon and build in mind - likely a spiked chain, though a few reach weapons could work just as well. Depending on the feats, this can seriously lock down your enemies, and if you're willing to spend a feat to get thicket of blades you can become quite the battlefield controller - But keep in mind that you're going to need your enemy to be coming into melee. Otherwise, you're pooched, unless you can get close enough to the enemy to cause them some distress.


    Weapon Choices: The Sword Rack
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    Core

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    Simple
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    Dagger: if you want a light weapon, wield a kukri or a short sword. However, it is pretty cool flavorwise to beat an enemy with just a dagger, and damage bonuses from maneuvers aren't reduced, so if you really want to use it, that's fine. Even if you don't, carry one with you.

    Punching dagger: no, never, it's like a regular dagger without throwing.

    Spiked gauntlet: The primary purpose of this weapon is if you're THF with a reach weapon and need to have something always ready if things get inside your reach. In those cases, it does its job perfectly. If you're looking for a primary melee weapon, I'd look elsewhere.

    Light mace: only real use is for getting lightning mace feat, then switching to a couple of keen aptitude kukris.

    Sickle: more damage than the dagger, and trip as well.

    Heavy mace: it's the hardest weapon to sunder, and it's damage is fine, but it has a worse crit than the martial weapons. Could be better with 3 Mountains style.

    Morningstar: it's a cheap heavy mace that's easy to sunder, the only benefit is overcoming more types of DR.

    Longspear: the damage is low for a two handed weapon, but it makes up for it in flexibility, as it has reach and can be braced against a charge.

    Spear/Shortspear: It's useful that they can be set for a charge or thrown if necessary, but without reach there isn't much to see here.

    Arrow: One might wonder why exactly I'm putting this in here. 'What's the deal, Harnel? Why are you mentioning ammunition?' well let me tell you about a little weapon property called Morphing. Morphing is a +1 enchantment originally from underdark that lets you transform any weapon into another of the same size. The examples given, of course, are things like greatswords and spears and greataxes, but you don't care, do you You're doing this because ammunition costs 1/50th the price of other weaponry to enchant. What that means is, that Kukri you wanted? Just get an arrow. Then enchant it with morphing for a fraction of the cost. 4000 gold for a +10 enchantment bonus? Hells Yes. And if there's an exotic light weapon you want, just transform this into it and spend an hour fiddling with it to gain the proficiency

    Keep in mind this a horribly dirty trick. If you actually use it, the DM will probably take his entire stack of books, and like the barbarian you are not, will rage and smash you in the head until you are nothing more than a bloody stain on the floor. However, if the game is high optimization enough tht the DM actually lets you get away with this, you can't go wrong



    Martial

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    Kukri: very good for crit-fishers, otherwise, there are better choices.

    Light pick: meh, better with the keen property, but still not very good.

    Armour Spikes - always useful as backup weapon. They allow you to threaten adjacent squares while wielding a Reach weapon; also, you can use them in a Grapple. Lastly, you can enchant them and make them Defending.

    Battleaxe: Comparable to longsword.

    Flail and heavy flail: reasonable choices comparable to other similar one and two handed weapons. Better if you're planning to exploit tripping/disarming.

    Longsword: a reasonable choice for sword-n-boarders.

    Heavy pick: as scimitar, with increased multiplier rather than threat range. Better with the keen property, but not as good as the scimitar because it doesn't work as well with crit-fishers.

    Rapier: As per scimitar. A better choice if you're a dex based warblade. Particularly if you have your eye on a dip in the Champion of Corellon prestige class.

    Scimitar: A reasonable choice for sword-n-boarders. More fun with crit threat expansion.

    Trident: No real reason to take this over other comparable weapons unless you're planning on taking the Net and Trident style feat. That is an awfully weird feat commitment for WB who has much better feat lines available.

    Warhammer: Reasonable choice for sword-n-boarders.

    Falchion - a reasonable choice comparable to the Greatsword. Gets better if you're planning on critical hit silliness.

    Glaive. Reach, THF, and slightly better damage than the other martial reach weapons. Okay, but the special abilities with the other polearms typically make them better choices.

    Greataxe: A reasonable choice, comparable to Greatsword. It's 30 gp less than the greatsword, and 55 gp less than the falchion.

    Greatclub - THF, comparable to Greatsword. Gets better if you plan on taking advantage of 3 Mountains Style.

    Greatsword- a reasonable choice, especially at early levels. Sword/Board is usually more effective at low levels, while polearms/spiked chain shine at higher levels.

    Guisarme. THF, Reach, and ability to make trips. If you're planning on picking up the Improved Trip feat, you should strongly consider this weapon.

    Halberd: THF, ability to make trips, and ability to set vs. charges. Lack of reach makes this an inferior choice to guisarme. Moreover, "Spinning Halberd" [style] feat is awful making this the sad cousin of the polearm family.

    Lance. Reach.Incredible for a mounted combatant, but don't wield it in one hand even if you could.

    Ranseur. Reach and disarm bonus. Disarm isn't the best technique ever, but against other medium humanoids it can do okay. Reach means an enemy without a reach weapon of her own won't be able to claim the AoO trying to disarm normally provokes.

    Scythe - A THF that can also be used to make trip attacks. Can be hilarious if you're able to expand the critical radius. Conspicuously lacks reach.



    Exotic

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    Keep in mind when looking through exotic weapons that, as a warblade, you have something that other classes don't - you can change your weapon feats, like with Exotic Weapon Proficiency. Take the feat, fiddle with the weapon for a while, and instant proficiency!

    Kama, nunchaku, sai, and siangham: disarm and trip are useful, and you can get both of them and more damage with a flail. And you get reach with a spiked chain.

    Bastard sword and dwarven waraxe: the extra point of damage isn't worth a feat if you're getting EWP just for these guys. However, if you're using them to bridge from a Sword-n-board style to a THF style, and you're taking EWP to use, say the Spiked Chain, later, they are basically strict upgrades to the longsword and battle axe. They also get better if you're planning taking at least 1 level of Exotic Weapon Master. One of his abilities allows you to get 2:1 return on PA rather than 1.5:1 so long as you're using a one-handed exotic weapon in 2 hands. Note: The dwarf doesn't even need EWP to qualify for the class because of his weapon familiarity!

    Whip - Good weapon for factotums. Bad weapon for Warblades. I'd like to deal lethal damage AND trip if I so desire thank you.

    Orc double axe: same deal as the the double sword.

    spiked chain- Superior choice. This weapon is the gold standard against which all others should be judged. It is a THF, it allows trips and disarms, it is finessable even though it isn't light, and it has reach even though it also allows you to strike adjacent foes. You need a good reason NOT to take EWP to use this weapon.

    Dire flail: if you want disarm, trip, and TWFing, just wield a regular flail and something else.

    Gnome hooked hammer: only slightly better than the warhammer and sickle combo.

    Double sword: no, if you're TWFing it's better to go with a crit-fisher build, and a crit-fisher weapon.

    Dwarven urgosh: meh, it's worse than a spear, and sucks up a feat(if not two). However, if you're a dwarf, and have weapon familiarity, it's ]better.

    Net and Bolas: Both use a ranged touch attack so you really don't even need to be proficient with them, and you can still use a THF weapon in melee!



    NON-CORE:
    Spoiler
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    Bardiche, Bec de Corbin, Glaive-guisarme(PAPG): these are all decent, the Bardiche is good if you face monsters who use sunder,the Bec de Corbin is good if you use sunder, and the Glaive-guisarme is good against mounted opponents.

    Battle aspergillum(PAPG): useful against evil outsiders and undead, otherwise, give it a miss.

    Bayonet(PAPG): NO, you're not gonna be using a crossbow!

    Bill(PAPG): less damage than most polearms, but it gives a +1 AC when fighting defensively or using total defense, is useful against mounted opponents, and has the disarm ability.

    Boar spear(PAPG): same as the regular spear, but can't be thrown. Instead, if you brace it against a charge and hit, then you get a +2 to AC against the charge.

    Brass knuckles(PAPG): nooooo, same deal as the gauntlet.

    Cane Sword(PAPG): you're supposed to keep your weapon visible, not pretend to be an old man! It's not terribly great anyways.

    Chain spear(PAPG): why are you spending your Exotic Weapon Proficiency on this when you would be more effective with a shortspear and flail? You could have something actually useful with that feat. Like, I don't know, a Hellspear or something.

    Cestus(PAPG): exactly the same as the spiked gauntlet, but has a better threat range, is a monk weapon, and if you're unarmed strike damage is higher than the weapon's damage, you deal your unarmed strike damage. Better if you either have a reach weapon or do THFing and have wolf fang strike. However, you take a -2 to attack with a weapon held in that hand.

    Dragonsplits(MMIV): This exotic weapon is one-handed but it counts as light for TWF and weapon finesse. Excellent for TWF, since you don't have to burn a feat on Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting. Alternatively, they can gain all the benefits a bastard sword can from being used two-handed with a 1 level dip in Exotic weapon master. See bastard sword entry.

    Double hammer(CW): Not that great. An extra point of damage won't be winning you any competitions.

    Double Khopesh(Sandstorm): - Probably the best weapon for TWF. Is a strict upgrade to the double scimitar as it allows you to make trip attacks also.

    Dire pick(CW): It's a bastard Sword with a different Crit. Good for Coup de grace, but... well, meh.

    Dwarven double spear(ROS): Not really worth it.

    Dwarven warpike(ROS): this is hands down the best polearm there is, with 2d8 damage, x3 crit, and the trip ability. If you're a dwarf, there's just no reason not to get this.

    Elven courtblade(ROTW): It's affected by weapon finesse so for finesse fighters, this is a whole lot better than a Falchion

    Elven lightblade and Elven thinblade(CW and ROTW): These aren't terrible weapons, but they're not exactly great ones either. Fairly flavorful, though.

    Falcata(PAPG): better than the bastard sword, at least. May as well.

    Foot spike(ROTW): Pretty bad, but if you're a raptoran and can get the DM to let you use them with your feet, they become a whole lot better

    Fullblade (A&EG): Not bad. It's like a souped up greatsword, so if you find it available and have E. weapon Proficiency when you'd just be using a greatsword anyways, go for it.

    Gnome tortoise blade and dwarven buckler-axe(CW and ROS): not much worse than improved buckler defense, but since only dancing mongoose, raging mongoose, time stands still, wolf fang strike, and girallon windmill flesh rip are for TWFers, you probably don't want it. However, if your disciplines are diamond mind and tiger claw(cool fluff about balance, by the way), it's much better.

    Goliath greathammer(ROS): the better critical equates to one extra damage roll, unless you're playing a goliath and manage to convince your DM to give you weapon familiarity, get a greataxe.

    Greatspear(CW): if you want this, just get a greatsword with the throwing enchantment. However, there are some spear only feats, and this is the only spear that's not a simple weapon.

    Halfling sling staff: this is great, it costs one feat, and you get more damage, more range, and the ability to treat it as a club in melee, however, it requires a move action to reload.

    Heavy poleaxe(CW): get a dwarven warpike.

    Hellspear (FC 2): Not a terribly high amount of damage, but consider the fact that it's a reach weapon that you can attack adjacent enemies with. That's what makes the spiked chain so awesome, isn't it?

    Khopesh(PAPG): eh, typically not worth it, if you want trip, wield a flail.

    Lajatang(CW): Oooh, look, a monk weapon!

    Lasso(PAPG): Cheaper than a net, but not that great. However, if you can get it to be a spellstoring item and a friendly mage to cast a spell into it, making touch attacks against your enemy with this thing is pretty rockin.

    Longaxe(CAdv): Greataxe is good. Greataxe with the option of being a reach weapon is better.

    Lynxpaw(ROTW): *Shakes head* WotC... what were you thinking?

    Mancatcher(CW and PAPG): um... no.

    Minotaur Greathammer: This beast of a weapon weighs 30 pounds, but it deals 1d12 Damage at medium size, and has a Crit range of 19-20/x4. That is absolutely ridiculous. Only problem is, there's no listed price, so you'll have to work out with a DM as to figure out what to pay for it

    Scourge(CW): A flail is much better. This nice for the flavor of being an evil slavemaster, though. Doubtful that you want to even waste your time shifting your feats over to it though.

    Swordbreaker dagger(PAPG): If you want the disarm and sunder bonuses, pick up a two handed weapon, and that's not just against blades.

    Temple sword(PAPG): Same as the Khopesh, except it's a monk weapon and costs more. So... not terrible, but still bad.

    Throwing hammer(ROS): generally not worth it - You generally want to be in the fight, not tossing things at your opponent

    Valenar double scimitar: reasonable choice for TWFing crit-fishers. However, if you're a Valenar elf, and treat it as a martial weapon, it's much better.

    Warmace(CW): not worth both a feat and an AC penalty.

    Wooden stake(PAPG): Ah, the forget me stick. Beating people over the head with this is nice, if not optimized. Give it a pass unless you'll be fighting vampires or something.
    Last edited by Halae; 2011-06-11 at 03:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Maneuvers: Sword Magic

    Choosing Disciplines

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    As a warblade, you have access to five different disciplines - Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, and White Raven.
    One of the hardest choices any warblade makes is what disciplines to specialize in. Remember that it's always a tradeoff, and you probably can't get everything you'd like.
    If you're primarily a warblade, it's often best to choose a primary discipline, a secondary discipline, and a tertiary discipline. If you're something like half warblade, leave off the tertiary; if you're only dabbling, just pick a primary and scavenge off everything else.
    Here's a brief list of the warblade disciplines and their merits.

