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    Default Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Most of the Credit right now goes to Elfin and Draz, they provided most of the awesome, I will provide a newbies perspective.

    Let me start copying and I will give the okay when finished.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction]



    To blunder twice is not allowed in war.
    - Latin proverb


    Why Play a Swordsage?

    Why Use Tome of Battle?

    Spoiler
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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.


    Don't expect this to be finished soon; updates will be infrequent while my warblade handbook is still being built upon. Nonetheless, I'd very much like comments, criticism, and most of all, additions.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-05-05 at 11:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Roles: Why You Walk the Way

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    Mobility – You’re a very mobile combatant, and you can often best utilize your talents by skirmishing and darting around the battlefield.

    Secondary Melee – As a swordsage, you’re a prime choice for a melee support role. You can aid more hulk-like characters with a variety of status effects, debuffs, and plain old damage.

    Burst Damage – Specializing in Desert Wind can give you a formidable arsenal of area attacks. Still, this is usually best left to the party caster.

    Primary Melee – If you’re forced to, you can do a fine job out on the front lines. But a d8 hit die and medium BAB mean you’re no substitute for a barbarian or warblade.

    Debuffs – These shouldn’t become too much of a focus, but you have quite an array of status effects and ability damage at your disposal. It’s usually wise to pick up at least a couple of these maneuvers.

    Tank – You’re simply not a tank, with a low hit die, light armor proficiency, and class features that reward mobility.Apparently with VoP someone on the forum made a swordsage with 34 AC, higher than anyone else in the party even a fighter.



    Class Features: How You Walk the Way


    Fundamentals:

    Spoiler
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    D8 hit die - I'll be honest: this isn't terribly fantastic, as hit points are valuable. But it should usually be enough for your needs, seeing as you aren't a front-line combatant.
    Medium BAB - Not great, but not at all a problem. Because many strikes allow only one attack, losing that fourth shouldn't be more than a minor annoyance.
    Good Reflex and Will saves - Quite awesome. You'll have strong defenses against the warrior's eternal weakness, Will save-or-lose spells, and likely won't need to give a thought to Reflex saves.
    Bad Fortitude save - On the flip side, though, you're lack one of the melee combatant's prototypical strengths, Fortitude. This can be a bit of a hurdle to come, as there are a number of nasty spells with a Fortitude save - consider taking the Diamond Mind counter Mind Over Body. I wouldn't worry too much, though.
    6 Skill Points/level - Excellent. Way more than most warriors get, and it should be plenty to cover your needs.


    Class Features:

    Spoiler
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    Maneuvers - Without maneuvers, you're simply not a swordsage.

    Stances - Stances are, without a doubt, one of your defining abilities.

    Quick to Act - Eventually becomes better than free Improved Initiative. Initiative, especially at high levels, is extremely important: can't say no to a bonus.

    Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus) - Meh. A nice boost at low levels, but not great.

    AC Bonus - A passive ability that helps make up for your lack of heavy armor, is hard to say no to. Sure, keying it off Wisdom makes you a bit MAD, but it's nothing too essential.

    Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike) - You'll be making a strike nearly every round, so this is a great bonus. Choose strike-heavy disciplines like Diamond Mind and Tiger Claw.

    Sense Magic - At-will, 10-minute identify? The party caster probably has this taken care of already, but still...free stuff.

    Discipline Focus (Defensive Stance) - Basically three bonus feats. Three crappy bonus feats, yeah, but are you going to turn it down?

    Evasion - Nice; when paired with your high Reflex saves, it means you have little to fear from most area of effect attacks.

    Improved Evasion - Not that good. By now, if you fail a Reflex save, something has gone wrong.

    Dual Boost - Very awesome. Perhaps not as spectacular as Stance Mastery, due to the 3/day limit, but nonetheless extremely potent when used correctly.


    Skills: The Other Way

    Class Skills:

    Spoiler
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    Balance - Be sure to take 5 ranks in it so that you're immune to grease spells and other effects that would otherwise screw you - but beyond that, much less appealing.
    Climb - Even with your large number of skill points, you can't afford to waste any on Climb.
    Concentration - Extremely important if you're taking Diamond Mind maneuvers (and why wouldn't you be?). Lots of them - most famously, the save-replacing and and Insightful Strike lines - key off Concentration checks.
    Craft - If you have your heart set on being a master smith or forging warheart weapons, well, indulge yourself. Otherwise, give it a miss.
    Heal - This is something you take when you have no healer, and are playing strictly low levels and nothing else.
    Hide - You don't have as much hit points as a fighter, and you get sneak attack, so you should make use of it.
    Intimidate -
    Jump -
    Knowledge (History) -
    Knowledge (Local) -
    Knowledge (Nature) -
    Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) -
    Listen -
    Martial Lore -
    Move Silently -
    Profession -
    Ride -
    Sense Motive -
    Swim -
    Tumble -
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-08-09 at 09:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    When you find the magic of reincarnation, here is what to reincarnate into.

    Choosing a race for swordsage is difficult, there aren't that many that are above average.

    Human
    You knew this was coming and I don't need to explain why it's good.

    Lesser Assamar
    It's one of few races that have a wisdom bonus, I am not including the anthromorphic animals on this list (Which only work with shadow hand builds). it also has 5 DR against Acid, Cold, & Electricity, Darkvision 60 ft and Bonuses on spot, listen and a useful Daylight SLA. There isn't really any downside aside the lack of bonus feat and skill points.

    Elf
    Not wonderful, but at the same time, there are several subraces which are better, most notably the snow elf. One of the most redeeming features is Eternal Blade which is incredibly powerful.

    Dwarf
    Not the most fitting fluff wise but it has its own prestige class which have heard little about it. Overall the base version is best really.

    Combat styles
    Now for Swordsages there are the 2 most usal combat styles, thf and twf. Two-weapon fighting makes more sense in practise but a swordsage can't take advantage of TWF unless you mostly use boosts to make Full attacks better. If you can convince your DM to let you use Dual strike for maneuvers to attack twice. This is flawed since you can't even use Dual Strike untill level 9 for a pure swordsage.

    Two-handed fighting is the more sensible option, bash their heads in and do one strike every turn. Not much can go wrong here and theres nothing wrong with it.

    Archery is difficult without homebrew Diciplines, strikes don't work with bows, boosts and counters don't always achieve anything useful and stances have little impact with that hateful word, Melee

    There also the option of taking a ton of abilities that give stats to damage.
    You can easily get Wisdom, dexterity twice, charisma and int twice, (depending on the ruling for brains over brawn on factotum,) all on your damage, per hit.

