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GlordFunkelhand
2008-12-16, 06:16 AM
Hello,

my players are currently around 6th level and our Warblade basically outperforms every other class (including cleric, druid and sorcerer).

Irresistible Mountain Strike gives him 4d6 extra damage and forces a fort save to avoid being unable to perform standard actions. He can regain this maneuver by performing only a normal melee attack instead of a full attack. This is basically sneak attack bonus damage + a stun like effect every other round.

Given that most fights last only a couple of rounds (say 4) he doesn't even need to do this. He starts with Elder Mountain Hammer (+6d6 bonus damage, ignores DR and hardness), follows up with Irresistible Mountain Strike (+4d6, opponent unable to perform standard action).
In other words: around 35 points of bonus damage in the first 2 rounds alone. His base damage is 2d6+7 (+1 greatsword) so let's say 14 damage per roll, in two rounds 28 base damage / 63 points of damage in total.

Is it just me, or is this slightly more powerful than every other class in that level range? It seems that it balances around level 12. Given that level 15 is normally the maximum level for our campaigns that is a tad late.

My hope is that I am missing something here - wouldn't be the first time ;)

shadow_archmagi
2008-12-16, 06:30 AM
Hello,

my players are currently around 6th level and our Warblade basically outperforms every other class (including cleric, druid and sorcerer).

Irresistible Mountain Strike gives him 4d6 extra damage and forces a fort save to avoid being unable to perform standard actions. He can regain this maneuver by performing only a normal melee attack instead of a full attack. This is basically sneak attack bonus damage + a stun like effect every other round.

Given that most fights last only a couple of rounds (say 4) he doesn't even need to do this. He starts with Elder Mountain Hammer (+6d6 bonus damage, ignores DR and hardness), follows up with Irresistible Mountain Strike (+4d6, opponent unable to perform standard action).
In other words: around 35 points of bonus damage in the first 2 rounds alone. His base damage is 2d6+7 (+1 greatsword) so let's say 14 damage per roll, in two rounds 28 base damage / 63 points of damage in total.

Is it just me, or is this slightly more powerful than every other class in that level range? It seems that it balances around level 12. Given that level 15 is normally the maximum level for our campaigns that is a tad late.

My hope is that I am missing something here - wouldn't be the first time ;)

Yes. Your player has made the mistake of confusing power level with character level.
That is, there are nine levels of maneuvers that should be becoming available to him slowly, achieving access to ninth level powers at something like 18.

A 6th level warblade should not be able to use 6th level maneuvers any more than your 6th level sorcerer should be casting Planar Binding and Chain Lightning.

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 06:35 AM
Elder Mountain Hammer is a fifth-level maneuver, not available to a warblade until level 9. Irresistable Mountain Strike is a sixth-level maneuver, not available until level 11. So yeah, they're a bit powerful for a sixth-level character - they'd better be!

I should also note that he can regain his maneuvers with a full attack - he has to spend a swift action, then follow it with a normal melee attack - the melee attack can be the first of a full attack routine.

But yeah - looks like you need to check back over his maneuver selection and make sure when he gains a given maneuver that he meets the minimum level requirement as well as the maneuvers known prerequisite.


That is, there are nine levels of maneuvers that should be becoming available to him slowly, achieving access to ninth level powers at something like 18.

The minimum initiator level to gain a maneuver of a given level is the same as the wizard/cleric/druid level at which you gain access to spells of that level.

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 06:43 AM
Also, an important balancing factor to remember when thinking about maneuvers is that they require attack roll. Not just Touch Attack (something every Rogue worth his Sneak Attack can use) to deliver the hit, but actual, real single attack against AC (and since it's just a single attack, blocking it is a relevant option too). That's always a huge damper on the power of the ToB-strikes; sure, you can do devastating damage if you hit, but you need to hit their AC and then they gotta fail that save.

That said, what they said - Warblade 6 should have two 3rd level maneuvers max (unless he took Martial Study - that would make it 3).

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 06:50 AM
For perspective, at that level he might have Bonecrusher, a third-level Stone Dragon maneuver. It grants +4d6 damage and a bonus to critical confirmation, so damage in line with Irresistable Mountain Strike but without the powerful save-or-suck extra. For a standard action, that's not out of line with what a TWF-ing rogue could achieve at that level.

AslanCross
2008-12-16, 07:00 AM
My players had the problem of confusing Maneuver Level with Character level too. The Paladin 7/Crusader 2 guy all of a sudden had Giant's Stance, so I called him on it. They should've used another term, but I guess it's a holdover from the magic system. I personally call them "Tiers."