    Diamond Mind - This is a fantastic discipline, and there's no reason at all not to take at least a few maneuvers from it. It's really not geared towards any particular type of character, being simply chock-full of melee goodness.

    Iron Heart - See above. The main difference is that, while some maneuvers are geared towards particular combat styles, the discipline as a whole isn't. Really, you can't go wrong with either this or Diamond Mind.

    Stone Dragon - This is likely the weakest discipline available to you. Besides the annoying 'must be standing on the ground' clause, its maneuvers simply don't offer as much as other disciplines'.
    The exceptions being, of course, the Mountain Hammer line and Mountain Tombstone Strike. The former provide excellent ways to overcome DR, and the latter is a capstone maneuver - yes, a 9th level strike - with no prerequisites. Even if you skip Mountain Hammer, grab Mountain Tombstone Strike and run.

    Tiger Claw - Tiger Claw is geared towards TWFers, and it shows. But THFers, chargers especially, gain lots of benefits as well. It doesn't have any counters at all, but it's famed for its boosts. They really pack a punch.

    White Raven - If you want to play a marshal-type character, this is for you. However, White Raven's effectiveness depends heavily on your party's makeup: if you have lots of other meleers, it really comes into its own. If you don't, it's not that great.


    First Level

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    This is a really nice level. There are loads of different options, and quite a few gems sprinkled about. My personal favorites are Charging Minotaur, Moment of Perfect Mind, Steel Wind, and Sudden Leap.

    Diamond Mind:

    Moment of Perfect Mind - It's the best maneuver in the Moment of X line, and just level 1. You really want this.
    Sapphire Nightmare Blade - This one is good, but quickly loses steam. If you're playing in a low-level game, it might be a good choice; otherwise, skip it.
    However, if you have sneak attack (probably from multiclassing), this becomes much better. As it renders your opponent flat-footed, you can use it to set up sneak attacks.

    Iron Heart:

    Steel Wind - Excellent. While it only works when you're facing two foes, at the low levels you're often squared against gangs of mooks - situations in which Steel Wind can double your effectiveness. However, it's probably wise to trade it away before too long.
    Steely Strike - Quite good for solo fights, as the AC penalty applies only to foes other than the one you attacked. And at the low levels, +4 attack greatly increases your chance of hitting. While awesome at the beginning of your career, though, it ages quickly.

    Stone Dragon:

    Charging Minotaur - Now this is a nice maneuver. Charging Minotaur does become relatively obsolete before too long, but you'll have a lot of fun playing with the thing.
    Stone Bones - At first level, DR5 is plain awesome, and can mean near invulnerability for a round. But by 2nd or 3rd it's already starting to age - and by level 5, the thing is history. It's much like Steely Strike in this regard.

    Tiger Claw:

    Sudden Leap - Niice. This is an excellent mobility enhancer, and provides benefits well after most 1st-level maneuvers' have expired.
    However, it's worth noting that it has a prerequisite of 1 Tiger Claw maneuver - you'll need to either take a Tiger Claw stance or Wolf Fang Strike to qualify for this at 1st level.
    Wolf Fang Strike - Sounds good to me. Why not? Especially nice because it allows feat-less TWFing, as its penalties supersede those of two-weapon fighting.

    White Raven:

    Douse the Flames - In the right situation, this is a great tool, letting you cover for an ally (or allies) while they escape or run past. And it completely shuts down reach/lockdown/Stand Still builds for a turn.
    Leading the Attack - If you have a party with lots of melee firepower, this is a good one. Otherwise, not so good.


    Second Level

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    No matter what your build, you're in for a treat this level. Even better than first; the best are Action Before Thought, Emerald Razor, Mountain Hammer, and Wall of Blades.

    Diamond Mind:

    Action Before Thought – Like all of the save-replacing maneuvers, this is great. Reflex is your second weakest save, so pick this up if you can afford it; however, your Ref is usually at least decent, and there are lots of goof maneuvers this level. Plus, Ref saves tend not to be SoL/SoDs the way Will saves do.
    Emerald Razor – Touch attacks are incredibly easy to make, so this maneuver is great when you’re up against a heavily armored foe. It only allows a single attack, but that’s no problem at level 3 – and the fact that you can Power Attack to your heart’s content makes up for that, anyway. As a rule of thumb, all the gem maneuvers (‘cept for Sapphire) are worth taking.

    Iron Heart:

    Disarming Strike – It’s good, definitely, and brings use to a generally maligned combat action. But when compared to the other 2nd level maneuvers you have available, I think it comes up wanting.
    Wall of Blades – The perennial weakness of the charger is a pitifully low AC. Pick up this maneuver and you can forget about that. And even if you’re not Shock Trooper-ing, your AC will generally be lower than your attack. Excellent.
    Saph's favorite use of Wall of Blades is to use it against touch and ranged touch spells, which generally have a much lower bonus than melee attacks. Plus, deflecting rays with your sword is awesome.

    Stone Dragon:

    Mountain Hammer – Remember how I said that the Mountain Hammer line was one of the best things about Stone Dragon? This is the most basic of them, and while the bonus damage soon becomes sort of meh, its main function – ignoring all DR and hardness – never ages.
    Plus, it has the fewest prereqs of the bunch, so even if you don’t want to focus on Stone Dragon you can try to get Mountain Hammer. Charging Minotaur -> Mountain Hammer is great.
    Stone Vise – Look at the average monster’s Fortitude save, and you’ll realize that the DC for this maneuver is just awfully low. If it were a Will save, maybe, but as it is, this is just…well…ugh.

    Tiger Claw:

    Claw at the Moon – The bonus damage is good at this level, but it ages quickly. This isn’t terrible, but with all the other great 2nd level maneuvers available it’s not really worth taking, especially since many others also provide bonus damage in the same range.
    However, as Draz notes,
    Claw at the Moon is awesome for characters who multiclass into Warblade at later levels. A Jump check that will beat AC is not hard to get for most characters. Hunter's Sense is often the most useful Level 1 stance for such a multiclasser, and to take it, first you have to take Wolf Fang Strike, Claw at the Moon, or Rabid Wolf Strike. Some characters never TWF and aren't particularly reckless, but have ranks in Jump, so CatM is their best option. YMMV though.
    Rabid Wolf Strike – Your classic ditch-it-all, KO strike. Not bad at all if you plan on going Shock Trooper; combine with Wall of Blades for extra fun.

    White Raven:

    Battle Leader’s Charge – +10 damage at level 3 is fantastic, and this allows you to get into the thick of things without trouble. Just make sure not to get in over your head. A very worthwhile choice if you’re focusing on White Raven.
    Tactical Strike – Nice bonus damage, and if you’re fighting in a cluster with your teammates it allows you to close on nearby foes or flee. Sadly, it doesn’t allow them to avoid full attacks, though.


    Third Level

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    There’s no question at all as to the best maneuvers this level. The standouts are Iron Heart Surge and White Raven Tactics, hands down.

    Diamond Mind:

    Insightful Strike – The Insightful Strike line is really nice, and though this one has the least oomph of the bunch, it’s still excellent. At around the level you get this, with maxed Concentration and a masterwork tool, it’ll sport an average of something like 23 damage – and the damage scales naturally as long as you keep improving Concentration.
    Mind Over Body – Fortitude is your best save, and as such this isn’t a very good choice. Sure, a Concentration check might be higher, but you’ll generally have Fort high enough already. It does stop you from failing on a natural 1, which is nice, but Mind Over Body isn’t generally worth learning.

    Iron Heart:

    Exorcism of Steel – Not bad at all. The save’s low, but it’s Will, which for melee enemies is usually weak, and the long duration ensures it’ll be in effect for the whole battle, at least most of the time. The downside is that it only works against manufactured weapons, but Exorcism of Steel is a very solid debuff to begin a fight with.
    Iron Heart Surge – IRON HEART SUUURGE! C’mon, you really can’t get more badass than that. IHS is an absolute must as long as you have its prereqs; it will save your life countless times, I guarantee it. If it doesn’t, your money back, no questions asked.
    Really, though. Are you going to turn down something that can turn off the sun?*

    *This, dear reader, is an example of false advertising.

    Stone Dragon:

    Bonecrusher – It’s fairly straightforward, and not bad at all, with a nice dose of bonus damage. Unfortunately, by now you’re nearing the point where the bonus damage ages, and the Fort save for the extra effect is really low (though when you do sink the bonus to crit confirms, your resident crit fisher will love you). All in all, it’s pretty decent – but eclipsed by the level’s other choices.
    Stone Dragon’s Fury – So…you can take this maneuver and get +4d6 damage against objects and constructs…or you can take Bonecrusher and get +4d6 damage against everything. Your choice.

    Tiger Claw:

    Flesh Ripper – This maneuver is a prime example of ‘meh’. The effects are negated by a Fort save with a low DC, and even if they hit last for just one round. Skip it.
    Soaring Raptor Strike – Quite nice, as you’ll be certain to run into larger enemies sooner or later. A load of extra damage and a bonus to hit; who can argue?

    White Raven:

    Lion’s Roar – All right, especially if you have a melee-heavy party. But you shouldn’t usually take it, because it lies far, far in the shadow cast by White Raven Tactics.
    White Raven Tactics – Wow. The most valuable currency in D&D is that of the action economy, and this is quite a large check. It essentially lets you trade a swift action of yours for a full turn of an ally’s – and by RAW you can even use it on yourself!
    There's no excuse not to take WRT if you can afford it.


    Fourth Level

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    This is a level dominated by Diamond Mind and Iron Heart. The best picks are Bounding Assault, Ruby Nightmare Blade, and Lightning Recovery.

    Diamond Mind:

    Bounding Assault – A lifesaver. It lets you close on a faraway enemy or change places on the battlefield easily, being basically a charge that lets you move freely. If you’re a charger, especially one with Pounce, this is really good.
    Mind Strike – Nice. Ability damage is always good, and Mind Strike lets you soften up targets for Will SoD/SoL spells, or, if you’re up against divine casters, rob them of spells.
    Ruby Nightmare Blade – Double damage. How can you misread that?

    Iron Heart:

    Lightning Recovery – One of the classic Iron Heart counters. Missing is one of the most annoying and frequent setbacks a melee character faces, and rerolls can be priceless.
    Mithral Tornado – Just like Whirlwind Attack, but it requires no feat investment and gives a bonus to attacks. Sounds good to me.

    Stone Dragon:

    Bonesplitting Strike – Boils down to an attack that does bonus damage equal to your enemy’s HD. Nice, and it scales naturally as you face tougher monsters. The only downside's that it doesn't work against foes immune to Con damage.
    Boulder Roll – Just say NO to overrunning.
    Overwhelming Mountain Strike – 2d6 bonus damage may not be exactly as overwhelming as the maneuver implies, but denying your enemy a move action can be quite useful. Overall, a solid choice.

    Tiger Claw:

    Death From Above – The Jump check is easy to make, the bonus damage is yummy, the target is flat-footed, rendering them vulnerable to Sneak Attacks and the like, plus it allows you to maneuver around into another square.
    Fountain of Blood – If you’re facing a bunch of mooks, this can be quite nice. Ensures the foe you kill is dead and the save is against Will, which makes it more palatable. Plus, the effects last a long time

    White Raven:

    Covering Strike – An upgraded version of Douse the Flames, this deprives your foe of AoOs for three whole rounds, allowing you and your allies a lot of freedom to get into position or get out of there.
    White Raven Strike – Excellent for setting up sneak attacks.


    Fifth Level

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    This is Tiger Claw’s time to shine: it has two splendid maneuvers this level, Dancing Mongoose and Pouncing Charge. But Iron Heart Focus is very good as well.

    Diamond Mind:

    Disrupting Blow – Awesome for shutting down tough opponents, especially brute types with low Will saves. The save is reasonably tough, and denying opponents actions is fantastic.
    Rapid Counter – An extra AoO never goes amiss, and can be used to feed Channel the Storm; this is a strong choice.

    Iron Heart:

    Dazing Strike – There’s no point taking this when you could take Disrupting Blow instead. Even if you don’t qualify for Disrupting Blow, the Fort save will be easily made by most monsters at this level.
    Iron Heart Focus – Rerolls are priceless, and a single bad saving throw can put you out of the fight. Extremely useful.

    Stone Dragon:

    Elder Mountain Hammer – The second Mountain Hammer maneuver, this is similar to its predecessor but with 4d6 more bonus damage. It requires a heavier investment in Stone Dragon, though, which can be problematic. If you qualify for it, it’s an obvious pick, but if you don’t then you can feel fine skipping it. The real point – avoiding hardness and DR – is just as intact in Mountain Hammer.
    Mountain Avalanche – Quite decent. If your specialty is Stone Dragon, it’s a fine pick, though there are better choices at this level.

    Tiger Claw:

    Dancing Mongoose – Awesome for TWFers, and great even for others. You really can’t go wrong with extra attacks, and since this is a boost you can even use a strike in the same round.
    Pouncing Charge – Pounce. Is. Fantastic. You want this a lot. Unless you already have Pounce, in which case, you don’t.