    Let me list all the different ways of getting stats on.
    Wisdom from swordsage itself, it's best for shadow hand so you can dump str and get dex on it like I mentioned before,
    Dex from shadow hand or a certain shortsword in magic item compendium,
    Int twice, once from factotum and once from swashbuckler,
    A third time is possible from flanking and some warblade class features
    and dex a second time from the fighter ACF from Drow of the underdark,

    Homebrew diciplines that are well made.
    Falling star, well made and gives what any archer needs. Damage and the ability to do it safely.
    Sleeping goddess, rather strangely named, yet nice for psionic gishes which seem to fit well with some feats in the tome.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-05-08 at 04:51 AM.
    My extended signature.
    Thanks to the wonderful Ceika for my signature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chained Birds View Post
    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

    Completely sexist, yes! Completely true, pretty much...
    I have Steam cards and other stuff! I am selling/trading them.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Maneuvers: The Sublime Way
    Thanks to Draz74

    Level One

    Spoiler
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    You have a lot of maneuvers to start out with, so go crazy. Burning Blade, Distracting Ember, Moment of Perfect Mind, and Mighty Throw are the standouts.

    Desert Wind:

    Burning Blade - Extra damage that scales with level, and multiplies if you make multiple attacks. Yes please. Obviously you'll want to upgrade to higher-level versions when you can, and switch tactics if you're fighting fire-resistant foes.

    Distracting Ember - As a swift action, tell an opponent, "You're flanked." If you're the only melee combatant in the party, you need this. Otherwise, it's still not bad, and you can get creative with different ways to take advantage of it.

    Wind Stride - 10 feet speed boost for a swift action isn't very impressive. Sudden Leap is usually a better way to do this, if you can get it. Mostly I would just use this maneuver as a prerequisite for higher-level Desert Wind stuff on a Swordsage who eschews magical maneuvers.

    Blistering Flourish - Dazzled is the weakest status condition in the game. Don't bother.

    Diamond Mind:

    Moment of Perfect Mind - Your Will save is already pretty good. On the other hand, you have lots of readied maneuvers, and your Concentration check is probably still better.

    Sapphire Nightmare Blade - decent low-level bonus damage, and the "flat-footed" aspect just gets better at higher levels as you add in combos. Hard to go wrong.

    Setting Sun:

    Counter Charge - It's situational and defensive, and carries a risk. But if you do happen to get charged when you have this readied, it can be pretty fun to pull out.

    Mighty Throw - For one turn, you're a tripper build, even if you have low strength. You don't get to do any damage (except, arguably, if you also have Improved Trip), but you do get to throw people 10 feet. This might be cyan colored if it did something about size penalties to trip attempts.

    Shadow Hand:

    Clinging Shadow Strike - Miss chances are good, but a 20% miss chance that allows a save is a pretty sad status condition. Still, at low levels it's hard to argue with anything that gives +1d6 damage and a chance of something else.

    Shadow Blade Technique - Extra damage if you roll well both times, extra accuracy if you roll poorly the first time but roll well the second time. I'll let you in on a secret: the real power of this maneuver is to help a Swordsage with Blood in the Water (and a kukri or a scimitar) score a critical threat more easily.

    Stone Dragon:

    Charging Minotaur - This deals massive damage at low levels (if you have a decent Strength) and remains the poor man's Improved Bull Rush at all levels. I'm only making it black, though, because many Swordsages have poor Strength, and in any case they have Mighty Throw as an alternative option for moving opponents around.

    Stone Bones - Great defensive maneuver at very low levels, especially since Swordsages are the most fragile initiator class. But loses its kick very quickly.

    Tiger Claw:

    Sudden Leap - This isn't as great for Swordsages as it is for Warblades. Their Jump scores tend to be a little lower, they have more alternative ways to move and make a full attack, and they're less dependent on making full attacks in general. Most of all, they have a harder time recovering this maneuver once they've used it. Still, if you have max ranks in Jump, it's hardly a bad option, especially for a TWF-er.

    Wolf Fang Strike - For a TWF-er, this lets you move and still use both weapons at low levels. For a non-TWF-er, at least it lets you throw in an unarmed strike (or a swing with a spiked gauntlet or armor spikes) occasionally; and in any case, at least it's a gateway maneuver to the excellent Tiger Claw discipline.


    Level Two

    Spoiler
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    A really nice level for you. The best maneuvers are Flashing Sun, Baffling Defense, Cloak of Deception, Shadow Jaunt, and Mountain Hammer; you really can't go wrong with any of them.

    Desert Wind:

    Burning Brand - Extra reach for a turn is golden if you're trying to close to melee with a Large monster who can Attack of Opportunity you if you approach too quickly. Switching your attacks to Fire damage is situationally useful too (including against anything with DR!).

    Fire Riposte - This is pretty impressive damage at the level you get it, and as an immediate action no less! And at low levels, most of your opponents will be making melee attacks. The damage doesn't scale well to higher levels, though.

    Flashing Sun - For one round, you have Flurry of Blows like a monk, only you can do it with any weapon you feel like! Also, it's another [Ex] Desert Wind maneuver.

    Hatchling's Flame - This is a poor amount of damage even compared to a blaster wizard at this level. The only reason it's not red is because at this low level, spellcasters can still run out of spells, while you can keep using this all day. Also, fire resistance isn't too common yet. (And at least it's four times as big an area as the Dragonfire Adept's at-will attack with the same effect.) This could be an OK choice if you face lots of weak critters.

    Diamond Mind:

    Action Before Thought - Your Reflex save is already pretty good, and failing a Reflex save tends to be slightly less devastating than failing the other saves. Still, this is a good boost to your ability to avoid e.g. breath weapons, grease spells, or traps.

    Emerald Razor - You're less likely than the Warblade to put this in a devastating combo with Power Attack. Still, it's hard to argue with making a touch attack when you just need to hit something.

    Setting Sun:

    Baffling Defense - One of my very favorite maneuvers. With a little investment in your Sense Motive skill (useful anyway), you can basically say "no" to an attack, including a ray thrown at you by a spellcaster. Besides, the image it evokes - parrying or dodging that's so effortless as to express boredom - is hilarious.

    Clever Positioning - It's a decent effect. Make an attack, switch places (no matter how large the foe) if they fail a Reflex save (which tends to be a poor save). It's just relatively hard to engineer situations where switching places is going to have that much of an impact on the battle. But if you're a tactical genius who can put it to good use, more power to you.

