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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Question Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Hey all,

    I recently got invited into a campaign that is going to be running just for a few sessions (3-4) while people are home from college.

    The restrictions placed by the DM are:

    -Must be human
    -"No I WIN because I did such and such type stuff.", that's a direct quote from DM
    -24 point buy using value in DMG

    So staying in accordance with the above, the following is allowed: all books, all classes, etc.

    The current party is:

    1 Human Druid
    1 Daring Outlaw (this is rogue/fighter right? don't have PHBII with me)
    1 *I forget*
    1 *DM forgot*
    1 *ME*

    I figured this would be a perfect occasion to try out an unarmed swordsage like a few people have recommended I try in a few of my past topics.

    Here is where I'm a little uncertain.

    Given the limited point buy I don't think any of us will be that OP which is a good thing as I think that will let my character shine more. However, I am a little unsure as to how I should allocate my points.

    Basically I want to be an over-the-top, kung fu master who does devastating damage (relative to the campaign/party) with a good amount of combat options.

    The starting level is 6th with starting gold for that level.

    I was thinking:

    4 Unarmed Swordsage/2 Fist of the Forest

    or purely 6 Unarmed Swordsage

    For feats, I was thinking going snap kick would be better than the TWF route simply due to the limited amount of sessions we'll be playing (and thus limited amount of levels).

    It would be very much appreciated if anyone could offer a possible build or just a recommendation on classes, stats, feats, stances, maneuvers, etc. I'm lost on what to pick.

    Basically, I'm assuming we'll level atleast once a session so that leaves me with a character at ~8-9th level at the end of the campaign; therefore, I'm kind of limited in what I pick as I won't have much time (level wise) to wait for a ROI(return on investment).

    Really, I just a character that is fun to play from the very first session all the way to the very last session. The reason I'm asking for so much help is simply because I don't have a long campaign to figure it out myself by trying new things and fixing mistakes. I'd like to get it right from the get-go.

    I've been told the game/campaign will continue on afterwards if I should choose to keep playing (we'll just lose/pick up some people). If I do so, I'd like the character to be able to progress nicely

    -PS. Side question do all of the following stack for unarmed damage and if so would it be worth getting them?

    -bonus from unarmed swordsage
    -Improved Natual Attack
    -Superior Unarmed Strike
    -Monk's belt
    -Fist of the Forest's bonus

    If they do and my math is correct, I figured a 6 swordsage/3 fist of the forest would have an unarmed damage of 3d8...that right?
    Last edited by MustacheFart; 2008-12-19 at 01:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    I had a minor variaton of that unarmed thing (Including FoF, Imp Natural and the Belt, and as far as I could tell, they all stacked. None gave SPECIFIED bonuses, they just all moved you up X damage die. When applied in the right order (Imp Nat, then Belt, then FoF) they stack fine, but if you put FoF anywhere other than last, they don't....
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    -PS. Side question do all of the following stack for unarmed damage and if so would it be worth getting them?

    -bonus from unarmed swordsage
    -Improved Natual Attack
    -Superior Unarmed Strike
    -Monk's belt
    -Fist of the Forest's bonus

    If they do and my math is correct, I figured a 6 swordsage/3 fist of the forest would have an unarmed damage of 3d8...that right?
    Yes, they do. Not sure what the FotF bonus is, specifically, but a USS with the belt, SUS, and INA has 3d8 at 9th without FotF. Read this.

    Beside that, you'll want Adaptive Style, and to take maneuvers that fit your concept and synergyze well. You have a massive # known, use it for more than just prerequisites.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    -PS. Side question do all of the following stack for unarmed damage and if so would it be worth getting them?