    White Raven:

    Flanking Maneuver – As with so many White Raven maneuvers, this maneuver’s effectiveness depends heavily on party composition. It’s best used when there are sneak attackers present, as it allows them another sneak attack.


    Sixth Level

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    There are no enormous standouts this level, but on the flip side nearly everything is pretty solid. Manticore Parry, Greater Insightful Strike, and Moment of Alacrity are likely top, with honorable mention going to Rabid Bear Strike and Order Forged from Chaos.

    Diamond Mind:

    Greater Insightful Strike – Just like its predecessor, Greater Insightful Strike is excellent. At 11th level, this will net you something like 2d20+40 damage, an average of 61: +4 or so from Con, +14 skill ranks, +2 masterwork tool, all doubled. It might not be as impressive as an ubercharger’s damage, but that’s all in one standard action attack.
    Moment of Alacrity – Moving when you want to is good. Sometimes, really good.

    Iron Heart:

    Iron Heart Endurance – When stamina is a virtue, it can be a big plus never to start a battle with less than half hit points. Still usually a good idea to full heal via wands of lesser vigor or similar after every battle, though.
    Manticore Parry – It’s very hard to go amiss with not only dodging an attack, but redirecting it at an enemy. And even if you're in a fight against a solo enemy, well...empty squares have 5 AC.
    Unfortunately, though, this maneuver functions only against armed attacks. If you see a lot of armed opponents, it's fantastic; if you don't, it loses a fair bit of use.

    Stone Dragon:

    Crushing Vise – It can be useful, but the downside’s that melee brutes (who increasingly become some of the only land-based foes) often have large reach that partially negates the downside of not being able to move. And if you’re in melee range, they’re likely to full attack in any case.
    Iron Bones – At first level, DR 5/Adamantine for a round was incredible. At eleventh, DR 10/Adamantine for a round is nearly useless.
    Irresistible Mountain Strike – What have I said about maneuvers with Fortitude saves? In case you missed it, here’s a recap: No, no, and no. The again, on a failed save this one carries a pretty nasty effect, so that serves as a partial salvation.

    Tiger Claw:

    Rabid Bear Strike – Like most Tiger Claw maneuvers, this one is pretty straightforward. +4 attack and +10d6 damage in exchange for -4 AC: a worthwhile trade by anyone’s standards.
    Wolf Climbs the Mountain – At the very least quite cool. I’d usually choose Rabid Bear Strike over it, but if you want to take this it’s a solid choice. Defensive bonuses and extra damage are always nice to have.

    White Raven:

    Order Forged from Chaos – The perfect tactical retreat or regroup, and it can be used very effectively to charge if your allies delay until after your turn; this way it can get everyone in position to full attack.
    War Leader’s Charge – An upgraded Battle Leader’s Charge, this one’s identical but carries 25 more bonus damage. That’s never unwelcome, and because you’re likely to have traded the earlier version away by now, this is an excellent pick for chargers.


    Seventh Level

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    Similarly to last level, seventh is pretty hard to screw up. Avalanche of Blades, Quicksilver Motion, Finishing Move, Swooping Dragon Strike, and Swarming Assault are all stellar.

    Diamond Mind:

    Avalanche of Blades – Very nice. It’s best used against foes who you’re sure to make at least a couple attacks against, though, because unlike a normal full attack, you stop as soon as you miss. Because of this, you probably won’t be able to Power Attack as much, but it's useful for a Combat Rhythm warmup.
    Quicksilver Motion – An extra move action is superb. Not much more to say, really, except reiterating that bit about the action economy ruling D&D. Then again, there are other ways to accomplish this.

    Iron Heart:

    Finishing Move – Needless to say, you’ll never want to use this maneuver unless your target has less than half health, a point which you’ll find up will come up surprisingly often (who’d have guessed?). And 14d6 is quite a lot of bonus damage.
    Scything Blade – An extra attack as a swift action is good, but this maneuver's use is limited. Dancing Mongoose is strictly better.

    Stone Dragon:

    Ancient Mountain Hammer – At this point, you’ll only qualify for the last Mountain Hammer maneuver if you have a heavy investment in Stone Dragon, in which case you should take it without a thought. But otherwise…well, you won’t qualify for it anyway, so it doesn’t much matter.
    Colossus Strike – At level thirteen, expect your opponents to make the save regularly. But if you’re standing on the edge of a cliff or over a pit of lava…well, you know you want to.

    Tiger Claw:

    Hamstring Attack – 1d8 Dex damage is nothing to laugh about, and even better if it’s complementing Dex draining from the party caster.
    Penalty to movement speed is just gravy.
    Swooping Dragon Strike – A simply stunning maneuver. (Get it? Stunning? Heh.)
    Normally, I know, I wail on every maneuver that allows a save. But in this case it’s not a measly Xteen-plus-Strength DC: the DC is actually equal to your Jump check. And if you’re picking out 7th level Tiger Claw maneuvers, your Jump modifier better be pretty high.
    Awful puns aside, this really is a very good pick.

    White Raven:

    Clarion Call – Extra actions are what high level White Raven is all about; Clarion Call is a prime example (and therefore a prime pick). ‘Specially because, quite often, ‘allies within 60ft’ means the whole party.
    Swarming Assault – Whoa! If you have a melee-heavy party, this is a primer pick yet. Ganging up on a foe like this is especially useful in a boss fight.


    Eighth Level

    Spoiler
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    Too much goodness. The best are White Raven Hammer, Diamond Nightmare Blade, Adamantine Hurricane, and Raging Mongoose.

    Diamond Mind:

    Diamond Defense – This is a real disappointment, overshadowed by the save-replacing line. With so many great maneuvers this level, you just can’t afford to take it.
    Diamond Nightmare Blade – Like the rest of the Nightmare Blade maneuvers, this doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation. Times four damage. Seriously.

    Iron Heart:

    Adamantine Hurricane – If you’re adjacent to two or more foes, this is better than a full attack. And since you’ll often be in the thick of melee, that should come about quite frequently: this is a superb maneuver.
    Lightning Throw – If cutting through hordes with impunity is your shtick, you can’t get much better than this.

    Stone Dragon:

    Adamantine Bones – DR 20/adamantine is pretty awesome, but if you think that’s going to stop CR 15 monsters, you’re mistaken. Nonetheless, the fact that it stops a whole lot of Power Attack does make this better than its predecessors.
    Earthstrike Quake – First of all, am I the only one who saw this and thought it was a typo? Really, it does look a lot like ‘Earthquake Strike’.
    Anyway, this one’s pretty decent. While yes, the save is usually going to be made, if you’re surrounded by casters it can help. But on the other hand, no caster in their right mind is going to be within 20ft of you.

    Tiger Claw:

    Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip – It’s rend-o-mania, and an obvious choice for TWFers. Take it and go to town (though of course, since it requires that you’re TWFing, non-TWFers shouldn’t touch it). Something to consider, though: Feral Death Blow is much better, and so it’s wise to trade this away.
    Raging Mongoose – Nice! I was sold at ‘two extra attacks’.

    White Raven:

    White Raven Hammer – Automatic stunning for a round is insanely brutal, especially on solo encounters where you can gang up on it or sling around debuffs. An amazing choice.


    Ninth Level

    Spoiler
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    This is what you’ve been waiting for. You’ve finally racked up seventeen Initiator Levels. You’re near the BBEG’s doorstep. So, what are the best?
    Well, the thing is, you basically want to take whatever you qualify for. They’re all amazing. But the gold medal has to go to Time Stands Still, and silver perhaps to War Master’s Charge (though most of the time you’ll want Mountain Tombstone Strike as well).

    Diamond Mind:

    Time Stands Still – Come on. It’s freakin’ Time Stands Still. If you qualify for this, you’re taking it. Period.

    Iron Heart:

    Strike of Perfect Clarity – 100 extra damage is great. If you have the prerequisites, SoPC is an excellent choice, especially as it requires only a standard action and functions fine against enemies immune to crits. It's usable in pretty much every situation.

    Stone Dragon:

    Mountain Tombstone Strike – Luckily for you, now that 3.5 is out of print there’s no chance of the prereqs being errata’d. In case you missed them: there aren’t any. Take it, for the love of the gods.

    Tiger Claw:

    Feral Death Blow – The save is sort of low, and crit-immune creatures (read: a whole lot) are immune as well - plus it's a full-round action. But then again, it’s a SoD, and 20d6 damage even if they succeed.

    White Raven:

    War Master’s Charge – For a melee-focused party? Woah. Just…woah. This is the dream of every White Raven warblade, and if you qualify for it there’s no question as to whether you should take it.
    There are, however, a few caveats to be aware of: it takes a full round action to initiate, sucks up an immediate action from your allies, and perhaps most importantly, allows an attack only against a single foe.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Stances: Aspects of the Sword


    First Level

    Spoiler
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    All in all, a very solid level for stances. The choice is usually between Blood in the Water, Hunter’s Sense, and Punishing Stance.

    Diamond Mind:

    Stance of Clarity – Not bad at all, especially if you’re up against solo monsters. Ultimately, though, Punishing Stance is better.

    Iron Heart:

    Punishing Stance – During the low levels, +1d6 damage is significant, more so than -2 AC. An excellent choice.

    Stone Dragon:

    Stonefoot Stance – Sadly, Stone Dragon isn’t known for its stances, and you can see why. You won’t often be facing Large or larger foes at level one, and most Strength checks aren’t in combat situations, so you’ll often be able to take 20 on them anyway - exploits like bull rushes and overruns being the exception.

    Tiger Claw:

    Blood in the Water – Nice. On double kukri crit fishers, the damage stacks up quickly, and as such this is usually the default choice for them. Even if you’re not TWFing, with iteratives and a keen weapon this stance can be a very solid source of attack and damage bonuses.
    Hunter’s Sense – Another great stance. The Scent ability is really useful.

    White Raven:

    Bolstering Voice – The +4 bonus against fear effects isn’t very useful, since you won’t be facing foes with them for a while.
    But even without that, there are worse things than granting your allies free Iron Will. Unfortunately, it ages quickly - and unlike a maneuver, it can't be swapped out.
    Leading the Charge – If you have allies who charge on a regular basis, Leading the Charge is really nice.
    Still, though, Leading the Charge is good even if you're the only charger in your party. It's a scaling flat bonus to charge damage, and since it's a stance, you can combine it with other maneuvers that involve charging - or, if you want to be really nasty, combine it with Pounce.


    Third Level

    Spoiler
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    A pretty unappealing level, unfortunately. The ones to consider are Tactics of the Wolf and Leaping Dragon Stance.

    Diamond Mind:

    Pearl of Black Doubt - Less useful than you may think. Bonuses only last a single round, and if they're going to be missing you, more AC isn't going to do much more good. And if they are hitting you, you're not going to be piling up bonuses. But it can be useful if you're surrounded by mooks, or facing monsters with a ton of natural attacks (which all tend to be made at the same attack rating).

    Iron Heart:

    Absolute Steel Stance - Extra speed and a +2 AC bonus if you move around. Not bad, but there are better 1st level stances to be in.

    Stone Dragon:

    Crushing Weight of the Mountain - This is one of the few Stone Dragon stances that can be used in mid-air and doesn't end if you move more than 5'. It's also one of the easier ways to pick up Constrict damage (2d6 + 1.5xStr bonus) without resorting to wild shape or polymorph shenanigans. However, unless your build is specifically designed around grappling, it's pretty useless. If you do have a grappling build, then this is pure gold.
    Roots of the Mountain - Well, if you could keep it up while moving, it would be pretty decent for a battlefield-control specialist. Any creature that goes into your threatened space gets a -10 on Tumble checks. That makes it a lot harder to tumble past you to avoid AoO's. DR2/- isn't bad either. However, you have to plant and stay put for it to continue being effective. This makes it far less useful.

    Tiger Claw:

    Leaping Dragon Stance - Very good for a Hood-type or Jumplomancer. If you want to jump high, this helps a lot; if you don't, look elsewhere.
    Wolverine Stance - Negates the -4 penalty for attacking with an unarmed strike/natural weapon/light weapon in a grapple. Also, if you're opponent is larger than you, you get a +4 damage bonus. However, you'll get better damage with Crushing Weight of the Mountain (3.5 avg + 1.5xStr bonus), and that works regardless of your opponent's size.

    White Raven:

    Tactics of the Wolf - Extra damage while flanking equal to 1/2 IL. If you can reliably set up flanking opportunities, this has a lot of potential. Remember, your buddies get this too, so flanking rogues are now doing even *more* damage. This is like half-again what Craven can do for them. If you've got several melee users who like to flank, or if someone has Clarion Call or Island of Blades or some other way of making flanking happen easier, it can be pretty nasty. Requires some forethought and setup, though.


    Fifth Level

    Spoiler
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    Again, not fantastic. If you can't use Magic Item Compendium, Hearing the Air is the obvious choice; if you can, it's Press the Advantage, with Dancing Blade form coming in next.

    Diamond Mind:

    Hearing the Air - Blindsense is awesome. You can buy Blindsight, though, for 9000gp, with MIC's Blindfold of True Darkness, which is even better - but if that's not on the table, or if you'd prefer not to blindfold yourself, this is a great pick.

