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    Default Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    So those of you who have the Tome of Battle may have seen the suggestion that you could also allow a Sworsage to learn spells. You probably are also aware that, as written, this would allow them to perpetually renew and reuse a spell of any level, almost infinitely, throughout the day.

    This does not stop my players from wanting to try it.

    Because I am an idiot and do things like helping my players, I decided to let them, with some changes. I personally attempt to balance it by making spells learnable at a one known spell = one known maneuver ratio, learning up to the highest level maneuver you know and ready them as normal [as the book seems to imply], but a maneuver slot expended as a spell simply cannot be recovered for the rest of the day.

    Anyone else ever try to balance this?
    Any comments on my method?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    I personally attempt to balance it by making spells learnable at a one known spell = one known maneuver ratio, learning up to the highest level maneuver you know and ready them as normal [as the book seems to imply],
    I'm pretty sure that is what it means.
    but a maneuver slot expended as a spell simply cannot be recovered for the rest of the day.
    Ah, so you make it more like taking the feat Martial Study than the class ability.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Limit the spells available. Seriously. You DON'T want anyone casting infinite Time Stops, and unlimited access to something like Polymorph is gonna be bad. Eh, unlimited access to spells in general is pretty bad.

    Sticking to stuff that mimicks Desert Wind along with some buffs might do passably without busting everything to nine hells, but be careful; that's a narrow road you're treading.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    I'm pretty sure that is what it means.

    Ah, so you make it more like taking the feat Martial Study than the class ability.
    Essentially.

    EDIT: ...The point is that it's not unlimited. In this fashion you only get a limited number per day.

    Not that limiting the list is necessarily a bad thing, but being that I worked this out only a couple days ago, I haven't had time to build a list.
    Last edited by Scarlet Tropix; 2009-12-14 at 08:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    What Eldariel said. The Arcane Swordsage in the Tome of Battle is not a class, or a variant, or anything of the sort - it's a very vague suggestion. I think the text very much implies that you should be making a special spell list for them, and not allowing them to make their own. Go through the Sor/Wiz list and pick appropriate spells that actually work well as maneuvers (most DD spells will fit nicely, especially Touch attack spells - a Touch spell specialist is something I've been wanting to try to make happen). Then you can just have it work as normal, rather than try to change the mechanics to balance it agains the unbalancable (Time Stop springs to mind immediately).

    Most disciplines have 25-30 maneuvers, and usually on the lower end of those ranges. If you choose roughly that many maneuvers from the Abjuration, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation schools (and some Conjuration, but not many), and organize them into Disciplines, that should give your players enough choice while still preventing shenanigans.
    Last edited by DragoonWraith; 2009-12-14 at 09:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    ... People make far too much of that adaptation. So long as the players respect each other and the game, it's easily playable. I've rolled up one that used the likes of Alter Self (humanoid, my most powerful 'maneuver'), Blade of Blood, and Iron Scarf while not threading on the toes of the other party members.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    If you have it so a maneuver slot expended as a spell does not recover for the rest of the day, it makes the character... pretty underwhelming, and not at all what someone is looking for when they say "arcane swordsage."

    If you give them a per day mechanic, then they're really just horrible sorcerers. They get less spells known, and drastically less slots per day. It isn't an arcane swordsage so much as a swordsage who could potentially use a few spells if they really needed to (but won't want to since it will spend a very precious resource).

    I understand your desire to limit the arcane swordsage, but your method is really not a good idea at all.

    What you should be doing is working with the usual mechanics of maneuvers, not against them. I also recommend the idea of limiting what spells they can get, and further back up the idea of Desert Wind as a decent example. I have played two Arcane Swordsage type characters, and blasting was found to be a decent spellbase to make them work constantly without being overpowering. Ensure that duration buff spells can only have one iteration running around at a time, and then limit which buffs they can do.

    That's the route you should take.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Ah well.
    The first idea is rarely the best one, all that.

    This is what I get for trying to cut corners, as really, when it comes down to it, this is an example of me not wanting to look through the back half of the PHB and the Entire Spell Compendium.

    Really, trying to run six games at once is plain silly. And yet I torment myself.

    ...In any case, the mechanic of 1 selected maneuver = 1 selected spell remains intact, yes?

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    What Eldariel said. The Arcane Swordsage in the Tome of Battle is not a class, or a variant, or anything of the sort - it's a very vague suggestion.
    This. Reading the class, the first thing that comes in my mind is Dragonball Z.

    Please note that is not a negative comment*. IMHO, a campaign of only arcane swordsage, if well built and with carefull chosen and refluffed spell list, can be really fun.

    *or something like ToB ---> anime. So put down flame throwers
    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2009-12-14 at 09:25 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    EDIT:

    Woah.
    No idea what happened there.