    -bonus from unarmed swordsage
    -Improved Natual Attack
    -Superior Unarmed Strike
    -Monk's belt
    -Fist of the Forest's bonus

    If they do and my math is correct, I figured a 6 swordsage/3 fist of the forest would have an unarmed damage of 3d8...that right?
    I don't know about any of the other stuff because I have no experience with unarmed swordsage, but I can say that monk's belt definitely does not stack, or at least, not the way you probably want it to. All it does is add 5 to your monk level for the purpose of determining damage. Since you have no monk level, it makes your monk level 5th. Trying to stack SUS and the belt, to me, seems really cheezy. I don't think the rules specify, tho. But that might be covered by your DM quote. Anyway, either way, the SUS and the belt will not improve your Unarmed Swordsage bonus, since that is separate from your monk levels, of which you have none.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by skywalker View Post
    I don't know about any of the other stuff because I have no experience with unarmed swordsage, but I can say that monk's belt definitely does not stack, or at least, not the way you probably want it to. All it does is add 5 to your monk level for the purpose of determining damage. Since you have no monk level, it makes your monk level 5th. Trying to stack SUS and the belt, to me, seems really cheezy. I don't think the rules specify, tho. But that might be covered by your DM quote. Anyway, either way, the SUS and the belt will not improve your Unarmed Swordsage bonus, since that is separate from your monk levels, of which you have none.
    They do work by both RaI and RaW. Unarmed Swordsage gives you the Unarmed Strike class feature of the Monk.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    They do work by both RaI and RaW. Unarmed Swordsage gives you the Unarmed Strike class feature of the Monk.
    It gives the progression, but not the levels. Don't you need the levels for the belt?

    And I think RaI is really up for debate in this case, there's no context in there about the belt, especially.

    Nothing in the book says or even implies that SUS grants monk damage four levels higher. It says "if you are a monk" not "if you have the monk's unarmed strike progression." I would think, if they knew the unarmed variant was back there and intended them to work together (and were this far along in the 3.5 cycle and knew how cheezy we were getting) they might have put in "if you have the monk's unarmed strike progression," not "if you are a monk."
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by skywalker View Post
    I don't know about any of the other stuff because I have no experience with unarmed swordsage, but I can say that monk's belt definitely does not stack, or at least, not the way you probably want it to. All it does is add 5 to your monk level for the purpose of determining damage. Since you have no monk level, it makes your monk level 5th. Trying to stack SUS and the belt, to me, seems really cheezy. I don't think the rules specify, tho. But that might be covered by your DM quote. Anyway, either way, the SUS and the belt will not improve your Unarmed Swordsage bonus, since that is separate from your monk levels, of which you have none.
    True, but I was going on the assumption that since the unarmed varient of swordsage gets the monk's unarmed damage progression you would also get IUS and would count as a monk for feats/items.

    I mean the items/feats are meant to boost the damage progression of a monk and since with the variant you get that progression they work for you too. That may seem cheesy but I know my DM and I can GUARANTEE he'll be okay with me doing so.

    His quote I think was more towards absolute "no option for you" cheese type stuff.

    Sstoopidtallkid: Thanks I'll check that link out.


    How would I be best to allocate my stat points? I could go 18 in dex and take shadow blade and weapon finesse but my other stats would sacrifice a lot.
    Last edited by MustacheFart; 2008-12-19 at 01:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Ok, so I am thinking the following for a character:


    EDIT: Build updated. Removed FOTF and its effects/features since I fail to meet BAB req.

    Human
    level 6: 6 Unarmed Swordsage

    Stats:

    STR: 8-with weapon finess and shadow blade do i need this to be any higher?
    DEX: 16
    CON: 14
    INT: 10
    WIS: 15 - 1 point lvl 4
    CHA: 8

    Saves:

    Fort: 4 + 2 = 6
    Ref: 7 + 3 = 10
    Will: 4 + 2 = 6

    AC: 10 + 3(dex) + 2(wis, SS) + 1(Monk's belt) + 4(Mith. Chain Shirt) = 20
    Flat-footed: 10 + 2(wis) + 1(Monk's belt) + 4(Mith. Chain Shirt) = 17
    Touch: 10 + 3(dex) + 2(wis) + 1(Monk's belt) = 15

    move speed: 40

    BAB: 4

    Attack: +8 (4 BAB + 3 dex + 1 USS Wep. Focus)
    Damage: 3d6 + 5 [3(dex) + 2(wis)]