    Iron Heart:

    Dancing Blade Form - Five extra feet of reach is delicious. Whether it's worth a stance or not is up to you.

    Stone Dragon:

    Giant's Stance - It ends if you move more than 5 feet for any reason. Now why would you ever want to do that? Really, though, it's just like Monkey Grip, but worse (and Monkey Grip is already sub-par).

    White Raven:

    Press the Advantage - An extra 5-foot step each round? Nice!


    Seventh Level

    Spoiler
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    As a warblade, by the time you can get a 7th level stance, you'll already be able to get an 8th level one. So it's not generally worth it.

    Tiger Claw:

    Prey on the Weak - It can definitely be useful against large numbers of enemies, but it's probably best to choose an 8th level stance rather than this.


    Eighth Level

    Spoiler
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    There's not a doubt as to the choice here. It's Stance of Alacrity, with the rest lagging far behind. Nonetheless, Wolf Pack Tactics and Swarm Tactics are both good if you can't take Stance of Alacrity.

    Diamond Mind:

    Stance of Alacrity - This is by far the best stance available to you. Imagine using Moment of Perfect Mind and Wall of Blades in the same round - nom.

    Iron Heart:

    Supreme Blade Parry - Sorry, DR 5/- is not going to help you at level seventeen. Look elsewhere.

    Stone Dragon:

    Strength of Stone - Again, the need to stay still is a big downside. But being immune to crits is a big upside, even if it can be bought ('tis expensive, though).

    Tiger Claw:

    Wolf Pack Tactics - It's clearly intended for TWFers to be able to dart around the battlefield in between swings in a full attack, so it's a lot like Cleave in that respect. Except there simply aren't many circumstances where it works...it's just too narrow for your 8th level stance.

    White Raven:

    Swarm Tactics - Coolio. Might take some work to set up, but it pairs very nicely with a lot of White Raven maneuvers.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Feats: Mastering the Sword

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    Player's Handbook

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    Skill Feats (Skill Focus, Acrobatic, Agile, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Diligent, Investigator, Magical Aptitude, Negotiator, Nimble Fingers, Persuasive, Self-Sufficient, Stealthy) - No. Never. Absolutely not. Not even then.
    Armor Proficiency (Heavy) - Not worth it. If you really need the AC, just get mithral plate armor.
    Combat Expertise - As it doesn't scale with BAB like Power Attack does, this is a pretty abysmal choice. But it's a prerequisite for Improved Trip, and so for trippers - though it pains me to say this - it's a must.
    Improved Disarm - Flick your opponent's épée out of his hand with a flourish! Or, y'know, take the Exorcism of Steel maneuver.
    Blind-Fight - A nice feat. Being able to reroll miss chance can be a lifesaver when it comes up, but the real benefit is that invisible attackers get no bonuses against you. It's especially useful because it's a prerequisite for Pierce Magical Concealment, which you should definitely get if you can - it's pure gold.
    Combat Reflexes - This one's a great choice. You should have a good Dex, so you'll gain even more benefits than usual - and later on you can use those extra AoOs to fuel Channel the Storm if you choose to go that route.
    Improved Initiative - +4 to Initiative is pretty straightforward and pretty delicious. This is always a good standby.
    Improved Feint - Have you ever actually seen anyone try to feint? Didn't think so.
    Improved Trip - Excellent. It's the cornerstone of every tripper build, and without it you're not much of a tripper anyway.
    Whirlwind Attack - It's a fine feat, but is insanely feat-intensive to get. Plus, the Mithral Tornado maneuver does the same thing, and without sucking up half your feats.
    Dodge - This is one of the classic trap feats. Avoid it at all costs.
    Mobility - Mobility is actually OK, by Core standards. But Tumble is there to help avoid AoOs, anyway, and Dodge as a prereq makes this a no-no. Plus, you can buy the feat with Armor of Mobility from Draconomicon.
    Spring Attack - Rather underwhelming, especially since it doesn't allow you to make a strike. With its awful prereqs, this isn't worth it at all.
    Exotic Weapon Proficiency - On most melee characters this is on a case-by-case basis, but you take the case-by-case out of it. Weapon Aptitude combined with this feat lets you use basically any weapon ever made: enjoy waking up every morning and deciding what you'll fight with today.
    Improved Critical - You can buy this feat, and buyable feats are never worth taking. Skip it and get a Scabbard of Keen Edges or a Keen weapon.
    Endurance - This is a pretty terrible feat on its own. However, its saving grace is that it's the gateway to Steadfast Determination, which is awesome. But don't take it unless you're using it as a prereq for that.
    Diehard - It boils down to ten extra hit points, and while those can be nice, they're hardly worth a feat. The fact that this requires another mediocre feat, Endurance, makes it completely unappealing.
    Improved Unarmed Strike - Play an unarmed swordsage. The only reason you should be taking Improved Unarmed Strike as a warblade is to qualify for the Master of Nine PrC.
    Deflect Arrows, Improved Grapple, Snatch Arrows, Stunning Fist - See above. If you're an aspiring Master of Nine, skip Improved Unarmed Strike's offshoots; you'll be feat-starved enough as it is.
    Leadership - Many DMs ban it, in my experience. But if you can take it, it's fantastic - caster cohorts are especially useful for buffing purposes. Try not to destroy your game by abusing Leadership (or using it to make yourself the center of the game), though! Leadership is immensely powerful; use its benefits in moderation.
    Mounted Combat - Mounted combat is an unconventional style for warblades, but it can be very effective. If you want to give it a try, go ahead.
    Ride-by Attack - Not bad at all, and it's a prereq for Spirited Charge, which is essential for every mounted combatant.
    Spirited Charge - Triple damage with a lance. Triple damage. Simply amazing, this is the mounted combatant's Leap Attack.
    Trample - You probably have better things to spend feats on.
    Archery feats (Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Many Shot, Shot on the Run, Mounted Archery) - Warblades just aren't suited for archery. However, Eternal Blades have the potential to excel at it.
    Great Fortitude - Your Fort save will already be quite high, due to a good base save and a good Con. No need to take this.
    Iron Will - Like all the save-boosting feats, Iron Will isn't great. But Will is a big weakness for you, and so strengthening it isn't as much a waste as it is with Fort and Ref.
    Lightning Reflexes - While not as great as Fort, your Ref save will usually be high enough. Best to look elsewhere.
    Power Attack - Simple, beautiful, and awesome. Very few warblades are going to be able to function without it.
    Cleave - Definitely worth taking if you're restricted to Core. Otherwise, it's lower priority, but still a good choice.
    Great Cleave - Less useful, unless your campaign is high on the mook-killing. If so, give it a spin.
    Improved Bull Rush - If you're really into Stone Dragon or have levels in Dungeoncrasher fighter, it's a nice pick. But the real use here is that it's a prerequisite for Shock Trooper, an insanely good feat for chargers.
    Improved Overrun - Why are you overrunning, anyway?
    Improved Sunder - It's a prereq for Combat Brute, which is the real reason you take this one. Still, you can use it to smash swords, spill potions, or sunder the BBEG's spell component pouch. Plus, you never know when you'll run into any hydras.
    Improved Shield Bash - If shield bashing is your thing, this is the gateway feat. But if you're not focused on shield bashing, you shouldn't ever have a shield which you actually hold.
    Tower Shield Proficiency - You're a mobile combatant, not a chunk of meatshield. Tower shields limit your mobility too much to be easily viable.
    Toughness - This is undoubtedly one of the worst feats ever printed. If you reeeally need more hitpoints, take Improved Toughness instead.
    Track - Survival is a cross-class skill for you, unfortunately. It could work, but if you want to play a tracker, consider the Hunter's Sense stance instead.
    Quick Draw - Plain and simple, Quick Draw is a fine choice. Worth taking, especially if you're into multiple weapons.
    Run - Erm...yeah. This is sort of a 'trap' feat, and not worth your time.
    Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting - Tiger Claw provides a massive boost to TWFers, and you can go into the Bloodclaw Master PrC later, if you so choose. TWFing is a viable option for warblades, but swordsages are often better.
    Two-Weapon Defense - Nooooo. The Two-Weapon Defense line is, in all honesty, a complete waste.
    Weapon Finesse - Wielding light weapons are a bad option, since they give you neither the ability to Power Attack or 1.5x your Strength bonus to damage. If you want to play a character like this, consider swordsage as an alternative.
    Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Specialization - These four are the classic fighter feats, and thanks to Weapon Aptitude you have nearly exclusive access to them. Unfortunately, they're generally derided as utterly, totally, completely awful, as small, static bonuses don't usually compare with the benefits other feats provide.
    But, in Runestar's words:
    "These small bonuses are all the more meaningful in the hands of a martial adept.

    One difference they have over a fighter is that if you build them around their standard action strikes, combat will typically involve 1 attack each round. Either you hit for a ton of damage, or you miss and don't deal anything. Compared to a fighter who can make 4-6 attacks each round. Assuming you hit with at least 1 attack, you should be doing at least a bit of damage each round.

    This makes hitting (and by extension, all those attack bonuses) all the more crucial. Granted, the attack bonus from weapon spec/mastery isn't so attractive when you are limited to 1 attack/round (compared to a fighter's 4-6).

    At least for me, I am willing to invest at least 3 feats to acquire melee weapon mastery, and maybe eventually work my way up to weapon supremacy."


    Long story short: these feats are ok. Nothing more, maybe a little less. But they're functional, provide solid bonuses, always help, and are simple to keep track of. If you're into optimization, avoid them at all costs, but a warblade who focuses on these two feat trees is a perfectly playable one.


    From here on out, the only feats mentioned will be those relevant to the warblade class.

    Tome of Battle

    Spoiler
    Show
    Adaptive Style – With so few maneuvers readied, versatility can be a problem; this feat helps a lot. It’s a great choice for any warblade, though much less crucial than it is to a swordsage.
    Avenging Strike – Cha is a dump stat for you, so there’s no reason to take this, anyway.
    Blade Meditation - Very similar to Weapon Specialization, even more so because you have Weapon Aptitude. Skip it.
    Evasive Reflexes – Pretty sweet. You never know when a little extra mobility can come in handy, but you can be darn sure it will.
    Martial Stance – Stances are rare and precious. You should usually get enough, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get an extra. This also lets you branch out of the warblade disciplines if you’re so inclined; if you spend a feat on Martial Study (Crusader’s Strike), which can help low-level survivability a lot, you might as well take this feat to get the Thicket of Blades stance.
    Martial Study – Like stances, you can never have enough maneuvers. Then again, you can, to a limited degree, buy maneuvers with the appropriate items (the Crown of White Ravens and its ilk). Nonetheless, as I mentioned above, getting Crusader’s Strike can boost your early survival capacity (but remember - maneuvers gained through Martial Study can't be traded away).
    Rapid Assault – It’s…ok. But frankly, Weapon Specialization is better.
    Song of the White Raven – For bard/warblades, it’s absolutely awesome. But unless you plan on taking bard levels, you obviously don’t want it.
    Snap Kick – Very nice! If you’re fighting unarmed (likely because you’re a Master of Nine), it’s a great pick.
    Sudden Recovery – Erm. No. Using this feat prevents you from using a strike anyway, so you might as well just take the opportunity to refresh every maneuver rather than just one.
    Superior Unarmed Strike – Heck, if you’re fighting unarmed, you might as well take it.
    Vital Recovery – It’s only useful during the low levels, so you might as well just grab Martial Study (Crusader’s Strike) instead.
    Unnerving Calm - While Diamond Mind is one of the best disciplines available, this feat disappoints. Don't bother.
    Ironheart Aura - Like many of your bonus feats, Ironheart Aura at first seems underwhelming. But it's a requirement for Stormguard Warrior, which is par exsalonce.
    Stone Power - It's good in and of itself, and the fact that it's a prerequisite for Shards of Granite only sweetens the deal. But be warned: as you level up, it decreases in effectiveness.
    Tiger Blooded - If you're a shifter or have levels in barbarian, look no further; take it in a pinch. But obviously, otherwise you don't want it.
    White Raven Defense - Far from fantastic, but it leads to Clarion Commander, which is very nice.

    Tactical Feats:

    Clarion Commander – Following Up and Perpetual Flank can be pretty useful, the latter especially if there’s a sneak attacker in your party.
    Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body – Try saying that as a free action. Even if you do, it should only be to trash the thing, because it’s terrible.
    Reaping Talons – It’s slightly better than Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body, but not by much. Skip it.
    Shards of Granite – Eviscerating Strike is just awesome. If you’ve taken Stone Power, pick this one up as well.
    Stormguard Warrior – Now this? This is where it’s at. In tandem with Robilar’s Gambit or Karmic Strike, Channel the Storm can rack up some really mean bonuses, and Combat Rhythm can up your punch considerably.


