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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Dear Giantitp home-brewing community,

    I'm currently playin in an Epic campaign with my 23rd level character (Warblade 20 / Eternal Blade 3) and I need some help in developing and evaluating new maneuvers.
    Given that there is no actual epic progression for martial initiators, my DM and I agreed to let my warblade learn additional maneuvers as he gained level in its new prestige class of Eternal Blade (as per the table on pg. 110 on the ToB).
    My character is focused on and has mastered the Diamond Mind and Iron Heart disciplines (two of the ones allowed by the PrC), having therefore no more interesting maneuvers to learn.
    My DM thus encouraged me to develop new 9th-level like maneuvers and I'm here to present you my work and ask for some advice regarding power-balancing.


    INEXORABLE PROCESSION OF STEEL

    Iron Heart (Strike)
    Level: Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Iron Heart maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Full-round action
    Range: Special; see text
    Target: Special; see text

    Entire armies fall under your might as you dart through their ranks, smiting peerlessly every foe on your path, leaving behind nothing but a trail of destruction.

    As part of this maneuver, you move in a straight line up to three times your speed. This movement does not provokes Attacks of Opportunity and you automatically succeed on the Tumble checks to move through areas occupied by enemies. Each time an enemy comes into your melee reach during this movement, you can make an attack against it at your highest base attack bonus. These attacks deal an extra 10d6 points of damage. This maneuver is considered a charge attack when determining if feats and other abilities apply to your attacks.


    DIAMOND ALACRITY

    Diamond Mind (Boost)
    Level: Swordsage 9, Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Diamond Mind maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Immediate action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    The inner strength of a spotless mind knows no boundaries. With a strenuous effort you push yourself beyond physical limits, making your bold moves in the skip between two heartbeats.

    This maneuver requires an Immediate action to initiate. You can take a free Standard action or a free Move action after you initiate this maneuver. The action you gain from this maneuver provokes Attacks of Opportunity as normal. The flow of actions and Initiative counts resumes afterwards as normal.


    SUPREME FORTESS OF BLADES

    Iron Heart (Stance)
    Level: Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Diamond Mind maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Swift action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    With this complex yet careful pose you become one with your weapon. No attack can bring you harm as your trusted blade flows quickly into parry, your martial prowess turned into your greatest defense.

    While you are in this stance, when an enemy makes a melee or ranged attack against you, you can make an opposed melee attack roll with the weapon you are holding. If your result is greater than your foe’s attack roll, you parry the incoming attack and it misses. You must decide whether to use the parrying ability before knowing the result of the opponent’s attack roll. You can’t use this ability if you are denied your Dexterity bonus against the attacker. You can use this ability one time per round, plus one time per each 10 ranks you have in the Balance skill.


    BULWARK OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

    Diamond Mind (Counter)
    Level: Swordsage 9, Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Diamond Mind maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Immediate action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    There is no feat beyond reach of a mind trained for perfection. With your mere force of will you cast aside the magical energies aimed at you, backfiring them on their weak-willed master.

    You can initiate this maneuver any time you would be targeted by a spell or spell-like ability. If you succeed on a Concentration check against a DC equal to 15 + the opponent's Caster Level, you cause the targeted spell or spell-like ability to rebound onto the original caster.





    The first maneuver is deeply inspired by a maneuver from the "Army of One" discipline, an awesome home-brew by The Demented One; it is designed to cover for the lack of effective ways to deal with a high number of low-level opponents, like small armies.

    The second one is the 9th-level counterpart/upgrade of the Quicksilver Motion maneuver, thought to give my Warblade a little edge in the action-economy game, where spellcasters bring havoc with spells like Celerity and the like.

    The third one takes the maneuvers Wall of Blade and Manticore Parry and combine them together in a Stance that provide continuous benefits (although with some limits) to the Warblade's defense.

    The last maneuver is the martial version of the Spell Turning spell, inspired by the Occult Slayer (CW 66) class feature "Mind over Magic".



    [EDIT]
    Modified the Inexorable Procession of Steel Maneuver to add the reference about moving through squares occupied by enemies. Thanks to Vadskye.


    [EDIT 2]
    Modified the Diamond Alacrity Maneuver to correct the text and remove the redundant wording. Thanks to Vadskye.
    Modified the Supreme Fortress of Blades Maneuver to correct the text, but still WIP.
    Added the Bulwark of the Spotless Mind Maneuver, together with some explanatory text.


