Masters of the Sword

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Masters of the Sword: A Warblade’s Handbook Handbook   [Resurrected and Under Construction] 

Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.

- Confucius

Why Play a Warblade? 

Warblades, introduced in Tome of Battle: The Book of N ine Swords, are one of the three martial adept classes. They‟re also arguably the strongest of the three, pure warriors who are exemplars of sheer martial skill – and they certainly don‟t fail to meet expectations. 

Here are just a few of the selling points for the warblade. warblade  class on their website, along - They're free to play. Wizards of the Coast kindly provided the full full  warblade cards,, which can help streamline play. wit with hmaneuver cards - You‟re as good as it gets. Before we even get to maneuvers and all that good stuff, you have a d12 hit die and full BAB. - You have efficient use of the action economy. A higher level wizard can move, fire off a spell as a standard action, cast another swift action spell, and still use an immediate action in response to his opponent. Fighters move and attack. That's pretty much it. Warblades can move, initiate a standard-action strike for respectable damage, mix a swift-action boost into this somewhere and still perform a counter when it's not their turn. - You have class features. Actual class features. And good ones at that: a boatload of bonus feats to help you deal with prereqs or just provide nice benefits. Plus, the Battle line of features provides some very handy bonuses in general combat, along with great Int synergy. The capstone bears mentioning as well. Stance Ma stery is undoubtedly the best capstone of any of the martial adept classes. - You can refresh maneuvers at a moment‟s thought. Much less than that, actually. You refresh all your maneuvers by making a normal attack; maybe the crusader can use one every turn, but you have full control over which you ready. You have the best of both worlds when it comes to refreshing. - You‟re great straight out of the box. This applies to all Tome of Battle characters, but it‟s worth bringing up - it‟s very hard to screw up as a warblade unless you try to. While this guide can help, just picking maneuvers that

 

sound cool will make you quite capable. Plus, you don‟t need any fancy multiclassing: warblade 20 is an excellent build.

Why Use Tome of Battle? 

cycles of debate about Tome of Battle: why it but sucks, it‟sthat great, whyofthe fluff greatly is awful, There areit‟s endless whether balanced, etceter etcetera. a. Naturally, opinions vary widely, I ‟vewhy found Tome Battle enriches

the playing experience at my table, mainly for two reasons: - It makes melee fun to play. Some people enjoy endlessly repeating their full attack routine; many want something more. And Tome of Battle provides you with lots lo ts more options and tactics, which include the ability to make decisions more m eaningful than how much you‟ll Power Attack for this turn.   - It levels the playing field. Around here it‟s an oft-recited saying that „fighters scale linearly, wizards scale quadratically‟. Tome of Battle by no means closes that gap, but it unquestionably narrows it.

This handbook will use the following system for ratings:  Red - Awful. Never, ever take these. Purple - Meh. These can be situationally useful, but aren‟t usually worth it.   Black- -Good. OK. Not best, but not and the worst, either. Blue An the excellent option, worthwhile. Cyan - Great. Take these. Seriously. Gold - Fantastic. These are amazing options, defining aspects of a build or even ev en the entire class.

Roles: Why You Have the Sword  

Primary Melee - This is you. You excel at melee combat; whether you‟re a dervish of whirling blades or a crashing, maul-wielding juggernaut, juggernaut, it‟s your job to always be out there on the front line.   Mobility - You have the potential to become an extraordinarily mobile combatant. Many Diamond Mind and Tiger Claw maneuvers enhance mobility, and you‟ll probably have a high Jump score if you‟re using the latter (which you usually should, at least to some degree). It‟s also a fair bet that you‟re wearing light (or at least medium) armor – 

and hey, if you need to spend a round getting into position, no biggie. You can just use that round to refresh your maneuvers. Tank - You likely won‟t be able to match the stickiness of, say, a crusader, cr usader, but nonethe nonetheless less you‟re a formidable target. D12 HD, medium armor proficiency, and, very likely (due to Diamond Mind counters) good saves mean you won‟t be going down any time soon.  Battlefield Control - Pick up some tripping-related feats, enlarge yourself, and go to town; or heck, just get a reach weapon. Once again, you‟re no crusader – and definitely no caster - but with the right tools you can become

quite adept at manipulating the battlefield. Debuffs - Many strikes incur debilitating status effects on your enemies. But don‟t kid yourself; you‟re no match for casters when it comes to debuffing. These debuffs should be augmenting your abilities rather than becoming an end in their own right. Ranged Combat - Sorry, no. Always keep a ranged weapon on hand, just in case, but be aware that you're a

pretty mediocre archer. No disciplines d isciplines enhance ranged combat (unless homebrew is allowed), though full BAB and a decent Dex mean you can still function. f unction. But ranged combat should be a last resort.

 

 

Class Features: How You Use the Sword  

Fundamentals: 

D12 hit die - Excellent. With your role as a front line combatant, you need a lot of hit points. – but itevery Full BAB - You could still function withit, something lesshonest: would be tough. Good Fortitude saveprobably - Every melee class gets but let‟s be melee class needs it.   Bad Reflex and Will saves - Always the warrior‟s Achilles heel, these are of less concern to you; Battle Clarity

helps make up for the former, and Moment of Perfect Mind helps compensate for the latter. po ints, but 4/level is pretty decent for a melee class. Better 4 Skill Points/level - You can always use more skill points, than a fighter‟s, anyway, and unless you dump Int (not  ( not a good idea) it should be enough to cover all your basic needs.

Class Features: 

Maneuvers - This is what makes a warblade a warblade. Without them, you‟re even worse than a fighter – and that, my friend, is a low bar indeed. Stances - See above. Stances are perhaps less essential, but they‟re still a defining aspect of the class.   Battle Clarity - This helps make up for your low Reflex save. You may want to pick up the counter that replaces re places this with a skill check eventually, but at the low levels it‟s pretty useful.  Weapon Aptitude - This feature‟s use is limited, as its main purpose seems to be qualifying for the lackluster Weapon Focus/Specializat us/Specialization ion lines. However, there‟s potential use here, especially when it‟s combined with Exotic Weapon Proficiency.

flat -footed? Can‟t argue with that.   Uncanny Dodge - Retain your Dex bonus to AC even when flatBattle Ardor - Quite good, especially on those double- kukri crit fisher builds. There‟s little as disappointing as

threatening a critical and then failing to confirm it. Bonus Feats - At first glance, the list to choose from doesn‟t seem great – and while they may not be fantastic, there are a lot of „gateway‟ feats available. And at worst, hey, free feats are free feats.  Battle Cunning - Just another incentive to catch your opponents flat-footed. flat -footed. Nice. Battle Skill - Hm. The bonus is nice, but at this point the extra couple of points from your Int isn‟t going to help

much – high-level monsters have mean modifiers. And unlike when you‟re attacking, those extra points don‟t have the potential to become more damage via Power Attack. Battle Mastery - If you‟re making use of Karmic Strike/Robilar‟s Gambit, this is great. Even if you‟re not, it‟s

bound to come in handy. Improved Uncanny Dodge - Unfortunat Unfortunately, ely, this isn‟t much. Flanking doesn‟t happen all that often, unless you‟re

up against a bunch of rogues. Stance Mastery - Can someone say 'capstone'? This is just amazing, and it's one of main reasons to stay in warblade until the end.

Skills: Putting Away Your Sword 

Class Skills: 

 

  Balance - It's the key skill for both Iron Heart and Stone Dragon, and it helps you avoid those pesky Grease spells. Almost always worth taking five ranks in it; after that, it becomes much less enticing. Climb - You simply don't have enough skill points for this. Climb can be useful, but it's a very, very low priority. Concentration - The biggest priority on o n the list. This is Diamond Mind's key skill, and Diamond Mind has the savereplacing and Nightmare Blade maneuver lines - both lifesavers, and both keyed on Concentration rolls. forging  warheart weapons weapons,, well, indulge yourself . Craft - If you have your heart set on being a master smith or forging Otherwise, give it a miss. Diplomacy - It's White Raven's key skill, and pretty dang useful besides. Definitely worth it if you have the points to spare. Intimidate - Who doesn't want people to quiver in fear fe ar at the sight of them? A very nice skill. Intimidate is also used in Duels of Wills, a new feature introduced in the ToB, and the skill really shines when utilized in an Imperious Command build. Jump - Tiger Claw is a great discipline, and I'd advise nearly every warblade to make at least some use of it. Many Tiger Claw maneuvers hinge off Jump...so, there we go. But if you're not making any use of Tiger Claw, skip it. Knowledge (History) - It can be useful. Not great, though. Knowledge (Local) - Same as above, but history is often more useful. Martial Lore - Knowing your military history can be important, and combat is sort of your schtick. Martial Lore's other function - identifying maneuvers being used against you and the maneuvers in other adept's repertoires - is not as great, but still handy on occasion. Overall, a pretty decent Knowledge skill; if you have skill points to spare, it can be worth taking a few ranks, especially if you're in a game heavy in martial adepts. Swim - As with Climb, you just have too many other priorities. Tumble - Acrobatics and avoiding AoOs are pretty darn nice. Unless you're a retaliation r etaliation build, in which case, not quite so nice.

Cross-Class Skills 

Listen and Spot - Perception skills are always useful. If you have extra skill points, they're a reasonable re asonable

investment. Search - In my experience, Search is generally less le ss useful. But maybe that's just me.

 __________________  ____________ ______

Abilities: What it Takes to Use a Sword 

Strength - This is your main stat. It determines your y our melee attack and damage; get it as high as possible. Absolutely crucial. Recommended score: 16-18, before racial adjustments. Dexterity - Quite important. It's the key skill for Balance and Tumble, your lack of heavy armor means you'll likely

be able to benefit from the extra AC, and higher Reflex saves never hurt. Plus, since no disciplines enhance ranged combat, you'll be relying mostly on your Dex for it. Recommended score: 12-16, before racial adjustments. Constitution - A high Con score is a huge boon, and at least decent score is essential. e ssential. You can never, ever have too many hit points, and it increases your Concentration bonus. A higher Fort save is just icing on the cake. Recommended score: 14-18, before racial adjustments.

I nt synergy, and Int also raises your skill points - a scarce Intelligence - Your class abilities grant you great Int resource. Get a good score if you can afford it. Recommended score: 12-16, before racial adjustments. Wisdom - Quite useful, since it raises your perception skills and Will saves. But neither are too essential: the

latter, as I've said, can be compensated for, and you're usually not going to be the party scout, anyway. Recommended score: 8-14, before racial adjustments. Charisma - You may be a glory-hound, but you'll have to find some other way to accomplish it than Cha. This is a

dump stat, pure and simple. Recommended score: 8-10, before racial adjustments.

 

  Sample Stat Arrays: 

Elite Array: 15, 12, 14, 13, 10, 8 25 Point Buy: 16, 10, 14, 13, 10, 8 28 Point Buy: 16, 12, 14, 14, 10, 8 32 40 Point Point Buy: Buy: 16, 18, 12, 14, 16, 16, 14, 14, 10, 10, 8 8 60 Point Buy: 18, 16, 18, 16, 14, 10

Races: Born to the Sword  

Core 

Dwarf - Essentially a free +2 Con, since Cha is a dump stat. And all those little bonuses can add up. But the speed penalty can be annoying, especially since you can't wear heavy armor to cover it. Elves: 

For a warblade, elves have the added bonus of being the only race able to qualify for the amazing Eternal Blade PrC. Grey Elf - Strength and Con penalties. Next. High Elf - These are a little better than grey elves, but not by much. Dex is good, but it hardly compensates for

lost Con. Wild Elf - A strong pick. Losing Int stings, but it's hardly as tough as a Con penalty. If you're restricted to Core races and want to play an elf (especially (especi ally on lower point buys), I advise playing a wild elf. Wood Elf - These are also a strong choice; I'd I 'd recommend them only on higher point buys, though, as you'll need to purchase mid to high scores across the board in order to end up with decent Con and Int. Gnome - Gnomes don't make very good warblades, losing Str and using small weapons. But the smaller damage die can be compensated for without much trouble at all, and losing two points of Str won't cripple you too much and on the other hand, you'll gain bonuses from your small size. If you really want to be a gnome, go ahead; otherwise, though, you can do better. Half-Elf - Ew. They're basically humans, but much worse. The only use here is qualifying for Eternal Blade without

any penalties - but even so, snow elf is usually your best bet. Halfling - At first these might seem se em like an awful choice, but, as ShneekeyTheLost notes,  A point of note about about halfling w warblades... arblades... It's not as bad as you might think. The Str penalty equates to a -1 damage. The size modifier does about the same thing. In the long run, it doesn't hurt as much as you might think it does. If you go with Halfling, you'll need to build specifically for this task. There's a couple of ways to do this: 1) Dip swordsage or blow a couple of feats to get a Shadow Hand stance. Then take the feat Shadow Blade, and  make sure you can make it appear as though it was a shadow hand weapon (spiked chains, by the way, are shadow hand weapons). Replaces Str with Dex for damage. Weapon Finesse to use Dex to attack. Str is now a dump stat, but rather feat intensive. 2) Bloodstorm Blade/Master Thrower. Seriously, two points of damage isn't going to be hurting you here, and you can do an awful lot of havoc to someone who is bigger than you, so being small is an asset rather than a disadvantage.

 

 Also, as a halfling, halfling, you can pick u up p Confound th the e Big Folk for more obnoxiousness. Half-Orc - These are a nice pick. The damage to mentals isn't good, but it's better than penalties to physicals and the Str boost is delicious. Human - When Wizards wrote 3.5, they obviously had an inflated racial ego, because humans are awesome for

basically anything. For a warblade, they're no exception. Feats are horribly scarce, especially if you're not allowed flaws, and the extra skill point is great.

There are a bewildering number of races to choose from, and so from here on out the only ones mentioned will be thoseblack and higher. If a race isn‟t here, assume it‟s not worth taking (though you are, of course, welcome to take it up with me). Non-Core 

These races are only those without level adjustment and/or racial HD – those with can be found below. Aventi (Stormwrack) – Wonderful in an aquatic-themed campaign, though not as useful otherwise. Changeling (Races of Eberron) – Changelings make awesome spies – and while you are perhaps not the best spy,

their shapeshifting is still a very cool toy. Darfellan (Stormwrack) – A prime pick in an aquatic campaign where you're forced to play a water-breathing race, and nice all-around. But make no mistake: you will get made fun of for looking like a whale. Mongrelfolk (Races of Destiny) – While -4 Cha shouldn't be too big a problem, and the Dex-for-Con trade is good, the stats are lacking when compared things like orcs and neanderthals. Nonetheless, you could do much worse. Neanderthal (Frostburn) – Not fantastic, as it has a penalty to both of your secondary stats. But still, that‟s far outweighed by the bonus to both primaries. Orc (MM) – A penalty to all your mental stats, but a +4 Str boost is really enormous. Definitely a fine pick, and

better than those puny half-orcs. Raptoran (Races of the Wild) – A great pick; the wings are more a boon than any measly +2 to Str or Con. Shifter (Races of Eberron) – Longtooth or Longstride shifters are the obvious choices, and they make quite good warblades. They trade Int for Dex, but that‟s a pretty fair exchange , and the goodies from shifting more than make

up for it. Skarn (Magic of Incarnum) - Bonus to Str, penalty to Dex. Come with built in natural weapons so you can still initiate maneuvers while unarmed without having to take Improved Unarmed Strike. Warforged (Races of Eberron) – You‟re a robot with a bonus to Con and more immunities than you can count. At first level you can potentially pote ntially have armor better than plate, and with feat investments you can gain potent bonuses to it.

