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Can someone help me with a Tome of Battle tank?

Amazing Triangle

First Post
Since the book is new I thought I would ask the opinion of the boards:

I was thinking to play a Sword sage Crusader or Warblade from level 20 from level 2. I was thinking a tank replacer kind of character. My problem is what maneuvers do I choose? What schools do I take maneuvers in? What schools do I avoid? Are any of the PrC's worth taking?

Thanks to anyone who helps me out with this new book!
 
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Well, the first issue is that a Swordsage makes a lousy tank. They don't have the armor or HP, and most of their best maneuvers require a lot of mobility instead of standing and defending. They're more akin to a Monk or Rogue than anything tankish.

You might take a second look at the Crusader, they're the natural tank of the ToB trio. Combine their class features with Devoted Spirit and Stone Dragon, throw in the Stone Power feat, and you're set to go.
 


bestone

First Post
We had a lucky bastard in our group roll 2 18's!! man oh man, do you know the odds against that? he had people (including the dm) watching him too

one went into wis, one went into dex, so right away he had 18

By level 5 he was up to 28, not so bad

Anyways, i *think* i read somewhere 1/2 your other class levels count towards your manouver levels. so if you had say, 6 levels of monky, you count as your sword sage levels +3 for picking manouvers (I could be TERRIBLY wrong here, but im sure i read that) So you might want to invest a few levels along the way in some classes that'll help you improve ac, just a few levels in monk, and picking up a monks belt you'll be good.

If you only have 1 good stat, you can dump it in dex, and with the proper selection of thigns use dex for ac, hit and damage bonuses.....but dont take any dex damage!

What are your stats, do you want to just tank? or do you want to fight and do massive damage? You wanna tank your gonna have to dump your best two stats into wis and dex

For tanking i'd say your best bet for level 1 choices would be

Setting sun manouvers - the stance can be good if you can manouver your opponents into difficult terrain, you'll definetly have the upper hand there *got a mage that can help create some?*

Shadow - Probably your best bet, concealment helps, but really whats important here is island of blades, if you have a rogue in your group, island of blades is a must at low levels imho. Who needs a tank when nothing lives long enough to hit back?

Stone - ARe you a halfing? has a nice stance in here if you are, theres one manouver here that gives you damage reduction 5/ad....But you have to remember, as with the above things, manouvers are temporary

Tiger - Nothing here, move along

Edit: NOTE! i am not saying swordsages make good tanks! nor am i saying you should try, as stated above they dont make the best, im just trying to help you with what you asked for
 

Seeten

First Post
Crusaders and Warblades tank, Swordsages fill the heavy hitter role. They play much more like a wizard than like a fighter. But, you can build around concealment, boost dex/wis and try to tank, but lucky hits will paste you.
 

brehobit

Explorer
As noted, pure tanking is hard with a swordsage. At higher levels your AC will be better than anyone other than a "true" tank (full plate and shield). But that said, the AC will be better than a barbarian, but the hps will be worse.

An exact build is difficult. I've seen some VERY powerful builds for lower levels, and pretty nice ones for higher levels, but without books in front of me the best I can give is some generalizations.

I'd suggest a well-balanced character stat wise. INT can be a dump (you get a lot of skill points) as can CHR. So in a 32-point game I'd consider:
S16, I10, W14, D14, C14, Ch10. Gives you an AC of 18 right away (pretty good for 2nd level).

Depending on how your DM plays it, you may _really_ want adaptive style.

Multi-classing is something you should seriously consider. As you get to add 1/2 your other levels to your initiator level, you don't lose as much as a caster. So Barb 2 might be good, as might Barb1/Duskblade1 or maybe even Monk2 (flurry, unarmed strike, improved grapple, combat reflexes, and evasion ain't bad) not to mention +3 to all saves. Depends on how your DM does fractional BAB though for the monk... If you do Barbarian be sure you and the DM work out how Rage and manouvers interact. My ruling was no manouvers that require a concentration check and you can't recover manouvers while raging. The rules are very unclear though.

The low-level stances are REALLY good in practice. The ability to move through rough terrain is darn handy if you do much outdoors (plus the +2 attack bonus against folks in rough terrain) and the ability to flank from any angle are both handy and often give you +2 to attacks.

Boosts and counters become more important than strikes at higher level (as you can combine them with full attacks and with strikes).

The 2nd level counter that does 4d6 fire damage is a must-have, as is death mark or whatever the fireball one is as a 3rd level strike.

A two-handed sword is a swordsage's friend. As you often only get one attack, you want to do as much damage as you can.

So I'd start with either barb1/swordsage 1 or monk 1/swordsage1 depending on fractional bab rules and rage vs. maneuver rules for 2nd level. Use a two-handed sword and go to town. AC 18 should be better than just about anyone else at 2nd level (short folks might beat you) and you are certainly locally optimal for AC/damage/movement. If you go barb, take extra rage as soon as you feel you can.