    Anyway, yes. The Tome of Battle is VERY Wuxia.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. XD
    Last edited by Scarlet Tropix; 2009-12-14 at 09:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    It more resemble BLEACH or NARUTO than DBZ as you'd get way mroe different effects. In DBZ, there aren't that many characters that use more than 3-4 diffferent named moves per fight.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by AllisterH View Post
    It more resemble BLEACH or NARUTO than DBZ as you'd get way mroe different effects. In DBZ, there aren't that many characters that use more than 3-4 diffferent named moves per fight.
    I was thinking about how heroes and villains in DBZ shape their energy, from the Kame-hame-ha to the nail-shape deadly rays of freezer.

    That seems good to be remade with refluffed spells.. evocation mainly.

    Absorb some of these attacks seems like abjuration. I think that a proper use of prepared actions and immediate spells could be really fun
    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2009-12-14 at 09:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
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    Players can see a story where there isn't one.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    Not that limiting the list is necessarily a bad thing, but being that I worked this out only a couple days ago, I haven't had time to build a list.
    How about using a subset of the Wu Jen spell list? Use the Fire elemental group with Desert Wind, Earth with Stone Dragon, Water with Shadow Hand, Wood with Setting Sun and Metal as a generic school.
    Last edited by Grumman; 2009-12-14 at 09:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    ...In any case, the mechanic of 1 selected maneuver = 1 selected spell remains intact, yes?
    Yes.

    As a general guideline, I'd say that direct attack spells and short term self buffs would work pretty well. Maybe give the attack spells an across the board channeled-through-weapon alteration and make them strikes, change offensive buffs to swift action cast/1 round duration to make them boosts, and change defensive buffs to immediate action cast/1 round duration to make them counters.

    In fact, I think laying out guidelines like that might actually be all you really need to do. I think any spells that would be broken on an Arcane Swordsage with these alterations would probably be broken for any character.

    So, I'd say give your players these guidelines and let them take it from there:
    1) Any spell with a casting time of a standard action or less that you would only ever want to use on an enemy can be taken as a strike. It is altered to be melee range and channeled through a weapon. It only works if you hit with a melee attack, and is in addition to the attack's normal damage. If it is an area spell, you are exempt from being hit by it, but your allies are not (unless otherwise specified in the spell) and it is centered on the enemy you hit.
    2) Any spell with a casting time of a standard action or less that you would want to cast on yourself to increase your offensive capabilities may be taken as a boost. It takes a swift action to use and has its duration changed to 1 round. Its level must be adjusted for casting time and duration as listed below. It can only target yourself.
    3) Any spell with a casting time of a standard action or less that you would want to cast on yourself to increase your defensive capabilities may be taken as a counter. It takes an immediate action to use and has its duration changed to 1 round. Its level must be adjusted for casting time and duration as listed below. It can only target yourself.
    4) Spells as boosts or counters have their level adjusted as follows: If a spell's casting time was already a swift or immediate action, increase its level by 1. For each step on the scale from hours to minutes to rounds to 1 round you have to go through to get its duration down to 1 round, reduce its level by 1. Wraithstrike, for example, is already a swift action and already has a duration of 1 round. It gets boosted one level to 3. Mind Blank on the other hand lasts all day. 24 hours -> minutes -> rounds -> 1 round is 3 steps down, so Mind Blank is a level 5 counter that grants immunity to mind-affecting spells and abilities for 1 round. If a spell has a duration of 1 minute, like Divine Favor or Giant Size, I'd count that as being in the rounds category.

    Addendum: Shapechange or similar spells as a boost or counter cannot be used to gain and use limited uses per day abilities.

    I think this is reasonably balanced. Even Time Stop as an 8th level counter seems reasonable to me if it's just 1 round on a character with these limits on his spell selection, so long as you rule that the swift action consumed by the immediate action comes from your next non-Time Stopped round, which I think is RAW anyway. All it would really let an Arcane Swordsage do is either run away a little and leave the maneuver expended or recover maneuvers and take a 5' step, and even the latter option could only be done once per round.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    The real issue with the arcane sword sage is a question of progression. An arcane swordsage can miss, I kid you not, 6 "caster" levels and still get ninths. With a little finagling it can get... worse.

    Ban bloodlines.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    The real issue with the arcane sword sage is a question of progression. An arcane swordsage can miss, I kid you not, 6 "caster" levels and still get ninths. With a little finagling it can get... worse.

    Ban bloodlines.
    This may very well be an issue, since you get half IL from other martial classes and PrCs. Were I you, I wouldn't allow this character to multiclass. (And multiclassing would just make things really complicated, anyway - especially if they took caster levels.)
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    I'm not convinced that this is such a large problem. I mean, in my mind, one of the stand-out problems with the magic system in 3.5 is the extreme punishment for lost caster levels - part of ToB's brilliance was reducing that. I consider that a good thing.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    I am pretty positive that there will be no multiclassing on this character.

    Also, as to Banning Bloodlines, which one is the one that is raising the problem?