Racial Variants 

The only variants here are those that are better than the standard race. Badlands Dwarf (Sandstorm) – Again, if you‟re in a desert campaign it‟s worth looking at , but not otherwise. Deep Dwarf (MM) – Slightly better than the standard, but not by much. Earth Dwarf (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – Str for Dex is a very nice trade – and the extra bonuses certainly don‟t

hurt. Superior over the hill dwarf. Painted Elf (Sandstorm) – Dex and Int are really on equal footing for you, making this a pretty even trade. Snow Elf (Frostburn) – The best elf, with the Con penalty traded tr aded for one to Cha (your one true dump stat).

 

Chaos Gnome (Races of Stone) - +1 LA. Bonuses to Dex, Con, and Cha, though at the cost of Str. You trade the normal gnome benefits for a couple of  SLAs; you are also, notably, immune to compulsion effects. You also - and this is the main draw - gain a reroll once per day, for anything. Rerolls are precious, and the immunity to compulsion is invaluable: with LA buyoff, these are potentially even cyan. Whisper Gnome (Races of Stone) - A great race for small, more dextrous warblades; strictly superior to their standard counterparts. You gain a bonus to Con in exchange for a hit to Cha, plus a +8 bonus (half size, half racial) to Hide, a +4 racial bonus to Move Silently, a +2 racial bonus to Spot and Listen, and Silence as an SLA. Strongheart Halfling (Forgotten Realms) – Without a doubt the best halfling, thanks to the free feat; however,

you may be better just j ust going human. Arcana) _ These are better picks than the standard halfAquatic, Arctic, and Desert Half-Elf (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) elf, especially in a campaign geared towards their respective r espective terrains. Aquatic Half-Orc (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – It‟s…a half -orc, but better. Remind me why you wouldn‟t pick this

over its standard counterpart? Jungle Half-Orc (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – If you want to make a dragoon build, the Jump bonus can help. (*cough*Dark rk Sun*cough*), the heat and thirst Scablands Half-Orc (Sandstorm) – In a desert campaign (*cough*Da endurance can be a lifesaver. Otherwise, skip it. Aquatic Orc (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – In an aquatic or naval campaign, likely a better choice than standard orc. Desert Orc (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – Endurance as a bonus feat is excellent, allowing you to qualify for

Steadfast Determination immediately. Very nice. e xtra +2 Con Water Orc (SRD/Unearthed Arcana) – Woah. Like a normal (already superb) orc, but they slipped an extra in there, in addition to your already delicious bonuses. This is without a doubt the best kind of orc, and a truly fantastic warblade.

+1 Level Adjustment 

Half Giant (SRD/Expanded Psionics Psionics Handbook) - Bonuses to Str and Con, but a penalty to Dex - so it might be a

good idea to start with at least a 12 in the last. They have the always saucy powerful build (great for those tripper/knockbacker warblades), as well as LLV. There's also a mildly useful Psi-like Psi -like ability for crowd control, but expect this to drop off in effectiveness dramatically at higher levels. Naturally psionic even makes these guys a possible choice for a psionic dip or o r for a warblade//psion in gestalt. Goliath (Races of Stone) - Huge bonus to Str, a bonus to Con, and Powerful Build. Like a half-giant, but potentially

even better - especially with the added benefit of bonuses in mountainous terrain. Sharakim (Races of Destiny) - Bonus to Str and Int, with penalties to Dex and Cha. This is synergistic with the warblade's important stats, and you get some other minor benefits: darkvision, shadow affinity and orc racial r acial enemy. Get cool shades to negate the light sensitivity. Thri-Kreen (MM2) - With multiple limbs suitable for Multiweapon Fighting, tasty bonuses to Strength and Dex, and

an absurdly high bonus to Jump checks, thri-kreen are a Tiger Claw adept's dream (and worth considering even if  Tiger Claw isn't your focus). An older version granted them limited psionic abilities in exchange for an extra point of LA; for a warblade, the current version v ersion is much superior.

+2 Level Adjustment

Half-Ogre (Races of Destiny) - An enormous bonus to Str and Con, but penalties to Dex/Int/Cha. Large size, some natural armor, darkvision and the Giant sub-type. These guys will hit hard, fast and bring people down. Combining them guys with knockdown/knockback sounds utterly terrifying. If you can afford the LA, start at a high enough level to buy some or all of it off, or if it only eats one side of a gestalt, these guys can even becomegreat.

Higher Level Adjustment 

 

  Flind Gnoll - +2 LA, +2 RHD.

You'll score some considerable bonuses to your physical abilities - +6 Strength, +2 Dex, and +4 Con - (as well as a small natural armor bonus) which are the flind gnoll's main appeal. Only consider playing this race r ace if you can buy off the LA; even so, the combination of LA and Racial Hit Dice will dog (pun not intended) you throughout your career.

Templates 

Dark (ToM) - LA +1.

A nifty little template, te mplate, it gets you Hide in Plain Sight and 10' extra movement, as well as a very large bonus to Hide. While perhaps better suited to the swordsage, and less appealing if you're not into hiding, this can make an excellent template for a small, deft warblade. Combines particularly well with races like whisper gnomes or strongheart halflings. Draconic (Draconomicon) - LA+1. This is good stuff. We land bonuses to Str, Con, and Cha, natural attacks to use with maneuvers as well as some minor skill/save bonuses, Darkvision, and LLV. Compares well with other LA +1 races but is a template! As a result, you can find some excellent synergies combining this with efficient LA +0 races. Draconic warforged? Draconic orc? Draconic water orc? Dragonborn (RotD) - +0 LA.

Mechanically, this template takes your original racial abilities then tacks on +2 Con -2 Dex. You gain access to a draconic aspect, the dragonblood subtype and a few other minor benefits, while losing most of your other racial traits.. Can be combined with wood elf to net a +2 Str, -Int. Makes water orcs fairly insane. Draconic Aspect can be a powerful ability as w ell. Mind Aspect culminates in Blindsense (an excellent perception boost), Wings Aspect gives solid flight (effectively replaces a flying magic item at high level). Breath Aspect could be fun, but doesn't scale (haha!) very well. Feral (Savage Species) - +1 LA.

An excellent template. While you suffer a significant -4 to Int and -2 to Dex, and your hit dice become d10s, you gain +4 to Str, +2 to Wis, Darkvision, +10' to your movement speed, claw attacks (with Improved Grab and eventually Rake and Rend), a +6 natural armor bonus...but most significantly, at 4 HD - and this is why it's turquoise - Pounce. If you're using the LA buyoff rules, this template becomes simply superb, as it means you can gain Pounce without needing to spend a level in Spirit Lion Totem barbarian - and thus, while retaining a full 20 levels for whatever progression you wish. Do note, however: Savage Species was released under 3.0, so its use in 3.5 is subject to DM approval. Shadow (LoM) - +2 LA.

Right off you gain +50% to your movement speed, some scaling Cold resistance, Darkvision, LLV, and a neat ability called Shadow Blend . Every four HD you also gain a special ability of your choice, ranging from a large bonus to Move Silently to DR5+1/HD to the ability to Plane Shift once per day to the Plane of Shadow. Like Dark, potentially better for a swordsage, but useful for stealthy, dextrous warblades. Even you're not interested in stealth, there are some potentially very useful benefits to be gained.

Combat Styles: Your Sword of Choice 

As a warblade, it‟s not exaggerating in the least to say that picking your combat style is the most important and influential choice you‟ll ever make.  It‟ll affect your entire career – your tactics, feat choices, maneuvers learned. Basically, your success rests upon the weapons in your hands – so you better make sure those weapons are good ones. Shield Bashing – If you choose to pursue it, shield bashing can be a very nice choice. Once you can afford an

animated shield (shield bashers should get one ASAP), you should switch to a two-handed weapon to maximize damage; a reach weapon is excellent, since feats like Shield Slam enhance your tank capability. Add shield spikes

 

and you can enchant your shield like a normal weapon – and obviously, you‟ll want the Bashing shield property from the DMG. Shield bashing is a combat style that can take a while to pan out, and requires a heavy feat investment – but at mid to high levels, a shield basher has the potential to become a great tank. Sword and Shield – Sword and shield – colloquially, sword-n-board – is infamously awful as a style. The big problem is that you don‟t do n‟t get 2:1 Power Attack returns or 150% of your Strength bonus to damage; that said, in the early levels, when AC is important, it‟s very viable for you. Especially since you have maneuvers to make up for damage potential, I‟d go so far as to recommend using a shield up to around level three. But by level six, you should be usually be going two-handed, and by the time you can afford an animated shield, there‟s just no excuse.   Two-Handed Fighting - Two handed weapons (greatswords, greataxes, ranseurs, and the like) can pump out

huge amounts of raw damage with little investment. As such, two-handing is the default - and from a purely numerical standpoint, likely the best - choice of combat style. Why? When wielding a two-handed weapon, you gain 1.5* your Strength bonus to damage, and you get double returns from Power Attack. From the mid levels onward, these two sources will be providing p roviding you with the greater part of your base damage, and so simply using a twohander boosts your damage output enormously. If you actually invest feats in the style (which, and make no mistake, you should), your damage output can become truly obscene. If you're going for a n ubercharger or dragoon build, then you definitely want to two-hand. It is worth noting, however, that warblades, since they use maneuvers to boost their damage output, are less reliant on this style than other martial classes. Two-Weapon Fighting - This is probably the style you want to go for if you don't want to use a two -hander. If  you want to focus mainly on Tiger Claw it's definitely the best style for you, seeing as many of the maneuvers from that discipline require that you're dual-wielding. Two-weapon fighters (or TWFers) are often used to create critfisher builds, as more attacks mean more chances to crit: the kukri, with its high crit range, is the optimal weapon for this type of build. But be aware that TWFing requires a high feat investment - the three feats in the TwoWeapon Fighting line are mandatory if you want to use this style.

Keep in mind that armor spikes can be treated as an off-hand off -hand weapn, meaning you could potentially dual-wield a two-hander and a spiked gauntlet. g auntlet.

Maneuvers: Sword Magic 

Choosing Disciplines 

As a warblade, you have access to five different disciplines - Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, and White Raven. One of the hardest choices any warblade makes is what disciplines to specialize in. Remember that it's always a tradeoff, and you probably can't get everything you'd like. If you're primarily a warblade, it's often best to choose a primary discipline, a secondary discipline, and a tertiary discipline. If you're something like half warblade, leave off the tertiary; if you're only dabbling, just pick a primary and scavenge off everything else. Here's a brief list of the warblade disciplines and their merits. Diamond Mind - This is a fantastic discipline, and there's no reason at all not to take at least a few f ew maneuvers

from it. It's really not geared towards any particular type of character, being simply chock-full of melee goodness. Iron Heart - See above. The main difference is that, while some maneuvers are geared towards particular combat

styles, the discipline as a whole isn't. Really, you can't go wrong with either this or Diamond Mind. Stone Dragon - This is likely the weakest discipline available to you. Besides the annoying 'must be standing on the ground' clause, its maneuvers simply don't offer as much as other disciplines'. The exceptions being, of course, the Mountain Hammer line and Mountain Tombstone Strike. The former provide excellent ways to overcome DR, and the latter is a capstone maneuver - yes, a 9th level strike - with no prerequisites. Even if you skip Mountain Hammer, grab Mountain Tombstone Strike and run. Tiger Claw - Tiger Claw is geared towards TWFers, and it shows. But THFers, chargers especially, gain lots of 

 

benefits as well. It doesn't have any counters at all, but it's famed for its boosts. They really pack a punch. White Raven - If you want to play a marshal-type character, this is for you. However, White Raven's effectiveness depends heavily on your party's makeup: if you have lots of other meleers, it really comes into its own. If you don't, it's not that great.

First Level 

This is a really nice level. There are loads of different options, and quite a few gems sprinkled about. My personal favorites are Charging Minotaur, Moment of Perfect Mind, Steel Wind, and Sudden Leap. Diamond Mind: Moment of Perfect Mind - It's the best maneuver in the Moment of X line, and just level 1. You really want this. Sapphire Nightmare Blade - This one is good, but quickly loses steam. If you're playing in a low-level game, it

might be a good choice; otherwise, skip it. However, if you have sneak attack (probably from multiclassing), this becomes much better. As it renders your opponent flat-footed, you can use it to set up sneak attacks. Iron Heart: Steel Wind - Excellent. While it only works when you're facing two foes, at the low levels you're often squared against gangs of mooks - situations in which Steel Wind can double your effectiveness. However, it's probably wise

to tradeStrike it away- Quite beforegood too long. Steely for solo fights, as the AC penalty applies only to foes other than the one you attacked. And at the low levels, +4 attack greatly increases your chance of hitting. While awesome at the beginning of your career, it ages quickly. Stone Dragon: Charging Minotaur - Now this is a nice maneuver. Chargin Charging g Minotaur does become relatively obsolete before too long, but you'll have a lot of fun playing with the thing. Stone Bones - At first level, DR5 is plain awesome, and can mean near invulnerability for a round. But by 2nd or 3rd it's already starting to age - and by level 5, the thing is history. It's much like Steely Strike in this regard.

Tiger Claw: Sudden Leap - Niice. This is an excellent ex cellent mobility enhancer, and provides benefits well after most 1st 1st-level -level maneuvers' have expired. However, it's worth noting that it has a prerequisite of 1 Tiger Claw maneuver - you'll need to either take a Tiger Claw stance or Wolf Fang Strike to qualify for this at 1st level. Wolf Fang Strike - those Sounds to me. Why not? Especially nice because it allows feat-less TWFing, as its penalties supersede of good two-weapon fighting.

White Raven: Douse the Flames - In the right situation, this is a great tool, letting you cover for an ally (or allies) while they

escape or run past. And it completely shuts down reach/lockdown/Stan reach/lockdown/Stand d Still builds for a turn. Leading the Attack - If you have a party with lots of melee firepower, this is a good one. Otherwise, not so good.

