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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
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    Jan 2007

    Default [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Tome of Battle: Book of Nines Swords is, in my opinion, one of if not the most interesting and useful supplement for 3.5 edition D&D. Not because of the material inside, and certainly not because of the quality of the material inside, but because of the ideal that it stood for. In an edition that repeatedly spat in the face of the concept of non-magical characters having interesting, meaningful, and varied capabilities, the Tome of Battle stood for exactly that, while miserably failing to execute on its promise in every conceivable way. That's just Wizards of the Coast excelling at what they do, though. The promise was there! It was.

    If that paragraph means anything to you, then perhaps you're like me, and perhaps the contents of this thread will be to your fancy. I want to outline what I didn't like about the Tome of Battle, point out why, examine what can be done, and offer a solution. I can't guarantee you'll agree with me at any point, but we all have different tastes, and this endeavor will be specifically geared towards my tastes, as of the time of writing this. You might find your tastes are similar. You might not. So, with that, onward to the rodeo:

    Thing I Don't Like #1: The Fluff
    My reasons:
    1) It's really specific.
    2) It's dumb.

    That probably needs a little explanation. So, point number one: Specificity. So, according to the Tome of Battle, there are nine secret schools of super special combat techniques that were brought together under a single very specific school, taught by several very specific people, and mastered by one very specific person. Being able to do such things as hit a guy a little bit harder, or hit a guy a little bit harder in a slightly different way are both super special pseudo-magic techniques that only a few guys ever figured out how to do, and if you don't incorporate them into your setting, you're out of luck.

    A lot of questions arise. What if you're playing in Dark Sun? Or Eberron? Or, most pressing of all, some random setting that your local gaming group operates in because they don't want to bother with a bunch of setting books? Do you really need to port Reshar and the Temple of the Nine Swords in to justify that some of the people in your setting have mastered the ability to hit a guy slightly harder?

    Why was some pissant human, born relatively recently in the grand cosmic scale, the first person to master the ability to hit a guy slightly harder? Some random angel or demon couldn't figure out how to add a few points of damage to one melee attack about ten thousand years ago? Oh, of course they did - it's called Power Attack, and it's not a super secret kung fu technique. It's hitting a guy slightly harder.

    Why are there only nine schools exactly? Are there really only nine ways to hit a guy? Hit a guy harder, hit a guy fancily, hit a guy gracefully, hit a guy opportunistically, and so on. Anyone that has spent some time around this homebrew forum will note that plenty of people have come up with additional ways to hit a guy, often taking an obligatory nod to the Temple of Nine Swords and the Tome of Battle's fluff in the process. But the Tome of Battle makes it pretty clear that, even if there are other ways to hit a guy, the only ways worth talking about number nine, and are from one specific temple. Disregard the fact that the default setting is multiple infinities large.

    But, enough of that - on to number two! It's dumb. I already touched on this a little. Depending on what book you get it from, 'hitting a guy slightly harder' is either Power Attack, a bog-standard totally unremarkable thing that any random thug in an alley can learn, or it's Mountain Hammer, a super secret Blade Magic ninja super power that's only practiced by a particular sect of weaboo fightan monks. Why? This needs to be said again. Why? Once more. Why? Also: Seriously?

    There just... there's no amount of reason or consistency here. You're not shooting goddamn lasers out of your eyes. You're hitting a guy slightly harder. Granted, there are a few disciplines in the Tome of Battle that are immediately and obviously supernatural in nature. That's fine. But those are, and should be, the exception (more on that later). There's absolutely no reason why Charging Minotaur (hit a guy more safely) and Holocaust Cloak (your skin is now made of fire) should be lumped together as both being super secret Blade Magic ninja weaboo fightan juju.

    My Solution: Learning to Express Yourself

    Scrap absolutely all of the old fluff.

    A 'martial discipline' is an expression of an idea, filtered through the lens of conflict. If it's a general idea, easily considered and embodied by a mortal character, it's a 'common discipline', and if it's a very specific, or overtly supernatural, or just plain odd for a mortal character to wrap their head around, idea, it's an 'esoteric discipline'.

    To give an example of a common discipline: A farmboy gets drafted into the village militia. He's sixteen, illiterate, and has never left his tiny village, population: nothing (with a little rounding). To his name, he has some patched up leather armor, a rusty sword, and moxie. Some goblins move in next door, come to raid the place, and severely wound him. When he finally recovers, he decides that he wants to be better prepared next time, he wants to know how to fight, he wants to know how to survive. He never wants to be that weak and scared again.

    So, he sets up some training dummies made out of old bits of wood and cloth, and starts hitting them. He hits them a lot. He gets up in the morning, hits them, eats breakfast, hits them, eats dinner, hits them, and then goes to bed. Eventually, he figures out how to hit them really hard (he's not that bright, okay?). What happened? Did he tap into his ki? Divine the mysteries of an ancient magical cabal of wire-fu monks? Alter the fabric of the cosmos itself through will alone? No. He learned how to hit something harder. We call it "Powerful Strike", a first level maneuver of a common martial discipline. Which discipline? Well, some call it "Deft Fighter", some call it "Iron Heart", some call it "The Bloody Path of a Thousand Broken Lives", others call it "I learned how to hit a thing really hard because I had to, or else I'd get stabbed by goblins".

    The boy trains some more. He learns how to stand in such a way as to not be a clumsy dumbass on the battlefield (Stance get!), and how to swing in a big arc to hit two guys (we could call it... Cleave? Steel Wind? Peony Blossom Whirlwind? How about just 'Cleaving Strike'?). Next time the goblins show up, he and the other militia folk are victorious. They even decide to take the fight to the goblins, now that most of the goblin fighters are dead or wounded, and they clean house.

    The boy levels up! Hes learned a few things from his fights with the goblins. But what exactly? Which direction will his skills go? Well, he already has this idea in his head. He likes hitting guys in a really straightforward way - not a lot of fanciness, just plain skill and a strong arm. One man, his armor, his sword, and a foe to cut down. Yes. That's the idea. Well, that's the idea of the Deft Fighter/Iron Heart/BPoaTBL/etc discipline. He's expressing that idea, learning that discipline, just by doing it. So, he gets this new maneuver that lets him hit a guy in a kind of defensive posture that doesn't leave him very open to reprisal. And that's that. If he pursues this career, he'll eventually get to higher level maneuvers, extrapolating them from lower level ones - I hit a guy really *really* hard; so hard it knocks him down. I hit a guy's sword really *really* hard and it knocks it out of his hand.

    By the same token, he can then open up his own Weaboo Fightan Dojo, where he teaches every kid who's willingly to learn the secrets of the mystical Iron Heart discipline! Instead of figuring everything out themselves, he straight up just shows them exactly how to hit a guy really hard. Sure, he calls it "Field Mouse Decapitates Buffalo", but it's just "Powerful Strike". Same thing. They could all figure it out themselves if they really wanted to.

    Now, an esoteric discipline:

    The boy continues his journey, reaching mythic world-renowned heights of skill and fame (7th level?). He keeps expanding on the general idea of "a guy who hits things in a really skillful yet straightforward way", and he has become really good at expressing that idea. Along the way, he meets a demon.

    The demon tells the boy that he can teach him a special kind of fighting. "Wait, is it that one where I hit the guy, but it's like... from behind and stuff? I already thought of that. I call it 'Shadow Hand'." No, the demon assures him, it's something much more interesting. The boy agrees, and so the demon knocks him unconscious. When the boy wakes up, he's lashed to a boulder. The demon proceeds to viciously torture him for a few weeks. And then he rounds up the boy's friends and family and eats them in front of him. And then he just spends a few days mocking the boy for his weakness in letting this all happen to him.

    One moment, the boy is sobbing and shouting, and wearing his wrists raw against his bonds, and the next, something clicks, and he shatters the bonds like they were paper. This feeling comes over him, halfway between sex and having rusty knives driven through his skull. He's angry. More angry than he's ever been in his entire life combined. He leaps at the demon, literally foaming at the mouth, and tears it limb from limb with his bare hands, before wallowing in its blood, and bounding naked into the wilderness.

    Was what he did magic? Not really at all, no. He tapped into some kind of primal rage inside of himself, and got the kind of adrenaline-fueled strength that you hear a lot about in... well, in stories. It's not something we do a whole lot of in real life nowadays, but it's believable, and makes a good story. He's not shooting fire out of his face. Hes just got anger management problems turned up to 11. Mechanically, this is his first step into the "Infernal Monster" discipline, which expresses the idea of a creature from the heart of hell itself that is always angry, draws strength from its anger, and kills savagely and indiscriminately. The boy probably just calls it "Those times when I get really angry". It's an esoteric discipline, because it's not the kind of thing you're likely to just innovate yourself. Something has to happen to you. Either someone teaches you to think this way, or some unique circumstances change you in such a way that you start thinking this way. After that, you can continue extrapolating from that same idea. The boy just learned how to get really angry via the "All-Consuming Rampage Release" maneuver. He could certainly figure out how to get so angry that he blocks out all other distractions (Fury is Freedom) or how to angrily hit a guy (God-Smashing Blow).

    So, to sum up:
    Common Discipline: An idea about how to approach a conflict that comes naturally to your average mortal. Ex: A guy that's really good at wearing armor and hitting people with a sword. A guy that's really good at shooting people with a bow and arrow. A guy that's really sneaky. A guy that's really inspirational.

    Esoteric Discipline: An idea about how to approach a conflict that would not normally come naturally to your average mortal. Ex: The avatar of rage itself. The end of all existence. The subjective nature of time. The Celestial Paragons of Mount Celestia.

    Neither are 'special' - they're just ways of fighting, and many have existed since fighting has existed. The point in dividing them at all is just to make a quick guideline for the kind of tone you want your character/race/setting/campaign/etc to have. Some people look at the Tome of Battle and just want "Fighters But Useful". Some people look at the Tome of Battle and want "Shaolin Soccer". Some people want both, or a variable mix, or one sometimes, and one other times.

    So, if you want Martial Disciplines in your campaign to just be Fighters But Useful, then restrict everyone to Common Disciplines, and you don't have to worry about the cast of Kung Fu Hustle showing up to play. By the same token, you might want a game that begins mundane, but eventually allows characters to go beyond the ordinary - so you restrict them to Common Disciplines at the beginning, but have hidden masters in the world that know Esoteric Disciplines. If you want wire-fu from the very beginning, load everyone down with Esoteric Disciplines and have at it.

    Thing I Don't Like #2: The Classes
    My reasons:
    1) They're unnecessarily specific.
    2) Their class features are dumb.

    So, I want to make a holy warrior. Crusader is the holy warrior class, so I'm golden. I'm a follower of Surtr, God of Fire. So I'll pick up some Devoted Spirit for my religious dedication, and some Desert Wind for his devotion to fire. Oh... oh wait, crap. Crusaders can't use Desert Wind for some reason. Possibly something about the fluff for the Tome of Battle being specific and dumb. Oh well, I'll go with Olidammara, God of Rogues, Tricks, Cunning, Grace - these sorts of things. Well, Shadow Hand, Setting Sun, even Tiger Claw, any of these would give my Crusader the flavor he needs. But... oh... oh right.

    Its that same kind of unnecessary specificity that gave us Clerics that all deal with undead whether or not their faith gives a crap about undead in the first place. And the same goes for the Swordsage and Warblade. I want to be a nimble assassin that leads an elite team of other assassins into battle, so my Swordsage will just mosey on over to White Raven and... oh. You can solve this with multiclassing, but I don't think you should really have to. The only thing that marks the Crusader as a holy warrior is the fact that he gets access to the Devoted Spirit discipline, so why do we need a Crusader class at all? Once you look at the other classes hard enough, similar sentiments begin to arise (but more on that later).

    Now, their class features. I appreciate what the wizards down by the coast were trying to do here. Three martial classes, one of which runs off each of the three mental abilities. One is basically a Paladin, one is basically a Fighter/Barbarian, and one is basically a Rogue/Monk. That's cool, I guess.

    My problem is that every single class feature that the Crusader, Warblade, and Swordsage have could easily just be maneuvers. Every time I look at the Crusader's "Smite" class feature, I want to slam my head into my keyboard in the hopes that the resulting concussion will reveal to me why the Crusader needs a per-day class feature for hitting specific guys slightly harder when he already has a bunch of maneuvers he can take that allow him to hit specific guys slightly harder in a multitude of ways. The others aren't quite that egregious, but the point still stands. The nine canon disciplines have tons of empty space in them, and most/all of those class features could make fine additions to them, with some appropriate tweaking. Then, you could define your character predominantly by what disciplines they choose to master in what combination and capacity.

    My Solution: The Martial Adept

    This one needs its own separate post, and will also partially deal with the next segment as well, so just keep reading and know that my solution is further down.