    [EDIT 3]
    Modified the Supreme Fortress of Blades and the Bulwark of the Spotless Mind Maneuvers to correct them with the updated mechanic. Thanks to Vadskye.
    Last edited by HaZaRD; 2012-12-02 at 02:42 PM.
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    I would say that Supreme Fortress of Blades could be used Once per Round for every 4 Initiator Levels you have. 6 parries every round is in no way unbalancing at 23rd level, and at the level you are playing, you are expected to fend off a Red Great Wyrm and his Balor friend for several rounds.

    I do know of a couple homebrew maneuvers, 9th levels included, for Diamond Mind and Iron Heart

    Though I cannot say much about the balance.

    Your other maneuvers look fine, powerful, but not game breaking.
    Last edited by Kyuu Himura; 2012-11-29 at 01:17 PM.
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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Does Inexorable Procession of Steel give you any particular ability to move through people's squares? If it doesn't, it's more of a Very Exorable Procession of Steel, given that you have to move directly straight.

    During your turn this maneuver requires a Swift action to initiate; outside of your turn this maneuver requires an Immediate action to initiate.
    This wording is unnecessary. Maneuvers that require immediate actions to initiate already work this way.

    I'd advise against making Supreme Fortress of Blades be usable too often, as Kyuu suggested; that will require a lot of rolling and slow down the already slow pace of epic combat. If you want to increase the power of the stance, I'd recommend using something like this:

    While you are in this stance, when an enemy makes a melee or ranged attack against you, you can make an opposed melee attack roll with the weapon you are holding. If the result is greater than your Armor Class, you treat the result as your Armor Class against all attacks that enemy makes against you until the start of your next turn.

    This way, you get one roll per opponent, giving you more defense without dramatically increasing the rolling required. If that's too powerful (I suspect it may be, but it's been a long time since I played martial characters in epic games), then just add a "you can only use this ability once per round" or force you to make the attack roll as an immediate action (which is probably too harsh).

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    @Kyuu
    Wow, thanks for the links, some very interesting material!


    The Inexorable Procession should have a wording concerning moving through people's squares! Very good point!
    I was working under the assumption that the opponent on my path would die for the received strike, but this could not always happen and it would be lame to have my charge stopped at the first "tough guy".

    For Diamond Alacrity, yes, the wording is pointless


    Regarding the Stance, I find setting the number of parries per round the biggest issue in power-balancing.
    The parry attempts are made with your highest attack bonus, which in my case is around +50: therefore every parry is actually a negated hit and a high number of attempts could easily negates a full-attack action even of a powerful creature.
    The idea of a single opposed roll as the AC against an opponent for a whole round could possibly result in a nigh-impossible AC and a near-invulnerability against a given foe.

    The other possible mechanic is was thinking is to use AoOs to "power" the parry: I - for example - have 6 of them and I find it difficult to increase this number and thus "break" the system. What do you think?
    And what about keeping the low number of attempts and lowering the "delta" required for a free parry?


    Thanks for your contribution!
    Last edited by HaZaRD; 2012-11-29 at 01:41 PM.
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by HaZaRD View Post
    Regarding the Stance, I find setting the number of parries per round the biggest issue in power-balancing.
    The parry attempts are made with your highest attack bonus, which in my case is around +50: therefore every parry is actually a negated hit and a high number of attempts could easily negates a full-attack action even of a powerful creature.
    The idea of a single opposed roll as the AC against an opponent for a whole round could possibly result in a nigh-impossible AC and a near-invulnerability against a given foe.
    Ah, got it. I couldn't remember how profound the attack bonus vs AC divide was at epic levels, but +50 would render you nigh invulnerable, I agree.

    The other possible mechanic is was thinking is to use AoOs to "power" the parry: I - for example - have 6 of them and I find it difficult to increase this number and thus "break" the system. What do you think?
    I considered that, but maneuvers generally try to avoid being dependent on non-maneuver aspects of the system, in my experience. Using the AoO mechanic would make this stance extremely dependent on Combat Reflexes, which doesn't sound like a good plan to me.

    And what about keeping the low number of attempts and lowering the "delta" required for a free parry?
    By "delta", do you mean the initiator level required to get another parry attempt? So, for example, one parry plus one per three initiator levels above 16th? I don't like this idea (if that's what you were suggesting); maneuvers generally avoid stacking in quite this way with initiator level, and this would only make sense if it was being scaled into an epic game, which is generally avoided.

