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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Understanding the Tome of Battle

    I have just recently got my hands on the tome of battle, and I'm having difficulty figuring out the best way to use the new classes in this book. So far I'm leaning towards the crusader because of the heavy armor proficiency, but I'm a bit confused on how the divine inspiration works. Also, I'm trying to determine what mannuvers and stances I should take. Finally, I will be playing this in a gestalt campaign, and I am not sure what other class I should pair it with, or even what race I should play. All I know is I plan on being the party meat shield/tank. Any advise is appreciated, thanks.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Crusader is perfect for that. Go with Devoted Spirit healing maneuvers and stance (Martial Spirit and Crusader's Strike) along with anything else (White Raven is really good and the level 2 Stone Dragon-maneuver "Mountain Hammer" is perfect for breaking walls and such). Go for the level 3 stance named "Thicket of Blades" which makes all movement in your threatened area provoke AoOs. Then pick up a reach weapon and punish people for as much as closing in on you.

    Force them to fight you, use Stone Power-feat (ToB) to get lots of temporary hitpoints, combine that with Martial Spirit and Crusader's Strike to heal the damage already in your Delayed Damage Pool and laugh at the opponents as they uselessly attack you while the rest of the party finishes them off.


    Divine inspiration works as follows:
    -You have 5 maneuvers.
    -Whenever you enter combat, randomize two of them. You may use those the first round.
    -Each progressive round, you get one new maneuver.
    -Once you've used all your maneuvers, you get new ones randomized.

    Oh yeah, Crusader should always take "Extra Granted Maneuver" to make the cycling one turn faster and to have better selection to start with. So I'd pick Stone Power and Extra Granted Maneuver with Martial Spirit, Crusader's Strike and whatever on level 1.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Okay, I think I'm getting the gist of the crusader now. Now, for the Thicket of Blades would taking the spiked chain be worthwhile as a feat for provoking AOPs?
    In regards to the other class I'll be pairing this with in the gestalt, I am thinking the knight might be a good option both flavor wise and with the knights challenge ability if I want to make full use of Thicket of Blades. Also, with Thicket of blades, does the AOPs count against the number of AOPs I'm allowed to make in a round, or are they considered "free"?

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Knight unfortunately overlaps very heavily with Crusader, so you wouldn't get much better than single-classed Crusader or single-classed Knight. You'd do the same thing slightly better, but you'd still only do the one thing. I'd Gestalt it with a caster (if at all possible) - you always need Magic - or something for bonus feats, maneuvers from other schools, extra actions and so on. Probably pump though - Crusader/Cleric with DMM: Persist could be superb (superb pump for yourself, added healing that isn't limited to combat, offensive magic when you cannot reach the opponent, greater mobility, extra actions and so on).

    And if you have the feat to burn, go ahead and pick up EWP: Spiked Chain later on, but first pick up the primaries:
    -Stone Power
    -Extra Granted Power
    -Combat Reflexes

    with Power Attack coming later.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    You could also try a Pike or Halberd, those can be used mostly the same as a Spiked Chain. A little less effective, but also a little less feat-intensive. I'd rather have the extra feat, and a Spear-fighting Crusader seems more appropriate to me.

    You could consider going Crusader/Other Martial Class, for example picking up some nice utility stances and Maneuvers from Swordsage, or learning the very useful Diamond Mind and Iron Heart maneuvers from Warblade.

    You could also go Crusader/Cleric, then later going Crusader/Ruby Knight Vindicator, and after that Crusader/Master of Nine. That would be fairly potent, I think, but I think it might go against the "No dual progression" Gestalt clause...

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    A longspear with the short haft feat works too, and is way less feat intensive than properly using the spiked chain, as well as working well for improvised weapons and such.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Actually, since Short Haft requires Weapon Focus, it's the more feat intensive way to go. I tend to go with Guisarme/Glaive and armor spikes/spiked glove for melee. No feats at all invested and a fully doable defense suite. Oh, and I'd go:

    Crusader/Ruby Knight Vindicator on one side (it shouldn't be a problem if you don't use the casting advancement - RKV is good enough without it for the extra actions, Shadow Hand-access and great abilities). This is provided you don't use your Turn Undeads for DMM or similars though.

    Cleric/whatever on the other side. Sacred Exorcist, Radiant Servant of Pelor, etc. would all work out well. Ordained Champion could work if you use Cleric to patch up the losses of caster level on the other side. But yea, Crusader/Cleric is flavourful, powerful and they complement each other well. If you really want to stick to the Charisma-focus, Favored Soul is ok, but Cleric is simply better. And Crusader doesn't really need Charisma for pretty much anything - Wis/Con/Str/Dex is just fine.