    Player’s Handbook II

    Spoiler
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    Acrobatic Strike – This is all right. The bonus is somewhat situational, and by the time you’re level 9 there are better feats to choose from. Conversely, there are worse ones.
    Active Shield Defense – If you’re playing a sword & board tank, this can be excellent. However, for a tanking role it’s usually best to use a reach (and often tripping) weapon, which makes it less useful.
    Adaptable Flanker – You’ll definitely see use if there’s a sneak attacker in the party, but it sucks up your swift action, which means no strikes for you. Come back – one year.
    Agile Shield Fighter – It’s completely essential for shield bashers, though awful for anyone else.
    Armor Specialization – Nooooo. DR 2/- simply isn’t worth a feat, especially at the high levels.
    Bounding Assault – Grr, Spring Attack. You better not have invested the feats in it, but if you have then you can consider this. You might also want to consider another gem from the PHBII – retraining.
    Brutal Strike – Love it. It helps a lot to take Shock Trooper as well: that way you can increase your PA damage (and thus this feat’s save DC) without worrying about missing. And combine with Three Mountains Strike for more goodies.
    Combat Acrobat – Quite nice. And you’ll likely have the skill prereqs anyway.
    Combat Tactician – This just confuses me. Taking Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization nets you +1 attack and +2 damage; taking Dodge and Combat Tactician gets you +1 AC (sometimes) and +2 damage (occasionally). Outperformed by the Weapon Focus/Spec line; ouch.
    Cometary Collision – Really nice for intercepting charges, and the attack/damage bonuses are just gravy. And it has the same prereqs as Shock Trooper, which means you often won’t have to throw out any feats to qualify.
    Crushing Strike – Look, if you’ve already gotten Melee Weapon Mastery, it’s time to pull out. If you fight with a bludgeoning weapon, check out Brutal Strike and Three Mountains Strike instead.
    Defensive Sweep – Ooh. Very, very nice for tanks.
    Driving Attack – If you can bully your DM into letting it work with single-attack maneuvers, this is an excellent choice. Otherwise, best left alone.
    Fade Into Violence – Geez, what sort of warblade are you? Your job is to be out there taking hits and winning glory, not cowering and creeping around.
    Flay – Very bad. No sort of half-competent foe will lack an armor bonus to AC.
    Grenadier – Maneuvers don’t work with splash weapons, so specializing in them is hardly a good choice.
    Hindering Opportunist – A vast majority of the time, an AoO from you will be much more helpful than a +2 on an ally’s attack.
    Intimidating Strike – A very solid choice if you have ranks in Bluff. Just make sure you don’t take so many penalties to your attack roll that you miss.
    Indomitable Soul – Really good. The prereqs can be annoying, but luckily, both can be taken as bonus feats.
    Leap of the Heavens – If you focus on jumping, the competence bonus will likely be lost on you. Nonetheless, this is a nice choice for a dragoon build.
    Lunging Strike - …Look, just 5-foot step up to them.
    Melee Evasion – You may notice that the effect is almost identical to the Wall of Blades counter. Skip it.
    Melee Weapon Mastery – This is the reason you take Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. Investing three feats into these can be an excellent choice, but after getting it this one I advise you to pull out.
    Overwhelming Assault – “Only a fool ignores the deadly threat that you present”. You got that right, PHBII; unfortunately, you won’t get very far by assuming every enemy you meet is a fool.
    Rapid Blitz – Okay, so you ignored my earlier advice about retraining. I suppose that if you’re still alive by 18th level, Spring Attack hasn’t completely ruined you…but for the love of the gods, don’t throw any more feats down the drain. How do you expect to beat the BBEG with Spring Attack? Also: retraining. Look into it.
    Robilar’s Gambit – Pure awesome. Robilar’s Gambit is spectacular for just about any warblade; you can’t go wrong with free attacks.
    Shield Sling – As a shield fighter, you’ll be strapped for feats enough as it is. You can’t really afford branching out into thrown weapons.
    Shield Specialization – By itself, Shield Specialization isn’t great, but it opens a lot of doors when it comes to shield fighting. If you’d like to go that route, it’s basically a must.
    Shield Ward – If you use a shield, you could do much worse. Ultimately, a solid pick.
    Short Haft – It sucks up swift actions, which for you is terrible. A much, much better option is just to grab Exotic Weapon Proficiency and use a spiked chain or meteor hammer.
    Slashing Flurry – An extra attack is very nice, though the prereqs can be a drag.
    Spectral Skirmisher – If you’re invisible a lot, it’s not too bad. But there are better options, and many foes will eventually have Blindsense, Blindsight, or True Seeing.
    Stalwart Defense – Hindering Opportunist is bad. Stalwart Defense is worse.
    Steadfast Determination – This is a really good feat, especially because Endurance can be picked up as a bonus feat. It makes a key weakness, Will saves, dependent on your second most important stat, Constitution.
    Trophy Collector – If you’ve invested 6 ranks in Craft (taxidermy), you’re already a taxidermist. You don’t need a terrible feat to prove it.
    Two-Weapon Pounce – Bloodclaw Master and the Pouncing Charge maneuver provide nearly the same bonus, and without sucking up a feat.
    Two-Weapon Rend – TWFing is already feat intensive, but if you can spare more then this is a strong choice. Quite a bit of bonus damage.
    Versatile Unarmed Strike – Can be quite handy for overcoming DR. If you’re up against things like zombies and skeletons, it can be a good pick.
    Vexing Flanker – Honestly, I’d tend to pick Weapon Focus over it (in my book, a constant +1 tops a situational +2). Seeing as Weapon Focus isn’t a great feat, that doesn’t say much about Vexing Flanker.
    Weapon Supremacy – You won’t qualify for this until 20th level, which means you won’t be able to take it until 21st. But if a friendly caster can spare a heroics spell, this is an brilliant candidate – and if you qualify, you should take it at 21st without a thought.


    Complete Adventurer

    Spoiler
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    Brachiation – If you encounter a lot of rough terrain, it might be useful. But this ages by high levels, and aging feats often aren’t a wise choice.
    Brutal Throw – A nice choice for a Bloodstorm Blade who wants to save swift actions.
    Combat Intuition – Meh. Not usually a wise choice to invest in Sense Motive, and even ignoring that, this isn’t a very spectacular feat.
    Danger Sense – Rerolls are awesome, and initiative can be crucial. This is a very solid pick.
    Death Blow – Ooh, nice. Very cool if a party caster is fond of hold spells (and who wouldn’t be?). Even better because you can use that standard action to refresh maneuvers.
    Deft Opportunist – Far from bad, and especially nice if you have Karmic Strike or Robilar’s Gambit.
    Dive for Cover – While rerolls are, as I’ve said, great, your Reflex save will usually be high enough. And while failing a Will save can mean losing a battle, failing a Reflex save often just means taking some extra damage.
    Dual Strike – Not strictly bad for a TWFer, but you’ll often be too feat-strapped to afford it.
    Expert Tactician – If you’re an AoO build, this can amount to giving allies bonuses against the foe you’re fighting every round. But they’re small bonuses, and only last for a round; not really worth a feat.
    Force of Personality – Cha is your only dump stat. Avoid it like the plague.
    Goad – Based on Cha, and it’s a mind affecting ability, which can be guarded against without a lot of trouble by the mid levels.
    Hear the Unseen – You can buy it with a Blindfold of True Darkness or get it with the Hearing the Air stance. Never, ever learn this.
    Improved Diversion – Why the heck would you want to make a diversion in the first place?
    Insightful Reflexes – Actually, since you already add Int to Reflex saves, this just makes your Reflex save worse.
    Leap Attack – Sheer, pure awesome. A really easy Jump check (and you should have the Jump ranks anyway) gets you get an enormous multiplier on your Power Attack damage – wow.
    Open Minded – You should have enough SP for your needs, and even if you don’t then you shouldn’t waste a feat on this.
    Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting – This is the same deal as Monkey Grip, doubly so. That is, it’s awful and you should steer way clear of it.
    Power Throw – If you specialize in thrown weapons, you should go Bloodstorm Blade, and that PrC gives you the same benefit as this feat.


    Complete Warrior

    Spoiler
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    Clever Wrestling – By the high levels you should always get a ring of freedom of movement anyway, making this a wasted choice. The very circumstantial prerequisite doesn’t help.
    Close-Quarters Fighting – While you will, as I said above, want a ring of freedom of movement, extra attacks are very yummy; it also helps offset the usually large gulf between your grapple checks and that of a grapple-oriented opponent. A good choice, and in every way superior to Clever Wrestling.
    Dash – Five extra feet of movement is very nice. Five extra feet of movement is also not worth one of your precious feat slots.
    Defensive Strike – Considering that Dodge is an awful feat and the Fight the Horde use of Stormguard Warrior is better, this is just terrible.
    Earth’s Embrace – If you want to grapple, warblade isn’t the best choice. And you should be aware that this feat becomes much less useful when you start facing lots of crit-immune enemies; nonetheless, it’s an okay choice if you qualify.
    Eagle Claw Attack – Your Wisdom won’t be high, and even if it were…how often will you be attacking objects?
    Eyes in the Back of Your Head – Even if it were a constant +2 AC, it wouldn’t be worth it. As is, it’s just pathetic.
    Extra Stunning – If you have Stunning Fist, you might as well take this. But you will be feat-starved as an unarmed combatant, make no mistake, so only pick this if you can afford it. It goes without saying that non-unarmed combatants should never even consider this.
    Faster Healing – You should always heal between fights, anyway. And if you can’t, somehow I don’t think one extra hit point will be much help.
    Fist of Iron – Take this, and gain 1d6 extra damage a few times a day. Or take Weapon Specialization, and gain +2 damage all day. Yeah, it’s actually eclipsed by Weapon Specialization. What does that say about it?
    Fleet of Foot – Pick up the Twisted Charge skill trick. It’s two skill points rather than two feats.
    Flying Kick – If you fight unarmed and charge regularly, it’s all right. Otherwise, it sucks.
    Greater Kiai Shout – It’s good for dispatching mooks, but you normally want to dump Cha.
    Greater Resiliency – Wizards thought DR was spectacular, and handed it out to player characters accordingly stingily. Unfortunately, it’s far from as great as they thought, and DR 1/- is a waste of a feat.
    Greater Two-Weapon Defense – This is an awful line of feats. Just…no.
    Hold the Line – Extra attacks are always good to have, and out there on the front lines you’ll see charging opponents more than most.
    Improved Buckler Defense – The old trick of wearing and enchanting a buckler is now viable for TWFers as well. But it’s probably wiser just to get an animated shield – TWFing will suck up your feats as it is.
    Improved Combat Expertise – Honestly, I have no idea why this wasn’t just wrapped into the original feat. But if you took Combat Expertise, you might as well take this so that you can use it to its full potential.
    Improved Toughness – Improved Toughness isn’t the best feat to take, but it’s loads better than its counterpart. If you really want extra hit points, you can do much worse than this one.
    Improved Two-Weapon Defense - I hate to sound like a record, but this is a terrible, terrible, terrible line of feats.
    Improved Weapon Familiarity – Because you have Weapon Aptitude, this is nothing but a worse version of Exotic Weapon Proficiency.
    Karmic Strike – Pure awesome. This is one of the only reasons you should take Dodge, and it’s quite the incentive. Requires more investment than Robilar’s Gambit, but its effects are better and it can be taken at a lower level.
    Kiai Shout – If you have 13 Cha, this isn’t too bad an option. It’s best used in campaigns where you expect to face large numbers of low-level enemies.
    Monkey Grip – It’s a trap! All this really equates to is a couple more points of damage.
    Phalanx Fighting – “If you are using a heavy shield and a light weapon”. Why the heck would you be doing that? The only time you should be is if you’re TWFing with a light weapon in your off-hand and an animated shield…but by the time you can afford an animated shield, +1 or +2 AC will be quite an obsolete bonus.
    Pin Shield – The extra attacks from your off-hand weapon are much more valuable than denying your opponent their shield’s AC bonus.
    Power Critical – You already have a bonus from Battle Ardor, and if you’re pursuing the Weapon Focus tree, your unclaimed feats are very precious.
    Prone Attack – If you fall down a lot, this helps. You’re also not a great warblade. Anyway, this is the epitome of mediocrity. Lousy prereq, solid but situational bonus. You can usually do better, but if you like this one, you can also do a lot worse.
    Roundabout Kick – Really nasty (for your opponents, that is). If you can reliably score unarmed crits, it’s just brutal.
    Shield Charge – If shield bashing and tripping are your thing, this is excellent – and it’s a requirement for Shield Slam, too!
    Shield Slam – Just fantastic for shield bashers. It’s a Fortitude save, yes, but a pretty high DC, and dazing an enemy for a round is often equivalent to killing them.
    Throw Anything – Very nice. Bloodstorm Blades will get this automatically, but even if you don’t plan on throwing regularly, it’s still very solid.

    Tactical Feats:

    Combat Brute – Momentum Swing. Oh yeah. This is amazing for any warblade.
    Elusive Target – Remember how I said that Karmic Strike was one of the few reasons to take Dodge? This is another. Negate Power Attack is simply insane; Diverting Defense is excellent; for trippers, Cause Overreach is wonderful. Wear Armor of Mobility from Draconomicon, and you only have to take one prereq feat.
    Formation Expert – Decidedly meh. If you’re defending Osgiliath, that’s one thing, but you usually won’t see a lot of use out of this one.
    Giantbane – Pretty cool, and okay. It’s not a great choice, but it’s a fine one.
    Raptor School – It sucks. Cool fluff, I know, but Tiger Claw has the same…and without sucking.
    Shock Trooper – Shock Trooper. Yeah. ‘Insane’ is probably the best word to use here. Heedless Charge is the clear standout: it’s totally essential for chargers, and amazing for just anyone.