    What if we keep the "once per opponent" idea, and just get rid of the "applies to all of that opponent's attacks" idea? You'd parry each of your opponents' first attacks against you. That way, the stance is consistently useful, generally granting between one to three parries per round, and gets better when you need it more. Plus, that way you don't have to go through the vaguely metagame-y process of distributing your parry attempts among the creatures or attacks against you.

    Thanks for your contribution!
    Thanks for having good ideas worth contributing to!

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    I considered that, but maneuvers generally try to avoid being dependent on non-maneuver aspects of the system, in my experience. Using the AoO mechanic would make this stance extremely dependent on Combat Reflexes, which doesn't sound like a good plan to me.
    It's the exactly what I feel unsatisfactory about this mechanic: it depends on a feat and that's not good.
    Your opinion confirms that this idea should be cast aside...

    By "delta", do you mean the initiator level required to get another parry attempt? So, for example, one parry plus one per three initiator levels above 16th? I don't like this idea (if that's what you were suggesting); maneuvers generally avoid stacking in quite this way with initiator level, and this would only make sense if it was being scaled into an epic game, which is generally avoided.
    No, with "delta" I'm referring to the last sentence of the Stance description:
    "If your result is greater by 20 than your foe’s attack roll, the attempt does not count towards the ability’s limit of uses per round."
    With this feature one could easily parry a lot of weak attacks, but would still be limited against a worthy opponent.
    Maybe, instead of the Initiator Level, it would be better to tied the number of parries per round to the Balance ranks - the discipline skill: by level 17 (when you first can learn a 9th level maneuver), you could have maxed Balance with 20 ranks and thus ensure you with 2 parries per round.

    What if we keep the "once per opponent" idea, and just get rid of the "applies to all of that opponent's attacks" idea? You'd parry each of your opponents' first attacks against you. That way, the stance is consistently useful, generally granting between one to three parries per round, and gets better when you need it more. Plus, that way you don't have to go through the vaguely metagame-y process of distributing your parry attempts among the creatures or attacks against you.
    That's another interesting possibility: I'll think about it thoroughly!
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    While still trying to figure out the best way to balance the aforementioned Stance, here is my last effort for a new maneuver: a Diamond Mind counter, a martial version of the Spell Turning effect.

    BULWARK OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

    Diamond Mind (Counter)
    Level: Swordsage 9, Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Diamond Mind maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Immediate action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    There is no feat beyond reach of a mind trained for perfection. With your mere force of will you cast aside the magical energies aimed at you, backfiring them on their weak-willed master.

    You can initiate this maneuver any time you would be targeted by a spell or spell-like ability. If you succeed on an Initiator Level check against a DC equal to 11 + the opponent’s Caster Level, you cause the targeted spell or spell-like ability to rebound onto the original caster.


    Besides the name which I'm still not very convinced of, I would gladly need some advice on how to balance the Initiator Level check: as it is, it could frequently end up bad for the martial initiator, since there are many method to boost one's Caster Level, but none for the Initiator Level.
    A bonus to the IL could be given, but how much? Or maybe another type of mechanic to regulate the Spell Turing effect (I'd like to avoid the automatic success, since its already without a spell level cap).

    Thanks!
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    krimm did make an epic progression

    If you look around, you can find more epic initiator stuff she made.
    Avatar by Szilard, thank you sir for the fine work!

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    krimm did make an epic progression

    If you look around, you can find more epic initiator stuff she made.
    Thanks Bobthe6th, but I'm already quite familiar with all the home-brew materials available on the web and I really appreciate the work of Krimm (epic progression and epic martial feats) and The Demented One (Epic Discipline: Invincible Sword Princess).
    While I intend to use this material in the near future, right now I'm concerned with the development of new maneuvers (within the 9th-level-like power boundaries) that I'm getting thanks to the PrC level I took (epic Warblade levels give epic feats to boost the power through the advancement, so my DM assumed we could keep the PrC maneuvers progression even in the epic levels).

    Thanks
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by HaZaRD View Post
    BULWARK OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

    Diamond Mind (Counter)
    Level: Swordsage 9, Warblade 9
    Prerequisite: Five Diamond Mind maneuvers
    Initiation Action: 1 Immediate action
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    There is no feat beyond reach of a mind trained for perfection. With your mere force of will you cast aside the magical energies aimed at you, backfiring them on their weak-willed master.