    Feats:

    1: Discipline Focus (weapon focus, USS), IUS (USS), *insert feat* (human), *insert feat here for 1st lvl feat*, Adaptive Style (flaw), Shadow Blade (flaw)

    3: Weapon Finesse

    4: Discipline Focus(insightful strike, USS)

    6: Superior Unarmed Strike
    Last edited by MustacheFart; 2008-12-19 at 05:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    Is this that big of a deal? Also ToB says PrC's add 1 per level to your iniator level but I think that is just for the PrC's in that book. Does this apply to PrCs not in that book? Basically would my initiator level be 5 (1/2 per FOTF level) or 6 (1 per FOTF level)?
    Upside: I gain the class features and 1 BAB
    It says "in most cases" you add the full initiator level and says it clarifies this in chapter 5, but I can't find the clarification. In any case I do think you should gain full initiator levels as you gain levels in a melee-oriented PrC---just that you don't gain maneuvers.

    Opinions? I could go pure swordsage but I really like the idea of FOTF. Something about being the smelly guy who MUST sleep outside appeals to me.
    *Is trying to reconcile the "smelly guy" part with the PrC's art in Complete Champion.*


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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    You don't actually qualify for FotF until level 6 of Swordsage due to BAB.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    You don't actually qualify for FotF until level 6 of Swordsage due to BAB.
    Wow...ya that's what I get for reading over the requirements way too fast. I knew you could get it as soon as 5th level but I didn't even think "Duh I don't have the bab progression to do that!" Just call me a bonehead lol...i forget 2+2=4 from time to time...


    That changes a lot... 6 swordsage it is then...

    Anyway my new questions:

    1) how do my stats look? Should I allocate them differently since I won't be able to go FOTF yet (no con to ac yet)?

    2) How/what stances/maneuvers should I look to get foremost? Like what are the "must haves?"

    3) How many flaws can a character have? It's 2 isn't it?

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    It says "in most cases" you add the full initiator level and says it clarifies this in chapter 5, but I can't find the clarification. In any case I do think you should gain full initiator levels as you gain levels in a melee-oriented PrC---just that you don't gain maneuvers.



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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Lol, well just reading the description of the PrC made me envision a "smelly guy" that of a typical hobo. Plus look at the picture...you know a chick like that has a little "funk." I mean sitting in the mudd all day will do that. Going by the description I doubt they use soap...or even bathe all that often, at least not effectively...lol

    -------------
    Okay now I have a couple of problems.

    PROBLEM #1: INA requires BAB +4 however I don't have that going USS until level 6 at which point I only get 1 feat. Superior unarmed strike requires BAB +3 which I get at 4th level but no feat available until 6th level. So I can only get either INA or SUS by 6th level as an USS. Is there a way to get both by 6th level other than getting a fanged ring?

    PROBLEM #2: I have an empty feat at 1st level that I need to fill but I'm not sure what to take. I'm thinking Extra Readied Maneuver.

    Actually I just noticed I can't get snap kick either...damn bab reqs hit me like a ton of bricks.. Next feat is at level 9 so which would be more beneficial to get then, INA or snap kick?

    So thats 2 open feats at 1st level I need to fill: 1 for 1st level and 1 for human bonus feat. I'm thinking extra readied maneuver and touch of golden ice? Any suggestions?
    Last edited by MustacheFart; 2008-12-19 at 05:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    You could allways pick up 2 fighter levels for feats and it only brings down your initiator level by one it allso gets you 2 bab faster. SS2/Fighter 2/SS2 gets you +5 bab and like I said 2 feats.
    Last edited by Demons_eye; 2008-12-19 at 06:30 AM.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    You would rather want SS 1/Ftr 2/SS+3 so that when you take the secons SS level you already have an initiator level of 3.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Hmm, actually I think taking one level of fighter wouldn't be a bad idea. 6th level SS is a dead level really anyway aside from gaining 1 maneuver known.

