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D&D 3E
Greetings and questions 
29th-Oct-2007 10:52 pm
Grinning Revi!  ^_^
Hey all, new member here. I've played 3.5 for about three years now, and I've enjoyed it a lot. I happened on this comm recently, read through a lot of your past entries, and really liked it, so here I am!

I was curious what everybody here thinks of Tome of Battle and the classes detailed in it, i.e. Warblade, Crusader, and Swordsage. Like 'em? Hate 'em? Think they're balanced? Unbalanced?

Personally I think Tome of Battle is rather overrated, and that the classes are unbalanced. Then again, my exposure to them has been limited to the game I'm in run by a Tome of Battle fanboy in a campaign setting that is intended to be ridiculously overpowered anyway, but I still think they're a bit on the cheesy side. And not in a good way, but that's just me. I wanted to find out what other people think.
Comments 
30th-Oct-2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
I have heard of the Tome of Battle, and apparently, many of the concepts in this book are going to be repeated in 4th Edition. I have not picked up this book, but I can tell you that most of the books since about 2005 have had a lot of cheesy content in it. That said, some of those books have had good material sprinkled in there, too, like alternative class features if the existing ones in the PHB don't fit your character concept. Personally, I like the ranger with the alternative class feature of fast movement instead of spell casting and the flank bonus to the next guy when you hit feature instead of the animal companion. I use that version of the ranger in my campaign.
30th-Oct-2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
I like this method. The spellcasting ranger never made much sense to me (though I never played one), and while Paladins are supposed to be divinely inspired warriors, their spell list seems rather... subpar.
30th-Oct-2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
The Tome of Battle represents several fundamental shifts in the DnD3.x system.

It continues a general transition from per-day powers to per-encounter and unlimited powers. This change started a long while ago (in particular, the Dragon Shaman and Marshal auras, particularly the healing one; the increased access to healing-to-1/2-max between combats, but also the Warlock and a few other classes).

It also bring potential output of primary melee characters back inline with primary casters. There were 3 issues with melee v casters
-- First is that the melee characters only were at their full potential if they had full round actions. Do something to limit them to a single standard a round, and they were totally hamstrung, whereas very few casters were impacted at all.
-- Second, while your min-maxed barbarian could do more damage than a caster, they could only do it to one target, and Massive Amounts Of Damage Dice is still worse than save-at-insane-DC-or-die.
-- Third, it gives the melee types more to do than say "I attack, again, this round".
(-- Fourth, it means the melee types, since they only are doing one or two attacks, don't literally need a database to figure out optimal Power Attack, number of attacks, combat expertise, etc. To wit, I've litererally had 4 pages of tables printed out, for a 15th level Barbarian build, to figure out when to attack with what, how many times, etc)

The Tome of Battle classes are more powerful than your standard Fighter. But, whom played fighters past 4th level anyways? Greater Weapon Focus and Spec aren't worth it, and you can get the bonus feats (or better abilities) from more interesting PrCs.
30th-Oct-2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Don't forget about the Warlock.
30th-Oct-2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
For various characters, I love the flavor of the ToB classes. My fighter-types tend to act like Warblades (always have), Crusaders are paladins that are actually fun to play, and for some reason a bunch of my rogue/monk type characters seem to fit Swordsage perfectly.

Yes, these classes are more powerful than the Fighter. But they are not more powerful than a Cleric, Druid, Wizard, or Sorcerer. The Warblade is just about equal with the Barbarian, and I think Rogue is right about at that level. In other words, they are perfectly balanced with the Core classes.

And given all that, they are a ton of fun to play, which in the end is what matters.
30th-Oct-2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
Deleted the old post and wrote out a new one, heh. Hmm. I never actually did a level by level versus match to see whether a Warblade would be comparable to a Barbarian, or a Rogue, or a primary caster of equal level. That'd be a good experiment. As stated below, I think the problem I had with these classes initially was that I was playing with a powergaming group (in fact, the entire campaign was basically based on powergaming).

I expect they are a ton of fun to play... if you know their special abilities. As it was, we leveled so fast that I never had a chance to get used to what my Sword Sage could do, much less properly choose maneuvers, and as a consequence I never really liked it. The whole business of "schools" of battle which you had to specialize in was also rather annoying to me, personally, but then again I have only just started enjoying playing casters. In general though, the idea of a class whose biggest draw is "badass super powers" doesn't really appeal to me. I'm as much about the roleplaying as I am about the dungeoncrawling. I dunno. Maybe I'm just being elitist.

As someone who enjoys playing Fighters, I do want fighter types to be able to do interesting stuff like you read about in books and see in anime. At the same time, Tome of Battle's approach seemed to take things too far. I will have to give the thing a try again, without a powergaming to ruin it for me.
30th-Oct-2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
Personally, I like what I saw in Tome of Battle. Others have alluded to the lack of power a regular warrior has compared to a spellcaster, but what I always missed playing a D&D warrior was the lack of flash. Maybe it comes from a history of playing videogames and watching anime, and reading manga and romantic fantasy (rather than high fantasy), but brute fighters have always bored me.