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    Ah, so you make it more like taking the feat Martial Study than the class ability.
    Huh. Given that arcane swordsages can learn spells as maneuvers, wouldn't that imply that you could use Martial Study to learn spells?
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Doc Roc: I do not think that would be an issue.

    A normal spellcaster has far more options to advance both their spellcasting and whatever else they want, while there are only 10 prestige classes that advance martial initiators beyond the normal +1/2 IL. For instance, a gish, theurge or arcane trickster can simply take two dual progression PrCs and avoid the problem.
    Last edited by Grumman; 2009-12-14 at 10:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    Also, as to Banning Bloodlines, which one is the one that is raising the problem?
    The general mechanic of bloodline levels in combination with excessive multiclassing and the details of how Initiator Level is calculated.

    Any thoughts on my suggested guidelines?
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Huh. Given that arcane swordsages can learn spells as maneuvers, wouldn't that imply that you could use Martial Study to learn spells?
    Eh... It's a similar mechanic, not an exact... Thing...

    Edit:
    I guess I misunderstood the Bloodline rules or something.
    We are talking about the ones from UA, ja?
    I don't seem to remember any of them advancing anything.
    Last edited by Scarlet Tropix; 2009-12-14 at 10:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    I am pretty positive that there will be no multiclassing on this character.

    Also, as to Banning Bloodlines, which one is the one that is raising the problem?
    It's not a specific Bloodline, it's the way taking them works. Namely they advance features based on class level.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    If you were making a custom spell list for Arcane Swordsage, you don't have lv 9 swordsage spell = lv 9 wiz spells. Since lv 9 manuvers are about the power of lv 6 spells, you take wiz spells from lv 1 to lv 6/7 and you stretch them out over 9 levels of the arcane swordsage list.
    Last edited by nightwyrm; 2009-12-14 at 10:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    I am pretty positive that there will be no multiclassing on this character.

    Also, as to Banning Bloodlines, which one is the one that is raising the problem?
    It's not a specific Bloodline that's the problem, it's the way Bloodlines interact with regular class levels, RAW, that creates the headaches. As written they provide the gateway to 9th level spells - in this case - well ahead of schedule, based on how they advance class tables. 13th level with 9th level spells is a relatively simple goal with Bloodlines, and earlier entry levels are, I believe, plausible with the various hacks possible.

    EDIT: Ninja'd as I figured I would be.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2009-12-14 at 10:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwyrm View Post
    If you were making a custom spell list for Arcane Swordsage, you don't have lv 9 swordsage spell = lv 9 wiz spells. Since lv 9 manuvers are about the power of lv 6 spells, you take wiz spells from lv 1 to lv 6/7 and you stretch them out over 9 levels of the arcane swordsage list.
    This is why I didn't want to do this.
    I really, really, REALLY hate screwing around with tables and charts and lists unless it's homebrew that I myself want to do.

    And huh. I didn't realize that about bloodlines.
    I think I've been applying them wrong, in that case.

    Perhaps I should just tell him that if he wants spells so bad to just play a Sorceror.
    Last edited by Scarlet Tropix; 2009-12-14 at 10:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    This is why I didn't want to do this.
    I really, really, REALLY hate screwing around with tables and charts and lists unless it's homebrew that I myself want to do.
    How about my idea, then? It's simple, leaves out the broken spells and gives spells that generally fit the Swordsage theme.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    If you stick to blasty and direct attack spells rather than battlefield control, I don't think the disparity in power of spells and maneuvers of the same level is really that high. Add in a melee attack roll vs normal AC, and drop all buffs to self only and 1 round duration, and I think it could work quite well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascent Corona View Post
    Perhaps I should just tell him that if he wants spells so bad to just play a Sorceror.
    Or try out my suggestion? You seem to have missed it. Post #14 in this thread.
    Last edited by Douglas; 2009-12-14 at 10:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Ah, yes, I meant to mention that.

    I like your idea very much, Grumman but the thing is that we use a TON of homebrew styles, many of which we found on this board. So it's not necessarily as easy as that.

    Although, I'm sure assigning the schools an element wouldn't be too hard.

    Ocean Soul = Water, for instance.

    And Douglas, your mechanics are the only way I'd even consider doing it, so you win cookies on that account.

    Edit: I have to step out for about an hour, but feel free to continue this fascinating discussion. I'll catch up.
    Last edited by Scarlet Tropix; 2009-12-14 at 11:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Swordsages [Why]

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    Any thoughts on my suggested guidelines?
    As a player, I would rather not use them. I loathe using any more than the absolute minimum amount of house-ruling, since whatever the DM gives, the DM is more likely to feel comfortable taking away. Your suggestion uses a great many small changes, meaning it has way more room for DM tinkering (read: nerfing) than I'd want to rely upon.

    However, I do like the idea of giving the Arcane Swordsage swift action, single round versions of normal spells as boosts. They'd be like the Swift spells in the Miniatures Handbook and elsewhere.
    Last edited by Grumman; 2009-12-14 at 11:02 AM.

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