    Complete Champion Feats:

    Spoiler
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    Unless otherwise noted, Devotion feats take either a swift or immediate action to use. Keep in mind though, that while they don't require it, most uses of these feats will be situational without turn Undead, meaning a cleric dip and unfortunately working off your biggest dump stat - Charisma.

    Air Devotion - AC bonus is fine, but I'm more interested in that 50% missile weapon miss chance. Could be useful if under assault from ranged attackers. After all, it Doesn't matter how much damage that empowered maximized scorching ray does if it doesn't hit.

    Animal - 1 mode boosts Str, other two are potentially quite useful mobility modes.

    Chaos - No thanks.

    Death - The fact that you're capped at how many negative levels you can give out per target, and that the save is pretty easy to make shifts pretty far towards "annoying" rather than "powerful".

    Destruction - No thanks.

    Earth - This is worth your consideration. First ability is situationally useful (if you have to charge and have no way of avoiding the difficult terrain) but the 2nd ability allows you to prevent the classic "5-ft step cast a spell" nonsense. If you (or one of your allies within 30 ft!) is in melee range of a wizard, they should be terrified. The caltrops at 10th level are just gravy.

    Evil - Terrible.

    Fire - This is no "Burning Brand". I'd rather spend a feat taking Martial Study to nab that.

    Good - Terrible.

    Healing - In most campaigns I'd say avoid. If magical healing is hard to come by, this might be OK. Other than that, you already have the ability to cast lesser vigor, and wands thereof are cheap. Not worth a feat

    Knowledge - If you're a primary warblade, not worth a feat due to the lack of knowledge skills.. If you're in gestalt, and gestalted with a psion or factotum, this is UNREAL. (1 creature type per encounter, no turn uses!)

    Law - +3 bonus to attack that increases to +4/+5 passively crosses my boundary for "small static benefits" from a feat. Only downside is that you probably won't have enough uses/day to use this for all your encounters.

    Luck - Not so helpful. Most of your damage is coming from static benefits (strength, PA...) not your weapon damage roll.

    Magic - Cute, but not terribly efficient. Might be ok if you have no other ability to make a ranged attack. Certainly gives you the advantage of surprise. Could be passable in gestalt if you have access to precision damage.

    Plant - I would probably avoid this at low levels, but if you're already at high levels and looking for things to spend your level 18 feat on, you could do much worse than having heavy fort. for 3 encounters each day.

    Protection - If it were 1 turn attempt per use I'd strongly consider it. As written, probably garbage.

    Strength - Bypassing hardness, giving you a slam attack and making all your weapons adamantine are unfortunately all only situationally useful, since you can do this with the actually good chain of maneuvers from Stone Dragon. If you aren't planning on taking any Stone Dragon maneuvers could be worth a look .

    Sun - Useful if you live in stark terror of vampires or an undead heavy campaign. Not as useful otherwise.

    Travel - The mobility this gives you is fantastic. Even better, you have access to it LONG before Quicksilver Motion. For what it's worth, if you're gestalt'd with a Scout this is DAMN NEAR MANDATORY

    Trickery - This is very neat, but I don't think the WB can take full advantage of the sauciness.

    War - See Protection but not even as good as that.

    Water - This drops off in effectiveness dramatically with level. The huge elemental you can make at 16th level is CR 7 and summonable with Summon Nature's Ally 6 (available to fine Druids everywhere at 11th level). Also requires you to waste an action pouring out a waterskin. Avoid.
    Last edited by Halae; 2011-06-11 at 01:53 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Multiclassing: Half a Sword

    Barbarian (credit goes to ShneekeyTheLost and Draz74):

    Spoiler
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    Unfortunately, it doesn't give you much you don't have already. Full BAB? Got it. D12 HD? Got that too. Hulk smash? No problem for ya. DR? You have Stone Dragon for that. Rage? Maneuvers are a much more effective way of increasing damage output.

    In fact, there's only one real thing you can get from it. A single-level dip with the Spirit Lion Totem from Complete Champion lets you trade out the 10' speed bonus for Pounce. That means you don't need to wait to get Pouncing Strike, and can use it more frequently. Of course, since you've already got it, you may as well pick up Intimidating Rage and the skill trick Never Outnumbered for some battlefield control to go with your pounce. Other than that? Give this a pass.

    Draz74 has a few additional points:

    Eh, Whirling Frenzy is still pretty nice. Not worth it by itself, still, no. But if you're dipping for Pounce, I'd suggest taking Whirling Frenzy instead of Rage + Intimidating Rage.

    A second Barbarian level is also pretty viable, if you use some other ACFs, since it doesn't lose you any Initiator levels. In particular, the Wolf Totem gives you Improved Trip instead of a redundant Uncanny Dodge. Of course, you have to ask your DM if he'll allow you to take Lion Spirit Totem from CChamp and Wolf Totem from UA.


    Bard (credit goes to ShneekeyTheLost):

    Spoiler
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    Bards and Warblades go together like healbots and beatsticks. There's a feat that even makes this easier: Song of the White Raven. It lets your Bard levels and your Warblade levels stack for determining your level of Inspire Courage. There's been a lot of thought on how to maximize Inspire Courage, I suggest you look into it. While you are at it, look up Dragonfire Inspiration.

    What you lose: Two initiator levels, 1 BAB, 2 maneuvers known, 1 maneuver readied, and Stance Mastery with a traditional 4Bard/16Warblade build

    What you gain: Inspire Courage to give Morale bonuses to everyone's attack and damage, and because it is a Morale bonus, it should stack with just about everything else (other than another morale bonus, of course). Possible Dragonfire Inspiration to give a handful of d6's to everyone's damage rolls. Mind you, this includes yourself. Suddenly, you will find yourself being able to hit a lot more often, and doing a lot more damage per hit as well. And so does your allies. With Lingering Song, you can get both of them going simultaneously long enough to end the fight.

    If you are considering being the 'party leader' who wants to help and support the party as a whole in a meaningful way, and already considering White Raven to do so, then this is definitely a very viable option for you.


    Cleric (Credit due to Essence_Of_War)

    Spoiler
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    There is an entire thread devoted to the utility of 1-level cleric dips and with the Complete Champion, the WB can extract a noticeable benefit from cleric multiclassing also!

    The Dip:
    For a primary warblade, we're here for 1 reason, the ability to turn undead. 1 level, possibly 2, anything more has sharply diminishing returns. I like Fighter1/Cleric1 to get the additional IL, a bonus feat, and undead turning in
    a simple package.

    Domains:
    Try to pick ones that give you an ability that isn't directed at full casting or keyed off of your cleric level. In core, Luck/Animal/Travel are all fine. War is good IF you're not planning to take 1 level in fighter. Try to get the proficiency and weapon focus to be with a ranged weapon to give you a little more flexibility.

    Feats:
    This is the good stuff, turn undead exists to fuel additional uses of devotion feats. Devotion feats allow you to burn uses of "turn undead" to get extra uses of the feat's abilities. It is a VERY good idea to choose your
    devotion feats and your charisma stat with these methods in mind.

    I have helpfully tagged these with a "(Nx)" in their description (N - number of turn attempts burned to get 1 extra use of the feat). If you're planning on taking any "(2x)" feats you'll want a cha modifier of at least +1 so you can use it two extra times per day. If you're planning on taking only 3x ones, you just need a non-negative cha modifier; you don't really gain any benefit from having more than a +0 until you get to a +3!

    Aside:
    The Draconic template is a pretty saucy way of pushing your cha up if you need it. Combine with water orc as base race for additional shennanigans. I'm hardly saying it's necessary, but if you need a 2 point bump to CHA, it is a good LA+1 template that doesn't terrify DMs. (I'm looking at you mineral warrior!)


    Factotum: (Credit to essence_of_War)

    Spoiler
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    For multiclassing, a primary warblade has 2 obvious factotum dips. Generally, factotum dips are best for WB's who already have a high int, or for higher ECL characters who have ways of boosting their int through items. Since you may already want to be boosting int to boost your "Battle" line of class features, this can be very profitable and add flexibility to your WB.
    1. Two level dip:
    Spoiler
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    What you gain:
    Improved reflex saves.
    A cantrip (not big).
    3 Inspiration Points per encounter.
    Cunning Insight - For 1 IP and no action, add int mod to any attack roll, save, or damage roll as a competence bonus.
    Cunning Knowledge - For 1 IP, get a +2 to any skill check.
    Trapfinding.
    A ton of extra skill points to spend on ANY(!!!) skill. Nice for giving that big guy with a sword a little perceptive ability, a little UMD, ability or whatever you need to fill out/assist party roles.

    What you lose:
    1 point of BAB, a few hp (d8 vs. d12), 1 IL.
    You'll probably miss 1 maneuver known, and 1 maneuver re-train.
    A Warblade class ability depending on level of the dip. You need to decide on the viability depending on what your WB does.

    Good level games for this dip:
    ECL 3 - Lose out on Battle Ardor and Uncanny Dodge, the factotum benefits should make you forget those though!
    ECL 5 - Factotum 2/Wb 3 works really well! Miss only the bonus feat.
    ECL 9 - Miss a bonus feat, but keep Imp. Uncanny Dodge, and Battle Cunning.

    At higher ECL's you need to weigh any benefits of this dip against prestige class benefits you may be missing out on.



    2. Four level dip
    Spoiler
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    What you gain:
    Imp Reflex Saves.
    3 Inspiration Points per encounter.
    A utility 1st level spell or 2 (very minor)
    Brains over Brawn - Get your int modifier to all str, dex checks and any skill check based on those skills. This could be EXTREMELY useful to a tripping or bull-rushing WB. Synergy with the Knockdown/Knockback feats is delightful.
    Cunning Strike - Gives minor sneak attack, by RAW I think you can get 3d6 out of this once per encounter on a single attack.
    Cunning Defense - 1 IP gives you int mod as a dodge bonus to AC against an opponent until the beginning of your next turn. Once per turn per foe. Useful for boss fights, or against ranged touch attacks if you don't have Wall of Blades prep'd.
    Cunning Insight - For 1 IP and no action, add int mod to any attack roll, save, or damage roll as a competence bonus.
    Cunning Knowledge - For 1 IP, get a +4 to any skill check.
    Trapfinding.
    A metric ton of extra skill points to spend on ANY(!!!) skill. Nice for giving that big guy with a sword a little perceptive ability, a little UMD ability, or whatever you need to fill out/assist party roles.

    What you lose:
    1 point of BAB, 2 IL, a handful of hp (d8 vs. d12) a point of fort save. 2 maneuvers known, and 2 maneuver retrains (depending on what your WB level is). Possibly a maneuver readied. Possibly a stance.

    Good level games for this dip:
    ECL 5 - This is a fun one. You come in with a ton of skills and can go straight for the 2nd level maneuvers with your first WB level.

    Weigh other levels carefully against PRC entrance and long term benefit.



    In a gestalt game, the WB//Factotum can be a very powerful primary melee'er.
    Spoiler
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    Man, oh man this is fun for gestalt. Keep an eye on the following levels:
    Level 8 - You get Cunning Surge, this is fantastic, breaks WB action economy wide open. You can initiate a maneuver and make a full attack, initiate two maneuvers, or do a maneuver and recovery! Talk with your DM about whether or not this is usable multiple times a round. Avoid flying DMG's. If you have an ECL 8+ gestalt game, and you'd like to play a Warblade, strongly consider the factotum for nothing other than this ability.

    If this is usable multiple times per round, you can take Font of Inspiration once (see below) to open every combat with WRT, Surge to recover maneuvers, Surge out WRT. Everyone in your party will thank you. Your DM will likely not. Even if you don't take Font, you can still use WRT, then on your next turn, recover maneuvers and surge out WRT!

    Level 11 - Cunning Breach. Allows you to bypass SR/DR for 2 IP. This can be very broadly useful with your arcane dilettante ability. Or use it to punch the hell out of golems!

    Level 16 - Imp Cunning Defense gives you permanent int mod as a dodge bonus to AC, have to be in light armor though. Major downside here if you aren't in a mithril breastplate or the moral equivalent. This can be much better if you're going for a more dextrous build to take advantage of two-weapon fighting.



    Feats:
    Spoiler
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    Font of Inspiration, if it is allowed can be very tempting. Usually the WB has better things to do with its feats, but you could make an exception based on a couple of possibilities. The only time I would feel strongly about this is at Factotum 8.

    If you're in a gestalt game and trying to nab Cunning Surge, you'll have 5 IP at level 8. Cunning Surge costs 3 IP to use. Taking Font of Inspiration once gives you 6 IP total and 2 uses of this ability. As you don't normally get your 6th IP until Factotum 11, this can be very profitable.


    Last edited by Halae; 2011-06-11 at 02:08 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Sample Builds: Swordmasters

    Spoiler
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    Blade of Corellon
    Amphetryon

    Spoiler
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    Crunch:

    Snow Elf Warblade 7/Champion of Corellon Larethian 3/Eternal Blade 10.

    STR 13 DEX 17 CON 14 INT 16 WIS 12 CHA 6; boost DEX.

