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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Swordsage, which paths?

    As stated above, what are the recommended paths/maneuvers or all around strategies for a swordsage? How many paths can you commit to? Any advice?

    I was thinking of Diamond Mind/Shadow Hand/Desert Wind. Opinions?
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Diamond Mind/Shadow Hand. Dip a little Tiger Claw for Raging Mongoose, and take the * Blades boost from Desert Wind. Then use Dual Boost to initiate Raging Mongoose, Inferno Blade and Time Stands Still.
    Note also that Mountain Tombstone Strike has no pre-reqs, so you don't need any Stone Dragon but that.
    Last edited by Dhavaer; 2007-09-20 at 07:52 AM.
    Thanks to Veera for the avatar.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    It really depends what sort of direction you want to go. I usually go with a real sneaky, pure dex build with lots of Shadow Hand/Tiger Claw, with a few Diamond Mind and Stone Dragon. I want to try a more monk-like build and go with Setting Sun/Diamond Mind. You usually need at least 3 disciplines, focusing on two of them.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Usually, the recommended path is diiamond mind with desert wind for area damage. What you MUST do, more or less, is go out of the way to get the boosts that give the highest AB possible. Why? The answer is one diamond mind maneuver that allows you to make an infinite number of attacks as long as they keep hittin'. You might even want to consider bard or batsorc for getting true strike, since it means 5 extra attacks right there and now.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Desert Wind = Damage Dealer
    Diamond Mind = Lets you attack a bunch more with the above moves
    Setting Sun = Bunch of Counters - I don't find this as useful but some of the stances and counters are pretty good...
    Shadow Hand = Kill him with Touch Attacks and Stealth.

    I prefer using Diamond Mind, Desert Wind and Shadow Hand but I did dip in to Setting Sun for Step of the Wind... Shadow Hand was useful for the stances, especially Assassin's Stance and Cloak of Concealment or whatever... move 10 ft and VANISH!! Then pop out an ambush with a bunch of Desert Wind or Diamond Mind maneuvers.

    That's what I've been using on Siriphae Siph'laren, check my Sig, 2nd Spoiler.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    honestly? The roleplayer in me is saying "whatever fits your character", and the gamer in me is saying "whatever you have the most fun with". My version fits both (in my eyes, anyway). This guy, f'r instance, is an example of the apparently common Shadow hand/Tiger Claw combo.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    For the most part, where you go with a Swordsage is dictated purely by flavor -- with the exception of Desert Wind, all of the discipline are pretty good. I would generally advise against focusing on Diamond Mind, Stone Dragon, or Tiger Claw simply because the Warblade tends to use the disciplines better thanks to his full BAB, but they do make excellent mix-ins.
    Merlin the Tuna

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    I will add to the "make the character based on flavor" group. Swordsage does not need a lot of power gaming to be useful unlike fighter. Therefore, you can focus more on the flavor. My current swordsage is a Tibbit who fights in his cat form at all times. He is the unarmed swordsage variant and the DM has ruled that the unarmed strike damage is the claw damage. So I took Shadow Hand to enhance my already awesome stealth and Tiger Claw because I am a cat TWF with claws!

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Yeah I have a ninja/swordsage multiclass that I focused on Shadow Hand because it fit the character. I've found that it doesn't really matter which you focus on, they're all at least decent.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Does anyone have any tips/hints for a Drow Swordsage/Sorc/Jade Phoenix Mage? We're starting at second level, and I've only got LA+1 instead of +2. 25 point buy. The classes are more or less fixed, I want be those 3 classes, and the DM is opposed to multiclass powergame cheese, so really only those classes are available.

    But general feat tips/spell selection (Ability scores! I have 16 dex, 15 wis, 16 cha, but only 10 con and 8(!) str, something tells me that isint even remotely optimal. :P), optimal level progression etc, would be uber. :)

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    Does anyone have any tips/hints for a Drow Swordsage/Sorc/Jade Phoenix Mage? We're starting at second level, and I've only got LA+1 instead of +2. 25 point buy. The classes are more or less fixed, I want be those 3 classes, and the DM is opposed to multiclass powergame cheese, so really only those classes are available.

    But general feat tips/spell selection (Ability scores! I have 16 dex, 15 wis, 16 cha, but only 10 con and 8(!) str, something tells me that isint even remotely optimal. :P), optimal level progression etc, would be uber. :)
    I would switch wis and con. The strength doesn't matter if you go with Shadow Hand stances and get Weapon Finesse and Shadow Blade ASAP. Try to boost dex as much as you can.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    Does anyone have any tips/hints for a Drow Swordsage/Sorc/Jade Phoenix Mage?
    Well, you can't get 9th level spells, but... hmm, you're going to run into multiclass penalties if you try to maximize caster level.

    SwordSage 5/Sorc 5/JPM 10 would get you 6th level spells, BAB +15, IL 17.5, no xp penalty. You'd be a bit too fragile for frontline tanking, best to stick with the sneaky/utility role.