    Shadow Hand:

    Cloak of Deception - Spellcasters at this level would kill to have all-day access to Swift Invisibility. And wait, it's greater invisibility? And on a class that can also gain Sneak Attack and similar effects? And you can use it as a getaway card, too, so you can dive for cover and start using your Hide skill? Yeah, this is very hard to pass up.

    Drain Vitality - Meh. Constitution damage is nice, but a Fortitude save negates it completely. I'd rather hold out to get the Stone Dragon version in a couple levels.

    Shadow Jaunt - This is pretty underwhelming in combat, requiring a standard action to move around the battlefield. But for out-of-combat utility, it's solid gold. There are way too many cool things you can do with infinite short-range teleports.

    Stone Dragon:

    Mountain Hammer - This is fantastic for anyone. Good damage (at the level you get it), useful DR-avoidance, fantastic out-of-combat object-breaking utility, no prerequisites. If anything, it's even better for Swordsages, since they get plenty of maneuvers known and can use some for situational utility, and also since they tend to have lower Strength than other initiators.

    Stone Vise - Unimpressive. Mediocre damage boost, allows a save, and the effect isn't even useful if you're standing toe-to-toe with a monster. But I'll give it a Purple, just because Swordsages are skirmishing types who sometimes want to hit a monster, then run away from it.

    Tiger Claw:

    Claw at the Moon - The damage is okay, but not great, the crit confirmation boost is usually not important, and the Jump check is probably easy but not automatic at these levels. I'd probably only use this as a prerequisite to get into Tiger Claw, especially when multiclassing to Swordsage from another class.

    Rabid Wolf Strike - It's reckless. I can't deny that. But that's some sweet damage you're dealing out with a single attack.


    Level Three

    Spoiler
    Show

    Desert Wind:

    Zephyr Dance - It's a great mental image, to be sure. And another nonmagical Desert Wind option. Whether the mechanics play out largely depends on your group's die-rolling playstyle -- if an attack barely hits you, will you know that using Zephyr Dance will undo the hit? If so, this is good. If not, skip it.

    Death Mark - So situational! Obviously if you're fighting a Hill Giant surrounded by goblin mooks, or a Juvenile Dragon surrounded by Kobold worshipers, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. Otherwise, pretty weak, though at least you get to do melee damage, unlike many maneuvers involving an area of effect of fire damage.

    Fan the Flames - At the level you get it, this is decent damage. It's almost Psion-level blasting. But it becomes less impressive very, very quickly.

    Diamond Mind:

    Mind over Body - Now we're talking! This is the save you need to protect, and this is a great way to protect it. Unlike a Warblade, you've got plenty of Maneuvers Readied to spend on defensive things.

    Insightful Strike - This is a great way to deal damage. Suddenly your little short sword does 1d20 damage instead of 1d6? ... yes please.

    Setting Sun:

    Devastating Throw - A decent tripping trick, it goes a little further than Mighty Throw and deals damage on the side. Still has Mighty Throw's same issues with size, and also has an odd movement requirement; might only be worth it for a dedicated tripper.

    Feigned Opening - Why were you provoking Attacks of Opportunity again? You have Tumble as a class skill. Still, this is a fun little mindgame to play on your DM when you've got the Big Boss surrounded by your party on all sides.

    Shadow Hand:

    Shadow Garrote - Mediocre damage for this level, an easy save for many monsters to make, and a mediocre rider effect if they fail the save. Still, neither the damage nor the rider effect is completely pathetic, and at least the fluff implies you can do this from a hiding spot without the target knowing where it's coming from (unlike Fan the Flames). Plus, bonus points for being Darth Vader.

    Strength Draining Strike - The good news is, it does 2 Strength damage even on a successful save. The bad news is, even 4 Strength damage isn't as devastating as 2 Constitution damage.

    Stone Dragon:

    Bonecrusher - The damage is mediocre, the rider effect allows a Fortitude save (and if your Strength is not great, that makes Stone Dragon saves easier to pass), the rider effect isn't great even for a crit-fishing build, and keeping track of the effect is annoying for the DM. You can do better than this.

    Stone Dragon's Fury - It's not much better than Mountain Hammer, and it's way more situational. And if you're a dedicated Sundering build, I can't imagine why you're a Swordsage.

    Tiger Claw:

    Flesh Ripper - Even a crit-fishing build is never sure enough that it's going to score a critical hit to make this maneuver worthwhile. Especially since the effect isn't amazing even if it works.

    Soaring Raptor Strike - Decent damage for this level, and the attack bonus is always welcome. Only works on things bigger than you, but that's not so rare, especially given the popularity of Small races for Swordsages.


    Level Four

    Spoiler
    Show
    Desert Wind:

    Searing Blade - Fire resistance is starting to become more of a concern, but on a build that gets a lot of attacks (TWF? Flashing Sun?) this is still a very impressive amount of bonus damage.

    Firesnake - IIRC, it has an unfortunate history of being debated a lot due to poor writing. Besides, it's not great damage, and has the usual "dragon's breath" problem of "Reflex half."

    Searing Charge - The damage isn't amazing unless you combine it with Pounce or similar madness, but the utility of the flight can be pretty big if you're creative with it. And at least it lets you make an attack, too (unlike Shadow Jaunt).

    Diamond Mind:

    Bounding Assault - Gives you a bit of extra mobility and +2 to hit, but no good side effects like you could get from other strikes. Still not bad. If you're a dedicated charging build, of course, with goodies like Pounce, this maneuver becomes amazing.

    Mind Strike - a bit of Wisdom damage isn't an amazing effect, unless you're fighting a divine caster. Still, I suppose your party casters can find a way to take advantage of lowered Will saves ... if the initial Will save to prevent the damage fails. Again, a Swordsage who neglects Strength will have a very low save DC here.

    Ruby Nightmare Blade - Double damage is hard to argue with.

    Setting Sun:

    Comet Throw - Like Devastating Throw, but no movement requirement and twice the damage. That's an upgrade in my book, even if it's a higher-level maneuver.

    Strike of the Broken Shield - Flat-footed isn't terribly impressive at this point. It doesn't enable your own Sneak Attack, and if there is another sneak attacker in your party, there are better ways to help them out (like, just flanking). And a save negates it. And the duration is too short to easily set up for e.g. Hand of Death.

    Shadow Hand:

    Hand of Death - It allows a Fortitude save, but at least the DC is based on your Wisdom score. It doesn't let you attack, but at least it's a touch attack. It only works on flat-footed targets, but at least you have several ways of accomplishing such a status effect (Shadow Garrote?). At the end of the day, it's a save-or-lose effect on a melee character. Cool.