More than that, the Tome of Battle classes feel more unified. They aren't simply weaker/specialized fighters with magic from some other class tacked on; their magical discipline works with their fighting style. I'd personally love to play a version of the ranger that behaves more like one of the ToB classes...
30th-Oct-2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm rather mixed on ToB, personally. I'm not altogether opposed to it, and I have enjoyed some of the new options. I do think it succeeds in spicing up the standard D&D combat of "I attack. I hit/miss. I attack."

At the same time, however, I think the self-admitted "anime-style" of the content of ToB does not mesh well with your usual D&D setting. I'm not playing Exalted here, I'm playing Forgotten Realms/Eberron/Dragonlance, etc.

Third, I think it's absolutely silly to try and remedy the boring, underpowered nature of core melee classes by... making them more utterly useless in comparison. After all, why play a fighter when you can be a Warblade? Why play a paladin when you can be a Crusader? This his not "fixed" the issues with the core classes, rather it has instead made them so much more blatantly obvious that no one will likely ever touch those classes again. I do not see the need for a "Warblade" when theoretically a Fighter should be the same concept. That being the case, I think ToB should have been focused on helping the core melee classes, rather than being shiny new ones.
30th-Oct-2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
Agreed. The thing to do should have been to fix the core classes, not necessarily create new ones. Then again, it seems that's what they're doing with 4e, i.e. porting Tome of Battle style into the core books. Not sure how I feel about this either.

As someone who likes anime, I like a bit of flash here and there, and I also like a bit of variation from the standard of just attacking or full attacking. However, I got the feeling that ToB went a little too far. Even if you're epic, the concept of doing over 1700 points of damage (even if your character is magic-itemed to the hilt) is a bit absurd), especially considering that that is enough to kill some gods. But perhaps I'm just being bitter.
30th-Oct-2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Basically, the Warblade is outdamaged by the Barbarian (except at levels 5 and 15, when the Warblade gets a new level of maneuvers but the Barbarian hasn't gotten his 2nd and 4th attack, respectively) with very few assumptions made (namely: that each character took Power Attack. That's it). And of course, both of those are easily, EASILY out-gunned and out-classed in all regards by the high level Spellcaster.

If you're still curious, I'll see if I can dig up the thread on the Wizards boards where the balance between Warblade and Barbarian was demonstrated.
30th-Oct-2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
That'd be cool, I'd like to see that. All that makes me feel a bit better about the classes, heh. So it probably was the powergaming getting on my nerves then?
30th-Oct-2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Probably. I'd imagine that in such a game you could have had the same experience without the ToB. A Frenzied Berserker or an Ubercharger still totally owns the Warblade.

It's also possible, based on your game, that someone (either the DM or the player) either didn't understand the rules or didn't care to enforce them. That is often a reason why a particular class or system seems unbalanced (Psionics is another good example of this). Did you have a specific problem/example? If so, we could let you know if it's the system or your game that made it seem broken.
2nd-Nov-2007 12:34 am (UTC)
I think I'll make a separate post cataloguing the issues that I had with this game in a day or two. I'm pretty busy at the moment, and I'll need to collect my thoughts. Think that'll be okay?
30th-Oct-2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
1700 isn't that much when someone rolls up a Barbarian/Cavalier.
30th-Oct-2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
That's kinda scary, to think that 1700 isn't that much... it's things like this that kind of make epic levels seem frightening. On the other hand, it's the same things that make them cool, so...
1st-Nov-2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
As long as everything is in balance, the objective damage measurement isn't as important as the relative damage measurement.
30th-Oct-2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
That depends. Can you look me in the eye and tell me that a high level Fighter is just as powerful as a high level Wizard or Cleric?

That's why they're balanced.
31st-Oct-2007 12:01 am (UTC)
As this is my first foray into high levels, and we didn't have a straight Fighter in the party, I wouldn't really be able to say. But given what I have heard and given what I have seen, I cannot look you in the eye and say that a high level Fighter is just as powerful as a high level Cleric or Wizard, especially with those scary glowing eyes of yours!

So, in that sense, I would say off hand that Warblade is more balanced with other things than the Fighter. I still admit I have a soft spot for ordinary guys who swing swords around though...
1st-Nov-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Who doesn't?

That being said, it makes little to no sense to take more than five levels in any of the basic classes with all the prestige classes that are floating around now. There are still ways to make "the guy who swings a sword around" relevant at higher levels, though (a Swashbuckler/Champion of Corellon Larethian/Exotic Weapon Master wielding an Elven Thinblade deals 1d8 + STRx2 + DEX + INT as damage and doesn't gain any spellcasting ability, for instance).
31st-Oct-2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Meh, this was the attempt to test out 4E type rules and see how they would stick. This roughly came out at the same time that the seed was being planted for 4E, so it only made sense. If you have a copy of Iron Heroes and mix that in with ToB, you have 4E (essentially).

All in all, the book is geared for those who want more video game mixed into their table top experience. If you aren't into the whole Final Fantasy deal, then it won't be a book for you. I own it, read it once and put it away, I think it is collecting dust somewhere on my shelf.

In other words, I would rather allow Tome of Magic by gun point while my players were raping rare woodland critters than allow ToB... That is just me though.
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