To be fair though, the properly built Warblade would be quite strong at that level. My Warforged Fighter 2/Warblade 3 combos Emerald Razor with Power Attack, using a +1 executioner's mace. Maxed out Power Attack gives me 2d6+17 damage as a touch attack. If he was able to set up a Charging Minotaur in the previous round, he'd get an additional +4 damage from the Brute Fighting tactical feat. I've only been able to do this once, though. (On the receiving end was the Dire Wolverine in the Temple of Kha'Shazul, first chapter of Eyes of the Lich Queen.)

Hunter Noventa
2008-12-16, 07:03 AM
I won't reiterate what everyone else said. Just approach the player calmly and say you've both been doing it wrong, and show him page 39 of the ToB where it details when you get what level of manuvers, and help him reselect them.

shadow_archmagi
2008-12-16, 07:04 AM
Actually, it might be interesting to play a game where only ToB and casters are allowed, and proceed through levels 1-12 with ridiculously overpowered spells/maneuvers.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-16, 07:10 AM
I won't reiterate what everyone else said. Just approach the player calmly and say you've both been doing it wrong, and show him page 39 of the ToB where it details when you get what level of manuvers, and help him reselect them.

Make him sit down and have a glass of water.

Oslecamo
2008-12-16, 07:34 AM
And that is why you must carefully read up the rules, and then read them again upside down at by the sides.

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 07:42 AM
Actually, it might be interesting to play a game where only ToB and casters are allowed, and proceed through levels 1-12 with ridiculously overpowered spells/maneuvers.

Meh, why pack ToB when you could just have an extra Druid? :( But yea, Tier 1-3 classes makes for great games (Tier 3 also includes stuff like Factotum, Binder, Dragonfire Adept, Psychic Warrior, Bard, Totemist, Wildshape Ranger, etc. You'd be kinda light on skillmonkey options though with only really Factotum stepping up; then again, Factotum can cover any kind of skillmonkey role so I guess it's ok) as none of the classes are "dull" and restricted in what they can do - they can be good in great many things being just a little bit better in one.

GlordFunkelhand
2008-12-16, 07:52 AM
Wow, thanks :)

No harm done so far. He's been using only 3rd level maneuvers (just leveled up to 6 last session), and while I checked the maneuver list I panicked when I saw irresistible mountain strike - and confused maneuver level / initiator level here.

While I think that 3rd level maneuvers are still very powerful, esp. given that there's basically no upper limit and that they can change the prepared maneuvers between encounters, it's not as worse as I thought.


Meh, why pack ToB when you could just have an extra Druid?
My group favors style over power normally. Our druid actually let me kill his char and is now returning as a Dragon Shaman ;)

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 07:54 AM
Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-16, 08:15 AM
Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?

For him, an initiator, because he likes initiators, maybe. Sometimes happens one plays things like more, not the most powerful ones just to compensate or whatelse. :smallbiggrin:

Epinephrine
2008-12-16, 08:27 AM
Back to the OP:

ToB classes like the Warblade are especially front loaded. They do outshine other classes at low levels - they only have one attack, so they're not giving anything up to get the bonus damage/effect from a maneuver, and they have consitently strong damage output compared to pretty much everything else. Casters on the other hand are back loaded, they're weak at first, and grow in power faster with leveling.

By about 6th level things start being more balanced - the other fighter types are getting 2 attacks in a round, so the bonus 4d6 that the warblade may tack onto a single strike may not keep up with the bonus damage that a fighter can deal while hitting a second time. Of course, the warblade still has the option of full attacks, so it'll never be fair to compare them to a fighter, but it's getting much more reasonable. Full casters are starting to see their power rise, and are getting a big enough compement of spells to be handy in every fight.

By the time you hit 9th level or so, things are looking fine. The full casters have 5th level spells, and lots of lower level spells. 3/4 BAB progressions have their second attack, which means that the rogue can deliver massive sneak atack damage (+4d6) on easily as much as 4 attacks.

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 08:30 AM
For him, an initiator, because he likes initiators, maybe. Sometimes happens one plays things like more, not the most powerful ones just to compensate or whatelse. :smallbiggrin:

Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)

Kristoss
2008-12-16, 08:34 AM
Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?
Why a Kung fu Panda of course, Monk1/Druid5+.

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 08:41 AM
Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)

A spellcasting bear with a sweet hat.


Why a Kung fu Panda of course, Monk1/Druid5+.

Don't you mean Unarmed Swordsage 1/Druid 5+? (/points to thread title)

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 08:49 AM
A spellcasting bear with a sweet hat.