    Obscuring Shadow Veil - Clinging Shadow Strike's big brother. The damage is ok but not great. The rider effect is pretty good against a melee monster but allows a save. If there weren't a save, this maneuver would be awesome but still not broken.

    Stone Dragon:

    Boulder Roll - Overrunning is terrible. This maneuver doesn't do enough to change that.

    Bonesplitting Strike - Quick, clean, simple, add 2 CON damage. No save. Nifty.

    Overwhelming Mountain Strike - This is pretty similar to Stone Vise, which was lower level and already pretty bad, but at least this one has a higher save DC and adds a pinch of bonus damage.

    Tiger Claw:

    Fountain of Blood - Flavorful, but there are probably easier ways to hit your opponents with fear effects if that's what you want to do.

    Death from Above - This is already great for Warblades, with a decent amount of bonus damage, a bit of free combat maneuverability, and no annoying conditions (the target doesn't need to be bigger than you, and the DC 20 check is a cinch). But for a Swordsage, this is even better, since there are ways (like Sneak Attack) to take advantage of the flat-footed aspect of the strike.


    Level Five

    Spoiler
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    Desert Wind:

    Leaping Flame - Teleport 100' as an immediate action. Yeah. Only works against someone who just attacked you, but in combat, that's usually what you want anyway, and can be very satisfying.

    Dragon's Flame - Sorry, my patience with these mediocre blasting maneuvers has run out.

    Lingering Inferno - Not enough damage. Thoroughly unimpressive compared to other things you can do.

    Diamond Mind:

    Rapid Counter - A minor, situational way to break the action economy. Especially nice with Stance of Alacrity. More important for swordsages than for warblades, since they can better afford to ready situational maneuvers, and since they're less likely to have Combat Reflexes. This is also a nice gateway maneuver into Diamond Mind for a swordsage that doesn't have ranks in Concentration. (Are there any swordsages without Concentration? )

    Disrupting Blow - The ability to daze an opponent with a melee attack is great. Almost great enough to make up for how this maneuver doesn't do any bonus damage and will probably have a pretty low save DC.

    Setting Sun:

    Mirrored Pursuit - What mage slayers have always dreamed of. Moving as an immediate action is great, especially if you focus on Counters a lot (Stance of Alacrity?).

    Stalking Shadow - Cute, but lives in the shadow (pun intended) of Mirrored Pursuit.

    Soaring Throw - I wouldn't get this and Comet Throw, they're too similar. But if you missed Comet Throw, you can get a little extra damage and distance on your tripping with this.

    Shadow Hand:

    Shadow Stride - Now usable in combat, in the same turn as a strike! Still amazing out of combat. Can be combined with Shadow Jaunt for double the bamf-ing.

    Bloodletting Strike - Like Bonesplitting Strike, but since it's a level higher, it at least has the possibility of doing 2 more Con damage if the target happens to fail the save. Nice.

    Stone Dragon:

    Elder Mountain Hammer - If you happen to get the chance to upgrade Mountain Hammer to this, great. There's no reason not to, and it's a good strong strike. Otherwise, this isn't really all that important, since Mountain Hammer has become mostly out-of-combat utility at this point, and there are lots of other great strikes.

    Mountain Avalanche - Lots of fun, but not terribly powerful. If you happen to be the rare high-Strength sort of Swordsage, upgrade this to black.

    Tiger Claw:

    Dancing Mongoose - Extra attacks with no downside. Even for a non-TWF-er, I think the lack of a full-attack requirement keeps this in "cyan" range. For a TWF-er, I might even upgrade this to gold.

    Pouncing Charge - A huge blessing to a melee character. Of course, if you've already got Pounce from another source, don't bother.


    Level Six

    Spoiler
    Show
    Desert Wind:

    Desert Tempest - The grandaddy of nonmagical Desert Wind maneuvers, I would take it just for the awesome dervish flavor. I have to admit it's pretty situational power-wise, though. It's only really great if you're facing a huge number of opponents.

    Ring of Fire - Probably not as good as the Cleric just dropping a Flame Strike. At least it's shapeable, which could prevent friendly fire. But make sure you don't fall into it, or the flames will leap higher - and make no mistake, they'll burn, burn, burn.

    Diamond Mind:

    Moment of Alacrity - With a Dexterity focus and the Quick to Act feature, you're unlikely to have a low initiative score without Delaying (and a low initiative score is the only time this maneuver matters). And since you aren't a Stormguard Warrior, and have fewer auto-stun effects than the Warblade, it's not as valuable for you to have the ability to go twice in a row. I'm sure there are clever combos a Swordsage can think up with this boost, but they're not exactly obvious or crucial.

    Greater Insightful Strike - Great damage. Like, you should be forcing saves vs. death from massive damage by using this. Which is pretty great at Level 11-12.

    Setting Sun:

    Scorpion Parry - Like Manticore Parry, but at a lower level and with fewer restrictions. Unfortunately, the Medium BAB of a Swordsage keeps it from being as awesome as it could have been. Still pretty cool, especially if an NPC attacks you with a (high-damage) full attack and its lower iteratives are a low attack bonus.

    Ballista Throw - Finally, a trip attack that does something really different -- area-of-effect damage, no save. Tell your least favorite monster to "go away!" and hurt his buddies at the same time.

    Shadow Hand:

    Ghost Blade - Am I missing something? Or is this inferior to Sapphire Nightmare Blade from 10 levels ago?

    Shadow Noose - Hello again, Vader. Cute follow-up to its little brother, Shadow Garrote. It's mediocre damage and a decent save-or-suck effect; worth using if your opponent doesn't know where it's coming from.

    Stalker in the Night - Awesome name. I want to take it just so I can announce to my DM that I'm using it. Unfortunately, it's not that great, at least in a party context, since it uses your whole turn just to do one attack and stay hidden. (For an annoying NPC, it's much better.)

    Stone Dragon:

    Crushing Vise - I wouldn't take this as a Warblade, but as a skirmishing Swordsage? Well, remember how I gave those other Stone Dragon manuevers Purple status because of their hit-and-run potential? This is like those, with no save. Awesome for a cowardly Swordsage who wants to get far away from his nastier opponents.

    Iron Bones - Even as a more fragile melee character, you probably have better ways to get temporary Hit Points or Damage Reduction than this.

    Irresistible Mountain Strike - My goodness, who named these things? A maneuver with a save should not be named "irresistible." Switch this with Crushing Vise, please! In the meantime ... it's a very powerful rider effect if the target happens to fail the save, and in any case at least there's a little bit of nominal bonus damage.