If you _really_ want to tank, a crusader/cleric/?Ruby Knight (the PrC) is really handy. Cleric 2/Crusader 3/RK3/Crusader1/RK7 works really well as I recall. The question is what to do after 16th level. The goal is to get a 6th level stance as early as possible while having some buff/healing ability. I built one that could heal a crazy number of hit points while doing significant damage to the baddies (not huge, just one attack, but I'd be healing the whole party 20ish and myself and a buddy around 35ish and I could do this for a few rounds in a row if I wished). And Clerics of Wes Jas are just fun to play (LG for this one). And with access to the white raven manouvers you can also be the party bard. Huge PrC. Just Huge.

Edit: The duskblade build is for "stand" and "blade of blood" or whatever it's called. Plus frankly, the crazy number of cantrips (even with a 10 int) is quite nice for my playing style (6 a day I think?) In our game, getting tripped seems pretty common (worgs right now) and stand is very handy to have. Plus extra damage as a swift action is always nice.

Edit2: The "skill tricks" from complete Scoundrel are VERY handy for a swordsage. Your skill list is about perfect and 6 skill points/level helps too.

Edit3: WoTC had some cards with the manouvers that they have on-line. Use them. For a crusader it is a *must* but for a swordsage it is way handy. (I made my swordsage player print them and use them as a condition of being allowed to play the class.) Printing them in color costs a bit, but he is happy with them...

Mark
 
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Razz

First Post
Not necessarily. They can be good tanks if you took a lot of Stone Dragon maneuvers and wore really good light armor (+5 mithral breastplate anyone?). They get Dex and Wis bonus to AC on top of wearing light armor.

And you CAN wear a shield even though they are not proficient. All you need to do is make sure the check penalty is 0. Go and get a +5 heavy mithral shield and you're set. A Swordsage with all that and an 18 in Dex and Wis would have AC 35! That's not including other magic items.

An item that boosts your Constitution and you're set to tank.
 

starwed

First Post
A two-handed sword is a swordsage's friend. As you often only get one attack, you want to do as much damage as you can.
This I'm not so sure of; you get a lot of damage from your strikes.

Going with a one-handed weapon allows you to use Weapon Finesse (so that you don't have to worry so much about Strength) and maybe some of the feats meant to make the best of the fighting style. (Like einhander in PHB2.) A gnome might actually be decent for this type of build; you get better AC, a better attack roll, and the damage decrease doesn't matter as much.

However, I agree with others that a crusader is definitely way better at being a tank. Stone Power + the delayed damage pool is an awesome combo, and the Devoted spirit strikes let you heal yourself every few rounds in combat. Throw in combat expertise and some of the stances, and you can tank really, really well. (Even if you only hit on a 20. ^_^)
 

RigaMortus2

First Post
There are a few feats/class abilities/maneuvers/stances that synergize well with adding Dex to attack roll and damage, as well as Wis to damage. Esp when you dual wield the preferred weapons...
 

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
Razz said:
And you CAN wear a shield even though they are not proficient. All you need to do is make sure the check penalty is 0. Go and get a +5 heavy mithral shield and you're set. A Swordsage with all that and an 18 in Dex and Wis would have AC 35!
If you use a shield, you don't get to add Wis to AC. It's really quite explicit.
 

brehobit

Explorer
On two-handed sword:
starwed said:
This I'm not so sure of; you get a lot of damage from your strikes.

You do, but there will exist a fair number of times, mainly at higher level, when you will want to make a full attack rather than a strike. Could be you are out of strikes (if you aren't using the "cheesy" adaptive style feat it happens in longer fights), or that none of your strikes are what you want at the moment (need damage, not DR or healing).

Also at lower level, we find that the strikes run out pretty quick. At that point you want good base damage. In Red Hand of Doom our barbarian/swordsage has run out of strikes twice in part 1. He still does just fine with a 17 STR and a greatsword (when raging in particular). AC kinda sucks (Wis=8!), but there you go.

Mark
 

Amazing Triangle

First Post
Guess it looks like I want a Crusader or a Warblade? Any good maneuvers? I did see a few add ins of Stone Dragon were there any others?

Should I multiclass as fighter? or cleric? or a PrC?

Well I do have stats: (32 point buy) 16, 14,14, 12, 10, 10 and my 300 gold at second level.

(thanks to the above posters they have been really great)
 



Seeten

First Post
Crusaders can also cure moderate and cure critical themself by whacking people in the face, for several straight rounds, letting the cleric contribute to the fight. Crusaders rule. RULE.
 

Amazing Triangle

First Post
I saw something and it sparked my interest: Warblade/Wizard/Jade Phoenix Mage. Would a Crusader/Cleric (of war and healing) mostly cause the dm has nerfed the good domains(travel). I think the battle mage and battle healer are great.

Which would be better? I am a to fill the tank position on the team. So I could go for offensive or defensive.

Any thoughts?(Most WotC books are open to use.)
 

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