    Later on, you'll probably want to pick up Stand Still to prevent opponents' movement in your threatened area at will. Doesn't require Int and thus probably a better choice than Improved Trip (although a two-level dip in Wolf-Totem Barbarian would get you Improved Trip without having to take Combat Expertise and thus without 13 Int - also Pounce from Barbarian 1 and Rage/Whirling Frenzy).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-09-14 at 01:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Forgot that bit. Although since weapon focus is usually taken its not much of an issue.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Eh, Weapon Focus is almost never worth taking unless you need the Melee/Ranged Weapon Mastery or need it as a prerequisite. +1 from one feat is 5% increase to the hit chance with one feat - just nowhere near worth a feat. Sure, it's a bonus, but the other feats actually open new roads entirely. Weapon Focus increases your chances to hit by 5% while Combat Reflexes makes an entire strategy suddenly workable.

    Improved Trip gives you an attack that gives you +4 to future attacks and opponent -4. Power Attack means the extra To Hit-boosts actually aren't worthless (which better be larger than +1 or better come in numbers though). Stand Still gives you the tools to actually be an obstacle for opponents who want to kill the more damaging, less durable targets. Robilar's Gambit gives you a ton of extra attacks whenever you engage any opponent. All the feats usually taken just have benefits far outweighting those of Weapon Focus. Heck, the general suckitude of Weapon Focus is the principal reason Fighter in Core can't actually perform its tasks.
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Okay, I think I'm starting to get the idea of how the crusader works best. Dealing damage with Thicket of Blades while using Crusader's Strike and Martial Spirit to help keep my health and my allies' health up.

    Necessary feats would be Extra Maneuver Granted, Stone Power, and Combat Reflexes in that order. Following that, I get a little confused. Should I take both Stand Still and Improved trip? Or just one or the other? Also, what other feats should I consider taking? I think I will be gestalting the Crusader with the Cloistered Cleric (more skills, extra domain, so on and so forth), so obviously DMM feats will be the best choices, but after that what feats would help me get the most out of this build?

    And finally, what maneuvers would help me get the most out of my Crusader/Cl. Cleric?

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Well, it's really open after that. If you qualify for Improved Trip, it's very much for consideration. If you're on a lower point buy though, Stand Still is easier to get. Also, Stand Still can be used against any size of opponents (and due to large opponents' typically low Reflex-saves, it's actually better there). So yea, it's up to you really.

    Anyways, pick up Robilar's Gambit as you go up (PHBII) and maybe EWP: Spiked Chain and probably Power Attack some way into the whole deal. You may want the charge-line of Power Attack > Improved Bull Rush > Shock Trooper too if you feel like adding a non-maneuver attack to your package (goes well with Leading the Charge, which is a good level 2 Stance). There're tons of options really. You can't usually screw up with Martial Adepts as long as you get the openings right.


    That said, the Cleric-side wants feats too. More precisely, Extend Spell, Persistent Spell, Divine Metamagic: Persistent Spell and possibly Extra Turning a few times. Extend Spell you can pick up through "Planning"-domain (which goes fine with Cloistered Cleric anyways), but you need feats for Persistent Spell and DMM: Persistent. The thing is making both lines fit into one character. Flaws would help a lot.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    I personally don't really like Imp Trip. First of all, its got brutal prereqs. 13 int is rough if you are doing point buy, especially as a crusader since NONE of your abilities are tied to Int, but rather str, con, cha, and dex. That means you have incredible MAD, as you'll be spreading yourself thin by spending 5 of your precious points to get that 13 int, 6 if you go for 14 to even it out for the extra skill point.

    Then, there's viability. Trip scales only on 3 factors. First is strength, which most monsters advance faster than you will. Second is size, which agian, most monsters will scale faster than you. Also, with size comes inherant strength bonuses, see point 1. Third is misc properties, things like stability, feats, circumstances, etc. This is one place where you can make up a bit of ground, but its still not overly promising.

    Therefore, its hard to get a really high trip modifier, to the point where its possible to succeed more often then not. With failure comes pretty dire consequences. Your opponent has the opportunity to trip you, which a moderate chance to succeed, considering he just beat your initial trip check. If this happens, you have a choice. Either become prone yourself (bad) or drop your weapon (worse). If you do drop your weapon, you'll be somewhat useless in your desired role. This is all unless you take the Knockdown feat, but then you've invested 3 feats for a niche that only really works against things your size and has a pretty poor reward/risk ratio.