Second Level 

No matter what your build, you're in for a treat this level. Even better than first; the best are Action Before Thought, Emerald Razor, Mountain Hammer, and Wall of Blades. Diamond Mind: save -replacing maneuvers, this is great. Reflex is your second weakest Action Before Thought – Like all of the save-replacing

 

save, so pick this up if you can afford it; however, your Ref  is usually at least decent, and there are lots of goof  maneuvers this level. Plus, Ref saves tend not to be SoL/SoDs the way Will saves do. Emerald Razor – Touch attacks are incredibly easy to make, so this maneuver is great when you‟re up against a heavily armored foe. It only allows a single attack, but that‟s no problem at level 3 – and the fact that you can Power Attack to your heart ‟s content makes up for that, anyway. As a rule of thumb, all the gem maneuvers (except for Sapphire) are worth taking. Iron Heart: Disarming Strike – It‟s good, definitely, and brings use to a generally maligned combat action. But when

compared to the other 2nd level maneuvers you have available, I think it comes up wanting.

Wall of Blades – Superb. The perennial weakness of the charger is a pitifully low AC. Pick up this maneuver and you can forget about that (and even if you‟re not Shock Trooper -ing, your AC will generally be lower than your

attack). This is a maneuver that never ages. Saph's favorite use of Wall of Blades is to use it against touch and ranged touch spells, which generally have a much lower bonus than melee attacks. Plus, deflecting rays with your sword is awesome. Stone Dragon: Mountain Hammer – Remember how I said that the Mountain Hammer line was one of the best things about

Stone Dragon? This is the most basic of them, and while the bonus damage soon becomes mediocre, its main function – ignoring all DR and hardness – never ages. Plus, it has the fewest prereqs of the bunch, so even if you don‟t want to focus on Stone Dragon you can try to get Mountain Hammer. Getting Charging Minotaur qualifies you for Mountain Hammer, so picking up the two in progression works excellently. Stone Vise – Look at the average monster‟s Fortitude save, and you‟ll realize that the DC for this maneuver is just awfully low. If it were a Will save, maybe, but as it is, this is just awful. Tiger Claw: Claw at the Moon – The bonus damage is good at this level, but it ages quickly. This isn‟t terrible, but with all the other great 2nd level maneuvers available it‟s not really worth taking, especially since many others also provide  

bonus damage in the same range. However, as Draz notes, Claw at the Moon is awesome for characters who multiclass into warblade at later levels. A Jump check that will  beat AC is not hard to get for most characters. Hunt Hunter's er's Sense is often the most useful Level 1 stance for such a multiclasser, and to take it, first you have to take Wolf Fang Strike, Claw at the Moon, or Rabid Wolf Strike. Some characters never TWF and aren't particularly reckless, but have ranks in Jump, so CatM is their best option. YMMV  though. Rabid Wolf Strike – Your classic ditch-it-all, KO strike. Not bad at all if you plan on going Shock Trooper; combine with Wall of Blades for extra ex tra fun. White Raven: Battle Leader’s Charge – +10 damage at level 3 is fantastic, and this allows you to get into the thick of things without trouble. Just make sure not to get in over your head. A very worthwhile choice if you‟re focusing on White

Raven. Tactical Strike – Nice bonus damage, and if you‟re fighting in a cluster with your teammates it allo ws you to close on nearby foes or flee. Sadly, it doesn‟t allow them to avoid f ull attacks, though. 

Third Level 

There‟s no question at all as to the best maneuvers this level. The standouts are Iron Heart Surge and White Raven

Tactics, hands down. Diamond Mind: Insightful Strike – The Insightful Strike line is really nice, and though this one has the least oomph of the bunch, it‟s still excellent. At around the level you get this, with maxed Concentration and a masterwork tool, it‟ll sport an average of something like 23 damage – and the damage scales naturally as long as you keep improving

Concentration. Mind Over Body – Fortitude is your best save, and as such this isn‟t a very good choice. Sure, a Concentration check might be higher, but you‟ll gener ally have Fort high enough already. It does stop you from failing on a

 

natural 1, which is nice, b ut Mind Over Body isn‟t generally worth learning. 

Iron Heart: Exorcism of Steel – Not bad at all. The save‟s low, but it‟s Will, which for melee enemies is usually weak, and the long duration ensures it‟ll be in effect for the whole battle, at least most of the time. The downside is that it only

works against manufactured weapons, but Exorcism of Steel is a very solid debuff to begin a fight with. Iron Heart Surge – IRON HEART SUUURGE! C‟mon, you really can‟t get more badass than that. IHS is an absolute must as long as you have its prereqs; it will save your life countless times, I guarantee it. If it doesn‟t, your money back, no questions asked. Stone Dragon: Bonecrusher – It‟s fairly straightforward, and not bad at all, with a nice dose of bonus damage. Unfortunately, by now you‟re nearing the point where the bonus damage ages, and the Fort save for the extra effect is really low (though when you do sink the bonus to crit confirms, your resident crit fisher will love you). All in all, it‟s pretty decent – but eclipsed by the level‟s other choices.   Stone Dragon’s Fury – So…you can take this maneuver and get +4d6 damage against objects and constructs…or

you can take Bonecrusher and get +4d6 damage against everything. Your choice. Tiger Claw: Flesh Ripper – This maneuver is a prime example of „meh‟. The effects are neg ated by a Fort save with a low DC,

and even if they hit last for just one round. Skip it. Soaring Raptor Strike – Quite nice, as you‟ll be certain to run into larger enemies sooner or later. A load of extra

damage and a bonus to hit; who can argue? White Raven: Lion’s Roar – All right, especially if you have a melee-heavy party. But you shouldn‟t usually take it, because it lies far, far in the shadow cast by White Raven Tactics. White Raven Tactics – Wow. The most valuable currency in D&D is that of the action economy, and this is quite a large check. It essentially lets you trade a swift action of yours for a full turn of an ally‟s – and by RAW you can even use it on yourself! There's no excuse not to take WRT if you can afford it.

Fourth Level 

This is a level dominated by Diamond Mind and Iron Heart. The best picks are Bounding Assault, Ruby Nightmare Blade, and Lightning Recovery. Diamond Mind: Bounding Assault – A lifesaver. It lets you close on a faraway enemy or change places on the battlefield easily, being basically a charge that lets you move freely. If you‟re a charger, especially one with Pounce, this is really

good. Mind Strike – Nice. Ability damage is always good, and Mind Strike lets you soften up targets for Will SoD/SoL spells, or, if you‟re up against divine casters, rob them of spells.  Ruby Nightmare Blade – Double damage. How can you misread that? Iron Heart: Lightning Recovery – One of the classic Iron Heart counters. Missing is one of the most annoying and frequent setbacks a melee character faces, and rerolls can be priceless. fe at investment and gives a bonus to attacks. Mithral Tornado – Just like Whirlwind Attack, but it requires no feat Sounds good to me.

Stone Dragon: Bonesplitting Strike – Boils down to an attack that does bon us damage equal to your enemy‟s HD. Nice, and it

scales naturally as you face tougher monsters. The only downside's that it doesn't work against foes immune to Con damage. Boulder Roll – Just say NO to overrunning.

 

Overwhelming Mountain Strike – 2d6 bonus damage may not be exactly as overwhelming as the maneuver

implies, but denying your enemy a move action can be quite useful. Overall, a solid choice. Tiger Claw: Death From Above – The Jump check is easy to make, the bonus damage is yummy, the target is flat-footed,

rendering them vulnerable to Sneak Attacks and the like, plus it allows you to maneuver around into another square. Fountain of Blood – If you‟re facing a bunch of mooks, this can be quite nice. Ensures the foe you kill is dead and the save is against Will, which makes it more palatable. Plus, the effects last a long time White Raven: Covering Strike – An upgraded version of Douse the Flames, this deprives your foe f oe of AoOs for three whole

rounds, allowing you and your allies a lot of freedom to get into position or get out of there. White Raven Strike – Excellent for setting up sneak attacks.

Fifth Level 

This is Tiger Claw‟s time to shine: it has two splendid maneuvers this level, Dancing Mongoose and Pouncing

Charge. But Iron Heart Focus is very good as well. Diamond Mind: Disrupting Blow – Awesome for shutting down tough opponents, especially brute types with low Will saves. The save is reasonably tough, and denying opponents actions is fantastic. Rapid Counter – An extra AoO never goes amiss, and can be used to feed Channel the Storm; this is a strong choice.

Iron Heart: Dazing Strike – There‟s no point taking this when you could take Disrupting Blow instead. Even if you don‟t qualify for Disrupting Blow, the Fort save will be easily made by most monsters at this level. Iron Heart Focus – Rerolls are priceless, and a single bad saving throw can put you out of the fight. Extremely useful.

Stone Dragon: Elder Mountain Hammer – The second Mountain Hammer maneuver, this is similar to its predecessor but with 4d6 more bonus damage. It requires a heavier investment in Stone Dragon, though, which can be problematic. If  you qualify for it, it‟s an obvious pick, but if you don‟t then you can feel fine skipping it. The real point – avoiding hardness and DR – is just as intact in Mountain Hammer. Mountain Avalanche – Quite decent. If your specialty is Stone Dragon, it‟s a fine pick, though there are better choices at this level.    

Tiger Claw: Dancing Mongoose – Awesome for TWFers, and great even for others. You really can‟t go wrong with extra

attacks, and since this is a boost you yo u can even use a strike in the same round. Pouncing Charge – Pounce. Is. Fantastic. You want this a lot. Unless you already have Pounce, in which case,you don’t .

White Raven: Flanking Maneuver – As with so many White Raven maneuvers, this maneuver‟s effectiveness depends heavily on party composition. It‟s best used when there are sneak attackers present, as it allows them another sneak

attack.

Sixth Level 

 

 

There are no enormous standouts this level, but on the flip side nearly everything is pretty solid. Manticore Parry, Greater Insightful Strike, and Moment of Alacrity are likely top, with honorable mention going to Rabid Bear Str Strike ike and Order Forged from Chaos. Diamond Mind: Greater Insightful Strike – Just like its predecessor, Greater Insightful Strike is excellent. At 11th level, this will

net you something like 2d20+40 damage, an average of 61: +4 or so from Con, +14 skill ranks, +2 masterwork o ne standard action tool, all doubled. It might not be as impressive as an ubercharger‟s damage, but that‟s all in one attack. Moment of Alacrity – Moving when you want to is good. Sometimes, really good.

Iron Heart: Iron Heart Endurance – When stamina is a virtue, it can be a big plus never to start a battle with less than half 

hit points. Still usually a good idea to full heal via wands of lesser vigor v igor or similar after every battle, though. Manticore Parry – It‟s very hard to go amiss with not only dodging an atta ck, but redirecting it at an enemy. And

even if you're in a fight against a solo enemy, well...empty squares have 5 AC. Unfortunately, though, this maneuver functions only against armed attacks. If you see a lot of armed opponents, it's fantastic; if you don't, it loses a fair bit of use. Stone Dragon: Crushing Vise – It can be useful, but the downside‟s that melee brutes (who increasingly become some of the only land-based foes) often have large reach that partially negates the downside of not being able to move. And if  you‟re in melee range, they‟re likely to full attack in any case.   Iron  – At first level, DR 5/Adamantine for a round ro und was incredible. At eleventh, DR 10/Adamantine for a roundBones is nearly useless. Irresistible Mountain Strike – What have I said about maneuvers with Fortitude saves? In case you missed it, here‟s a recap: No, no, and no. The again, on a failed save this one carries a pretty nasty effect, so that serves as

a partial salvation. Tiger Claw: Rabid Bear Strike – Like most Tiger Claw maneuvers, this one is pretty straightforward. +4 attack and +10d6 damage in exchange for - 4 AC: a worthwhile trade by anyone‟s standards.   Wolf Climbs the Mountain – At the very least quite cool. I‟d usually choose Rabid Bear Strike over it, but if you want to take this it‟s a solid choice. Defensive bonuses and extra damage are always nice to have.  

White Raven: Order Forged from Chaos  – The perfect tactical retreat or regroup, and it can be used very effectively to charge

if your allies delay until after your turn; this way it can get everyone in position to full attack. War Leader’s Charge – An upgraded Battle Leader‟s Charge, this one‟s identical but carries 25 more bonus damage. That‟s never unwelcome, and because you‟re likely to have traded the earlier version away by now, this is

an excellent pick for chargers.

Seventh Level 

Similarly to last level, seventh is pretty hard to screw up. Avalanche of Blades, Quicksilver Motion, Finishing Move, Swooping Dragon Strike, and Swarming Assault are all stellar. Diamond Mind: Avalanche of Blades – Very nice. It‟s best used against foes who you‟re sure to make at least a couple attacks

against, though, because unlike a normal full attack, you stop as soon as you miss. Because of this, you probably won‟t be able to Power Attack as much, but it's useful for a Combat Rhythm warmup.   Quicksilver Motion – An extra move action is superb. Not much more to say, really, except reiterating reiter ating that bit about the action economy ruling D&D. Then again, there are other o ther ways to accomplish this.

 

Iron Heart: Finishing Move – Needless to say, you‟ll never want to use this maneuver unless your target has less than half  health, a point which you‟ll find up will come up surprisingly often (who‟d have guessed?). And 14d6 is quite a lot

of bonus damage. Scything Blade – An extra attack as a swift action is good, but this maneuver's use is limited. Dancing Mongoose

is strictly better. Stone Dragon: Ancient Mountain Hammer – At this point, you‟ll only qualify for the last M ountain Hammer maneuver if you have a heavy investment in Stone Dragon, in which case you should take it without a thought. But otherwise…well, you won‟t qualify for it anyway, so it doesn‟t much matter.  Colossus Strike – At level thirteen, expect your opponents to make the save regularly. But if you‟re standing on the edge of a cliff or over a pit of lava…well, you know you want to. 

Tiger Claw: Hamstring Attack – 1d8 Dex damage is nothing to laugh about, and even better if it‟s complementing Dex

draining from the party caster. Penalty to movement speed is just gravy. Swooping Dragon Strike – A simply stunning maneuver. (Get it? Stunning? Heh.) Normally, I know, I wail on every maneuver that allows a save. But in this case it‟s not a measly Xteen-plusStrength DC: the DC is actually equal to your Jump check. And if you‟re picking out 7th level Tiger Claw maneuvers, your Jump modifier better be pretty high. Awful puns aside, this really is a very good pick. White Raven: Clarion Call – Extra actions are what high level White Raven is all about; Clarion Call is a prime example (and therefore a prime pick). „Specially because, quite often, „allies within 60ft‟ means the whole party.   Swarming Assault – Whoa! If you have a melee-heavy party, this is a primer pick yet . Ganging up on a foe like

this is especially useful in a boss fight.