    Thing I Don't Like #3: The Disciplines and Maneuvers
    My Reasons:
    1) Maneuvers don't scale.
    2) Disciplines are bloated with redundant maneuvers.
    3) Saving throw calculations are dumb.
    4) The focus of each discipline is unnecessarily narrow.
    5) Disciplines are completely stagnant.
    6) The way that the three martial adept classes deal with maneuvers is based around and balanced with the idea that they don't scale, are redundant, narrow, and stagnant.

    Let us consider the Desert Wind. Yes. That's it. Let the disappointment wash over you. Now let us consider the Hatchling's Flame maneuver. It will, now and always, inflict 2d6 damage in a 30ft cone. If you're level 3, if you're level 20, if you're level 96, it will deal 2d6 damage in a 30ft cone. This is what I mean about not scaling. If you pick this maneuver, it's going to be useful for all of 1 or 2 levels, before it just sits in your bag of unreadied maneuvers, taking up space.

    But wait! At level 9, you can get another maneuver that does the exact same thing, only it deals 6d6 damage instead of 2d6! Great. Isn't it great to know that you're being forced to spend a finite resource (Maneuvers Known) on worthless crap you're never going to use? That's good design, right? Of course, you could trade Hatchling Flame in at an even level to get something else. Assuming you don't have another non-scaling maneuver that you wanted to trade in (*cough* Burning Blade *cough*). And... because sometimes people just have this trick they can do, and then they just completely forget about it arbitrarily one morning. Instead of getting better at it over time. Because that's how practice works. Because that's good design, right?

    Or... you could just make Hatchling's Flame scale. Like, that's it. Just, have it scale its damage (and maybe area) by your initiator level. Done.

    Oh, but wait! That leads us to the next problem. Discipline bloat. Desert Wind has 27 maneuvers. That's a lot of maneuvers. There are a total of five maneuvers that are all standard-action strikes that deal a set amount of fire damage directly in an area with no special additional caveats or effects. There are three swift-action boosts that add a set amount of fire damage to your melee attacks. There are also two maneuvers for attacking multiple foes, two maneuvers for dealing fire damage in an area where you move, and two maneuvers for charging a dude plus fire.

    All in all, with some consolidation, shuffling of levels, and scaling, Desert Wind could be trivially trimmed down to 18 maneuvers of... better quality than what it began with. It's hard to make mineral water from sewage - Desert Wind needs more work than that, but just putting an eye to reducing the redundancies would vastly increase its merit. And, the thing is, all of the nine canon disciplines have this problem to one degree of another, even if a few of their examples are just "basically identical" rather than "exactly identical" (I think the most egregious is probably Devoted Spirit, which has about ~14 maneuvers in it, compared to the 26 it claims).

    Speaking of redundancy - saving throws! This is a simple issue that could've been made as a footnote to a previous paragraph, but I think it's dumb enough to need its own moment in the spotlight. Hatchling's Flame has, and will always have, a saving throw of 12 + wisdom modifier. Yup. Bask in it. I can't really think of a reason why Wootzee would do this - the only other sub-system I can think of that has this kind of saving throw is the Vancian casting system. But, whereas, say, a 9th level Wizard is going into battle with 20+ spells (not counting cantrips or magic items - not counting the fact that they drew those 20 spells from an enormous pool of possibilities, many that don't require saving throws to be useful, many of which have non-combat utility), your Warblade is going in with... 4 maneuvers? So that can't possibly be the comparison they were making. It can't possibly be.

    Anyway, to zoom out a bit from the specific mechanics of each maneuver, and look at disciplines and their structure as a whole, we come to my fourth point - Disciplines are narrow. Let us consider Devoted Spirit. The idea of this discipline is the militant religious devotee; the armored fist of the church that goes forth into a land fetid with wickedness and fights the heretic and the abomination, while protecting the righteous and aiding the faithful (if you're Evil, swap instances of 'wicked' and 'righteous'). How does it do this, currently? Well, it hits things - which I support. It can make others things hit them instead of an ally - which is nice. It can heal people by hitting things - fine, if a little weird. That's actually all okay. But it could be so much more. How about a maneuver that calls for celestial/infernal/etc aid? If you miss the Paladin's horse class feature, you could get it here. Or your Crusader of Belial could have a little Imp on his shoulder (the much better character would, of course, be the Crusader of Primus with the little Modron on his shoulder: "That's it. Do it. Sign the form in quadruplicate even though the municipal court only requires triplicate. Feel the lawful side overtake you."). What about a maneuver that hallows ground to your faith, instead of yet another "I hit a thing slightly differently"? How about an exorcism (whether it's a literal demon you're exorcizing, or a Dominate Person/Insanity/Mindrape/Whatever spell)? What about something for banishing Outsiders you don't like? Not via magic, but because your conviction is that unwavering, your belief so devout, your soul so zealous, your contempt so complete that you are their very anathema, and they can do nothing but flee to safety?

    The list goes on. But, with such diversity, new problems arise (or, rather, old problems are revealed from hiding). For one, how often do you think you're going to need a banishment effect in a given adventure? You don't know. You can't know, really - that's just the way D&D is (although not all games). So, as a player, why waste a Maneuver Known on something you might use sometimes, rather than just another +X to damage, which you can always use? Why, as a designer, waste a slot in your discipline with something a player might use sometimes, when you could put in a much more boring effect that'll always be useful?

    Ah, stagnancy. A discipline has a certain number of maneuvers in it, and that will never change. You have a certain number of Maneuvers Known, and that will... rarely change. That is, until it does:

    My Solution: It's Kind of Obvious By Now, Really

    Make maneuvers scale. Some maneuvers don't need it, a lot do. If a maneuver does +X damage, have X scale. If a maneuver attacks two targets, maybe have it eventually attack three, and more later. If a maneuver causes Shaken, but can't upgrade Shaken to higher levels of fear with multiple applications, maybe let it eventually upgrade to be able to do that. These don't all need different maneuvers.

    Make saving throws scale. I like '10 + 1/2 character level + an ability score modifier', or '10 + 1/2 initiator level + an ability score modifier'. I like to give a range of possible abilities when I can, to accommodate many possible character concepts. '10 + 1/2 character level + highest physical ability score modifier' for example, although sometimes a particular discipline just screams "Strength" or "Charisma" or whatever, and that's fine.

    Don't stick a bunch of redundant maneuvers in your disciplines. A maneuver that does 2 Strength Damage, a maneuver that does 4 Dexterity Damage, and a maneuver that does 6 Constitution Damage, could, in most cases, all just be combined into one maneuver that deals ability damage to a physical ability of the user's choice at the time of activation, and the amount of damage it deals scales with level. There are, of course, specific instances where there's a special mechanic or overarching theme in a discipline that would obsolete this, but speaking in general.

    Have an idea for a discipline. Turn that idea into maneuvers. If there are parts of that idea that don't involve directly hitting something, that's actually fine.

    Aaaand, stagnancy. Rules/mechanics will follow in a later post, but here's the gist. A discipline has its "Core Maneuvers", that make up everything that a given idea needs to be well represented. I like to shoot for 18 with my disciplines (3 maneuvers at 1st level, 1 maneuver at 9th level, 2 maneuvers at every other, including a total of 4 stances). I could stick in a few more niche ideas that are largely unnecessary (i.e. banishment for Devoted Spirit), but I don't want my discipline to be bloated. I want it clean, crisp, and interesting.

    That's where "Expansion Maneuvers" come in. Your character has this idea. "I'm going to fight in X way". And then he thinks of a thing he wants to do that is totally in line with X way of fighting, but it's not a maneuver in the discipline that represents his idea, either because it's just too weird or niche for whatever reason, or because the person that made the discipline didn't think of it. So, he makes an Expansion Maneuver. It follows all the ideas of the discipline itself, in both narrative theme and mechanical theme (no cold damage in Desert Wind, no fair fighting in Shadow Hand, nothing in White Raven that makes you a better fighter than you can make someone else, no aerial maneuvers in Stone Dragon, etc etc), and branches off from a specific maneuver (or multiple maneuvers) that is already in the discipline itself. And then he spends some resources, and adds it to his list of Maneuvers Known - which may break his usual capacity for such things.

    The idea is fleshed out, with examples, below.

    Thing I Don't Like #4: The Items

    I'm going to keep this bit short and to the point. Martial Scripts are a dumb, hamfisted analogue to Scrolls. The Nine Swords are either generic and largely unnecessary magic items, or they use the Legacy Weapon rules, which are dumb in their own way. They also tie into the Tome of Battle Fluff, so there's that. The Sublime Hats (or whatever you want to call the various maneuver-granting magical accessories) are an okay idea, but their mechanics need a revision. The new weapon special abilities are meaningless and meh, respectively.

    My Solution: Apathy

    I suggest just not using any of them at all. The ideas could be taken and made into something better, but I don't think they're all that important enough to bother with.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-12-10 at 05:07 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    The Martial Adept

    Whereas the Warrior class represents those unimportant characters whose fighting styles are many and varied, yet are ultimately too unnecessary to be mechanically distinguished, the Martial Adept is the class for heroes - good, evil, and otherwise - whose prowess in, and dedication to, the art of conflict is the stuff that myths and legends are made from.

    The grizzled centurion that rallies his men to hold their fortification at all costs, to stand against a bloody tide of remorseless and relentless monsters for days on end, and fight to their very last breath and their very last man. The savage outlander that challenges the great march of civilization, fighting superior numbers and advanced technology, with nothing but a spear and a bear pelt, to defend the sanctity of the wild places he stewards. The peerless assassin that slips into the most heavily fortified palace in the world, sneaks by a hundred alert and aware guardsmen, and slays their royal mark without a sound and without a scratch. The blessed knight that walks through the gates of Hell itself, the burning flame of his righteous contempt scattering the devil-spawn like cockroaches fleeing the light of a torch, to retrieve a lost soul, wrongly sentenced.

    These are all Martial Adepts, along with countless other concepts too numerous to list here. They come from all races, all philosophies, and from all places in this world and worlds beyond.

    Hit Die: d10
    Skill Points: 4 + intelligence modifier
    Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Craft, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Martial Lore, Ride, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble
    Proficiencies: Martial Adepts are proficient with unarmed strikes (and gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat at 1st level), as well as any weapon that is associated with a Discipline that they have access to. If they are proficient with at least a single one-handed weapon, they are also proficient with all shields, except tower shields. If they have access to a Discipline that has any kind of shield as an associated weapon, they also gain proficiency with tower shields. Their armor proficiencies are determined by their class features.

    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Core Maneuvers Known|Core Stances Known|Maneuvers Readied

    1st|+1|+0|+0|+0|Discipline Access, Discipline Expansion, Maneuver Initiation, Fighting Style|2|1|3
    2nd|+2|+0|+0|+0||3|1|3
    3rd|+3|+1|+1|+1||5|2|4
    4th|+4|+1|+1|+1|Martial Excellency|6|2|4
    5th|+5|+1|+1|+1||7|2|5
    6th|+6/+1|+2|+2|+2||8|3|5
    7th|+7/+2|+2|+2|+2|Martial Excellency|11|3|6
    8th|+8/+3|+2|+2|+2||12|3|6
    9th|+9/+4|+3|+3|+3||13|4|6
    10th|+10/+5|+3|+3|+3|Martial Excellency|14|4|7
    11th|+11/+6/+1|+3|+3|+3||16|4|7
    12th|+12/+7/+2|+4|+4|+4||17|5|7
    13th|+13/+8/+3|+4|+4|+4|Martial Excellency|18|5|8
    14th|+14/+9/+4|+4|+4|+4||20|5|8
    15th|+15/+10/+5|+5|+5|+5||21|6|8
    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+5|+5|+5|Martial Excellency|22|6|9
    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+5|+5|+5||23|6|9
    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+6|+6|+6||25|7|9
    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+6|+6|+6|Martial Excellency|26|7|10
    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+6|+6|+6|Martial Pinnacle|27|7|10
    [/table]

    Discipline Access: At 1st level, a Martial Adept chooses their Primary Discipline, the core idea from which their talent shall spring. They gain that Discipline's associated skill as a class skill, and become proficient with its associated weapons, as well as gaining access to its maneuvers.

    At 2nd level, a Martial Adept chooses a second Discipline that comes naturally to them (its theme is usually similar in some way to their Primary Discipline, but not always). They gain access to that Discipline's maneuvers, associated weapons, and skill much as their Primary Discipline.

    At 3rd level, a Martial Adept gains the ability to learn new Disciplines whenever they wish. This typically requires about a month of time, spent in tutelage to a master of the discipline that the Adept wishes to learn (they must know at least 4th level maneuvers from the discipline to be considered a master of it), or spent communing in some way with the idea that the discipline represents.