    Flaws: Murky-Eyed, Shaky

    Feats: Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mounted Combat, Improved Weapon Familiarity, Weapon Focus (Elven Courtblade), Combat Reflexes, Improved Trip, Weapon Finesse, Unnerving Calm, Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body

    Maneuvers: Moment of Perfect Mind, Douse the Flames, Wall of Blades, Insightful Strike, Iron Heart Surge, White Raven Tactics, Ruby Nightmare Blade, Rapid Counter, Moment of Alacrity, Avalanche of Blades, Diamond Nightmare Blade, Time Stands Still

    Stances: Punishing Stance, Leading the Charge, Hearing the Air.

    Description:

    Party role is primarily that of tank; the required feats for CoCC give some valuable defensive boosts early-game that the 3 levels of CoCC emphasize for mid-game. With a heavy flail as a second weapon and Combat Reflexes/Improved Trip, it's at least adequate as a battlefield controller and against undead and such. If there's an equipment-related or site-related way to pick up Mounted Combat, it deserves serious consideration since it's largely unsupported otherwise. Get out in front and provide boosts to your allies while simultaneously dealing with the most dangerous melee threat possible. Hit based on DEX; damage based on DEX + INT + STR in general, or on up to 4x Concentration check a few times a day.

    Heavy emphasis on Diamond Mind makes Concentration the skill to max out. 15 ranks in Tumble seems a minimum to improve mobility, max out Intimidate even with the CHA penalty, and pick up what Knowledges seem most appropriate to the campaign to compliment choices needed for PrCs; with the INT available this makes a decent secondary sage. Obviously, toss a point or two into the Ride skill for Mounted Combat. This might be easiest at 1st level, if you start with sufficient funds to have a mount, since your opponents will largely be accessible from horseback and the benefits of Mounted Combat are significant at low levels.

    Major issue is that Flaws are required for the build to work; it's impossible to get sufficient Feats otherwise to get CoCC 3 and still finish out Eternal Blade pre-Epic.


    Flick
    Keld Denar

    Spoiler
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    Flick, the Flaming Knife Flinger
    Glimmerskin Strongheart Halfling Bardblade
    Bard3/Warblade5/Master Thrower5/Warblade7
    28 PB Str 12(10) Dex 16(18) Con 14 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 12
    Putting level up points into Dex to increase +hit

    Level/Feat Build
    Spoiler
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    1 Bard1 [Dragonfire Inspiration] [Point Blank Shot] [Rapid Shot(flaw)] [Precise Shot (Flaw)]
    2 Bard2
    3 Bard3 [Song of the Heart]
    4 Warblade1
    5 Warblade2
    6 Warblade3 [Song of the White Raven]
    7 Warblade4
    8 Warblade5 [Quick Draw]
    9 Master Thrower1 [Two Weapon Fighting]
    10 Master Thrower2
    11 Master Thrower3
    12 Master Thrower4 [Improved TWF]
    13 Master Thrower5
    14 Warblade6
    15 Warblade7 [Greater TWF]
    16 Warblade8
    17 Warblade9 [Improved Initiative]
    18 Warblade10 [Feat?]
    19 Warblade11
    20 Warblade12

    Maneuver/Spell Progression
    Spoiler
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    {table=Header]IL|Level|[Gain]|(Lose)|{Stance}
    1|Bard1||||
    1|Bard2|[Inspirational Boost]|||
    1|Bard3|[Grease]|||
    2|Warblade1|[Moment of Perfect Mind] [Wolf Fang Strike] [Sudden Leap]|| {Leading the Charge}
    3|Warblade2|[Action Before Thought]||
    4|Warblade3|[Tactical Strike]||
    5|Warblade4|[Mind over Body]|(Wolf Fang Strike)|{Leaping Dragon Stance}
    6|Warblade5|[White Raven Tactics]||
    7|Master Thrower1|||
    8|Master Thrower2|||
    8|Master Thrower3|||
    9|Master Thrower4|||
    9|Master Thrower5|||
    10|Warblade6|[Dancing Mongoose]|(Action Before Thought)||
    11|Warblade7|[Moment of Alacrity]||
    12|Warblade8|[Order Forged from Chaos]|(Tactical Strike)|
    13|Warblade9|[Clarion Call]||
    14|Warblade10|[Quicksilver Motion]|(Mind over Body)|{Press the Advantage}
    15|Warblade11|[Raging Mongoose]||
    16|Warblade12|[Diamond Defense]|(Moment of Perfect Mind)|
    [/table]

    Picking maneuvers was tough, since most of them require melee strikes. I REALLY wanted to draw heavily from Desert Wind, but all the boosts there specify melee only, whereas Tiger Claw boosts such as the Xing Mongooses don't. I really tried to avoid taking Strikes if possible, except to meet prereqs, since I'd rather use my high rate of fire on a full attack if possible.

    Granted, would have a lot of weakness against foes with DR and fire immunity, but would be fun to play in a campaign mostly against humanoid foes. The high rate of attack between Rapid Shot, TWF, and Palm Throw would stack on the d6s pretty fast. At level 20, you'd have an Dragonfire Inspiration of:
    +5 (level incuding Vest of Legends)
    +1 Song of the Heart
    +1 Inspirational Boost
    +1 Badge of Valor
    = +8d6 fire damage per hit

    19/20 BAB results in 4 attacks +1 for Rapid Shot, +3 for TWF, +2 for Raging Mongoose, +1 Haste for 11 attacks, which Palm throw makes 22. 22 attacks for +8d6 each would net ~176d6 fire damage per round on a full attack every other round, with 144d6 every round in between (to regain Raging Mongoose). Maneuverability would be increase with Sudden Leap and Leaping Dragon Stance, replaced later with Press the Advantage and/or Quicksilver Motion at later levels. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get the IL up high enough to get Time Stands Still, which would ABSOLUTELY destroy just about anything.

    All in all, the build is pretty viable off the bat. Early on, you'll have a really low rate of fire, but you'll be a pretty good buffer with +1d6 fire at 1st level, +2d6 fire at 2nd, and +3d6 fire at 3rd. Low number of Bard songs per day could be an issue, but for continuous fighting, you could just maintain the same song over multiple encounters as long as you don't have to cast spells or chit chat. The build really comes into its own around level 8, when you have the Quickdraw to make multiple dagger tosses in a round. By then, your Inspire Courage is up to +5d6 (with Badge) and you are making 3 attacks/round or 4 with Haste. That's potentially 15-20d6 fire if all attacks hit. Level 9 is a huge step to, bringing number of attacks up to 4/round or 5 with Haste, and level 13 brings Palm Throw into the equasion, and from there its just silly.

    Most cash can be spent on improving defenses once requisite bardic gear is purchased, since magical weaponry wouldn't be that advantageous. Something that grants flight would be idea to increase mobility and defenses. At higher levels, a casting of 2-3 Chained GMWs would give you enough magic daggers to last an encounter before you could reclaim them.



    Tetsuko - Wandering Ronin
    Essence_of_War

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    An example of how to build a flavorful and mechanically useful samurai type character using ToB. There are a large number of ways to PO a character like this, but I've made some deliberate sacrifices for utility and also to demonstrate how low the "optimization ceiling" is for ToB characters to still be useful.

    Build:
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    Tetsuko - Wandering Ronin
    Human Paragon 2/Warblade18
    Base Stats: Str 16 Dex 13 Con 16 Int 14 Wis 9 Cha 8
    (Boost the hell out of strength to maximize your charges)

    Human paragon is to get adaptive learning and a bonus feat. If you're playing with PF type skills, choose your adaptive skill to be perception. If not, Listen is a strong choice and fits well with the finely tuned senses trope of the samurai.

    Feat Progression:
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    HumanPara1 - Power Attack, Exotic Weapon Prof.
    HumanPara2 - Imp. Unarmed Strike
    Warblade1 - Imp. Bull Rush
    Warblade2 -
    Warblade3 -
    Warblade4 - Leap Attack
    Warblade5 - Improved Initiative,
    Warblade6 -
    Warblade7 - Shock Trooper
    Warblade8 -
    Warblade9 - Quick Draw,
    Warblade10 - Adaptive Style
    Warblade11 -
    Warblade12 -
    Warblade13 - Combat Reflexes, Robilar's Gambit
    Warblade14 -
    Warblade15 -
    Warblade16 - Close Quarters Fighting
    Warblade17 - Blind-Fight
    Warblade18 -


    Maneuvers:
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    Here's one example to shoot for:
    1 - Moment of Perfect Mind (DM, Counter)
    2 - Wall of Blades (IH, Counter)
    3 - Iron Heart Surge (IH,-)
    4 -
    5 - Iron Heart Focus (IH, Counter)
    6 - Moment of Alacrity (DM, Boost)
    7 - Quicksilver Motion (DM, Boost); Finishing Move (IH, Strike)
    8 - Adamantine Hurricane (IH, Strike); DNB (DM, Strike); Lightning Throw (IH, Strike)
    9 - Strike of Perf. Clarity (IH, Strike); Time Stands Still (DM, Strike)


    Stances:
    Spoiler
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    Stances:
    1. Leading the Charge
    2. Punishing Stance
    3. Hearing the Air
    4. Stance of Alacrity


    Skills:
    Spoiler
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    You should have something like 161 skill points by 20th level, and you gain 7 skp/level more or less uniformly. Obviously you want to boost whatever your adaptive skill is, I chose listen. Other important skills are given in the handbook, but I'd be sure to nab at least 15 ranks in tumble and 5 ranks in balance. There are some useful skill tricks to consider also.

    1. Back on your feet - go from prone to on your feet as an immediate action
    2. Extreme Leap - get extra distance on a charge
    3. Nimble Charge - Awesome, you can charge over difficult terrain!
    4. Listen to This - not very mechanically useful, but helpful given your listen ranks
    5. Twisted Charge - Frees up a maneuver so you don't need to take bounding assault.
    6. Never Outnumbered - if you're pumping intimidate anyway, this is a good choice.



    I chose the feats to get Shock Trooper charging online as quickly as possible while also having room for a bunch of utility feats. I think that it is fine to take Reflexes and Robilar's at the same level as long as you take them in the correct order. Only thing of dubious utility might be Adaptive Style/CQF. You could cut those to pick up Imp. Sunder and Combat Brute to have an awesome post-charge followup. Makes you perhaps a little less well rounded though.

    You have a mix of powerful strikes, amazing boosts, and effective counters.
    MoPM is basically non-negotiable for having up all of the time. Otherwise ready 2-3 strikes, and fill in the rest with counters and boosts. Adamantine Hurricane is only necessary when you think you'll be facing down a hoard. I'd ready something like:
    1. Time Stands Still
    2. Strike of Perfect Clarity
    3. Quicksilver Motion
    4. Moment of Alacrity
    5. Wall of Blades
    6. Moment of Perfect Mind
    You have two amazing strikes, 2 useful boosts, 2 very useful counters.
    It is kind of annoying to blindfold yourself, so I'd spend most of my time in
    hearing the air, and switch to stance of alacrity if there is a chance to need to use two counters a round.

    So what can you do with a character like this? In a party, he can take on the role of a primary melee damage dealer. He can charge for huge damage, skirmish with DM/IH maneuvers, and defend allies with combat reflexes and Robilar's Gambit. He isn't a tripper, but you can see how you could move 1 or 2 feats around to give him that ability and customize for your own favorite purposes. In a solo game, he has access to enough skills to be useful in social settings, boldly work through combat encounters, and generally be a lot of fun playing a wandering samurai/ronin. I envisioned this guy as a wandering samurai, so I picked Exotic Weapon Proficiency so that he could use a bastard sword in one or two hands. Early in his career, weapon and shield is actually quite efficient, later on, when charging is turned on, try to find an animated shield or ditch the shield entirely.



    Useful Links: Polishing Your Sword

    Generic PC's Warblade Handbook
    Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos
    Tome of Battle for Dummies
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    I might make a sample swordmaster, half-orc, probably pure warblade, focused on either iron heart and tiger claw or diamond mind and tiger claw, maybe all three.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    I'll be adding templates, weapons, and races to the appropriate sections. In fact, I'm coming the old thread for those things right now so that I can update those areas
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    This can't die already!

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    A note on the sample build "Flick" (the DFI bard/warblade). Weapon focus in a thrown weapon is required to get into master thrower, while quick draw is a master thrower bonus feat. The warblade 5 bonus feat should probably be switched to something else unless you can't live without it for one level, and one of the earlier feats needs to be changed to weapon focus (song of the heart maybe?)

    Otherwise, yay for the handbook being resurrected.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    This is dying again...

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Thanks for the awesome guide. I'm thinking about rolling out a dwaven warblade. Perhaps with 4 levels of bard to start. yes yes I can see it now!
    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    You know, not even wizards can beat wizards. If you cross-cloned Batman and Chuck Norris with the dark and terrible feeling in our hearts that there is indeed a god mocking our lesser existence, you would get a human wizard. With stringent WBL rules.
    "In times like this I ask myself - What would Jabba the Hutt do?"

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Alright, what needs to be done yet?

    In the old thread there were a lot of posts for the Sword Rack, and then I think builds were requested.

    Okay, so here's a Warblade/Bloodstorm Blade that I consider practical:

    Start off with 7 levels of Warblade.
    Then add 4 levels BSB
    Then continue with Warblade all the way.

    The trouble with BSB is that Iron Heart doesn't actually synergize so well.