    Tiger Claw:

    Rabid Bear Strike - Now that's a respectable amount of bonus damage, especially considering the attack bonus too. The AC "recklessness penalty" isn't as significant as it was at low levels, either.

    Wolf Climbs the Mountain - The damage isn't great, but this is kind of nice for a Small (or smaller) Swordsage who's too feat-starved to afford Confound the Big Folk. Similar effect, much easier to get. I would upgrade this to blue if it was a standard action instead of a full-round action.


    Level Seven

    Spoiler
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    Desert Wind:

    Inferno Blade - Fire Resistance is becoming a bigger and bigger concern at higher levels, but 23+ extra damage on every attack of a full attack is still nothing to sneeze at.

    Salamander Charge - It's awesome, there's no doubt about that. Charging and literally leaving a wall of fire in your wake? Sweet. And the mere concept of a melee character shaping the battlefield is pretty novel, and the ability to charge with less restrictions is nifty. But I just don't think the wall of fire does enough damage to make this much better than Bounding Assault, which came six levels earlier.

    Diamond Mind:

    Quicksilver Motion - It looks like action economy-breaking awesomeness at first glance, but there are actually a number of items (not to mention the Hustle power) that can give you a move action (or at least let you move) as a swift action. And they're pretty affordable by this level. If you're playing in a low-item game, this maneuver could be upgraded.

    Avalanche of Blades - Without any special combos, this isn't really any better than a normal full attack, especially with a Swordsage's accuracy difficulties. Of course it gets a lot better if you combo it with Wraithstrike or Stormguard Warrior or something.

    Setting Sun:

    Hydra Slaying Strike - Ironically, this is technically worthless against hydras. On the other hand, it's pretty much incredible against any other melee monster.

    Shadow Hand:

    Shadow Blink - Every character (except maybe Wizards who already have Abrupt Jaunt) wants this. If only they had initiator level 13, they would use a feat to get it. (How the heck does it not have any prerequisites? Or a [Su] tag?)

    Death in the Dark - Almost as cool-sounding as "Stalker in the Night," and it does pretty decent damage at the level you get it. Too bad it offers a save.

    Stone Dragon:

    Ancient Mountain Hammer - See Elder Mountain Hammer. Again, nice but not crucial.

    Colossus Strike - As a Swordsage, you're much better off using the Setting Sun throws.

    Tiger Claw:

    Hamstring Attack - Unimpressive effect, and allows a save (Strength-based, no less).

    Swooping Dragon Strike - If you've focused on your Jump check, this is the maneuver where it pays off.


    Level Eight

    Spoiler
    Show
    Desert Wind:

    Wyrm's Flame - No. Just no.

    Diamond Mind:

    Diamond Defense - Now protect all of your Saves with one Readied Maneuver, or protect your Fortitude save twice.

    Diamond Nightmare Blade - Quadruple damage. I don't know what else to say.

    Setting Sun:

    Fool's Strike - Another of my very favorite maneuvers in the book, this would be a better color if it weren't paired with the Swordsage's Medium BAB. Still, a great choice, especially against foes who have lower attack bonuses on their iterative attacks.

    Shadow Hand:

    One with Shadow - Everything should be able to handle incorporeality by this level, but maybe not if they're caught by surprise. It's a good defensive move. Also, use it to walk through walls, or to make Greater Insightful Strikes as touch attacks.

    Enervating Shadow Strike - Negative levels are fun, and never go out of style. But the wizard could do this 8 levels ago, and with no save.

    Stone Dragon:

    Adamantine Bones - Too little, too late. I'd rather use Hydra Slaying Strike if I'm about to take a full attack.

    Earthstrike Quake - I'm not impressed. If you're set on knocking a bunch of enemies prone, hold out for Tornado Throw.

    Tiger Claw:

    Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip - A very significant amount of damage for a TWF-er to add to his full attack. Of course, skip it if you're not TWF-ing.

    Raging Mongoose - Four extra attacks on a full attack, or on any strike (Wolf Fang Strike? Time Stands Still?) that allows using both weapons? Halelujah. Even for a non-TWF-er I'd say this is awesome.


    Level Nine

    Spoiler
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    Desert Wind:

    Inferno Blast - Eh, I'm sure the political power of being able to burn down an army, neighborhood, or village every 12 seconds must be immense. But against CR-appropriate monsters? This won't do much.

    Diamond Mind:

    Time Stands Still - Lots of attacks are the name of the game for a swordsage, especially if you use two weapons and/or get Sneak Attack. Time Stands Still increases your output like nothing else.

    Setting Sun:

    Tornado Throw - Nothing says "epic monk is pwning you" like a good Tonado Throw, especially if the same opponent gets thrown over and over again (in one turn). (Hmm, use this maneuver in confined spaces?). On the other hand, the damage isn't really so impressive, and often the kinds of monsters you face at this level are too big to trip easily, or too big to trip at all, and don't come in the kinds of numbers that make this maneuver really impressive.

    Shadow Hand:

    Five-Shadow-Strike-of-Ridiculous-Name - Too random for my taste, but I've got to admit, regardless of the random outcome (or even whether the save is successful), this will do some nasty things.

    Stone Dragon:

    Mountain Tombstone Strike - Nice effect, no save, infamously has no prerequisites. Looks better on a swordsage, since it's not sitting next to the equally-powerful Strike of Perfect Clarity.

    Tiger Claw:

    Feral Death Blow - Too many things can go wrong here, even though the Jump check should be easy. Full-round action. Target has to be vulnerable to crits. Allows a (Strength-based DC) save. Still, it is a save-twice-or-die effect (with massive damage coming into play), and there's something to be said for that.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-05-05 at 11:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Stances: The Way to Walk
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    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

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    Feats, feats, and more feats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chained Birds View Post
    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

    Completely sexist, yes! Completely true, pretty much...
    I have Steam cards and other stuff! I am selling/trading them.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Multiclassing and Prestiging out

    Swordsages don't gain much out of Multiclassing compared to crusaders or Warblades. Although doing it doesn't completely ruin it like multiclassing wizard with fighter thanks to the wonderful thing, 1/2 initiater levels.
    I am only presuming 2 level dips for these descriptions unless otherwise noted, nothing long term, but I reccomend taking no more than 6 levels of 1.2 initiator classes if you want a level 9 maneuver pre-epic.

    Core classes
    Spoiler
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    Fighter:
    A few bonus feats,better HD and Full BAB, which makes no difference unless you take more than 4 levels and remember, 3rd level fighter dumb, fighter level 3 is dumb, thog not take take.
    And you need 4 full BAB levels for the 4th iterative attack, or even a better BAB by level 20.