    See if your DM would allow you to take Kung Fu Genius (Dragon Compendium) to switch your AC bonus from Wis to Int, and take Wizard instead (favored class for male drow), which would allow SwordSage 1/Wizard 5/JPM 10/Wizard +4, which would get 9th level spells, or Wizard 3/SwordSage 7/JPM 10, which would maximize your IL and maneuvers.

    For maneuvers, start with:
    Island of Blades (SH1, Stance)
    Burning Blade (DW1)
    Wind Stride (DW2)
    Sapphire Nightmare Blade (DM1)
    Shadow Blade Technique (SH1)
    Wolf Fang Strike (TC1)
    Sudden Leap (TC1)

    Pick up TWF and Shadow Blade ASAP, and focus on Diamond Mind, Shadow Hand, and Tiger Claw disciplines. For Diamond Mind, max out your Concentration ranks and grab counters, boosts, and movement maneuvers first. For Shadow Hand, avoid the strikes but grab Cloak of Deception, Assassin's Stance and the Shadow Jump maneuvers. For Tiger Claw, grab the TWF boosts and Death From Above.

    Once you get into JPM, you'll need to decide if you want to focus on picking up Desert Wind or Devoted Spirit maneuvers. For Desert Wind, grab the boosts and counters first, and avoid the direct blaster damage unless it's an area effect or battlefield control (Death Mark and Ring of Fire are interesting).

    Devoted Spirit is harder to pick from... not a lot of boosts/counters, mostly standard-action strikes, which doesn't work well with TWF. Aura of Chaos (DS6, reroll damage dice), however, is probably well worth picking up. Start with Crusader's Strike (DS1, attack and heal with a standard action, and it scales up as you increase IL), then Foehammer (DS2, all-purpose "ignore DR" can-opener).

    If you can spare the feats, consider using Martial Study to pick up Wall of Blades (WR2, counter w/ attack roll) and Iron Heart Surge (cancel adverse conditions and area effects) or Leading the Attack and White Raven Tactics (WR3, grant another turn to an ally). Press the Advantage (WR5) can also be fun for TWF (full attack, step back 10').

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    Does anyone have any tips/hints for a Drow Swordsage/Sorc/Jade Phoenix Mage?
    Look at this thread. Buy or download the Drow of the Underdark book. It's chock full of Drow buffs.


    Re: Main topic: It depends on you ECL. At low levels, there are a lot of highly useful Standard Action maneuvers. At higher levels, you never want to give up extra attacks if you can. Thus you generally want to focus on maneuvers that work as a Swift or Full Round action.

    By the same token, you should decide whether you prefer Boosts or Counters. You can only make one Swift or Immediate Action per round. So you should either use Boosts (buffing your attacks every round) or keep your Immediate Action open, in case you need to use a Counter (increasing your defense when the Counter happens to be applicable).

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    A popular combo seems to be Shadow Hand/ Tiger Claw (which is funny for fluff, because those two masters attacked their own school in the aptly named Shadow Tiger Rebellion). Diamond Mind seems to be another staple choice, kudos to Azerian for the Diamond Mind tip. @Merlin: Desert Wind is a bad path? Why? @Neftren: Thanks for the combo!

    It seems many people focus on two paths, and either dip a third or pick and choose from others. Are there any combos worth noting or things that have good synergy?

    Time's Extra Bit: The Origional Shadow Hand / Tiger Claw Swordsage
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeWizard View Post
    Desert Wind is a bad path?
    It's mostly blast damage, and once you get up a few CRs, everything and their grandma is immune or indifferent to fire damage, and there's no easy way to Energy Substitute around DR/immunity.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeWizard View Post
    It seems many people focus on two paths, and either dip a third or pick and choose from others. Are there any combos worth noting or things that have good synergy?
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeWizard View Post
    @Merlin: Desert Wind is a bad path? Why?
    It's got a couple of gems, but a lot of it is direct damage -- but more importantly not very impressive direct damage. Being nigh-totally fire based means that one simple Protection from Energy spell means that the majority of your class features are worthless. The ray/cone/whatever ones are especially bad, as they offer absolutely no scaling. I won't say Scorching Ray is the best spell in the PHB, but it's at least somewhat useful as levels go on since you continue to get more rays out of it. Not so much for Fan the Flames.

    And on a related note, there are a lot of double-ups in Desert Wind. Swordsages get a lot of maneuvers, but you're still stuck at 3 of your highest level one, tops. (2 from level-ups, 1 from trading in an old maneuver). That's a pretty high opportunity cost... do you really want to spend it upgrading Burning Blade (1d6+IL extra fire damage) for Searing Blade (2d6+IL extra fire damage) when you make it up to 7th level? That's a net upgrade of 3.5 damage -- wahoo. I mean, you can prep both so you can do effectively the same trick twice, but you might as well be a Warblade if that's gonna be your approach to combat.