    For example, a discipline based around fighting like a gladiator could be learned by spending a month trapped in a gladiatorial arena, battling for one's life in front of a crowd. A discipline based around fighting like a wolf could be learned by observing wolves in the wild for a month. A discipline based around serving one's deity could be learned by dedicating a month to directly carrying out the will and wishes of one's deity, forsaking all personal pursuits, concerns, and comforts for the duration. Any of these would be considered "communing" with the idea of a discipline.

    At the conclusion of one's tutelage, or communion, the Martial Adept must spend 1,000 experience points, representing his temporary dedication to a singular purpose (learning the discipline), rather than the general progress that experience points represent. Then, he gains access to the chosen Discipline's maneuvers, gains its associated skill as a class skill, and gains proficiency with its associated weapons. He immediately gains knowledge of 1st level Core Maneuver of the learned Discipline - this maneuver does not count against his pool of Core Maneuvers Known, but is otherwise considered a Maneuver Known.

    Discipline Expansion: A Martial Adept has the ability to elaborate on the principles of his Disciplines, expanding on the ideas represented in its Core, to create "Expansion Maneuvers". This process requires one day of training, and 100xp, per level of the maneuver to be created (Ex. 5 days and 500xp for a 5th level maneuver). Time spent training does not necessarily need to be consecutive, and the experience point cost is paid at the end of the process. Upon its completion, you gain the Expansion Maneuver as a Maneuver Known, although it does not count against your pool of Core Maneuvers Known.

    An Expansion Maneuver must:
    -Fit the narrative and mechanical theme of the Discipline to which it belongs. A Discipline that heavily emphasizes careful planning, and small increases of power over time, probably shouldn't get a maneuver that gives you a sudden, bold, and immediate benefit. Sometimes an Expansion Maneuver may step on the toes of maneuvers from other Disciplines. That's okay to a degree, although Expansion Maneuvers shouldn't completely encompass and/or overshadow other Disciplines entirely. Identically copying a maneuver from another Discipline should be avoided if at all possible.

    -Thematically branch off from a Core Maneuver that you Know. Its parent maneuver is always a Prerequisite to learning it. If the maneuver is of at least 4th level, it must have one other maneuver from the same discipline as a Prerequisite. This can be a specific maneuver, or a generic "One Other Maneuver From The "X" Discipline" requirement. If it is of at least 7th level, it requires another prerequisite, and if it is of at least 9th level, it requires one more prerequisite still.

    -Be comparable in scope and power to other maneuvers of its level. It allows you to do something new, boosting your power in terms of versatility, not in raw numerical superiority.

    (Examples will be presented later in the thread.)

    Maneuver Initiation: A Martial Adept has a pool of maneuvers to draw upon, including their Core Maneuvers Known and any Expansion Maneuvers they currently possess. From this pool, they must select their Maneuvers Readied. This does not require lengthy meditation - that would be silly. You don't need to spend 5 minutes thinking about how to hit somebody. No, you just take a short moment to collect yourself; a few seconds at most; equivalent to a Full-Round Action. The number of maneuvers you may have readied at any given time is listed on the Martial Adept Class Table. Stances are special in that they are maneuvers that need not be Readied. You can draw upon any Stance you know at any time.

    You may ready multiple instances of a single maneuver, except for those maneuvers of the highest level you know. Those are the cutting edge of your martial knowledge. They aren't something you're so practiced at that you can do them without thinking, although they'll get there some day (i.e. when you learn a new level of maneuver). First level maneuvers are exempt from this rule. As the simplest expression of a discipline, even 1st or 2nd level Martial Adept can throw them around with relative ease.

    Once a maneuver has been Readied, it may be Activated, becoming Expended. Maneuvers may be refreshed in the following ways. Spending a swift action represents a quick moment of clarity that allows you to refresh one of your currently readied but expended maneuvers. A move action can be made to think and adjust to your situation, refreshing two maneuvers. A standard action can be taken to catch your breath and re-assess things, refreshing three maneuvers. In place of refreshing a maneuver, you may also swap out a currently readied maneuver for another maneuver from your pool of Maneuvers Known (it cannot be the same maneuver), which comes in unexpended, even if the one being swapped for it was expended.

    Much like readying maneuvers for the first time, you may take a Full-Round Action at any time to completely re-evaluate your tactics and collect yourself. This refreshes all of your maneuvers, and also allows you to swap out currently readied maneuvers for any maneuvers from your pool of Maneuvers Known. Multiple instances of a Maneuver can be applied as normal.

    Fighting Style: Martial Adepts come from a variety of backgrounds, which can encompass many fighting styles. At first level, a Martial Adept chooses the following:

    -Four skills. These skills become Class Skills for every level of Martial Adept they take. Use Magic Device, Use Psionic Device, Autohypnosis, and Iajutsu Focus are highly specific and powerful skills that cannot be selected for this ability. A Martial Adept that wishes to gain these as Class Skills must learn Martial Disciplines based around them (see Discipline Access).

    -Two saving throws. They upgrade from their normal Poor Progression to a Good Progression. (If you use the Medium Save Progression variant/houserule, you may also choose One Good, and Two Medium Progressions.)

    -Light, Medium, or Heavy Armor Proficiency. A character gains that level of proficiency, as well as proficiency with all lighter armors. Characters that choose Light Armor Proficiency also gain the ability to add the modifier of one mental ability score of their choice to their Armor Class whenever they are also able to apply their Dexterity modifier to their Armor Class, and are wearing Light Armor or lighter. Characters that choose Medium Armor Proficiency gain the same ability, with the exception that it functions in Medium Armor or lighter, and only applies one-half (rounded up) of the selected ability modifier.

    Martial Excellency: At 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level, a Martial Adept gains a special ability listed in the following post, which offers further commentary on their unique fighting style.

    Martial Pinnacle: At 20th level, a Martial Adept gains a Martial Pinnacle that serves as the final punctuation for his mastery of the martial arts. These are listed in the following post.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2013-05-18 at 10:37 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Martial Excellencies
    (Others may be added later.)
    Spoiler
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    Collected Mind: Choose one Discipline that you know and that has an associated skill with a mental ability score as its key ability (Ex. Charisma for Diplomacy from White Raven). That ability score becomes your Collective Mental Ability Score. Whenever you make a skill check with a skill that keys from a mental ability score, you may replace the bonus you would usually get from its key ability's modifier with the ability modifier from your Collective Mental Ability Score. (Ex. If your Collective Mental Ability Score is Charisma, and you make a Knowledge (Arcana) check, you may replace your Intelligence modifier on the roll with your Charisma modifier. The theme of such altered checks may change. For instance, Charismatic Knowledge checks may represent your gregarious nature - you've met a lot of people, and learned a lot from them - rather than being book-smart. Intelligent Spot checks may represent your capacity to be meticulously discerning, even with a casual glance, rather than simple intuition.)

    Double Boost: Choose one Discipline. Once per encounter, when you activate a swift-action Boost from that Discipline, you may also activate another swift-action Boost that you have readied and unexpended, that is from a different Discipline and of a level lower than the highest level of maneuver you are able to learn, with the same swift action.

    Dual Stance: Choose one Discipline. While you are in a Stance from the chosen Discipline, you may enter a second Stance that you know from the same Discipline, and gain the effects of both simultaneously. However, you may only maintain a Dual Stance for a total number of rounds per day equal to twice your highest ability score modifier. The rounds need not be consecutive.

    Exceptional Fortitude/Reflexes/Will: Whenever you make a successful Fortitude saving throw against a source that has a partial or reduced effect even on a successful save, negate the effect entirely. Two alternate versions of this Excellency exist - Exceptional Reflexes and Exceptional Will. They may be bought separately, and have the same effect, except that they function for Reflex or Will saves, respectively, instead of Fortitude saves.

    Expanded Repertoire: Your Core Maneuvers Known and Maneuvers Readied permanently increase by 1. You must immediately choose a Core Maneuver to fill the new slot. This Excellency may be chosen multiple times. However, after the first time, you no longer gain additional Maneuvers Readied. Instead, you gain an extra Core Maneuver Known (in addition to the first one, for a total of two), or a new Core Stance Known.

    Focused Skill: You may take 10 on skill checks for skills that are an associated skill for one of your known Disciplines, even if you are threatened or distracted.

    Innovative Genius: As a free action that may be taken even outside of your own turn, you may choose one Expansion Maneuver that you meet the prerequisites for, and that is of a level of maneuver that you are high enough level to know, but do not currently know. You immediately learn that maneuver, which becomes a Maneuver Known, and may swap one of your current Readied Maneuvers for it, costing no additional action. For the remainder of the current encounter, your number of Maneuvers Readied is reduced by 1. At the end of the current encounter, you must pay the normal XP cost for learning an Expansion Maneuver (100xp x level of the maneuver). In addition, you suffer Artist's Block, which doubles the training time you require to learn your next Expansion Maneuver, but recedes after you do so. You may not activate this ability while you still suffer from Artist's Block.

    Paired Stance: Choose one Discipline. While you are in a Stance from the chosen Discipline, you may enter a second Stance that you know from a different Discipline, and gain the effects of both simultaneously. However, you may only maintain a Paired Stance for a total number of rounds per day equal to twice your highest ability score modifier. The rounds need not be consecutive.

    Related Knowledge: Choose a Discipline that you know. You gain one Bonus Feat for which you meet the prerequisites that is thematically related to the chosen Discipline. Examples include feats that relate to skills used in the Discipline, Two-Weapon Fighting and its chain of feats for Disciplines that improve fighting with two weapons, feats that improve unarmed fighting for Disciplines that deal with unarmed fighting, feats that have prerequisites that include knowledge of maneuvers from that Discipline, Abyssal Heritor feats for a Discipline that relates to demons, Aberrant feats for a Discipline that relates to Aberrations, Devotion feats for a Discipline that involves piety or service to a deity, etc. You may take this Excellency multiple times, but you must choose a different Discipline each time.

    Surpassing Prowess: Choose a Core Maneuver of a level one higher than the current maximum level you can learn from a Discipline that you know. You may activate that maneuver at any time, as if it were Known, Readied, and Unexpended. However, breaking your limitations is difficult and takes its toll on your body and mind. Your number of Maneuvers Readied is reduced by 1 until at least 24 hours have elapsed and you have had at least 8 hours of rest. If your Maneuvers Readied is already reduced to 0, you cannot use this ability. When you eventually gain access to the level of maneuver that your selected maneuver belongs to, you must use your next available Core Maneuver Known slot to learn your selected maneuver. When you do so, you may select a new maneuver from the next highest level for this ability to utilize. When you gain access to 9th level maneuvers, you can no longer activate this ability. Instead, your number of Core Maneuvers Known immediately and permanently increases by 1.

    Twin Boost: Choose one Discipline. Once per encounter, when you activate a swift-action Boost from that Discipline, you may also activate another swift-action Boost that you have readied and unexpended, that is from the same Discipline and of a level lower than the highest level of maneuver you are able to learn, with the same swift action.

    Uncanny Dodge: You gain extraordinary awareness, retaining your Dexterity bonus to your Armor Class even if you're caught flat-footed, ambushed, attacked by an invisible aggresssor, and so on. You must still be able to move, however. Being immobilized or unconscious prevents the use of this ability.

    Unconventional Attacks: Choose one ability score other than Strength. You may use the chosen ability score in place of your Strength for the purposes of ability bonuses to attack and damage rolls with melee attacks. Dexterity is the most common, allowing you to slip around your opponent's guard rather than overwhelm them with brute force. Constitution is, thematically, very similar to utilizing one's Strength. Intelligence represents your ability to think and analyze your opponent's defenses with lightning speed, and devise the perfect way to overcome them. Wisdom allows you to intuitively discern the weaknesses in a given guard, and strike with practiced ease. Charisma is most often a kind of continual miniaturized version of the "Feint" combat option (which also runs off Bluff, and by extension, Charisma). Your opponent just can't get a good feel for your movments. You zig when they thought you'd zag, and you catch them off guard. Alternatively, if your character is already a terrifying and unnerving creature, this ability might simply represent your training in taking advantage of that intimidation factor even further.

    Unified Body: Choose one Discipline that you know and that has an associated skill with a physical ability score as its key ability (Ex. Strength for Jump from Tiger Claw). That ability score becomes your Collective Physical Ability Score. Whenever you make a skill check with a skill that keys from a mphysical ability score, you may replace the bonus you would usually get from its key ability's modifier with the ability modifier from your Collective Physical Ability Score. (Ex. If your Collective Physical Ability Score is Strength, and you make a Balance check, you may replace your Dexterity modifier on the roll with your Strength modifier. The theme of such altered checks may change. For instance, Strong Balance checks may represent especially solid footing, rather than a keen sense of weight. Dextrous Climb checks may represent your ability to fluidly bend and accomodate yourself among otherwise difficult or unhelpful footholds and handholds.)