    Paladin:
    Only Cyan because with an obscure feat from dragon compendium you can get wisdom to all saves or AC, not that good since you are not front line fighter or likely to take part in extended duels with casters.

    Rogue:
    Only worth taking at 1st level and 8th level with able learner so you can be a pretty good skill-monkey and have extra sneak attack.
    If you do this it is a good idea to prestige out at some point into Eternal Blade.

    Ranger:
    Same skill points and HD, but gives a bonus feat, either something that lets you do something in combat that isn't insert pointy end into opponent.


    Complete's
    Spoiler
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    Samurai:
    Skip it, it doesn't give anything in small dips paladin doesn't beside a weakened two-weapon fighting and proficiency in Bastard Sword.

    Hexblade:
    You need 3 levels for any useful return, 1st level gives you a pretty awful curse, second level gives you charisma modifier to saves against spells and spell-like ability's, not that good since it then removes your only true dump stat.
    3rd level gives you mettle, which is basically evasion for fortitude and will saves. You will make most Will saves, but presuming you go 3 Hexblade/ 17 Swordsage you will have +6 base fortitude save, you won't be making many saves designed to challenge the parties Warblade or Crusader.

    Ninja:
    Swordsage is a good dip for Ninja, but ninja is not a good dip for Swordsage.

    Scout:
    Swordsages move a lot in combat, scouts deal more damage in combat my moving, a small dip isn't bad, but it delays maneuver progression.

    Warlock and Dragonfire Adept.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-08-09 at 03:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Equipment, sample builds, and useful links.

    Thanks TO Drynwyn for his 24d6 damage build. I can't make much sense of this build, but maybe thats because its late.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drynwyn View Post
    And, after much delay, we bring you.... THE 24d6 DAMAGE BUILD!

    This build is for level 11, when you get your first level 6 maneuver. THis must be ring of fire. You must then take Desert Wind Dodge and Tactical Feat: Scorching Sirroco. You must also max out Tumble and select 2 Desert Wind stances, plus either a +6 Tumble item or a +3 ite and skill focus. At least half of your maneuver slots should be ring of fire.

    Round 1:Act as normal, but make sure to move at least 10 feet and enter a desert wind stance.
    Round 2: You can now use the third tactical ability of Scorchng Sirroco. This deals 1d6 fire damage to an opponent when you avoid provoking an attack of opportunity using tumble. Use ring of fire. Use "accelerated tumble" to increase the DC of the avoid check to 25 while moving at full speed.mSince assuming an 18 DEX( which every Swordsage should have by level 11 anyway), you have +24 to tumble, an auto-success. You can move 12 squares since ring of fire grants a double move, moving away from the target with your last 5 feet of movement and switching Desert Wind stances. 12d6 from successful Tumbling + 12d6 from Ring of Fire= 24d6.
    P.S. If you have enough Diamond mind maneuvers, take Quicksilver Motion later to bump up damage to 30d6.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-05-06 at 04:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chained Birds View Post
    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

    Completely sexist, yes! Completely true, pretty much...
    I have Steam cards and other stuff! I am selling/trading them.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Unarmed and Arcane Swordsages.
    And carry on people.
    You probably noticed the mention of Arcane and Unarmed swordsages in tome of battle, heres a link to what I think is a reasnable arcane swordsage.
    Arcane Swordsage will be on the bottom of my list to cover for this handbook though.
    Last edited by Hazzardevil; 2011-05-05 at 11:31 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chained Birds View Post
    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

    Completely sexist, yes! Completely true, pretty much...
    I have Steam cards and other stuff! I am selling/trading them.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    I kinda wish we had a handbook sub-subforum.

    On topic, Shneeky reviewed the skills for us in the other thread, near the bottom of the first page, I think. You might ask him if you can paste that in this one.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Do we really need a subforum for Handbooks? I mean the only guides that are usually discussed here are the ToB classes and that's it I think. So I don't think that is needed.

    Edit: To be on the actual topic, I think that mentioning all the homebrew disciplines is appropiate, as there are some great disciplines out there (Sleeping Goddess and Steel Serpent for example)
    Last edited by Dusk Eclipse; 2011-04-24 at 02:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    I guess not, though if there was a subforum we'd possibly (probably?) have more guides made too.

    I'd settle for the threads being added in a new version of an "Importiant Threads" thread though.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Do we really need a subforum for Handbooks? I mean the only guides that are usually discussed here are the ToB classes and that's it I think. So I don't think that is needed.
    We do have a number of handbooks here. Barbarian, spellthief, summoner, psychic warrior, knight, suel arcanamach, fighting defensively, PF/3.5, PF psionics vs. 3.5 psionics, rogue handbook…
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    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
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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: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    We do have a number of handbooks here. Barbarian, spellthief, summoner, psychic warrior, knight, suel arcanamach, fighting defensively, PF/3.5, PF psionics vs. 3.5 psionics, rogue handbook…
    Maybe.. but I don't see them on the first page too often ; and some of them (Suel Arcanamach, Psychic Warrior and Barbarian) are on BG too.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    That's not to mention all of the guides, like personman's guide to melee optimization, X stat to Y bonus, ways of increasing attack bonus, and a fair amount of others.


    Also, Hazzardevil, please, if you're going to write a handbook, spellcheck your work.
    Last edited by Tael; 2011-04-24 at 07:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Ok I yield; a handbook subforum would be nice.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Maybe.. but I don't see them on the first page too often ; and some of them (Suel Arcanamach, Psychic Warrior and Barbarian) are on BG too.
    Suel Arcanamach Handbook is not on BG.

    I don't think a handbook subforum would be useful for anything, btw. It would just mean most handbooks would get less discussion.

    I'll probably update my unfinished handbooks (Suel Arcanamach & melee warlock) this week, btw.
    Last edited by true_shinken; 2011-04-25 at 12:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    That's not to mention all of the guides, like personman's guide to melee optimization, X stat to Y bonus, ways of increasing attack bonus, and a fair amount of others.


    Also, Hazzardevil, please, if you're going to write a handbook, spellcheck your work.
    I did spellcheck it and it found no mistakes on the page.

    I do agree there should be a subforum for handbooks.
    I have read tons of handbooks:
    dervish, ranger, swift hunter, scout, archery, duskblade, hexblade, suel, melee , the pathfinder ones, wizard, the many sorcerer ones, druid, cleric, a rubbish favoured soul one, spirit shaman, shugenja.
    and I'm sure tons more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chained Birds View Post
    Just one of those guys vs girls things. Guys like giant, fighting robots that shoot lazerz out their eyes while girls like pretty jewelry that sparkle in the moonlight after having a romantic interlude with a charming gentleman.