Eighth Level 

Too much goodness. The best are White Raven Hammer, Diamond Nightmare Blade, Adamantine Hurricane, and Raging Mongoose. Diamond Mind: Diamond Defense – This is a real disappointment, overshadowed by the save-replacing line. With so many great maneuvers this level, you just can‟t afford to take it.   Diamond Nightmare Blade – Like the rest of the Nightmare Blade maneuvers, this doesn‟t require a whole lot of  explanation. Times four damage. Seriously.

Iron Heart: Adamantine Hurricane – If you‟re adjacent to two or more foes, this is better than a full attack. And since you‟ll

often be in the thick of melee, that should come about quite frequently: freq uently: this is a superb maneuver. Lightning Throw – If cutting through hordes with impunity is your y our shtick, you can‟t get much better than this.  

Stone Dragon: Adamantine Bones – DR 20/adamantine is pretty awesome, but if you think that‟s going to stop CR 15 monsters, you‟re mistaken. Nonetheless, the fact that it stops a whole lot of Power Attack does make this better than its

predecessors. Earthstrike Quake – First of all, am I the only one who saw this and thought it was a typo? Really, it does look a lot like „Earthquake Strike‟ . Anyway, this one‟s pretty decent. While yes, the save is usually going to be made, if you‟re surrounded by casters it can help. But on the other hand, no caster in their right mind is going to be within 20ft of you. Tiger Claw:

 

  Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip – It‟s rend-o-mania, and an obvious choice for TWFers. Take it and go to town (though of course, since it requires that you‟re TWFing, non-TWFers shouldn’t touch it ). Something to consider, though: Feral Death Blow is much better, and so it‟s wise to trade this away. Raging Mongoose – Nice! I was sold at „two extra attacks‟.  White Raven: White Raven Hammer – Automatic stunning for a round is insanely brutal, especially on solo encounters where you can gang up on it or sling around debuffs. An amazing choice.

Ninth Level 

This is what you‟ve been waiting for. You‟ve finally racked up seventeen Initiator Levels. You‟re near the BBEG‟s

doorstep. So, what are the best? Well, the thing is, you basically want to take whatever you qualify for. They‟ re re all amazing. But the gold medal has to go to Time Stands Still, and silver perhaps to War Master‟s Charge (though most of the time you‟ll want Mountain Tombstone Strike as well). Diamond Mind: Time Stands Still – Come on. It‟s Time Stands Still. If you qualify for this, you‟re taking it. Period. 

Iron Heart: Strike of Perfect Clarity  – 100 extra damage is great. If you have the prerequisites, SoPC is an excellent choice,

especially as it requires only a standard action and functions fine against enemies immune to crits. It's usable in pretty much every situation. Stone Dragon: Mountain Tombstone Strike – Luckily for you, now that 3.5 is out of print there‟s no chance of the prereqs being errata‟d. In case you missed them: there aren‟t any. Take it, f o orr the love of the gods.

Tiger Claw: Feral Death Blow – The save is sort of low, and crit-immune creatures (read: a whole lot) are immune as well plus it's a full-round action. But then again, it‟s a SoD, and 20d6 damage even if they succeed.  

White Raven: War Master’s Charge – For a melee-focused party? Woah. Just…woah. This is the dream of every White Raven warblade, and if you qualify for it there‟s no question as to whether you should take it.  

There are, however, a few caveats to be aware of: it takes t akes a full round action to initiate, sucks up an immediate action from your allies, and perhaps most importantly, allows an attack only against a single foe.

Stances: Carrying the Sword  

First Level 

All in all, a very solid level for stances. The choice is usually between Blood in the Water, Hunter‟s Sense, and Punishing Stance. Diamond Mind: Stance of Clarity – Not bad at all, especially if you‟re up against solo monsters. Ultimately, Ultimately, though, Punishing

 

Stance is better. Iron Heart: Punishing Stance – During the low levels, +1d6 damage is significant, more so than -2 AC. An excellent choice.

Stone Dragon: Stonefoot Stance – Sadly, Stone Dragon isn‟t known for its stances, and you can see why. You won‟t often be facing Large or larger foes at level one, and most Strength checks aren‟t in combat situations, so you‟ll often be

able to take 20 on o n them anyway - exploits like bull rushes and overruns being the exception. Tiger Claw: Blood in the Water – Nice. On double kukri crit fishers, the damage stacks up quickly, and as such this is usually the default choice for them. Even if you‟re not TWFing, with iteratives and a keen weapon this stance can be a very

solid source of attack and damage bonuses. Hunter’s Sense – Another great stance. The Scent ability is really useful.

White Raven: Bolstering Voice – The +4 bonus against fear effects isn‟t very useful, since you won‟t be facing foes with them for a while. But even without that, there are worse things than granting your allies free Iron Will. Unfortunately, it ages quickly - and unlike a maneuver, it can't be swapped out. Leading the Charge – If you have allies who charge on a regular basis, Leading the Charge is really nice. Still, though, Leading the Charge is good even if you're the only charger in your party. It's a scaling flat bonus to charge damage, and since it's a stance, you can combine it with other maneuvers that involve charging - or, if you want to be really nasty, combine it with Pounce.

Third Level 

A pretty unappealing level, unfortunately. The ones to consider are Tactics of the Wolf and Leaping Dragon Stance. Diamond Mind: Pearl of Black Doubt - Less useful than you may think. Bonuses only last a single round, and if they're going to

be missing you, more AC isn't going to do much more good. And if they are hitting you, you're not going to be piling up bonuses. But it can be useful if you're surrounded by mooks, or facing monsters with a ton of natural attacks (which all tend to be made at the same attack rating). Iron Heart: Absolute Steel Stance - Extra speed and a +2 AC bonus if you yo u move around. Not bad, but there are better 1st level stances to be in.

Stone Dragon: Crushing Weight of the Mountain - This is one of the few Stone Dragon stances that can be used in mid-air and

doesn't end if you move more than 5'. It's also one of the easier ways to pick up Constrict damage (2d6 + 1.5xStr bonus) without resorting to wild shape or polymorph shenanigans. However, unless your build is specifically designed around grappling, it's pretty useless. If you do have a grappling build, then this is pure gold. Roots of the Mountain - Well, if you could keep it up while moving, it would be pretty decent for a battlefieldcontrol specialist. Any creature that goes into your yo ur threatened space gets a -10 on Tumble checks. That makes it a lot harder to tumble past you to avoid AoO's. DR2/- isn't bad either. However, you have to plant and stay put for it to continue being effective. This makes it far less useful. Tiger Claw: Leaping Dragon Stance - Very good for a Hood-type or Jumplomancer. If you want to jump high, this helps a lot; note that it doesn't provide simply a +10 to Jump checks, but in fact gives +10 feet . But you don't have any

interest in jumping, look elsewhere. for attacking with an unarmed strike/natural weapon/light weapon in Wolverine Stance - Negates the -4 penalty a grapple. Also, if you're opponent is larger than you, you get a +4 damage bonus. However, you'll get better

 

damage with Crushing Weight of the Mountain (3.5 avg + 1.5xStr bonus), and that works regardless of your opponent's size. White Raven: Tactics of the Wolf - Extra damage while flanking equal to 1/2 IL. If you can reliably set up flanking opportunities, this has a lot of potential. Remember, Re member, your buddies get this too, so flanking rogues are now doing even *more* damage. This is like half-again what Craven can do for them. If you've got several melee users who like to flank, or if someone has Clarion Call or Island of Blades or some other way of making flanking happen easier, it can be pretty nasty. Requires some forethought and setup, though.

Fifth Level 

Again, not fantastic. If you can't use Magic Item Compendium, Hearing the Air is the obvious choice; if you can, it's Press the Advantage, with Dancing Blade form coming in next. Diamond Mind: Hearing the Air - Blindsense is awesome. You can buy Blindsight, though, for 9000gp, with MIC's Blindfold of True Darkness, which is even better - but if that's not on the table, or if you'd prefer not to blindfold yourself, this is agreat pick.

Iron Heart: Dancing Blade Form - Five extra feet of reach is delicious. Whether it's worth a stance or not is up to you.

Stone Dragon: Giant's Stance - It ends if you move more than 5 feet for any reason. Now why would you ever want to do that?

Really, though, it's just like Monkey Grip, but worse (and Monkey Grip is already sub-par). White Raven: Press the Advantage - An extra 5-foot step each round? Nice!

Seventh Level 

As a warblade, by the time you can get a 7th level stance, you'll already be able to get an 8th level one. So it's not generally worth it. Tiger Claw: Prey on the Weak - It can definitely be useful against large numbers of enemies, but it's probably best to choose

an 8th level stance rather than this.

Eighth Level 

There's not a doubt as to the choice here. It's Stance of Alacrity, with the rest lagging far behind. Nonetheless, Wolf Pack Tactics and Swarm Tactics are both good if you can't take Stance of Alacrity. Diamond Mind: Stance of Alacrity - This is by far the best stance available to you. Imagine using Moment of Perfect Mind and

Wall of Blades in the same round - nom.

 

Iron Heart: Supreme Blade Parry - Sorry, DR 5/- is not going to help you at level seventeen. Look elsewhere.

Stone Dragon: Strength of Stone - Again, the need to stay still is a big downside. But being immune to crits is a big upside, even

if it can be bought ('tis expensive, though). Tiger Claw: Wolf Pack Tactics - It's clearly intended for TWFers to be able to dart around the battlefield in between swings in a full attack, so it's a lot like Cleave in that respect. Except there simply aren't many circumstances where it works...it's just too narrow for your 8th level stance.

White Raven: Swarm Tactics - Coolio. Might take some work to set up, but it pairs very nicely with a lot of White Raven

maneuvers.

Feats: Mastering the Sword  

Player's Handbook 

Skill Feats (Skill Focus, Acrobatic, Agile, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Diligent, Investigator, Magical Aptitude, Negotiator, Nimble Fingers, Persuasive, Self-Sufficient, Stealthy) - No. Never. Absolutely not. Not even then. Armor Proficiency (Heavy) - Not worth it. If you really need the AC, just get mithral plate armor. Combat Expertise - As it doesn't scale with BAB like Power Attack does, this is a pretty abysmal choice. But it's a

prerequisite for Improved Trip, and so for trippers - though it pains me to say this - it's a must. Improved Disarm - Flick your opponent's épée out of his hand with a flourish! Or, y'know, take the Exorcism of  Steel maneuver. Blind-Fight - A nice feat. Being able to reroll miss chance can be a lifesaver when it comes up, but the real benefit is that invisible attackers get no bonuses against you. It's especially useful because it's a prerequisite for Pierce Magical Concealment, which you should definitely get if you can - it's pure gold. Combat Reflexes - This one's a great choice. You should have a good Dex, so you'll gain even more benefits than usual - and later on you can use those extra AoOs to fuel Channel the Storm if you choose to go th at route. Improved Initiative - +4 to Initiative is pretty straightforward and pretty delicious. This is always a good standby. Improved Feint - Have you ever actually seen anyone try to feint? Didn't think so. Improved Trip - Excellent. It's the cornerstone of every tripper build, and without it you're not much of a tripper anyway. Whirlwind Attack - It's a fine feat, but is insanely feat-intensive to get. Plus, the Mithral Tornado maneuver does the same thing, and without sucking up half your feats. Dodge - This is one of the classic trap feats. Avoid it at all costs. Mobility - Mobility is actually OK, by Core standards. But Tumble is there to help avoid AoOs, anyway, and Dodge as a prereq makes this a no-no. Plus, you can buy the feat with Armor of Mobility Mobil ity from Draconomicon. Spring Attack - Rather underwhelming, especially since it doesn't allow you to make a strike. With its awful prereqs, this isn't worth it at all. Exotic Weapon Proficiency - On most melee characters this is on a case-by-case basis, but you take the caseby-case out of it. Weapon Aptitude combined with this feat fe at lets you use basically any weapon ever made: enjoy e njoy waking up every morning and deciding what you'll fight with today. Improved Critical - You can buy this feat, and buyable feats are never worth taking. Skip it and get a Scabbard of Keen Edges or a Keen weapon. Endurance - This is a pretty terrible feat on its own. However, its saving grace is that it's the gateway to Steadfast Determination, which is awesome. But don't take it unless you're using it as a prereq for that. Diehard - It boils down to ten extra hit points, and while those can be nice, they're hardly worth a feat. The fact that this requires another mediocre feat, Endurance, makes it completely unappealing. Improved Unarmed Strike - Play an unarmed swordsage. The only reason you should be taking Improved Unarmed Strike asImproved a warbladeGrapple is to qualify for the MasterStunning of Nine PrC. Deflect Arrows, Grapple, , Snatch Arrows, Fist - See above. If you're an aspiring Master of Nine, skip Improved Unarmed Strike's offshoots; you'll be feat-starved feat -starved enough as it is.