    Martial Pinnacles
    (Others may be added later.)
    Spoiler
    Show

    Impossible Technique: Choose one Epic Discipline. You gain knowledge of the Epic Maneuver with the least experience point cost in that Epic Discipline (if there are multiple maneuvers with identical costs, choose one), even though you cannot learn its Initiation Feat yet. The experience point cost of that maneuver is waived for you. As normal, you may activate that maneuver once per encounter, it does not take up one of your Readied Maneuver slots, and cannot be refreshed. Should your character continue into Epic Levels, you cannot learn other Initiation Feats until you first learn the Initiation Feat for the Discipline of the maneuver this ability granted you.

    Overwhelming Force: As a full-round action, you may expend an unexpended standard-action Strike of 4th level or lower that uses an attack roll. You immediately use the expended maneuver a total of four times. They each utilize separate rolls, and may have different targets.

    Prodigious Mastery: If there are any Disciplines that you know, but do not know at least one maneuver of each level up to 6th from, you immediately learn one Core Maneuver of each level that you do not already know a maneuver from, from each Discipline that qualifies, up to 6th level. These maneuvers do not count against your Core Maneuvers Known. Furthermore, you require only half the usual amount of time to learn new Disciplines, and whenever you learn a new Discipline, you automatically add one Core Maneuver of each level from that Discipline, up to 6th level, which do not count against your Core Maneuvers Known.

    Transcendant Practice: You may Ready multiple instances of 9th level maneuvers.

    Sublime Understanding: If you are targetted by a maneuver, or an attack that is modified by a maneuver (such as a normal attack modified by a Boost or a Stance), and that maneuver is also one of your Maneuvers Known, all attack rolls take a -20 penalty, and you gain a +20 bonus on all saving throws. If the maneuver is not one of your Maneuvers Known, but belongs to a Discipline that you Know at least one Maneuver from, and it is of 6th level or less, all attack rolls take a -10 penalty, and you gain a +10 bonus on all saving throws. If the maneuver does not meet either of the previous criteria, but is of 4th level or less, all attack rolls take a -5 penalty, and you gain a +5 bonus on all saving throws. Regardless of previous criteria, if the maneuver being used against you is an Expansion Maneuver, and you personally taught the user that Expansion Maneuver, its attack rolls automatically fail, and your saving throws automatically succeed.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2015-04-27 at 12:29 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Example Expansion Maneuvers

    Infernal Monster
    Spoiler
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    Level 1
    Feeding On Frenzy
    Infernal Monster (Boost)
    Prerequisite: All-Consuming Rampage Release
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: One Round per Initiator Level

    The Monster is never truly less angry than the maximum possible amount of anger that he may have at any given time. However, on some rare occasions, a portion of that anger smolders beneath the surface, churning with vicious potential yet to be released. This hidden animosity he chews upon, its wrath feeding him before its full impact may be unleashed.

    Upon activating this maneuver, you consume one Rage effect currently active on you, removing it and any additional effects it may have had on you. In exchange, you gain Fast Healing 1 for the duration.

    Once your initiator level reaches 6, you also recover from one point of Ability Damage with each activation, and you are fed as if by a comfortably full meal (although multiple applications never make you over-full).

    Level 2
    Psychotic Sapience-Brutalizing Devolution
    Infernal Monster (Boost)
    Prerequisite: Fury Is Freedom
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: See Below

    He who makes the Monster out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. That terrible creature long ago tore from itself all that which was not rage and murder, and by subtraction has become complete in its atrocity.

    While this maneuver is one of your Maneuvers known, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus on all Will saving throws for every 2 points of Intelligence Burn/Damage/Drain you are currently suffering from. If your current Intelligence score is 1, your mental perfection resists all attempts to further lower your Intelligence score, effectively rendering you immune to further Intelligence damage/drain/burn/penalties, and similar.

    When you activate this maneuver, you take 1 Intelligence Burn, and enter a Rage with a duration of 24 hours.

    Level 3
    Corpse-Piling Toss
    Infernal Monster (Strike)
    Prerequisite: God-Smashing Blow
    Action: Standard
    Range: See Below
    Target: One Creature
    As effective as brutal mutilation is at getting the point across to prey that their life is meaningless and their demise is rapidly impending, there's nothing quite like the despair invoked in someone when the impact of their own helpless body ends another's life, and then they are made to lay in the detritus of that person's meat-suit. Most of the time, the prey merely lays there, in the puddle that was once their friend, and howls silent screams of horror around their own skull, praying that the Monster passes them over... or perhaps the opposite.

    As part ot his maneuver, make a ranged attack by throwing an improvised weapon. The range increment for this attack is equal to your Strength score, rounded to the nearest 5ft increment. If the attack hits and deals damage, your target is knocked prone.

    If you use a living creature as the weapon for this maneuver, and you hit and deal damage, your ammunition takes half the damage that the initial target suffers, and falls prone in an adjacent space. If this attack killed its target, and that target was an ally of your ammunition, then your ammunition must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 character level + Strength modifier) or become Shaken for 1 minute. If you miss, then your ammunition travels one more range increment, and falls prone, taking 1d6 damage per 10 points of your Strength score (rounded down so a 28 Strength would inflict 2d6 damage). If their additional movement is stopped by a solid barrier, increase this damage by 1d6 and apply it to the barrier struck.

    In any case, you may choose to forget about your ammunition, causing them to no longer count as an enemy for the purposes of your Rage effects, until the end of the encounter, or until they anger you again in some way.

    If you are in a Rage, and there is a living prone creature within your Reach, then you may pick them up and throw them as the weapon used in this maneuver as part of the same standard action.

    Level 4
    Enemies-As-Plowshares Rampage
    Infernal Monster (Strike)
    Prerequisite: World-Breaker Grip, And One Other Infernal Monster Maneuver
    Action: Move
    Range: Special
    Target: Special

    The Infernal Monster's heart is filled with despair when it glimpses that cruel and nauseating gap between the prey it is currently maiming, and the yet-to-be-butchered morsel standing So. Many. Feet. Away. Must it endure those innumerable seconds without inflicting any degree of dismemberment on anyone? No, of course not. The alternative is too terrible to imagine.

    If you are in a grapple, activating this maneuver allows you to attempt to move while in a grapple as a move action, rather than a standard action, as is normal. Furthermore, you may move your full speed, rather than half, if your check succeeds. Finally, due to your brutal, rending, lumbering stride, all creatures currently grappling with you take your Strength modifier in bludgeoning damage.

    If you have a creature in your grip from World-Breaker Grip, activating this maneuver allows you to grind your held prey (often face-first) on an adjacent solid surface, such as the ground or a wall. As part of this activation, move up to your speed. Your held target takes your Strength modifier in damage, plus an additional 1d6 damage per 10 feet you travel adjacent to a suitable surface.

    Level 5
    Transmute Armor To Coffin
    Infernal Monster (Strike)
    Prerequisite: World-Breaker Grip, And One Other Infernal Monster Maneuver
    Action: Standard
    Range: Special
    Target: Special

    To the Monster, everything is an instrument of mutilation, even that which is explicitly designed to prevent that very thing. It holds sacred no such human distinction between "weapon" and "armor".

    This maneuver may be activated while you have an opponent pinned in a grapple or have one in your grip from World-Breaker Grip. You deal damage to their armor as if you had struck it with an unarmed attack, ignoring its Hardness rating. If the armor is metal, or of a similarly hard and inflexible material, and you succeed in reducing it to 0 hit points, it ceases to provide any protection, but it has not simply fallen off. Rather, you have twisted it into an excruciating husk that still clings to the unfortunate soul inside. Make a Strength check.

    While a creature is still encased in one of these twisted husks, they are restricted by the maximum dexterity bonus, armor check penalty, arcane spell failure, and speed reduction of the armor, without its masterwork quality, or any enhancements it would have had, as if they were still wearing it (and cannot wear a second suit of armor over it). They take the armor's armor check penalty to their attack rolls and other skill checks as if they were not proficient with its use. Furthermore, every time they take a standard or move action, they take 1 point of damage (a full-round action deals 2).

    Prying the armor off requires a Strength check with a DC equal to the Strength check you made when you first sundered the armor onto them. The armor can be cut off, by effectively sundering it a second time, overcoming its hardness, and dealing enough cumulative hit points of damage to equal what its maximum hit point total would be before it was twisted. However, so ensconced is the husk that any source of damage put forth to cut it off also likewise damages the creature it is attached to.

    Fortunately, a suit of armor twisted with this maneuver is intact enough that it may be repaired with the Craft skill once it has been removed from its wearer, as if it were merely damaged, rather than broken entirely.

    Level 6
    Man-Or-Mouse Massacre
    Infernal Monster (Strike)
    Prerequisite: Nowhere To Run Nowhere To Hide, Post-Traumatic Brutality Roar
    Action: Standard
    Range: See Below
    Target: One Creature; see below

    Some men are heroes. The Monster enjoys beating them bloody, overwhelming their strength with his own, showing them their inferiority, showing them what their heroism has given them, and then tearing them apart. Some men are cowards. The Monster enjoys watching them flee, so that he might hunt them like the pathetic mongrels they are, allowing them a moment of hope so that their flesh is all the sweeter when it gnashes between his teeth. Some men have yet to choose their place on the Monster's menu, but he will glady grant them an opportunity to decide.

    You choose one target that you can perceive and that can perceive you, declaring it your plaything, and perhaps elaborating on some of the gruesome things you have in store for them. Any enemies that can perceive you or your threats now have a choice to make.

    Firstly, they may choose to be cowards. In this case, they are Panicked for one round, but cease to be considered Enemies for the purposes of your Rage effects until the end of the encounter. They can be ignored for now; you have more interesting meat to ravage. If, before the encounter ends, a coward takes a directly hostile action against you, you may choose to re-assert them as an enemy, and inflict a -2 penalty on all of their d20 rolls to take any action that would displease you, out of pure fear, for the rest of the encounter. Note that creatures immune to fear effects cannot take this option.

    Secondly, they may choose to be heroes. In this case, you gain a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls against them until the end of the encounter. Furthermore, they take a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls (and the DC of any saving throw they force another to make as part of resisting one of their abilities is reduced by 2) against anyone in the encounter that isn't you as long as you are still alive and present.

    For every enemy that chooses to be a coward and abandon your plaything in their time of need, your plaything takes a cumulative -1 penalty for the rest of the encounter on their saving throws against your use of the "Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide" maneuver. Once a plaything, always a plaything.

    Humanity-Reaving Psychosis Echo
    Infernal Monster (Counter)
    Prerequisite: Post-Traumatic Brutality Roar, And One Other Infernal Monster Maneuver
    Action: Immediate
    Range: See Below
    Target: See Below

    Those that witness the Monster and somehow survive are forever scarred by it, wracked with horror far longer and deeper than the moments or minutes the Monster would have spent dismembering them. Some become shut-ins, quivering under their beds like frightened rodents, scurrying out only to find sustenance before hiding once more from the Monster they know may come for them again. Others cannot bear the burden of their fragile life any longer, and commit suicide rather than face reality. The worst fate is for those that open their eyes to the abyss, and make themselves to stare into it, transforming their fear into something altogether unwholesome.

    While this maneuver is one of your Maneuvers Known, your Post-Traumatic Brutality Roar grants an option to Humanoids and Monstrous Humanoids that are inflicted with the permanent fear of your presence by that maneuver. They may accept the horror inside themselves, and cast off the mental scarring entirely, no longer becoming Shaken at the mere sight of you. In exchange, they undergo a metamorphosis.

    If the character had the 'average array' or 'non-elite array' for their ability scores, they gain the 'elite array', and their array is shuffled around to favor physical abilities more than mental.

    If the character had NPC class levels, they may trade in a single level of an NPC class to gain one level in a martial adept class that could gain access to the Infernal Monster discipline. If they do so, they automatically gain access to the Infernal Monster discipline, and gain the additional option of trading in additional levels in an NPC class for additional levels in their chosen martial adept class, at a ratio of "2 NPC to 1 PC".

    Their alignment becomes Chaotic Evil, as they seek to inflict the very worst of every nightmarish thought that their tainted minds have ever considered, indiscriminately. They are little more than rabid monsters now, even if they wear the appearance of a man, and use tools as one does. They will tend to always have at least one Infernal Monster maneuver of each level of maneuver they have access to and, if they have the chance to gain access to 8th level maneuvers, will always seek out Untamed Apocalypse Shintai. They often favor weapons associated with the Infernal Monster, as well as light or no armor.

    As part of this reallocations of statistics, they may shift around choices in skill and feat selection, favoring physical skills, and feats that improve their capacity to harm others. The knowledge for such killing arts are born directly from their new madness.

    Perhaps worst of all for the still-sane inhabitants of the world, these creatures instinctually do not attack one another. If they find others like them, they become like nomadic pack animals, a roaming blight on the world without mercy or humanity, a single claw of the Monster peeking through his abyssal cage.