    Taking two levels of fighter though would cost me 2 maneuvers known, 1 maneuver readied, and 1 stance (really don't want to lose the stance) just to gain 1 bab and two feats over straight 6 levels of SS...not sure it's worth it.

    So maybe something like: 5 Swordsage/1 Fighter

    Feats would be:

    1: Discipline Focus (weapon focus, USS), IUS (USS), improved trip (human), touch of golden ice, Adaptive Style (flaw), Shadow Blade (flaw)

    3: Weapon Finesse

    4: Discipline Focus(insightful strike, USS)

    6: Superior Unarmed Strike, Improved Natural Attack(Fighter level 1)

    For stances I was thinking:

    Child of shadow, Pearl of Black Doubt, and Dance of the Spider.

    -My thinking on taking Pearl of Black Doubt is: I might get cought in the middle of a pile up (ex. like being weeny rushed by some lower mobs) and in such a case, increasing my AC to so high that I could just stand there, would be really good. Of course then I'm not getting the benefit of Shadow Blade so... maybe I should just take Assassin's Stance.

    For maneuvers I'm still a little unsure as to which I should take. I definately like the idea of throwing people around so I'll probably take mighty throw and devastating throw.

    With the above levels I'll have:

    10 Maneuvers known, 6 maneuvers ready, and 3 stances known that I can use. Anyone want to suggest a list? lol BTW thanks for all the help so far!

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Ok, my maneuvers/stances I've picked if I go 5 Swordsage/1 Fighter are:

    1st lvl Man. (6 known):

    Mighty Throw
    Shadow Blade Technique
    Sudden Leap
    Wolf Fang Strike
    Counter Charge
    Moment of Perfect Mind

    2nd lvl Man. (3 known):

    Cloak of Deception
    Mountain Hammer
    Burning Brand

    3rd lvl Man. (1 known):
    Devastating Throw

    1st lvl Stances (2 known):

    Step of the Wind
    Island of Blades (i think would help out party a lot)

    3rd lvl Stances (1 known):
    Dance of the Spider - I think would help a lot in the campaign.


    So what you all think? Any good? Any changes you'd make. With this list I'm not real sure what discipline to pick for Discipline focus(insightful strike).

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    1st lvl Man. (6 known):
    Mighty Throw
    Shadow Blade Technique
    Sudden Leap
    Wolf Fang Strike
    Counter Charge
    Moment of Perfect Mind
    Drop the [X] Throw maneuvers. Not worth it, you've got better things to do than make trip attacks.

    I recommend picking up Burning Blade. Very useful damage boost, particularly at low levels where everybody and their dog isn't already immune to fire damage, and it gets better as your IL goes up.

    The rest of your picks are all pretty optimal.

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    2nd lvl Man. (3 known):
    Cloak of Deception
    Mountain Hammer
    Burning Brand
    Not sure I like Burning Brand, since it doesn't do any extra damage, and I'm not sure if the extra 5' reach is really worth it. Shadow Jaunt may be much more useful. Yes, I know it's a standard action, but you'll probably never get Shadow Stride before 9th level, and there are a very large number of bad situations it can get you out of very easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    3rd lvl Man. (1 known):
    Devastating Throw
    No. Some better options at 3rd level:

    Death Mark (DW3). An area effect, so good for taking out multiple low-level mooks.

    Insightful Strike (DM3). Max out Concentration ranks, and then pile on magic items/effects that can boost your Constitution/Concentration checks.


    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    1st lvl Stances (2 known):
    Step of the Wind
    Island of Blades (i think would help out party a lot)
    Looks fine, although I'd go with Stance of Clarity rather than Step of the Wind (does your DM use a lot of rough terrain?).

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    3rd lvl Stances (1 known):
    Dance of the Spider - I think would help a lot in the campaign.
    *Extremely* useful, particularly when paired with Shadow Jaunt. I also like Assassin's Stance quite a bit, particularly when you've also got Shadow Blade and Craven, but it's hard to beat continuous spiderclimb.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    What is craven?

    I was considering the shadow jaut maneuver and will probably pick that up in place of fire brand.