 

Leadership - Many DMs ban it, in my experience. experie nce. But if you can take it, it's fantastic - caster cohorts are

especially useful for buffing purposes. Try not to destroy your game by abusing Leadership (or using it to make yourself the center of the game), though! Leadership is immensely powerful; use its benefits in moderation. Mounted Combat - Mounted combat is an unconventional style for warblades, but it can be very effective. If you want to give it a try, go ahead. Ride-by Attack - Not bad at all, and it's a prereq for Spirited Charge, which is essential for every mounted combatant. Spirited Charge - Triple damage with a lance. Triple damage. Simply amazing, this is the mounted combatant's Leap Attack. Trample - You probably have better things to spend feats fe ats on. Sh ot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Many Shot, Archery feats (Point Blank Shot, Shot on the Run, Mounted Archery) Archery) - Warblades just aren't suited for archery. However, Eternal Blades have the potential to excel at it. Great Fortitude - Your Fort save will already be quite high, due to a good base save and a good Con. No need to take this. Iron Will - Like all the save-boosting feats, Iron Will isn't great. But Will is a big weakness for you, and so strengthening it isn't as much a waste as it is with Fort and Ref. Lightning Reflexes - While not as great as Fort, your Ref save will usually be high enough. Best to look elsewhere. Power Attack - Simple, beautiful, and awesome. Very few warblades are going to be able to function without it. Cleave - Definitely worth taking if you're restricted restr icted to Core. Otherwise, it's lower priority, but still a good choice. Great Cleave - Less useful, unless your campaign is high on the mook-killing. If so, give it a spin. Improved Bull Rush - If you're really into Stone Dragon or have levels in Dungeoncrasher fighter, it's a nice pick. But the real use here is that it's a prerequisite ffor or Shock Trooper, an insanely good feat for chargers. Improved Overrun - Why are you overrunning, anyway? Improved Sunder - It's a prereq for Combat Brute, which is the real reason you take this one. Still, you can use it to smash swords, spill potions, or sunder the BBEG's spell component pouch. Plus, you never know when you'll run into any hydras. Improved Shield Bash - If shield bashing is your thing, this is the gateway feat. But if you're not focused on shield bashing, you shouldn't ever have a shield which you actually hold. Tower Shield Proficiency - You're a mobile combatant, not a chunk of meatshield. Tower shields limit your mobility too much to be easily viable. Toughness - This is undoubtedly one of the worst feats ever printed. If you reeeally need  more hitpoints, take Improved Toughness instead. Track - Survival is a cross-class skill for you, unfortunately. It could work, but if you want to play a tracker, consider the Hunter's Sense stance instead. Quick Draw - Plain and simple, Quick Draw is a fine f ine choice. Worth taking, especially if you're into multiple weapons. Run - Erm...yeah. This is a trap, and not worth your time. Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting - Tiger Claw provides a massive boost to TWFers, and you can go into the Bloodclaw Master PrC later, if you so choose. TWFing is a good option for warblades, but swordsages are often better. Two-Weapon Defense - Nooooo. The Two-Weapon Defense line is, in all honesty, a complete waste. Weapon Finesse - Wielding light weapons are a bad option, since they give you neither the ability to Power Attack or 1.5x your Strength bonus to damage. If you want to play a character like this, consider swordsage as an alternative. Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Specialization - These four are the classic fighter feats, fe ats, and thanks to Weapon Aptitude you have nearly exclusive access to them. Unfortunately, they're generally derided as utterly, totally, completely awful, as small, static bonuses don't usually compare with the benefits other feats provide. But, in Runestar's words: "These small bonuses are all the more meaningful in the hands of a martial adept. One difference they have over a fighter is that if you build them around their standard action strikes, combat will  typically involve 1 attack each round. Either you hit for a ton of damage, or you miss and don't deal anything. Compared to a fighter who can make 4-6 attacks each round. Assuming you hit with at least 1 attack, you should  be doing at least a bit of damage each round. This makes hitting (and by extension, all those attack bonuses) all the more crucial. Granted, the attack bonus from weapon spec/mastery isn't so attractive when you are limited to 1 attack/roun attack/round d (compared to a fighter's 4-6).  At least for me, me, I am willing to in invest vest at lea least st 3 feats to to acquire mele melee e weapon ma mastery, stery, and ma maybe ybe eventually  eventually  work my way up to weapon supremacy."  

Long story short: these feats are ok. Nothing more, maybe a little less. But they're functional, provide solid

 

bonuses, always help, and are simple to keep track tr ack of. If you're into optimization, avoid them at all costs, but a warblade who focuses on these two feat trees is a perfectly playable one.

From here on out, the only feats mentioned will be those relevant r elevant to the warblade class. Tome of Battle 

Adaptive Style – With so few maneuvers readied, versatility can be a problem; this feat helps a lot. It‟s a great choice for any warblade, though much less crucial than it is to a swordsage. Avenging Strike – Cha is a dump stat for you, so there‟s no reason to take this, anyway.   Blade Meditation - Very similar to Weapon Specialization, even more so because you have Weapon Aptitude. Skip it. Evasive Reflexes – Pretty sweet. You never know when a little extra mobility can come in handy, but you can be darn sure it will. Martial Stance – Stances are rare and precious. You should usually get enough, but it certainly doesn‟t hurt to get an extra. This also lets you branch out of the warblade disciplines if you‟re so inclined; if you spend a feat on Martial Study (Crusader‟s Strike), which can help low -level survivability a lot, you might as well take this feat to get the Thicket of Blades stance. Martial Study – Like stances, you can never have enough maneuvers. Then again, you can, to a limited degree, buy maneuvers with the appropriate items (the Crown of White Ravens and its ilk). Nonetheless, as I mentioned above, getting Crusader‟s Strike can boost your early survival capacity (but remember - maneuvers gained through Martial Study can't be traded away). Rapid Assault – It‟s…ok. But frankly, Weapon Specialization is better.   Song of the White Raven – For bard/warblades, it‟s absolutely awesome. But unless you plan on taking bard

levels, you obviously don’t want it. Snap Kick – Very nice! If you‟re fighting unarmed (likely because you‟re a Master of Nine), it‟s a  great pick. Sudden Recovery – Erm. No. Using this feat prevents you from using a strike anyway, so you might as well just j ust take the opportunity to refresh every maneuver rather than just one. Superior Unarmed Strike – Heck, if you‟re fighting unarmed, you might as well take it.  Vital Recovery – It‟s only useful during the low levels, so you might as well just grab Martial Study (Crusader‟s Strike) instead. Unnerving Calm - While Diamond Mind is one of the best disciplines available, this feat disappoints. Don't bother. Ironheart Aura - Like many of your bonus feats, Ironheart Aura at first seems underwhelming. But it's a requirement for Stormguard Warrior, which is par exsalonce. Stone Power - It's good in and of itself, and the fact that it's a prerequisite for Shards of Granite only sweetens the deal. But be warned: as you level up, it decreases in effectivene effectiveness ss. Tiger Blooded - If you're a shifter or have levels in barbarian, look no further; take it in a pinch . But obviously, otherwise you don't want it. White Raven Defense - Far from fantastic, but it leads to Clarion Commander, which is very nice. Tactical Feats: Clarion Commande Commander r – Following Up and Perpetual Flank can be pretty useful, the latter especially if there’s a sneak attacker in your party. Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body – Try saying that as a free action. Even if you do, it should only be to trash the thing, because it‟s terrible.  Reaping Talons – It‟s slightly better than Perfect Clarity of Mind and Body, but not by much. Skip it.  Shards of Granite – Eviscerating Strike is just awesome. If you‟ve taken Stone Power, pick this one up as well.  Stormguard Warrior – Now this? This is where it‟s at. In tandem with Robilar‟s Gambit or Karmic Strike, Channel

the Storm can rack up some really mean bonuses, and Combat Rhythm can up your punch considerably.

Player’s Handbook II 

Acrobatic Strike – This is all right. The bonus is somewhat situational, and by the time you‟re level 9 there are

better feats to choose from. Conversely, there are worse ones. Active Shield Defense – If you‟re playing a sword & board tank, this can be excellent. However, for a tanking role it‟s usually best to use a reach (and often tripping) weapon, which makes it less useful.  Adaptable Flanker – You‟ll definitely see use if there‟s a sneak attacker in th e party, but it sucks up your swift

action, which means no strikes for you.

 

Agile Shield Fighter – It‟s completely essential for shield bashers, though awful for anyone else. Armor Specialization – DR 2/- simply isn‟t worth a feat, especially at the high levels. Bounding Assault – Spring Attack is awful. You better not have invested the feats in it, but if you have then you can consider this. You might also want to consider another gem from the PHBII – retraining. lo t to take Shock Trooper as well: that way you can increase your PA damage Brutal Strike – Love it. It helps a lot (and thus this feat‟s save DC) without worrying about missing. And combine with Three Mountains Strike for more

goodies. Combat Acrobat – Quite nice. And you‟ll likely have the skill prereqs anyway. Combat Tactician – This just confuses me. Taking Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization nets you +1 attack

and +2 damage; taking Dodge and Combat Tactician gets you +1 AC (sometimes) and +2 damage (occasionally). Outperformed by the Weapon Focus/Spec line; ouch. Cometary Collision – Really nice for intercepting charges, and the attack/damage bonuses are just gravy. And it has the same prereqs as Shock Trooper, which means you often won‟t have to throw out any feats to qualify.  Crushing Strike – Look, if you‟ve already gotten Melee Weapon Mastery, it‟s time to pull out. If you fight with a bludgeoning weapon, check out Brutal Strike and Three Mountains Strike instead. Defensive Sweep – Ooh. Very, very nice for tanks. Driving Attack – If you can bully your DM into letting it work with single-attack maneuvers, this is an excellent choice. Otherwise, best left alone. Fade Into Violence – What sort of warblade are you? Your job is to be out there taking hits and winning glory, not cowering and creeping around. Flay – Very bad. No sort of half-competent foe will lack an armor bonus to AC. Grenadier – Maneuvers don‟t work with splash weapons, so specializing in them is hardly a good choice.   Hindering Opportunist – A vast majority of the time, an AoO from you will be much more helpful than a +2 on an ally‟s attack.  Intimidating Strike – A very solid choice if you have ranks in Bluff. Just make sure you don‟t take so many penalties to your attack roll that you miss. Indomitable Soul – Really good. The prereqs can be annoying, but luckily, both can be taken as bonus feats. Leap of the Heavens – If you focus on jumping, the competence bonus will likely be lost on you. Nonetheless, this is a nice choice for a dragoon build. Lunging Strike - …Look, just 5 -foot step up to them. Melee Evasion – You may notice that the effect is almost identical to the Wall of Blades counter. Skip it. Melee Weapon Mastery – This is the reason you take Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. Investing three feats into these can be an excellent choice, but after getting it this one I advise you to pull out. Overwhelming Assault – “Only  “Only a fool ignores the the deadly threat threat that you present”. You got that right right,, PHBII; unfortunately, you won‟t get very far by assuming every enemy you meet i s a fool. Rapid Blitz – Okay, so you ignored my earlier advice about retraining. I suppose that if you‟re still alive by 18th level, Spring Attack hasn‟t completely ruined you…but for the love of the gods, don‟t throw any more feats down the drain. How do you expect to beat the BBEG with Spring Attack? Also: retraining. Look into it. Gambit – Pure awesome. Robilar‟s Gambit is spectacular for just about any warblade; you can‟t go Robilar’s Gambit  wrong with free attacks. Shield Sling – As a shield fighter, you‟ll be strapped for feats enough as it is. You can‟t really afford branching out into thrown weapons. Shield Specialization – By itself, Shield Specialization isn‟t great, but it opens a lot of doors when it comes to shield fighting. If you‟d like to go that route, it‟s basically a must.  Shield Ward – If you use a shield, you could do much worse. Ultimately, a solid pick. j ust to grab Exotic Short Haft – It sucks up swift actions, which for you is terrible. A much, much better option is just Weapon Proficiency and use a spiked chain or meteor hammer. Slashing Flurry – An extra attack is very nice, though the prereqs can be a drag. Spectral Skirmisher – If you‟re invisible a lot, it‟s not too bad. But there are better options, and many foes will eventually have Blindsense, Blindsight, or True Seeing. Stalwart Defense – Hindering Opportunist is bad. Stalwart Defense is worse. Steadfast Determination – This is a really good feat, fe at, especially because Endurance can be picked up as a bonus feat. It makes a key weakness, Will saves, dependent on your second most important stat, Constitution. Trophy Collector – If you‟ve invested 6 ranks in Craft (taxidermy), you‟re already a taxidermist. You don‟t need a terrible feat to prove it. Two-Weapon Pounce – Bloodclaw Master and the Pouncing Charge maneuver provide nearly the same bonus, and without sucking up a feat. Two-Weapon Rend – TWFing is already feat intensive, but if you can spare more then this is a strong choice. Quite a bit of bonus bo nus damage. Versatile Unarmed Strike – Can be quite handy for overcoming DR. If you‟re up against things like zombies and skeletons, it can be a good pick. Vexing Flanker – Honestly, I‟d tend to pick Weapon Focus over it (in my book, a constant +1 tops a situational +2). Seeing as Weapon Focus isn‟t a great feat, that doesn‟t say much about Vexing Flanker.  Weapon Supremacy – You won‟t qualify for this until 20th level, which means you won‟t be able to take it until 21st. But if a friendly caster can spare a heroics spell, this is an brilliant candidate – and if you qualify, you should take it at 21st without a thought.

 

  Complete Adventurer 

Brachiation – If you encounter a lot of rough terrain, it might be useful. But this ages by high levels, and aging feats often aren‟t a wise choice.  Brutal Throw – A nice choice for a Bloodstorm Blade who wants to save swift actions. Combat Intuition – Meh. Not usually a wise choice to invest in Sense Motive, and even ignoring that, this isn‟t a

very spectacular feat. Danger Sense – Rerolls are awesome, and initiative can be crucial. This is a very solid pick. Death Blow – Ooh, nice. Very cool if a party caster is fond of  hold  spells (and who wouldn‟t be?). Even better because you can use that standard action to refresh maneuvers. Deft Opportunist – Far from bad, and especially nice if you have Karmic Strike or Robilar‟s Gambit.  Dive for Cover – While rerolls are, as I‟ve said, great, your Reflex save will usually be high enough. And while failing a Will save can mean losing a battle, failing a Reflex save often just means taking some extra damage. Dual Strike – Not strictly bad for a TWFer, but you‟ll often be too feat -strapped to afford it. Expert Tactician – If you‟re an AoO build, this can amount to giving allies bonuses against the foe you‟re fighting every round. But they‟re small bonuses, and only last for a round; not really worth a feat.  Force of Personality – Cha is your only dump stat. Avoid it like the plague. Goad – Based on Cha, and it‟s a mind affecting ability, which can be guarded against without a lot of trouble by the mid levels. Hear the Unseen – You can buy it with a Blindfold of True Darkness or get it with the Hearing the Air stance. Never, ever learn this. Improved Diversion – Why the heck would you want to make a diversion in the first place? Insightful Reflexes – Actually, since you already add Int to Reflex saves, this just makes your Reflex save worse. Leap Attack – Sheer, pure awesome. A really easy Jump check (and you should have the Jump ranks anyway) gets you get an enormous e normous multiplier on your Power Attack damage – wow. Open Minded – You should have enough SP for your needs, and even if you don‟t then you shouldn‟t waste a feat on this. Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting – This is the same deal as Monkey Grip, doubly so. That is, it‟s awful and you should steer way clear of it. Power Throw – If you specialize in thrown weapons, you should go Bloodstorm Blade, and that PrC gives you the same benefit as this feat.

Complete Warrior 

Clever Wrestling – By the high levels you should always get a ring of  freedom of movement anyway, making this a wasted choice. The very circumstantial prerequisite doesn‟t help.  Close-Quarters Fighting – While you will, as I said above, want a ring of  freedom of movement , extra attacks

are very yummy; it also helps offset the usually large gulf between your grapple checks and that of a grappleoriented opponent. A good choice, and in every way superior to Clever Wrestling. Dash – Five extra feet of movement is very nice. Five extra feet of movement is also not worth one of your precious feat slots. Defensive Strike – Considering that Dodge is an awful feat and the Fight the Horde use of Stormguard Warrior is better, this is just terrible. Earth’s Embrace – If you want to grapple, warblade isn‟t the best choice. And you should be aware that this feat becomes much less useful when you start facing lots of critcr it-immune enemies; nonetheless, nonetheless, it‟s an okay choice if  you qualify. Eagle Claw Attack – Your Wisdom won‟t be high, and even if it were…how often will you be attacking objects?  Eyes in the Back of Your Head – Even if it were a constant +2 AC, it wouldn‟t be worth it. As is, it‟s just pathetic. Extra Stunning – If you have Stunning Fist, you might as well take this. But you will be feat-starved fe at-starved as an unarmed combatant, make no mistake, so only pick this if you can afford it. It goes without saying that nonunarmed combatants should never even consider this. Faster Healing – You should always heal between fights, anyway. And if you can‟t, somehow I don‟t think one extra hit point will be much help. Fist of Iron – Take this, and gain 1d6 extra damage a few times a day. Or take Weapon Specialization, and gain +2 damage all day. Yeah, it‟s actually eclipsed by Weapon Specializat Specialization. ion. What does that say about it?  r ather than two feats.  Fleet of Foot – Pick up the Twisted Charge skill trick. I t‟s two skill points rather Flying Kick – If you fight unarmed and charge regularly, it‟s all right. Otherwise, it sucks. Greater Kiai Shout – It‟s good for dispatching mooks, but you normally want to dump Cha.  