I just realized, it needs to be a Spellcasting Ninja Pirate Bear...

So!
Ninja 1/Druid X

Max Profession (Sailor) [which is Wis-based and thus awesomely high anyways]

Leadership on 9. Man your ship. Get an eyepatch with Wilding Clasps. Corsair's Eyepatch for extra points. GO TO...THE SEA! Thanks to your awesome Profession (Sailor), you'll be the best captain evar.

woodenbandman
2008-12-16, 08:58 AM
I already did this, but with a monk belt and only one rank of profession sailor. I got the ship as a reward for saving the elf children.

GlordFunkelhand
2008-12-16, 09:06 AM
Well, he wanted to be good at melee/ kick ass in animal form and use spellcasting mainly to augment that.
And that gets interesting around level 12, before that it's not so fun. Add a couple of comments from other players ("Turn into a snake, we need a rope") and you have a player that doesn't consider the druid to be that cool anymore ;)

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 09:13 AM
Bleh, you can be kickass melee Druid on level 6. You have Wildshape 12 hours per day. Just cram Venomfire and Greater Magic Fang and shortterm buffs like Barkskin and Bull's Strength in there and go to town (100% less cheesy without Venomfire, of course). Buut mayhap we're done on this branch - it was just a random sidestep for the lulz.

Egiam
2008-12-16, 11:25 AM
"how much crap do we go through on a daily basis because no one at TSR looked up 'level' in the thesaurus?

-Belkar Bitterleaf, Halfling Ranger


My group has an issue like this (but we understand spell lvl rules). I'm DM'n an Eberron campaign with a warforged warblade/2 psychic warrior/1
The warforged has the adamantine body feat and a darkwood shield, sending his (hers? warforged are genderless) AC into the "stratophere" for a low lvl P.C.. He can always have on punishing stance with minimal side affects. He's become a destuction machine.

Hmm... I think this post is kind of obsolete because Thats just good character planning that would not be fair to change. Any Ideas?

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 11:28 AM
Warforged do have an AC advantage at low levels since they don't have to pay for armor. Don't worry, in a couple of levels he'll come in to line for the WBL expectations, and after a while AC won't even be that useful.

Draz74
2008-12-16, 02:39 PM
One more thing to note about this guy, if he focuses mainly on Stone Dragon: All Stone Dragon maneuvers can only be used if the initiator is standing on "firm ground." So flying opponents will wreak havoc, as will unusual terrain like rafts on a river or swinging platforms.

nightwyrm
2008-12-16, 03:43 PM
Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)

A spellcasting bear riding on a T. rex.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-16, 03:49 PM
A spellcasting bear riding on a T. rex.

A spellcasting Dire bear riding on a Dire T. rex

FinalJustice
2008-12-16, 08:43 PM
With Leadership to get a 5-bear-band playing Welcome to the Jungle on the background?

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-16, 08:57 PM
With Leadership to get a 5-bear-band playing Welcome to the Jungle on the background?

Can we get Slash polymorphed into a bear? Is there a Summon Slash Spell?

Mark Hall
2008-12-16, 09:28 PM
Can we get Slash polymorphed into a bear? Is there a Summon Slash Spell?

Wow, I just had a horribly inappropriate response to that. I only repressed it with great difficulty.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-16, 09:38 PM
Wow, I just had a horribly inappropriate response to that. I only repressed it with great difficulty.

:smalleek: ... :smallredface:

Thats shocking that I didnt notice that. I'm supposed to be a crude and immature 19 yr old.

Riffington
2008-12-16, 09:41 PM
Back to the OP:

ToB classes like the Warblade are especially front loaded. They do outshine other classes at low levels - they only have one attack, so they're not giving anything up to get the bonus damage/effect from a maneuver, and they have consitently strong damage output compared to pretty much everything else. Casters on the other hand are back loaded, they're weak at first, and grow in power faster with leveling.


I'm not convinced this is entirely correct. Spellcasters are glass cannons at low levels, but they aren't exactly weak. And if you are simply looking at low-level melee combat, a raging Barbarian can go toe to toe with any ToB class.

Waspinator
2008-12-16, 10:00 PM
Why a Kung fu Panda of course, Monk1/Druid5+.

Get the "Pandaren" race from Warcraft The Roleplaying Game: Manual of Monsters and play an unarmed Swordsage for true kung-gun pandaness.