    When you actually activate this maneuver, your own madness pulses forth to other practioners of the Infernal Monster discipline that can perceive you. Anyone that willingly accepts your show of kinship becomes aware of the highest level of Infernal Monster maneuver that you know, and you their's. Furthermore, if those that accept were Enemies of yours, they are no longer considered so for the purposes of Rage effects until they perform another action to re-instate them as an Enemy, and you are similarly no longer considered their Enemy. In the case of Untamed Apocalypse Shintai, those that are recognized as kin by this maneuver need not be attacked, even if they are the closest living thing to you.

    Level 7
    Undeniable Wrecking Impetus
    Infernal Monster (Boost)
    Prerequisite: Fists of the Old Ones, And Two Other Infernal Monster Maneuvers
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 5 rounds

    The Monster is bad. And that's good. He will never be good. And that's not bad. There's no one he'd rather be but him. With such acknowledgement of his destroyer's heart, he was able to cast away all pretenses at ever being capable of constructive behaviour, and gain a singular destructive focus that allows him to shatter flesh, stone, steel, and jawbreakers the size of a grown man's torso.

    Upon gaining this maneuver as a Maneuver Known, you undergo several changes. First, you take a penalty to all checks made to build, repair, or create something physical (something incorporeal or ethereal would still count, but not something like a concept, a song, or a plan) equal to your initiator level (mostly this will just include Craft checks), and take a penalty to your caster level in conjunction with spells that heal, repair, construct, or create things equal to your initiator level. Secondly, you may consider inanimate objects of at least Large size or greater as "enemies" for the purposes of preventing one of your Rage effects from automatically ending because you did not attack an "enemy" for 5 rounds. Thirdly, you are rendered sterile and/or infertile. You perfectly negate all attempts to create life from you even such magical effects as a "Simulacrum" spell, or a deity of fertility using your genetic material to create an immaculate child independently of you. These surrogate offspring rot away into dust before they can breathe their first breath.

    Upon activating this maneuver, you ignore a number of points of Hardness equal to your initiator level when attacking an object. If this would reduce an object's Hardness below 0, any overflow is added as additional points of damage. Furthermore, while you are in a Rage, as part of any movement you engage in (whether voluntary, such as taking a move action, or involuntary, such as being thrown through the air), if a barrier that you would move into could be destroyed by a successful hit from one of your standard unarmed attacks while rolling minimum damage on its damage dice, then the barrier merely shatters in your wake, neither restricting or inhibiting your movement, nor damaging you.

    Level 8
    Rampaging Through Paper Cities
    Infernal Monster (Strike)
    Prerequisite: Undeniable Wrecking Impetus, And One Other Infernal Monster Maneuver
    Action: Standard
    Range: Melee
    Target: One structure

    It is always easier to destroy than create. And there is the truth of the matter. Creation is weak. A mother can spend nine months bringing forth a new life, and it is a miracle, but it takes only a second for the Monster to drag its intrincately crafted entrails into the light how is this not a greater miracle still? All the empty fabrications of mankind are just as pointless as their children. Years to build a great castle. Decades to build a great city. Centuries to build a great empire. Millennia to build a civilized world. How impressed shall they be when the Monster tears it all down in days?

    As part of this maneuver, make a standard melee attack against an inanimate object of Large size or greater. You automatically deal a critical hit. Furthermore, all damage that you deal to an object that is part of a larger structure (such as a section of wall being part of the rest of the wall, which is in turn part of a building) is also dealt to all connected parts of that structure within (initiator level x 10) feet. In this way, you may destroy a ~150ft section of a castle wall with a single punch, or shatter the first floor of a mighty tower, toppling it in seconds.

    Furthermore, if you are in a Rage, you may consume any number of currently active Rage effects on you to multiply the radius of destruction. Removing one Rage doubles the radius. Two triples the radius. Four quadruples. And so on. With this, you may grind whole roads to rubble, ruin the palaces of mortal pretenders, and even sunder the very gates of Mount Celestia into scrap.

    Level 9
    Sempiternal World-Menacing Obligation
    Infernal Monster (Stance)
    Prerequisite: Feeding On Frenzy, All-Consuming Rampage Release, Infernal Monster Form, And One Other Infernal Monster Maneuver
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    In that timeless primordial abyss before the beginning, there was no peace. Concepts and ideals and thought swirled amongst one another, grappling for supremacy, devouring one another, giving birth, dying, being reborn, changing. The Monster was there, feeding on their strife, feeding on them, terrorizing the multiverse before it had ever come to be. He has only gotten stronger since then, as the world lovingly embraces its own violence and hate. Orcs kill Humans, and then Humans kill Orcs, and the only one that wins is the Monster, whose belly grows fat on so much ignorance. Knowing this place, knowing these people, It will be around forever, keening into the darkness at the end of all things as it mourns the fools that fed it so well.

    Just by having this stance as one of your Stances Known, you achieve a kind of timelessness as your body becomes more sentient-anger than mortal flesh. While you are under a Rage effect, your body ceases to age, and you ignore all penalties to your physical abilitie scores as a result of aging that you have already accrued. Combined with a perpetual Rage effect such as Untamed Apocalypse Shintai, you may very well become immortal.

    While you are in this stance, you heal one hit point for every act of physical hostility you witness. Any action that attempts, whether successful or not, to inflict pain, injury, or death qualifies. If the world you live in is so corrupt to allow this to happen, you may even become glutted, "healing" hit points above and beyond your maximum total in this way, creating a pool of temporary hit points. This pool may hold a maximum number of hit points equal to your current Strength score. Furthermore, while you have at least one point in this temporary hit point pool, you gain a +1 bonus on all Fortitude saving throws equal to the number of Rage effects currently on you.


    Cosmic Imperator
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    Level 4
    Sun-Heart Furnace Soul
    Cosmic Imperator (Counter)
    Prerequisite: Glory-Stoking Congregation, And One Other Cosmic Imperator Maneuver
    Action: Immediate
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    Come On Everybody, Smile Smile Smile
    Fill My Heart Up With Sunshine, Sunshine
    All I Really Need's A Smile Smile Smile
    From These Happy Friends Of Mine

    Yes, A Perfect Gift For Me
    Is A Smile As Wide As A Mile
    To Make Me Happy As Can Be
    Smile, Smile, Smile! Smile! Smile!


    While this maneuver is one of your Maneuvers Known, you may continue to gain power from prayer and praise through Glory-Stoking Congregation, even if you are already Glorified. If you receive supplication for long enough to become Glorified again, you effectively gain a second instance of the Glorified condition, becoming Twice Glorified. Activating a maneuver that removes this status only removes one instance of it. You may become Glorified a total number of times at once equal to your Charisma modifier.

    Furthermore, while you have at least one instance of Glorification on you, your heart is literally sheathed in flame. Your body temperature rises to an unnatural degree, although it causes you no discomfort, and your chest visibly shines from beneath the skin. While your heart is ignited, you may always survive comfortably in temperatures between -50 and 140 degrees, without protection from the elements, and without making Fortitude saves.

    If you have no instances of Glorification, you notice a very uncomfortable cold emanating from your chest, and feelings of sadness and despair gnaw at the corners of your otherwise immaculate mind. You suffer a -2 morale penalty on saving throws against Fear, and ignore all bonuses against Fear or immunities to Fear that you are currently benefiting from an external source, such as a magic item or another character's class features, spells, or maneuvers.

    You may activate this maneuver in response to a Fear Effect targeting you. If the Fear Effect does not allow a save, this maneuver allows you to make a Will saving throw against it (DC 10 + 1/2 the user's character level + their Charisma modifier) to negate the effect. If it does allow a Save, activating this maneuver grants you a morale bonus on that save equal to the number of instances of Glorification you have on you at the moment.

    In either case, if you fail the save, you may expend one Glorified condition from yourself to reroll the saving throw. If you continue to fail, you may continue to make rerolls as many times as you are willing to spend Glory.

    Level 5
    Thundering Eminence Roar
    Cosmic Imperator (Strike)
    Prerequisite: Green Sun Nimbus Flare, King of All Kings Numen
    Action: Standard
    Range: See Below
    Target: Creatures That Can Hear You

    While this maneuver is one of your Maneuvers Readied, a second voice overlays your own, accenting whatever emotion you are expressing. Whether joy, anger, grief, or calm reassurance, all voices are utterly terrifying in their own way.

    When activating this maneuver, your voice steadily climbs in volume until it thunders like a crashing wave and a chorus of brass trumpets. Make an Intimidate check to demoralize, and apply it against all living things that can hear you, ignoring bonuses and penalties do to differences in size category.

    Allies in the area that are not marked with Red Hand Ascension or that have not glorified you today take a -2 penalty to the check to resist your intimidation. Those marked with Red Hand Ascension or that have glorified you today, gain a kind of certainty and comfort from fearing you - if they are intimidated by you, they gain (1/2 your initiator level) temporary hit points, that last for one hour. If they are Frightened or Panicked by some other source, they degrade that state of fear to merely Shaken for the same duration.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-12-30 at 12:35 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    One final post, to put anything that I come up with later. Alternate Class Features? Feats? Skills? More rambling? Dunno. But I ran out of space in a thread once, and now I'm wracked with fear forevermore.

    You can all commence posting and/or bookmarking this thread for consumption later and then forgetting about it (it's what I'd do, anyway).

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I don't agree with a lot of your premises, but I think I like some of the execution.

    I like the ToB fluff. Yes, the stuff with Reshar is very specific, but personally I just see that a story to make things more interesting, whether you use it or not (fluff is muteable after all). More importantly, one thing you missed is that Reshar was not the first to use maneuvers. He was the first to master the Nine disciplines and bring them together in one school, but he could only do that by learning those disciplines from others. That, and as a lot of fluff for homebrew disciplines show, there is a lot of space open for more fluff to fit in here or there.

    Some of your comparisons are also kind of bad. Power Attack and Mountain Hammer, for example. Yes, Mountain Hammer lets you hit harder, but its main deal is bypassing Damage Reduction and hardness, which Power Attack does not let you do.

    The fluff you then go on to add, that I like. Some disciplines should be expressly taught (or divinely inspired, mayhaps), but some, like Iron Heart, Stone Dragon or Setting Sun, can be basic enough to be self-taught. Which I now see, as I read on, in your division between "common" and "esoteric" disciplines. (By the way, Shadow Hand would most likely be esoteric rather than common, due to the strong supernatural ties it has.)

    I semi-agree with your assessment of Crusader fluff. However, if a Crusader could pick disciplines befitting the god he worships (if he does that at all), he'd be more like a Cleric than a Paladin, which the original fluff is undoubtedly based on. So while Crusaders could use some additional stuff perhaps, I think the fluff and mechanics it has befit it finely.

    I don't agree that every class feature of the ToB classes could/should be a maneuver. I like the Int/Wis/Cha split (or Fighter/Monk/Paladin split). Smite I'll give ya. Plus there's the fact that stances should be given at moments they can actually get a new level of stances (darn you, 'sader!).

    On maneuvers: I agree with points 1, 2 and 5, am neutral about 3 and 4, and am not quite sure what you mean by 6. I don't think a discipline should cover huge ground, otherwise it wouldn't be much of a discipline anymore, plus if they did, why would you even use other disciplines? Maneuvers could definitely use scaling though.

    I'll read the Martial Adept later, but I notice that there is one more maneuver readied than Core known at level 1. What is this extra one supposed to be? Do you start with an Expansion maneuver that you must create immediately?
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I don't agree with everything, but I do agree that paring everything down to non-bloat levels works quite well.

    Also, I love the Infernal Monster expansions...
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Stuff
    Thank you for taking the time to read and give me input! And I'm glad that you find at least a few things that you like/agree with.

    On the point of Power Attack vs Mountain Hammer, I'm aware that mechanically, they're different. But, thematically, they're both hitting a guy harder. I don't think there's a description one could make of their character using Mountain Hammer that would not also work as a description of their character using Power Attack. They're big, strong hits, that overwhelm the opponent with force. That's what I was getting at.

    The Martial Adept has more Maneuvers Readied than Maneuvers Known at first level, because of the way they ready maneuvers. They can ready multiple instances of a single maneuver, as long as that maneuver isn't the highest level they can learn (exempting 1st level maneuvers). My justification is in the class itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Also, I love the Infernal Monster expansions...
    . I guess it dates how long I've been poking at this, since I began writing the Infernal Monster expansions in early November, around when the movie "Wreck-It Ralph" came out. I came home from that, and wrote Undeniable Wrecking Impetus. And then I realized that I had a lot more ideas for Infernal Monster maneuvers. And then I realized that there weren't rules for characters expanding on their disciplines. And then I realized there was a lot of stuff for me to complain about in the Tome of Battle. And then I wrote everything else.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Out of mild couriostity, you also going to finish up the Primordial Martial Disciplines?
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I must say, as someone who only looked at the Tome of Battle as a interesting curiosity, you make basically all the points that I personally have thought of for fixing it. Scaling maneuvers is obvious (what were they thinking?), I think that fluff is easily discarded (though, I also think that your "fluff" is more accessible to most people), and the concept of Expansion Maneuvers is a wonderful addition. Again, I've not done much with Disciplines myself, so I wouldn't say that I'm qualified to give a more thorough critique, but I found the read accessible and entertaining, as well as being something I mostly agreed with.