    Abilities:
    Primary Strength,
    Secondary Dex
    next Con, Int,
    lowest Wis, Cha

    Stances:
    1: Punishing Stance. will be obsolete soon, but you need it for the PrC prereqs.
    4: try talking to your DM to delay this until 5th level and take the Leaping Dragon stance. Your next stance doesn't come until level 14.
    14: Dancing Blade Form because more Reach is always great.
    20: Stance of Alacrity

    Maneuvers gained and lost by level:
    the (/X) indicates at which level to swap out the maneuver)
    1: DM Perfect Mind, TC Wolf Fang (/4), IH Steel Wind (/12)
    2: DM Sapphire Nightmare Blade (/16)
    3: IH Wall of Blades (/14) *
    4: DM Emerald Razor (/20) *
    5: Iron Heart Surge
    7: Dancing Mongoose (/18)
    [BSB levels]
    12: IH Lightning Recovery
    13: TC Pouncing Charge
    14: DM Greater Insightful Strike
    15: DM Quicksilver Motion
    16: TC Swooping Dragon
    17: DM Diamond Nightmare Blade
    18: TC Raging Mongoose
    19: DM Time Stands Still
    20: IH Strike of Perfect Clarity

    Feats (for Human or other race that grants a racial bonus feat):
    R: Exotic Weapon Prof. Spiked Chain
    1: Power Attack
    3: Improved Bull Rush
    5: BF: Combat Reflexes
    6: Point Blank Shot
    9: Far Shot
    10: Shock Trooper
    12: Leap Attack
    13: BF: Improved Initiative
    15: Adaptive Style
    17: Bonus Feat: Blind Fight
    18: Stand Still (as defensive move, might want this earlier)

    Disclaimer: a different order of feats may be more favourable, but I can't quite make out the best setup.

    Combat options / Highlights:

    * For maximum Charge brutality, combine Dancing/Raging Mongoose, Pouncing Charge and Leap Attack. You'll be able to one-shot anything you can get to.
    Leap Attack is actually not essential -- it's not synergistic with your BSB skills, but complementary. Think of it that way: either you can charge right up to your target and beat the living daylight out of it, or you can keep your distance and remote-charge with Thunderous Throw.

    * In Dancing Blade Stance, you have a Reach of 20 feet (5' base, +5' stance, Reach weapon doubles). This means you can Charge even really big creatures without drawing AoOs.

    * With Far Shot and Gloves of Extended Range, your Thrown range increment is 30'. Also, you can haggle with your DM to get the +5' from Dancing Blade Form when using Thunderous Throw (since you treat the attack as melee attack, and DB increases your Melee reach by 5'); increasing your range increment to a whopping 45'.

    * You can "charge" 10' or so anywhere on the battlefield and then Thunderous Throw your weapon at the enemy from a safe distance. You can even combine this with Pouncing Charge.

    * The great thing is you aren't limited to only charging, and aren't useless when you can't charge. You still have maneuvers like Swooping Dragon, Greater Insightful Strike etc.

    Limitations:
    * What you _can't_ do is combine Leap Attack and Thunderous Throw, as the Leap Atttack description says you must attack from a square you threaten your target.
    * Also, you only have one Swift Action per round, so unfortunately you can't use a Boost and Thunderous Throw on the same turn.

    Recommended gear (excerpt):
    * Iron Heart Vest (to keep Wall of Blades)
    * Diamong Mind Ring (Emerald Razor, only need this added at level 20)
    * Setting Sun: Counter Charge shoes
    * Cold-Iron Valorous Discipline (Iron Heart, or possibly Tiger's Claw) Aptitude weapon. Lesser Fiendslayer Crystal when you need DR/Good.
    * Ring of Adamantine and Bracers of Weaponry Arcane for materials DR.
    * this one Bracer enchantment that allows you to ignore 1 AoO/day.
    * Celestial Breastplate or other stuff that lets you fly on your own (for those occasions when your party caster can't buff you)
    * gear that boosts your Concentration and Jump skills.
    So you know, university Physics D&D 3.5 Optimization is essentially three seven years of this discussion among like-minded enthusiasts. Done with supercomputers, access to the textsplatbook collections of five continents and thirty languages with thousands of classes, prestige classes, feats and spells.
    On four hours sleep a night.
    With no sex.
    You're not going to find the loophole these guys missed.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    A lot of stuff could use doing. Weapon choice, combat style, multiclassing, and sample builds could use some filling out. The old thread had a lot of input on weapon choice, so someone should dig them up.

    For combat style, it'd be nice to add two-handed fighting, TWF, and tripping builds; I think that would cover most Warblades. THF would have to rate at least Blue, probably Cyan. Maybe even Gold, but more likely Cyan. TWF would rate Black, probably, since Warblades can actually use it relatively well with Tiger Claw maneuvers. Plus, it can be useful on the turns when they're recharging maneuvers. Tripping would be Blue or Cyan, since it's great battlefield control and synergizes well with some of the more battlefield-controlling strikes.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    A lot of stuff could use doing. Weapon choice, combat style, multiclassing, and sample builds could use some filling out. The old thread had a lot of input on weapon choice, so someone should dig them up.

    For combat style, it'd be nice to add two-handed fighting, TWF, and tripping builds; I think that would cover most Warblades. THF would have to rate at least Blue, probably Cyan. Maybe even Gold, but more likely Cyan. TWF would rate Black, probably, since Warblades can actually use it relatively well with Tiger Claw maneuvers. Plus, it can be useful on the turns when they're recharging maneuvers. Tripping would be Blue or Cyan, since it's great battlefield control and synergizes well with some of the more battlefield-controlling strikes.
    THF will be gold, and since shield bashing is blue, TWF will be blue.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2011-04-14 at 04:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Hmm... Shield bashing is blue mostly because of animated shields. I might put TWF as blue, but with the caveat that if you use a two-handed weapon and armor spikes it goes to Cyan.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2011-04-14 at 04:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    I'll be making Two-handed fighting cyan, since while it's an amazing thing to use, it's not your only option, and it's not exactly end all be all defining, with blue for the other two.

    Aaaaaand they're up
    Last edited by Halae; 2011-04-14 at 04:53 PM.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Sure, THF will be at least Cyan, possibly Gold - I'll leave that to you, but keep in mind that Gold implies to the reader "you are really dumb if you don't take this". At least that's how it comes across to me.

    Tripping: I used to be a big fan of tripping, in theory, but had to realize that in practice it is often not useful, unless you are playing a race with big Strength bonus. Many enemies will have four or more legs and a higher Str than you can have as human. At the end of the day, your chance of winning the opposed check is often very meagre.

    maybe another mention for Retaliatory Builds - if mainly to point out that the Crusader is the better choice for this.
    So you know, university Physics D&D 3.5 Optimization is essentially three seven years of this discussion among like-minded enthusiasts. Done with supercomputers, access to the textsplatbook collections of five continents and thirty languages with thousands of classes, prestige classes, feats and spells.
    On four hours sleep a night.
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    You're not going to find the loophole these guys missed.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Well, yeah, but tripping takes an investment of a mere three feats (well, mere compared to some other styles), and even when it isn't useful, you've still got maneuvers to rely on. With reach weapons, which is nice.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    This is dying again.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    We hashed up evaluations for a huge number of weapons in the old thread, though I'm still on the opinion that there's no need to mention every single one ever printed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    We needs the sword rack from the old thread, and maybe a couple more sample builds. We have an Eternal Blade and a Bardblade, it would be nice to have... hmm, a simple THF Warblade 20, some type of tripper build, and a shield bashing build. I'm not good at building Tome of Battle characters from any level other than one (and then going up); it confuses me.

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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    A revenant blade build might be interesting. It'd work much like other crit-fishers, I imagine. You could even fit Revenant Blade and Eternal Blade to same build to get more blade to your blade. The fluff matches, too, which is a bonus.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    A revenant blade build might be interesting. It'd work much like other crit-fishers, I imagine. You could even fit Revenant Blade and Eternal Blade to same build to get more blade to your blade. The fluff matches, too, which is a bonus.
    Problem is that you cant be a triple blade (Warblade 5/Revenant Blade 5/Eternal Blade 10) you need at least dip to get Move Silently as a class skill and enter in time (Hide is covered by Martial Study:any Shadow Hand)
    Just call me Dusk
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Problem is that you cant be a triple blade (Warblade 5/Revenant Blade 5/Eternal Blade 10) you need at least dip to get Move Silently as a class skill and enter in time (Hide is covered by Martial Study:any Shadow Hand)
    Meh, two levels of ranger fix the skill requirements and TWF. Also pounce from wand if you need it.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Meh, two levels of ranger fix the skill requirements and TWF. Also pounce from wand if you need it.
    Yes; but that bars you from being a true Triple Blade

    And IIRC the Revenant Blade's Handbook list a Ranger 2/Warblade 3/Revenant Blade 5/Eternal Blade build.

    I'll check it and link it or copy-paste it

    Edit: Found it, but it only has 2 warblade levels...

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    The Eternal Revenant


    Quote: "I've more than a millenium of battles behind me - you have only half a lifetime's. Walk away."

    The Eternal Blade is a charge soldier, able to pounce on foes to execute a full attack (with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting and Leap Attack), with each of the strikes counting as a two-handed weapon. She also gets 8th level maneuvers (as we get no flaws in my game, I wasn't able to do this with 9th level maneuvers before 20th). If flaws are available in your game, simply trade two flaws for the two Fighter feats in this progression (Weapon Focus and Two-Weapon Fighting) and replace those with Warblade levels. Your Revenant feats (4 total with a Zaelshin Tu) should be Great Cleave, Improved Critical, Weapon Specialization, and Blind-fight.

    ETERNAL BLADE - FIRST 5 LEVELS

    Ranger 1: Bladebearer of the Valenar (1st). Favored Enemy - Undead, Track, Wild Empathy. Full ranks into Hide, Move Silently, Listen, Spot, and Survival.

    Ranger 2: Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger 2). Full ranks into Hide, Move Silently, Listen, Spot, and Survival.

    Fighter 1: WP Focus - Valenar Double Scimitar (Fighter 1), Power Attack (3rd).

    Warblade 1: Battle Clarity (Int to Reflex saves), Weapon Aptitude. Blood in the Water, Moment of Perfect Mind, Steel Wind, Wolf Fang Strike.

    Warblade 2: Uncanny Dodge. Emerald Razor.


    ETERNAL BLADE - SECOND 5 LEVELS

    Revenant Blade 1: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (6th). Hero of the Valaes Tairn (+5 to Diplomacy and Gather Info checks with Valenar elves), Ancestral Guidance 1 (Improved Critical, Weapon Specialization from a zaelshin tu).

    Revenant Blade 2: Shadow of the Past (class level to Hide and Move Silently checks).

    Revenant Blade 3: Ancestral Guidance 2 (Great Cleave).

    Revenant Blade 4: Power Attack (9th). Giant Slayer (+4 to Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, and damage against giants, speak and write Giant).

    Revenant Blade 5: Ancestral Guidance 3 (Blind Fight), Legendary Force (both ends of double scimitar count as two-handed weapons).


    ETERNAL BLADE - LAST 10 LEVELS

    Eternal Blade 1: Blade Guide, Eternal Training (Int bonus to attacks and damage against a type for a battle or one Diamond Mind or Devoted Spirit maneuver once per day). Iron Heart Surge.

    Eternal Blade 2: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (12th). Guided Strike (swift action to ignore enemy’s DR).

    Eternal Blade 3: Armored Uncanny Dodge, Eternal Training 2/day. 1 more readied maneuver. Crusader’s Strike.

    Eternal Blade 4: Eternal Knowledge (blade guide can make skill checks in two Knowledge skills with a bonus fo class level + Int).

    Eternal Blade 5: Martial Study - Pouncing Charge (15th). Rallying Strike, Aura of Triumph.

    Eternal Blade 6: Defensive Insight (swift action to gain Int insight bonus to AC against a single foe for 1 round). 1 more readied maneuver.

    Eternal Blade 7: Eternal Training 4/day. Quicksilver Motion.

    Eternal Blade 8: Leap Attack (18th). Tactical Insight (swift action to make all opponents you attack take a penalty to AC equal to your Int for 1 round, but only for the purposes of your allies’ attacks).

    Eternal Blade 9: Eternal Training 5/day. 1 more readied maneuver. Lightning Throw.

    Eternal Blade 10: Island in Time 1/day.
    Last edited by Dusk Eclipse; 2011-04-27 at 11:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Meh, that fighter level is rather extraneous. Also, does it take Power Attack twice?
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    Default Re: Elfin's Masters of the Sword: A Warblade's Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Meh, that fighter level is rather extraneous. Also, does it take Power Attack twice?
    It says on the Build description he uses the Fighter level to get more feats, and if Flaws are in play, replace it with Warblade to get 9th level maneuvers.

    And I just realized you are right, this build takes Power Attack at third and at 9th which incidentally it solves the need to take the fighter level (choose Weapon focus as your level 3 feat and wait till 9th for PA)

    Edit: and you can free two other feat slots, by not getting GTWF and getting ITWF through the Gloves of the Balanced Hands.
    Last edited by Dusk Eclipse; 2011-04-27 at 11:39 PM.
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