    If you are going with Standstill, you are probably going to want EWP: Spiked Chain. Standstill's whole mechanic requires you to do enough damage that your foe can't make the save. In order to get this damage in an AoO, you need to have the 1.5x str and 2:1 PA you get with a 2hander at all times. Otherwise, when you strike with your spiked gauntlet or armor spikes, you aren't doing as much damage, and your viability becomes limited. Plus, then you have 2 weapons to split gold between for enchants.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    I would like to throw out the alternative of replacing the Cleric side with Paladin.

    While this cramps your spellcasting a bit, this does give you a neat option to combine with Ruby Knight Vindicator. Take Battle Blessing from Complete Champion, which makes Paladin spells a swift action to cast. At 7th level, Ruby Knight Vindicator lets you burn a Turn Undead attempt to get an extra swift action each round.

    If you have access to the Spell Compendium, the potential in this combo is quite good.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    It's a decent combo, but generally Quicken Spell + Cleric-casting is just better.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Divine inspiration works as follows:
    -You have 5 maneuvers.
    -Whenever you enter combat, randomize two of them. You may use those the first round.
    -Each progressive round, you get one new maneuver.
    -Once you've used all your maneuvers, you get new ones randomized.
    Not quite. There was a big debate over at the WotC forums about this, involving some high level math, and the final consensus (best explained with cards) was that:

    -You have 5 maneuvers/cards.
    -Whenever you enter combat, shuffle and draw 2 of them. Those 2 are your Readied maneuvers; you may use those the first round. The rest go into your Withheld deck. Any maneuvers you use go into your Expended pile, not back into the Withheld deck..
    -At the end of each turn, you draw one new maneuver from your Withheld deck.
    -When you can no longer draw a new maneuver from your Withheld deck, ALL maneuvers are reshuffled, and you draw 2 of them, starting the cycle over.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    That's what I meant. If it came out wrong, sorry. But yea, by "getting new ones", I meant that "you lose all the currently usable ones and new ones are granted".
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    That's what I meant. If it came out wrong, sorry. But yea, by "getting new ones", I meant that "you lose all the currently usable ones and new ones are granted".
    The part that came out wrong was:

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel
    Once you've used all your maneuvers, you get new ones randomized.
    I'm guessing you meant to put "drawn" instead of "used" there; you can have readied maneuvers in hand and have to shuffle them back in (sometimes, even when you don't want to).

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronicled View Post
    Not quite. There was a big debate over at the WotC forums about this, involving some high level math, and the final consensus (best explained with cards) was that:

    -You have 5 maneuvers/cards.
    -Whenever you enter combat, shuffle and draw 2 of them. Those 2 are your Readied maneuvers; you may use those the first round. The rest go into your Withheld deck. Any maneuvers you use go into your Expended pile, not back into the Withheld deck..
    -At the end of each turn, you draw one new maneuver from your Withheld deck.
    -When you can no longer draw a new maneuver from your Withheld deck, ALL maneuvers are reshuffled, and you draw 2 of them, starting the cycle over.
    The debate in question can be found here for anyone who wants to take a look:
    http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archi...x.php/t-707947

    Basically, what it says is that the maneuvers, instead of having them all reset, only he used ones do. Thus, if you only use 3 maneuvers before the first reset, then they will end up refreshing every round, giving you access to all of your prepared maneuvers every round.

    That is shenanigans.

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    @ the OP: Gestalt with Bard. Trust me, your party will love you for it, and you will be epic.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    I would advice against taking DMM cleric on the other side. There are basically two reasons:
    1) Feats. A DMM cleric uses up all your feats and you really NEED at least some of them for the crusader side.
    2) Nightsticks. If they are not allowed the whole thing is just not worth the feats it costs. If they are allowed you might have a point, but remember that it's going to cost a lot of feats/domain slots anyway.

    Moreover you're gestalt with a full BAB class so some buffs are not that exceptional; you were getting Str enhancement items anyway, already have full BAB and could get Large size by much cheaper means (Sorcerer 1?)

    If I were your DM I would consider RKV a double progression PrC, so that would probably not be allowed by me. If not Paladin+Battle Blessing+Burn Turn undead is nice... in general I would not bother with spells unless you're getting them with a swift action. Keep in mind that you already know what you want to do with your standard actions so any casting is strictly confined to utility.
    Sorcerer with the right spells would be nice (in combat you're only using a few, mainly swift action, spells and for utility you'd use scrolls anyway). Duskblade and its quick casting doesn't go well since Arcane Strike is a standard action, so it doesn't mix with martial strikes. Paladin with Battle blessing is good for that too. It doesn't get yu as much as other options but it is doable with low Wis which could be extremely useful if you have point buy.