    My question, what discipline should I make my Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike) for? If I drop devastating throw and pick up DM insightful strike I could make it for DM to help out...actually DM insightful strike is damage = just from concentration so, I'm not sure what discipline to use focus on.

    Also, drop the [X] throw maneuvers? Aww... but throwing people around is super fun. Seriously though, I only took em for their fun factor and there moderate usefulness (tripping is useful). However, in all honesty they are rather pointless when I'll undoubtably be fighting Mr. 6 Legs Magee. It has been my experience that at higher levels you start fighting monsters that damn well can't be tripped (at least not easily) more often than monsters that can.

    I'll take your advice and drop them. However, to still attain my fun factor I will get the following:

    -Mighty Arms graft = 1,000 gp
    -+1 Battlefists = 2,600 gp

    Then in the future (this DM in the past has been good on loot/gold) I'll put returning + throwing on them for supah rocket fists!

    Climb up a wall + launch flying fists at enemy = win

    EDIT: How would a +1 amulet of natural weapons stack with battlefists? BFs are already +1 so would the amulet need to be +2 to do anything?
    Last edited by MustacheFart; 2008-12-19 at 11:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    What is craven?
    Feat from Champions of Ruin. Adds your character level to sneak attack damage. You need Assassin's Stance or some other source of sneak attack damage to pick it up. A TWF Swordsage with Assassin's Stance, Craven, Shadow Blade, and Burning Blade all going at once makes for a pretty nice nova strike.

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    My question, what discipline should I make my Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike) for? If I drop devastating throw and pick up DM insightful strike I could make it for DM to help out...actually DM insightful strike is damage = just from concentration so, I'm not sure what discipline to use focus on.
    Sorry, forgot you asked that. If you switch Shadow Blade Technique with Sapphire Nightmare Blade, then put your Discipline Focus/Insightful Strike on Diamond Mind. I try to avoid the Shadow Hand strikes (requires failed saves to be effective) and Setting Sun strikes (size issues with trip attacks).

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    I'll take your advice and drop them. However, to still attain my fun factor I will get the following:

    -Mighty Arms graft = 1,000 gp
    -+1 Battlefists = 2,600 gp

    Then in the future (this DM in the past has been good on loot/gold) I'll put returning + throwing on them for supah rocket fists!

    Climb up a wall + launch flying fists at enemy = win
    Looks like solid chunks of awesome.

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Assassin's Stance is usually considered pretty bleh.
    +2d6 sneak attack damage when there are better stances to be had, and it doesn't get any more damage.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    I think that adding some sneak attack damage might be worthwhile, especially with Island of Blades as a main stance.

    Rogue 1/Swordsage 5 would still be pretty solid. Would allow for Craven as well. There's another feat, Deadly Defense, that adds +1d6 damage when you fight defensively, or with 2 points in Combat Expertise (IIRC). Add TWF and Snap Kick, use Burning Blade, and you've got a pile of damage.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Ramza00's Avatar

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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    I rather not take fighter and instead take feat rogue due to UMD.

    Wands of Blood Wind (make your unarmed attacks thrown weapons aka ki strike)
    Wraithstrike
    or the extended version of the same spells

    are booth swift action activation according to the Rules Compedium.

    Also you can get a wand of greater mighty wallop or mighty wallop though this may be too cheesy for your dm.
    Last edited by Ramza00; 2008-12-19 at 12:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    I rather not take fighter and instead take feat rogue due to UMD.

    Wands of Blood Wind (make your unarmed attacks thrown weapons aka ki strike)
    Wraithstrike
    or the extended version of the same spells

    are booth swift action activation according to the Rules Compedium.

    Also you can get a wand of greater mighty wallop or mighty wallop though this may be too cheesy for your dm.
    Feat rogue? Since when does a rogue level give a feat? Is this a variant? If so what book?

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Swordsage help for short campaign (3-4 sessions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MustacheFart View Post
    Feat rogue? Since when does a rogue level give a feat? Is this a variant? If so what book?
    Unearthed Arcana;

    Here, at d20SRD.org

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