    Good show, my fine sir.
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Hi there Xefas. I've looked at what you have to say about ToB's maneuver system and I have to say I'm impressed. I'm trying to use your discipline building ideas right now.
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    @ Domriso + Agrippa: Glad you liked it. I hope y'all get inspired and do some brewing! I know Agrippa has Verdant Majesty going right now. Still watching that to see where it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimsage Matt View Post
    Out of mild couriostity, you also going to finish up the Primordial Martial Disciplines?
    Suuuure. Cosmic Imperator counted for that, too, though, right? (Related: I just posted an Example Expansion Maneuver for Cosmic Imperator. The Best Discipline.) If I make Ellogent Speech, will that count? I mean... those are Primordials, technically.

    I have the fluff done for the three you're talking about, and a few mechanics, but they've still got some work to them. I actually have a full day off this week, so if I'm not selfish and spend it with my family, I might get some work done on them. No promises, as always. (Can you believe I've been saying I'll make them for what is rapidly closing in on two years now?)

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    ...Elloge gets a discipline?

    Words do not suffice to describe this most ironic of desires! I must wax loquacious, writing thousands to tales to appease her!

    (I sometimes think that, were I an Infernal, I'd totally be Adorjan-Elloge. It fits my personality the best (don't worry, I'm not murder-buddha.))
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    ...Elloge gets a discipline?
    All I have right now is that:
    1) The Lawgivers killed Elloge's first self by confining all words into rigid languages. Elloge is the angry confined poet/writer/murderer that will use those words to get the most ironic revenge.
    2) There will be a maneuver that lets you yell a word (optimally, it will allow for any word), and then grab that word and use it as a weapon. Different words do different stuff.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-12-11 at 02:56 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Well on Mountain Hammer I'd say its very different than just 'hit a guy harder' if you push its boundaries. A character of mine once used Mountain Hammer to convince someone he was a god, by plunging an iron sword into a cavern wall without damaging it. That goes a bit beyond 'hit harder'.

    Still in general I do sort of see the point you're trying to make. I'd say there is still some gap between 'well this is actually trivial and it just required lots of practice' and 'theres some insight into fighting in here'. Take for example fencing styles and so on - someone who self-taught fencing might have a lot of natural skill or ability, but they might never have realized that over hundreds of duels, people who struck back before parrying had a tendency to win but be injured, whereas people who parried first would more often avoid an injury if they won in the end. In some sense that conferred knowledge or experience is the core of there being a 'school' of something at all; it means that the sum total experience of the warriors of that school has been condensed into a few hard-won but easily-taught lessons that give someone an edge a self-taught person would lack.

    I guess my solution would be, make it so there's no cap on maneuvers known. Let Martial Adepts pick up new maneuvers like a wizard searches for scrolls. They can invent or reinvent one or two every level (after all someone had to invent them in the first place), but they can expand their versatility by searching the world for teachers/etc. Once you have that versatility you don't need to be worried quite as much about lack of scaling (though that doesn't resolve the issue that its sloppy design to have 10 maneuvers that do the same thing but with increasing numbers). How then to keep every martial adept from being a carbon copy character? Level-based specializations, feats that improve subsets of maneuvers, maybe even synergy bonuses between readied maneuvers within certain subsets. Or you only get access to one line of 'esoterics' per character. Anyone can learn 'hit hard' from someone else, but someone who uses the cosmic rhythm to guide his blows can't just teach it to someone who instead works via the flow of blood.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I guess my solution would be, make it so there's no cap on maneuvers known. Let Martial Adepts pick up new maneuvers like a wizard searches for scrolls.
    My rules already have this (under the Martial Adept base class). There is no cap on the number of Expansion Maneuvers you can have, and you gain them by 'researching' for a given amount of time, and paying XP.

    I don't specifically mandate that they come from teachers, because I want the Initiation Subsystem to be as generally accessible as possible. Some people just want to take their Fighter But Useful through The World's Largest Dungeon, and that's cool. They can take a break here and there, and learn new maneuvers.

    Some people want to immerse their martial character into a world with its own martial landscape and history, and so for that, you're welcome to seek out masters to learn your Expansion Maneuvers from. This might be the kind of thing I put under Optional Rules, but you could do things like having a master reduces the XP cost, or training time, or perhaps there could be a system in place whereupon one of your character's stats determines the number of Expansion Maneuvers they can come up with on their own (one man can only be so creative), and after that you need a master or school to be able to learn past that cap.

    Although, in my position (and I did write this document to be compatible with my own personal position), anyone that I would have the opportunity to play D&D with isn't going to be able to come up with an especially impressive number of Expansion Maneuver ideas on their own. They could come up with a few per Discipline, but eventually they'd have their characters seek out a school just so that I, the DM, can be like "...He asks you if you've thought of a White Raven expansion that lets your ally with the highest initiative count swap initiatives with you, so that you can more effectively lead them - applying bonuses before they take their own actions, so they benefit more."

    And they'd be like "Holycrapdammit, that's genius! Why didn't I think of that? Alright, I train here for that." And then... I dunno, School With Improbable Subject shenanigans follow, most likely.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-12-12 at 02:27 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    My rules already have this (under the Martial Adept base class). There is no cap on the number of Expansion Maneuvers you can have, and you gain them by 'researching' for a given amount of time, and paying XP.
    Ah, fair enough. I missed that bit.

    I don't specifically mandate that they come from teachers, because I want the Initiation Subsystem to be as generally accessible as possible. Some people just want to take their Fighter But Useful through The World's Largest Dungeon, and that's cool. They can take a break here and there, and learn new maneuvers.

    Some people want to immerse their martial character into a world with its own martial landscape and history, and so for that, you're welcome to seek out masters to learn your Expansion Maneuvers from. This might be the kind of thing I put under Optional Rules, but you could do things like having a master reduces the XP cost, or training time, or perhaps there could be a system in place whereupon one of your character's stats determines the number of Expansion Maneuvers they can come up with on their own (one man can only be so creative), and after that you need a master or school to be able to learn past that cap.

    Although, in my position (and I did write this document to be compatible with my own personal position), anyone that I would have the opportunity to play D&D with isn't going to be able to come up with an especially impressive number of Expansion Maneuver ideas on their own. They could come up with a few per Discipline, but eventually they'd have their characters seek out a school just so that I, the DM, can be like "...He asks you if you've thought of a White Raven expansion that lets your ally with the highest initiative count swap initiatives with you, so that you can more effectively lead them - applying bonuses before they take their own actions, so they benefit more."

    And they'd be like "Holycrapdammit, that's genius! Why didn't I think of that? Alright, I train here for that." And then... I dunno, School With Improbable Subject shenanigans follow, most likely.
    Whereas I have a player right now whose character goal is to personally create six new Disciplines in-game... On that note, one thing I found I had to be pretty careful about was multiple maneuvers that do the same thing. In some sense, the limit of 'you can't ready a maneuver more than once' helps keep things variable and makes the tactical situation evolve. Someone's natural response might be to say however 'this one maneuver is better than all the others, so I just want to invent 5 copies of it and ready those 5 copies'. So I had to explain my reasoning to the player, which solved the problem for me. But for something like this it might make sense to put that in the form of a general guideline for inventing new maneuvers.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Whereas I have a player right now whose character goal is to personally create six new Disciplines in-game...
    If he does, have him post them on the boards!

    On that note, one thing I found I had to be pretty careful about was multiple maneuvers that do the same thing. In some sense, the limit of 'you can't ready a maneuver more than once' helps keep things variable and makes the tactical situation evolve. Someone's natural response might be to say however 'this one maneuver is better than all the others, so I just want to invent 5 copies of it and ready those 5 copies'. So I had to explain my reasoning to the player, which solved the problem for me. But for something like this it might make sense to put that in the form of a general guideline for inventing new maneuvers.
    Well, I solved that problem by, uh, just letting them ready multiple copies of the same maneuver (except for the highest level they know). It's a rule in the Martial Adept. So, no reason to invent a bunch of identical maneuvers.

    My advice is this. If there's an encounter where a martial characters wants to spam as many copies of the same maneuver as he can, over and over, without deviation of any kind, then either:

    1) It's a problem with the maneuver. And you have to figure out what the problem is. Is the maneuver too good? Is it just the swiss-army-knife that works perfectly and amazingly in every situation? To the point where you don't even have to supplement it with Boosts, or defend yourself with Counters, or use the synergy of other Strikes? Then the problem is probably with the Discipline. Is it a decent maneuver, with its own situational uses, holes, and weaknesses, but it still manages to be the perfect option in every situation? Probably an issue with encounter design. Enemies should probably be challenging the character in more varied ways.

    2) The player is just really unimaginative, or isn't really into tactical combat. Nothing to do about that.

    ---

    Versatility should be a bonus. Players should want to be versatile. It shouldn't be something that has to be forced down their throat. If it is, something needs to be designed differently.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-12-12 at 04:37 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    If he does, have him post them on the boards!
    He's up to... three right now, though he hasn't actually finished any of them (as in, maneuvers for each level). Water, Wind, and Blood. The last is kind of campaign specific (character-specific even, since his blood has a bit of a violent reaction with certain other creatures he really wants to kill). I know he was considering a Light-based one, a Time-based one (which I had to veto in this circumstance), and a Luck-based one.

    Well, I solved that problem by, uh, just letting them ready multiple copies of the same maneuver (except for the highest level they know). It's a rule in the Martial Adept. So, no reason to invent a bunch of identical maneuvers.

    My advice is this. If there's an encounter where a martial characters wants to spam as many copies of the same maneuver as he can, over and over, without deviation of any kind, then either:

    1) It's a problem with the maneuver. And you have to figure out what the problem is. Is the maneuver too good? Is it just the swiss-army-knife that works perfectly and amazingly in every situation? To the point where you don't even have to supplement it with Boosts, or defend yourself with Counters, or use the synergy of other Strikes? Then the problem is probably with the Discipline. Is it a decent maneuver, with its own situational uses, holes, and weaknesses, but it still manages to be the perfect option in every situation? Probably an issue with encounter design. Enemies should probably be challenging the character in more varied ways.
    In this particular case its Burning Blade combined with a TWF/multiattack build. Because a full attack of +IL and a bit to damage on each attack is just much better than most of the one-hit Strikes in the system. This player has Burning Blade and Water Blade, which is basically Burning Blade but Water. He was going to go for a third copy when I finally realized the problem. I think honestly this comes down to the multiattack problem of martial characters in D&D - so much is weighted on being able to deliver your attack sequence because its multiplicative with any other buffs you can get, whereas everything else is additive.

    Some other maneuvers with this problem I think: Avalanche of Blades, Raging Mongoose. Time Stands Still but thats a 9th, so even in your system you couldn't double up. If I could just have every one of my attacks be a Raging Mongoose strike buffed with Burning Blade that's going to be significantly better than a lot of my other options. Basically thats ~+80 damage plus 4*Weapon damage. So the other options either have to be utility, or they have to somehow address 'the world after hitpoints'.

    2) The player is just really unimaginative, or isn't really into tactical combat. Nothing to do about that.

    ---

    Versatility should be a bonus. Players should want to be versatile. It shouldn't be something that has to be forced down their throat. If it is, something needs to be designed differently.
    In some sense though, D&D doesn't really need help with the un-versatile martial character. A decently built Barbarian or even Fighter can put out enough damage to kill most things in the book in a single round if their attacks can get through whatever defenses the thing might have. A class that is 'Fighter, but does two times as much damage' actually makes the game focus even more on using magic to make sure those attacks can't connect. So I'm very cautious about maneuvers and so on that just increase damage output. For me at least, versatility is the very point of a more involved system.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    Thing I Don't Like #1: The Fluff
    My reasons:
    1) It's really specific.
    2) It's dumb.
    Eh. It's fluff, so ignore it.

    My Solution: Learning to Express Yourself

    Scrap absolutely all of the old fluff.
    Exactly.

    Some stuff about Common vs Esoteric Disciplines.
    Interesting, but, ultimately, what is the difference, mechanically, between Common and Esoteric disciplines? Seems to be a combination of "nothing" and "that's for the DM to decide." Which sounds like a waste of time. Either present all of the disciplines as equally viable options or don't. Or come up with a different approach entirely.

    I'm starting to like the idea that there are no "Disciplines" there are only maneuvers. "Common" maneuvers are simply low-level ones, while "Esoteric" maneuvers are high-level - even if they are mundane. Not that "Common" and "Esoteric" terminology ever needs to be used at all.

