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So, I have this build idea. Essentially, it's a Phrenic Warblade (no, there will be no instant clarity and concentration shenanigans; I'm pretty much avoiding Diamond Mind because concentrating in a battle just doesn't feel right for this character from an RP perspective) who relies on his fists to deliver singular punishing blows (the idea of doing a lot of damage in one strike each round, as opposed to less damage multiple times, is partly what drew me to Warblade in the first place).
Trouble is, I don't think I know what I'm doing.
So far, I have:
1 - Steel Wind, Wolf Fang Strike, Stone Bones
2 - Wall of Blades (this is not negotiable, it's too awesome)
3 - Iron Heart Surge (see above)
4 - Swap out Wolf Fang Strike for Bonecrusher
5 - Elder Mountain Hammer
6 - Swap out Steel Wind for Mithral Tornado
7 - Either Finishing Move or Ancient Mountain Hammer (I think the latter would be more useful, but I'm already pretty heavily reliant on the assumption I'll be fighting on the ground, but then again I always have aversion and the other psionic stuff to fall back on)
Haven't really looked much into stances yet, except that I think I want Hunter's Sense.
As you can guess, I'm kind of looking for simple straight damage. And I kind of built it off of the assumption that the most efficient way to fight as a Warblade is to use multiple damage maneuvers, then recharge all of them and repeat (rather than just use the same one over and over again, with everything else saved for boosts and counters and such). So, which approach is better? And other suggestions would also be appreciated.
You only really need one Mountain Hammer, probably the highest one you can grab. Also, I'd probably get rid of Stone Bones, it just isn't useful past level 1. The Mongoose maneuvers, White Raven Tactics, Sudden Leap are all good to pursue. Just check this post for what's good and you should be fine.
Rule of Cool Contributor and Goon
I need a semi-solid damage option for 1st lvl (especially since Power Attack won't really be an option until lvl 6), but I also want to be able to qualify for BoneSplitting Strike at lvl 4. I figure Punishing Stance or Wolf Fang Strike will do for damage, but Punishing hits my AC hard (which really hurts), which I think Stone Bones could help compensate for.
So which of these two progressions would be better for those 1st 4 levels?
1 - Hunter's Sense - Steel Wind, Wolf Fang Strike, Charging Minotaur
4 - Roots of the Mountain - Replace WFS with Bonesplitting Strike
1 - Punishing Stance - Steel Wind, Stone Bones, Charging Minotaur
4 - Hunter's Sense - Replace Stone Bones with Bonesplitting Strike
Yes, I know Roots of the Mountain and Stone Bones are pretty bad, but if I want Bonesplitting Strike at level 4, there aren't a lot of options to make sure I qualify. So, basically, I guess it's between getting stuck with Stone Bones or Roots of the Mountain.
You're making a fundamental misunderstanding here. Maneuver levels work like spell levels - to learn a maneuver of level N, you must have an initiator level of 2N-1 (i.e. you get access to new levels of maneuvers at odd levels, like a wizard gets spell levels). You can't get Bonesplitting Strike, which is a level 4 maneuver, until warblade level 7, and you should have no problem meeting prerequisites by then.
In general, though, if you're taking something you don't want to use for meeting prerequisites, take the maneuver over the stance - stances can never be changed, while maneuvers can be swapped out on even levels.
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If you're looking for strait unarmed damage, then you may wish to look at the Increasing Size, Effective Size, Unarmed Damage, and Reach thread. It's a fairly strait forward method of dealing high damage (12d6ish+ by mid levels) without Power Attack. As a Warblade (as opposed to a Monk/Psychic Warrior, unarmed Swordsage, Totemist, or full caster) it might be a bit harder - but at the very least you could buy a Monk's Belt and ask someone to cast Greater Mighty Wallop on your fists.
Ah, that makes things much easier (I was scratching my head at how much damage some of those were getting at such low levels).
1 - Steel Wind, Wolf Fang Strike, Stone Bones - Punishing Stance
2 - Charging Minotaur
3 - Mountain Hammer
4 - Replace Stone Bones with Wall of Blades - Hunter's Senses
5 - Iron Heart Surge
6 - Replace Wolf Fang Strike with Bonecrusher
7 - Bonesplitting Strike
8 - Replace Steel Wind with Mithral Tornado
Yeah, now it's a lot easier to build.
Also, there's nothing wrong with Stone Bones at 1st level, its just that it doesn't age well. Also, I don't think you really need both Steel Wind and Wolf Fang Strike, considering how easy it is to get back maneuvers as a Warblade. I'd push Charging Minotaur ahead and pick up Steely Strike, at 2nd, since you don't seem to be doing much with Wolf Fang Strike otherwise. Alternatively, I'd use it as a prereq to pick up Sudden Leap, which can get you into position for a full attack or full round maneuver. Plus, Tiger Claw works really well with unarmed attacks, if you want to dip into it as your tertiary discipline.
Rule of Cool Contributor and Goon