    Desert Wind does have a few gems (Flame's Blessing, Leaping Flame, Desert Tempest), but way too much of it is just grabbing a couple extra dice of fire damage.
    Merlin the Tuna

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    The major advantage with DW is that you can use a lot of the Touch Attacks, same with SH siince Touch AC is by far lower than normal AC. Easier to hit, especially if you're using Weapon Finesse, everything you can do to beef up your BAB and any Enhancement Bonuses you can get to increase your attack rolls...

    Desert Wind's last move, 100 Fire Damage move is useful to 1 hit KO lower level stuff...

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeWizard View Post
    As stated above, what are the recommended paths/maneuvers or all around strategies for a swordsage? How many paths can you commit to? Any advice?

    I was thinking of Diamond Mind/Shadow Hand/Desert Wind. Opinions?
    My swordsages are usually real heavy on Shadow Hand and Setting Sun (tend to play a reworked version of the unarmed variant), especially if I intend to go into SSN (which, frankly, oozes awesome from every pore).

    When I want a 'Diamond Tiger,' I usually go for a Warblade/Swordsage combo instead of straight Swordsage. Desert Wind I avoid like the plague.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Ah but it's fun to ahnnilate the opponent before he even moves :D. Especially against my campaigns that are usually NPC heavy... not much in terms of Fire Resisting Creatures... I don't think much of Setting Sun just because it's too "Counter" based... but that's just me.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    The major advantage with DW is that you can use a lot of the Touch Attacks, same with SH siince Touch AC is by far lower than normal AC.
    Actually, there isn't much in the way of touch attacks. Fan the Flames and Fire Riposte are the only ones. There's quite a bit in the way of Reflex saves, though, and I wouldn't necessarily say that's a good thing.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    One variant you might consider is to allow a Swordsage to select an energy type at 1st level that dictates the qualities of any Desert Wind maneuvers he learns for the rest of his character career.

    That way you're not stuck with a bunch of Fire attacks if you don't want them (now, don't go off picking some retard-o element like [Light] or something, and picking [Sonic] might invoke a minor aspect of the Cheese gods, but it's still not horrifyingly imbalanced to do so).
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Personally, I like aiming for Master of Nine with my swordsages, for which you need to get at least 1 technique of 5 different schools, and a specific feat list, including Imp Unarmed Strike, Adaptive Style and Blind-Fight.

    But that's just me.

    Also, question for one of the above poster: I thought Drow were +4 LA or something crazy like that?
    People seemed to like this better, but only marginally so - the way one might prefer to be stabbed than shot. Optimally, one isn't stabbed or shot. Optimally, one eats some cake! But there are times when cake is not available, and instead we are destroyed. This is the deep poetry of the universe. -- Tycho Brahe

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by dyslexicfaser View Post
    Personally, I like aiming for Master of Nine with my swordsages, for which you need to get at least 1 technique of 5 different schools, and a specific feat list, including Imp Unarmed Strike, Adaptive Style and Blind-Fight.

    But that's just me.

    Also, question for one of the above poster: I thought Drow were +4 LA or something crazy like that?
    Master of Nine needs 6 schools, and drow are +2 LA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClericofPhwarrr View Post
    Dhavaer, your ideas are like candy from the sky, sprinkled lightly with cinnamon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll View Post
    Wow. Badass without being flashy and showy, attractive while remaining classy. Bravo Dhavaer.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edea View Post
    My swordsages are usually real heavy on Shadow Hand and Setting Sun (tend to play a reworked version of the unarmed variant), especially if I intend to go into SSN (which, frankly, oozes awesome from every pore).
    Reworked Unarmed Swordsage? Intriguing, how is it reworked?

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Well, more like "better." As in, it gets the Ki strikes (save for lawful, doesn't get an alignment Ki strike at all) and both flurries at the appropriate levels. Also, if we're using this variant (sometimes we're not), normal monks are disallowed; the swordsage effectively replaces them. We've tried games where Fighter, Paladin and Monk are completely replaced by Warblade, Crusader and Swordsage: quite a bit of fun.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edea View Post
    Well, more like "better." As in, it gets the Ki strikes (save for lawful, doesn't get an alignment Ki strike at all) and both flurries at the appropriate levels.
    Well that's completely unhelpful and out of place on a Swordsage.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Notice how you skipped over "there are no Monks when we use this variant" :/.
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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Stuff

    Wizard would have been my first choice but the DM has dissalowed a lot of arcane classes (not so much because he hates magic, but it has been lost in this setting and needs to be rediscovered). Tanking Wis is good to, but he's using the taint rules and taint sucks. So I need a high Wis. Otherwise I'd go Warblade/JPM.

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    Wizard would have been my first choice but the DM has dissalowed a lot of arcane classes (not so much because he hates magic, but it has been lost in this setting and needs to be rediscovered). Tanking Wis is good to, but he's using the taint rules and taint sucks. So I need a high Wis. Otherwise I'd go Warblade/JPM.
    Awww...taint is fun

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    Default Re: Swordsage, which paths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    Awww...taint is fun
    It's an interesting mechanic and I'm excited to play an insane evil drow sneak. But the penalties can get wicked. So I want my high wisdom. :P

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