    Thing I Don't Like #2: The Classes
    My reasons:
    1) They're unnecessarily specific.
    2) Their class features are dumb.
    I agree and a disagree. I agree that there are lots of arbitrary restrictions between the classes, which is true of all WotC classes, and that a lot of the class features are stupid, feeble, and pointless. But I disagree with your solution.

    The concepts of the three classes can remain and be executed better as three separate classes, rather than as a single class. You said it yourself, Crusader is a Paladin, except that, done correctly, it is much more than that (let's get past that unnecessary specificity). The Swordsage is a Rogue/Monk and as such it should be skilled, smart, and sneaky as well as mystical and plucky. The Warblade is a Fighter/Barbarian that should rely on intuition and experience, more than his smarts, to guide the strength of his arm.

    From there, give the three classes interesting and useful class features, and move on.

    Thing I Don't Like #3: The Disciplines and Maneuvers
    My Reasons:
    1) Maneuvers don't scale.
    2) Disciplines are bloated with redundant maneuvers.
    3) Saving throw calculations are dumb.
    4) The focus of each discipline is unnecessarily narrow.
    Okay, I follow you, and you give good arguments for why these are bad as well as some solid solutions to some of this. But how do you mean for maneuvers to scale? You give the example that, let's say, you start at 1st level and you know how to light your sword on fire to deal a little extra fire damage to your enemies, but then as you gain levels, and continue to use that maneuver, you never get "better" at lighting your sword on fire to deal even more fire damage to your enemies unless you learn the higher level, renamed version of the same maneuver.

    But... doesn't that make sense? Just because you're using a maneuver all the time doesn't mean you're trying to make it any better. If, say, your Level 1 maneuvers improved as you gain character levels, so that when you're 7th level your Level 1 maneuvers are equivalent to Level 4 maneuvers, then at that point they are Level 4 maneuvers not Level 1 maneuvers. It stands to reason that if, instead of learning new, different, level-appropriate maneuvers, your character chooses to "train-up" his old maneuvers to be level-appropriate that it should cost him the same resource as learning the new maneuvers would.

    5) Disciplines are completely stagnant.
    6) The way that the three martial adept classes deal with maneuvers is based around and balanced with the idea that they don't scale, are redundant, narrow, and stagnant.
    I'm not sure I follow you here. You don't do a very great job explaining what exactly you mean here, and you don't do a very great job explaining what exactly you mean to do about it the "problems."

    That's where "Expansion Maneuvers" come in. Your character has this idea. "I'm going to fight in X way". And then he thinks of a thing he wants to do that is totally in line with X way of fighting, but it's not a maneuver in the discipline that represents his idea, either because it's just too weird or niche for whatever reason, or because the person that made the discipline didn't think of it. So, he makes an Expansion Maneuver. It follows all the ideas of the discipline itself, in both narrative theme and mechanical theme (no cold damage in Desert Wind, no fair fighting in Shadow Hand, nothing in White Raven that makes you a better fighter than you can make someone else, no aerial maneuvers in Stone Dragon, etc etc), and branches off from a specific maneuver (or multiple maneuvers) that is already in the discipline itself. And then he spends some resources, and adds it to his list of Maneuvers Known - which may break his usual capacity for such things.
    Now, this, this is interesting. However, you're not exactly the first to come up with this thought. There's been a few 'brewers who have thought to translate the Wizard's ability to research new spells over to Martial Adepts. Of course, WotC thought of the idea first. In fact, Martial Adepts have always been able to do this. The process is outlined on page 46 of the Tome of Battle under the heading, "Independent Study." Maybe these rules aren't perfect, I feel compelled to point out that they have always existed.

    Thing I Don't Like #4: The Items
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    So, now what? I have other issues with the Tome of Battle. I would say that Integration is a big problem. It isn't well integrated with the rest of D&D 3.5 as a whole. In my opinion it should have been marketed and executed as a "patch fix" for the game system, revising combat rules and making old classes (or at least character concepts) more playable. To that end, I would have suggested that Tome of Battle classes replace or subsume classes like Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, and/or Paladin.

    Maybe it's more palatable to say that the Fighter is the Warblade and that the Fighter ate the Barbarian, Ranger, and some of the Rogue; that the Paladin is the Crusader (and Blackguard and other such things); and the Monk is the Swordsage and that the Monk ate the rest of the Rogue. Then we're left with Bards, Clerics, Druids, Fighters, Monks, Paladins, Sorcerers, and Wizards. Feels like D&D still.

    So, at this point, we would want the Fighter, Monk, and Paladin classes to get interesting and useful class features, we want them to be using maneuvers, we want the mechanics surrounding the usage and results of those maneuvers to be tweaked, and we want them to be able to dynamically study and develop new maneuvers as they gain levels. Doesn't seem too difficult. What else am I missing?

    Oh, one last question: Does organizing like maneuvers into specific disciplines offer some benefit that I'm not seeing over simply designing maneuvers and allowing people to learn them? I mean, stuff can still be differentiated through (Ex), (Sp), and (Su) tags and through descriptors such as [Fire] and [Lawful]. Why do we need to take that extra step and call maneuvers Infernal Monster maneuvers? Is it because Wizards have their Evocation spells? If so, then why not come up with much more generic organizational categories?
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I find that having Disciplines let's you tie stuff together conceptually.

    So, by having Infernal Monster, it let's you basically plop together all the "MAKES YOU RAGE!!!1!!" maneuvers in one spot. Which makes it easier to reference for one.

    Whenever I look at a discipline, I see it working together as a whole, whereas if I saw them as a buncha distinct things, well...

    I'd get a "wait, I can't think of any maneuvers I want to take that compliment these. ****."

    Also, by scaling, he means stuff like:

    "This maneuver deals +Xd6 damage, where X is 3/4ths your initiator level (minimum +1d6)"

    Which what two first level strikes in his disciplines basically boil down to, and they pretty much, along with some boosts, cover the damage dealing in the discipline, while the rest trusts that you've got some other form of damage boosting.

    So, let's call this maneuver Frank's Glorious Crusher (FGC for short).

    At IL 4, FGC deals +3d6 damage on an attack!

    However, at 16th level, after years (alright, days) of practicing FGC, FGC deals +12d6 damage, since your understanding of the maneuver grew with you.

    You could also have something where, while a boost might give you a +X DR at IL something, it could also give you a bit of Fast Healing later.

    That is what he means by scaling.
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Some other maneuvers with this problem I think: Avalanche of Blades, Raging Mongoose. Time Stands Still but thats a 9th, so even in your system you couldn't double up. If I could just have every one of my attacks be a Raging Mongoose strike buffed with Burning Blade that's going to be significantly better than a lot of my other options. Basically thats ~+80 damage plus 4*Weapon damage. So the other options either have to be utility, or they have to somehow address 'the world after hitpoints'.
    Both of those are very powerful damage-dealing options, and I think that's okay. I'm fine with most of a Discipline being 'utility', with a few maneuvers that stand out for pure offense. At levels 13 and 15 (the levels you get Avalanche of Blades and Raging Mongoose), however, I think that your opposition should be able to throw enough tricks around that just standing in one place and spamming pure damage may be infeasible. Or, if they have very few tricks, and they're CR ~13-15, they should be able to throw around enough damage that you need the tricks to make them doing so infeasible.

    The times that you do face an opponent that just stands still, with no mobility or unusual defenses, or overwhelming offenses, and you can rip them apart trivially, should be savored. You're level 13-15! You're like a tiny god walking amongst mere mortals. If someone wants to face you, they better be a tiny god themselves, or they need to be prepared, with an ace up their sleeve.

    In some sense though, D&D doesn't really need help with the un-versatile martial character. A decently built Barbarian or even Fighter can put out enough damage to kill most things in the book in a single round if their attacks can get through whatever defenses the thing might have. A class that is 'Fighter, but does two times as much damage' actually makes the game focus even more on using magic to make sure those attacks can't connect. So I'm very cautious about maneuvers and so on that just increase damage output. For me at least, versatility is the very point of a more involved system.
    As far as I know, those builds are born from feats and class features that multiply your damage - such as the Frenzied Berserker's 3x Power Attack ability, or Spirited Charge's ability to do 3x damage with a lance. These are symptoms of a system that, previously, had martial characters with no options. When you're faced with the comparison of a Fighter that can move and attack, and a Wizard that goes into battle with 20+ options, then it's throwing the Fighter a bone to let him deal triple damage. He can only do one thing, but he can do it well!

    If martial characters actually have options, those abilities don't need to exist (and shouldn't).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Interesting, but, ultimately, what is the difference, mechanically, between Common and Esoteric disciplines? Seems to be a combination of "nothing" and "that's for the DM to decide." Which sounds like a waste of time. Either present all of the disciplines as equally viable options or don't.
    No mechanical difference. It's a shorthand for GM's to easily make judgments about the flavor of their game. You may not care about fluff, but I do, and I wrote those guidelines for like-minded people.

    The concepts of the three classes can remain and be executed better as three separate classes, rather than as a single class.
    ...
    From there, give the three classes interesting and useful class features, and move on.
    I think that's totally possible. The three Tome of Battle classes could all be fixed up and made awesome, that's true. That's a viable path. I took a different path. I think that a somewhat generic Martial Adept class is a solution, not the only one. It may not even be the best one - for anyone. But it's the one I've come up with, for now.

    But... doesn't that make sense? Just because you're using a maneuver all the time doesn't mean you're trying to make it any better. If, say, your Level 1 maneuvers improved as you gain character levels, so that when you're 7th level your Level 1 maneuvers are equivalent to Level 4 maneuvers, then at that point they are Level 4 maneuvers not Level 1 maneuvers. It stands to reason that if, instead of learning new, different, level-appropriate maneuvers, your character chooses to "train-up" his old maneuvers to be level-appropriate that it should cost him the same resource as learning the new maneuvers would.
    I think this may just be a difference of opinion. That's not something that, I, personally feel would be interesting to bother with as a player playing a martial character. And, as someone designing a Discipline, I, personally, don't want it looking bloated with identical maneuvers.

    You might feel differently. That's okay.

    I'm not sure I follow you here. You don't do a very great job explaining what exactly you mean here, and you don't do a very great job explaining what exactly you mean to do about it the "problems."
    Disciplines are stagnant because they're not really designed to change. Sure, there're a few paragraphs in the Tome of Battle suggesting you can make a new maneuver, but whereas a spellcaster has roughly a million billion spells to use as guidelines and examples, the Tome of Battle just kinda says "You can do it, and here's a bunch of unnecessarily pain-in-the-ass rules to act as a barrier for you". Not to mention that you're still using up your painfully finite number of Maneuvers Known on it.

    My rules for Expansion Maneuvers, I think do a much better job. And I gave Example Expansion Maneuvers. It would've been better if I could've, say, completely redone a Discipline from the Tome of Battle, and gave Example Expansion Maneuvers from that. But I don't have a lot of time to homebrew, and I've got an enormous queue as it is. It's a miracle I got what I've done, done.

    The maneuver-based class features of the three Tome of Battle classes are built around redundancy, stagnancy and so on. As in, the "replace a maneuver every even level because they don't scale", and having to take a feat to be able to swap your Maneuvers Readied around mid-fight, because it's not a huge deal when your maneuvers are all going to be narrowly focused and redundant anyway. It's a huge deal when you can have a huge variety of maneuvers, without useless redundant maneuvers - so my Martial Adept takes that into account by giving it as a default, rather than a feat tax. And so on.

    So, at this point, we would want the Fighter, Monk, and Paladin classes to get interesting and useful class features, we want them to be using maneuvers, we want the mechanics surrounding the usage and results of those maneuvers to be tweaked, and we want them to be able to dynamically study and develop new maneuvers as they gain levels. Doesn't seem too difficult. What else am I missing?
    That all sounds good. But now we're almost into full system rewrite territory, which I do not have the amount of free time currently to engage in. As for what's 'missing', or what else could be done - as much time as I spend writing stuff for martial characters, I could spend just as much time rewriting stuff for magical characters. D&D has yet to have a magic system that I 100% like.

    Oh, one last question: Does organizing like maneuvers into specific disciplines offer some benefit that I'm not seeing over simply designing maneuvers and allowing people to learn them? I mean, stuff can still be differentiated through (Ex), (Sp), and (Su) tags and through descriptors such as [Fire] and [Lawful]. Why do we need to take that extra step and call maneuvers Infernal Monster maneuvers? Is it because Wizards have their Evocation spells? If so, then why not come up with much more generic organizational categories?
    The benefit, to me, is theme. This is one of the things I dislike about, say, the Wizard's spellcasting. It has no theme. You can completely disregard all fire spells for your entire career - in fact, you can focus your entire character around being anti-fire. And once 17th level rolls around, you can grab 9th level fire spells just as easily, and use them just as well, as the guy who knows only fire spells.