 

Greater Resiliency – Wizards thought DR was spectacular, and handed it out to player characters accordingly stingily. Unfortunately, it‟s far from as great as they thought, and DR 1/ - is a waste of a feat. Greater Two-Weapon Defense – This is an awful line of feats. Just…no.  Hold the Line – Extra attacks are always good to have, and out there on the front lines you‟ll see charging opponents more than most. Improved Buckler Defense – The old trick of wearing and enchanting a buckler is now viable for TWFers as well. But it‟s probably wiser just to get an animated shield – TWFing will suck up your feats as it is. Improved Combat Expertise – Honestly, I have no idea why this wasn‟t just wrapped into the original feat. But if  you took Combat Expertise, you might as well take this so that you can use it to its full potential. Improved Toughness – Improved Toughness isn‟t the best feat to take, but it‟s loads lo ads better than its counterpart. If you really want extra hit points, you can do much worse than this one. Improved Two-Weapon Defense - I hate to sound like a record, but this is a terrible, terrible, terrible line of  feats. Improved Weapon Familiarity – Because you have Weapon Aptitude, this is nothing but a worse version of  Exotic Weapon Proficiency. Karmic Strike – Pure awesome. This is one of the only reasons you should take Dodge, and it‟s quite the incentive. Requires more investment than Robilar‟s Gambit, but its effects are better and it can be taken at a lower level. Kiai Shout – If you have 13 Cha, this isn‟t too bad an option. It‟s best used in campaigns where you expect to face large numbers of low-level enemies. Monkey Grip – It‟s a trap! All this really equates to is a couple more points of damage.   Phalanx Fighting – “If  “If you are using using a heavy shield and a light weapon”. Why the heck would you be doing that? The only time you should be is if you‟re TWFing with a light weapon in your off -hand and an animated shield…but by the time you can afford an animated shield, +1 or +2 AC will be quite q uite an obsolete bonus. Pin Shield – The extra attacks from your off-hand weapon are much more valuable than denying your opponent their shield‟s AC bonus.  Power Critical – You already have a bonus from Battle Ardor, and if you‟re pursuing the Weapon Focus tree, your unclaimed feats are very precious. Prone Attack – If you fall down a lot, this helps. You‟re also not a great warblade. Anyway, this is the epitome of  mediocrity. Lousy prereq, solid but situational bonus. You can usually do better, but if you like this one, you can also do a lot worse. Roundabout Kick – Really nasty (for your opponents, that is). If you can reliably score unarmed crits, it‟s  justbrutal. Shield Charge – If shield bashing and tripping are your thing, this is excellent – and it‟s a requirement for Shie ld Slam, too! Shield Slam – Just fantastic for shield bashers. It‟s a Fortitude save, yes, but a pretty high DC, and dazing an enemy for a round is often equivalent to killing them. Throw Anything – Very nice. Bloodstorm Blades will get this automatically, but even if you don‟t plan on throwing regularly, it‟s still very solid. 

Tactical Feats: Combat Brute – Momentum Swing. Oh yeah. This is amazing for any warblade. Elusive Target – Remember how I said that Karmic Strike was one of the few reasons to take Dodge? This is

another. Negate Power Attack is simply insane; Diverting Defense is excellent; for trippers, Cause Overreach is wonderful. Wear Armor of Mobility from Draconomicon, and you only have to take one prereq feat. Formation Expert – Decidedly meh. If you‟re defending Osgiliath, that‟s one thing, but you usually won‟t see a lot of use out of this one. Giantbane – Pretty cool, and okay. It‟s not a great choice, but it‟s a fine one.  Raptor School – It sucks. Cool f luff, luff, I know, but Tiger Claw has the same…and without sucking.  Shock Trooper – Shock Trooper. Yeah. „Insane‟ is probably the best word to use here. Heedless Charge is the clear standout: it‟s totally essential for chargers, and amazing for just anyone. 

Weapons: The Sword Rack   Simple 

Dagger - If you want a light weapon, wield a kukri or a short sword. However, it is pretty cool flavorwise to beat an enemy with just a dagger, and damage bonuses from maneuvers aren't reduced, so if you yo u really want to use it, that's fine. Even if you don't, carry one with you. Punching Dagger - No, never. It's like a regular dagger without throwing.

 

Spiked Gauntlet - The primary use for this weapon is if you're THF with a reach weapon and need to have something always ready in case foes get inside your reach. In those cases, it does its job perfectly. If you're looking for a primary melee weapon, I'd look elsewhere. Light Mace - The Lightning Mace feat makes these quite useful. However, a better use for that feat is to use it with kukris that have been enchanted with ToB's  Aptitude property. Sickle - Slightly more damage than the dagger, and trip as well. Heavy Mace - It's the hardest weapon to sunder, and its damage is fine, but it has a smaller crit range than the martial weapons. It could be useful with the feat Three Mountains Style. Morningstar - It's a cheap heavy mace that's easy to sunder. The only benefit is its ability to overcome more

types of DR. Longspear - The damage is low for a two handed weapon, but it makes up for it in flexibility: the longspear has

reach and can be braced against a charge. Spear, Shortspear - Marginally useful in that they can be set against a charge or thrown, but without reach there isn't much to see here.

Martial 

Kukri - Amazing for crit-fishers, and TWFers. If you're not TWFing, there's no reason to use one. Light Pick - Nothing worth mentioning. Armor Spikes - Always useful as backup weapon. They allow you to threaten adjacent squares while wielding a reach weapon; also, you can use them in a grapple. Lastly, you can enchant them and make them Defending. Battleaxe - Comparable to the longsword. Flail/Heavy Flail - Reasonable choices. Better if you're planning to exploit tripping/disarming. Longsword - A reasonable choice for sword-n-boarders. Heavy pick - Like a the scimitar, but with increased multiplier rather than threat range; inferior, since it's not as useful for crit-fishing. Rapier - Comparable to the scimitar. A good choice if you're a Dex-based warblade, particularly if you have your eye on a dip in the Champion of Corellon prestige class. Scimitar - A reasonable choice for sword'n'boarders. Trident - No real reason to take this over other comparable weapons unless you're planning on taking the Net and Trident style feat, and that is an awfully weird feat commitment for a warblade - you have far better feat fe at lines available. Warhammer - A reasonable choice for sword-n-boarders. Falchion  Falchion - A choice comparable to the greatsword. Gets nasty if you're planning on critical hit silliness. Glaive. Reach, THF, and slightly better damage than the other martial reach weapons. Okay, but the other polearms' special abilities typically make them better choices. Greataxe - A reasonable choice, comparable to greatsword. Like the greatsword, it lacks reach. Greatclub - Two-handed, comparable to the greatsword. Gets better if you plan on taking advantage of Three Mountains Style. Greatsword - A solid choice. High damage output, but it unfortunately lacks the reach that polearms provide. Guisarme - THF, Reach, and ability to make trips. If you're planning on becoming a tripper, this can become an amazing weapon. Halberd - but THF, make trips, and it canbetter be setthan against charges. Lack of reach makes this inferior to the guisarme, if ability you're to a tripper it's potentially the greatsword. gre atsword. Lance - Reach. Incredible for a mounted combatant, but don't wield it in one hand even if you could. Ranseur - Reach and disarm bonus. Disarm isn't the best technique ever, but against other medium humanoids it can do okay. Reach means an enemy without a reach weapon of their own o wn won't be able to claim the AoO trying to disarm normally provokes. Scythe - A two-handed weapon that can also be used to make trip attacks. Can be hilarious if you're able to expand the critical radius. Conspicuously lacks reach.

Exotic 

Keep in mind when looking through exotic weapons that, as a warblade, you have something that other classes don't - Weapon Aptitude allows you, with only 15 minutes' practice, to change what weapons weapon-specific feats (including Exotic Weapon Proficiency) apply to. Take EWP, fiddle with an exotic weapon for a while, and instant proficiency! Kama, Nunchaku, Sai, Siangham - Disarm and trip are useful, but you can get both of them and more damage with a flail. A spiked chain nets you reach as well.

 

Bastard Sword, Dwarven Waraxe - The extra point of damage isn't worth a feat if you're getting EWP just for these guys. However, if you're using them to bridge from sword'n'board style to THFing, and you're taking EWP to use, say, the spiked chain later, they are basically strict upgrades to the longsword and battleaxe. They also get better if you're planning taking at least 1 level of the Exotic Weapon Master PrC. One of the Exotic Weapon Master's abilities allows you to get a 2:1 return on PA rather r ather than 1.5:1 so long as you're using a one-handed exotic weapon in 2 hands. Dwarves, who have free proficiency with their racial weapons, don't even need a feat to enter this PrC. Whip - While good for factotums, very bad for warblades. Orc Doubleaxe - Essentially the same deal as the the double sword. Spiked Chain - A superior choice. This weapon is the gold standard against which all others should be judged. It is a THF, it allows trips and disarms, it is finessable even though it isn't light, and it has reach even though it also allows you to strike adjacent foes. You need a good reason NOT to take EWP to use this weapon. Dire Flail - If you to trip, disarm, and TWF, just use a regular flail and something else. Gnome Hooked Hammer - Only slightly better than the warhammer and sickle combo. Skip it. Double Sword - If you're TWFing it's better to go with a weapon suitable for crit -fishing. Dwarven Urgosh - Meh. It's worse than a spear, and sucks up a feat. However, if you're a dwarf (and so have free proficiency), it's a reasonable choice. Net, Bolas - Both of these use ranged r anged touch attacks, so even if you're not proficient with them, you can still use a THF weapon in melee.

Non-Core 

Bardiche, Bec-de-Corbin, Glaive-Guisarme (PAPG) - These are all decent. The bardiche is good if you face monsters who use sunder, the bec-de-corbin is good if you use sunder, and the glaive-guisarme is good against mounted opponents. Battle Aspergillum (PAPG) - Useful against evil outsiders and undead. Otherwise, give it a miss. Bill (PAPG) - Lower damage than most polearms, but it's useful against mounted opponents and has the disarm ability. Boar Spear (PAPG) - Identical to the regular spear, but can't be thrown; instead, it grants a very situational +2 to AC. Chain Spear (PAPG) - Why are you spending your Exotic Weapon Proficiency on this when you would be more effective with a shortspear and flail. Cestus (PAPG) - Exactly the same as the spiked gauntlet, but has a better threat range and is a monk weapon. Dragonsplits (MMIV) - This exotic weapon is one-handed, but counts as light for the purposes of Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon Finesse. Excellent for TWFing, since you don't have to burn a feat on Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting. Alternatively, they can gain the same benefits as a bastard sword from a 1 level dip in Exotic Weapon Master. Double Hammer (CW) - Not that great. An extra point of damage won't be winning you any competitions. Double Khopesh (Sandstorm) - Probably the best weapon, aside from the kukri, for TWFing. It's a strict upgrade to the double scimitar as it allows you to make trip attacks. Not useful if you aren't TWFing. Dire Pick (CW) - It's a bastard sword with a different crit range. Good for coup de graces, but...well, meh. Dwarven Double Spear (ROS) - Not really worth it. Dwarven warpike (ROS) - This is hands down the best polearm there is, with 2d8 damage, x3 crit, and the trip ability. If you're a dwarf, there's just j ust no reason not to get this. Elven Courtblade (ROTW) - It's useful for users of Weapon Finesse. Elven Lightblade, Elven Thinblade (CW, ROTW) - These aren't terrible weapons, but they're not exactly great ones either. Fairly flavorful, though. Falcata (PAPG) - Slightly better than the bastard sword. Foot Spike (ROTW): Pretty bad, but if you're a raptoran raptor an and can get the DM to let le t you use them with your feet, they become a whole lot better  Fullblade (A&EG) - It's a souped up greatsword. Not bad. Goliath Greathamme Greathammer r (ROS) - The larger crit multiplier equates to one extra point of damage. Unless you're playing a goliath and manage to convince your DM to give you Weapon Familiarity, get a greataxe. Greatspear (CW) - If you want this, just get a greatsword with the Throwing enchantment. However, there are some spear-only feats, and this is the only spear that's not a simple weapon. ge t more damage, more range, and the ability to treat it as a club Halfling Slingstaff - It costs one feat, and you get in melee. However, it requires a move action to reload, and if you have EWP you probably have a better exotic weapon to use. Heavy poleaxe (CW) - Get a dwarven warpike. Hellspear (FC 2) - Not a terribly high amount of damage, but consider the fact that it's a reach weapon that you

 

can attack adjacent enemies with. That's what makes the spiked chain so awesome, isn't it? Khopesh (PAPG) - Typically not worth it. If you want trip, tr ip, wield a flail. Lasso (PAPG) - Cheaper than a net, but not that great. However, if you make it a Spell Storing item and a persuade a friendly mage to cast a spell into it, making touch attacks against your enemy with this thing is pretty neat. Longaxe (CAdv) - Greataxe is good. Greataxe with the option of being a reach weapon is better. Lynxpaw (ROTW) - *Shakes head* WotC...what were you thinking? Minotaur Greathammer - This beast of a weapon weighs 30 pounds, but it deals 1d12 damage at medium size and has a crit range of 19-20/x4. That is absolutely ridiculous. r idiculous. There is a problem in that there's no listed price, so you'll have to work with your DM to figure out a reasonable one. Valenar Double Scimitar - A reasonable choice for TWFing crit-fishers. However, if you're a Valenar elf, and treat it as a martial weapon, it's much better. Warmace (CW) - Not worth both a feat and an AC penalty.

Magic Items: Tricking Out Your Sword 

Dungeon Master's Guide 

Armor 

+1 Bonus: Arrow Catching – Shield. Only applies to arrows aimed at targets within 5 feet of you, and notably, doesn‟t

function if the ranged weapons have an enhancement bonus greater than your shield. Little use. Bashing – Shield. Mandatory for shield-bashers, holds little use for those uninterested in shield bashing. Blinding – Shield. Blinded is a pretty nasty status condition, but the save DC is only 14 and the ability functions

only twice per day. +2 Bonus: Animated – Shield. A defining property for shields, and the only thing that makes them worthwhile: granting all the benefits they confer but leaving both your hands free. It‟s likely you‟ll want to pick up an animated shield at some point. You‟ll absolutely need to if you‟re a shield-basher. Arrow Deflection – Shield. A DC 20 Reflex save to avoid a ranged attack is pretty snazzy. This is going to put a crunch in any archer‟s day, especially because, at high levels, the save DC will probably become close to trivial.  