    Completely sexist, yes! Completely true, pretty much...
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by true_shinken View Post
    Suel Arcanamach Handbook is not on BG.

    I don't think a handbook subforum would be useful for anything, btw. It would just mean most handbooks would get less discussion.

    I'll probably update my unfinished handbooks (Suel Arcanamach & melee warlock) this week, btw.
    I could swear I saw the SA handbook on BG; but I am probably confused.

    Oh and nice I really like your handbooks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzardevil View Post
    I did spellcheck it and it found no mistakes on the page.

    I do agree there should be a subforum for handbooks.
    I have read tons of handbooks:
    dervish, ranger, swift hunter, scout, archery, duskblade, hexblade, suel, melee , the pathfinder ones, wizard, the many sorcerer ones, druid, cleric, a rubbish favoured soul one, spirit shaman, shugenja.
    and I'm sure tons more.
    Yeah; but most of them are not on this site, the majority being either on the Wizard Forums or BG.

    Now on topic maybe (and I stress the maybe) I could cook up a sample build, possibly a two-weapon fighter.
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Will be posting 3 sample builds today/tomorrow.

    1) Straight SS
    2) A take on a gestalt SS
    3) A multiclass rogue-ish SS

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    A few sample builds:

    Straight (mostly) Swordsage:
    Spoiler
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    Izumi Nobutsuna
    OA Samurai 2/SS18
    Other Possibilities:
    Rn 2/ SS 18; F 2/ SS 18

    The best weapon for the SS is probably the spiked chain and the OA Samurai nabs the Ancestral Daisho ability and a bonus feat. This will allow you to make better use of some of the treasure you find if you can convince your DM to allow you the Spiked Chain as your ancestral daisho. If you’re a two weapon fighter, try a 2 level dip in either fighter or ranger to pick up 2 weapon fighting and other goodies.

    Stats/Race
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    For a 32 pt buy, I’d try something like this:
    Str 10 Dex 16 Con 16 Int 12 Wis 14 Cha 8

    But you could probably swap the con and wis if you wanted.

    I think human is a very strong choice, but many small races are excellent choices also since the SS doesn’t rely on strength to deal damage. The whisper gnome is EXTREMELY saucy. Most of the Halflings can be excellent choices also, and the Water Halfling, if that racial variant is available, is a particularly good choice.

    If you’re playing a small race, I’d swap the 12 in Int with the 10 in Str so you can still carry a haversack full of goodies without difficulty.


    Feat Progression
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    Feats: (Assuming spiked chain)
    1 – Exotic Weapon Prof – Spiked Chain
    1 (human) – Weapon Finesse
    2 (samurai) – Combat or Evasive Reflexes
    3 – Shadow Blade
    6 – Improved Initiative
    9 – Adaptive Style
    12 – Close Quarters Fighting
    15 – Imp. Unarmed Strike
    18 - Unnerving Calm

    If you’re a two weapon fighter (assumed Ranger)
    1 – Weapon Finesse
    1 (human) – Improved Initiative
    1 – Track
    2 – Endurance
    2 – 2xWeapon Fighting
    3 – Shadow Blade
    6 – Adaptive Style
    9 – Imp 2x. Weapon Fighting
    12 – Close Quarters Fighting
    15 – 2x Weapon Rend
    18 – Grt. 2x Weapon Fighting

    I could be convinced to swap the order of Close Quarters Fighting and Adaptive Style in either list as the former is MUCH better before you can afford a ring of freedom of movement.


    Maneuver Progression:
    Spoiler
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    Maneuver Progression (1 = SS Level 1; IL = SS Level + 1):
    1 – Moment of Perfect Mind* (DM,1); Sudden Leap* (TC,1); Wolf Fang Strike (TC,1); Shadow Blade Technique (SH,1); Sapphire Nightmare Blade (DM,1); Clinging Shadow Strike (SH,1)
    2 – Cloak of Deception* (SH,2)
    3- Burning Brand (DW,2)
    4- Mind Over Body* (DM,3) drop Shadow Blade Technique for Insightful Strike (DM,3)
    5- Shadow Garrote (SH,3)
    6- Death From Above* (TC,4) drop Sapphire Nightmare Blade for Ruby Nightmare Blade (DM,4)
    7- Obscuring Shadow Veil (SH,4)
    8- Dancing Mongoose* (TC,5) drop Clinging Shadow Strike for Shadow Stride* (SH,5)
    9- Pouncing Charge* (TC,5)
    10- Shadow Noose* (SH,6) drop Wolf Fang Strike for Greater Insightful Strike* (DM,6)
    11- Rabid Bear Strike* (TC,6)
    12- Swooping Dragon* (TC,7) drop Burning Brand for Shadow Blink* (SH,7)
    13- Death in the Dark* (SH,7)
    14- Raging Mongoose* (TC,8) drop Ruby Nightmare Blade for Diamond Nightmare Blade* (DM,8)
    15-One with the Shadow* (SH,8)
    16- Time Stands Still* (DM,9) drop Shadow Garrote for 5-Finger Shadow*… (SH,9)
    17- Diamond Defense* (DM,8)
    18- Quicksilver Motion (DM,7) drop Obscuring Shadow Veil for Mountain Tombstone Strike* (SD,9)

    *’d maneuvers are ones that are part of the final repertoire

    Final Maneuvers
    1 – Moment of Perfect Mind (DM, Ctr); Sudden Leap (TC,Boost)
    2 – Cloak of Deception (SH,Boost)
    3 – Mind Over Body (DM, Ctr)
    4 – Death from Above (TC, Strike)
    5 – Shadow Stride (SH,-); Dancing Mongoose (TC, Boost); Pouncing Charge (TC,Strike)
    6 – Greater Insightful Strike (DM,Strike); Rabid Bear Strike (TC, Strike); Shadow Noose (SH,-); Crushing Vice (SD,6)
    7 – Shadow Blink (SH,-); Swooping Dragon Strike (TC,Strike); Quicksilver Motion (DM, Boost); Death in the Dark (SH, Strike)
    8 – Raging Mongoose (TC, Boost); One with the Shadow (SH, Ctr); Diamond Nightmare Blade (DM,Strike); Diamond Defense (DM,Ctr)
    9 – Time Stands Still (DM, Strike); 5-Finger…(SH, Strike); Mountain Tombstone Strike (SD,Strike)

    We need to take maximum advantage of the Shadow Blade feat, so expect to stay mostly in Assassin’s Stance once you have access to it.
    1 – Hunter’s Sense – Gives Scent, situationally useful. Notable interaction with Track if you’re a ranger also!
    1 – Child of Shadow – Mainly to use Shadow Blade
    3 – Assassin’s Stance – yay, we’ll spend a lot of time in this one
    5 – Hearing the Air – You never know when you might need blindsense and a bonus to listen checks
    8 – Balance on the Sky – Probably won’t be using it in combat due to the “one hand free” clause, but can be extremely useful.