    I wouldn't want that to be the case for martial characters, too.

    (I have a whole rant about this, and what could by done, and why, and how, and differentiating martial and magical characters, and structure vs freedom in gaming, and why we play roleplaying games, and why we buy roleplaying games, and so on, but I'll refrain because it's almost 4am, and I have work tomorrow.)

    It also allows you, as the person designing a discipline, to tell a story, and maybe inspire character concepts that the reader may not have considered at first. To me, that's fun from both sides.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    Both of those are very powerful damage-dealing options, and I think that's okay. I'm fine with most of a Discipline being 'utility', with a few maneuvers that stand out for pure offense. At levels 13 and 15 (the levels you get Avalanche of Blades and Raging Mongoose), however, I think that your opposition should be able to throw enough tricks around that just standing in one place and spamming pure damage may be infeasible. Or, if they have very few tricks, and they're CR ~13-15, they should be able to throw around enough damage that you need the tricks to make them doing so infeasible.

    The times that you do face an opponent that just stands still, with no mobility or unusual defenses, or overwhelming offenses, and you can rip them apart trivially, should be savored. You're level 13-15! You're like a tiny god walking amongst mere mortals. If someone wants to face you, they better be a tiny god themselves, or they need to be prepared, with an ace up their sleeve.
    I'm not saying they're too powerful or anything like that. What I'm saying is, I like the way Tome of Battle forces you to mix up maneuvers as you exhaust them. The reason I'm okay with Avalanche of Blades and Time Stands Still being such obvious choices in certain situations is that once you've used them, you're faced with the choice of either using a weaker maneuver next round or burning a round to recover them. This necessity for a fallback makes a place for weaker maneuvers to still be useful (so long as they're a better option than a full attack, which is actually a big issue with full attacks more than an issue with ToB). At high levels, you might have three big damage output maneuvers, in which case a fallback is never really needed, but at the very least it means that the person's attack pattern isn't monotonous even if the end result is the same (e.g. I'd rather see Time Stands Still (TSS) -> Avalanche of Blades -> Diamond Nightmare Blade than TSS, TSS, TSS even if the results are basically the same).

    Allowing infinite copies of one maneuver basically removes this feature and means that the very powerful maneuvers now have nothing stopping people from spamming them all the time.

    As far as I know, those builds are born from feats and class features that multiply your damage - such as the Frenzied Berserker's 3x Power Attack ability, or Spirited Charge's ability to do 3x damage with a lance. These are symptoms of a system that, previously, had martial characters with no options. When you're faced with the comparison of a Fighter that can move and attack, and a Wizard that goes into battle with 20+ options, then it's throwing the Fighter a bone to let him deal triple damage. He can only do one thing, but he can do it well!

    If martial characters actually have options, those abilities don't need to exist (and shouldn't).
    Thats how you get to the 1000+ damage range, but even a basic full-attacking Barbarian can dish out a surprisingly large amount of damage compared to the hitpoints of stuff in the book. Consider, say, a Lv16 Lion Totem Changeling Barbarian who goes Warshaper up to 3; not the most involved build ever. With a +4 Vicious Greatsword, Shock Trooper, and Power Attack (not even going into Leap Attack or Frenzied Berserker or anything) he's attacking four times a round for, say, 2d6+4+21+2d6+36 (+6 Str from rage, +6 Str from item, +4 Str from Warshaper and all his levelup stat points in Str; no Wishes/Books). Thats 300 damage per round if everything hits. A Balor has 290hp and is CR+4 from this guy (mostly because Blasphemy would auto-win vs this guy of course).

    But if your argument is that giving martial characters options removes the need for huge bonus damage, then I'd say the same needs to be considered for all the ToB maneuvers that are basically that. Basically anything that grants extra attacks is multiplicative, not additive, and should be watched for such issues.

    Really I'd say the solution is that almost everything maneuver-wise that is intended to be used with attacks should be a Boost that adds either to the first strike that round or to all strikes that round depending on the power level. Get rid of the strikes that are 'make one attack and X', as well as the strikes that are 'we make your full attack fuller'. Utility can still be whatever. That way you aren't forcing melee to choose between the thing they do best (damage output) and the chance to maybe do an extra effect that in most cases is already much weaker than what spells would be doing.

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    No mechanical difference. It's a shorthand for GM's to easily make judgments about the flavor of their game. You may not care about fluff, but I do, and I wrote those guidelines for like-minded people.
    Well, you posit that the fluff of Tome of Battle is stupid, suggest to ignore it entirely, and then you proceed with new fluff that users may find just as stupid and restrictive as the old fluff. That's why I suggest just gutting the fluff entirely.

    I think this may just be a difference of opinion. That's not something that, I, personally feel would be interesting to bother with as a player playing a martial character. And, as someone designing a Discipline, I, personally, don't want it looking bloated with identical maneuvers.

    You might feel differently. That's okay.
    No, I get where you're coming from on the bloat/stagnation angle, it is tedious and inelegant design. What I was thinking was more of a, "These maneuvers can scale up, but they don't automatically." So, instead of having Burning Blade, Scorching Blade, and Inferno Blade, you just have Burning Blade, but in the description for Burning Blade you write in, "for every six Initiator Levels you possess after 1st, whenever you could learn a new maneuver, you may instead continue training in Burning Blade. Each time you do you give up a maneuver known that level, but the fire damage added to your melee attacks from your Burning Blade maneuver increases by 1d6 and the maximum bonus gained from your Initiator Level increases by 5 points." Stuff like that would make more sense to me.

    How many maneuvers per discipline do you think could/should scale in such a manner?

    Disciplines are stagnant because they're not really designed to change.
    Again, you criticize the established disciplines because of this, but your suggestion is to create more disciplines that don't really change. The Infernal Monster discipline is all about getting pissed and using that anger for extraordinary effects. It's not suddenly going to be about expressing yourself through the majesty of song.

    Sure, there're a few paragraphs in the Tome of Battle suggesting you can make a new maneuver, but whereas a spellcaster has roughly a million billion spells to use as guidelines and examples, the Tome of Battle just kinda says "You can do it, and here's a bunch of unnecessarily pain-in-the-ass rules to act as a barrier for you". Not to mention that you're still using up your painfully finite number of Maneuvers Known on it.
    I'm not saying that your rules for expansion aren't a step in the right direction, I'm just saying that most people didn't even realize that this section was in there (of course most people probably don't realize that Wizards can do it too).

    I would handle the learning of maneuvers in a manner similar to the Wizards learn spells. At every level you automatically add new maneuvers to your repertoire for free (if you are a Martial Adept, that is), but anyone can spend time, money, and/or gold (or some combination thereof) to add maneuvers to their list of maneuvers known. No need to put it in the table or refer to any cap on maneuvers known, because there is no cap. Maybe non-Martial Adepts have to take the Martial Study feat to be able to learn maneuvers in this way, or maybe not.

    The benefit, to me, is theme. This is one of the things I dislike about, say, the Wizard's spellcasting. It has no theme. You can completely disregard all fire spells for your entire career - in fact, you can focus your entire character around being anti-fire. And once 17th level rolls around, you can grab 9th level fire spells just as easily, and use them just as well, as the guy who knows only fire spells.

    I wouldn't want that to be the case for martial characters, too.

    It also allows you, as the person designing a discipline, to tell a story, and maybe inspire character concepts that the reader may not have considered at first. To me, that's fun from both sides.
    Well, again, you're putting fluff to things that you didn't like the fluff of before, and users may not like the new fluff you're presenting now. So, I say, why bother with that. Now, guidelines, suggestions, that's not a bad idea at all, but to say, "Infernal Monster discipline grants practitioners control and mastery over their inner rage and darkest impulses," implies some fluff that some people might not want.

    I think the theme (and prerequisites) issue can be handled better with deft use of Keywords and Descriptors as well as some guidelines on "disciplines in your campaign." I would not organize the maneuvers into discrete disciplines myself, but offer guidelines for DMs to do so, if they wished, tailored for the campaign settings. Surely in worlds where martial combat is widespread and considered something of an artform, then there would be dojos and academies teaching specific styles of fighting with discrete packages of maneuvers and stances. But players shouldn't feel shackled to learning only maneuvers from X or Y disciplines.

    Existing descriptors like Fire and Good would be used, but new ones could be created for maneuvers such as Power, Finesse, Shield, etc. So, if you want to learn high level maneuvers such as Avalanche of Blades you'll need a few Finesse maneuvers under your belt first, but they don't necessarily have to come from the same "discipline" even if the campaign includes a Diamond Mind discipline.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2012-12-15 at 01:38 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    @NichG

    I'd like to see this play out in an actual game. I don't feel like it would end up being an issue in real play, as much as it seems like it would be an issue when viewed in the abstract through theorycrafting. I'm prepared to be wrong, though.

    @Ziegander

    Just to be clear, if my intro was not so, I'm not looking to "Fix" the Tome of Battle, in some objective or even widely applicable sense. This is not a "Tome of Battle Fix" in any way, shape or form. This is a "Tome of Battle The Way Xefas Likes It". I didn't like the fluff in the Tome of Battle. So I replaced it with fluff that I do like. If other people don't like the new fluff, that's cool. Different opinions. You don't have to use it. And, in fact, I encourage you to go out and write fluff that you like, because creating stuff is amazing. At no point do I want to come off as saying "This is better fluff", I want to say "This is the fluff that I like". That's all.

    Same thing with the mechanics. I'm trying to make them in a way that would be interesting and entertaining for me, as a player, as a GM, and as a homebrewer. I'm not trying to make them better in any objective or widely applicable sense. If I manage to, that's just gravy - but it's not my goal.

    If your goal is to write some objectively and mathematically sound mechanics for the Tome of Battle, I encourage you to go do that. That's not something I want to spend my time doing.

    (And I meant 'stagnancy' as it applies to Disciplines as 'stagnancy of mechanics' and not 'stagnancy of theme'. I prefer the theme of a given Discipline to be relatively stagnant, but for it to have leeway in terms of that theme's mechanical expression. For no other reason than because that's what I've arbitrarily decided is what I prefer for this one thing in this one game in this one situation.)

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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    @Ziegander

    Just to be clear, if my intro was not so, I'm not looking to "Fix" the Tome of Battle, in some objective or even widely applicable sense. This is not a "Tome of Battle Fix" in any way, shape or form. This is a "Tome of Battle The Way Xefas Likes It". I didn't like the fluff in the Tome of Battle. So I replaced it with fluff that I do like. If other people don't like the new fluff, that's cool. Different opinions. You don't have to use it. And, in fact, I encourage you to go out and write fluff that you like, because creating stuff is amazing. At no point do I want to come off as saying "This is better fluff", I want to say "This is the fluff that I like". That's all.
    Ah, that's fair, then. I understand. I had misunderstood your purpose. Carry on good sir!

    If your goal is to write some objectively and mathematically sound mechanics for the Tome of Battle, I encourage you to go do that. That's not something I want to spend my time doing.
    I think I am going to try. Wish me luck!
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  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I really enjoyed reading through your posts, Xefas. I like what you've done. I don't have any specific complaints, really.

    If people are concerned with being able to recover one maneuver with a swift actions, you can employ a few safeguards:
    -You can't use a maneuver you readied this turn. This would lead to perhaps maneuver rotations.
    -Using the same maneuver on a person in consecutive rounds gives a penalty. I can vouch for this happening in real combat, but it's still viable. I'll stab my buddies like ten times in a row before they get the block down.
    -More complex maneuvers (maneuvers of your highest level) are harder to ready, and can't be readied without using a full-round action.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    I like the look of this and am a big fan of your Primordial and Yozi themed disciplines and am currently building an Adept focusing on Cosmic Imperator and intimidation.

    A couple of questions;

    Do you plan to release any more expansions for the Cosmic Imperator Discipline as you have with Infernal Monster?

    The Martial Adept is proficient with Unarmed strikes, I assume that this is as per the feat and provides no increase to damage. Does this interact with feats that increase unarmed damage as normal? (pretty sure it does but just checking)

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    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    Quote Originally Posted by Scerpico View Post
    Do you plan to release any more expansions for the Cosmic Imperator Discipline as you have with Infernal Monster?
    Sure! I just put one up: Thundering Eminence Roar. I have an idea for one branching off that one, but it'll have to wait for now. Christmas stuff.

    The Martial Adept is proficient with Unarmed strikes, I assume that this is as per the feat and provides no increase to damage. Does this interact with feats that increase unarmed damage as normal? (pretty sure it does but just checking)
    Yes and yes.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ScrambledBrains's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: [3.5, ToB] Xefas Rambles, Makes a Base Class, And Expands Things

    @Xefas: What about that Keyblade based discipline? Is that still being worked on, cause I really, really liked that one.
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