+3 Bonus: Ghost Touch – Armor/shield. If you‟re incorporeal, I guess. But for the more substantial among us, not worth a +3 bonus. Invulnerability – Armor. Sorry, but if you call DR 5 invulnerability, then you are kind of silly.

+5 Bonus: Reflecting – Shield. Spell turning, even once per day, is a very potent effect, but a +5 bonus is quite significant

(and it has to be weighed against the benefits you might glean from investing your gold elsewhere). I would not, ultimately, pick this property, even in a Core-only game; however, it would not be an awful choice. Variable: Fortification – +1/+3/+5 bonus. Armor/shield. Comes Comes in three versions, each providing a degree of immunity against critical hits – variously, 25, 75, and 100 percent. Critical hits are unexpected and often devastating, d evastating, and as such the light and moderate versions of this property are almost certainly worth thinking about. The heavy version is more of a question: a +5 bonus, but in exchange for total crit immunity. Generally I would stick with the

moderate version, as it‟s significantly cheaper and still gives a 75% chance at negation.  Armor. It comes in five versions, which provide from 13 to 19 SR. The Spell Resistance - +2/+3/+4/+5 bonus. Armor. SR is, needless to say, ridiculously low; if you‟re restrict ed to Core, the first version could maybe be on the table,

 

but anything above that is absurdly overpriced. +X GP Energy Resistance (Acid Resistance, Cold Resistance, Electricity Resistance, Fire Resistance, Sonic Resistance) –  +18,000/+42,000/+66,000 gp. Armor/shield. Simply too niche (and at too great a cost) to be worthwhile. You‟d be much better off simply having the party caster prepare or acquire scrolls of  resist energy or energy immunity if you expect to go up against foes who use a certain type o f energy damage. Not only is that cheaper, it‟s also far more

versatile. Etherealness – +49,000 gp. Armor. The price tag is somewhat hefty, especially considering that one may only go ethereal once per day, though on the other hand, you can stay ethereal indefinitely. Handy for ambushes, hiding, and making a quick escape; functions as a form of both flight and invisibility. However, there are probably cheaper ways to accomplish what this property does. Glamered – +2,700 gp. Armor. Lets your armor appear as a normal set of clothing. Needless to say, very nifty. Shadow, Silent Moves, Slick  – +3,750/+15, +3,750/+15,000/+33,75 000/+33,750 0 gp. Armor. Competence bonuses ranging from +5 to +15 on, respectively, Hide, Move Silently, and Escape Artist checks. None are (for you, at least) worth getting.

Weapons 

To be imbued with a special ability, a weapon must have at least a +1 bonus. ge tting a numerical bonus higher than +1. Unless you Numerical Bonuses (+2, +3, etcetera) - It's never worth getting go out of your way to ruin yourself, special abilities will always confer much greater benefits than a simple +1 to attack and damage. Numerical bonuses don't hurt you, but when you can you should always choose a special ability instead. +1 Bonus: Bane – If you know ahead of time that you‟ll be facing a lot of one type of enemy, a bane weapon of the appropriate type can be a very profitable investment to make. If you don‟t know what you‟ll b e facing, you can still reasonably choose a type that‟s likely to come up, like monstrous humanoids or  undead, but it‟s a gamble and you

may get better returns from a different property. Energy (Flaming, Frost, Corrosive, Screaming, Shock) – The basic weapon property, and very serviceable. If  you‟re restricted to Core, you‟ll probably want to pick up one ( or even two) of these. Corrosive and screaming are from the MIC, but they‟re grouped here for convenience. Be aware that at higher levels, resistance to fire and cold damage is rampant, so you‟ll probably want to get one of the other three instead; screami ng deals on average one

less point of damage than the others, but resistance to sonic damage is very rare. r are. Note that a greater crystal of  energy assault can, for a cheap price, net you yo u one of these properties plus another minor benefit. Defending –  Ghost Touch – A lesser or greater truedeath crystal will grant you this same property for a cheaper price, and without binding you to enchant your weapon. If you‟re in a campaign heavy with incorporeal foes, I recommend grabbing one of those instead – not only will a weapon crystal not suck up part of your weapon‟s precious +10 maximum, but you‟ll get some nifty bonus damage versus undead (and with the greater version, the ability to crit against them). Keen – A scabbard of keen edges will grant you y ou this property for 150 minutes each day, for only 16000 GP; pretty much every warblade should have one or the other (it's not optional for crit fishers). I‟d tend toward preferring the scabbard, as three fifty-minute segments every day should probably cover most of your adventuring needs (you can always buy another, as well). But be aware that the scabbard takes a standard action to activate, which can be limiting if you‟re not expecting combat.  Merciful – The utility of this property depends d epends heavily on how often you use nonlethal damage. I know that some groups employ it heavily, while others ignore it entirely; if your party falls into the first grouping, a merciful weapon may be worth considering. But my default reaction would be to say there are better choices. decent, cent, Mighty Cleaving – If you have the Cleave feat, this will allow you an additional cleave attempt. Fairly de though if you can use the MIC there are definitely better properties. If you‟re restricted to Core – likely, if you have Cleave – it may be worth considering. But if you find yourself facing clusters of weak enemies often enough that this property frequently comes into play, you yo u may simply be better off taking Great Gre at Cleave. If you don't have Cleave, of course, you can't use it. Spell Storing – A nifty property with lots of possible utility. It does have the problem of needing to be refilled very frequently. Subpar in terms of damage potential. Thundering – Essentially an energy burst property with slightly lower damage and without the non-crit benefit. When compared with a normal energy property, you're looking at 1d6 damage on every attack versus, with thundering, a negligibly higher 1d8 damage on a crit.

 

Better if you have a weapon with a x4 crit cr it modifier, but still not great. Vicious – The extra damage against your opponent is going to greatly outweigh o utweigh the minimal damage you sustain. However, it does mean you‟ll end most battles with a fair number of scrapes, so if you don‟t have access to easy

healing between encounters it may not be the best choice. Nonetheless it is something to consider, especially if you can‟t use the MIC.  +2 Bonus: Aligned (Anarchic, Axiomatic, Holy, Unholy) – As an adventurer, it‟s expected that just about every foe you face will be evil. As such, the holy enhancement is incredibly useful (for evil characters, vice versa). The anarchic and axiomatic properties are far less reliable, and as such not a good choice. Disruption – Most warblades aren‟t going to be using a bludgeoning weapon, which this property requires. Even i f  you are wielding a bludgeoning weapon, by the time you can afford a disruption weapon most undead will be able to make the low save easily; don‟t expect them to fail more than 5 -10% of the time. While a 5 -10% chance of  instant destruction may sound formidable, remember that combat in D&D is quick and that, in the long term, you‟ll likely get more benefit by using that +2 bonus elsewhere. And if you‟re drooling over the prospect of KOing that ancient lich, remember that if you‟re in position to be hitting them you‟ve likely won anyway.  Energy Burst (Acidic Burst, Flaming Burst, Icy Burst, Screaming Burst, Shocking Burst) – Potentiallyexcellent if  you‟re a crit fisher, especially if you have a way to increase your critical multiplier (or are restricted to Co re). Acidic and screaming are from the MIC, but they‟re grouped here for convenience. If you‟re wielding a minotaur greathammer or another x4 weapon, an energy burst property may also be worth consideration. Otherwise, though, there are better options. Wounding – A property with the possibility of becoming very nasty indeed, even more so if you‟re TWFing with two wounding weapons. As you level up, it becomes more and more appealing; higher enemy HD mean the Con damage goes farther, and more iteratives mean more Con damage. On the flip side, more enemies become immune to crits (and thus, this property‟s effect). 

+3 Bonus: Speed – Copies the extra attack effect of haste (which it doesn‟t stack with). If you can afford to buy a +3 weapon property, you can afford to just buy a wand of  haste instead (which also gets you the benefits of extra ex tra movement speed and the bonus to attacks and Reflex saves). However, haste from a default wand only lasts five rounds, so you‟ll have to buff before every combat (and risk ru nning out mid-fight); the habit can also quickly become expensive. The speed property‟s permanent nature is a benefit that can‟t be overlooked. 

+4 Bonus: Brilliant Energy – Yuck, lightsabers. A brilliant energy weapon can‟t affect constructs or undead, so make sure to keep a backup weapon if you decide to use one. Its effect – ignoring armor bonuses to AC – is going to basically

result in you auto-hitting; however, at a +4 bonus it is quite expensive, and you should be hitting nearly all the time, anyway (the Tarrasque only has 35 AC; pit fiends have only 40). You‟d likely be better off spending that +4 bonus on other properties. Dancing – A dancing weapon will need to be a backup weapon, since it can‟t dance and be wielded at the same time. At an additional +4 bonus, that means your backup weapon will probably be nearly equal to your main weapon in price – and that‟s something you simply can‟t afford, unless you‟re inordinately rich. Especially because it won‟t be doing all that much damage, a dancing wea pon is prohibitively expensive. +5 Bonus: Vorpal – Vorpal weapons are a manxome issue. Their cost is frumiously expensive, both in terms ter ms of costing an outgrabe amount of gold and taking up a full half of your weapon‟s maximum +10 bonus; however, the allu re of a 5% chance (a greater chance with iteratives) of automatically whiffling your enemy can‟t be denied. The severing

effect does work against enemies immune to crits, but b ut not against those who have no heads or can function without theirs, which can be problematic; and most combats are caloohly short. It‟s also a death effect, to which (by the time you can afford this) most uffish foes are going to be immune. Generally, I would say that the vorpal property is a bit too gimble to be worth it.

Magic Item Compendium

Weapons 

+1 Bonus:

 

Banishing – Fabulous. At high levels you‟ll be fighting loads of extraplanar creatures, and activating this property

(you get three activations per day) forces them to make a DC 20 (or potentially higher) Will save or be banished. There‟s not much to say about a SoL.   Binding – It mimics the effect of dimensional anchor twice a day, for ten minutes. While potentially useful, if you know that you‟re going to be needing dimensional anchor , it‟s probably better to just have the party caster either

prepare it or procure a scroll or wand of it. Blessed – You shouldn‟t have trouble confirming critical hits, and the holy property, which you‟ll probably want to

get, covers DR/good. Bloodfeeding – A normal energy property is more reliable and often better. Bloodstone – Useless. Brutal Surge – Initiate a bull rush as part of an attack, 1+ Con modifier/day. If you‟re a goliath or other large

race, almost mandatory. The property gets even better if you have Improved Bull Rush, but is wonderful on its own terms. Chargebreaker – Let‟s be real here, no enemy that‟s charging charging at you is going to fail a DC 14 Fort save except on a natural 1 (if they can, they‟re not a threat). When they do fail their save, though, this effect is utterly devastating. Charging – If you‟re a mounted combata combatant, nt, this property is mandatory. mandatory. If you‟re not, its effect is useless to you. Defensive Surge – You should not be using Combat Expertise as anything but a feat sink to qualify for Improved Trip. Even if you are, +2 AC isn‟t worth a +1 bonus.   Desiccating – For most purposes, identical to screaming and psychokinetic. Screaming is ineffective against sonicresistant foes; desiccating is ineffective against nonliving ones. Psychokinetic is better than both, as it deals force damage. Dislocator – From now on, you will try to fight every battle on the edge of a lava pit. A DC 17 Will save isn‟t too terrible, and moving your foe ten feet can be lifesaving. Also, lava pit. Dispelling – Because you have no CL as a warblade, you‟re going to be unable to dispel anything with a CL highe r than 9. That‟s pretty limiting, especially when you consider that even  on lower-CL effects, your chances of  dispelling won‟t be favorable – and the effect only functions three times per day. Divine Wrath – Not suited to warblades. Charisma is your dump stat. Dragondoom – No, just get a dragonbane weapon. Heavenly Burst – Unless you have a weapon with a x4 crit multiplier, superior to an energy burst property. A very solid enhancement, especially for crit-fishers. Illusion Bane – Becomes wonderful as miss chances become more common. It takes a swift action to activate, however, which for you is problematic. Impact – See keen. This is keen for bludgeoning weapons. Impaling – A nice property, but warblades should usually steer clear of it because it takes a swift action to activate. Knockback – Note that it only works against creatures of your size or smaller, and only thrice a day. Brutal surge is superior in every way. Lucky – Rerolls are priceless. Magebane  – Like a bane weapon, but it works against all enemies who cast arcane spells or use invocations. The version that appeared originally in Complete Arcane also functioned f unctioned against enemies with SLAs, but the MIC nerfed it. It's still excellent, though. Maiming – A vanilla energy enhancement is going to be superior. Morphing – Not a great deal of use. Paralyzing – While paralyzing your opponent is awesome, the effect only functions once per day and the save DC is too low for that to be justified. Look into paralytic burst instead. Profane – Evil is always getting the short end of the stick. I can guarantee that taking 1 Con damage d amage every round is far worse than dealing an extra 1d6 damage. Get an unholy or energy weapon instead. If you‟re undead, though, it‟s a nice enhancement.  Psychokinetic – Basically a superior version of screaming or desiccating. The extra 1d4 damage is force damage, which means it‟s not subject to DR or even to incorporeality. Cool beans.   Resounding – Just plain terrible. Skip it. Revealing – A very interesting effect – any foe you hit loses concealment. Concealment effects are terribly frustrating, and higher-level foes will use them if they are smart; this could be a very useful choice of  enhancement. Sacred – You don‟t get any benefit from Charisma, which makes this property less awf ul ul than it would normally be. With your low Charisma, wielding this for any length of time could become dangerous to you; it also makes you an obvious target for Cha-draining effects. Energy properties are much superior. Notice that the good guys only suffer Cha damage, while the bad guys take hits to Con. Shattermantle – If your mage is wise, they will be using no- SR spells against enemies with SR. And you won‟t be making a full attack all that often, which makes the effect far less useful. Shielding – If you have an off-hand weapon, you don‟t want a shield. If you y ou use a shield, you‟ll want a real shield. You‟ll probably have an animated shield, anyway.  Stygian – Very nice indeed. Automatically granting your enemy a negative level, 3/day, is excellent. It stacks with enervating.