    Or you could get some rogue, get all good saves (almost a must in gestalt), and have Evasion on top of Mettle, making you extremely durable. It also allows you to double as a skill monkey quite happily. Maybe even a skill mastery on a couple of your critical martial arts skills.

    Hope this helps
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Aneantir View Post
    The debate in question can be found here for anyone who wants to take a look:
    http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archi...x.php/t-707947

    Basically, what it says is that the maneuvers, instead of having them all reset, only he used ones do. Thus, if you only use 3 maneuvers before the first reset, then they will end up refreshing every round, giving you access to all of your prepared maneuvers every round.

    That is shenanigans.
    God, that thread was a mess.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    I would agree that Crusader/Cleric might not be the best option because of the feats needed to make Cleric work best would eat into your Crusader feats needed. For a different option, though, you could look into Crusader/Druid. With the shapechanging abilities, you can get reach without needing different (read: reach) weapons. And as most of the abilities in ToB need melee attacks, you should be able to use them while shapechanged as well. Taking a 2 feat dip to get Persistent Spell would probably be worth it when you get high enough level, but the buffs you can throw out there even without it will probably help you in the long run. I guess the best suggestion is to ask you what you would do in a combat situation. If you want to be up front dealing damage (like you suggested), I would recommend going with either the Crusader/"buffer" or Crusader/"extra damage" (rogue,etc) concepts to maximize your offensive abilities. I would stay away from arcane casting for two main reasons: first, the arcane spell failure would ding you bad, and second, it would eat into your feats again. Besides, if you have a campaign of gestalt characters, I would guess you will have plenty of arcane firepower to back you up when you wade into combat.

    Another big thing to consider is what the other characters will be doing. If 2 are arcane or buffers, you probably don't need to go that route. The buffers should throw a few your way at the start of combat to help you protect them. But if no one has gone the rogue route, having the sneak attack ability as well as the rogue's trapfinding could come in really handy for you. On the other hand, if there is already a rogue or two, it might not be the best option.

    A note on buffs: if you are going to be wading into combat, I would look at spells and items which grant you immunity (preferably) or resistance to elmemental damage. This has the nice advantage of letting the friendly wizard drop a nice AoE spell right on top of you, hurting your enemies without singing (or freezing, or frying, etc) your hair.

    On a personal note, I always prefered the Warblade over the Crusader but go with the one you prefer. The things that I liked about the Warblade were the larger HD, the flexibility in determining what your weapon focus would be for the day, the ability to get "fighter only" feats, and the "recharge" method of the class. But, like I said, go with the one you prefer.

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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Crusader/Warshaper/Swordsage//Druid/MoMF, depending on how you fit the levels, is good, especially since Druid essentially makes MAD a thing of the past. I prefer Bard, but this has it's uses.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    For a really entertaining group of feats to go with Thicket and a reach weapon, look at the Mage Slayer set of feats. Get within attack range of any caster and laaaugh...
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid View Post
    For a really entertaining group of feats to go with Thicket and a reach weapon, look at the Mage Slayer set of feats. Get within attack range of any caster and laaaugh...
    Until the wizard Abrupt Jaunts, Quickened Dimensional Hops or Benign Transpositions, uses his Archmage SLA Teleport (Mage Slayer only keeps from casting defensively, not using SLA's defensively...) to get away, or just straight up kills you. Then again, you were screwed before you started...its not your fault...

    EDIT: Or tumbles...gotta do something with all those skill points...
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2008-09-16 at 09:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Understanding the Tome of Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by lussmanj View Post
    Until the wizard Abrupt Jaunts, Quickened Dimensional Hops or Benign Transpositions, uses his Archmage SLA Teleport (Mage Slayer only keeps from casting defensively, not using SLA's defensively...) to get away, or just straight up kills you. Then again, you were screwed before you started...its not your fault...

    EDIT: Or tumbles...gotta do something with all those skill points...
    Not *every* enemy mage has quickened teleportation type spells ready, and even less have Abrupt Jaunts. You'll face a few, but for the most part the mages are boned. And Mage Slayer certainly does work against SLAs. Every campaign I've played in has certainly been the case. Ask your DM. chances are he'll say yes.

    Thick of Blades doesn't allow Tumbling to avoid AoOs in any case.
    Last edited by Frosty; 2008-09-16 at 09:23 PM.

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