FinalJustice
2008-12-16, 10:48 PM
Nonono... If you want a panda, you make a Druid, Wildshape into a Dire Bear and cast Bite of Werebear (Were Polar Bear). It doesn't provide lots of kung fu, but it surely provides loads of pain,

Knaight
2008-12-16, 11:09 PM
Gentleman let us remember. When it comes to style there are other games that can do it better than D&D. Because there is nothing more awesome than yanking a sword out of whale bone, made out of whale bone, then having mercury splash on it and stay put on the edge. Then after you've done that the only way you can up the awesomeness is to slash your sword through somebody, leave the mercury in them, then blow it up because its magic. Yes, blow up the mercury, you don't just use the magic stored in it. All this while in a petite female frame. Or petite male frame, point is you have to be small and weak looking, since that just makes it more awesome.

Alternately play a talisman mage, because bull rushing somebody with an actual bull that appears in front of you is about as awesome as it gets. Unless you use a boar.

Animefunkmaster
2008-12-16, 11:24 PM
Nonono... If you want a panda, you make a Druid, Wildshape into a Dire Bear and cast Bite of Werebear (Were Polar Bear). It doesn't provide lots of kung fu, but it surely provides loads of pain,

Might as well start as an awakened bear, Drudic Avenger, and a level or two of bear warrior. How much bear can you pack in one character?

Waspinator
2008-12-17, 03:55 AM
That's more bear than I can bear!

KIDS
2008-12-17, 05:20 AM
I am actually playing a pirate ninja druid right now and am very proud of it :D

FinalJustice
2008-12-17, 06:45 AM
Might as well start as an awakened bear, Drudic Avenger, and a level or two of bear warrior. How much bear can you pack in one character?

That'd make a winsome thread...

Epinephrine
2008-12-17, 07:57 AM
I'm not convinced this is entirely correct. Spellcasters are glass cannons at low levels, but they aren't exactly weak. And if you are simply looking at low-level melee combat, a raging Barbarian can go toe to toe with any ToB class.

Casters are hard to compare, but in my experience they are far weaker at really low levels (say, 1st-4th), begin to catch up after that (5-8th) and then pull ahead at some point.

For the Raging Barb vs Warblade?

Raging Barb and Warblade have roughly the same stats, and can easily have the same feats, though the WB has free weapon focus.

At low levels the Barb gets a rage 1/day that can add +2 to hit, +3 (most likely a 2H weapon user) to damage, and gives some bonus HP, at a -2 to AC.
Punishing Stance grants a -2 to AC, and adds +3.5 damage on average, and the WB has a base +1 to hit from his free weapon focus. He can do that all day, and hasn't used a maneuver yet.

Add the maneuvers in and better stances at later level, and the WB has more flexibility, and can probably keep up with damage excepting situations in which one can always get off full attacks. Full attacks don't matter before 6th level though, as it still only works out to one attack.

The barbarian will have an edge in full attacks after 6th level, when the full attack gives more than one hit, while the barbarian rages. The warblade might keep up with full attacks if he goes Tiger Claw and uses the TWF boosts like Dancing Mongoose/Raging Mongoose, but I'd say that while raging the barbarian has an edge on full attacks.

Edit: was thinking about swordblade, which gets a free weapon focus on a whole set of weapons.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-17, 08:11 AM
Raging Barb and Warblade have roughly the same stats, and can easily have the same feats, though the WB has free weapon focus.

Really? I would have thought a Warblade would want around a 12-14 in Int for all his bonuses, and the physical stats are all pretty important.

The Hobgoblin Warbade I'm working on atm, has 16/16/16/14/10/10 32 pt buy - without the racial boosts most likely 16/14/16/12/10/8 (or ...8/10)

With a barb, I'd be dumping int loads, cha loads, and wis a little. Probably have str at least 18.

Edit: also, free weapon focus? Where'd that come from?

Epinephrine
2008-12-17, 08:50 AM
Really? I would have thought a Warblade would want around a 12-14 in Int for all his bonuses, and the physical stats are all pretty important.

...

Edit: also, free weapon focus? Where'd that come from?

Well, you may want to throw points into Int, but you don't have to if you want a pure damage focused WB. And they have more base skillpoints than a barb, so they can get away with lower Int that way, if they aren't crazy about a few little bonuses.

And I am mistaken about the Weapon Focus - I was thinking of swordsage, who get a weapon focus automatically.

My comparison was a general statement - the ToB classes will tend to outperform other classes. Maybe a proper barb will keep up in some cases, but having watched a warblade drop 3 foes with a steel wind/cleave combo so many times off the opening attack, I do tend to think of them as tough, especially at low level when the average damage may well be dropping the foe in a single hit (say 2d6 (greatsword)+6 (strength)+1d6 (punishing stance) - for 16.5 average damage on up to three attacks with a move action to get in position).