    You can initiate this maneuver any time you would be targeted by a spell or spell-like ability. If you succeed on an Initiator Level check against a DC equal to 11 + the opponent’s Caster Level, you cause the targeted spell or spell-like ability to rebound onto the original caster.
    If you want it to be more likely to be successful, why not use a Concentration check instead? It is in Diamond Mind, after all, which has a long history of using Concentration checks to avoid nasty effects.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    If you want it to be more likely to be successful, why not use a Concentration check instead? It is in Diamond Mind, after all, which has a long history of using Concentration checks to avoid nasty effects.
    The Concentration check also occurred to me, since - as you correctly said - it's the discipline skill, with a long history of uses for damage effects, saving throws and the like.
    The only problem in this case would be over-powering the maneuver: the Concentration check usually has a modifier high above the character-level value that assumes for the Caster Level.
    For the reference, I virtually check the maneuvers against an alter-ego of my character (for melee) or my allies (for magic stuff). In the party we have a sorcerer and a druid of 23-24 level with an overall CL around 26-27: this set the Concentration DC to 38, while my modifier is +26 (but could be increased to +32 by maxing out the skill ranks and even more with buffs).
    The solution here, whether we use the Initiator Level check or the Concentration check, is to tweak the DC to reach, to obtain a balanced situation: against same-level casters the odds should be around 50/50 and increase against weaker opponents.
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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    I friggin' love Inexorable Procession of Steel. Not often will it be very useful (it's really strong but... a straight line), but it'll rock then. Especially with the whole counts-as-charge thing.

    Important question: would the skill trick that lets you move during a charge apply as well? You say "feats and abilities." It's called like Twisting Charge or something. That'd make it nicer.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Thanks Danzibr, I'm really flattered...

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Important question: would the skill trick that lets you move during a charge apply as well? You say "feats and abilities." It's called like Twisting Charge or something. That'd make it nicer.
    You are right on the target
    When developing new Maneuvers I try to be as general as possible, but I'd lie if I failed to admit that I keep my character in mind: my Warblade has exactly the skill trick you mentioned... and he is also saving money to enhance his weapon with the Valorous (double damage on charge attacks) special ability


    P.S. @Vadskye

    You mentioned the other Diamond Mind maneuvers with a Concentration check against a spell save... AND THAT'S IT!
    To reflect the spell you need to beat the spell save DC with a Concentration checks, therefore scaling not only with the spellcaster power (higher level, higher casting characteristic modifier), but also with the spell level (easy to reflect a 4th level spell, not the same with a 9th level or above).
    THANKS!!!
    Some small refining and then I will update the maneuver...
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    I like "beating the spell's save DC" in principle, but I think that would make it even more powerful; I doubt the druid or the sorcerer has DC 38 spells! If anything, that just reveals how powerful the "Concentration check as saving throw" maneuvers are, since they basically auto-save at higher levels (since they progress at a roughly 1 per 1 progression with level, while even the best saving throws and save DCs are roughly 1 per 2.) Also, what effect (if any) would this have against spells without a DC? Would you check against the DC the spell would have if it had a DC? I think the "skill check vs. caster level" is better. You could make it DC 15 + caster level to compensate for the extra +3 bonus that skills get above caster level; I think that's a better mechanic than "Concentration check vs. save DC", simply because you're trying to compare a 1 for 1 progression to a 1 for 2 progression.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Well... You're damn right!
    I had a wrong memory of how good were the DC of my allies (or enemies): the best I can find at my power level is the super-specialized (and drug addicted) sorcerer with 34/35...
    Keeping that in mind, I think your proposal of 15+Caster Level vs Concentration check (which is usually around "level+3" plus an average Constitution of +4/+5) is the best solution.

    I've also found a system for the Stance that quite satisfies me: 1 parry attempt per round, plus one per each 10 ranks in the Balance skill (3 at my level, with almost maximized skill ranks).

    Again, thanks a lot Vadsky, I really find discussing with other people about my home-brew the best way to balance and better them
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Sounds good to me. And I'm glad to help! Just pass the favor along to the next person who needs it (particularly if it's me ).

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by HaZaRD View Post
    and he is also saving money to enhance his weapon with the Valorous (double damage on charge attacks) special ability
    Yeah...about that...it got house-rule nerfed to just add another +1 damage for each -1 attack in Power Attack. :P

    Spiacente.

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    Default Re: New 9th Level Maneuvers [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Night-breeze View Post
    Yeah...about that...it got house-rule nerfed to just add another +1 damage for each -1 attack in Power Attack. :P

    Spiacente.
    Damn, my DM with his mighty NERF-HAMMER
    Still, it seems a reasonable and effective update for me, still worth the money.
    I was born for war. In battle I find purpose, in conflict perfection, and in victory exaltation. The gods themselves envy my hour of glory.

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