D&D 3E/3.5 Do you miss the martial adepts from "Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords"?

The Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords is a sourcebook from 3.5 what introduce a new game mechanic, the martial maneuvers, special powers in the middle step between at-will and once-encounter, with a style close to the asian wuxian genre and three new classes, the swordsage, the warblade and the crusader. Dreamscarred Press published its own version for Pathfinder, the Path of War, with its own schools of martial disciplines. It is an interesting concept, but ordinary nPCs with martial maneuvers add too complexity to the game, and usually only "bosses" can ba martial adept nPCs.

What is your opinion about this, and how should it come back to the 5th Ed? Would you get any idea by Dreamscarred Press? What changes would you add?

I imagine samurai, sohei and ninjas from D&D as martial adept classes, and the warlord as a fighter with maneuvers of the school of the white raven, and the shadow assassin like a rogue with the maneuvers of the shadow hand. (That is the reason I don't want samurai and ninja as only subclasses). Sometimes I imagine the hexblade class like a hybrid between arcane spellcaster and martial adept.

Should WotC hires Dreamscarred Press to publish the new edition of the martial adepts?

(I know there is a homebrews version for 5th Ed).

log in or register to remove this ad


Why would WotC have to hire Dreamscarred Press? If Dreamscarred Press thought it was a worthwhile project they could undertake it themselves, however, browsing their website, supporting 5e doesn't seem to be their thing.


I liked the ideas in Bo9S. I think I played both a Crusader and a Swordsage and had fun with them back in the day. I wouldn't mind them making a reappearance in some form as long as it's done well, but I doubt it's a significant priority for WotC right now. Maybe if they fall under the OGL, someone could make a version for DM's Guild.

Tome of Battle was great. It also addressed a problem that was uniquely 3.5. It illustrated what it took to make viable martial classes in a system that inherently put martials at the most insurmountable disadvantage they've ever faced compared to full casters.

5e doesn't have that problem to anywhere near that extent, so ToB or something like it isn't really necessary. I'd just rather see some more maneuvers for the Battle Master.
Last edited:


I would more like to see iron heroes make a return! One of mike mearls Indy projects before he joined wotc...it had an innovative token system that rewarded fighters for doing what they do best


The main thing I miss from nine swords were stances. The idea of giving fighters a few at will “powers” that they could switch between freely was a simple and wonderful concept. And you can tailor it from the most non-magical “pure martial” abilities to “effectively giving them them a magic power” or everywhere in between

Anthony Benassi

First Post
ToB makes sense in the context of 3.5 and PF, but wouldn't make sense in 4th and makes no sense in 5th. If you look at the Martial Archetypes you can basically play a character that's similar to the classes in ToB, however they aren't as cool because they aren't an outcome of the scope creep that occurred in 3.5. WoTC should avoid what you're saying regardless, let the companies interested in creating such things to start a Kickstarter or put up their own funds and make it available, but I don't think it makes sense to be part of base 5e or WoTC cannon. I hear what your saying (Classes > Subclasses and Archetypes), but that isn't 5th Edition and is contrary to the design philosophy.


Stuck in the 90s
I loved the Tome of Battle, the Swordsage specifically. It made 3.5 feel alive. 4E seems like it was somehow built off of the backbone of Tome of Battle, and while 4e lacked many things I enjoy in an RPG, it's 'encounter power' mechanic was very fun. To this day I find it hard to play pathfinder because they have nothing similar to the Swordsage, even remotely (except, see below):

As far as 5E conversion, I find the Monk a very workable class akin to the Swordsage. With their Ki, you can easily invent some 'encounter' powers because of the short rest mechanic, and otherwise they play very similarly.

Getting an authoritative take on it, like a Monk Subclass, would be interesting though. Not sure they could ever make it feel perfect to the glory of it's original incarnation.

As far as the other two classes in Tome of Battle... I ... never played them.

Remove ads