    Commonly Readied Maneuvers:
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    Commonly Readied Maneuvers:
    1 – Time Stands Still
    2 – 5-Finger Fiasco
    3 – Diamond Nightmare Blade
    4 – Swooping Dragon Strike
    5 – Greater Insightful Strike
    6 – Raging Mongoose
    7 – Shadow Stride
    8 – Shadow Blink
    9 – One with the Shadow
    10 – Diamond Defense
    11 – Mind Over Body


    So what do I do with this?
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    Have a blast! You've got reach, a number of excellent strikes, several solid boosts and teleportation effects, and a number of useful counters. Between tumble, quicksilver motion and your teleportation abilities you should be able to move around the battlefield more or less at will, and land a devastating strike every round for your standard action! Your job is to let the big scary guys in the party draw the heavy fire while you dance around the battle scoring decisive hits. Alternatively, you make an excellent scout as you're able to defend yourself, stay unnoticed, make quick escapes, and deal decisively with unprepared enemies.

    As far as saves go, I would always keep Mind Over Body prepared to dodge poisons and nasty save-or-suck/dies aimed at your fort save. If you know you're going up against magic users, it may be wise to swap one of your strikes to keep Moment of Perfect Mind prepared also to buffer your will save.





    Edit: 1 or 2 more coming.
    Last edited by Essence_of_War; 2011-04-27 at 09:32 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Races:

    Core:
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    Dwarf – Eh, not a terrible choice but if I’m going to sacrifice my movement rate I’d like to get something more useful for it
    Human – Excellent choice. SS needs extra feats badly and always benefits from more skill points.
    Elf – Ok. The boost to dex is nice, the hit to con isn’t. Proficiency with a ranged weapon pushes this up into the playable regime.
    Gnome – As dwarf.
    Half-Elf – Garbage.
    Half-Orc – Garbage.
    Halfling – A good choice. Boost to dex is noticeable while the penalty to str doesn’t hurt at all, boost to saves is always nice.


    Psionic:
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    Duergar – as dwarf. The invisibility seems synergistic but not enough to make me want to play them.
    Githyanki – LA is rugged, but if you can buy it off or divert it to one side of a gestalt these become excellent choices. Mixes well with psychic warrior in gestalt.
    Githzerai – LA is rugged, but if you can buy it off or divert it, these guys were born to be swordsages. Mixes well with Psychic Warrior in gestalt.
    Xeph – Similar to Halfling. A fine choice if their “Burst” racial ability only takes a swift action to activate. No reason to take over Halfling otherwise.


    Non-Core:
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    Elf, Snow/Elf, Wild – if you have to play an elf, play one that doesn’t cost you 1 hp/level.
    Lizardfolk, Poison Dusk – Bonuses to dex and con, solid choice. Gets better if you can buy off the LA.
    Catfolk – big bonus to dex. Good choice, try to buy-off the LA. Gets better if you can.
    Chaos Gnome – lots of useful ability boosts but LA is a turnoff. Worth a look.
    Whisper Gnome – VERY saucy. No LA, boosts to all your best stats, useful SLAs and other abilities also.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    We do have a number of handbooks here. Barbarian, spellthief, summoner, psychic warrior, knight, suel arcanamach, fighting defensively, PF/3.5, PF psionics vs. 3.5 psionics, rogue handbook…
    You could always sticky a thread and index them there, makes it easier to search for.
    Last edited by ILM; 2011-04-28 at 11:01 AM. Reason: why is it that anytime someone quotes me, I realize I've made a typo somewhere?

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by ILM View Post
    You could always sticky a thread an index them there, makes it easier to search for.
    That is a good idea, yes.

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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Koury View Post
    I'd settle for the threads being added in a new version of an "Importiant Threads" thread though.
    Yes, that could work.
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  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Some people enjoy endlessly repeating their full attack routine
    I love tome of battle too, but please remove this. I'm not going to say why, but that line of thinking is extremely insulting. You're preaching to the choir here so no one will mind, but that's still pretty nasty.

    Sorry for that, let's get on a more cherry note shall we?

    How's about some ninja cheese? One level dip into ninja nets you wisdom bonus to AC, allowing you to apply it to your AC twice. Add a level of monk for extra effect. Is this correct, or is there some errata out there to stop this?
    Last edited by Mayhem; 2011-04-29 at 11:41 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
    I love tome of battle too, but please remove this. I'm not going to say why, but that line of thinking is extremely insulting.
    How so?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
    How's about some ninja cheese? One level dip into ninja nets you wisdom bonus to AC, allowing you to apply it to your AC twice. Is this correct, or is there some errata out there to stop this?
    By RAW, it doesn't work since you need to be unarmoured for the monk's AC Bonus to work, but to wear light armour for swordsage's AC Bonus.

    Also, they're untyped bonuses from the same source ("AC Bonus") and thus do not stack.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Oh no, I'm not falling into that trap

    Ah, I see it doesn't work. That's strange, though as a DM I would slap someone who tried to pull on me.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Walking the Way: A Swordsage's Handbook [Under Construction again]

    Another thing is that swordsages are great to pile on Different Stats to damage

    Shadow Blade =Str+Dex (Going by the Actual feat text it says you ADD Dex modifier to damage, so by RAW it is Str+Dex)
    Insightful Strike Wisdom

    And this works really well with a high number of attacks (which swordsages can get plenty of them)

    A quick Combo Pounce + TWF with Daggers+ Insightful Strike (Either Diamond Mind or Tiger Claw)+Shadow Blade+ Bloodclaw Master+Dancing/Raging Moongoose

    You get Full Str+Dex+Wis on each attack, which assuming a Bab of +7/+2 gives you Two Main Hand attacks+1 offhand+2 Extra attacks+1 (haste at level 10 it is expected)

    If you add three levels of Swashbuckler you get to add Int to Damage too... (Spirit Lion Barb 1/Swashbuckler 3/Swordsage 4/Blood Claw Master 2 is a nice level 10 build IMO)
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