 

Sundering – Mediocre. There‟s possible use, but not a great deal; a warblade will often take Improved Sunder in

any case, to qualify for Combat Brute. Sweeping – Potentially useful for trippers, though at only a +2 bonus it seems like a different property would be

more beneficial. Venomous – Like chargebreaker, a stupidly easy Fort save. Unlike chargebreaker, it only works three times a day. Warning – +5 to initiative is awesome, especially because it‟s an insight bonus. Even better at high levels, when

combat starts to resemble rocket tag. You only need to be holding it to gain the benefit; if you have Quick Draw, you can enter combat with a warning weapon held, get the bonus to initiative, and then swap to your main weapon. Weakening – An automatic -4 Str to your opponent when you score a critical hit. There‟s no save, which is neat. Sadly, multiple hits aren‟t cumulative, but it‟s nonetheless a potent ability (even more so in the hands of a crit fisher). terr ible prereqs. Identical to the Whirling – Functions 3/day as a superior Whirlwind Attack, and without all the terrible Mithral Tornado maneuver, and inferior to Adamantine Hurricane. Very nifty. +2 Bonus: Blindsighted – A blindfold of true darkness is better and cheaper. Blurstrike – For obvious reasons, less useful to you than rogues and their ilk. Still, it‟s hard to argue with catching

an opponent flat-footed. Collision – A no-nonsense +5 untyped damage with every hit. Beautiful in its simplicity, though, like all static bonuses, it ages. Consumptive – An inferior collision. Desiccating Burst – See energy burst. Disarming – For the last time, do not disarm. Interestingly, makes you disarm-immune; however, if your enemy wants to rid you of your yo ur weapon they will try to sunder it, not disarm you. Absolutely not worth a +2 bonus. Elemental (Aquan, Auran, Ignan, Terran)– Far too particular to waste a +2 bonus on. Great Dislocator – Lava pit. Greater Dispelling – Not a great deal more benefit to you, and it suffers the same problems dispelling does. Domineering – Not bad at all, but cursespewing is much better and only a +1 higher bonus. Doom Burst – While not terrible on its own o wn terms, it‟s as above inferior to cursespewing. If you‟re considering this property, you should spring for cursespewing instead. Energy Aura – Collision and holy are both better choices. Both screaming and desiccating accomplish the same  job of overcoming common energy resistances, and at only a +1 bonu bonus. s. pe r day are keyed off of Con, one Energy Surge – Not bad at all, especially because the number of uses you get per of your main stats. Better than an energy e nergy burst property, certainly. Never get fire fir e or cold. Enervating – Pure awesome. No TWFer should be without a pair of enervating weapons, and it‟s a superb choice of enhancement for any warblade. Fiercebane – Oh look, it‟s Sting. Not worth it, sadly; you gain minimal benefits over bane.  Fleshgrinding – A nice ability. The main benefit is the chance of depriving your opponent of a standard action. But be conscious of the fact that everything you spend on your alternate weapon is money that could have been spent on your main weapon. Ghost Strike – A greater truedeath crystal is cheaper, provides you with exactly the same benefit, and gives you an extra d6 damage versus undead to boot. Illusion Theft – Decidedly mediocre. Impedance – While it looks good on the surface, consider two things: One, the Spellcraft DC is absurdly low, and skill checks don‟t automatically fail on a natural 1.   Two, no spellcaster worth their salt is going to let you get into melee range. Metalline – As that pesky DR starts popping up, being able to change your weapon‟s material at will is invaluable. Highly recommended. Paralytic – The Will DC is reasonably high, though it ages, and putting your foe fo e out of action for a round is quite often equivalent to killing them. When you realize r ealize that with this property, critting is a SoL effect, it becomes be comes extremely enticing – like all effects keyed off of crits, crit-fishers and TWFers get the most benefit out of it. Do remember that it doesn‟t work against foes immune to paralyzation.  Profane Burst – Even worse than profane. Even if you‟re undead, this isn‟t worth it.   Psychokinetic Burst – The extra damage is far too little to be worthwhile. Sacred Burst – If you‟re critting with enough regularity to consider this enhanceme enhancement, nt, it is going to send you to 0 Cha – and thus, out of the battle – in no time. 1d4 Cha damage every time you crit makes this ability worse for you than your foe. yo u leaving survivors? Soulbreaker – Why in the world are you Transmuting – Superb, comparable to metalline. DR is very common at high levels, and overcoming it automatically is great. Vampiric – The untyped bonus damage is nice, and the healing is bound to come in handy. Very functional and a good choice. +3 Bonus:

 

  Bodyfeeder – At a +3 bonus, not worth considering unless you‟re a crit -fisher. The temporary hitpoints don‟t stack with each other, though they‟ll definitely come in handy. The thing to consider is whether you‟d get more steam by applying that +3 bonus elsewhere. Cursespewing – Amazing, especially for crit-fishers. Nice for softening up targets for a SoD. Ethereal Reaver - Never worth it. Holy Surge – While a great enhancement, you lack the Cha to fuel it. Still solid, especially if you‟ve raised your Cha via inherent and/or enhancement bonuses. Implacable – Yay, +2 to +8 damage every round…for the price of a +3 bonus. And it‟s only higher than +2 if you full attack. I guess those, um, ogres won‟t know what hit them. Yeah. Er. Um. Incorporeal Binding – Not worth a +3 bonus. Unholy Surge – See holy surge. +X GP: Keep in mind that a weapon can't have a price tag of greater than 200,000 gp. If you add a +X enhancement to your weapon, you forfeit the chance of getting get ting a full +10 bonus. This may or may not be worth it, but it's smart to be aware of. Aquatic – +2,000 GP. In an aquatic campaign (or one where you find yourself frequently underwater), it‟s a steal. Otherwise, there‟s no need to get it.  Changeling – +2,000 gp. No concrete function. Everbright  – +2,000 gp. Cheap. The effect is not very useful, and as such your money is probably best spent

elsewhere. Hideaway – +2,000 gp. If you‟re not going to invest in a +10 weapon, this is a nifty ability and is exceptionally cheap. Illuminating – +500 gp. Just get a light spell made permanent . Prismatic Burst – +30,000 gp. Utterly ridiculous. This ability alone can – and does – justify not getting a +10 weapon. Simply ludicrous for crit-fishers. Shadowstrike – +5,000 gp. Pretty cool; an extra 5 feet of reach is sometimes all you need. But it takes a swift action to activate, which is painful. Sizing – +5,000 gp. It can be useful to add to a weapon after you've acquired a pair of strongarm bracers. Slow Burst – +5,000 gp. At DC 14, an easy save to make – but slow  is a nasty effect. If you‟re getting prismatic burst, you may as well tack this on. Vanishing – +8,000 gp. 1/day dimension door with a 60-foot range as a swift action (but only after a melee attack). Could be a nice utility, but don‟t count on a 60 -foot teleport to save you if you‟re in trouble. 

Throat: Amber Amulet of Vermin – 500-1,200 gp. Once per day, summons a large or huge vermin for ten rounds. Very nifty and very cheap, though the vermin are relatively r elatively weak. Amulet of Aquatic Salvation – 500 gp. Well worth the price. I f you‟re planning on underwater adventuring you‟ll need something with a longer duration, but especially at lower levels this can be a lifesaver. Amulet of Emergency Healing – 6,000 gp. 1d4+5 damage, even as an immediate action, isn‟t going to be much is happen help forislong; as you level up, amount becomes trivial. If an allywill reducedvery to something like -14 HP, amulet an awesome thing tothat have; but you shouldn‟t expect that often. This amulet canthen be this either a lifesaver or a waste of money. Amulet of Fortune Prevailing  – 5,000 gp. I have said so before, and I will say so again: rerolls, especially on saving throws, are just about priceless. This one is just 5,000 gp, so if you‟re high level there‟s little excuse not to pick it up (especially given g iven how devastating a high-level SoL can be). Do be aware, though, that you have to reroll before knowing whether you‟ve succeeded or not.  Amulet of Inviolate Form  – 11,000 gp. Automatically resist transformations or polymorphs (ie, baleful   polymorph and the like. Sounds good to me. utter ly incredible. Amulet of Second Chances – 40,000 gp. Redo an entire turn, once per day. A little pricey, but utterly Amulet of Teamwork – 2,000 gp. +2 damage when flanking. Could be worth it if you have a regular re gular flanking pal, like the party rogue. Amulet of Tears – 2,300 gp. A handful of temporary hit points every day, as a swift action. The swift action is the dealbreaker – you‟ll do far better by using a maneuver. Amulet of Toxin Delay – 400 gp. Very situational, unless your DM particularly enjoys poison. The delay   poison effect only lasts two rounds, and you have to be wearing it when you‟re affected by the poison; that means you can‟t just hold one in reserve. Not a good buy. Badge of the Svirfneblin – 15,000 gp. The blur  effect is useful, and the darkvision can be helpful, but it‟s not

worth 15k. Brooch of Avoidance – 3,100 gp. Not terribly useful. Brooch of Stability – 1,000 gp. Automatically become stable when reduced to -1 hit points or fewer. Can be a

 

great help, though it shares the same problems the amulet of emergency healing has: the chances of being hit into the neat little window between -1 and -9 grow increasingly slimmer as damage increases. Cat’s-Eye Brooch – 9,000 gp. +1 to saving throws is nice, but you have better Cat’s-Eye be tter ways to spend 9,000 gp. Contact Medallion – 3,000 gp. A nice utility to have at hand, especially in situations where surreptitiousness is needed. Eagle Claw Talisman – 1,000 gp. Deliver “ruinous strikes” against that vicious furniture. Just like eagles do, I guess? Enduring Amulet – 1,500 gp. Useful for the permanent endure elements. You can use its charges to give yourself  fire or cold resistance resi stance as an immediate action, which is handy. Enemy Spirit Pouch – 2,100 gp. +1 attack against creatures of a specific type. Needless to say, not worth it. Farspeaking Amulet – 6,000. One amulet lets your party speak with each other for three ten-minute segments a day, regardless of where you are (as long as you‟re all on the same plane). Excellent if you get split up, as so often happens. Fireflower – 13,000 gp. Continuous Continuous fire resist 10, with the ability to make yourself immune for up to one round every hour. If you‟re going up against a load of fiery foes, it can help, though you may want to just have your mage spring for energy immunity . Githborn Talisman – 1,800 gp. +2 to attack and damage rolls against aberrations, +4 if you‟re a gith. If you know you‟re going to b e up against aberrations, it might be a good investment as it‟s relatively r elatively cheap. Otherwise, it can be safely counted a waste. Hand of the Oak Father – 5,000. Allows you to use a handful of druid utility spells, each once per day. Not explicitly for druids – you can definitely get some use from it – but pretty mediocre. Heartseeking Amulet – 3,000. Thrice per day, make a melee attack as a melee touch attack. Touch attacks are horribly easy to make, which makes this wonderful. Because it takes a swift action to activate, essentially a 3/day Emerald Razor maneuver. Medal of Gallantry – 1,350 gp. Utterly useless. Necklace of Copper Dragon Scales – 570 gp. Acid resist 5 for an hour will do nothing to help you. Made even more insulting by the fact that, after six uses, it becomes useless. Necklace of Warning – 4,000 gp. +2 to your flat-footed AC. Consider that you have Uncanny Dodge, and also that +2 AC does little. Reins of Ascension – 3,300 gp. You‟ll need to get a permanent method of flight eventually, so you‟ll want to ditch it at some point. Until then, it‟s quite useful.   o n the Retributive Amulet – 9,000 gp. Thrice per day, reflect half of the melee damage dealt to you back on attacker. Pure awesome when up against melee brutes, especially a power-attacking charger. Safewing Emblem – 250 gp. Activates a feather fall effect if you fall, but only up to 180 feet. Shatters upon use. You probably don‟t want to keep this on all the time.  Scarab of Invulnerability – 40,000 gp. Once per day, become immune to all forms of damage for one round. Expensive, but its effect is incredible. less ss than -9 hit Scarab of Stabilization – 20,000 gp. Identical to the brooch of stability, but if you are reduced to le points the amulet automatically brings you up to -1 and is destroyed. A literal lifesaver, though unavailable until the high levels due to its cost. Scentblinder – 8,000 gp. There are far better ways to spend your gold. Skull Plaque – 6,200 gp. 1/day death knell  and detect undead . Little use. Spellsink Scarab – 2,000 gp. Three daily charges used to reduce damage taken from spells or psionic powers. If a caster is using direct damage, chances are that either they‟ll be so weak as to pose little threat, or it‟ll be so much damage as to render this scarab trivial. Useful at low levels, though. Torc of Displacement – 2,000 gp. Pretty neat for the price, especially since it takes an immediate action. You‟ll probably want to get a cloak of displacement or another source of miss chance somewhere along the line, but a torc of displacement remains useful. Torc of Heroic Sacrifice – 6,000 gp. Once per day, when an ally within 30 feet takes damage, you can choose to take that damage instead. It‟s likely you‟ll have the most hit points in your party, which makes this an excellent buy. The 30-foot range can occasionally be mildly limiting. Torc of the Titans – 3,300 gp. Swift action to activate. I can guarantee that using a maneuver will always help you more than +5 damage will. Unicorn Pendant – 6,000 gp. Not utterly useless, but not particularly useful, either. Vampire Torc – 5,000 gp. Twice per day, heal damage equal to what you deal on your next melee attack. Swift action to activate, but the effect is pretty handy. Less useful if you‟re a TWFer, though, as a single attack won‟t mean much to you. Chronocharms Any number of chronocharms can be worn simultaneously. All chronocharms cost 500 gp. Chronocharm of the Celestial Wanderer – Listen and Spot checks are not as crucial as saving throws or attack rolls, and you are not likely to be the ears or eyes of the party; nonetheless, a reroll is a reroll. Chronocharm of the Fateweave Fateweaver r – Reroll a Balance, Climb, or Tumble check. Worth adding to your collection, colle ction, if  not stellar.

 

Chronocharm of the Grand Master – You‟re always better off pursuing miss chances rather than AC boosts; also, ranged attacks become less used at higher levels. Nonetheless, it‟s worth its price.  Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker – Move half your speed as a swift action. Nifty, though it sucks up a swift

action.

Multiclassing: Half a Sword   Crusader 

If you're an AoO build, Crusader 2 can get Thicket of Blades. This alone is worth writing home about. The crusader also earns 5 maneuvers known at 1st level. If you want to get some mid -level maneuvers from Devoted Spirit, White Raven, or Stone Dragon, and you've focused yourself into other areas, this can be a good choice. WRT is only 3rd level, and only requires a 1 maneuver pre-req, and the Stone Dragon school has a smattering of maneuvers that have no pre-reqs. If you're an elf who wants to become an Eternal Blade, bu t is mostly a Warblade, the crusader dip can help you pick up some Devoted Spirit pre-reqs. pre -reqs.

Prestige Classes: Perfecting the Sword   Revenant Blade 

Want to be a TWF warblade? Strongly consider this option, and take all five levels. It's feat intensive, but the capstone is WAY worth it, and you end up netting more feats out than you take in.

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